Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Grands in PDX

It's been a month since they were here, but Nana and "Dindad" came to Portland in May for a lovely visit. The weather was still wet for the first portion, but it finally got sunny and the parks of Portland got some visitors, all the way from England!

Thanks for coming Nana and Dindad! It's always great to see you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Hunt, 2017

Easter weekend - phew! We are still recovering. Easter egg hunts, brunches, neighborhood events, birthday parties, and soccer matches. There was a lot going on, and Mr. Jones was recovering from a terrible stomach flu. Still, the weather was great, we saw good friends, the girls had a blast, and Lulu tolerated the rabbit. She told us beforehand that she only liked "smaller rabbits" and when I tried to put her down next to him she wailed, "Nooooo". So we all got a photo with the Easter Bunny! Then we had donuts and got our arms painted, and went home for a nap, with enough chocolate for coming weeks. I think we ate sweets the entire day. Maybe that's what Easter is for.

PS. Penny's sweater pattern is "Pompom Rabbit", Ravelry link here. Lulu's sweater pattern is called "Sweet William", Ravelry link here. Lulu is wearing a Geranium Dress and Penny is wearing a skirt (no pattern used) in a fabric called "Garden Delights" by Gray Sky Studios.
PPS. Last year's trip to this Easter Egg Hunt is here.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

We went to the tulip festival, despite the weather being absolutely awful lately. Everyone is saying that spring in the Pacific Northwest is a month behind. It's barely been close to 60 degrees. The girls were so excited to wear their spring dresses and I hate to disappoint them ;), so they wore leggings and long sleeve shirts underneath, with double layers of pants and tights. Still, we could still hardly stand to take off our coats. It kind of felt like this past fall at the pumpkin patch. Bounce houses and horsey rides always make things a little bit better.  They're predicting no rain for Easter weekend. We can only hope.

PS. Lulu's dress details are here. Penny's dress details are here. Last year at the tulip farm is here.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Penny's Ballerina Birthday

We had Penny's Ballerina Birthday Party at the house this past weekend. Penny likes ballet, but hasn't really seen any. Instead, her love of ballet is an amalgamation of a love of princesses and brides and all kinds of girls that are fancy, beautiful, perhaps like to dance, and always wear the biggest dress possible. Instead of making her party dress, we were offered one by google and she fell in love with it. It reminds me of a line from the song 'Suzanne': "And she feeds you tea and oranges that came all the way from China". This whole party came all the way from China - from the piƱata to the craft supplies to her dress to the doll who donned in a cake. I only added the icing, and all the small princesses had a very lovely time.

One of my favorite thing is to eavesdrop on what a bunch of 4 and 5 year-olds are chatting about in those groups in which they stand. This time, Penny was introducing her preschool friends to the girls she knows from other places. It melted me.

I've held 8 birthday parties so far, between Penny and Lulu. The best moment of every one is always the blowing out of the candles. Every single person seems to be so happy in that moment, you know?

The rain finally cleared and we ended the party in the back yard. 

Penny had a great time. I don't know if it lived up to the months and months of anticipation, but she had no complaints. She's told me again and again that she's "stopping at 5", growing no older after this year. When I implied that she wouldn't have any more parties she said "No, no! I can still have parties. I'll just be turning 5 again". So there you go. Five is already so good, we're stopping here :).

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Penny is 5

Penny Jones is five years old! She's a girl now. I can feel it. She talks a lot of sense, she knows a lot of things, and she's still the sweetest person I have ever known. I really have never seen anything like it. In all her days, she has not had one tantrum. She loves her family and her friends so fiercely, and when she does them wrong she's quick to apologize. She praises people, she listens intently, she thinks of ways to make people feel good, she's sentimental and optimistic. Her birthday party is on Saturday, but on her actual birthday day, she wanted to skip preschool and go Roller Skating with her friends. She had a really great time.


Clara brought her a balloon. When we returned our skates, the woman at the rental counter sang "Happy Birthday" to Penny, complete with sign language. There is so much magic at Oaks Park Roller Rink. It lives in a time where I want to reside, forever, and where I want to raise my kids. At the end of the song, Estella explained to the woman that this was her friend Penny, and that she was 5, and that finally they were the same age again. I almost started bawling.

P.S. I made Penny's dress. The pattern is Geranium Dress by MadebyRae. The fabric is from Black and White by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oscars 2017

We went to the Oscars.  It was really fun and really fancy, but in so many ways I didn't expect. We went with our friends, most of whom I knew before but spend very little time on a weekly basis, as all of us have small kids (and many distractions). I tell you though, the presence of these people made the whole experience like a movie about summer camp. Every time there was someone having a "we're at the Oscars" moment, there was someone else embarrassing themselves in new and hilarious ways. There were so many toasts to the whole experience, so many vows to have a time we won't forget. We really did it as a group. We really did it right.

Here are some photos before we left, in our fancy hotel. The night before, the production company had a cocktail party for us at Chateau Marmont. It was great to see such a Hollywood landmark. The girls and I started hair and make-up at 9:30 in the morning. It took three of them for four of us (chalk that up as taking a village). I couldn't have loved wearing my dress by Elizabeth Dye more. Within 10 minutes of contacting her, she was on board to make a dress for me. She was a true collaborator, a master craftsperson, and such a talented, sweet person. A few people have asked me why I didn't make my own dress, and I'll tell you why: because this is not my area of expertise, and when you leave it to the experts, you get something so special.

We drove to the Oscars and it felt really…presidential. We were in a cavalcade of black SUVs, the roads were blocked off for miles, and security would come and look into your car intermittently. There were people screaming by the side of the road, and when I rolled down my window to take a photo of them, they screamed even louder as if they might see someone important. Sorry, people :).

We got out of the SUV onto a small patch of red carpet. We had tickets, and they were instructing us to get them out. Somehow, we thought we were going into the show right away, so we frantically tried to get some photos until someone told us there would be "a lot more red carpet to come". Oh, right! Thanks.

We went through curtains that revealed a wide and long red carpet in three parts. We were put on "track" closest to the most press, and our "handler" guided the boys to different press outlets that wanted to talk to them: talk shows, newspapers, etc. There were so many random people around: a pacific islander dance crew (from a movie called Tana), ladies carrying their violins which I presume they had played on a soundtrack to something. I saw a few famous people on another red carpet "track": Karlie Kloss getting her dress photographed, Lin-Manuel Miranda racing through the whole red carpet process. Our crew was getting text messages from friends at home that we were on TV. It was all pretty surreal. 

Finally, we reached the end of the long red carpet, and the door of the Dolby Theater. We had ideas that we might get rushed through the whole red carpet process, but it actually took quite a while. We had a look in the theater from the top level, but we had tickets to seats on the floor. From monitors in the lobby, we watched most of the celebs arrive while we sipped drinks, then headed to our seats when the announcements were made that the ceremony was about to begin. As we were walking, I heard a woman apologize over and over and Ollie say, "I'll get it!". She had lost her phone in my dress!

The show was really good, wasn't it? I didn't know much of Jimmy Kimmel before this, but I thought he was excellent, and the whole show seemed to move right along. During commercial breaks they would give you a countdown, and if you didn't make it back to the theater in time you had to wait until the next commercial break, out in the lobby (with a drink in your hand and a seat filler in your seat). Our category was in the middle portion, so at a certain point we all decided no one was leaving. Production Assistants would come over and talk to us about how long it was until our category. At one point, they told a woman and her daughter to move to new seats, and then that woman WON AN OSCAR for Costume Design. So we were waiting to see if they moved any of us, too. All of the Visual Effects nominees were together and as the announcement got closer, I saw the (eventual winners) in front of us, texting their friends as we were texting ours: "I'm nervous." "I don't think this is going to happen for us". In that moment, we were all going through the same thing. It was kind of sweet. Our whole row held hands as the envelope was opened. 

Alas, the win was not ours (ours, meaning our boys', of course). Robert Legato and his crew from "The Jungle Book" won. They sat right in front of us so we got to congratulate them, and in return, we got to play with their statue afterwards. By the way, Oliver made me watch Legato's great TED talk (right HERE). It's worth a glance, even if you have very little interest in Visual Effects. 

After the ceremony, we went to The Governer's Ball, which is on site at the Dolby Theater. It felt like a Carnival Cruise, with a band two stories higher, playing pop muzak. The wait staff came around with fancy gelato, followed by mac and cheese, followed by sushi rolls and pot pies and cake pops. I was sure this was not going to end well. Then we "Elton John's Oscar Party", which was ending by the time we got there. Andrew Rannells seemed to be enjoying the company of about 100 "fans" on the dance floor blaring with techno music. We knew it was time to go back to the hotel; we had been on this "journey" for more than 12 hours now.

The next morning, we all flew home together, to our babies and our babysitters and our houses. It was all really good fun, and within hours we were emailing photos and telling each other how much we missed each other. It was certainly a memory for the archives, a whole lot of fancy and a whole lot of fun. If you get the chance, I highly recommend it ;).

PS. Image of our row is by TiffSchiff, below that is a screen shot from TV!