Weekend recap

Again, it was a busy one!  But we seem to keep having those, and as my calendar keeps filling up it doesn’t look like things are going to slow down anytime soon.  Which is EXACTLY how I want it to be.

As many of you faithful readers know, I am now working.  A company called Vault Denim has now taken up all my spare time (you know, the time that is not spent caring for my children, like nap times and after they go to bed).  I am learning how to become a super salesman, but I don’t think it’s going to be difficult since the product sells itself – DESIGNER JEANS.  It’s a no-brainer really.  We live in Oregon, the climate is one where you can wear denim 12 months out of the year.  So as long as there are people with the desire to look super fabulous in denim, I have the means to provide that for them.  It’s a part-time job, but one that I can easily earn a full-time income doing.  Not yet, of course, there is still a lot to learn and prepare and learn.  Haha.  But I do love to learn new things, and I accept this challenge head-on!

I had my first public event on Sunday, so I spent all week preparing for it – printing materials, learning the brands, reading tips on how to have a good presence in front of people who have never heard of Vault Denim before.  A fellow consultant created an awesome banner design and I had it printed locally.  I purchased an adorable pink changing room tent and UPS lost the first one, so the company overnight shipped another one for me and then the other one showed up – in other words, I now have two!  Which is perfect for when I am doing a huge event and there are several people needing to try on jeans at the same time.  By the time Friday night rolled around I felt pretty good with my setup.

Saturday morning I woke up and went over to my Mom’s to help her brainstorm ideas on my sister’s wedding dress.  She has the corset style top almost finished, it’s beautiful.  Now she is starting to work on the skirt and bustle and so it was fun helping her come up with ideas on how to incorporate all the fun fabrics they have purchased.  It’s going to be perfect!

Then Enzo and I ran a few errands, looking for some last minute items for my booth setup.  Mark worked in the yard and had it looking beautiful since we were having a Mother’s Day barbecue for our Mom’s the next evening.  I have to say, our yard is really looking nice so far this summer.  Way better than previous years.  It’s nice to be home and have the time to actually care about it.

I had a bridal shower for my friend Heather to attend that evening, it was fun to see some beautiful ladies that I used to work with at Columbia, and catch up a bit.  And to celebrate the lovely bride-to-be.  I am so excited for her and Josh and their wedding on Mt. Shasta!  Enzo helped me wrap the gift…

ribbon wizard

Then I ran over to Vancouver to pick up the inventory of jeans.  Phew!  One very productive day!

Enzo decided to sleep in on Sunday, as my Mother’s Day gift I guess, but unfortunately I was wide awake at 6am thinking about all I had to do that day for my event!  But it was still nice of him.  Mark made yummy breakfast burritos and Claire and I packed up all the stuff and headed over to Woodlawn Park where we met up with my Mom.  Portland Sunday Parkways was hosting a fun day in the park where they encourage people to bike, walk or run on their route and enjoy park festivities afterward.  We set up in the driveway of our friend Julie, which wasn’t on the route but it was close by.  Unfortunately it was a pretty quiet area and we didn’t get too many folks walking by.  Still, it was a good experience setting up and realizing what I needed to make it better next time.  It was definitely not a waste of time.  And I got to spend the day with my Mom and my daughter, definitely something I love to do!  And of course, Mark and Enzo stopped by to say hello…

My set up


taking the baby on a walk


say Hi Enzo!

And then Mark made a delicious barbecue dinner, including the best potato salad I have ever eaten (and it was his first time!).  Yum!!  Thanks to my amazing husband for making my Mother’s Day special, I love you!

I hope all of you Mom’s out there had a wonderful day as well and were treated as the superheroes you are!



Easter weekend at Papa’s

Happy Easter!

Last weekend for the Easter holiday, we traveled east down the gorge to visit my Dad (Papa Ron).  It’s our little slice of heaven getaway from the hustle bustle of the city.  In the middle of nowhere, lots of clean country air and no cell phone service.  I love it.  I don’t think Mark is a huge fan of that, because he is always trying to get enough bars to get an update on a score for the Blazers/Timbers/Beavers while we’re there.  Veda gets to ride the horses, and this weekend for the first time she went out of the pasture on a short ride down the road with my stepmom Marta.

Veda and Ruby

She loved it!  Thanks Marta!

On Saturday we went over the hill to my Grandma’s house and the kids got to hunt some easter eggs just like I did many years ago.  Some of my fondest memories are of Easters at the ranch, all 8 of us grandkids would hunt for eggs (and it wasn’t easy, my Grandma is a master gardener which meant lots of places to hide things) and then we’d all gather on the patio and eat them with the sun shining down.  It was so much fun!  And we have never done that with our own children, so I was especially excited about this idea.  The sun was out, though there was a chilly wind blowing.  My only regret is that we didn’t get pictures of the kids with Grandma!  Darn it!


I had been patiently waiting for Easter to get here so that Enzo could wear the adorable suit his Aunt Yolanda sent him from Spain for his birthday.  It fit perfectly!


Marta made a fabulous dinner, as usual, and the sun was out again.  In true Arlington fashion though, that wind just wouldn’t quit so jackets were required.  But the kids enjoyed the hunt anyway.

Cousins! Veda, Hunter, Wyatt, Enzo and Claire (missing Ebin and Ethan)


We hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!





Happy New Year!

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with good friends and family, hosting our fifth annual party!  Normally we do a theme that people come wearing a costume for, but this year we decided to just have a night of intellectual stimulation.  And it was a success!

I put Enzo to bed at his regular 7pm bedtime but unfortunately he woke up around 10pm and I couldn’t get him back to sleep.  So he joined the party!

wearing my favorite accessory

party animal

We had a few littles at our party this year!  David, one of Mark’s soccer mates brought his 3 year old daughter Eva.  And Eddie & Owen (who is also 3) came for the first half.   They had a lot of fun playing with Veda’s littlest pet shop toys in Enzo’s room.



Our party guests…

George and Drew

Jared and Julie

Andi & Tony (and Eva, who is too cute and showed up in a lot of pictures)

Julie <3

Some good looking gents - Perry, Tony and Drew

We kicked the night off by playing some Minute-To-Win-It style games, drawing two names to participate in head to head competition.

First up – David and Althea (Claire’s friend who stayed over) doing the game called Hanky Panky.  They had to pull out all the kleenex from the box using only one hand, first one done wins!

Althea won!

Next was the game Breakfast Scramble where Jared and Amber had to put together puzzle pieces to make the front of a cereal box.  Amber was the winner for this one.


I think the most fun game to watch was Perry and Julie playing How’s it Hanging, where they had to get the oranges into a hula hoop using a banana swinging from their waist.


Amber laughing at (with?) Perry

Julie and Tony had to shake their stuff playing Junk in the Trunk, where they had to shake all the ping pong balls out of a kleenex box attached to the back of their waist.

Tony won!

And finally, Drew and Tony faced off in a game called Face the Cookie, where they had to get a cookie from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands.  Tony was a pro at this, like he had done it before!  Drew thought he could just will the cookie to move by staring at the ceiling, that didn’t work too well for him.

cookie on his forehead, not moving

Tony won!

I am glad we have smart friends who were such great sports.   Mark put together some trivia questions, among them movie quotes from the last four decades, and pictures of notable deaths from 2011.  Everyone broke into teams:

The "A" team

Team Awesome (a Scotsman and two 13 year olds, it was interesting)

The Loners

Team O'Neil

And there was a little cheating…

no iPhones!

I think everyone had fun, and it wasn’t a walk in the park either.  Mark made the questions kind of tough!  I don’t even know who won because by the time we played all four rounds, with the countdown to midnight happening in the middle, nobody really cared to crown a winner.   Thank you to everyone who made it, we had  so much fun and we loved welcoming in 2012 with such great company!!  Happy New Year!





Give us a minute…

We here at the Ritchie household hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  We definitely did and it was so much fun to watch Enzo experience it all for the first time.  We were very blessed to be surrounded by family, good food and lots of love!  I would really like to share some photos from the weekend, however…. I KILLED MY CAMERA.

I know.

I am kind of a clutz, and well, I dropped it for the I-don’t-know-how-many-eth time.  It even worked right after dropping it, we were headed down to the river on the Polaris with Papa Ron (Enzo, Claire and I) and the weather was absolutely beautiful with blue skies and sunshine.  Claire threw rocks at the chunks of ice while Papa held a giggling baby boy.  And I was able to capture it all on my camera.  And then the next day, as we were waiting for everyone to arrive so we could open presents and enjoy some delicious clam chowder Marta made – BAM – it goes blank.  And it never turned on again.

I plan to take it into a repair shop first before I give up and cry about it.  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

In the meantime, I will have to gather up the pictures we took using our phones (egad!) to put together a blog post about our very Merry Christmas.  Here’s one to keep you smiling until then…

Christmas morning = happy kids

Happy Monday!




Getting ready to go

This past weekend we braved the cold and enjoyed the Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo in Beaverton.  It was really cold (did I already mention that?) and the lines were INSANE.  But it was totally worth it and we were with good company so we had a really great time!  Our friends Jen and Aaron recently had a set of twin boys, and along with their 3 year old daughter Sam – we caravaned up there.  I didn’t realize it until the end when Aaron said “We did it!  All ten of us!” that between our two families there were in fact TEN of us.  Wow!  Next year Enzo will be able to chase Sam around but for this year he was strapped on my front in the ergo.  It took a bit of time and a nursing break (thankful for the warm cafe halfway through the night) before he finally fell asleep.  The twins were awesome, they were quiet and happy (or sleeping mostly) the whole time.  And the girls seemed to have fun taking it all in.

If you live in Portland, I definitely recommend it.  I was impressed before we even walked through the gate after I saw the giant tree out front covered in beautiful purple lights!  It was difficult to get pictures, it was misting a bit and the crowd was total chaos.  But here are a few we got:

the girls



Jen giving the eagle a high five at the end


And Sam gave the tiger a hug!


A Ritchie Christmas Party!

The Ritchie family 2011

Thanks again to Great Aunt Judy for hosting, it was a lovely time as always!  Here are some pictures from our annual Christmas gathering with the Ritchie family.  We really need to be better about seeing these people, our girls are all around the same age and we only see them maybe twice a year, and everyone lives here in town – unacceptable!!  I vow to encourage more get-togethers in the new year.

Enzo and Aunt Amy


Aunt Stephanie and Cousin Molly (with a sweet little ball of fur)


Hayley and the puppy


Gracie and Veda, with puppy and the gingerbread house they made!


Grandpa Bill and his boy


Enzo meets the puppy




Julie, Gracie and Kayla


The puppy was popular!


Mark and George


football from Great Uncle Chuck


Grandma Betty


Veda's crazy face





Enzo has enjoyed playing with his new toys today!

We have a busy week ahead, but I will try and get a couple more blog posts in before I head east for Christmas at Papa Ron and Marta’s.



A Wish List

I don’t normally do this, but I have been seeing these on other blogs I read and I suddenly got the itch to make one for myself.

If I had to make a wish list for the holidays, these are some things it would include:

Delightful Deer Necklace

found here

2012 Nikki McClure Calendar

 found here

Her hair. Seriously.


Epiphanie bag "Lola"

 It’s actually a camera bag, but I think this would be perfect for a purse/camera/diaper bag – stylish to boot!

found here

via Anthropologie

 found here

via Sundance

 found here


Decorating our Christmas tree

Last weekend we ventured up to the hills to seek out our Christmas tree.   Hmm, that might be conjuring up visions of us traipsing through the woods, up to our knees in snow, searching for the perfect Noble Fir.  That was last year, which if you were reading this blog then you will remember ended with us giving up and choosing a tree farm just outside of Sandy.  Well, to save time and energy, we just went straight to that same tree farm and cut down a tree.


Enzo had fallen asleep right before we got there, so he and I waited at the car.

goof balls.

The girls did just fine picking out the tree, and Mark worked his magic with the saw, and the next thing I knew they were back at the car.


By that time Enzo had woken up, so we stood outside while Mark tied the tree to the roof racks.

blue eyed boy.



Once we got back home, I made a big pot of vegetable bean soup.  It was going to be chili, but without meat (Veda is vegetarian) but I just started adding vegetables and soon it didn’t look like chili at all.  So I renamed it.  It was super tasty and everyone loved it.  We got out all the Christmas decorations and the girls started setting up the tree.  Mark kept Enzo busy reading a book, while I made some cream puffs for dessert!

"Hello little kitten!".. he loves that part


My Mom's recipe, how did I do?

Oh, and Claire made her and Veda gigantic mugs of hot chocolate…


I have never really been fussy about how the tree looks.  You know how sometimes you’ll go to peoples houses and their tree looks straight out of a Macy’s Christmas ad?  Everything in it’s place, one central color theme, nothing homemade.   Well, our tree is pretty much the exact opposite of all those things, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The ornaments are all ones that we have either made ourselves, or collected over the years (even before we were together).  Veda finger-knitted the garland last year.  And there’s about five of the lights that have decided to blink this year (??).  Maybe they did it last year too, but I don’t remember it.  Enzo wasn’t really interested in the decoration process but the girls included him anyway.











our cute kids.

And Veda made the tree-topper this year, her teacher at school taught her how to do it and they are really beautiful!

Enzo's just doing some final touches.


our "star"!



What about you?  Is your tree up yet?



Enzo meets Santa Clause

Hello Santa...

Tonight we drove across the river to meet Grandma & Grandpa Ritchie at a little coffee shop.  Grandma’s friend had invited her and the grandkids to a special Santa meet-n-greet.  I was really anxious to see how Enzo was going to react to the big guy in red.  I have several photos of me as a baby, until about age 3 I guess, sobbing my head off while on the lap of Santa Clause.  So I was prepared for him to react the same way.

...this isn't so bad, but he isn't smiling yet...

I was able to snap a few photos, but there was also a professional taking them as well.  And the best part, it was FREE!  We got a great shot of him, just like this one (only more glamorous, since I don’t know how to do anything besides point-n-shoot with camera).  He didn’t do too bad!

Oh wait…

...there they are...tears.

I knew it!  And then he proceeded to cry as he was passed from Grandma, then to Daddy, and finally to me.  Where he immediately quieted.  Well, duh, that’s cause he’s a mama’s boy!  <3

Are you taking your kids to see Santa this year?  I’m a little sad that our girls are too old for this now.  But I’m happy to start new traditions with Enzo, since right now as he sees it, this big scary bearded guy really does exist!  Hopefully the “scary” part won’t last long.



a very Happy Thanksgiving


We celebrated with the Ritchie family yesterday, it was a lovely afternoon and a DELICIOUS meal!  Thanks Mom & Dad Ritchie!





And I’m thankful that they sent us home with leftovers so we can enjoy it all again today!  After all, that’s what this holiday is about right?  Eating until you explode?  And being thankful, of course.


I am thankful for so many things.  Family.  Health.  Love.  Great Friends.

Claire even did a little manual labor while we were there.  Woah.  Holiday spirit taketh over…


We hope you had a great holiday, ate until your pants split and get to enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend relaxing with friends and/or family.  Mark has a  cold and Enzo woke up this morning with the sniffles, so I do believe we will be keeping it chill the next couple days.  I plan to do a lot of sewing.