Thursday, June 25, 2009

Belmont Bound...

This story just keeps getting better and better. Rachel Alexandra’s co-owners, Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson Wines, and his wife Barbara Banke, announced that Rachel Alexandra will "Race for the Cure" the remainder of her 2009 campaign, with the majority of her winnings going to the Susan G Komen foundation. To put that into perspective, she has won ~$1.6M thus far in 2009.

“Rachel Alexandra is a magnificent horse. In her honor, we are making a gift to the Susan G Komen "Race For The Cure" said Barbara Banke, co-owner of Rachel Alexandra.

“This exceptional fund is one more example of how generous people can help direct their money to charities that make a difference,” said Allison Lankford, Director of Philanthropic Services, Blue Grass Community Foundation. “What a wonderful way for Barbara and Jess and their fabulous horse Rachel Alexandra to benefit so many.”

Rachel Alexandra wearing her pink halter in support of all women fighting cancer.

We will be wearing our pink shirts tomorrow (or I will, as Stef will be in a cute dress) as we cheer her on in The Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, New York.
For those of you who are interested in getting to know Rachel Alexandra a bit better, the New York Racing Association, has changed their cover page of their website to display Rachel winning the Preakness Stakes. If you click on "Rachel's sandbox", you will find an entire section devoted to her. See, we are not the only ones beside ourselves to have the superstar running at Belmont Park tomorrow.
Bon Voyage

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fun with cousins

My brother-in-law, Julian, is riding in the LIVESTRONG challenge tomorrow. Julian's sister, Amber, works for the The Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, TX, so she and her daughter, Aurora, flew up to visit and attend the race. Aurora is just over a month younger than Jack and Avery and I have been excited for them to meet each other. We spent the afternoon at Maren and Julian's and took a walk to the park. Aurora is the only one of the babies that didn't fall asleep for some part of the the walk. Jack missed the entire play time at the school, poor guy. He would have loved it.

We tried to get a photo of all three little ones together by themselves and it was impossible. The best we could do was a picture of babies and moms and then babies in strollers.

Jack, Avery and me along with Amber and Aurora
Avery and Maren looking on as Aurora climbs into Lillie's Dora chair. Lillie is in the background, too.

Hansen hamming it up for the camera
Before we left for our walk
Aurora munching on a toy brain, I think.
Another attempt at a photo of moms and babies.
Lillie with Aurora and Jack

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fulfilling a Dream: A Date with Ms Alexandra

I get asked a lot, why do you love horse racing so much? From my earliest memory, my Mother and I would start reading about the up and coming three year olds. We would follow them a bit and see which ones wormed their way into our hearts. And then we would cheer for them come the first Saturday in May, when the Run for the Roses, or as most people know it, the Kentucky Derby is run. We would then watch two Saturdays later to see if the Derby winner could take the second jewel of the Triple Crown by winning the Preakness Stakes. And if they did, we would be glued to the television set three weeks later to watch the grueling mile and half Belmont Stakes, to see, if just maybe, we would witness history, and have another Triple Crown winner. I was born in 1970, the decade where we would see three Triple Crown winners in six years, and not another one since. First, it was Secretariat in 1973. I do not remember seeing him win the Crown, but I was there watching. She said I was there, cheering with her, as he won the Belmont by a record breaking 31 lengths. I sure wish I could conjure up that memory…

Then in 1977, we witnessed Seattle Slew, and again in 1978, we watched Affirmed edge out Alydar by nose in the Belmont. Every year, we said we would go to Churchill Downs, or to Pimlico, or to Belmont Park to watch the horses and to cheer on that one magical horse that we believed in. As in a lot of things in life, we never fulfilled our dream.

I have continued to watch, every year without her, and wait for our next Triple Crown winner. It is a time of year, when I can hear my Mother the loudest and the most clearly, through the pounding of the hooves. So, in memory of The Dutchess, Stef and I are headed to New York City and Belmont Park to watch Rachel Alexandra run in The Mother Goose Stakes this coming Saturday. It will be her first return to the track since her sensational win in the Preakness, when she inked her name in the record books and became a household name. The first thing I am going to do after I pass through the gates of Belmont Park, is walk up to the life size bronze of Secretariat, and kiss him right in his sweet spot, above his eye, but below his ear. And I will whisper, “You done good, kid. This one’s for you Mums”.

For those of you who haven’t witnessed for yourself Rachel Alexandra and her sheer brilliance, I will leave you with part of a quote that was written for Ruffian after she suffered a catastrophic injury that would eventually end her life. It is fitting of Rachel Alexandra who clearly was heaven sent…

“As though our dreams had the force of reality, we conceived her and then when she appeared took her for our own. We made her of massive proportions, the body of a stud, the legs of a water spider, so that no one would mistake her for ordinary. We made her fast, speed on speed, so fast that distance would lose all meaning, and time would take on meaning anew.”

Cary Robertson Jr, 1975
In memoriam to the great filly, Ruffian

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Playing around...

Jack just discovered the covers on the arms of the glider in the nursery. He now has to remove them every time he sees them. I stuck it on his head because it seemed like something fun to do and it's the funniest thing. He looks like one of the three wise men. He wouldn't cooperate for the picture, but Avery did.
Little wise man, Jack
Aren't I cute?
Wait, let me pose first.
How do I look?
While we were waiting for the sun to come out, I caught Jack giving Avery some loves. Every once in a while they do this where Avery gets a kick out of it and gets the giggles. In the video she notices that I'm watching and fusses a bit, but then forgets and starts giggling when he does it again. I'm not much for video editing so there are some boring parts where Jack takes Avery's sock off.
The sun came out briefly this afternoon so we put shoes on and headed outside. Katie has a love/hate relationship with water. Jack discovered this and was playing with Katie and giggling the entire time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Kelsey Creek

These are some of the pictures Nana took while we were at Kelsey Creek Park. Avery had so much fun in the swing she had to get coy and tip her chin down. It's a little flirty thing she does and it's usually accompanied by a cute little march.

Jack has never been a fan of swings. I think he thinks there's something not quite right about being suspended like that. He doesn't even like to swing if he's on my lap.
Our first trip to Kelsey Creek didn't go so well, so the fact that Jack is standing in front of this horse and not screaming is a success. Our first trip was Court, Jack, Avery and me. We first visited the horses and Jack and Avery loved it. They loved it until the horse thought Jack might have something in his hand (while his little fist clenched the wire) and he came in close for a little taste. The horse's lips touched Jack's hand and Jack FREAKED out. You would have thought the poor boy was being skinned alive, there were alligator tears and everything. That ended our visit with the horses a little early, much to Avery's dismay.

I think Jack is trying to make sure this horse is safe in his fenced area and not able to escape and eat him. Notice the hands are nowhere near the fence!

Again on our first visit, we went to visit the chickens. Jack and I were hanging back watching them. Court and Avery were crouched down looking at the chickens. Avery was standing holding onto the wire mesh looking at the chickens and I was talking to Court who was looking at me (I had a direct view of Aves). Just as I watched her stick her chubby little pointer finger through the wire, a big old chicken was heading her way. I'm sure he thought she had food and was not going to miss out on it. Before I could say anything, the chicken had pecked Avery, Avery had let out a huge holler, then she cried. Now she's back to being terrified of the chicken puppet all over again. It certainly doesn't help that Court torments her endlessly with it.

Our future soccer player, nevermind that he's kicking a basketball....details.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Playing in the tub

Congratulations to Maegan!

Maegan Welcome (our old neighbor and good friend) graduated from Mt. Si High School on Friday. It was a beautiful evening and a perfect day for a graduation ceremony. We're so proud of her. Congratulations Maegan!!!
Court, Maegan and me
Maegan's grandparents, her mom (Michele) and Maegan
Maegan and her folks
Maegan giving her little sister a big hug!!
Maegan and her dad
Hats off!!
Shaking the principal's hand

Visiting the animals at Kelsey Creek Park

Trying to peek at the horses on the other side.

Jack wants to climb the fence and play with the sheep.

Pondering his next move...

Is this Rachel Alexandra, Mom??

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fun with friends

I took Jack and Avery over to Adam and Ryan's house on Friday (their mom is Katharine) to hang out with their friends. It was another sunny day and Katharine had a pool set up out back along with a table with sand and water in it. I think the most popular thing was the watermelon, though. Yum!

And, I actually didn't take any of these pictures. These are mostly thanks to Cindi and there's one in there from Angelica. Thank you guys!

Peek a boo at the screen door

Watermelon is Jack's food of choice these days.
More watermelon
Deep in thought
Contemplating a dip in the pool
Playing in the sand with Ian and Miles
Avery wonders why we don't have this toy at our house
Playing peek a boo with Angelica in the tunnel

Friday, June 5, 2009

15 Month Check Up

Jack and Avery did very well at their appointment yesterday. They are getting smarter and smarter about what goes on at the doctor's office. Poor Avery wanted nothing to do with the nurse or the doctor. She didn't want that stethoscope touching her, nor did she want the tape measure around her head. And heaven forbid anyone try to lay her down on the exam table.

Jack wasn't too worried, but he didn't take a trip to Children's either. He did however fall off one of the chairs and get a rug burn on his shoulder.

Only two shots this visit and I think that's all any of us could handle. It's so traumatic now that they are older.

Avery - 22lbs 8oz (50th %ile)
Jack - 24 lbs (50th %ile)

Avery - 31" (50th %ile)
Jack - 33 1/2" (97th %ile)

Developmental Progress:
  • Walks well - runs! may begin walking backward to pull a toy
  • Likes to scribble
  • Shares poorly, mostly "parallel play"
  • Plays with balls
  • Starts using spoon and fork
  • Imitates any parental activity
  • Will be adding words to vocabulary (although the pediatrician said that twins tend to take longer to speak)
  • Can start removing own clothing, socks/shoes

Suggested Activities:

  • Use push toys and talk about them
  • Give sequential directions, such as "go over there and get your shoe for me".
  • Sing songs - nursery rhymes.
  • Look at pictures - "who/what is that"?
  • Encourage vocalizations and imitation - play with language.

Anticipatory Guidelines

  • Nutrition: Table foods, can be self feeding all/part-time.
  • Encourage the cup
  • Safety: Avoid chokable items (nuts, chunks of fruit, veggies, meats)
  • Autonomy: Distraction is the best discipline - do not expect sharing - limit setting is OK.
  • Delay toilet training until toddler is very interested (closer to 2-2 1/2 years)
  • Health: Brush teeth with water, use sunscreen/cover up, avoid TV

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pool Party!!

The weather in Seattle has been nice and toasty this week. We were lucky enough to be invited over to Cindi's house (mom to Ian and Miles) for a pool party.

Some of these pictures are courtesy of Cindi. Thank you, Cindi!

The grand entrance...
Happy babies!!

Jack is on the right and his buddy Ian is on the left. They are often mistaken for twin brothers when we're all together. They do look alike. Jack's hair is kind of crazy because he lost his footing in the pool and slid right in. Lucky for me he thought it was funny and wanted to do it over and over again.
Jack shortly after he took an unintended dunk in the pool. Avery is standing by not wanting to mess up her pretty sun dress from Auntie Donna and Uncle Herm.
Jack riding Miles and Ian's horse
She looks like she's trying to pose. Not already?! I think she's taking lessons from her cousin, Lillie.
Avery hanging out with Ian.
The ruffle butt is to die for and the rolls just make it all the better!!
Hi Jack!!
They look like they should be drinking beer or something.
They should have been toasting with a beer since it was their (Jack & Avery's) 15 month birthday. I suppose I need to quit celebrating each month now that they are over a year old. I can't help it; it's my feeble attempt at pretending they are still babies.