Monday, December 31, 2012

For The Record

I know this post won't be all that interesting to anyone who isn't a Gregory, but as this is our only real family journal, I'm using it to list the Gregory family events of 2012.  In no particular order:

-We sold our house in Davis
-Camp Half Blood Lucy birthday extravaganza
-Trip to France, especially being there for Music Night
-Epic trip to southern Utah w/ Rachel
- Joshua James in concert
- another summer of dreams in California
- We moved (barely notable, I know)
-Rachel moved in with us
- Okefenokee Swamp.  With real alligators.
- Weekend getaway trip to Charleston.
- Theo's first time skiing
- Chris started working for Primary Children's Hospital
- Theo had surgery to have his adenoids removed
- New Hampshire for Thanksgiving
- We picked up a couple of cats (and got rid of a rabbit!  Hurray!)
- Lucy got glasses, orthodontia and her first pimple.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

summer in december

this is a video the lawrence cousins sent out as a sort of christmas card...

Sunday, December 23, 2012


The Diesel #2 Food Mart outside Chowchilla, CA may not have had a working light in the bathroom or hand soap, but it did have 7-Up, a sink to throw up in, and an attendant that didn't judge me for walking in wearing high heels with socks.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the last word

colin walks into the bathroom where jack and i are.  he seems to be trying to put on a belt.
c- "mom!  i need help with my seatbelt!"
jack (snort)- "it's not a seatbelt!  it's just a belt!"
colin - (feeling defensive yells back) "yes it is!  it is a seatbelt!"
jack - "no it's not!"
me- "jack, he can call it a seatbelt if he wants to."
j- "no he can't!"
me - "yes he can.  he can call it a UNICORN if he wants to."

(i turn and walk out, thinking the point is made, and hear as i walk down the hall..)

jack- (in that under-the-breath "i'm going to get the last word" voice..) "well you can't call it that."

colin (yelling)- "well mom said i can call you a POOPER if i want to!"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Diner a Day

Stellas - Hartland, Vermont

The Four Aces - West Lebanon, New Hampshire

Lou's - Hanover, New Hampshire

Windsor Diner - Windsor, Vermont

Rachel claims to have weighed herself before and after Thanksgiving dinner, scientifically proving that she gained 2 pounds, even though she only ate a 1/2 plate of food.  What we should have done is weighed ourselves before and after we began our strict dietary regimen of a diner a day. Some memorable moments from the week:
-Gwen being about as cute as a kid can get.
-Chris's unbridled glee when we arrived at our borrowed house to find brine-worthy buckets in every cupboard.
-The one-drumstick turkey carcass salute
- Jerry, "We're not voting; this is science."
-Levi showing up on our doorstep after sneaking out of his house and scootering himself down the street. "Jiminy Cricket, he's flown the coop!"
-Watching 'Moonrise Kingdom' with Viv and having her laugh just as much as I hoped she would.
-Art day with the kids at the gallery.  "When I really like something, I whisper it!"
-Kids cutting down a Christmas tree with a rusty hacksaw.
-Apple cider donuts.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hal Summit Rees

Hal joined our family today. Born at 5:32 am, weighing 7 lb 14 oz, 20.5 in. in length.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rees Family Thanksgiving

Gordon and I celebrated Thanksgiving this year with just the two of us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Blog Post, Adrest to Vivi.

Before I went to college, I paid almost no attention to my younger sisters. I didn't play with them.  I didn't babysit them. I don't even remember talking to them, except to get mad at them for eating my stuff. As far as I was concerned, they ran in a pack that ideally didn't involve me at all.

Then, one day as I was packing to leave for college, Viv came in to my room and handed me this note:

Maybe it was the glitter glue.  Maybe it was the "Me sad," with arrow picture. Maybe it was just remembering that I even had a little sister named Vivian, but the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day.  I vividly remember sitting on my bed and looking at that note and thinking, "I have been a bad sister. I should be a better sister. What if we all grew up to be friends?  That would be sort of cool."

And I actually think things changed after that.  I invited them to come and stay with me for weekends.  I played 'bear cave' with little Rachel when I came home to visit.  I talked to Beth about the Beatles. OK, I might have punched Sarah, but in general I was trying.  And maybe we all would have grown up to be best of friends anyways, but I'm not so sure.  For me, it started with this note.  Thanks, V.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Survey Says!

1.  What is the story, as you understand it, of how mom and dad picked your name, or who are you named after?
C - I think Mom and Dad both liked the name because it sounded sweet and old-fashioned. I think the runner-up name was Robin
B - although dad tried to deny it when i was little - grandma ashby.
S - I'm not sure I don't think I'm named after anyone and I think mom and dad just liked the name they had never heard the name Sarah before
Cl - I think it was inspired by an Art Garfunkel album, Angel Clare. And I'm also pretty sure it was Dad's idea, at the last minute.
V - It was down to Valerie and Vivian, and Dad asked Carrie which she preferred. Carrie said, "she looks more like a Valerie but I like the sound of Vivian better". Dad replied, "Well, we had better name her Vivian then, because she won't look like that forever".
R - I came home from the hospital named Margaret. Then Dad came home one day and proclaimed that wasn't right, and wrote the name Rachel across the chalkboard.
J - I was named after my grandfather, Jerry Orlando Mortensen.
Ch - I was named after my uncle.
G - My parents chose my name because it's a very good name. 

2. What is your favorite lunchmeat?
C - Pastrami, but only if it's in a reuben sandwich.
B - does bacon count as lunch meat?  if not, i have become fond of a good pastrami. 
S - ham
Cl - Ham
V - Smoked turkey
R - Bacon totally counts.
J - Salami
Ch - Salami
G - Prosciutto

3. Would you sky dive, or bungee jump, if you had the chance? Why or why not?
C - Hell no. Because bungee jumping is uncomfortable and skydiving could kill you.
B - moot point.
S - no
Cl - Probably, yes. It's never really been a dream of mine, but I think I'd appreciate the experience.
V - No.
R - I would definitely bungee jump, but it might take some peer pressure to get me to skydive.
J - I would rather skydive than watch Twilight.
Ch - I would skydive but not bungee jump.
G - No. I have a hard enough time with roller coasters.

4. Who do you miss the most right now?
C - You are my favorite princess.
B - theo.  
S - everyone
Cl - How about Amanda Ball?
V - Dad
R - Mom
J - Michael Brecker
Ch - Johnny Cash
G - Claire

5. Name two of your minor super powers.
C - Telling stories and remaining calm
B -  pizza crust and  meeting new people
S -  ? (maybe movie quotes? -claire)
Cl - Placing smells, and finding information on the World Wide Web.
V - Acquisitions and depositions
R - Catching small animals, and packing.
J - Asking for money back on the phone, and metabolizing chocolate.
Ch - Feeding myself in foreign cities, and knowing where universities are located.
G -  Cleaning my plate and singing loudly. (Note from Claire: It's true- he can sing really loud)

6. Do you like your handwriting?
C - I have no feelings about this.
B - nope
S - ya it's fine
Cl - I like it as long as it's just me reading it.
V - Which one?
R - I like two out of my four.
J - When I type.
Ch - N/A
G - Yes. Very much.

7.What chore do you hate doing?
C - Carrying the laundry down the basement steps
B - i hate washing dishes, but the floor is my nemesis.
S - hanging up my clothes
Cl - Cleaning counters, apparently.
V - Folding socks that don't all match up.
R - Unclogging the drain
J - Brushing my kids' teeth
Ch - I hate answering online surveys.
G - Washing walls.

8. Name an event or memory that first made you feel like an adult.
C - When I was in college, I helped a kid on the beach and their mother said, "say thank you to the nice lady".
B - getting married.  it felt like tim and i were on our own.
S - buying a car
Cl - Buying a full-size bed.
V - Having my own nameplate at my office at work. 
R - N/A
J - Getting called 'sir' by people at hotels and restaurants
Ch - Buying a house
G - N/A

9. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
C - Pull Theo off of my head
B - re-messy bun my hair
S - open the door. If kids are not coming I eat breakfast
Cl - Are you kidding?? Go to the bathroom.
V - "Get. Out. Of. My. Room."
R - hit the snooze.
J - Play dead and hope everyone leaves
Ch - Curse the cruel fates.
G - Make sure no one's tampered with my gun.

10. What is the next thing you are looking fwd to?
C - Bed
B - Seeing the rees' baby.
S - Jones Bar and Rachel coming
Cl - Thanksgiving food.
V - Cutting a Christmas tree
R - Playing with Gwen in the morning
J - Getting a new computer
Ch - Brined turkey
G - Oil change

11. Have you ever made jello?
C - But of course
B - oh yes.
S - yes
Cl - Yes, sir.
V - Yes
R - Probably?
J - No. Why?
Ch - Yes
G - Yes

12. When did you learn how to iron (or did you ever)?
C - The kids found the iron when we moved and asked me what it was
B - tim's mother.  after measuring me and finding me wanting, took me in and taught me lots of things like that-  a mrs. lawrence boot camp.
S - yes I learned I think mom showed me but I don't do it
Cl - Just by watching Mom, I guess.
V - Mom taught me in high school, but I've given up on it
R - I sometimes use a hair straightener on my clothes, does that count?
J - Mission
Ch - High school
G - Saturday, October 24, 1998

13. What was a favorite toy you had as you grew up?
C - Barbies, but not in a lame way
B - the cable slide!
S - barbies ( ? )
Cl - That dining room table that you could flip over to have roads and landscape to play on with cars, etc.
V - grass fort
R - Babe
J - It's a toss-up between our basketball hoop and my nintendo.
Ch - Dirt.
G - Omagles

14.  Have you ever cut your own hair?
C - No, unless bangs count
B - nope.  who does that?!
S - yes all the time
Cl - I don't remember ever cutting my own hair, but I'm pretty sure I've seen some pictures with a haircut that cannot possibly be pinned on Dad. Or did you mean as an adult? No way.
V - Yes, with tiny little swiss army knife scissors
R - Yes
J - No
Ch - Yes
G - No. Claire did once, and it was a disaster.

15. How are we going to divide up time holding Claire's baby?
C - I am going to sneak into town.  I am not kidding.
B - arm wrestle for it.
S - 1st come 1st serve
Cl - Pretty sure I'll get my fill.
V - ro sham beaux
R -
J - Not it.
Ch - N/A
G - We will be putting 30 minute time slots up on eBay. Bidding starts at just 99 cents.

16.  Have you grown up enough, or has enough time passed, for you to be convinced to shave your toes?
C - N/A
B - i believe.
S - no why would you
Cl - No comment.
V - What?
R -
J - I shaved my legs once. Once was enough.
Ch - No
G - ?

17.  Is there a color that you find yourself wearing or buying clothes in?
C - I can't resist a blue earring.
B - choc brown
S - blue
Cl - Grey
V - Whatever the universe gives me.
R - Turquoise blue
J - Mostly pink
Ch -
G - Whatever Claire gives me.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ren faire for darcy's 14th birthday

tim got 4 free tickets from a radio station.  we had so much fun.  next year we will bring everyone and dress up.  we will bring more food, and a blanket and stay all day.  so much to see and drool over. the kids are already saving money.  
 "best birthday ever"-darcy

 we could have spent hundreds of dollars here.
 a cool idea for a door harp.  chimes when someone comes in or knocks.
 eric in heaven.

 these guys were awesome.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Big is Beautiful

So, during the first few months of this pregnancy, I started to show pretty early, and my coworkers could not get enough of telling me how big I was, how I was getting bigger all the time, and how big my baby was going to be.

I got really tired of it- not because I felt insulted that they thought I was “fat,” but because the comments had no point. And how was I supposed to respond to the 14th “big” comment that week?

-Yes, I was getting bigger, but guess what? Pregnant women get bigger. Have you forgotten your pregnancies?

-Yes, my belly is sort of big right now, but the ultrasound puts him right on target for size, so- No, I don’t think he’s going to be a Giant Baby.

Anyway, right about the time when I would have lost it, my weight gain evened out, and my coworkers stopped making it a regular conversation topic.

Until this week.

I’m not sure if there’s been a surge in growth, or if it’s the clothes I’m wearing, or if my coworkers are just starting to pay attention again, but the comments (and pointing and laughing) have resumed. Only now, they like to do impressions of me, holding their arms in a large circle (to represent my belly), walking (or waddling) straight-legged, like some kind of zombie (which, I must point out, is not how I walk at all. I still have my dignity), showing how my belly comes through the doorway long before the rest of me.

This afternoon, amazed, I said, “You guys are lucky I'm not one of those pregnant ladies that gets really upset and offended by people saying how big they are."

“Oh, no! I think it's beautiful!" (Haha, yeah, I’m sure that’s what you were thinking doing the zombie walk)

And I said, "Well, that doesn't matter to a lot of pregnant ladies. They still don't like it, you know? They already feel big and cumbersome, and don’t want to know other people see them that way, too."

“We only say it because you know us, and we know you."

(Which would be a valid point, if it were true)

I said, "…No, i think you would say that to anybody," since i know they can't hold their tongues very well, and don’t have much of a filter.

And one of them said, "No! I just saw Adrienne (another pregnant lady) today, and I didn't say anything!"


And I said, "…Weeell, that's because you think Adrienne is tiny..."

"Yeah, but I didn't tell her how tiny she was!!"

Yeeeaaah… I’m not sure you get the point.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cub Scouts, Puddle.

Five years ago, after Lucy ruined my cell phone by peeing on it, I spent $20 and bought the cheapest cell phone I could find.  I had no great hopes for it, thinking maybe it would last for a few months until I was eligible for a free phone from my phone company.  Since then it has been kicked, dropped in the sand, chewed on by a rabbit and abused by small children. I can't even count how many times it went skittering across our Puerto Rican concrete floor.  After awhile I started to realize that hey, this phone is tough.  Also, I only have to charge it once a month.  And it almost always has reception and never drops calls. Pretty soon I was feeling kind of ridiculously fond of the little guy.

When Rachel saw my phone, she said, "Did you know your phone is famous on the Internet?"

It's true.  So here, in memorium, an internet meme tribute:




I don't want a flip phone.  I don't want a camera.  I don't want 4G internet capability.  I just want you.

RIP, Nokia phone. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ashby Girls Heart Mark Porter.

From Carrie:

Because- just look at him.
Because I grew up at his house.
Because once he threw up and I cleaned it up and I just knew we were bonded for life after that.
Because Mark once spent an entire summer trying to teach me to play 'Legend of Zelda'.  Do you know how hard it is to watch someone ELSE lose a video game over and over and not take the controls away from them?
Because Mark is comforting.  Even now,  I frequently feel the urge to lean my head on Mark's shoulder.
Because Mark once spent 20 minutes parked with me behind a grocery store while I breastfed baby Lucy and didn't act all weird about it.
Because of that almost wistful look he gets when he's trying to sell you some dubious information.
Because Mark is funny.  Just ask him.
Because of this:

From Claire:

Because every time I watch that home video from Christmas 1988 when the Porters were over hanging out, we're all so obnoxious (Mark especially), and awkward that it makes me feel like I'm watching myself with my brother.
Because every time I watch the Vampire movie, I remember the pure glee on director Mark's face as he made Amy, Vivian, and me walk toward the camera (over and over again), then let down, and slowly shake, our long hair.
Because he was the first person to ever flirt with me. And even though he flirts with everyone, including my mother, it still made me feel special.
Because I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out which of his utterances were lies, and which were truth, because most fell somewhere in between.
Because he calls me Kitten.
From V

Because I spent many many a summer night with Mark scheming up some kind of trouble including a super secret club, mud pit wrestling, armor-all trampoline, "wild" uno rules, who's line is it anyway, I could keep going...
Because he can dance like strawberry shortcake
Because his eyebrows go up when he's lying, or at least I'm pretty sure...
Because he helped to bless my baby girl
Because he burned granola at mom's birthday party.  He's understands that level of inside jokes.
Because we once spent 3 hours driving around Berkeley looking for our pizza

from beth:

cuz he is really nice to me. and i am curiously drawn to people who think i am awesome.
cuz he is one of the only friends that can crash thanksgiving or christmas and i don't mind a bit. 
cuz he is really good at initiating conversation when i am feeling shy.
cuz he is SO good with babies and kids.
cuz he's SO DANG FUNNY! can i get an amen!?
cuz he gets almost as excited as i do about stuff. really excited.  

From Sarah:

Because he was my first boyfriend
Because no matter how long it is between seeing each other we're still good friends
Because he can tell a good story. "I've seen better."
Because let's just face it- who could not like Mark?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

what's in a nose?

this is a post about my nose.  for some reason, i was thinking today about how much i use my nose in life, especially in parenting.  last night, about 3am, i woke up and the room was filled with smoke.  not just the smell of smoke, like what was on eric when he and tim came home from camping.  i mean thick- make my throat sting- smoke.  i hopped up and looked everywhere, trying to figure out where it was coming from.  because i was tired and it was dark, i just ended up using my nose, walking all over the house, smelling.   i followed it to a window and figured out that the smoke from  my neighbor's chimney was being sucked straight in our open window.

what do you use your nose for?

  sometimes it is yucky.  i walk into my kitchen.. there is a funny smell.  if it smells like wine, check the fruit basket.  if it smells like death, check the mouse trap or the potato bin.  by smell, you can tell if a kid has a dirty diaper, if they brushed their teeth, and after some practice, sometimes you can even tell if one is about to throw up.  you can smell if your engine is not right, or if you used your brakes too much coming down the hill.  trash that needs to be taken out.  you smell a washcloth or a towel to see if it needs to be washed.  or the classic- i have just burned the garlic bread... again.   i found a propane leak at my friends house.   i have even found a dead chicken in the grass with my nose.

but it is not just nasty things:  you can smell the seasons, or if it is going to rain.  the smell of bread or cookies reminds you they are in the oven, or if the stew needs pepper.  the light bleachy smell of white laundry.  you can tell if a kid shampooed their hair or just rinsed and got out.  i am constantly smelling and testing the air for signs that i should pay attention to.  i also cannot have smelly candles (unless it is christmas or something special) or other chemical scents in the air.  i don't like my clothes smelling like anything other than clean.

am i the only one?  what do you smell?  do you import other smells into your house?

"i seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air."  margaret thatcher

Who Wore it better?

Sometimes on the red carpet two or more people are caught wearing the same thing (gasp!). Inevitably the discussion quickly turns to "who wore it better?"

This question came up recently when Gwen found a new hat, and we need your help.

So who wore it better? 


Tell us in the comments.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Talladega Afternoons

Chris heard tattoos make you look tougher.
Would you rather go to Talladega or Eastaboga? Us too!
Blending in with the crowd.
Even Sarah went a little crazy.

 Lucy protested the whole activity by bringing along "The History of the World" and refusing to look up even once.
It was so, so loud.
Hey there, tiger.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lucy's 9th birthday was pretty epic.  We had 10 girls, all running around in Rachel's supercool handcrafted t-shirts, performing feats of strength and having in-depth discussions about some of the finer points of Greek mythology.  The premise of the Percy Jackson books, for those of you who don't know, is that the gods still occasionally have children with mortals, just like they used to do back when.  Those kids don't fit in so well in public school and end up at Camp Half Blood.  I have to say that our Camp Half Blood was pretty heroic, especially the mallet vs. sword capture-the-flag showdown.  Some of my favorite quotes from the girls:

"Nectar rocks!"

Hana: I want to be a daughter of Hestia.
Lucy: Are you crazy?  Hestia didn't have children! (That's true- I googled it.)

"Who is Demeter's father again?"  "Umm....I think it was Cronos."  (Also true.)

Me: Lucy! Isabelle!  Stop hitting each other so hard with those cardboard swords!
Isabelle:  Sorry, we're both daughters of Athena...I'll just leave it at that!

Monday, September 24, 2012

We had a great trip to Charleston, thanks to Rachel.  Here are a few photos to prove it...

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Happy Birthday !

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, what would YOU do if your daughter asked YOU?

At the library today, I stopped by the graphic novels section.  I've been checking them out for Lucy, and she's read some pretty cool stuff that would otherwise have been too hard for her.  For example, she was riveted by The Odyssey, and she's read some Shakespeare and some Jules Verne.  Today however, the shelf was empty, except for this:

I was frozen, completely stumped.  Here is a fairly literal transcript of my mental conversation with myself.  I felt like Tevye, in the Fiddler on the Roof:

on the one hand...Nancy Drew, Vampire Slayer?! How awesome is that?
on the other hand...Nancy Drew, Vampire Slayer? That's completely ridiculous.
on the other hand...Lucy would LOVE it.
on the other way does my daughter need gateway drug vampire fiction.
on the other hand...I want to read it.
on the other hand...Lucy is 9. See above comment about vampire fiction.
on the other hand...I wonder what Ned looks like? Is that him on the cover?
on the other way do I want this on my permanent library record
on the other hand...this is just the tween version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, right?
on the other hand...Lucy is 9.
on the other hand....

NO!  There IS no other hand!

I left it on the shelf.  But aren't you just a little curious?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Surfin USA

Theo and our friend Jeff surfing the wave behind the boat.  No rope!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

50 Days of Rachel

Tomorrow marks day #50 since Rachel moved in.  Some thoughts:

-Every day around 5pm, the door opens and Rachel walks in and I can't believe my good luck. Then last night I was sitting in the big comfy chair when Rach comes in and curls up on my lap, like a cat. I stroked her hair while I read my book. I decided she's kind of like having a sister, a nanny and a pet all rolled up into one.

-I thought living with her would make her seem more human.  It doesn't. Take the mornings- I expected to get to know a little bit of 'morning Rachel'.  You know, a bit haggard, batting at the alarm clock, stumbling into the shower, grunting...but no. No, there's never any alarm clock.  No getting ready noises. No toilet flushing or tooth-brushing sounds..instead the door to Rachel's room opens at 7:28 each morning and she springs forth, fully formed and perfectly coiffed, ready to greet the day. It's a little disturbing, frankly.

- Did you know Rachel doesn't like pineapple on pizza?  I did not know that.

-She does, however, like free chocolate, and if you ask her about it, the conversation will go like this:
Me: Rachel, do you know anything about the eight Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that are on the kitchen counter?
Rachel: ...
Rachel, sounding chagrined: I know I meant to hide them before you got home.

- This morning I was packing up Lucy's lunch, so there was food out on the counter, including a couple of speckly looking bananas. Rachel was leaving to work when suddenly she stops and looks at the bananas. She looks for about 5 seconds, then slooowly she reaches her hand into her bag and pulls out a perfect banana.  The poster child of bananas.  Perfectly yellow and smooth, not a brown spot to be seen. She looks at her perfect banana (which she purchased WITH HER OWN MONEY) and gently sets it down on the counter, trading it for a crummy banana, which she puts into her purse and heads out the door. And that pretty much sums up living with Rachel.