Thanksgiving 2016

Another relaxing, fun, and special time with Gramma and Granpa, La, Michael, and O, and Mike & Sheryl at the beach for Thanksgiving.

Despite lots and lots of rain, we enjoyed beach walks and runs. Indoor adventures included ornament making, headlamp racing (see Em’s feature film below), board games, cooking, and wine drinking. Thank you Gramma and Granpa!

See all Thanksgiving 2016 pictures! 


Just another Tuesday Night

Let me see if I can bring justice to the happenings of this seemingly normal Tuesday night.

First, I back my car into the garage, carry in my bag, a Christmas gift, two stale milk cups, my coffee and smoothie containers. I hit the garage door and just as I’m about to leave the garage, the garage door taps my car and goes back up.

I run in the house to unload my armful and drop one of the milk cups spilling stale milk on the entry carpet and kitchen floor. Oh well, we’re used to spilled milk. I run back to the garage to repark the car and successfully lower the garage door.

“Hi babe!” I say to Graham “Hi. Ask Alaire why I am late on getting dinner going.” Okay… I learn that Alaire stuck her finger through the hole of a plastic measuring cup and got her finger stuck. They tried olive oil with no luck. Finally, Graham took scissors and cut the handle off the measuring cup to free her finger. Of course, there were Alaire-volume tears and frets throughout the process. Thank goodness princess band-aids make everything better.

Graham and I exchange quick stories about our days and pour some wine. He informs me he needs to vacuum because fishy crackers escaped all over the carpet. Oh well, we’re used to smashed fishy crackers. I change clothes and dive into dinner preparations with Graham.

Emery comes in, squatting like she has some business to do. I sit her on the potty (for ceremonial purposes only at the point), change her diaper and put on her slippers.

Back to dinner prep. A few moments later, a quick check on Em. I find her in the bathroom, slipper floating in the toilet and her arms wet up to her elbows. EMERY!!

We wash hands, round up all of the laundry to add to the slipper load, shut all of the danger doors and head back to dinner prep. Alaire joins us in the kitchen and feels like sticker booking—next thing we know, the table and floor are covered in books and stickers.

We start Em on dinner, her favorite (normally) carrots. Instantly, they hit the floor. Next, a piece of bread with peanut butter. She licks the peanut butter and tosses the bread to the floor. Next fish sticks—only a vehicle for eating spoonfuls of ketchup. She touches her tongue to a piece of broccoli and then throws the remaining handful on the floor.

Graham says, “Awesome Emery.” Alaire replies, “That’s sarcasm!” My jaw drops to the floor. When did you learn about sarcasm???? Daddy’s been working with me. REALLY!?

Next, Emery shows us how she can wear her bowl like a hat (remind anyone of someone else)?


Believe me, we swiftly moved through servings, exclaimed, “No Emery!” while shaking our heads determined not to break stern-parent character.

Finally, we read four books and send this monkey to bed.

Back to Alaire. I give a sigh of relief when I walk in her room and see she’s taken it upon herself to put on her jammies like a big girl. We brush teeth and snuggle down for stories. We begin to read our second “5 minute princess story” and are dive bombed by a fat slow fly. Alaire screams! Graham comes in with a magazine and hunts for the fly. The fly escapes Alaire’s room into our room. Graham and Alaire follow the fly and Alaire climbs into our bed. I go into the bathroom to get ready for bed and the fly follows me. I alert Graham. They both run in the bathroom and shut the door. A few moment later, Graham shouts “NOOOO!” The fly has escaped under the door! They both run back into our room in search of the poor creature. It was finally located in the bathroom light—gone to fly heaven.

We convince Alaire that the fly is no more.

Graham and I flop into bed and decide to watch zombies.

Just another Tuesday night at the Vail house.

I’m a good cooker! 

Alaire wants to practice cooking so she can be on the cooking show! And she “wants to be a good cooking mother fir her children.” Another benefit? Dad gets her to try new foods “because a cook always tries what they make.”

Next Master Chef Junior? If she takes after her grammas and aunt! 

Happy Fall!

A trip to Bend to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkins for Daddy to work his pumpkin carving magic. Graham Vail carves a cat pumpkin–Wow Graham, just WOW!

Alaire dresses as a Peacock (passing up all princess costumes–what alien girl stole my daughter??)

We dress Em up as a Lion, our last year to own Halloween costume decision making.

Enjoy the pictures and Em’s roaring below.

How do Chickens…

With a curious four year old, you never know where dinner conversation will go. This evening, while munching on a “cold carrot,” Alaire asks, “Dad, how do chickens cock-a-doodle-doo?” Without hesitation, Graham explains that they suck air into their lungs and then out comes… <insert Graham Vail’s impression of a rooster>

Here’s the scene reenacted–with a special cock-a-doodle-doo guest appearance by Emery.

At least we were not asked to solve the mystery of why the chicken crossed the road.


With Determination.

Dear Alaire & Emery,

Last Sunday, October 6th, 2016, goes down in history as one of my treasured days.

Watching your Dad run his first marathon with such determination, focus, poise, and joy was a moment to behold. He worked hard. I mean hard. Missing few runs of the rigorous training schedule; going farther if he felt good. And the last few weeks, with sore hips and hams, he diligently followed doctors orders with daily stretching and foam rolling.

Ten years ago, running was most certainly not on your Dad’s top activity list. I was training for Portland and my sense was that he considered it a fool’s errand. Just last week, he reminded me that he had to train for a 5k! Then on his 30th Birthday, Aunt La laid the Hood to Coat challenge down, and from there, he ran his first half marathon with me and Zach. After that, running became a part of OUR every day life.

I guess what I feel most inspired by, and proud of, is how your Dad opened himself to a new challenge; something at one point that was way outside of his comfort zone. And, when zeroing in on his goal, there was no stopping him.

It poured down rain on Sunday (we made Oregonians out of you both), but Gvail was all smiles along the way. I had the chance to have a few moments alone while I waited for him at the finish. My cup overflowed as I saw him round that last corner–tears of joy, love, so much love. Your Dad is my hero. We are three lucky girls.

Try new things, remove imaginary boundaries, push through pain, set the bar high–you can always do more than you think you can.


P.S. It seems your the PDX marathon had an oops and most runners ran 26.8 miles, including your Dad. This makes him an ultra runner!



Emery’s favorite food is yogurt. She shovels it in faster than we can scoop it onto her tray. This morning, within minutes, the contents of her yogurt cup vanished, provoking this tantrum. Upon hearing the commotion, Graham walks into the kitchen with the advice, “there’s more to life than yogurt Em.”