Thursday, May 20, 2010

Windows to the soul....

That's what they call eyes - the windows to the soul. Now I'm not sure who "they" are, but I think that they are on to something. After all, the majority of people will list the eyes as one of the top attributes that they notice first when meeting someone new. They can express every emotion a human being can experience. They let lovers speak without words. They tell a mother a child's secrets. And the other day, my son's eyes offered me a surprising revelation.

Chunk and I were out and about running errands. It was just your usual day of grabbing coffee - or in Chunk's case, "hot cha-cit wif cweem!" (Otherwise known as hot chocolate with whipped cream). Then we stopped to pick up milk, buy stamps, and dropped in at dispatch to check the work schedule and to let Chunk con my boss out of some candy. It was sunny, the radio was playing, and the time slipped by for me and my boy. In fact, it was lunchtime before we knew it, and I marveled at how quickly my almost-kid-free school days tend to fly by.

We were having such a nice afternoon that rather than run home for yet another ho-hum PB&J, I decided that we would have a date and hit the Golden Arches. We don't go to McDonald's very often, (although still more than I'd like) but I had a new mommy magazine full of clutter busting tips I'd never implement and another chicken-of-the-month recipe and I was anxious to read through it while Chunk played in the plastic tunnels and squealed from the top level of the play place.

So there we were, eating and playing and reading and it strikes me that my Chunk is getting big -
I can actually hold a somewhat coherent conversation with him now, and I usually understand at least half of what he is saying. So while we talked about colors and chicken nuggets and sisters, I thought about how big he is and how fun...and how much he looks like Charles. It's fact it's almost creepy. Although it's most obvious in Chunk, all three of my kids have very strong W family features, to the point where sometimes I'm a little melancholy over the fact that they don't look just a little bit more like me. But at the end of the day they are healthy and amazing and beautiful and I just don't sweat it. There are so many other things that are so much more important. And I know that. But still.

A quick glance at the clock tells me that it's time to run - it's almost time to hit the bus stop to grab the girls. So we wrestle Chunk's feet into his sandals, slurp down the last of our drinks through our straws, toss our trash and head out the door. I snap the buckles on Chunk's car seat and climb up behind the wheel. I tell Chunk how much fun it was to have lunch with him, and I glance in my rear view mirror to see his response.

And in that moment, I catch my breath. The mirror is angled at just the right angle, and all I can see is Chunk's sweet little face from the nose up.

He has my eyes.

Sure....he looks just like a little carbon copy of Charles. There is no doubt that he's a W kiddo. The guys at Google call him mini-Chuck. He is the image of his father. It's adorable and kind of freaky.

And his eyes are the same beautiful sky blue that Charles' eyes are - maybe that's why I never noticed. His facial features are his Daddy's......but when he smels and his little face crinkles up, I notice the shape of his eyes.....

Those are all mine. They may be blue and not brown, but he has my eyes.

Now really, does it change anything? Not really. I know that. I don't feel any differently about my son, or about myself. I realize that my who my children are and who they become will be shaped by our actions and our lessons and their own individual personalities more than anything. I know that in the scope of the bigger picture, looks don't matter. And that in my eyes all three of my children are the most beautiful children in the world.

But for some reason, as I pull out of the parking lot, I can't stop smiling. And I think that's okay too.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Did I mention....

Did you know that my baby boy turned three?

I know. It's hard to believe. Sad but true folks, my sweet little angel man has entered the terrifying threes (screw the terrible twos, they are a myth to lull us into complacency so that when the threes hit we are totally shell shocked). Now in my completely unbiased opinion, Chunk is the most amazing, accomplished, and adorable three year old ever. Plus he's super sweet. And he's funny.

Now if only I could get him to consistently go on the potty, my life would be complete....

But anyway, as seen in a previous blog, we started off the birthday festivities with dinner at the kids' favorite Mexican restaurant here in town, where the boy got to shake his money maker and a pair of maracas while wearing a kid-sized sombrero. I had a drink with dinner. Overall it was a great night.

Birthday celebrations capped off with Chunk's first movie, "How to Train Your Dragon." I wish I could give you a review. I really do - from what I saw, it was super cute and the 3D glasses appeared to be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of the show realizing that Chunk wasn't quite ready for a full-length movie. By the time we walked out of there, I was exhausted and had muscles aching in places I hadn't ever experienced before.

But I rallied (because I'm a Mom and I had Advil readily at my disposal) and we continued the fun at home with presents and cake. It didn't take long to discover that this is "The Year of Cars" and "The Year of Hats." The cars are kind of a no-brainer because he's a boy, and he's three. But the hats....there's a story there. See, a few weeks ago we were on the webcam with Nana (gotta love technology) and she asked Chunk what he wanted for his birthday. With no hesitation and zero prompting, he replied "I want a HAT!" So Nana being Nana, went on a quest for hats with Jack. Shortly before the big day, a box arrived that was roughly the size of a smart car and amid the sixteen pounds of packing peanuts (THANKS NANA) we found a cowboy hat, a soldier hat, a train hat, a construction hat (complete with a yi-ite!), and all sorts of assorted goodies to go with the hats! Shortly after that, an awesome space helmet showed up from Aunt Sarah.

So the kids is totally set on hats. And totally set for the next six Halloweens. Eventually I'll get a new blog post up, titled "the many hats of Chunk" but for now I'd be happy if he'd sit still long enough to get a picture. And from everyone else, he got cars. And tracks. And accessories. And best of all, an adorable little wheeled suitcase for all of his newly acquired hot wheels.

Overall, I think that my big-little boy had a wonderful birthday. It's hard to believe that not so very long ago, this was my Chunk......



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We survived Spring Break....and now I need a vacation.


The kids are back in school.

I know it's not PC to admit this, but between you and me, my friends of the interwebs...I'm relieved as hell. My children are awesomely exhausting.

We had a busy Spring Break. We parked it up and hiked it up and movied our butts off and now I'd love nothing more than to park my butt on a beach with a paper-umbrella-embellished-drink. But alas, some things just aren't meant to be.

Here are some highlights of our week:

The girls enjoyed their first tailgate with their Grammy, up on the Rowena Loops. They were searching for the massive fields of wildflowers that are supposed to abound this time of year, but apparently they were a little bit early. Still, sandwiches, pickles, and snacks were enjoyed, and a few nice pictures got taken. As a side bonus, I enjoyed a few hours in a quiet house with my boys and caught up on my sleep after a few busy shifts at work.

Both of the girlies also had a chance to practice their camera skills on a few early spring flowers:

We also braved the zoo - along with every other school-aged child and harried mother in the state of Oregon. We packed a picnic and dragged along some friends and had an awesome time seeing the baby elephant and the smelly penguins and goats and lions... and don't go asking Laura about the little episode in the lion exhibit. Let's just say that I thought there were only two in the enclosure and that when a third sauntered out from around a nearby rock corner licking her chops and eyeballing my slightly more than rounded rear end, I almost peed myself. We aren't going to ever mention this again.

Anyway, here's a few shots - do you know how hard it is to make six kids look at a camera at the same time? Laura got the best shot so I stole it off of her Facebook. The girls especially had fun feeding the lorikeets.

After the zoo, I was honestly pretty exhausted. In fact, it would have been fair to say that I was gratefully looking forward to working all day on Wednesday and Thursday, if only because it would give me a chance to REST. But before that could happen, I soldiered on in the name of fun on Tuesday, taking the kids out for ice cream and for a hike down on the riverfront trail that runs through our scenic little town. I am sorry to say that there aren't any pictures of this - not because I didn't bring the camera, but because it was me against three kids, one dog, dripping ice cream, and the distractions of frogs croaking, joggers, off leash dogs, an airplane flying overhead, the creek, and the great adventure of a five year old that desperately needed to pee behind a bush. Let's face it, pictures were the last thing on my mind - I was just trying to make sure we all made it back to the blissful safety of my minivan before the sun went down and we got lost within 100 yards of the Google complex and the animal shelter.

So yeah. That was fun. WHATEVER.

Wednesday and Thursday I worked. That meant that my dear devoted girlfriend and babysitter Laura had the kids. I would have offered her the chance to blog about the experience, but I doubt the good people at Blogspot would appreciate that many obscenities and f-bombs being dropped in one post.

But once Friday rolled around, we were in the home stretch. We hung out and watched movies. Skippy and I cleaned out half of the garage on Saturday and took everyone out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for the Chunker's third birthday - he loves it whenever anyone gets to wear the big sombrero and all of the servers sing "happy birthday, cha cha cha" -- so what better way to say good bye to the terrible twos than with his own serenade, complete with maracas. On Sunday, we rounded out our Spring break with How To Train Your Dragon in 3D. It was the Chunk's first movie in the theater - aside from the ones when he was a few months old and small enough to nurse under a blanket and fall asleep while his sisters shoveled popcorn into their mouths. He wasn't crazy about the 3D glasses, but liked he liked having his own box of "tandy" and he loved to make his seat go up and down...oh yeah and he even seemed to enjoy intermittedly watching the BIIIIG TEEE VEEEE. But that being said, I think we'll wait before we attempt it again. And after the house lights came back up, we headed home for cake and presents (but that's another blog) and finally we tackled baths and backpacks.

So overall, our Spring Break meshed with my little boy's birthday pretty nicely. That night I peeked in on my sweet munchkins before I collapsed in my own bed, and I thought to myself that our week of freedom and fun had absolutely flown by.

But when Monday rolled around, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wasn't thrilled to see that bright yellow bus pull up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"My Keeeety"

I really need to utilize my camera more. For awhile there, I was a picture taking fool. I would even venture to say that I had a decent eye for awesome shots of my kids. But for the last few months my shutter happy amateur skills have taken a hiatus. I snapped this shot of the Chunk with my phone yesterday and realized that I really need to get my camera back into my hands...because time flies by far too quickly.

In case you haven't seen it already, here's Chunk with his friend "my keeeety," the newest addition to the W Zoo, Licorice.

Friday, March 5, 2010 thoughts.

Well, it's official - the Olympics are over. We enjoyed them tremendously this year - it was the first year that the girls were old enough to really understand the awesomeness of the Olympics and they were pretty fascinated with all of the different events, with the exception of curling. One rainy Saturday Skippy hollered down the hall for the girls when curling came on and they dutifully came running to check it out. After a brief explanation, they stared at the TV for a few minutes and then turned to their Daddy with blank expressions and in stereo surround sound told him, "I don't get it."

Me neither girlies.

But anyway, the Olympics were a blast. Now it's time to get back to good old fashioned in-my-jammies-on-the-couch TV. This past Tuesday, I propped my eyeballs open into the wee hours of the night (aka ten p.m.) to watch the premiere of Parenthood on NBC and I thought it was great. If you have kids, or if you work with kids, or if someday you want kids, then you should definitely watch it. The cast is wonderful - I immediately recognized Lauren Graham from her days on Gilmore Girls, and I am a huge Peter Krause fan from the short lived Dirty Sexy Money, although I've read that he was hugely successful on Six Feet Under on HBO as well. I think that what I liked most about the show was that it had something for everyone - the successful working mom, the stay at home daddy, the single mom, parents with rebellious teens, parents with little munchkins, and the cornerstone of the premiere episode, parents dealing with their child's newly diagnosed disability. And aside from the fact that everyone in the cast was skinny, fit, and sexy, I thought that the show it was pretty realistic - and let's face it, the show wouldn't be as appealing with a lot of chubby soccer moms like me running around - I like my actors as hot and sexy as the next viewer. And despite the fact that lot of online reviewers bitched and moaned that it was too similar to "Brothers and Sisters" I thought that it had a more appealing plot, plus the advantage of not having Sally Field OR Calista Flockhart (who as Skippy would say, still needs to eat a sammich) in the cast.

But anyway, I liked the show so much that I was still thinking about it while I drove my purple minivan around town all day on Wednesday in all my Mommy glory. Mostly it got me wondering when my tastes changed so much. It's funny what parenthood does to you. Skippy and I occasionally laugh about how quickly things can change - like when I'm saying goodnight at quarter to ten and heading to bed we will often remark that once upon a time, quarter to ten was prime "let's get dressed in something hoochie and hit the bars on a Thursday night" time for me and Jacquie. Napping used to be a luxury but now, it has become a necessity that all too often eludes me. And even looking at the magazines that come into my house provides proof of the changes. After all, I look forward to my monthly deliveries of both Family Fun and Family Circle (you'll notice that both of these titles contain the world "Family"). But more importantly, let's touch on the fact that I get FAMILY CIRCLE - it's like Better Homes and Gardens for those of us who don't have the time, money, or talent to make Martha Stewart Perfect rooms and rose beds but still find ourselves in dire need of another new "quick and easy dinner idea" for the nights that the kids have soccer practice.

But when did this happen? When did a fully loaded Honda Odyssey become my total dream car? When did vomit stop being a big deal? When did I develop a first name relationship with the doctor's office, and when did the highlight of my week become MOPS or Friday night skate night at school? And where in the HELL have all of these damn animals come from? Isn't it enough that I have kids?

I've noticed that it seems to happen gradually, this transformation. You stand in line at the grocery store (with your cart full of foodstuffs that bear no resemblance whatsoever to your child-free carts of the past) and you glance at the covers of the various magazines. Suddenly, instead of thinking "Wow, Cosmo has twenty ways to blow your lover's mind this month!" you are thinking "Wow, Woman's Day has a chicken-smothered-in-salsa recipe that I HAVEN'T tried yet!" You don't even realize that you are doing it - it's not that you wouldn't love to know how to twist your body into a pretzel for your partner's delight, it's just that you would love to have that chicken recipe more...and the fact that now your knees crack when you get out of bed and your ankles protest when you go down the stairs in the morning. It's not that you don't care what the season's hottest color is, it's that that the hottest color has become "What doesn't make my ass look big?" or the ever popular, "What will make my boobs look like they are up where they belong?" It's because now you have a family to feed, and your six year old who (despite what she claims) cannot subsist on noodles alone.

It's a funny thing, becoming a parent. It changes you to the core. And if part of it means that I find that I relate to things in different ways, I think that's okay.

And really, I wouldn't change it for anything.


Currently Reading: Envy, by Sandra Brown

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

911....this is Momma (plus a W family update)


Hi there.

It's been awhile, huh?

There's really no excuse - to put it simply, blogging has just been on the back burner for the last six months or so. And I have missed it. But there's so much to catch up on, I think we'll just touch on the basics.

First of all, the kiddos are great. Everyone in the W house is recovering from one form of crud or another, ranging from double ear infections to viruses of unknown origin, but we are all on the mend. I think that for today, I can handle a quick rundown on everyone, but then the couch is calling my stuffy head towards a soft pillow.

Munchkins first: The girls continue to rock it out in second grade and kindergarten, respectively. Banana is consistently scoring awesome spelling tests and she has finally discovered the cool and exciting world of chapter books. I told Skippy recently that it's as if someone has flipped a switch inside her noggin - she has realized that not only CAN she read, but that she LIKES it. And considering how much as Skippy and I love to read it does my heart good to see her with her nose in a book. Her most recent report card shows that she is steady and consistent with her progress in school, and her teachers and friends adore her. She continues to be my big helper girl and she still amazes me with her empathy and her huge heart. In the last few months, we have caught small glimpses into the future - she is fast approaching the "tween" years and at a very mature seven years old, there are times I just cringe and wonder how I will survive until she runs away to college. But the occasional door slamming, stomping, and eye rolling aside, she's still my number one big girl. I find it hard to believe that she's going to be eight this summer!

Kbear is growing by leaps and bounds both physically and mentally. She LOVES all-day Kindergarten and is quite the social butterfly. On her last report card, she showed improvement in almost every area with no backsliding elsewhere. She has tackled roller blades during skate night at school and has turned into quite the little terror on wheels. She loves music and she's always bringing me home pictures, projects, and cards. We still struggle daily with a touch of "middle child syndrome" but overall she continues to be a sweetheart of a curly mop top who is easygoing and hilarious. We celebrated her sixth birthday a few months back with a trip to build-a-bear in Portland and a big girl lunch at Olive Garden and I recently had to do a double take when I realized that all of her jeans were slowly but surely turning into carpi pants. School has really opened her up and she is always eager to share her thoughts and ideas. She soaks up new knowledge like a little sponge, and she is so much fun to watch.

Chunk has officially become my handful. Most days I am half convinced that someone sneaked into my house one night and replaced my adorable smiley baby boy with a demon in disguise. The kid just.never.stops. He climbs and he hides and he sneaks and he builds and he plays and he grabs and he tumbles EVERYWHERE and into EVERYTHING. But more than anything, he makes us laugh. Chunk is the epitome of the spirited child. Every day I wonder how in the world I was so unprepared to tackle the challenge that is Chunk, and then my friends laugh and say, "he's a boy, and he's almost three." So in other words, buckle up Buttercup, because it's going to be a wild ride. He LOVES to talk, he LOVES to run, and he LOVES to make messes. But at the end of the day, no matter how wretched he has been, he melts my heart when he curls up in my lap and asks, "mama, know what? I love you." I mean really, who could resist?

And that pretty much wraps up the kiddo update. Skippy continues to be gleefully and gainfully employed at Google. Don't ask me what he's doing these days, because I've got to tell ya - I don't have a clue. But I know that he's busy doing Googly things and that he is usually under some degree of pressure, and that is when he's happiest. He has also gotten to do some pretty extensive travelling since I last blogged, including trips to Taiwan and Belgium. And although I was not impressed with the chicken flavored Cheetos he brought home from Taiwan, he made up for it with the Belgian chocolate. Bonus time is rolling around again, and it looks like we may be (finally) getting out of the-rental-that-Amy-hates and getting back into our own house. Keep your fingers crossed - I know that we are!

Last but not least, that brings us to little old me. Amy, the crazy stay at home Mama. You may have been thinking these last few months, "where is Amy's blog? She's got nothing better to do except fold laundry!" But as it turns out, I've been busy. Last year I came to the realization that being a full time stay at home Mom might not be my thing. As much as I adore my awesome kids, I was really starting to want a little something more that was all my own. And so I went back to work.

Last October, I started training as a 911 dispatcher. It has been a wild, crazy, and insanely stressful ride, but I have enjoyed it immensely. For the last four months, there hasn't been time to do much other than eat, sleep, and train. What little time and energy I had was being thrown 100% into my family. And although there have been many days when I feel guilty for loving my job, for the most part it has taught me amazing things about myself, and I love working. I have discovered that going back to work has made me a better Mom (although a crappier housewife) and I honestly wouldn't trade it. Skippy has been tremendously supportive, and it felt amazing to make him proud at my Dispatcher "Graduation" a few weeks ago at the Public Safety Academy. After a few more shifts my trainers are going to push me out of the nest and I'll be flying on my own. I'm terrified and excited, but I love having a job that helps people and is an asset to the community. And this is probably the best time to say that although I am looking forward to getting back to blogging, don't expect too many details about the job itself - obviously you have to understand the incredible standards we are held to concerning privacy and confidentiality. However, going back to work doesn't make me any less of a busy minivan-driving mama, so it's not as if I'll ever lack for my own stories concerning the comings and going of the W clan.

So that's really it. That's the full recap. We are doing well. Oregon continues to be good to us and spring is well on it's way here. Aside from these recent bouts of crud, everyone is for the most party healthy and busy, and I'm hoping to have some updated stories and pictures to share soon! Lots of love!