Archive for October, 2010

We woke up yesterday morning to beautiful blue sky.  The leaves are finally starting to really turn here, and the sky made the most brilliant background for their crisp autumn colors.  The temperatures are still fairly mild, and a long sleeved shirt is all one needs to stay comfortable.  It was the perfect sort of day for trick or treating.  And trick or treat we did!

Our small downtown is just a few blocks long, but it’s quaint, and cute, and has that charming small town feel that always draws me in, and makes people feel neighborly.  It has great community involvement, and every season it is host to several celebrations, street fairs, and events.  Yesterday was the annual Halloween celebration called Boo Bash, to which thousands (really!) of costumed children and parents flock to the downtown core for some serious trick or treating.

Patrick and I took Hayden to pick up Addison from La Escuela, and then walk with several other school families down to the festivities.  Our boys were dressed as Cowboy Sheriffs, and had to have been a couple of the cutest kids in the west!  Once there, the crowds were jubilant and colorful, as kids hopped up on massive amounts of sugar went from storefront to storefront in search of more candy.  There was dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the middle of the street, and all sorts of other fun activities.

The air was thick with laughter, both young and old, and family fun was definitely the order of the day!

Now tell me, just how cute are these two?!


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It happened last night.  It was one of those windy Columbia Gorge nights when the wind whips through the trees and howls a spooky, eerie lullaby to those of us inside, snuggled up in the warmth of our beds.  Against its steady roar and the snores of my three boys, I didn’t have a chance in heck of hearing what was going on in time to do anything to stop it.  There was nothing I could have done.

I could tell as I walked toward the kitchen this morning that something was amiss.  The air felt different.  As I rounded the corner, I stopped in my tracks and squinted at the object on the island.  Something was definitely wrong.  They say that death hangs in the air, but I was feeling the fear of it in the pit of my stomach.  I had to move more closely to get a better look, the fear rising to the back of my throat.  I still couldn’t tell.  I reached out a tentative hand, and pushed the inanimate object on the counter.  Nothing.

Now my arms were hot and heavy as the fear, adrenaline, and guilt began to course through me.  Oh Lord, what have we done?!  How am I going to explain this to Addison?  We skipped the nightly bug hunt last night, and now we had killed Froggie Verde.  He must have died a slow, painful death of starvation, all alone in the night.  I thought I might throw up.

By this time, Hayden was at my knees begging to get up on the counter to see Froggie Verde.  I shook the terrarium some, hoping against all hope that I would suddenly see our tiny little green friend hop back to life.  Again, nothing.  I lifted the lid, and started peeking under leaves, twigs, and branches, expecting to find his poor, lifeless body.  My heart was beating so quickly as I lifted his little pool that I thought it might jump right out of my chest.  Again, nothing.

Now fully frantic, I lifted the whole terrarium and headed to the front porch.  One by one, I emptied every blade of grass, every leaf, every single item.  I looked again on the bottom of the lid.  There was no sign of Froggie Verde.  Anywhere.

“Mommy,”  Addison quietly asked, “Did he go to Heaven?  Is he with Jesus and Thai, and Turtle, and Daddy’s daddy?”

“Honey, I, I just don’t know.  I don’t know what has happened to him, or where he is.”

“He should have left a note.”  Addison said with a quivering lip.  And then, with a burst of smile flashing across his face he said, “I have an idea!  Let’s make posters and put them up all over so someone can find him for us!”

So we are making Missing Posters for Froggie Verde (perhaps we should rename him Houdini) which we will post throughout our house in hopes that someone finds our little friend before he gets stepped on, sat on, or God only knows what else….

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Alone in the Dark

Some of my girlfriends and I have been trying to get together for ages.  It was getting to the point that I was beginning to wonder if our preschoolers would be graduating high school before we could make it happen.  But this past Wednesday, the stars finally aligned, and we were all set to meet for dinner at 7pm.

Normally, that’s just about the time we are beginning the bedtime ritual (or lack of) around here.  The yelling, “For the last time, get in there and brush your teeth!  I mean it!  NOW!” and “Guys!  QUIET!  You are supposed to be settling down, not winding up.  Hayden, get down from there!  Addison, stop encouraging him!  Seriously, Hayden!  Somebody is about to get hurt!  Knock it off!  One…Two…  Okay.  Now lay down.  Patrick, WHERE ARE YOU?!”

Surely, you can imagine my disappointment at having to miss our evening family time.  But like any good mother proficient in the art of self-sacrifice, I sucked it up and left the boys and their daddy to have that glorious together time without me.

Yee Haw!  Could that timing have been anymore perfect?!!

In my haste, ahem, I mean reluctance to leave the house and my family, I may have accidentally left a wee bit on the early side.  Oh well.

The tire pressure indicator light was illuminated on my dashboard, so I drove toward one of the two gas stations in town that still offer free air.  I would fill the tire, head to the restaurant, and be there exactly on time.  Perfect!

I pulled around to the side of the gas station, and maneuvered my car in such a way to be able to easily yank the air hose toward the tire.  In the very, very back of my mind I considered that this put me even less in public view than the already out of the way location of the pump, but I just wanted to hurry and get done so I could get to the restaurant.

The air was crisp, and the night was dark.  There was just enough light for me to see my breath as I knelt to attach the hose to the tire, which I was attempting to do more by feel than by sight.  But then, luck must have been on my side, as a car pulled up, shining just enough light in my direction for me to better see what I was doing.  Now I figured I had even more reason to hurry, as someone else was waiting to fill their own tire.

The car was a little beat up, on the older side, and a bit rusty.  The man that stepped out of the car matched the same description.  As he opened the back passenger door and reached inside for something on the back seat, I chuckled to myself at the irony of me finally getting a night out, just to end up abducted, or killed before even making it to see my friends.  But I wasn’t really thinking that was going to happen.  Mostly, I was just kind of joking with myself.  At least until the man straightened up again, and stood before me, a long object at his side.

My eyes took a moment to focus on the long, wooden mallet he was holding.  When he spoke, I had to drag my eyes up to his face, and again, half giggled to myself at the absurdity of the situation.  It would make the perfect plot for any of this season’s new primetime crime dramas.  A girl on her knees, filling a tire, a man towering above her with a wooden mallet.

“The only free thing left in this town,” he said.

Assuming he meant the air, I replied, “Yes, but you have to drive all over town to find it.”

“Sure do,” he mumbled as he leaned back into his car.  For what?  Duck Tape?  Rope?  A shovel?

“OH! COME ON!!!  Seriously, this is how I’m going out?  After 36 years, and everything I’ve been through, this is how it’s going to happen?  Really, God?  Really?!”,  I silently shouted.

But staying true to my personality, and my penchant for not wanting to hurt a complete stranger’s feelings by showing my discomfort in his presence, rather than run for the hills and scream bloody murder, I calmly finished filling the tire, twisted on the cap, and rose to return the hose.

And that’s when he again came out of the car, straightened up, and my eyes saw it.  The wooden stake.  Attached to an election sign.

“Well, goodnight, ma’am.”  He tilted his scruffy baseball cap toward me, and then walked toward the edge of the lot to hammer in his sign.

The knife in my heart at being called ma’am twisted sharply as I got into my car, and drove to meet my friends.

Apparently, more time has passed than I thought!

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If the checkout lady at the supermarket smiles at you warily, and you take that as an invitation to tell her your life story, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If you find yourself shouting to Dora, “It’s the right path.  The RIGHT Path!  The one WITHOUT the snakes!”, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If you own makeup that expired the same year your 5 year old was born, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If anticipating Gymboree’s newest line release is the most excitement you’ve had in nearly a lifetime, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If your two year old pulls a pair of heels out from the depths of your closet and asks you, “Wha’s dat, Mommy?” because he has never seen any shoes other than flip flops grace your feet, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If you have to think for a moment to remember your husband’s first name because you’ve been calling him Daddy for so long, you may need a mommy’s night out.

If you have to think for a moment to remember your own first name, you most definitely need a mommy’s night out.

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Our (possibly) Growing Family!

In between running kids to and from school, trying to stay ahead of the human tornadoes that live in our home when it comes to housecleaning, making huge progress on the laundry just to discover it has reproduced faster than bunnies when my back was turned, and feeling generally overwhelmed and under-productive, I’ve been thinking it is time to expand our family.



√Two Boys

√One Girl


So what is missing, and where could we expand?

Duh!  That’s obvious!

A Sister-Wife!

Stay tuned as I consider the merits of forcing my husband into polygamy!

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I spent much of Sunday afternoon in our shop garage, looking through a bunch of our old baby items for things to sell on Craigslist.  I was supposedly tackling the disorganized clutter of assorted outgrown infant carriers and safety gates that has over time evolved into a mountainous collection of all things outgrown, but what I was really doing was taking a nostalgic stroll down memory lane.  And wiping tears from my face with my soon soaked sleeves.

I pulled out our umbrella stroller which had accompanied us on a few trips to Disneyland, and struggled to open it, knowing there was a lock somewhere that was holding it all together, but not remembering quite where.   After shaking it, stomping on it, and yanking on every latch I could find (um, you may want to think twice about buying the Combi City Savvy Stroller in Carolina Sky listed in the Portland Craigslist), the stroller finally flew fully open.  As it did, I was engulfed in the most lovely, sweet cloud of baby smell.  A smell so strong it made my arms begin to ache in that all-encompassing I must hold a baby in my arms right now sort of way.  Which is crazy thinking.

Next, I opened a large plastic tote that turned out to hold an array of size 3-6 month clothes, worn by both Addison (for about a year) and Hayden (for about a minute).  Again, I was overwhelmed by the baby powder smell of newborns that had somehow managed to cling to the fabric through several years of storage.  That’s when a strange sound came from the back of my throat.  Followed by another.  And then a huge intake of air as the sobs overtook me.

What the heck!?  Like I said.  Crazy thinking.

Needless to say, very few things actually made it past my sentimental attachment and into the moving on to another family pile.  But as I sorted, I had plenty of time to think, to reflect, and to wonder where all the time has gone, and how it managed to go so quickly.  And to think about what I would tell my old self about all the things I know now, but didn’t yet then.

Such as…..

1)  I would tell my pregnant self to turn off the Dallas reruns, and actually sleep during all those times I was put on bedrest, because it really is true that once you have kids, years will pass without a full night of sleep.  And that makes for very tired (and cranky) mamas, so sleep all you can, while you can, and when will you ever have a better excuse to sleep than when on bedrest?

2)  I would tell myself not to waste $25. on a bottle of miracle lotion that will keep stretch marks at bay.  It is still sitting unopened in the medicine cabinet.  And turns out to not have mattered, as the dreaded stretch marks never appeared.  According to my sister, she got enough for the both of us.

3)  I would say not to sweat the baby weight.  I’d eventually lose most of it.  But then gain all of it back and more from my ice cream addiction.

4)  I would go back to my quick and unexpected, but complicated, labor with Addison to tell my very scared and bewildered self that I am so proud of her for facing such a scary situation with grace and strength.  And then I would tell her to focus, focus, focus so she would remember that first moment she lay eyes on her baby, because in the next few moments things were about to get a whole lot more complicated and chaotic than they already were, and she wasn’t going to be able to recall that precious moment, no matter how many nights she stayed awake trying to force the memory back.

5)  I would demand that I take more pictures.  Many, many more pictures!  And video.  And to write down the funny things they say and do, right from the very beginning, because once mommy brain sets in, memory goes out the window.

6)  I would tell my exasperated, exhausted self that I am exceptionally blessed to be mommy to two wild, energetic, free-spirited, hugely enthusiastic, hilarious boys and to not miss a minute of it, because it goes so quickly.  And that in the blink of an eye, I will find myself out in the shop surrounded by piles of memories, wondering how all of a sudden I have a 5 year old, and a 2 year old.  And that I would give anything to have some of those lost moments back.  Just to hold on a little longer.

Addison getting to know his Daddy

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