Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Memories

Tomorrow is Halloween and as probably in your home, things have been hectic at the Norris Ranch in preparation of the festivities. Even during the hectic time, I find my nostalgia kicking into high gear. Many moments where I find myself remembering little things about Halloween past in our household.

The older kids have started picking more “mature” outfits with high scare, creepy, or gross out factors. But there was a time where they, like the little boys now, picked their hero or icon.

For about 6 years Sea Scout Boy was nothing but Batman…every year. At the time, it drove me nuts. I’d get aggravated and try to talk him into ANYTHING else. But he was devoted and when he slipped on the bat suit, you could see in his eyes the transformation into superhero…getting ready to fight crime in Gotham City (well, by way of Napa). Thinking back and loving the memory, I don’t quite remember why I spent so many frustrated hours trying to make him be something he didn’t want to be.

Drama Queen was my creative one. She had to be something different every year, and none of them linked to the previous year. Witch, cheerleader, Robin, Spider Queen…every year was a new surprise. I also argued with her, but because I wanted her to choose the costumes I remembered having as a kid. Her and I have always been polar in this area. And, of course, now I wonder why I spent so much time trying to conform her into my image.

This year is the first where Holy Terror is preparing his trick-or-treat strategy (practicing his firm “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You”). This is the first year where Super-Wy realizes what is going on and just might make it beyond a half block before his meltdown.

My memories are bittersweet as I look back on the first time we walked them around, the first time they went to the doors by themselves, the first time they walked without us.

As for this year?

I look forward to handing out the candy and waiting for the little boys to come home and tell me all about their Halloween adventure with dad.

I hope to look back fondly at the older kids milestones of trick or treating by themselves in a different neighborhood and attending their first Halloween party. I also hope they’ll come home and tell me all about their adventures too.

Ash and I are happy they are growing up, but sad they are growing up…why does parenting have to be so contradictory?

Now, I have to remember that by tomorrow I’ll be all in the events with my game face on and happy they're enjoying themselves. I’ll bring you more news and pictures on Sunday.

Happy Halloween to all our family and friends! Enjoy the memories you’re making, because you can’t make them over again!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Addition

Yesterday we welcomed a new addition to the Norris Ranch. Drake Norris.

A five year old black lab. I was nervous when I got the call from Ash that he'd checked out the dog and really felt he needed to be part of our family.

Households, even ones as chaotic as ours, have an existing delicate balance. One wrong move and the whole structure can boil into meltdown. Would Drake be a good fit? Would the kids and Connor accept him? What happened if it didn't work out and suddenly he'd have to leave? Would that traumatize our household all over again?

I don't know why I worried. Drake got home yesterday evening and settled right in. He's calm, sweet, and good-natured. His cute chubby tummy waddled as he hurried around, getting to know his new home and family.

He and Connor hit it off pretty quickly (except a food incident that is best forgotten).

I love moments like these. Sometime we start to think that everything is in place and all that has to happen is time ticking down the tracks. We often forget that life is incomplete. The tracks are never laid down all the way to the end destination.

And most of the time, you don't expect the kind of tracks that get laid down or the direction they curve. But when the unexpected happens and you realize it was a missing's a wonderful gift and a moment to cherish.

We are all so happy for our unexpected new addition to the family. Welcome home Drake!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Boss

My son's friend was over and he, Holy Terror, and Super Wy were busy playing on their bikes. As I sat at the patio table editing my manuscript I listened as they designated areas for their homes, stores, and work.

They eventually got busy playing. That is after several minutes of toddler bickering, which involved plenty of non-understandable muttering, yelling...and lot's of arguing the same points of view.

To Holy Terror, I heard Neighbor Boy say, "You be the boss."

"What does the boss do?" Holy Terror asked.

"They tell everyone what to do and then say they're doing it wrong," Replied Neighbor Boy.

...Well, now that, that point is clarified...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No It's Super Wy!

Scarlet encouraging Super Wy's delusion of super powers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fifteen Years and Going Strong

As one of my favorite science fiction writer’s, Robert Heinlein, said “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
To me, this quote holds the essence of love as it is the secret ingredient to a lifetime of lasting relationship.

Ashley and I were teenagers when we fell in love. We were different people then than we are now. Through all those years we grew, matured, and changed. But amazingly, the love at the core of who we are not only stayed, but strengthened.

Ashley has become the poster father and husband. He’s a loyal friend and family member. Ashley meets conflict and turmoil with a sense of strength and perseverance that shows his natural leadership. His sense of right and wrong define who he is, which is committed, loyal, and passionate.

I fell in love with the boy, I stayed in love with the man…and that’s important. I know his flaws, his weaknesses, and his fears. These things he doesn’t often show to others. Yes, I know these things and I respect and love him more for always facing and overcoming them.

Yesterday was Ashley and I’s 6 year wedding anniversary and 15 year marking point in our relationship. Family and friends rarely use our name in conversation without saying the others name as well…it’s usually “Ashley and Amber” or “Amber and Ashley”. I like it this way, and look forward to a lifetime with him.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wyatt Turns the Big 3

Wow, it's cliche but time really does fly. I can't believe Super Wy, our youngest, turned 3 at 8:18 am. It's amazing how fast the days, week, month, and years have gone by. I feel like just yesterday I was wrapping him up like a burrito and laying him on my chest to sleep.

Super Wy is my crazy poet. So calm and internal, yet with close friends and family he can be goofy and outgoing. He's sensitive, easily heartbroken. Out of all my boys, I think he's the one that's stayed the mommy's boy the longest. As soon as I get home from work he's got to have a minimum of 15 minutes to just be around me, cuddling and giggling, talking and connecting.

I love my little man and rejoice in every accomplish he reaches. But he's the one that will break my hubby and I's heart the hardest. This is because he is the youngest and the last. He will be the one that empties my house and officially end our days of raising children. That time is far in the future, but it's coming, and days like this make the ticking clock sound louder.

So, below is a little slide show of our Super Wy's first three years. Happy birthday baby. I also have to give a shout out to my nephew, Little Will, who also turned 3 today. When my brother called saying they were heading to the hospital, I responded with, "We are too". Our boys were born just hours apart. Happy birthday to you too buddy, love you lots!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday Sea Scout Cruise

Yesterday was a wonderful adventure day. Sunday was the last day of the annual San Francisco Fleet Week and the Chaser crew invited friends and family out to see the Blue Angels fly.

I was so excited. Scarlet watched the little boys at home, so this was the first cruise I'd be able to focus on Billy and his crew's outstanding work ethic.

And it was outstanding.
The day started at Brinkman's Marina in Vallejo. Billy's good friends, Zach and Josh, waited with me for the Chaser to arrive. The weather was a normal Bay Area morning: cool mid 50s, low cloud coverage, and a steady breeze.

The Chaser was right on time, and let me tell you, it is really cool to see them heading down the channel. This huge 95 foot boat steered by young men under 18 years of age...and one of them my son. Their ship is so large they had to send their smaller boat to pick us up.

Once on board, we settled down with some donuts and a smooth trip. As we headed out, the channel was filled with sailboats. Several pulled up along side, and a little behind, to catch our drag and help pull them along.

Hitting the mouth of the channel and entering the open Bay, the wind picked up quite a bit. The ship increased speed...a little. The crew seemed to settle down at this point, so I dropped in to check on Billy. Assigned navigation duty, he was busy keeping an eye on the radar, maps and coordinates. Not wanting to distract him, I settled back in the galley to relax and chat with the other family members and friends.

Our vantage point for the show was breathtaking. To our left was the Bay Bridge, to our right the Golden Gate Bridge, and connecting them was the wonderful skyline view of San Francisco. Filling the bay was hundreds of sailboats, fishing boats, and cruiser boats. We even had a visit by the Santa Cruz Sea Scout ship, who'd also come to see the show.

The Blue Angels were wonderful, their smoke left trails of red, white, and blue. Their various stunts were awesome to watch.

It was a great day, and I was grateful the Chaser crew invited friends and family to see them in action. The boys really display their dedication and enjoyment of the program by their hardwork and team efforts. The day was flawless.

Below is a slideshow of the day, hope you enjoy the beautiful pictures.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Long Lost Friends

What kind of connections does a person have to have with another to transcend beyond a decade? I’m not sure it can be put into words, but I have this connection with two dear friends. This connection held and just this last week, fate put us back in touch.

Imagine my joy when it happened. A simple inquiring email…”Is this you?” and that connection buzzed through my system.

“Wow…they still remember me.”

I was humbled to have such friends that this connection would hold strong. A friendship that helped define who I was.

“Wow…they missed me.”

I was honored to have such a connection that the sisterly love we felt for each other would remain in the core of us.

“Wow…the friendship is just as easy.”

I was elated that we could fall back into the core connection so fast. Yes, we are all three married moms with careers, homes, and lives. Nevertheless, that core connection evolved, staying within the undercurrent hum of life. That trust and honest excitement for each other. That un-quantifiable worry and hope you have for them and their happiness.

God really does work in mysterious ways to provide the “food for the soul” you need. He gives you back what you lost…when you truly are ready to receive it.