Monday, November 30, 2009

Boys, Boys, Boys...

By the end of the weekend I was ready for work. For those of you who know me, this is unusual. I enjoy my time with my family and especially my kids. It is no small feat to exhaust me of my "home time"

Well, they did it!

I walked into work this morning, sat in my office chair, and sighed with relief. The thoughts of two little boys sugared up on stolen cake from the frig and two gripey teenagers who'd had little sleep over the holidays danced in my head, threatening to re energize my headache.

The boys - all three - were the worst. Well, not worst, just most active in the exhaustion assault. Why do they have to be so hyper, aggressive, and...and...crazy?! I asked myself. They wouldn't sit still, they wrestled constantly, they jumped off coffee tables, tried to dance on the table (little boys, not the teenager), and mostly were just loud and wild.

As I sat and got started with my work a coworker (and friend) called. She grew up with only a sister and her mother in the house. Her phone call consisted of wondering the same thoughts I was thinking that morning but regarding her own son. She couldn't understand why he wanted to try and wrestle with his sister or get loud and crazy while playing video games.

I laughed and said, "Oh that's just boys for you. That's how they are. I grew up with all male cousins and as a tomboy roughed around with my brother and them."

We sat and I gave her advice on handling and living through the wild life of raising a boy. Things she never realized that happened with a boy in the house. We hung up and I felt good being able to help a friend...

....then I smacked my forehead and laughed. I probably should've given myself the same pep talk last night or this morning.

I guess even moms who were raised around boys and have three boys can forget what patience it takes to live with them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Motherhood is the most importat thing I'll ever do. I made a vow four times over and the commitment is for life. Each time I made the promise to the growing human inside of me, I was a different person.

The very first time I wasn't even a woman. In every essence I was still a girl, just coming into womanhood. That first time becoming a guardian of a soul I was frightened beyond belief. The fear of not only motherhood, but also of adulthood. In many ways I grew up with my first. During his "belly time" I took classes upon classes, read books, and interrogated my physician. I studied for the biggest test of my life.

Then when he came along, in his own sweet time, we went through the wild ride as partners. We took each new step together. Me with false brovado, protecting him from the monsters of the world.

By the time my fourth promise was made, I was an experienced warrior mama. I was no less frightened. The difference? I knew my foes and my fears were in knowing them. My sword of motherhood was well worn but no less sharp.

My older children complain a lot that I raise the younger two different. In many ways they are right. This is due to knowing my battlefield. The older two were hardly out of my sight, and I jumped at every potential danger. Holy Terror was born 10 years after my first two. They are allowed more mistakes and breathing room, because I know where the actual danger line is laid.

I just hope the older two realize that even though my tactics are different, my love is not. My bond with them is connected in a way that the younger two will never know. Just as my experience towards the younger is something the older two will never quite know.

There is no right answer to mothering. The stakes are so high and each soul is so different. A mother just has to make the vow and leap in with her weapons ready. Those weapons are knowledge, committment, hope, and most importantly love. Everything else can and should be forgiven when the child becomes the parent.

But what do I know...ask me in a couple generations and I'll let you know how they turned out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Birthday Fun Facts

Word is leaking is my birthday. As many of you know, I'm kinda neutral about "the day" (30th year set aside and best forgotten). So, instead of blathering about my age, the dang effects of gravity on my body, and the looming expiration date...I wanted to have fun with it.

I found a site that listed some really great fun birthday facts. Here are my top ten favorites from the list:

  • More people celebrate their birthdays in August than in any other month (about 9% of all people). The two other months that rate high for birthdays are July and September.
  • A recent survey suggests that more people are born on October 5 in the United States than any other day. October 5 holds a not-so-surprising significance, as conception would have fallen on New Year's Eve.
  • The least common birth date in the U.S. is May 22nd.
  • Since your last birthday 31,536,000 seconds have passed.
  • In the past year your hair will most likely have grown 12 cm and your nail about 4 cm.
  • Your heart beats at a rate of around of 72 to 80 beats per minute - since your last birthday it will have beat about 42,075,900 times.
  • You breath at a rate of about 30 breaths per minute so, since your last birthday you have taken approximately 15,768,000 breaths.
  • The volume of blood in your body is approximately 5 litres. The heart pumps about 280 litres of blood around your body every hour - that’s 2,688,000 litres per year!
  • The average garden snail (not one that has entered the Olympics 100 meters race) moves at around 0.03 mph. If one set out on your last birthday, and walked non-stop it would have traveled 263 miles. If you walked this distance non-stop you would complete it in around three days.
  • World population has grown by around 76,570,430 since your last birthday. In the time it takes you to read this another five babies will have been born.

To see the full list visit the Tokenz site. I have been so blessed with a great life, great family, and great friends. I hope you all have a great day, I know I will with my new book the hubby and kids got me.

Thank you guys!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The heat of summer starts to cool. Blooms birthed in spring begin to die. Days shorten. There's a sharpness to the air that tells of Mother Earth closing shop to sleep for the winter.

Families migrate their activities in doors. The BBQ is packed away and the oven becomes the star once again with homey recipes of stews and casseroles.

Everything about autumn identifies with heart, home, and love. This is the perfect time to give thanks for everything you've been blessed with in life. Whether it's being able to provide for your family in the hard times of today. Or the family and friends that make up your circle of life. It's also a great time to miss and remember those who are no longer physically here.

Fall is the perfect setting for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving asks nothing from you other than to be with the ones who care and love you. They may not understand you, but they'll accept you as you.

You go. You bring a dish. That's it, that's the minimum requirement. How hard is that? How demanding? And what do you get in return? A day with your family and friends, laughing and hugging, eating and drinking, sometimes a few sentimental tears...and remembering.

Remembering there's more to life than work, pay, and success. Remembering that 90% of your stresses are umimportant in the big picture.

It always goes too fast for me. There is so much that I get only glimpses of moments to retain. children's giggles, laughing snorts, traditional "incident" stories, mash potato smiles, messy pie faces, the many times of "I love you". There's also the hug and a cry over Grandpa Norris. A sadness of my brother and his kids who are too far away. Regret that kids are just a little big bigger and there's no stopping or slowing the process.

No, Thanksgiving asks for nothing more than to remember. Remember who you are, where you came from, and with who you're traveling through life.

So happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends. Please remember you are loved and needed and we look forward to the lifetime journey together.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just Gotta Dance

(Replay of My Yesterday)

I walk the last block and reach my house. Opening the door I enter not the Norris Ranch, but the Norris Rave Club. The music is bumping from the computer speakers, the little boys are dancing in the front room, and the older kids are clapping and urging them on.

Oh yeah...this is what I'm talking about!

I drop my pack, kick off my shoes, and get down. I have Parkour Boy turn up the music a little more (it can never be too loud). The little boys and I alternate who decides the dance moves. Then we get to some freestyle. As the crescendo, we do a little spotlighting.

Holy Terror starts it off with a little arm wave action, moving into some righteous robot frames, and ends with a body wiggling belly dive. Oh yeah, he rocks!

Super Wy starts with a body wiggle, leading into a half jumping twist, a couple ninja kicks, ending with something akin to the splits but not as...painful looking. Whoot Super Wy!

Okay, it's on like Donkey Kong. I can't be out shined by these little squirts. Time to bring the smack down. I start with a little sprinkler, transitioning into a link arm wave combined with a hula hoop motion, ending with a nose plug wiggle drop.
It was so close...we decided to call it a draw.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Quiet House

A quiet house...

There are days when I dream of a quiet house. On those days where the two teenagers bicker over nothing, complain about chores, or slam the door. Or those days the little boys have dumped a pitcher of dirt into the dogs water bowl, then threw a blanket over the fence to the farm behind our house, then headed off and threw eggs on the backyard cement.

Usually, these are the same days where work was bad, the drive/walk home slow, or the hubby and I grouchy.

But then the house is quiet, like tonight. I've tucked the little boys in their not so clean room (I relinquished the battle to win the war). I've signed all the last minute school papers the teenagers forgot to give me after school. The dogs are fed and laid in their doggy beds.

The house is quiet.

And I am sad. I realize that soon, the house won't only be quiet just after bedtime. The house will become quiet all the time. I will arrive home, not to the little boys trying to ride the dogs like horse. Not to the older kids telling me about a fart in class, or a silly shirt the teacher wore.

No, one day...not very far away. I will come home and the house will already be quiet. Empty of the energy and life children bring. Void of the laughter and chaos they wreak.

For today, at this moment, I will not wish for a quiet house. Instead, I will wish for more time. It's a scientific impossibility. I know. But maybe, just maybe...if I pause what I'm doing and watch more, listen more, interact more. Then maybe it'll almost be like I slowed down time.

I think I might give it a harm in that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Things Parents Say During a Week...

I thought I'd dedicate today's post on the things parents say during an average week. These are the ones hubby and I compiled from this last week.

  1. Stop jumping off the coffee table
  2. Quit pushing your brother with the tiger
  3. Shut the back door
  4. Stop throwing your stuffed animals into the ceiling fan
  5. The toilet is not a swimming pool for your action figures
  6. You are making me crazy
  7. Flush the toilet
  8. Shut the back door!
  9. Those are your brother's marbles and he doesn't want them lost
  10. It is not going to kill you
  11. Quit that
  12. Stop it
  14. Because I said so
  15. Are you listening?
  16. This is the third time....
  17. I swear, if you do that one more time
  18. You call this clean?
  19. SHUT....THE....BACK...DOOR!!!

and the thing we said the most this week?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Apple Tree

It's late in the evening and Hubby and I are catching up on each others day. Hubby relays a Holy Terror story for me.

Little man came running in excited. "Daddy, daddy, daddy! Come see!"

Daddy followed him out to the back part of the yard where Holy Terror proudly pointed to some muddy dirt.

"Look Daddy, I put my apple seed in the ground and now we'll have a great big apple tree in the back yard."

A couple hours later, Hubby's friend is over and Holy Terror showcased his first gardening endeavor.

"Cool buddy. Are you going to swing on it when it gets bigger?" he asked.

"No. When it grows up I'll have all kinds of fresh apples to eat," Holy Terror said, thrilled.

As Hubby is relaying this story to me, there's an expression of overflowing pride. He gestures with his hand. "You don't understand, honey. He's one step away from growing his own food. If keeps up with taking care of the seed, it means he can survive and provide for himself."

I chuckle and kissed him. "Okay, proud papa."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Losing Your Marbles

I could hear Holy Terror arguing with Billy in the was getting heated. Finally, he comes stomping into our room where we're still laying.

"Billy won't let me play with those little balls!" he cried.

"They're marbles, honey, and are Billy's," I replied.

"But I want to play with them!"

"His marbles are very important to him and he doesn't want them lost," I said.

...Really, does anyone want to lose their marbles?!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Soundtrack

I was reading an article today about the healing powers of music and (of course) it got me thinking about what role music plays here at the Norris Ranch. For me, music has been a big part of life. Ash has also always been a big fan of music.

I grew up in a household where Saturday mornings was disco or early rock housecleaning. I'd go to sleep with the radio on. As a child I'd listen to music in my room and write more than I'd watch television. Even now, I have the music on low as I go to sleep. Music is comforting to me personally.

Looking at our household, it plays a large part there as well. My husband and I have music on as we relax, clean the house, or work on projects. My older son and daughter listen to music in their rooms as they fall asleep or when they're drawing. writing, or reading. My little boys love jumping on the coffee table and rock out to all genres of music, as their older brother and sister did when they were little.

It's a connector for us. Whether Ash and I instilled this in them or they were born with a musical is as much a part of them as us. But it doesn't only connect us; it also individualizes us.

Each older child has identified with a main genre that helps them understand and better define who they are as a person. I've seen them evolve through the types of music they listen too. My younger boys still use mommy and daddy's music to understand and perceive the world around them. Eventually they, like their older siblings, will start veering off into their own music style.

So, I guess music is the background soundtrack at our household. I'm sure it's the same in many, if not most homes. Take a break and listen to the music of you and your children...see what it tells you.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lucas Turns 11!

I'm a lucky Auntie for the most part. In a time where more extended families are living farther apart from each other, I get to live near half of my nieces and nephews. Yes, we're large enough that I can use the term half without it seeming ridiculous: I have 4 nieces and 4 nephews.

Wednesday was my oldest nephew's 11th birthday. He's the second human who made me an Aunt and the first child of my sisters. He's the first to nickname me something other than Aunt Amber, and the nickname I only allow him to use (sometimes to the jealousy of my other minions)

I don't tell his mom, because it's a mother's constant battle to fret over their kid, but I love Lucas' wild child side. He's a one and only and couldn't ever be mistaken for anyone else.

I love that he can be moody, tempermental, and mouthy. I was moody, tempermental, and mouthy. Heck, his mother was too. (See a family trait immerging?)

He's those things because he's energetic, passionate, and full of life. He's a special soul that doesn't want to conform to societies whims. Part of me, that inner anarchist, roots him on. "Fight the system, my little man!"

I can't wait to see what kind of man he grows into, what kind of mark he leaves on this world...because I'll tell you what, no one else will leave quite the same mark.

Below is a slideshow to a very fitting song. Hope you enjoy this glimpse of my first nephew.

Luc-e-Bear...happy birthday, sweetie. Love you honey!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sonoma State Field Trip

The decision of college is starting to loom in the Norris Ranch household. As proof, Scarlet's 8th Grade class took a trip to Sonoma State college. Her storytelling of the trip had me flashing back to every first day of school she's every had.

My son I have to pry out information and threaten death. My daughter...well, she spews it out like a waterfall. Today's blog entry is dedicated to sharing this experience with you all. Take a breath and get ready.

"How was the trip to Sonoma State?" I asked.

"So, okay. We started out on the bus listening to ICP on the iPod, singing along, and eating candy. Then we saw cows and started making fun them. Oh, and we were yelling at stupid kids throwing food in bus."

"That's nice, but how did the college tour go?" I asked.

"Well, we got there and I saw this motorcycle. So, I took a picture. Then we all walked around, looked at the dorms. They were sooo small. It would really suck to live there. I mean, it was smaller than my room here at home and you have to share with someone."
"That's cool. But how was the tour of the actual college. Like courses and stuff?" I asked, trying again.
"Oh, and Megan and I planned out our whole college future together. I told her that I couldn't wait to see the hot guys we'd be going to college with. She said that the guys in our class would be the ones we went to college with. So, I said that if that were the case I'd yack.”
At this point I'd pretty much given up getting real information about the school.

She leaned on the desk and continued. "Then we had lunch n
ear a lake with ducks and fed them breadcrumbs. Emily had to go to the bathroom and we got lost trying to find it. I don't know why. Mr. Lape said it was just down the walkway, two rights and a left. But we did. We had to ask these random people, who saved us. Emily never made it to bathroom."
"Huh." I managed to comment while she took a breath.

"After lunch Emily had to go back to her group. Megan and I continued the tour in our group. We passed these people doing yoga and teased and laughed at them."

"Scarlet, don't make fun of people." I scolded.

Scarlet half shrugged. "Well, they were doing these crazy poses; it was soooo hilarious. So, then the odd kid in class, the one that NEVER talks, asked a question. Everyone was like....whoa!"

"What question did he ask?" I interjected.

"Oh, I don't know...something about scholarships. We were busy eyeing the golf carts and thinking about taking them for a joy ride. But Ms. Anderson was too close, so we didn't."

She jumped up from the desk and waved her hands around. "Oh, and Ms. Anderson caught me checking out this really cute guy and teased me. It was so embarrasing. Everyone thought she was a student."

"Because she caught you looking at guys?" I asked in confusion. How could the two be connected? I wondered to myself.

"What? No." She looked at me like I was unhip and possibly senile.

Just let it go, I encouraged myself. "Oh."

"Anyways, we finished the tours. I had trouble finding my bus and Emily. Once we got settled in we fought over candy. I tried to sleep but my legs were too long."

With the last of my patience, I emphasized the question, "So....why did you like the college and plan your college future there?"

"Because they have a Seven Eleven and coffee shops ON campus. Also, a really cool library that has a robotic arm. You don't have to walk around looking for your books."

...any wonder why some parents go gray early?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saying Sorry

I receive a newsletter that focuses on inspiration, spirituality, and faith. It’s not uber religious, just really helps align your life priorities. This morning’s came up and the big article was on saying your sorry. As I read through, it really hit a larger cord on family infrastructure for me.

In a family, the two most important things you can, and have to, say is “I love you” and “I’m sorry”. Unlike the screenwriters’ opinion that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”, in my opinion love means having to say it more.

Your family is closely connected to who you are and why you are; so much so, they become an extension of your being. And as a human, sometimes you tend to be as hard on them as you are on yourself.

People expose their emotions, their weakness, and their dreams to family that they don’t to the “outside world”. In stressful and/or weak moments, this information can become ammo in an internalized situation.

Just a few weeks ago my sister and I got in an argument. Her and I hardly ever argue and we both found ourselves saying hurtful things. But, they weren’t really meant at the other person. They were just misguided communication tactics to try and express the internal hurt and fear we were feeling.

The important thing we did after we both calmed down was talk it through and take that step in understanding the other person’s emotions and fears. Our friendship, our love, and our respect for each other overcame the negative and hurtful things we said.

Like I always say, “Family is forever and God wouldn’t have put you together in life if you couldn’t handle it.”

Here's the article from Beliefnet GLOW. It's very interestingand takes a unique perspective on apologies. How to Say 'Sorry'

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bulletin: Candy Thief Busted

Daddy heads into the culprits's 2 hours after bedtime and Holy Terror and Super Wy are still awake. Holy Terror feigns innocence, but Super Wy is too late in reaction.

Leaning up against the huge stuffed tiger, his face is covered with chocolate. His hand stills hold the half full wrapper...all around him are wrinkled candy wrappings and quickly drying chocolate smears.

Daddy, holding a stern expression in the face of Super Wy's powerful angelic smile, orders him into bed and starts to pick up the mess.

But what is this? Super Wy is moving in an odd, purposeful way. A slight roll and slide movement while dragging the blanket oh so carefully. Daddy's astute instincts are alerted as he lifts the blanket.

More wrappers!

And above Super Wy's head...two more yummy prizes he was trying to salvage for later.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ghouls, Goblins, and Super Hero's...Oh My!

Instead of a LONG blog post about our 2009 Halloween I created a storybook instead. I hope you all enjoy it.