Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Peeps

Loving this Sunday evening. I look up from my book to see Holy Terror at my feet playing with his motorcycles and cars. Super Wy is halfway between the living area and kitchen creating his world through Legos. Drama Queen is listening to music on the computer and chatting with friends. And my oldest, Parkour Boy, is playing Star Wars on the Wii next to me. Occasionally, one shares a thought or funny comment with the others and there's giggling or growls and a response.

It's a comfort to sit and relax with the sounds of fake police sirens and burning tires. The chatter of Super Wy making dialogue for his people in Lego land. The clicking of my daughters fingers to the keyboard and the grunts and whoops and hollers of my son to the background of Star Wars music.

These are my peeps and even though we're all doing something separate, we're a unit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Meaning of Gifts

Holy Terror puts the last strip of tape on his gift to Parkour Boy. It's crooked as is the wrapping paper and bulky folds. The gift is one of the perfect the little boys have done and the favorite gifts I like looking at under the tree. With a kiss and a pat on the butt, I send him out and call for Super Wy to come back, so he can wrap his gifts.

As I wait for little man to join me, Holy Terror comes in with an old shipping box. He sets it very carefully on the bed and gives me a conspiratory grin. "I need some tape, please."

I hand it to him and he starts pulling off a too long piece.

"What's this?" I ask tapping the box.

"It's another gift for Super Wy." He shakes off the tape from his finger and opens the box flaps. There inside is one of Holy Terrors most treasured fire trucks. Super Wy comes running down the hall and Holy Terros hurries to close the box and we tape it up together.

Super Wy stands next to Holy Terror and looks at the box. "What that?"

Holy Terror smiles down at him. "You'll see on Christmas. Its a secret."

They giggle. I expected Holy Terror to let it sit a few hours before reopening it and taking his toy back. A few hours later, after the kids were put to bed, I went out to the front of the house and there under the tree was the box. Written in rough pen was "Super Wy".

This is the true meaning of gift giving. To give a little something of yourself to make someone you love happy. I can't wait for Super Wy to open it Christmas morning and know that Holy Terror thought enough of him to give up one of his toys.

Monday, December 20, 2010

See? It's Christmas!

"Mom, it's Christmas!" Super Wy comes up to me, bouncing excitedly.

"Not yet. A few more days," I reply.

"No, no! It IS Christmas. Come see!"

He pulls me up and leads me into the kitchen where on the frig is the Christmas calendar. I look closely and notice a yellow color pencil line is drawn through the rest of this week...stopping at the day with the face of Santa on it.

"See! It's Christmas!" He dances in the kitchen, wiggling his booty and twirling his arms.

"Honey, it's only this day," I say pointing at today's square. His smile turns into a frown. "But look, only 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 more days! That's not very far away."

He smiles -- not as bright as his earlier one -- and nods. "Yeah. Not so far." His little chest fills with air and he lets it all out in a big, disappointed sigh before moping his way out of the kitchen.

Poor guy...if only marking days off a calendar would make the fun days come faster.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Relaxation

Last day of the holiday vacation. Tomorrow it's back to reality. It was such a wonderful week. I'd upload the photos, but Holy Terror accidentally broke our camera earlier in the week and we had to use a, I'll post them once we get them back from the processing center (ha ha, as soon as I get them TO the processing center). It also means Hubby and I are shopping around for a new digital camera.

We spent two wonderful days in Bodega Bay. Then we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family. To read about that, visit the Desert Breeze blog where I did a Thanksgiving Guest Blog. Friday and Saturday were all about hanging with my crew.

Tonight we put up the Christmas decorations and begin the last days of 2010. My nostalgia is in full gear, so prepare for the yearly sappy blog posts to start hitting...sorry y'all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Battle before Chores

The little boys hold their mini hockey sticks like rifles (the ones I bought in a misguided purchase to be the cool out-of-town mom). They crouch at the breakfast bar peeking around the corner and whispering to each other.

"Boys, I told you to pick up your dinner plates and put them in the sink."

They afforded a quick, serious look back, and then continue their whispering. I obviously don't know the importance of this mission.

"ATTACK!" Super Wy yells.

They step out from the breakfast bar wall, aim their rifles and spray the kitchen with imaginary bullets. It's war. There's bloodshed. Holy Terror is wounded and from the looks of his agony while rolling on the ground, it might be mortally. Super Wy continues the battle, moving along the kitchen opening.

Near the far wall he falls, hit by his enemy. It's an ugly death as the rifle flies out of his hand and he sprawls out, wiggling and then staring blank towards the living room.

"Dinosaurs win?" I ask. He nods, still sticking his tongue out (cause that's what dead bodies do). Holy Terror sighs in defeat from his position. "Well, now that you're both dead, why don't you guys pick up your dinner plates."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stupid Dog

"Super Wy, get out of the kitchen!" I order from the front room.

"Kay, Mom!" he replies, irritated at being busted.

I hear the food cabinet open, doggie nails clickety clacking on the hard floor, then a long pause.

", that's mine," Super Wy whines under his breath.

"Super Wy!"


Another long pause, more doggie toe tapping, then another pause.

"Noooo Connor...that bread is mine," Super Wy whines a little louder.

"Super Wy!"

"Okay...stupid Connor."

Super Wy slams the cabinet and stomps out and into the back of the house with his fists clenched at his side. Connor doggie trots after him, still chewing on the bread.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yippee for the Holidays!

Okay. Okay. I'm having to reign in my excitement. It's nearing THE day. MY day. My favorite, favorite, favorite, not my birthday. (THAT day we never speak of....ever.)

THANKSGIVING!!! I keep finding myself daydreaming about it this week. I love this day so much. It's the perfect holiday. It is patriotic because it's all ours (US of A baby). It asks for nothing but you to hang out with your family. No gifts and no expectations other than eating, laughing, and sharing the family stories with the kids.

I can't until it's here...only 6 more days and whoa-la!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cause You Mom

This big guy came by our backyard to visit, where Hubby his friend and the little boys found him. Needless to say, I was a little creeped out and jumped a couple step back up to the back door when they invited me to come see. And the bugger was aggressive.

The guys, of course, thought it was the coolest thing ever.

A few minutes later, when they were all trying to figure out exactly what kind of spider it was, the little boys came into the back room to talk about it.

"You not afraid of spiders," Super Wy informed me.

"A little bit...when they're that big," I replied.

"No you not!" He looked at me like I was silly.

"Why not?"

"Cause you Mom. Mom's not 'fraid of spiders...or monsters...or anything," he explained as if it were the simplest thing to understand.

"Oooohhh," I said. "I forgot. My bad."

"Ya, it's okay."

"Well go finish helping Daddy figure out what kind of spider it is that I'm not afraid of at all."

"Kay." He pecked me a quick kiss and ran off.
Poor guy is in for a disappointment in his near future as he starts to beyond the Mom title.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dinner with Dinosaurs

I knew something was up when Super Wy brought in an upside down laundry basket to sit on instead of the dinner chair. After taking our seats, the boys started growling.

Holy Terror looked at me, "I'm a carnivore!"

"But you're eating mac and cheese too, Honey. That makes you an omnivore."

"NO! I'm a dinosaur. I'm a carnivore!" He growls and takes another bite.

"Okay...Daddy, take away the mac and cheese. He's only a meat eater. He doesn't eat non-meat."

"Wait...I eat everything," Holy Terror decides.

"Then you're an omnivore. Lots of dinosaurs ate both." I'm not sure if this is a lie, but sacrifices must be made and it's one uncertainty I'm willing to live with to ensure they eat their dinner.

"Yeah, I'm an omnivore."

Super Wy bites into a slice of steak dripping in ketchup with only his mouth. After several bites and a scowl at the vege's and mac and cheese he growls and says, "I AM a carnivore."

...Can't win them all, I guess...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Catching Up

Wow! Has it been that long since I've last posted? Don't get us wrong, we haven't been doing nothing. I think the problem is, we've been doing too much. As this is semi my memory bucket, I think I'll catch up on what we've been up too.

Let's see. We had Super Wy's birthday party which was lots of fun. Of course, it had to be a dinosaur themed party so I made a Dinosaur Valley cake with volcano and all. He was in the limelight and loving it.

I helped host a baby shower for an awesome friend and baked the shower cake. It was loads of fun hanging out with woman, talking about babies, and just watching the excitement of a soon-to-be new mother.

Then this last week was all about Halloween preparations. Costume finalizing, candy purchasing, pumpkin carving. Friday I went with Hubby and the boys to Holy Terror's Kindergarten Halloween party. They were so silly playing fun games, doing crafts and walking a costume parade.

And then next thing we knew, it was Halloween. Drama Queen was a Psycho Clown Nurse, Parkour Boy was a Dead Car Victim, Holy Terror was Optimus Prime, and Super Wy was Sheriff Woody.

Phew! What a couple of weeks!

I think now that we've started the holiday season it's going to be a little hectic for the next couple months. As you all know, my favorite holiday is coming up...Thanksgiving.

But before we dive into that busy stuff, Hubby and I will probably take the kids to the beach for one last relaxing day before it all kicks off.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today is a Special Day

Today is a special day for me. It is both my anniversary and my youngest son's birthday. Yesterday evening my husband asked if I was excited about today. At first I didn't know what he was talking about, which I think might have hurt his feelings.

I didn't mean to, and I had to apologize again this morning for seeming so callous. There's a reason why it didn't ding with me right away. I was never a big wedding person (obviously as it took 10 years before I'd get married). So, the anniversary is not really the highlight of my year.

What is that highlight is the daily gift that my marriage brings to me. I know I don't show it well. I can write down emotions and feelings, but verbalizing them is a WHOLE other potato that doesn't bake well with me.

Every day is more important than the one day a year, because whether I've had a bad day or a good day, I know that my husband will be my champion. He'll try to fix what's wrong (even if all I need is an ear) and he'll try to make me happy when I'm sad or upset. He understands my faults and my demons and loves me anyways.

I can see that love when he's riding my waves of irritation, moodiness, or introversion. I can see that love when we're doing nothing but riding the boat up and down the river in complete silence. I can see that love when the four kids are all talking at dinner and he and I share a look across the table.

I love him.

I love him more than he'll ever understand because I can't verbalize or write it well enough. I love it when he's grouchy. I love it when he laughs and tells his stories. I love that he'd take on 3 criminals just to get a friend's bike back. I love that sense of home and place he helped teach my gypsy soul. And, I love that he'll stretch out of his comfort zone to share adventures with me. I love that we'll both geek out over late night B movies.

Most of all, I love that even when he's not around I am comforted and strengthened by his presence and the love we have for each other.

So, as I do every year (a day late sometimes), I'll get him a gift and a card that won't express enough how much I love him and inside I'll know that we'll have a lifetime of anniversaries because we were meant to be together forever.

True love really does exist.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Real Superman

Holy Terror and I settled onto the counter stools at the Foster Freeze with our treats. It was our Mommy-Son date before I headed off to my business trip. It was his first time ordering a sundae.

"You like it?" I asked.

He smiled. "Yup. Dad can make this for me...just like this." He waved his hands and gives that know-it-all Norris look. "Better, probably."


Later on in the discussion, he looks around at the car posters. "When I get bigger, I'm going to have a hot rod that's all these colors."

"That'd be cool."

He nods in and tosses that cocky grin. "Yup. And Dad's going to make them all go really fast."

After treats, we took a walk around the park. "Let's holds hands because it's evening."

"Well," he says with a confident and reassuring look. "If bad guys come, Dad will be there and he'll kick their butts...and I'll call the cops and Dad will make sure the bad guys get arrested."

"Really?" I try to sound serious. "But Dad's not here right now." I was hoping he'd say I could protect him...Nope

"Well, Dad's teaching me how to grow up. So, I'll be able to kick their butts...and you can call the cops."

"Okay. Sounds good."

...No wonder they believe in Super Heroes...their Dad is one...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Word for Word

Lying here in bed with the boys, watching our evening "chill out" movie before bedtime and the little boys are reciting word for word throughout. how can they remember the words to an hour and a half long movie and not that I want them to wash their hands and then clean up their room?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What's My Name?

The boys sprawled out on my bed, watching their Saturday bedtime movie. I sat working on my latest novel. When Will Ferrell was dancing and singing the show toons to keep dinosaur bird babies sleeping, Holy Terror inched over and looked up at me.

"Mom, Mom. How did you know my name?"

I looked down, perplexed. "Because you're my son."

"No. How did you know it was my name when I was born?"

"Oh." I stopped to think about it. Holy Terror's very detailed and answers have to be just right or all heck breaks loose. "When you were in my belly, growing, Mommy and Daddy looked at a whole bunch of names. LOTS of names. Then, one day, we read your name out loud and Mommy and Daddy paused, felt something shift in our hearts...and knew that was you. You were Holy Terror."

He smiled real big and snuggled into me. "I told your heart from inside your belly."

...I love talking with my kids. They make life so simple sometimes...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodnight...with Flare

"Good night, Mom." Drama Queen, the last child to be up, heads down the hall to her room.

I lock up the house. I switch off the kitchen and dining room lights. I turn and see the desk lamp still on. Underneath it, on the desk, basks Psycho Cat. On the ground next to the desk and in front of the fireplace is a sleeping Drake.

I go to the desk, and nuzzle the cat. "Good night, Kitty." He stretches and glories my day with his acceptance of my attention.

I turn to kneel and do the same with my Drake...and he passes doggy gas. He looks up in embarrassment and shame, then buries his nose under his paws as the smell fills the space quickly.

"Damn it, Drakers." I curl my nose, stand, and flick off the lamp in disgust.

I walk out of the front room to bed. In the darkness behind me, Drake groans in his own stinky misery. You'd think by now ('cause this is an often occurance) he'd learn to get up and move...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Drama Queen Turns 14

Wow! Has it really been 14 years? The girl makes everyday an adventure. Drama Queen's always been in a hurry. Even when she was born, which was a week early and took under 6 hours. She came out pissed, glaring at the world, and looked like she'd just been in a brawl with bruises all over her face because she was too stubborn to let her head cone. (Yes, her head came out perfectly was creepy.)

She arrived with my family's bright blue eyes and the Norris family's auburn red hair. It lightened to a pretty strawberry blonde she's always wishing to dye. Born the only girl, we soon found out was because God was having mercy on us. She rules and "manages" over the boys - even the older and her father most of the time - because it's easier than facing her wrath.

I love the passion she carries out everyday with with. I love the moodiness that keeps you on your toes. And most of all, I love waking up, seeing her, and knowing she's my girl. With another year gone, it's another year closer to her leaving home and that makes me sad. I hope she looks fondly at her childhood years as she runs full steam into the teenage years.

I know she been a joy to us and we wouldn't have it any other way. So, happy birthday, Baby Girl! We love you!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reality Check

We stood in line. The kids all decided what they wanted and then changed their minds at least twice. Two people stood in front of us, a business guy pretending he wasn't in a fast food line and a punk guy with a lot of tattoos.

Holy Terror looked up at me. "I want the toy this time."

I shook my head. "No, Honey. Those are rip-offs."

This is usually the end of the conversation...up until now.

"Mom. I really want the toy in the bag."

I look into those beautiful blue eyes, so sturdy and resolved to the toy. Sometimes, they just have to learn on their own. "Okay. I'll get you the toy."

We ordered, waited forever, then sat at a table. Eating, Holy Terror and Super Wy kept a hyper eye on the bags still containing their toys. After scarfing down their food they wiggled in their seats.

"Toy! Toy!"

"Okay." I pulled out the toys, pulled them out of the plastic wrappers, and held them up. "Here are the toys."

Holy Terror just stared at the stuffed Waldo, his face crestfallen. Slowly, his eyes slid to mine. "That's it?" I nodded. He slumped back in his chair. "What a stupid rip-off."


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

As Ready as We're Gonna Get

Last night I cut his hair. We'd let it grow out over the summer and Holy Terror looked like one of the Beatles. Each snip was a reminder our family was reaching another phase of life. Not only our family, but Holy Terror himself. The first year is such a leap in growth.


We couldn't keep him the Little Man forever. Oh, my heart wishes we could. Our little quiet mouse that first year grew into the hyper Huckleberry. Now, he'll reach out and start the seed of who he'll make himself into.

Yeah, we'll still have a big part for the many years. But this is the beginning. It's the first moment he finds something outside of the home. The first life bubble Mom and Dad didn't create and doesn't fully manage.

Those first 5 years before formal school are important for a reason. You are their sole world. Their only mentor. The one who decides where they hang and with who. Now, the teacher will slowly emerge as the main advisor. She'll have all day...we'll only get the evenings. He'll make friends of his own fruition. We'll only know them after the friendship has been initiated.

Oh, I'm getting all worked up. You'd think, as my third child to reach school age I'd be ready. Well I'm a goober, okay. I can't help it. I must over analyze, worry, and fret over every milestone.

...Mother, stop laughing. I hear you all the way over at my house...

Friday, August 13, 2010


I hurry out of work. Halfway to the car, I run into a co-worker I hadn't seen in a while. We catch up on work news and kid news. I tell her about Holy Terror's kindergarten assessment.

"Oh yeah. Holy Terror." She laughs. "I'll always remember him as the little redhead who asked Santa if he and Frosty loved each other...and if they kissed."

...Only 5 and already infamous...

If you haven't been following for a while and wonder what I'm talking about, here's the post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meeting Mrs. Teacher

Holy Terror had his kindergarten assessment Wednesday. Needless to say, Hubby and I were a little worried. It's not that Holy Terror's a bad kid. Far from it. He's just...hyper.

Okay, okay. Sometimes he can make you think of the redhead from Problem Child, but most of the time he's just earnestly hyper and curious.

I drove home to meet them and we walked to school, Holy Terror leading the way. He got diverted, as usual, needing to know the what, whys, and hows of the neighborhood. When we finally got to the school, we entered his classroom and there waited Mrs. Teacher.

With a quick smile, wave, and "hey" he was quickly attracted to the classroom sites. Desks, chairs, wall calendars, reading area, toy area, whiteboard...On Mrs. Teacher's gesture, Hubby and I stayed in the background as she attempted to wrangle him to the curved table for his assessment.

I shouldn't say attempted. Mrs. Teacher was Mrs. Awesome Teacher. Guiding him without making him feel directed and adjusting conversation without making his questions feel ignored. They sat and she got started. We held our breath.

Holy Terror did fabulous! He cruised through writing his name, blasted through the colors, counted his way through numbers, and even complimented her on her prettiness.

The kid was a pro. Hubby and I sometimes feel people aren't going to be able to handle Holy Terror the way we can. It's always surprising and refreshing to see that, yes, Holy Terror does just fine in the real world beyond the Norris Ranch.

...Now we just have to stress over the first day...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Snake in the House

I stop short at my bedroom doorway. The light is off and the curtains are closed, so the room is dimly lit. There, peaking out from under the bed is a snake.

It's not moving. I'm not moving. I'm semi-panicked.

Why only semi-panicked? Flashback to about 8 years ago. I'm cleaning up the toys from the backyard at our old downtown bungalow cottage and I go for a toy lizard. Only it was a real lizard and hisses at me. I jump straight up and onto the porch Spider Man move.

Back to this moment. I wasn't sure if it was real or fake. The kids like real-looking toys. After a minute it's still not moving. I'm still not moving.

Why still not moving? Flashback to the summer I spent in Texas with a friend. We're stopped on a dirt road with a snake facing us off about 10 feet away. After minutes we get the courage to walk over, finding the snake dead.

Back to the moment. If it is real and just dead I'm not looking forward to the scooping and cleaning that will be coming up. Another minute passes and I sigh in resignation. Either it's a toy or it's real and dead, I mine as well get on with the day.

...Thankfully it was just a toy...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

School Shopping

Yes, that time of year. School shopping in itself is a battle. With now 3 kids heading to the classrooms, it's near torture. 3 individual tastes, 2 different age groups, and 6 people "joining in the fun".

Start with a quick dinner stop at Taco Bell. This entailed 4 kids telling me what they want at once, changing their minds 3 different times, several trips to the bathroom, and an argument with Super Wy about whether chips and cheese sauce were in fact called nachos.

Hauling them all back into the car, we headed out of town. Over the next 30 minutes it was:

"Get your hands back in the car." "No screaming." "Get your hands back in the car." "Don't yell at your brother." "Stop that weird noise." "Get your hands back in the car."

The parking of the car was signified by Holy Terror kicking open the door into the car parked next to us. After an argument where he thought the car parked too close, we held tight to the two toddlers and headed into the store.

Over laughing, tantrums, arguments, and eye rolling we managed to get most of the school clothes. By the time we reached the counter, Hubby was in his caveman mode of hunched back and solitary responses and I was wishing for medication.

Dropping by the beauty store for a mullet wig - Hubby friend's party thing...don't ask - we went home and unloaded the car. The boys were put to bed, kicking and screaming (them, not us), and I plopped onto the couch to take a breather. Hubby went to his meditation spot, the garage and his workbench.

It. Was. An. Ordeal. Let me tell ya'.

Now, we're good. That is until the school supply lists come home the first week of school.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Morning Send Off

Late (as usual these days) I rush into the living room and hurry to finish stuffing my things into my backpack.

"Hugs. Hugs. Come on guys, I'm running late!" I urge my little guys, who are slouched in just their underroos, watching some kids learning show hosted by a blue mouse. The teenagers are sleeping in. (Last days of summer vacation and I don't have the heart to wake them).

No one hurries to this urgent request, of course, because Mommy is always running behind in the morning. My battle with morning time is well known, as is the fact that I lose this battle 9 times out of 10.

Hubby walks into the hall and saunters over in a silly dance move to give me my hug. Holy Terror decides he's a bunny and proceeds to hop over for his. Super Wy slides off and stalks over to me on his "clawed feet" with his head bobbing in a terrifying raptor way and gives me his hug.

"Bye guys, love you!" I open the door to leave.

Two "byes" and a roar answers my call.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Full Life

Sometimes there is so much in life it gets overwhelming. Work, chores, errands, events, etc. When it's so full, its weight almost physically resting on your shoulders, it's surprising what the cure is. For me it's actually when more enters, in the form of family. I was reminded of this last night, card night.

No, no...actually earlier than that. I'd just finished unpacking my office stuff in the furniture that'd arrived and was exhausted. Instead of walking my sister dropped her stuff to pick me up and take me home.

Getting home from work, the kids and I started the preparations for card night. Family arrived early and the house filled quickly. Grandma, aunts, cousins, and second cousins. Family ranging from 3 to 80 years. And as if we didn't see each other frequently, hugs were big as if we hadn't seen each other in months.

Desserts, cheese and cracker trays, drinks, pizza, and chips filled the table and counters. Chairs passed person to person around the card table. Kids ran around, under tables, over chairs, and jumped coffee tables, then through kitchen, front yard, back yard, living room, kids rooms, and back around again. Squeals, hollers, laughter, cries, discussion, and arguments filled the air.

Throughout the games the noise continued, added with competition, catching up on each other's lives, neighborhood news, community news, work news, and all the others news things that must be caught up on.

And the more noise and activity that filled the space, the quicker the stress of everyday shed from my shoulders. It reminded me that a full life isn't stressful, it's the kind of things you fill your life with that makes it stressful...or not.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life's too Short

This is just one lesson of many I try to teach my children:
  • Life is too short to worry about pleasing every person, just because you're afraid to be looked at differently.
  • Life is too short to call people friends who you really don't like, just because every one else is keeping them around.
  • Life is too short to keep negative aspects around, just because you're afraid of change.
  • Life is too short to listen to a person's rant, just because everyone is telling you that person "knows" something you don't.
  • And life is definitely too short to not move on, just because you're afraid you won't find something better.
I had to remind myself of this lesson today when I decided it was time to de-friend my first online friend...very weird experience, but also very liberating.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't be Sad

I sat on the couch crying. It was the scene from Steel Magnolias where they unplug the daughter's life support.

Holy Terror walks into the front room from the hallway and stops quick, staring at me. He looks around nervously, seeing what could be bothering me. He climbs up onto the couch, cuddles against my arm and grips my hand, petting it with his other.

"Mom? Why you sad, Mom?" Tears water his eyes, ready to spill over.

"It's a sad part of the movie." I point to the screen, my eyes pouring tears while I sniffle my nose.

"We change the movie so you not sad. I don't want your heart to be sad."

I laugh through the tears. "It's okay, Honey. It's one of my favorite movies. I like to feel sad at this part because I would be sad if that happened to me as a mommy."

He looks up at me with his skeptical face. "You want to be sad?...That's silly."

But he stays right there next to me until the sad part is over, his one arm wrapped around my arm and holding my hand.

What a sweetheart.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coming Home

Okay, I'll admit it. Yesterday was a pisser of a day at work. Some days just are, I guess.

Driving home - which automatically puts me in a foul mood as I prefer walking - I held back the urge to curse and yell at the traffic, inched my way the 2 miles home at the pace I could've walked, then maneuvered into the drive so I wouldn't run over the hose nozzle that sprawled right where my tire goes.

I turned off the car and took a deep breath, then looked over into the front yard. There was Hubby talking with a friend (most likely about fishing). He glanced over and tossed me one of his crooked smiles. Added with the sparkling greens he was born with, a little weight of the day slid off my shoulders.

I piled out with my bag, rounded the car, and headed up the sidewalk. Passing them, I confirmed with an inner grin that yes, indeed, they were talking Sturgeon. Entering the house, I found it cleaned and empty of my mini peeps.

Bummer. They usually perk me up with their welcoming barrage. Oh well, I thought and drudged down the hall to change out of my work clothes.

There, welcoming me through the bedroom window were the squeals, laughs, and hollers of my children playing in the pool. The rest of the weight crumbled off my shoulders. I stood at the window and watched them for several minutes.

This is what makes those pisser days worth it, coming home to a family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kayaking with My Boy

One of the highlights of our vacation, for me, was going kayaking in Bodega Harbor with my oldest son. After breakfast we prepared the kayaks and walked over the mound to the small boat launch perched on the southern side of the harbor waters. To the left of us was the harbor mouth, which opened into the shallow bay and the huge Pacific Ocean.

We hopped off the boat pier, climbed over the slimy rocks, and across the small sandy beach. With one more look out at the blue-filled morning, we pushed off and headed up into the harbor. Following the shallow shoreline we found ourselves gliding over a deep kelp forest. Looking into its depths, I was humbled...and a little frightened. Just a few feet below, the clear cold water went dark, hiding the rest of the depths.

We moved from the shoreline out a little closer to the boat markers and found ourselves above the open grey-green waters. To our left, in the center of the channel, a family of seals popped above water and paced with us. A few looked over, to see what we were about before all of them dipped under. A few markers ahead they popped back up in our path. They kept about the same distance either to our left or in front, though once or twice a dark shadow glided below our kayaks, making us wonder where they were hanging when below surface.

Parkour Boy was having a blast and being fit, I found myself - a pretty good kayaker - working to keep pace with him.

About thirty minutes in we paused to take a sip and decide which way we wanted to go from there, when I looked down and weaving through the kelp was a small bat ray. It continued underneath me and then wound back around, underneath Parkour before going back into the depths of the kelp forest. My only regret was not getting the camera out in time to take a photo of it. (I included a stock image for those of you who've never seen a bat ray before.)

On our way back, we got quite a workout as the tide was still coming in. At a couple points we were paddling and not going anywhere. It was fun, going nowhere, and laughing with my son though. He's so strong and resilient with such an adventurous spirit.

I was pooped by the time we made it back to the bay side of the beaches, where the rest of the family was waiting and hanging out. I fell onto the beach blanket with my jelly arms and legs while my son went off with his sister to check out a rumored coastal cave up around the bend.

What a moment I hope Parkour Boy will cherish into adulthood. I know I will.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hubby Story: Trip to the ATM

Back with another Hubby story while we're out enjoying the waves. In his point of view:

So, I'm at the bank at the outside ATM, just starting to do my thing when this guy comes running up the sidewalk, flailing his arms and yelling like an freak. At the same time, I see another dude on the other side, in my peripheral.

I'm standing there, waiting for some kind of impact as this crazy reaches the bank of ATMs and slows down, stomps his feet and then trots by to the center machine. As I'm tracking him, I see the other guy was some old man. Him and I share a look about the weirdo now in between us.

So, I go back to my thing at the ATM. All the time the weirdo is sweating, angry, and pounding his way through using the machine.

Finally I stop, turn to him and ask, 'You okay?'.

Well, this guy just turns and glares at me for the longest time, and f*%#, I stare right back. Finally we look away at the same time and finish up. This jerk stomps off, flaying his arms and making weird noises.

The old man looks at me and, shaking his head, says, "That kids on somethin'. I'm tellin' ya."

So I reply, "Yeah. Not somethin' I'd want to be on."

We share a laugh and go our separate ways. Can't even go to the ATM anymore
without some crazy bothering you.

And that's my latest Hubby story. See ya all in a couple days when we get back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding Home

A couple decades ago we parked the car. Opening the door, the rolling rumble called to me with the whip of the wind. Sea Gulls squacked with nuisance. The smell of salt and exposed algea assaulted by nostrils.

Making my way over the last sandy hill scattered with long grass, boulders, and tough flowers, the edge of North America welcomed me.

My heart was lost.

My soul settled watching the wave crest and break onto the beach. Out beyond the white caps my eyes took in the vastness of the beautiful grey-green waters. Peace spread through me as I looked even farther beyond, where the sky merged with the horizon and became one with the ocean.

From the earliest moment I could remember, of all the towns and cities we'd ever lived, I knew I wasn't home. And trust me, we lived a lot of places. None of them called to me.

This place didn't just call, it sung. I'd never touched toe to sand before, yet knew it was the place I belonged. I will never live to far away and will always be comforted in this part of the world.

Even as this is posting the family and I are reconnecting with the ocean and enjoying our time on the beach. I hope everyone has the opportunity to find their place in the world and has the maturity to appreciate it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm Ready

From down the hall I hear Super Wy, "I'm ready!"

I look up from my writing to see him barrel into the room wearing his green dinosaur underwear and white socks, fists pumped.

"I'm ready!"

"Ready for what?" I ask, thinking it'll be about the coming vacation again.

He wiggles his hips, "For Kuuuuunnnng Fuuuu!" He karate chops the air.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks Fun

It was a day of building excitement as the kids waited for evening. Probably the only evening they've looked forward to since Christmas.

We packed the suburban with chairs and blankets, backpacks with snacks and water, and the vehicle DVD player with Kung Fu Panda. Finally, it was time. The kids managed to keep their shoes on in the excitement and we piled in and drove down to the Bell Products parking lot.

Right on the other side of the building were the fairgrounds, where they light off the fireworks every year. It's a tradition, and I always get nostalgic sitting there by the railroad tracks, across from the river and downtown.

Lined up were cars full of other middle-class families. In the center kids played soccer, twirled sparklers, and threw poppers. Parents watched all the kids as their own and glare down any vehicles coming in too fast.

The ultimate community family.

The night sky came to life with the first pink and green explosions, quieting all four kids who looked up in amazement and joy as twinkles sprinkled down from above . The booms echoed off the valley walls and back. Smoky black powder- like smell filled the air.

I love Fourth of July. The sense of pride, community, and family are always strong and it's the only time a whole parking lot of people "oh" and "ah" at the same time...well, almost. There's always the "drunk guy" in the crowd making a butt out of himself until the family shuffles him to the car.

...but that's part of the atmosphere as well...

Hope all my American friends had a great 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Day's Worth

Little boy giggles follow me down the hallway...along with what I think are new mysterious pencil markings on the wall. I enter the front room and plop onto the couch, taking a deep sigh and looking around.

The area rug is crooked and bubbled up to make mountains ranges, valleys, and roadways for toy cars. The coffee table is off-center to make the perfect angle for karate flips. Blankets spill out of the bench seat, castoffs from the makeshift tent. The table still has cups of water half drunken. Little dried footprints line from the backdoor to the table from the toddler swim party. There's a weird dripping coming from the kids bathroom, and the dogs are MIA in the back yard.

If the household carnage before me is any was a full day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slippin' Through My Fingers

This evening I felt like watching Mama Mia. I thought it was because I was in the mood for some ABBA, which I'm sure to an extent was correct. But, the real reason hit me when the bridal preparation scene came up and Merrill Streep started singing "Slipping through My Fingers".

I should have gotten a clue when my Facebook status a few minutes before began with, "I miss my daughter!"

This year she's really hit a milestone with her development. She spends most of her time with her girlfriends. Shares all her hopes, dreams, and secrets with them. They get most of her laughter and smiles for the day. When she's home, the phone is pressed against her ear as she talks with them.

Yes, I'm, anyways, there I sat, watching a movie that usually her and I watch together...feeling a little lonely. The boys are being crazy. I'm constantly hitting pause to deal with their boyism. Then pausing again do deal with husbandism...the bridal scene's about to start and the phone rings.


I pause the movie yet again, and as I'm talking, who walks in? My daughter. She grabs the phone and starts to the room. Passing by the television, she see the frozen scene and stops.

"You watching Mama Mia?" she asks, almost accusatory.

I nod and whisper, "Yeah. Just paused to answer the phone." I put my attention back into the conversation.

When I'm done, I look up to restart the movie and find my daughter on the couch by me, waiting. "Man, I love this part."

I try not to turn uncool and focused on replaying, forcing the goofy smile from cropping on my face. And, like I said above, Merrill Streep started singing and it hit me. I just needed a little bit of mommy-daughter time with my precious, over-opinionated, stubborn, wildly wonderful Drama Queen.

If you don't know the song I'm talking about, here it is. Just click on the image.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cat vs. Mom

I round the corner towards our street. Up ahead, before the last turn is a cat lying in the road. His black fur darkened by the shade, making his white booties all the more brighter. I slow down to a crawl.

With a flick of his long tail, he props his head up and gives me a cursory glance before lying back down to continue enjoying the shade.

I scoot up a little more, then stop. He flicks his tail again and licks his paw without lifting his head off the shaded pavement.

'The little sh--.'

I take a deep breath and - after a fractional thought of kitty murder - swerve my car around, creeping by. He looks up as I pass and...I know there was a smile on that little boobs face! A big one, accented by his long whiskers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So Good to Be Home

Three Days away from home, and every day I kept thinking about what the kids were doing. I wondered if they were eating all their meals, having fun, and going to bed on time.

Daytime at the conference wasn't too bad, but the evening was when it really hit. Walking through Chinatown and knowing what each kid would flip about, and wishing they were there so they could. Eating at an old 50s diner and knowing what the kids would order.

And worse, not being able to give them a kiss and hug good night. Hearing about their day over the phone is just not the same. I missed the gestures and expressions that go with the stories.

But, now I'm home and it feels good. It's pretty cool to walk in and know immediately you're part of something. My little crew hugged and talked, and tried to catch me up on everything I missed.

Man, I love my little Norris crew.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

#1 Dad

You know how I can tell he's a great dad? From the first look at his first child in the hospital, Ash has fretted over every move he's made as a dad. Ashley's greatest gift to his children is time. He always sets aside time to answer their questions. And not just a 1 or 2 word blanket answer either. He gets down to their eye level and answer the question, then tells them the how and why of the answer.

He shows the kids through example how to be a great man, parent, brother, and overall family member. He teaches my boys to respect woman as equals, and teaches all our kids to give priority to family first, to help neighors like family, and help strangers like neighbors.

What's so special about him is that none of it's a burden. He takes the responsibility as a gift and even though he has stressful days, he cherishes each of his children for their uniqueness. He blesses the children with stability, love, and nurturing that goes above and beyond.

Happy father's day, honey! We all love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Guys

It's hard to imagine our household without the overpowering energy of males. Even as babies, boys seem to exude adventure, risk, and dirt...with a lot of grass stains thrown in. I walk up our path and can hear the growling, whooping, and hollering coming out the window. I step through the door and into an arena. For the first 15 minutes I am the main attraction as they clobber me both physically and verbally.

"MOM!!!! Yeah!!"

Run, jump and hook onto either my waist or neck pending if I've had a chance to crouch down in time to catch them.

"Parkour Boy threw me in the pool!"

"We made a fort in the hallway!"

Wild giggles and jostling for front talking position.

"Holy Terror tore up my drawing!"

"Super Wy's stupid!"

"The little boys ruined my room!"

Slight pushing with sneers and smash-talking.

"I put cheese on the dog and he ran around trying to get it!"

"Dinosaurs invaded the back yard!"

It's these moments I love coming home, it reminds me I'm still an integral part of their lives. I'm not forgotten throughout the day and they are excited to catch me up on what I missed.

As a mom to boys, I'm lucky that I was never a girlie-girl. I've learned not to baby them too much and make sure they feel proud of themselves as much as possible. I've also learned the art of the airplane twirls, verbal throw-downs, karate/kung fu/wild kicks maneuvers, and most of all...hugs without the friends looking.

My life is dominated by them. I was meant for boys. Hubby, Parkour Boy, and my 2 little red-headed amigos Holy Terror and Super Wy.

My guys!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Surprise vs. Dinner

"Mommy and Daddy have a surprise for you guys after dinner," I say.

The little boys do their little celebratory wiggle dance in the kitchen. Super Wy hollers, "I love surprises!"

He looks at me expectantly. "Where's my surprise."

"After dinner, Baby Doll."

He does his disgusting face with an extra little pout. "I hate dinner...I no want dinner."

"Okay, you don't have to eat," I shrug and start for the front room. "Of course, that means no surprise either. I guess you can wait until after tomorrow's dinner."

He eyes his new foe, the plate. "Noooo...I want to eat. I hungry."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And the Winner is...

A month ago, Parkour Boy threw down a challenge. Who could draw the best and most original comic hero.

Hubby and I accepted. Drama Queen accepted until she withdrew a couple weeks later...I think due to procrastination.

So, last night was the showing and final decision. Parkour, as the challenger got to choose who showed first, and of course he picked himself (cocky little butt).

Imagine Hubby and I's big "gulp" when he unveiled this:

Dad was up next, and I must say, he put a lot of effort into it:

Okay, okay. I was last to show and really not wanting to. I used to draw (still do sometimes) but am more into nature/scene sketches. I'm horrible at forms....all right, I know. I've stalled enough. Here's mine:

It was a fun little family competition and we enjoyed a good laugh and also admiration for Parkour Boys talent.
...Oh, who won? Well, who do you think of course...the young "whipper snapper".

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Calm Moments

The first summer night, a lukewarm breeze cooling the hot air of the day. The sky watered down by city lights, allowing only the brightest and biggest stars to twinkle down. The scents of grass and pool water mix with those of the garden and concrete.

Hubby sits on a patio chair and I relax on the back stoop. With his legs crossed in that way I've only seen Norris men do, he's got his cigarette propped on his lips and is looking out at the dark. He glances over and grins, his dark green eyes sparkling even in the darkness. I smile back and nod, then look back out at the sky.

Not too much talking, just enjoying the calm moment of our house. Those moments are a rarity and reminds me that Hubby and I are more than just parents. More than just providers.

We're a couple, partners in life even when the dogs grow old and pass on. Even when the kids grow up and move on to their own life. It's nice to know that even when we have nothing much to say, we can feel completely connected.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Super Wy comes in with his new toy cow and makes a squirt sound. "Cow making milk."

"Yeah? What are these?" Daddy asks, pointing at the cow's utters.

"His weenies. That's where the milk comes from," Super Wy says, very proud of himself.

Daddy and I try very hard not to laugh as Daddy goes on to explain. "No, no, Buddy. These are the mommy cow's breasts. They are called utters. That's where milk comes from...only mommy cows."

"Yeah," Super Wy says as if that's what he was saying all along.

"So...Where does the milk come from?" Daddy asks.

"Cow boobies." He makes squirting sounds.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Drama Queen Did It!

Drama Queen did it! She promoted from 8th grade. Next fall she'll be a high schooler. Through laughter, tears, chaos, and yes...drama, my girl made it through three years of middle school.

She looked beautiful on promotion day in a flower dress, high heels, and curly strawberry-blonde hair. Taking pictures in the yard that morning, I tried to hold on to the last moments of her still being my young girl, knowing it was fruitless. The years go by so fast and as we took those pictures together and I had to look up just slightly at hit me that even though she's not my young girl anymore...she's still my baby.

The dimples when she laughs and smiles still tell me of the wonderful happiness she brings us. The pinched brow when she's aggravated tells us the emotional connection we will always have. And the ease of which she cuddles and hugs tell us of the parent/daughter love we have for each other.

So now my daughter, always known for her high energy, independent spirit, and non-filtered opinions is heading to high school. I'm secretly looking forward to the first call from the principals office because Drama Queen's laying out her 4 year vision for the school.

She really is an awesome force to encounter, but the truest friend, student and daughter you'll ever meet.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Graduation Celebration

I remember when we first met. Nerves were on hyper drive as Hubby and I pulled up to his parents house. Their house, as usual during holidays, was totally decked out. His mother loves decorating; just think Martha Stewart x's 100. (Not kidding, at least 1 decorated tree in every room with a different theme...including bedrooms.)

No, it wasn't the first meeting with his parents (we'd already done that) was his little niece, Chelsea.

I walked in and saw the cutest 3 year old decked out in a beautiful Christmas dress and her pretty dark hair curling down her back. I fell in love. It wasn't until later that I realized it was the feeling of becoming an Auntie for the first time.

Now - so many years later - it was a sweet but sad moment yesterday evening, I watched her walk the stage to graduate high school. In my mind she's still that pretty little girl with the dimpled smile and bubbly giggle.

The greatest Auntie moment was when during the reception, she introduced me to her friends. It's always a kick to hear, "This is my Aunt Amber."

*Heart sigh*

Congrat's my wonderful Chelsea! You deserve it and Uncle and I can't wait to see the woman you become.

(In Photo: Hubby, Chelsea, Sister-in-Law Barbara)
Okay, I'm going to go cry again...but don't worry, they're happy tears.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pop Goes the Kernal

Holy Terror watches the microwave from the counter as I toss in the popcorn bag and hit start.

The timer counts down. At about 25 seconds...Pop. Pop. Pop.

His eyes light up and we do the "popcorn dance". He pauses halfway through. "How does a popcorn grow?"

I put my thumb and forefinger together, the gap a kernal size. "The microwave starts and the kernal gets warm."

I lean closer, his eyes fixate on my fingers. "Then hot."

I lean closer still. "Then hotter."

I gather a breath. "And then....POP!" His body jerks as if shocked and he giggles.

I shrug and hold back my laughter. "Then it blows up into a piece of popcorn."


...heee hee hee...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost in Translation

"When I get to Super Daycare's house, I'm going to tell her I love her," Holy Terror says as I help him tie his shoes.

I smile. Super Daycare was the little boys daycare lady for a long time and they still go every so often to visit and love it.

"Then, I'm going to tell her she's beautiful," he adds.

"Aren't you just a regular Don Juan," I say with a laugh.

Holy Terror looks quizzically at me. "What's a Don Juan?"

"Don Juan's are boys who say pretty things to girls to make them feel good about themselves," I reply, tapping his shoe. Intrigued, he smiles and I continue. "So, are you a Don Juan?"

"Yes," he answers. Parkour Boy comes in. "I'm a Don Juan."

"What's a Don Juan?" Parkour asks while looking for his jacket.

"A boy who does pretty things to girls."

Parkours halts and looks at me, shocked.

....uh, yeah. That knowledge didn't transfer quite right.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sound From the Frig

Parkour Boy and I knelt in front of the the refrigerator. Drama Queen stood right behind us, gnawing her lower lip. The clock ticked loudly from the front room. Hazae meowed inquisitively from the counter.

"Shhh!!!" we all urged in unison, not looking away from the frig.

We stared. We listened. We waited.

Girgle, girgle, glup.

"See?!" Parkour Boy exclaimed looking at me in grossed-out confusion.

Drama Queen squealed and jumped lightly foot-to-foot. "Oh, my God! What is that?!"

The cat meowed loudly.

"...I have no idea," and here's where it's obvious I'm a mommy dominated by very boyish boys, "I hope it's not a mouse with diarrhea."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Saturday

  • Stumble out to the front room...fighting sleep to reach the much needed caffeine and to fix breakfast for kids (two of which have been up since before the sun)
  • Getting 5 human beings ready to run errands and arguing with two of them who don't want to go
  • Drop off gun and sunglasses to Dad at work because he forgot them
  • Grocery store with 4 kids and a two page list...fully confirming the need to those apple strudels I picked up at the entrance as I try to catch all the "stuff" the little boys tried to sneak in throughout the store (which included two kids books, toothpaste, chips, and oddly enough hand sanitizer)
  • Home and unloading of suburban full of groceries while arguing with the teenagers to move faster than one bag every 5 minutes and to stop Super Wy from twirling with his open drink on the lawn AND Holy Terror from attacking people with the loose branch he found
  • Drama Queen's friend over for science fair preparations where they had to "test" the experiment in the backyard patio, thereby spewing globbing baking soda and vinegar all over the glass top where it dried to a nice hard cement texture
  • Nap time for little boys and Mommy's only 30 minutes of quiet
  • House cleaning a.k.a General duty by Mommy for kids to pick up their things strewn all over the house
  • Backyard BBQ preparations for Hubby and his fishing buddies to cook up recent victories and share fishing stories
  • Fighting the hose away from Holy Terror when he was spraying Daddy's friends
  • Catching Holy Terror as he ran through the house unwinding blue and red party streamers he found in hall closet
  • Collapsing into bed and leaving Hubby and friends outside laughing and talking, daughter and her friend (who was only supposed to stay for 3 hours but ended up spending the night) giggling in the front room, and my son who was pissed because he had to let the girls alone and go draw in his room, and two boys who were passed out in their beds from a full day's toddler work
Just another Saturday at the Norris house.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Movie Night

With our work schedules, Hubby and I haven't had the opportunity to do something all as a family in a while. So when my work was hosting an outdoor showing of Star Trek we plucked at the chance. Camping chairs, check. Blankets, check. Jackets, check. Keeping it a mystery surprise for kids, check (until I slipped up twenty minutes before leaving).

We parked, unloaded - which is an ordeal in and of itself with 4 kids to wrangle - then walked into the courtyard where the screen, popcorn, and candy were waiting.

The older kids are comfortable with my work from all the employee family stuff it used put on, but for the little boys this was a true adventure. They ran around the courtyard, chatted it up with my coworkers, and tried to escape and explore while waiting for dark to set in.

In a funny way with the outdoor setting, blankets, and screen it reminded me of the drive-in.

I used to love the drive-in. The summer nights, dusty lot, funky speakers, and large screen. My sister, brother and I would crawl onto the roof and lay out under a blanket on a sleeping bag. As the middle child, I was obligated to the middle position. It was the rare occasion when that was okay because it meant I was also the popcorn holder and never had to fight for the blanket.

Most of the time I'd end up watching the people in the adjacent cars. Wondering who they were, if they were enjoying the show, what they were talking about. I miss those drive-in's.

Looking down at the kids, all laying down under the blanket giggling and whispering I was glad we'd taken the time to go. It's not the full drive-in sibling experience from my childhood, but was a little touch of memory they could share and remember when they grow up.

There was something I never got to experience that I wish I had...seeing a cool helicopter at the end of the evening.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Monster's Under the Bed

I spot Super Wy peeking from the hallway. His cute curly hair mussed up on his head, his blue eyes pensively watching me.

"It's time for bed, Sweetie."

"My room dark and not nice," he says very quietly.

"Not nice, huh? Why is it not nice?"

He points and gestures in an almost politician style and makes his case. "It really dark, with monsters under the bed...and in the closet. They no afraid of the tv. Holy Terror is sleepin'..."

He darts a look back towards his room, then to Drama Queen's door. I can almost see the light blub spark above his head.

"Drama Queen's room is very nice. Monster don't go there. And her bed comfy. And she loves me." He looks at me with that Hubby smile he inherited, his eyes twinkling just like his dad's. "She not sleepin'."

I laugh. I know I can't resist him. He knows I can't resist him. "Okay...go lay with your sister. Love you, Honey."

He tossin' in his infamous cupid smile and then heads towards Drama Queen's room. "Kay. Luv you."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mommy's Day

What a great day!

Mother's Day was so awesome and my husband and kids were so great. They do Mother's Day so wonderful. Breakfast in the morning, spoiling all day long, and pizza and movies in the evening.

As Moms, we don't expect reward for taking care of our kids and making the best life possible for them. The joy and need comes naturally to breathing, walking, and talking. It's what we're suppose to do...and doing it completes us as a person.

But it is nice when your family shows appreciation for the work involved in being a Mommy. When they show what you mean to them. As the kids grow up, it becomes harder to define what part we play in their lives anymore. That visual slice becomes smaller and smaller. So when the teenagers give those extra hugs, kisses, laughter, and smiles on Mommy's Day to show that I still am an important part in their hearts, it means a lot.

And the little boys were so excited, this was the first year they fully participated in the festivities. They loved it so much they didn't want it to end.

Super Wy laid in my lap after nap, playing with my hand and said, "I wish everyday was Mommy's Day." me, everyday IS Mommy's Day and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dinosaur Keeper

Super Wy comes running in from the backyard.

"Mom, Mom, where are my shoes?!" He asks bouncing up and down on his toes. "I got to work."

"What are you going to do, Honey?" I ask absently while reading over my daughter's chosen high school electives for next year.

His face goes very serious and he points like a instructor. "I'm picking up dinosaur poo."

I try very hard not to scrunch my face is disgust. Before I can follow up on that little jewel he continues.

"I need ta' pick up Dinosaur poo and find dinosaur eggs."

From the kitchen my oldest son's head pops out, a big guilty grin on his face. I remember it is his turn to pick up the dog droppings from the backyard.

"Moooommmmm...where's my shoes?!"

Now, my dilemma: Do I let my littlest enjoy the "adventure" or do I admonish my eldest for trickery?

"They're in the closest. Have fun."

...Why dash his hopes?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Making an Impact

Growing up, my dreams evolved but one constant theme stuck. I always wanted to make an impact. To have a big dent in this world stamped with "Amber was here".

It started rudimentary enough with dreams of becoming Optimus Prime, which led to Wonder Woman, Bruce Lee, an astronaut, and all the way to being an FBI Agent. As you can guess, those career ideas didn't really pan out for various reasons:
  • Optimus Prime = not an alien robot
  • Wonder Woman = born in US and not in a super female Amazonian tribe
  • Bruce Lee = lacked required parts and nationality
  • Astronaut = eyesight and motion sickness
FBI Agent...well, now that one was possible. It ended up being the top profession in my aptitude test and all my scores placed me as a prime candidate if that path had...well, let's just say for a long time a small part of me thought I'd failed myself. That I'd not reach my life potential.

Just a small seed, but we all know small seeds fester.

It was some time before I realized everything worked for a reason. I had this hidden mom gene inside that needed to bust through (blast through really). There was this creative and artistic streak that was slowly being smothered by my analytical side. There was this sense of family, nesting, and community slowly suffocating by my need for privacy and solitude.

Now, so many years later, I've started to feel comfortable in my own skin and have built a niche in the world. Not the big moon size crater I'd planned, but a more meaningful and deeper one than I'd ever imagined.

It's hard to take when dreams get dashed, sliced, or dissipate but there really is a reason. Sometimes what you most want isn't what you most want and you don't realize it until the real thing you've been wanting comes along.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No is an Answer

Dr. M looks at us and smiles, "Okay. Height, weight all good and in the 90th percentile. Eyesight excellent. Hearing excellent..."

"Really?" Hubby and I say together in surprise.

"Yup. He's just got a case of selective hearing. Very common I find." Dr. M smiles and turns back to Holy Terror sitting on the exam table.

She goes through the usual physical. Thyroids, joints, ears, belly, and so on. There's a bit of awkwardness with the...well, you parents of boys know that part...

Still reeling from this bit of "weirdness" Dr. M has him stand up and plant his feet, then stands behind him and says, "Okay, now bend over and touch your toes."

"No," Holy Terror gives his - very successful - icy stare and steps away to face her.

"I just have to check your spine."

"No." He's got his shoulders stiffened and looks ready to defend his boundary at any further provocation.

I've been through this before with my oldest and am trying very hard not to burst into laughter. My husband's eyes are gleaming with amusement.

Hubby takes the lead and leans towards Holy Terror, man-to-man like. "Dr. M just needs to see if your spine's straight, Buddy."

"No." It's all very black-and-white, no nonsense here. No.

"Okay. No pressure. What about I see if the ear flusher is ready and come back?" Dr. M gives me a smile over Holy Terror's head and starts to step out. She's been with us since the first and is completely amazing.

I have Hubby hand me Holy Terror's pants. I hold them out to him. "What if we have your pants on? Then will you let her see your back?"

He stares at the pants for a moment and then nods. "Ok."

Now, if he'd still said no...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mash Potato Flames

Super Wy pokes at his mash potatoes and then looks up at me with his brightest "please" smile.

"Me outta mustard." His smile brightens a notch.

(Notice he doesn't ask for anything to go with the mustard...he just eats the mustard El solo.)

"Not until you finish your veges and potatoes."

Disgust flashes across his face for a millisecond before it turns grave. "No. Can't. They make fire on my tongue."

"What?" I ask, incredulous. "The mash potatoes will light your tongue on fire?"

He nods his head slowly up and down and looks very seriously at me. "Yeah."

...Can't Super Wy come up with a non-drama reason to NOT eat his mash potatoes? Of course not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cow Milk and Ice Cream

When the teenagers were little and the toddlers not even thought of, our main transportation was the city bus. Well, time goes how it goes and our one car became two and the bus riding stopped.

We were on the way to dinner last Friday with my mom and her husband when a bus passed by. The little toddlers looked at it with amazement as they always do. Such an exciting and mysterious contraption for them. They talked about it like it was the most wonderful thing.

And then it hit me. That's what we need, a bus adventure.

Saturday morning we set up and headed out. Holy Terror and Super Wy were like human atoms, boucning around with excitement. The teenagers didn't quite get it, but were having fun and getting into the spirit.

There we stood waiting at the bus stop, Billy standing on the tree stump to keep watch. Within 5 minutes, he called, "Here it comes."

The big bus rumbled to a stop and shoosh the doors folded open. The little boys are shaking and making weird hyper squeaking noises. They stepped up behind me, holding their big sibling's hands. Of course, that is, long enough to get by me and zip to the back of the bus.

I had so much fun watching them look out the big windows and say hello to everyone who came on and off the bus during our 30 minute ride to downtown. Then we transferred to go from downtown to the other side of town, where we surprised Daddy at work and joined him for lunch at Foster Freeze.

Now, at this point you're probably wondering about the title of this post. "What does cow milk and ice cream have to do with the bus ride?"

Let me go on here. We finished our meals and started in on our ice cream dessert when Daddy asked Super Wy, "What is ice cream made of?"

"Milk," he responded, taking another lick.

"Where does milk come from?" Scarlet asked.

"Cows...they pee it out," he said in his most serious tone and took another lick.

...and now you know...I bet you thought I was going to have another emotional mommy moment pouring onto the screen, huh?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Norris Polar Bear Club

After the unusually hot March days we had last week, Hubby and I decided to get the pool and set it up Saturday afternoon. The teenagers helped clear the ground, lay the sand, and set up the frame. Then we filled it (yay for the upcoming high water bill...not). The whole thing was done by 11 pm.

Waking up Sunday, the kids were all about swimming. Only problem? It was your regular overcast March morning with 50 degree temperatures. Did this stop my crew?

Of course not, Silly.

They ate breakfast with gusto. They bickered over which float toys each were going to get. And they waited for the sun to break through the mid morning clouds. I kept warning them is was going to be too cold. But each time their response was more defensive and sure.

Ka-blam! An itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie ray of light burst through the cloudy day and shone on a 4 inch patch of the backyard. They were off like race horses, running out the backdoor, around to the back part of the yard. The teenagers ripped the cover off and all four jumped in.

All all four jumped right back out with a squeal.

I stood on the back porch laughing my you-know-what off. Super Wy and Parkour Boy (of course it would be our old souls) were smart enough to call it a swim day. Drama Queen and Holy Terror braved the ice water and jumped back in like the cute little fools they are.

They put up a front...though an unbelievable one.

"T-t-t-t-this is gr-gr-great, Mom. Y-y-you sh-sh-sh-should jump in!" Drama Queen chattered from the edge of the pool. Holy Terror piped in with agreement, his lips already turning a purpley blue.

"Not if you paid me a million dollars," I hollered back from the comfort of our backyard steps. I bundled my sweater tighter and went in to enjoy the warmth of the house.

Five minutes later I heard them jumping out. I peaked out the kitchen window and spotted my little Norris Polar Bears wrapping up in a comforter in the backyard.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Godzilla Whisperer

Holy Terror finishes of the last of his Alfredo shell pasta and pinches his face at the green beans. He looks around at the other family member's dishes and stops at Super Wy's. On Super Wy's plate is a nice, untouched serving of Alfredo shell pasta.

Sitting and admiring the wonderful treasure that Super Wy currently possesses, he rolls his lips. His eyes flash like a salesman about to deal.

"Super Wy, you want your noodles?" He puts on his biggest, best, big brother smile.

Super Wy crouches forward a bit, his eyes barely above the plate and snarls. He grabs a piece of tri-tip, dips it in his ketchup-mustard-A1 concoction (I know, gross), and chomps it down.

"Come on. You want to give me your noodles?" Holy Terror's trying to be patient and keep the facade of a loving and supportive brother on...but it's wearing by the glint growing in his eyes.

Super Wy growls and twirls his head clock-wise. He turns to me and curls his lip. "I Godzilla."

"Oh," I say with some respectful exaggeration. "Well, Godzilla. You think Holy Terror could get your pasta?"

He growls.

"I don't speak monster lizard, Honey. Nod your answer so I'll know."

He growls and snarls again while he nods. Holy Terror smiles and wiggles in his seat. I dish over the goods and all is happy.

Just call me the Godzilla Whisperer...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinosaur Woods. Log Entry...

Okay, okay. I know you're glad I didn't complete the Star Trek reference. I'll just jump into the Dinosaur Woods trip.

The hiking trail on the outskirts of town is not really called the Dinosaur Woods, but it's our name for it. I'd almost forgotten until the little boys were watching a dinosaur movie and people were running through a forest. Holy Terror piped in with, "It's Dinosaur Forest".

Memories flooded in where Parkour Boy and Drama Queen were the little boy's ages. We'd packed a lunch then too, and worked our way up and down the valley hills to the trail mound and looked out at the entire valley.

Sunday we started out about an hour before lunch. There are dozens of paths to choose from and each led you through a vastly different scenery on the way towards the top. I let the kids choose the paths we took and allowed them to stop and explore, play, or rest whenever.

Super Wy and Holy Terror were on the look out for real dinosaurs, but just in case, Super Wy brought his own. We have good documentation of his activities throughout our journey.

The whole trip was so wonderful and all the kids had fun. There were our normal mishaps and chaos, but it wouldn't be the Norris' without them. Super Wy's stumble, Scarlet's infamous eye rolls, Parkour Boy's vanity of picture taking, and Holy Terror's ritual meltdown.

Minor stuff in our world.

As we rose to the top and looked out, I watched all the kids connect the big picture of their presence. This is their home; a place that will always be a part of them.

Yet, for the older kids, I saw a bit more. They took that moment to validate their place, then looked further out. Just beyond is the adventure that they will be taking in a few short years. Parkour, I could sense, felt it the most. And to my little sadness, I saw the mental gnawing at the bits to get started.

Ugh, every Mom moment these days seems to be bittersweet. Time's just flying by faster each year. I pushed it aside, like I do ALL the other Mom moments and focused on picture taking - or "Momarrazi", as the kids call it - and enjoying the moment before it was gone.

The trip back was a bit slower, and the kids passed out once we got home. Any trip that ends in my little boys dropping to sleep in the middle of day is a great trip.

Hope you all enjoyed the post, and are busy making your own moments!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Annnnnd....We're Back!

Yes, the Norris Ranch is finally back on its feet. All kids are healthy. Both parents are healthy. Dogs and cat are...well...okay, they were never sick.


Last night was the first night things were back to routine and let me tell you...Phew! Our lives are so normally chaotic, loud, and crazy but there's a pattern and ritual to it. It's a positive chaotic, loud, crazy.

Ash and I knew something was off when, during the sick, the house was quiet, lights were dim and/or off, and no one was arguing or laughing.

But, like I was saying, it's all back. There's monsters and dinosaurs growling and eating action figures. Kitty is getting Super Wy into trouble (so Super Wy claims), Parkour Boy and Holy Terror are wrestling in the front room. Drama Queen's mouth and eye rolls are in full gear.

This weekend we're going to celebrate our health with a nice hike in the Valley.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Paper Bag Warfare

It all started so innocently. Daddy brings home groceries and the little boys get the two paper bags. They're bright, new paper bags with wonderful handles. The little boys giggle and jump with the happiness of a new treasure.

Many thoughts cross their minds with these amazing contraptions. They start simple, carrying small toys. Next they pretend to be shoppers, then put them on their heads, then go back to carrying toys.

One little misstep and glint of war...Holy Terror, in his excitement, twirls a little too fast and the bag hits Super Wy's side.

Super Wy glares. "You hit me!"

Holy Terror's pride kicks in. "So?"

As Mommy, I try to let them learn to work it out on their own. It's a tricky balance, I realize as I sit on the sidelines and watch, ready to step in if needed.

Super Wy whops Holy Terror on the arm and smirks. Holy Terror growls and smacks Super Wy in the leg. A tirade of paper bag flying and toddler howls ensue. I prepare to intercede, but as I walk over they slow down and drop to the floor. Both look unhappy, exhausted, and ready to cry.

"Let's go play with cars," Holy Terror offers in the way of a truce.

"Kay," Super Wy whimpers in assent.

They both head off together, the paper bags left in ruins on the front room floor.

...and the moment of insanity ends...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Worthy Foes

Stepping out of the kitchen I am confronted with two worthy foes. They are ready with fighting stances and hands ready for karate-choppin.

Toddler Fung Fu is on!

I jump twirl with a low kick to the Mighty Holy Terror and he goes down. I land with a tickle chop to the Super Wy, who runs to gather defense.

Holy Terror rolls and rises, rocking from foot-to-foot, his hands slowly circling. It's a distraction technique and works. Super Wy has snuck up and slaps my rear with the dangerous ninja sword of plastic. Holy Terror jumps and kicks my lower leg and does some quick punches to my belly.

I down. I am defeated. The two ninjas fly into the mists of the Eastern Norris Land...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stinkin' Line

I hurry through the sliding entry doors of CVS and start looking for the items on my mental list. Parkour's holding Super Wy's hand and I've got a tight grip on Holy Terror.

(Holy Terror + Store = Potential Time Bomb Waiting to Happen)

"Oh man, Mom. There's a huge stinkin' line. Check out will take forever," Parkour Boy says under his breath to me.

I nod agreement as my hopes of a quick trip are crushed.

We are passing the incontinence aisle when Holy Terror pipes in with, "What are those?"

Now, anyone who knows Holy Terror knows he was not born with volume control. So, everything he says is one notch away from a yell.

"They look like diapers, but why are old people on them?"

"Shh, Honey. Don't worry about those...and keep your voice down," I say, tightening my grip a bit to ensure he doesn't leap over for a better look.

We go through and pick up everything and I prepare for the wait in line with one teenager and two crazy toddlers.

We stand behind about eight people with full carts and baskets.

Holy Terror tosses a big sigh and groans, "Man, this is a stinky line."

Holy Terror and his loud voice rides again...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

That Means It's Done

Beep, beep, beep.

"It's done!" Super Wy hops off the couch and does a little boogey dance.

"Not boiling yet, Mom," Parkour hollers from the kitchen. I hear the little pings as he increases the time.

Super Wy gestures towards the kitchen. "Come on, Mom. It's done."

"No. It's not boiling. Parkour's put more time on the timer." I ruffle his curly red hair, which is always a matter how much brushing is done to it.

A cute frown purses on his face. "But, it went beep, beep, beep. That means it's done."

"Usually. This times it's not, Honey."

Hopes of food dashes from Super Wy's eyes. He looks close to crying as he sits slowly back on the couch and covers his face with his pudgy little hands.

"But it went beep, beep, beep," he whimpers to herself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What the Heck?

What the heck happened to the week? It's already the end of Wednesday...this is crazy. Looking back I realize it was just a chaotic week that included insane writing fury on a story, heavy workload, and worst of all...sick babies.

Yay for Mommy and Daddy!!!

The cool thing about having a large family, though, is that siblings automatically draw to each other for support. As I sit here typing the older kids have set up camp to hang in the little boys room.

They're all giggling and joking.

Drama Queen's, "It's okay little baby."

Parkour Boy's, "It's a spider. No, just kiddin." (male-type support...very important I'm told).

These are some funny kids I got. What they probably don't realize is they're at their best when they're all pinging together. They bring out the best in each other.

Parkour opens up, loses the cynicism, and just really allows himself to be a natural leader and positive man. Drama Queen shakes off the sarcastic diva, slows down her over-thinking and shows love and tenderness...and thought to other people.

Holy Terror and Super Wy both chill out with the anarchy, conniving war strategies and adventures to just enjoy the moment.

Every time I see them in these perfect moments I feel like Super Mom.