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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28th! It’s April 28th! Do you know what that means? My sweet little teeny-tiny Zachary is THREE YEARS OLD TODAY! I can’t believe it. And in true Zachy-fasion, he came charging into the kitchen at 6:30 this morning – full speed ahead with a one track, cereal-obsessed mind. I picked him up and said, “Do you know what today is?” He calmly said, “Is it my birthday now?” “YES!” I yelled and started dancing around the kitchen singing ‘Happy Birthday’ only to have him clap his hand over my mouth, shake his head and say, “No, Mommy. No singing. Cereal. Can I please have cereal?” That’s my boy.

Our boys have apparently been up to some clandestine business. Apparently they’re sneaking off somewhere and watching Disney Princess films. I mean, there are WORSE things for them to be doing or watching, but seriously. Seriously? Where are they learning this?

Last Friday, we went to a Hawaiian/Beach Party at church. I wore the sarong that Mike bought for me 7 years ago on our Honeymoon in Waikiki. The boys don’t see me dressed up that often. I wear skirts occasionally for church, but this sarong fanciness was just mystical and new. When Matthew saw me, he literally got down on one knee, took my hand in his, held it to his forehead and then kissed it. He called me, “Princess,” and then brought Zachary into the room to see me. He demonstrated his regal gentlemanly move to Zach and then coached his now-three-year-old brother on how to properly bow, kneel, take my hand, show respect and adoration and then kiss me. All while only referring to me as “Princess.” Our future daughter-in-laws better seriously appreciate the training that these boys have undergone. (But the question is WHERE have they learned this?! Oh well. Whatever. I’ll take it)!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I just got back from my first “big” ride. And by “big” I mean – I got up at 6am, so that under the cloak of early morning most people would not be up to see me. And by “big” I also mean it was about a 4 ½ mile ride. For a run, people would think, “Oh, OK, that’s pretty good.” For a bike ride? “Puh-lease. That’s no ‘big’ ride.” But the early morning gave me solitude. It might take me a while to figure out how to smoothly change gears and get up and down hills in one piece. And it was nice staying on mostly quiet neighborhood streets without many cars.

Another thing that I’ll need to figure out is what to wear on an early morning bike ride. Yeah, yeah, fashion doesn’t matter for 6am exercise, but comfort does. I know what to wear for a 6am run! Um, apparently it’s not at all the same for a bike ride. I was FREEZING. I forgot to take into account the fact that on a bike, I’ll be going a lot faster than when I run, and I’d have this whole speedy-wind-blowing thing happen. I’m sad to report that I just don’t run fast enough to have cold speed-induced wind whipping around me constantly. (Shocking, I know).

I’m proud to say that I didn’t completely baby-step into this ride though. Yes, I did go early so few would see me, and yes, I did avoid streets and mostly stayed on sidewalks, but I DID take on some hills. The first big hill I did is a beast. It’s one of the hills that Andrea and I do ‘hill repeats’ on when we’re in the mood for torture on a run. I was so pumped up for this hill, totally pep-talking myself the whole…way…up…to about half-way where I came to a total stand-still ‘cuz I couldn’t figure out the gears. Do you go so super-fast-easy (I don’t know what kind of gear this is…uh, low?) that your legs are churning so quickly you’re like a hamster in a wheel? Or do you crank that gear on and rock it slow and steady, standing on those pedals to climb that bad boy of a hill? I think I got stuck somewhere in between, and I just came to a complete stop. I immediately had visions of my 11 year old bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head-self walking my bike up yet another hill. I quickly checked the sidewalk for any signs of my Jack-in-the-Box/giant ping pong ball head shadow but didn’t see one. Oh right, the sun isn’t up yet for shadows. At the top of the hill, I stopped for a moment looking down at my bike and fiddling with the seat height. Really, there was no problem whatsoever with my bike or seat; I just wanted to make it look like there was a reason for my needing to WALK up the hill lest anyone see and wonder why I’m such a wuss.

And what goes up must come down. Now, this neighborhood south of us has some serious hills, and I didn’t choose just any hill to go down, I chose the hill of all hills, the mountain of all mountains. I chose Mount Olympus. No, really. The neighborhood is called Olympus and this is a HUGE, long, STEEP hill at the entrance into the neighborhood. It’s totally reasonable that this hill be called Mount Olympus. It makes sense. And I bet you anything people do call it that. So, Mount Olympus it is. It was, um, scary. But I went slowly. Oh my goodness, I went so. ridiculously. SLOW. No, spandex-clad, team rides for me…until I’m not terrified of going downhill.

The boys think my bike is beyond cool. They’re mesmerized by the whole thing. The fact that I even have a helmet totally rocks their world. Zach thought it was the funniest thing ever when we bonked helmet-heads together. Last night, when we got home from swim lessons, it was still light out and had stopped raining, so we decided to ride around on our street for a little bit. One of the neighbors drove by and looking at all of us – Matthew and I on bikes and Zachary on his tricycle – he said, “Woah, check out the neighborhood biker gang!” When I told Matthew that I was going to get up early this morning and go for a ride he said, “I’ll come too!” I had to let him down gently, after all, he is our ‘teenage boy’ when it comes to sleeping and getting up in the morning. It’s hard to turn down a kid with a jack-o-lantern smile like this. (But I did. Mean mommy. I did.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 21, 2009

Today I bought a bicycle. I am a bicycle owner. This is the first bike that I have owned in, mmmm, five years. The one that I sold at our garage sale five years ago, however, I hadn’t ridden in, mmmm, five years, and it was the bike that I’d had since I was 13ish. It was time – time for that one to go.

So, I’ve been doing the Spin (indoor cycle) class at the gym for a year and a half now, and I LOVE it. It is such fun, sweatastic torture; it kinda rocks my world. A lot. When I first told Mike that – because of my love for and skill in Spin – I wanted to get an ‘actual’ bike, he looked at me for a moment, thinking. Then he said, “You realize it’s not going to be the same as Spin – the bike actually moves. Outside.”

I rolled my eyes, not even gifting him with a response.

“You’ll have to go down hills and fast.” Ahhh, there he hit a nerve. I have a fear of down hills and fast – particularly when they happen at the same time. This was a serious issue for us when, very early on in our relationship, Mike tried to teach me how to rollerblade. We were in the Montlake Parking lot at the UW – this enormous expanse of parking lot that…was…too…steep…for…me. I’m telling you, you don’t realize how bumpy and lumpy parking lots are until you’re traversing the mountainous plains on a couple of pairs of wheels. Terrifying. (“Mountainous plains” – yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron). Needless-to-say, the rollerblading lessons were a test to our relationship. We survived, but I have never rollerbladed since.

Yes, I realize that I may have to go downhill quickly, but it’s a challenge I’m ready to face. That’s what the brakes are for anyway! The other challenge I may have to face is cars…scary. Cars are scary and fast. I think I’ll be more of a bike trails kind of a biker not a militant “Share the Road,” driving IN the car lane kind of cyclist.

I have ambitions of becoming one of those cyclists with the fancy spandex and alienesque bike helmets that ride in packs in the wee hours of weekend mornings. Except I won’t drive near cars…and I may sort of avoid going downhill. Up hill on the other hand. Bring it on!

I also have one other issue. I have extremely low bike helmet self-esteem. This issue can be traced back to my childhood as so many of our issues can. (My childhood was excellent, by the way). My first and only ever bike helmet was this perfectly round bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head situation. My shadow looked like Jack from Jack in the Box commercials. PERFECTLY ROUND. I looked like a big pink ping pong ball on a body. My best friend from childhood, Rachel, still likes to mock my bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head. Hey – she had to be seen with me, so I took us both down!

So, I bought a non-bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head helmet yesterday. It’s sleek – silver and periwinkle but periwinkle in a very grown-up cyclist sort of a way. When I put it on, the boys (as if prompted), said, “Cool, Mom. That helmet is SO cool.” Hmmm. No matter how ‘cool’ it may be (and I have doubts that it is actually cool), I still feel like a chubby 11 year old in a bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet. Maybe the fancy spandex will help. Bright spandex? Making me feel cooler? Less dorky? That, I fear, is also an oxymoron.

Today, I bought a bicycle. A grown-up, grip shifting 21-speed, dark blue beauty of a bicycle. It doesn’t have slick little racing wheels or the fancy racing curved-down handlebars. Instead of being all hunched over, focused on the race, I can sit-up comfortably enjoying the view and the ride. I have ambitions of becoming a fancy spandexed-cool-helmet-racing cyclist, but for now I’m happy with the fact that I actually have a bike to ride and the immense desire to ride it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Was it my blatant disrespect and flippancy? Did my irreverence and mockery of that nasty of nasties: vomit, earn me a just and appropriate punishment?! If so, I will never again treat the subject of vomiting with such an uncouth demeanor….except for this one last time; just right now; this once.

On Tuesday, I posted my last Blog entry regarding the pukey natures of our children. Little did I know that the same fate was about to be dealt unto moi. I felt absolutely, perfectly fine in the morning. I did my usual Tuesday routine – took Matthew to preschool and then Zachary and I went to the gym where I partook in the fun-torture of sweat-dripping spin class. After class, I got showered, retrieved my youngest from the gym kids’ club, my eldest from preschool and then we drove up to my friend Rebecca’s house for a play date.

Rebecca and I have established a marvelous trend with our play dates. We fix an easy, kid-friendly lunch for the boys (four of them, when we’re all together), then once they’re happily playing, we sit down to a feast of gourmet deliciousness…and occasionally a glass or two of wine. Now, my two “Going Out Girls” – Rebecca and Larissa, with whom I go out dancing approximately once a month – have a delightful time mocking what a “light weight” I am. As Larissa says it only takes a drink or two and Jenny is “HILARIOUS on the sauce.” So, I guess this is a good thing. It means: a.) I’m a cheap date, b.) I don’t ever drink much or really ‘over my limit’ as my limit is so low, and c.) I make for an excellent Designated Driver as I can’t have anything at all or I lose my DD role. Though I’m not often allowed to be DD as I’m “HILARIOUS on the sauce.”

Back to Tuesday afternoon, Rebecca and I were off to a grand start – a delicious lunch and a glass of wine. OK, a glass and a half. That’s it. We’d been visiting for a couple of hours, when suddenly I started to not feel well at all.

“What’s the deal? Why do I feel so awful?” I asked Rebecca.

“I don’t know,” she said, “you haven’t even had two full glasses…you should be able to handle that much.”

And then, it hit me. Oh man, I’m going to be sick. I believe that I somewhat calmly said, “I think I need to go throw up now.” I got myself to the bathroom and WAZAMEE. I won’t go into the gory details, but let’s just say it was gory. This was a rated R – no kids under 17 allowed in without parents – kind of a vomit. It was a horror movie. I immediately thought of Zach and how he so calmly handled his rainbow puke incident. Oye.

I reclined on the couch for a little bit and then feeling better decided I better get us home. We had about 20 minutes on 405 during which I practically had my head hanging out the window like a dog, just hoping the fresh air would make me feel better. Zach fell asleep and Matthew was sitting ever so quiet and peacefully in the back seat while I fought my own personal hell in the front. I managed to get us to our exit and was about 3 minutes from home when I had to pull off the road into a gravel turnaround and get sick again…into the plastic bag we use for garbage in the car. Matthew, during my…uh ‘episode’, said, “Mommy, the bag is leaking.” Just what you want to hear.

We made it home, and I called Mike saying, ‘back-up, I need back-up.’ I got the boys in the house, 101 Dalmatians turned on, wiped up the car a little bit, and then got sick again…and again…and again..and again. I don’t remember the last time that I was sick like that. And I don’t want to. I don’t ever want to remember it ever again. (Good thing I’m documenting this for all eternity).

So, what was it? Was it food poisoning? Stomach flu? With the exception of Zach’s one random rainbow vomitous occasion, no one else has gotten sick (thank goodness!). Punishment for making a mockery of vomit?

And speaking of mockery, yesterday, Mike had the audacity to mock my puking skills. Like – you have to be good at vomiting! He said, “Yeah, you’re a terrible puker. The boys handle it better than you. They just puke, get it done and move on. You spend all this extra energy freaking out and kicking your legs and practically convulsing.”

“Well, I don’t like throwing up!” I cried defensively. “I mean, what am I supposed to do? It’s puke! Why am I so bad at it?”

“Woah,” Mike said, “are you offended because you’re not a good puker?”

“I’m offended because YOU said I’m not a good puker. I might be an excellent puker, it’s just that you have a low opinion of my puking skills, and that’s just not nice.”

“Are you really actually SAD that you don’t have good puking skills?” He asked.

“Um, I don’t know. Why are we still even talking about this and analyzing my puking skills?”

By the way, for the record, I’m an AMAZING puker. (OK, who am I kidding? I’m the worst puker I know. But I have many of other good and valuable qualities to make up for my lack of puking skills). I told my parents today how poorly Mike thinks of my puketasticness, and my dad said, without skipping a bit, “Yeah, you’ve always been bad at it.”


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our kids were MADE to take road trips across our state…with one major exception, which I’ll get to later. But seriously, Eastern Washington is actually VERY exciting for two John Deere and farm obsessed little boys. We spent Easter weekend in Spokane with Mike’s family and had a great time…with one major exception…that I’ll get to. The boys were super thrilled to have three ‘sleepovers’ in a hotel with a pool and to see their Aunt Jamie, Uncle Dan and Uncle Harry and Aunt Dolores/Nana. (Matthew combined Uncle Harry and Nana at one point into ‘Uncle Nanny.’ He’s just following the trend I guess. That’s sorta like Brangelina.)

We spent time with the family, eating a lot of great food and trying to get the wiggles out of our kiddles at the hotel pool and the playground at church. On Easter Sunday, after discovering that the Easter Bunny does hop his butt into a Spokane hotel room, we had the hotel continental breakfast – a healthy affair of rainbow Fruit Loops, lime green yogurt some apple and a couple pieces of Easter candy. We went to church to fight the crowds at the 11am Mass. A couple of times during church, Zach said his tummy hurt. We didn’t think too much of it as he’d said the same thing a couple of times earlier in the weekend. And apparently, we are the type of parents who ignore their children’s pleas for help.

When Mass was over, we wanted to let the boys rip around a bit before going to Harry and Dolores’ for Easter dinner. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain, so the playground was not going to work. We decided to visit a McDonald’s in the area that had a great indoor play place. I sat Zach down on the bench to remove his shoes so he could join Matthew on the big rainbow climbing structure when…it happened…that exception that I discussed earlier…the reason why our boys aren’t necessarily the best travelers…they take after their parents. They are pukey. They are a very pukey little people.

Zach proceeded to vomit repeatedly – a cheery Happy Easter vivid and colorful confection of vomit that matched the McDonald’s play structure in brightness but represented all the hues from his rainbow breakfast. And of course, OF COURSE, I was concerned for the well-being of my little one though I did manage to quickly jump back and just hold him with arm extended. I saved my ‘Easter dress,’ however I did get a smattering of brilliant Easter vomit on the toe of my boot. (Good thing I wasn’t wearing open-toed shoes!)

This is why our kids are – yet aren’t – good travelers. The thing is we all tend to get car sick fairly easily, but the great thing about our kids is they handle puke like little puketastic champions. (Yes, they handle vomiting WAY better than I do.) Zach even mentioned nonchalantly later at Harry and Dolores, “I puked at McDonald’s.” Like – no big. Just another day in my life, guys. What up?

Meanwhile, back at McDonald’s during the spectacular moment, I stood there frozen not knowing what to do. Mike was in the main part of the restaurant so I was solo with the boys. Thankfully (but unfortunately for them), another family was eating nearby. (Mmm, bet they enjoyed the last part of their meal). The mom jumped up and said that she’d let someone know what had gone on. Mike arrived and stopped in his tracks. His look said something like, “Ahhh, snap!”

We stripped off Zach’s shoes and pants and jacket. He saved his new Easter shirt at least! We wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a mang—…no wait, that’s a different Christian holiday and a different baby all together. We wrapped him in my coat and sat him on the bench.

Within moments a young (maybe 16 year old) dude came in with his McD’s mop and traveling bucket ‘o soapy water. He was the coolest kid EVER. When I started to apologize for the mess, he cut me off and said, “I have a little brother…I’ve had this stuff all over me. And once, when I was little I ate my entire Easter basket of candy in an hour. I puked rainbow ALL NIGHT…oh, sorry, you’re eating, you probably didn’t need to hear that.” We assured him that we could definitely handle it and continued with our cinnamon roll as if we’d been discussing the weather.

After a bit, Zach had perked up substantially and asked to play on the big toy. “Hmmm,” we said, “the sign says socks are required; it doesn’t say anything about pants!” But we opted to keep our little puker contained with us on the bench.

The rest of our Easter trip was great…until…the LONG drive home. Apparently the return trip through Eastern Washington just isn’t quite as magical and exciting as on the way there. By the time we neared Ellensburg (a little over half-way to home), we heard the dreaded words – this time from Matthew: “I think I’m going to throw-up now.” But then he didn’t. We were worried when we stopped for lunch at Taco Bell.

“Let’s see,” Mike said, “we’ve vomited in a Jack in the Box [after a road trip with Matthew, once] and now a McDonalds…I guess we should give Taco Bell a chance.” Thankfully, Matthew’s upset tummy never did amount to anything though we did forego swim lessons yesterday afternoon. The thought of Matthew puking in the pool with all those kids in there…yeah, we just didn’t think we should go there.

Ahhh, just another vacation with the Martins!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ahh, children. Last night during dinner Zachary said something that just cracked me up. I was having a glass of wine (this is not breaking news), and he looked over at me and said, “Mom, stop with the wine.” What? Does he think I’m on the sauce too much or something?! As far as I know one glass of wine every day or every couple of days is not only healthy but even Dr. Oz approved! Stop with the wine! Ha!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The entire Seattle area has been sprinkled with magic dust. When the sun FINALLY makes its lazy appearance here, the whole world (of Seattle) changes. People are happier, friendlier. Maybe they don’t need to be quite so jacked up on caffeine. The sun energizes them in a way that mocks a coffee-induced stupor during a rainstorm or gray constipated sky. We don’t need to be quite so wired and high-strung. We’re all just a little more laidback and a lot happier.

Funny to think that only five days ago we had snow!! This wacky weather. OK, I will move on, I don’t actually plan on blogging about the weather.

This weekend, with the added blessing of sunny warm magic, was fantastic. My brother Timothy and sister-in-law Rebecca came up to celebrate an early Easter. We spent Saturday at the parental units’ place. There was Lego-play, delicious food, a trip to the art museum (for a select few of us), Easter egg-dying, wine-drinking, more delicious food-eating…and more Lego-play. Matthew spent the night and got some extra bonding time with his uncle/godfather. He was in heaven.

Sunday morning, I actually got my butt out of bed at 7 and went for a 6 mile run – solo. This is big. I’ve been feeling pretty blah about my running lately – not getting to train for the half marathon like I wanted to, and now even Andrea (my 3 mornings a week running partner) is cutting back on our together runs so that SHE can train harder. (Look, the girl’s legs are twice as long as mine. She’s definitely faster than me, so even on a good day I hold her back. Oh, and I have this little habit of talking the entire time we run which slows us up even more. It definitely makes sense that she do most of her training runs without me). So, I needed to prove to myself that I still have it in me to do this on my own. I CAN self-motivate. I needed to find that runner within who ran a 13 mile training run (without music or headphones or anything) on a dusty TRACK (around and around and around…) on a 75 degree sunny afternoon. I needed to find the girl that talked and smiled through 26.2 miles of pure hell and torture. Anyway. Found her! (How are ya? I’ve missed you. Welcome back.)

After my run we went to church for Palm Sunday. Matthew was still with my fam, so we only had Zachary to take care of, and then he got to play in the nursery during Mass. Sheesh! Who knew that having only one offspring was so easy?!! We’d definitely forgotten. Post-Church, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed outside for some sun and much-needed yard work. Dad, mom and Tim (Chris was at home sick), brought Matthew home around that time. Now, Matthew has already had two visits from the Tooth Fairy – his two bottom guys. I was a little disappointed, however, that by the time those teeth came out, the permanent ones were already securely in place. No big gappy grin for him. We had dinner with friends on Sunday evening – friends who have THREE boys; ages 5 ½, 4 ½, and 2. I will admit that I was a bit jealous when I saw 5 ½ year old Ben’s big ‘all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth’ smile.

Much to my glee, we discovered last week, that Matthew’s top two teeth were quite loose and wiggly – particularly the left one. There were many jokes made on Saturday, particularly including my dad and brother Tim, that they would be happy to hold him down and get the pliers to get it out. This, of course, brought the anticipated response of squeals from Matthew. “Noooo!” he would protest with his hand-clamped tightly over his tightly closed mouth.

Yesterday, we spent most of the gorgeous day at the Zoo. Matthew was highly distracted throughout our visit by his Snaggle Tooth. That little thing was literally hanging on by just a thread. I told him in the morning (as he turned it nearly 380 degrees and had it sticking horizontally right out of his mouth), that I didn’t think that tooth would be accompanying us to the Zoo. But, it did. And Matthew spent the entire time, with his grubby little Zoo-dirtied fingers in his mouth wiggling it and moving it all around.

When we got home, the boys played in the backyard while I cleaned off the deck preparing for our first BBQed dinner of the season. All of a sudden, Matthew yelled, “My tooth!” With his crustified and dirt-stained hand he carried that little treasure like it was the Olympic Torch. We put it on a little plastic plate for safe-keeping. The thing was so loose that, in the end, he didn’t even have to pull it. It just all of a sudden fell – it gave up the weary job of clingy by one tiny thread; it let go and landed peacefully on his tongue. And I took, perhaps my favorite picture of Matthew to date. Now, I’m on him to get that other top one out so he can SERIOSULY ROCK the jack-o-lantern look.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

And in continuing with my three-years-ago reflection, here’s what was going down:

Saturday, April 01, 2006 8:55PM

Today is my Dad's birthday. Yes, April Fool's. No, I don't mean that as a joke, I mean that it's true his birthday is April Fool's Day. Yesterday I asked Matthew if he knew who had a birthday today, and he said, "Happy Birthday, Zach?" We all emphatically said, "No! No! We hope not!"

Well, turns out Zach did want to kick off April Fool's Day with a bang. I woke up to some of the worst contractions I've had since I got here. Now, as I've said, all of my nurses here have been wonderful, and I still stand by that. My nurse last night, however, while still VERY nice, sort of made me nervous. She's an older gal and quite a large gal. When she came into my room she was sweating and panting and holding on to any stationary object for support as she walked. She was so shakey when taking my temperature that I thought I might have permanent hearing loss from how hard she pushed the thermometer (all the while a-quivering like mad!) into my ear. So, when I woke up with fairly bad, regular contractions at 6am I was disappointed (but maybe not all that surprised) that she hadn't been monitoring them well enough from the nurse's station to come in, wake me up, and give me something to slow them down. I paged her to the room ( she didn't respond the first time...or maybe it just took her that long to walk down the hall), and after watching the contractions for an additional 10 minutes, she agreed that I needed the Terbutaline shot. The woman was a-shaking so badly I thought she would miss my arm and stab me in the face with the needle. Mind you, my arm is a fairly large target now-a-days as the regiment of 'bulk-up-baby-Zachary' (and therefore moi) is underway and has proven to be quite successful thus far. (Both of my dimples have started to fill in with extra chub -- going, going, gone). So, once again, I had an interesting start to my Saturday. The day ended well with cupcakes and ice cream (more of that important bulking up) to celebrate Dad's birthday. Matthew was convinced that -- just as all gifts -- Dad's present had a "truck inside...funjunjun truck" (that's the phoenetic spelling for how Matthew says fire engine). Needless to say, he was a little disappointed with the computer scanner.