Life's a Beach....If Only.
Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'll be honest. I've never been a huge fan of the Oregon Coast. While I think its beauty is astounding, I'm just not a big fan of water. Or sand. Especially the kind drenched in my own child's saliva after said child grabs a warm, grainy handful and shoves it into her mouth. Let's just say going to the beach with my kids has never been an outing I've eagerly anticipated. Until now.

People said it would happen, but I never believed them (sort of like how everyone told me motherhood would become so much easier when my baby started sleeping through the night at 12 weeks. Hmph! It's been nearly 4 years, folks. That baby ain't never gonna sleep through the night). But, indeed, my kids have now crossed the threshold into a world in which sand is much more exciting to scoop into a bucket than into the mouth. Can it possibly be true? That a trip to the beach can almost be--dare I say--relaxing?

Our first trip to the beach this season. I'm gingerly making my way down the rather steep, rocky path from the street to the beach with Avery suctioned to one of my hips like a scared little koala while carefully trying to balance the arsenal of beach toys housed inside Wyatt's oversized dump truck on the other. Wyatt, as usual, is trotting along in front of us without a care in the world (I swear, I need to start putting that boy to work more often). The second--and I mean second--the warm sand exploded between his bare toes, he was in heaven and could think of nothing else. I'm not kidding when I say that Wyatt and Avery played completely undistracted (and in complete silence) in that very spot for nearly an hour before they realized they were playing in sandbox larger than they could have ever imagined. I was kicking myself that I didn't even think to bring my book. A motherhood first, indeed.

Needless to say, I'm hoping there will be more coastal trips for us this summer. Fireworks on the beach, perhaps? Well, that would mean I would need to get my butt in gear before next month...unless we want to actually sleep on the beach. Oh, boy. I'm afraid I'm already putting crazy ideas in my husband's insanely outdoorsy head. Therefore, I must leave now. But not before posting some of my favorite photos from our weekend at the beach.

Wyatt with one of his best buddies, Sophie,
who will be moving to Wisconsin next month. :-(

Avery, cautiously making her way to the beach.

Finally at the beach, but not sure what to think of the sand.
Still cautious...her signature trait.

Meanwhile, Wyatt finally broke away from the sand long enough to fly his Spiderman kite (notice the one eye completely covered with sand. Funny boy).

Come to find out, Avery loves the feeling
of wet sand between her toes.

Wine Selection: Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: This was okay. I haven't been drinking enough sauvignon blanc's to say for sure if it's a good one. I enjoyed it, but it certainly wasn't memorable.


Outsmarted by a 3-year-old....AGAIN!
Friday, May 15, 2009

It seems as though we have entered into yet another battle of wills with our incredibly strong-minded, obstinate 3-year-old. So far, he's winning. Hands down.

After being potty-trained for a solid 3 months, Wyatt has recently surmised that excusing himself from whatever activity he is engaging in at the moment--just for the rather obnoxious task of peeing in the potty--requires much more effort than he's willing to put forth these days. He is not influenced by rewards or peer pressure, nor is he intrinsically motivated to graduate to "big boy" status. The boy could care less if he wets his pull-up, or himself, and I now have a legitimate fear that he may very well end up being the only child in his kindergarten class who is still wearing diapers and loving every minute of it.

We realize we can't force him, and that he will ultimately be the one to decide when to get rid of diapers indefinitely, but I'm certainly not above using his beloved trains as leverage to gently nudge him in the right direction. For the past week, we've implemented a consequence which requires that one of his trains be taken hostage each time he deliberately (not accidentally) boycotts the porcelain throne. He may then earn one train back for every successful effort thereafter.

This strategy had been working well for us--until this morning when he finally clued himself in to the motives behind our plan. Since then, Operation Defiance has been executed in full force. The following conversation between Wyatt and I this morning provides an awkwardly indisputable indication as to who is gaining the upper hand.

"Come here, Wyatt. We need to get you out of this wet pull-up."

Before I could even squeak out another syllable, he responded very matter-of-factly, "Umm, Mommy? You need to take away one of my trains."

Realizing that my 3-year-old had just hijacked control of the situation, I replied with stern confidence (even though I was fumbling with uncertainly on the inside), "You are right. Why don't you go to your room, get Emily (the train), and bring her to me. Er, right now."

Completely un-phased, he marched to his room and marched right back out--Emily in the right hand and 3 others in the left. "Here, Mom. You can have all of these."
One word. STINKER.

Wine Selection: Snoqualmie Riesling
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: Rieslings are generally very sweet, but we were hoping this one would compliment the spicy food we paired with it. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed. We very much preferred the Mullar-Thurgau over the riesling.


BIG SHOT of the week

I'm curious. What comes to your mind when looking at this flower?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees Mr. Snuffleupagus. Seriously. Every time I come across this picture, I chuckle in delight as I think back to my days of watching Sesame Street and the beloved Snuffy.

I think I may have just revealed a little too much of my neurotic side...and I'm fairly certain my husband would concur.


Hippie Chick Half Marathon
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It was 8:30 in the morning and the temp was already in the 60's, not a single cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for a Mother's Day weekend celebration. Not so perfect for running a half marathon--at least not for me. I was probably 4 miles in to this year's Hippie Chick Half Marathon before realizing that after having trained for several months in a cooler, wetter climate, my body wasn't going to be quite so eager to adapt to such a dramatic change in running conditions--my expectations for a sub two-hour run diminished with each and every pound of the pavement.

I thought the double-loop course was great, although it certainly had its advantages and disadvantages depending upon where I was at any given point during the race. I ran the first half in 58 minutes, and then it all went downhill (if only) after that. I slowed down considerably the second half, and the hilly section of the course wiped me out. I have never relied more on the water stations as I did during this run. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 6 minutes (9:41 pace).

Overall, the event was amazing, and I plan to do it again next year. I'm still undecided as to whether I will start training for the full marathon in October. For now, I'm just looking forward to a change of pace. After 4 years, I'm finally back in the gym. So I imagine I'll be spending most of my time spinning, weight training, and doing yoga.

And to top off the weekend, Wyatt and Avery gifted me with a dozen roses on Mother's Day while Eric surprised me with gift cards to a couple of our favorite restaurants, as well as some cherished time to myself (to do whatever the heck I wanted) in the afternoon. I feel so grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful, loving family.

Protective big brothers: blessing, or a curse?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

For Wyatt, the best part about getting a haircut is when the stylist utters the words, "All done." He's never been a big fan of people touching his head, but he's willing to endure such an annoyance if it means getting to play with trains afterward. While he was passionately constructing the most extravagant of train crashes this morning, the next appointment walked through the door--a very handsome, dark-haired little chap that could not have been more than two and a half. I was somewhat relieved when the little boy (obviously in for his very first haircut) headed directly for the dump trucks rather than the train table, for Wyatt tends to get a little possessive of trains that don't even belong to him. It is always a goal of mine to avoid any potential conflict that might arise over trains. It can get ugly.

But after a couple of minutes, Wyatt uncharacteristically started to approach the other little boy minding his own business (and playing with toys of which Wyatt has no interest), mumbling the words, "you better stop..."

Caught off guard and nervous about what was about to transpire, I sternly demanded that Wyatt leave the other little boy alone and return to the train table. Before he turned around, Wyatt again uttered to the little boy in a tone quite demanding, "you better stop...(frustrated pause) better stop....looking. at. my. SISTER!!"

Fortunately, everyone in the room erupted in laughter despite my embarrassment. But there was also part of me that felt proud of Wyatt for being such a protective big brother. Even the father of the other little boy looked at me and jokingly said, "I don't think she's going to have too much trouble with him by her side."

Oh, Wyatt. You always have a way of turning the most mundane of outings into the most memorable of moments.

I Heart Seattle
Friday, May 1, 2009

Our little rendezvous to Seattle, very sadly, came to an end today. No more exhilirating jogs around beautiful Lake Union. No more salmon-colored sunsets over the Olympics. No more snuggling on the balcony with a bottle of wine (oh yeah...and my husband...of course). No more stunning views of the brilliantly lit downtown skyline against an ebony backdrop. Oh, Seattle. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

If it didn't bother me to bump elbows with my neighbors, sit in traffic for hours, or own not even a single patch of grass (the landscape variety...not to be confused with the more abundant type of grass commonly found in Seattle), I would beg to live nowhere else. Sadly, my somewhat claustrophobic nature wouldn't be able to tolerate much more than a couple of months (okay, six...tops!) before the walls of the city would start to close in on me, leaving me scrambling in mad fashion toward the solitude of the good 'ol plains.

Despite the heavy grunge influence, Seattle is such a romantic city. Even its residents go to great (yet unimaginable) lengths to showcase symbols of love and affection towards one another.

The Seattle equivalent to the Greek goddess, Venus, perhaps?
(Uh, kids...let's play the
game, what do you say?")

The kids and I did make it to the Seattle Aquarium one day (and I'm pleased to report there were no artistic displays of naked women adorning the entrance) while Eric was at the AAN conference. Unfortunately, my camera could potentially pass as a third child, so I left it behind. I figured keeping track of two kids would be challenging enough....and I was right.

But we did get a chance to marvel Wyatt with all of the bells, whistles, and train tracks Seattle had to offer as we took the streetcar from our neighborhood into the heart of downtown before hopping on the monorail bound for the Space Needle.

The elevator ride to the observation deck was probably more exciting for him than actually being at the top and overlooking the city, but he had a great time, overall. He even walked away from the experience with his very own pewter replica, which he selected by himself (and for himself... Ahem! Avery) in the gift shop. It's a good thing the poor statue doesn't have a pulse, because he has had a death grip on it for the past 48 hours.

"Hmm...I wonder what will happen if I stare
directly into the sun with this thing?"

Hoping the Space Needle will actually launch
her bully of a brother into outer space.

Just kidding. He's the sweetest big brother EVER!

The streetcar on the way home.
(This is actually a picture of our reflection in a shop window as we rode past.
We had TOURISTS written all over us. No doubt about it.)

Thanks for the good times, Seattle. Hope to make your acquaintance again really, really soon!

Wine Selection: Earthquake Cabernet
Personal Rating: **Fair**
Comments: One word. Jam. If you like it, you'll love this wine. I really enjoyed this wine the first time I tried it in a social setting, but wasn't as fond of it once I took the time to actually taste it. I could enjoy a single glass, but that's it. It doesn't taste at all like a typical cabernet.



My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771