Portland, I'll miss you....in a WEIRD sort of way.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

With only 4 days left in Portland, I'm getting a little nostalgic thinking about all of the things I will miss. And some things I won't. Like how native Portlanders swing so far to the left that there's really only one word this middle-of-the-road gal can use to describe it. Weird. Portlanders are just plain weird. And they're proud of it. In fact, it's the city's motto. You don't believe me?

This phrase is plastered on buildings and adorns
about 70% of car bumpers within the city limits

As insanely liberal as Portland can be sometimes (nowhere else would you have an organized naked bike ride...click here for video proof), it has been our home for the last five years. The only home our kids have ever known. And you know what? They seem to fit right in.


But really, putting up with a little bit of weirdness is just a small price to pay for the luxury of never having to pump your own gas. For those who aren't aware, Oregon is one of only two states in which it is illegal to pump your own gas. I'm always amused by just how much I fumble around at the gas pump when I go home for a visit. Open gas tank, insert credit card, lift gas pump lever, insert nozzle and press. Sounds easy, but when you haven't done it in a while, it takes about 20 minutes just to fill up the tank.

In addition:

*I will miss our friendly neighborhood brew pub

Great food. Awesome beer. Caters to kids.


*I will miss this wonderful group of ladies I've grown to rely upon throughout residency

Post Call. Home Call. In-house Call. Overnight Call.
At any given time, at least one of our husbands is on one of them.
Tis the the life of a resident's spouse.

*I'll miss the locally brewed beer, some of the finest coffee, and the beautiful wine country.

*I'll miss living only an hour away from both the mountains and the ocean.

*And I'll miss the little chuckle I get when I drive by this dentist's office every day.

Unfortunate names. They get me every time.

What I won't miss? You guessed it. THE RAIN! It's hard driving around town 8 months out of the year with this as your view:

I'm looking forward to wearing nice shoes again.

As wet as it has been this June, we're fortunate enough to spend our last week here enjoying 70 degrees and sunshine. A little taste of heaven as we transition into what probably feels a lot like hell right now with temps in the 90's and 100's.

At least we'll have air conditioning.






Happy Birthday to Avery!
Friday, June 25, 2010

My baby girl turned three on Tuesday.

The third birthday is one of my favorites. It's the first birthday in which it all clicks. They finally understand that the cake, balloons, and frequent visits from the UPS truck are all for them, to celebrate how special they are. Three years old is also when the world seems to open up for them. They finally get to go to school, participate in activities independent of their parents, play with toys that have small parts, and due to burgeoning attention spans, are able to enjoy some of the finer things in life, like a full-length motion picture at the movie theater complete with popcorn and candy.

Three. It rocks.

Avery's birthday was full of excitement and a slew of firsts, including her first date.

With Dad.


Like most girls getting ready for a first date, she primped in front of the mirror making sure her piggy tails were perfectly symmetrical, went through several wardrobe changes, polished off her look with a dab of Hello Kitty lip balm, then greeted her beau only a very fashionable five minutes late. Then off to Build-A-Bear they went.

Meet Tippy (a.k.a. Tips, Tippers),
the newest addition to Avery's snuggle buddy clan.
Yes, the dog has purple flip flops.

Avery also started Vacation Bible School on her birthday. The age requirement is three years old, so we made it in just under the wire. She was so excited and felt like such a big girl. Wyatt was a little disappointed, however, that she had to be in the Green Turtle group. He wanted her to be with him along with the rest of the Red Rabbits. He's such a sweet brother.

And when you're three in our house, nail polish becomes an acceptable indulgence. That can of worms, my friends, has officially been opened.

Stay tuned for vibrant multi-color and glitter experiments.
It's only a matter of time.
Oy Vey!

Avery also had her first movie theater experience. As a family, we went to see Toy Story 3. I got a big bag of popcorn and a package of Junior Mints for all of us to share. Avery however wanted nothing to do with the sharing business. She was very territorial over the Avery-sized bag of popcorn. She would physically block and push away any hand that neared the bottomless pit of salty carbs. When Eric asked politely if he could have some, she replied, "Okay, Daddy. You can have one. But the rest is for me." And she said what she meant and she meant what she said (for all you Dr. Seuss fans out there).

Following a much needed little cat nap, it was time to break out the cake. It's probably no surprise what kind of cake she requested this year.

What is it about Dora that makes three-year-old little girls squeal in delight?

Given how hectic our lives are right now in preparation for our upcoming move, we elected not to have a big birthday bash this year. Rather, in typical Edgar family fashion, we just walked the neighborhood knocking on doors advertising free cake and ice cream. Voila! Instant birthday party. Those are the kind of neighbors we have, and we're going to miss them terribly.


My, how quickly the last three years have flown. Avery has been an absolute joy from the start, and she continues to bless us each and every day. And she is, and probably always will be, her brother's voice of reason. She has an ability to influence him in ways his parents cannot. I'm so anxious to see how their relationship unfolds throughout the years. I hope they stay as close as they are right now. That would be the ultimate reward.

Happy birthday my sweet girl!






Girls Weekend!
Monday, June 21, 2010

Isolation. Depending on the day, it can be one of the greatest advantages or disadvantages to living so far from home.

I won't lie, sometimes it's sort of nice to be so far removed from the expectations that come along with living near family, extended family, and lifetime friends who may as well be family.

Darn it, Suzie. If I didn't live 1,600 miles away, I'd be the first one in line to see little Tommy's croaking bullfrog impersonation at the talent show. Shoot. Maybe next year.

By the same token, living so far away can be incredibly lonely. It's hard to live in a city where everyone is a stranger. No familiar faces at the gym, no run-ins with acquaintances at the grocery store, no re-hashing of old college stories over lunch, and no family gatherings during the holidays. More often than not, for me (can't speak for those in my house with a Y chromosome), the disadvantages of living across the country sadly outweigh the advantages.

So it's always refreshing when a little bit of home shows up on my doorstep. In come Michelle and Rachel...all the way from Oklahoma and Utah (Okay, so Utah isn't exactly home--in fact, I've never even stepped foot in the state--but Tulsa is where Rachel lived when we met. So that counts, right?). Four days in Portland with two great girls and a barrel of laughs. What more could a homesick girl ask for?

How about doughnuts?

Portland's infamous Voodoo Doughnuts
(Don't try to adjust your screen, that is indeed bacon you see on that maple bar)



Cupcakes, maybe?


Three words. Toasted Coconut Cream.


Hmm...well how about playing a little dress up?

Hats. Portland's hottest selling accessory.


And if you didn't think a girl could ask for more, think again.

Road trip, anyone? Facials?

Cannon Beach, here we come!

One thing for which I certainly couldn't ask for more was better company. We had such a great time, and it meant so much that my friends took time away from their own families and work schedules to spend a little time with little 'ol me and take in some of the Oregon sights. I'm looking forward to returning the favor one day. Who wouldn't love a grand tour of mountainous Utah?

Not to invite myself or anything...






Getting It Right. Sometimes.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Before I became a parent, I had the whole parenting thing figured out.

(Don't we all.)

My kids weren't going to live on chicken nuggets and apple juice. FAIL.

My kids would know better than to throw tantrums in the middle of the grocery store...or on an airplane. FAIL.

There would be no bargaining. My kids would know who's boss and never question my authority. FAIL.

Needless to say, my book on parental expectations has had to be rewritten a few different occasions over the past 4 1/2 years. It's such a humbling experience at times, this whole parenting thing. And a great reminder that we, as humans, are imperfect beings. We can't get it right all of the time, and frankly, there are some things which are simply out of our control. And it's okay. All we can do is pick up and move on with a plan for how to do it differently the next time.

But there are times--yes, they do exist--when the seeds we plant in our children start to bear some of the sweetest, most satisfying fruit ever to have been cultivated. And it's during these moments when we receive confirmation that, shockingly, our kids really are listening to our words and observing our actions.

Just last week, I overheard Avery playing House with her baby doll. She slipped on her high-heeled dress up shoes, threw her purse over her shoulder and told her baby that she'd be back soon. She had to go exercise so she could be healthy.

My heart just melted.

It's no secret how much we value health and fitness in our family. We try to impress upon our kids through our own actions just how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle. To know that our two-year-old "gets it" makes me feel as though we're doing at least one thing right!

Then, a couple of days following that particular incident, Wyatt shocked us when he climbed a very strenuous 1,600 feet to the summit of Saddle Mountain....

(photo courtesy of The Oregonian)

...and then back down again.

ALL. BY. HIMSELF!

Along the trail, we kept introducing him to other hikers as our 4-year-old Master Hiker, to which he would get embarrassed and scoff, "Ugh! Four-year-olds are NOT Master Hikers!" Oh, but this one is.



We showed that mountain who was boss...Venom style.



Avery, on the other hand, apparently talks the talk but doesn't necessarily walk the walk. She preferred riding piggy-back the entire way while reciting Dora the Explorer.

Vamanos, Amigo! Rapido! Rapido!
(click to enlarge)

Wyatt had no comprehension whatsoever the magnitude of what he had accomplished that day. But we did. As a reward for conquering a feat eluding even some the most well-intentioned grown-ups, we told Wyatt he earned himself whatever treat his little heart desired. We expected him to request a big scoop of chocolate ice cream because, well, that's his favorite. Instead, he insisted that his reward be nothing less than one single ginormous gummy bear.

Doh!

I suppose we should have prefaced the deal by saying it had to be something that actually existed.

FAIL.






School's Out!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Well we survived our first year of preschool. And I say "we" because it truly was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for Wyatt. I learned that getting the kids out of bed, dressed, fed, and out the door by 8:45 two mornings per week could sometimes prove to be an insurmountable task. I cannot even begin to imagine how we'll manage when the tardy bell rings at 8:05 every. single. day. Lord, help me now.

I also learned that the process of selecting the "right" school for my child in the beginning was only half the battle. Keeping him from getting kicked out of it was a completely different challenge all together. Needless to say, Wyatt went through a few rough patches over the course of the year. But together, we triumphed. And finally, by the last month of the school year, we seemed to have it all figured out. Naturally.

Next year, he'll be in a new school with a new teacher and new friends. I think we're both excited for a fresh start. I just hope his new teacher, whomever she may be, is enjoying her summer because next fall, Hurricane Wyatt's coming to town. Bless her little preschool lovin' heart.

On the last day of school this year, his teacher presented each parent with an envelope containing pictures they had taken throughout the year. And here are a few of my favorites:

Police Officer, Pinhead
(the kid has the smallest head known to man)


I hope they were smart enough not to give this builder a saw


Playing Venom on the playground.
The ultimate cootie repellent.



Wait, I spoke too soon.
This hairdo is the ultimate cootie repellent.



Now, here's my sweet angel

Even though Wyatt can often be misunderstood, I know his heart (a mommy always does). He loves people, but what he loves most is to keep them on their toes. And boy, he's really good at what he does. He'll always be an A+ in my book.







Happy Campers
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You may remember a post I had written nearly two years ago entitled, Camping: One Mother's Story of Survival. The title sounds a bit horrific because the truth is, when you're camping with very young children who aren't capable of doing just about anything for themselves, it certainly has the potential to be. But speaking from experience, once the little gremlins have mastered eating solid foods (as opposed to handfuls of dirt), sleeping through the night, communicating their needs, and--most importantly--learning how to pee in the woods without soiling their clothes, camping as a family can be quite fun...and educational.

To demonstrate, here is our future bird nerd learning how to spot a Bullock's Oriole in a tree during our most recent camping adventure to Eastern Oregon.

Lesson 1: It might help to turn your binoculars right side up. Baby steps...
(But hey, at least her shoes are on the right feet. That's a miracle in and of itself.)

And Wyatt learned soon after setting up camp of the defense mechanism lizards possess, allowing them to release their tail in an effort to avoid capture at the hands of curious 4-year-old's who would inevitably, yet unintentionally, love the little creature to death.




As you can see, he was quite proud of his prized lizard tail, but as sporadic attention spans would have it, it was just a matter of time before the scaly little tush went missing. And no, contrary to what you might be thinking, I did not toss the creepy severed appendage into the campfire.

Really. I didn't.

No, this impressive little inferno was reserved specifically for marshmallow roasting, which as it turns out, is another valuable teaching moment. What did Wyatt learn, you might ask?

That when it comes to roasting marshmallows, the blacker the better.



He called this one, The Venom Marshmallow! Naturally.

One of these days, we hope to instill in our children a certain appreciation for nature which reaches far beyond ooey gooey (or charred beyond recognition) marshmallows and wigwam sleeping. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure. But for now, they're just learning the basics.

Like how glow sticks are da bomb!!








 



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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