Thursday, February 26, 2009

I should be so lucky

My PopPop passed on today. While he may not have been my grandfather by blood, he was my family in all of the ways that truly matter. I remembered this quote today when I was reflecting on the light that had left us today--it seems to me to be a very fitting passage.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

~ Mark Twain ~

My first memory of PopPop takes place before I ever even met him. I had just started dating Andy, and we were having dinner at his parent's house. The conversation came around to talking about PopPop's World War II days. Someone shared the story of how he had fallen asleep under a tree with his helmet pulled down low on his head. He was awakened by the sound of gunfire to find a bullet had just missed him while he slumbered. I remember sitting there in awe wondering what kind of person Andy's grandfather must be to have lived through such an event.

Whatever I had pictured in my head, it certainly was not what I encountered upon meeting PopPop. I kept looking at this quiet, deliberate man trying to match the reality with the vision that I had formed of him. Now, I've been told that he wasn't always so soft spoken, but when I knew him, PopPop was a man of few words. He was practical to a fault, but he couldn't hide the gleam of pride in his eye when he spoke of his grandchildren's successes. He was always willing to give advice, do your taxes, or take you out for a delicious meal. I don't think that I have ever been fed so well as when I was visiting PopPop and MomMom. My adopted Grandfather didn't even bat an eye when this Catholic girl asked for her ham and cheese sandwich on white bread at the Jewish deli. Down Beach Deli is still one of my favorite places to eat although I've since learned to just eat the rye.

When I thought I had him all figured out, my picture of PopPop changed again. In the early days of their marriage, PopPop and MomMom had been on a radio game show for newlyweds. They won a bunch of furniture and received a memento recording of their appearance on the show. I had heard stories about it, but since no one had a way to play the record, I had never actually heard the program. A couple of years ago, Danielle's brother Dustin made CDs of the recording, so we would be able to hear the interview for ourselves. On that Thanksgiving, we all sat in the living room and listened to a young PopPop and MomMom talk about how they met. PopPop sounded so hopeful & proud, but still with that touch of seriousness that I've always come to associate with him. I will never forget the looks on their faces as they were transported back in time to that day while surrounded by the family that they had made.

And that would have to be my most favorite memory of PopPop: the love and life that he shared with MomMom. From the outside, their relationship seemed like the classic TV sitcom filled with lots of bantering, but always with an unspoken devotion to one another. Riding in the car with them was always a hoot...MomMom would be a side seat driving telling him where to turn, how fast to drive, or where to park and PopPop would answer, "Just let me drive, Betty." To this day, Andy and I tease each other by saying that is how we'll be in 40 years..."Just let me drive, Mellon" is a phrase I hear often when I am engaging in my own brand of wifely nagging. It reminds me that we're on this journey together, forever--Just like PopPop and MomMom. I should be so lucky.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Young Lush

Not even 7 months old and she's already trying to drink far too much.

No, we didn't really let her have any juice. She's just a Grabby McGrabbyhands who clutches at anything within a foot radius of her chubby little paws. I set Chase's cup down long enough to grab his sippy to pour it into, and the little squirt quickly snagged the straw and started chewing away. She's going to be trouble.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Herb, I am

Hello people of the internet. I am Herb--friend of the little man Chase. Well, I'd like to think we're friends. There was that one time when he tried to drown me in a bowl of water, but I don't hold it against him or anything. Really, I blame his Nana. After all, she's the one that told him to do such a thing--but hey it did make my hair grow, so no worries. Anywho...I'd love a little Herbalina to spend my days with, so if you know anyone lookin--well you go ahead and send her my way. Here are my dets:

I like lounging by sunlit windows while enjoying a cold glass of Miracle Grow. I enjoy the occasional warm shower, but no more soakings please. Not big on pruning shears or insecticides, but really who is? So yea that about sums it up. I'll be waiting to hear from all of you cute little seedlings--don't lose my number now, ok?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two Headlines on a Tuesday Morning

Chase is stinky!

He is also hungry and wants to play tractor tipping with Lightening McQueen. Or so he told me this morning while I was changing his very odorous diaper. In other Noodle related news, his new favorite phrase is "No Problem". He also tells ever person he meets, "I'm Chase". Unfortunately, very few people understand what he's trying to share with them, so he's been getting a lot of dazed nods and smiles from strangers lately.

Enamel has been spotted protruding from the gums of Amaya!

I know you can't see the little speck of a tooth in the picture, but I wanted you to know that I tried to capture the little intruder on camera.

Discovered on Sunday, a sharp little tooth made it's way to the top of the gum. It's on her bottom right side and could possibly explain her grumpiness over the last few days. We remain vigilant in our mission to scan the area for other members of the dental family. She's continuing to grow and change at an astounding rate as can be observed by her size 6-12 month pants being a bit snug. Also, her eyes look like they're getting a touch of green to them. Better have the DNA test information handy for when everyone begins to question my biological relation to the little sprite because if the blue eyes go, there won't be anything about her that resembles me at all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Hurts

love scars, love wounds and mars
Any heart not tough nor strong enough

Those Everly Brothers' lyrics are oh so fitting on this the day of Saint Valentine. But first, let me just say that I really don't care all that much that today is February 14--the day of love. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the Scrooge of the red holiday. I don't mutter strings of profanities about the evilness of commercialism when I see displays of cupid and conversation hearts in the stores. I just think of this holiday more as a kids' day or even a teenagers'--but not something that really applies to me in a way that would require that Andy prove his love in the form of flowers, candies and jewelry. I certainly don't begrudge anyone who does love this day and in doing so expects trinkets and treasures, but that's just not me. Maybe I feel this way because I am blessed enough to have a husband who spoils me rotten all year long. Or maybe it's because I don't think waiting 3 hours to be seated for dinner in a restaurant full of other hungry couples sounds like a good way to spend my evening. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that this day does not necessitate that I receive any gifts, have any special plans, or even acknowledge it at all beyond what we do for the kids.

Jeanne is a different story. She's the type who gets upset when her husband's attempts at securing reservations hit a brick wall. No present for her on this day would be sure to be met with much pouting. As long as her husband agrees to observing the day in such a manner, I have no problem with her drawing big red hearts around February 14 on the calendar and dropping daily hints for desired gifts. However, when her enthusiasm for the holiday starts to affect my own joy, happiness and personal comfort level, then I have a problem. A big, big problem.

You see, she of the red hair who has been training me for years begged and pleaded with me to come to her Body Pump class this morning. For those of you who aren't familiar with Body Pump--it's an hour class that is put together by a company called Les Mills. In those sixty minutes, you do various weightlifting exercises to the beat of catchy songs. It covers all of the major muscle groups and is high repetition, so after the hour you're pretty much done for the day. Anyway, Jeanne had been working really hard on putting together a special Valentine's Day play list of all love songs. Since it was a three day weekend, she was afraid that everyone would have headed out of town--meaning that no one would be in class bright and early Saturday morning to enjoy her handiwork. She wanted me to boost her numbers to help make her efforts more worthwhile. Being the kind and devoted trainee that I am, it only took a few minutes of whining and complaining before I half-heartedly agreed.

What she failed to mention was that all of these "love" songs were actually a compilation of the most brutal, agonizing exercise sequences that Les Mills has ever dreamed up. Every track was a killer--although I especially remember the squat track that had us doing a combination of single bottom haves, full squats and then four on the bottom--repeating at least a gazillion times. My quads were screaming in pain demanding that I put an end to the nonsense. Just as I thought relief was coming in the form of the abs track--she starts doing planks with knee to elbows. The whole class was groaning, and at one point everyone just stopped the exercise and looked at her like she was completely outside her mind. She continued right on through for another 50 knee ins completely unaware of the mutiny about to form . Today, Love Hurt. Actually there was no love, there was only pain. Pain and agony.

And her concerns about no one showing up? Please. The place was past capacity. I was a couple of minutes late, so by the time I got to the weight rack, all of the big plates were gone. I was bummed at the time, but by the end of the hour, I was quite happy with my medium and small plates thankyouverymuch.

Before you think I'm some crazy person that takes pictures of gym classes, John actually took these pictures. They wanted some photos for the gym's Facebook page, but couldn't find their camera. Ever prepared as I am, I quickly scooted over and gave them mine. I just thought I'd share some visuals for the story. Let's play a game of "Where's Mellon" except there's no striped shirt.

Of course there is a different kind of love that doesn't hurt at all. It's ooey and gooey and makes you just want to cover someone with kisses. Know anyone who'd let me do such a thing??

Yes, I believe she'll do. Happy Vday ya'll!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back that Babe up

Remember a couple of posts ago when I told you that Amaya was thiisss close to crawling? Well she's scooch-crawling now, but not with forward momentum. She slithers herself backwards all over the family room. She still rocks on her hands and knees, and you can see that she wants to go forward, but right now her body just is not cooperating with those plans.

I tried to take a video of her doing her thing, but when I got the camera, this is what I was faced with:

It's no fun to watch a video with screaming toddler as the soundtrack, so you'll just have to be happy with these still pictures of her sitting up staring at her brother's outburst. I'll try for a video again another day.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Ace has left the building

Chase has always called himself "Ace" never realizing that he wasn't saying "Chase" correctly. Perhaps the following conversation will illustrate this point better for you than any description I could provide.

Daddy: Who are you?

Chase: I'm Ace.

Daddy: You're Ace?

Chase (a little annoyed): No, Ace!

Daddy: Ace?

Chase (really annoyed): No, I'm Ace!

Daddy: Ace.

Chase ( so annoyed he's almost in tears): No. Ace.

Daddy: Oh, Chase.

Chase: Yes, I'm Ace.

See what I mean? Pretty cute right? Well, it seems that lately Chase has been working on his speech skills, because he finally realized there is a Ch at the beginning of his name. So, he no longer says "Ace". Nope, now he says, "CHase!" with a deep-voiced emphasis on the Ch part. Today at swimming, he told no less than three strangers, "I'm CHase" in a blaring self introduction. I am sure they thought he had some form of Tourettes by the way he was pushing the sound from his mouth. At least he's not shy.

His name isn't the only word that he's begun saying correctly in the last few weeks either. Ever since he'd watched his first Thomas show, that blue tank engine was always called "ess ess". Now he says "Thomas" clear as a bell. His drink of choice was always labeled, "etch", but now he enunciates every part of the word "Juice". He's intent on growing up no matter how hard I try to stop it. I guess I have no choice but to go drown my sorrows in Ace's etch and play with his ess ess.

The pictures are from our trip to the park today. Had to take advantage of the February heat wave.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Diggin the Shopping Queen...

Shopping Queen, feel the beat from the commercial scene
You can charge, you can swipe--having the time of your life...

Amaya is a little good luck charm when it comes to shopping. When we were at Nordstrom, Patricia was going to buy a couple of hair barrettes for Sofia. They were marked $14, but when the cashier scanned them, they rang up as $0.01. She called her manager who said just to charge what the computer was registering them as, so we went back and got the remaining 4 hair dohicky things. The total bill? $.07--there wasn't even tax. Crazy right? So now, Amaya has a couple of pieces of bling for her hair--when she gets some that is.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Anyday now...

Amaya will be on the move. She grunts and groans as she tries to get to toys that are just out of reach. She'll get up on all fours and sway forward and back, forward and back. It won't be long until she figures out how to make her chubby little limbs take her where she wants to go.

Before you call the mom police on me, I'd like you all to know that these pictures were taken in the evening. What's that got to do with the price of tea in China, you ask? Well, while I will normally change her into a new outfit when she so completely covers herself in spit up, it was almost time for pajamas, so I let her stay grubby for a bit. Just doing my part for the environment by saving energy by not dirtying another outfit that would need to be laundered. Always looking for ways to be more green and all. Do you think Amaya buys my excuse?

Don't laugh at your mama, Amaya!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Four Facts For February

This one:

1) Is still a Cars fanatic. This morning, I found him in his room with no pants gleefully holding up the Cars pajama set that Uncle Rob bought him for Christmas (Please see picture). He insisted on watching the movie this morning as he simultaneously read his Cars story with his TAG reader occasionally supplementing the narration by screaming, "Oh, no! It's Frank!" over and over. He has a CD player in his room with the Cars soundtrack and requests that the "Mack Song" be played several times a day. He sings "Route 66" at the top of his lungs. At his swimming lesson, he yammered about Cars crashing and Chick Hicks while I was pulling him through the water trying to get him to kick. And nearly every day, he reminds me that we have to go to Target to buy Tex. I'm not sure where he gets this obsessive nature from as I certainly have never behaved in such a manner. (no editorial remarks allowed Grandma)

2) Chase knows most of his letters by sight. He still gets K and X mixed up and thinks that all W's are M's. Sometimes, he'll let me sing the alphabet song, but mostly when I try he says, "No, Mama. No ABC's".

Now this one:

3. Says, "mmmm oooooo mmmmmmm aaaaaa" all day long. One day while she was yammering these syllables over and over, Andy asked her where her Mama was. The little imp turned right around and looked me straight in the eye. Then she smiled that great big open mouthed smile and went back to calling my name. I swear she'd have winked at me if she had that much control over her fine motor skills.

4. Naps are starting to become a regular part of her schedule-finally. I usually put her down around 10 and 1, and she'll typically sleep for at least 30 minutes. The other day, she snoozed for an hour and a half. Afterward, we had a serious, in depth conversation about how much better she felt when she let herself rest for a significant time period. She contributed many "Mmmmmm oooooo mmmmmmm aaaaaaa mmmmm's" to the dialogue, so I am sure she understood and has plans for continued cooperation in the future.