Saturday, December 31, 2011

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

I don't think it would come as a surprise to people when I say I'm not much of a Christmas person. It's so falsely festive and full of stress and deadlines and cookies full of sugar that makes my head hurt and my ass grow.

But what I really love is New Years Eve. Not going out specifically but just that fresh feeling you get whenever you wrap something big (like 365 days) up. When you can close the door on a year and look back and (somewhat) objectively view what has happened over the past 12 months. There's a feeling of peace I feel in knowing that the new year is just around the corner and the mistakes and trials of the past year are finally behind you.

Of course 2012 is already equipped with it's own batch of troubles but somehow, today on New Year's Eve, it all seems manageable. Oh, I know, I know, I'll be singing a different tune come March (or maybe even January 3rd) but right now 2012 seems full of promise. Full of hope.

I think 2011 was a difficult year for a lot of people and for a lot of different reasons. So many wonderful women I know experienced the breakdown of their marriages. And, oh, my heart just breaks for them. Others have seen their children in the hospital being pumped full of horrible, awful, life-saving chemo drugs. Friends have lost babies, had babies too early and struggled with their babies turning into teenagers.

Me? I went back to work and, well, it's damn near killed me. I had one hell of a nervous breakdown a few months ago and I still live in fear of another one somewhere on the horizon. I've felt torn between being a good employee, a good wife, a good mother, a good friend. I spent so much time this year trying to be all those things, all at once and finally I learned I can't.

Um, do you know how hard it is for someone like me to say "I can't"? Um, real hard (that's what she said. (sorry, i can't help myself sometimes)). I don't feel like I'm giving 100% of myself to any part of my life, but I'm doing the best I can and that's just got to be good enough.

On the flip side though, 2011 has been so amazing in so many varied ways. I began my year by losing 20 pounds and ended the year losing 10 more. I started a half marathon training program and then ran a half marathon with my amazing sister-in-law. I faced my fear of failure, by failing spectaularly and I'm still here.  The world actually DIDN'T end!  I know, it shocked me too.  I've gained confidence in myself even in spite of, or perhaps because of, my lack of perfection.

I did hot yoga! It was awful!

I made some really great friends this year (you know who you are!) and I deepened existing friendships. I've worked really hard on being honest this year in terms of my feelings and my needs and in being true to myself and not who I think others want me to be. And, instead of pushing people away, it's actually brought them closer. Who knew that a little vulnerability could go so far!

If you were to ask me 50 years from now which year I would go back and visit, I don't think I would say 2011. But, the amazing thing about this year is that all the shitty, shitty things that have happened have strengthened me, my friends, my family.     I hope you have a just the BEST New Year's Eve and I wish that 2012 is your best year yet.

Wow. I really miss writing.  I should do this more often.                                                                    

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Two of my dearest friends have pointed out that I don't blog very often any more. So, I'm going to try to fix that. i miss the release that writing gives me and I need to make more time for it. So, what's been going on lately? Well, work, for one. And kids for another. And buying a house and keeping up with friendships and relationships and oh, I started doing yoga and I'm running again and really, it's no wonder I haven't been writing.

So, I'll start with the most important, Conor and Fin. They're kind of awesome. Conor is finally, slowly working his way out of the TERRIBLE 3's. Lord have mercy this has been one hell of a stage. Such stubbornness, such defiance, such just kind of being an a-hole. And then, in the blink of an eye, he's telling me he loves and Mommy? can we please snuggle? Oh, 3. You're a wily little monkey. I can't stand how much I love him.

Finley? Oh. My. She is just the cutest little handful you've ever seen. Feisty and willful and sassy. I really don't know where she gets it. She's the girl who will walk into a room and do whatever is needed to be sure all eyes are on her. This is adorable now but terrifying when she gets to college. Like, super terrifying. When I drop her off at day care in the morning the first thing her teachers do is put up all the baby gates. She's a mini hurricane wrapped around a tornado with thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure. She'll give you a kiss, meow like a cat and then smack you in the eye like it's all nothing to her. I can't stand how much I love her.

Our house is great even though it's been a pretty big source of stress for me. I do trust Morgan's vision for our house but I'm not patient so I want it all to happen NOW! But it's slowly coming together and slowly feeling like home and I've finally caught up on laundry so I'm starting to feel a little more grounded. I have Morgan, I have my little monkeys, what more can I ask for?

Work? Oh dear, that's a different story. I really love being back at work. Like, really, really love it. I thought I would miss the kids more, and I do, but I'm so NOT meant to be a stay at home mom. But being a working mom is a whole different kind of stress. It's the constantly running late for something, never having the right outfit and feeling a whole lot like I don't know what I'm doing.   But, oh how I love to have grown up conversations and feel like I'm actually accomplishing things.  Also, money is nice.

Today Morgan had a service call on a light tower that had been rented by the Portland Police Department and was being used in the middle of the Occupy Portland camp.  I have been completely transfixed by the looming conflict between the Occupiers and the police and Mayor and so I had Kristen watch the kids so I could go along.  It was just fascinating to be down there and see all the madness.  We were there for about an hour and while Morgan was doing his thing I wandered around to get a feel for what was going on.  Mostly just a bunch of surly looking folks (most of them looked, and smelled, like hobos) and it was a little scary and a lot exciting.  I was sort of riveted watching the police line up, arms length apart, surrounding the two parks.  I was impressed with their restraint while being taunted by some of the more rowdy protesters and tried to make it very clear that I was just an on-looker so please don't arrest me, okay?  We ended up leaving before things got too out of hand, but it was fun to be in the middle of the excitement for a bit.

Life is just busy these days.  I miss my friends, I miss my me time, I miss having a moment or two to clean the house, I miss spending quality time with Morgan where we're not interrupted every freaking 3 seconds by the needs of two very adorable, yet very demanding little people.  I'm told that it won't always be this way, that soon their needs will become fewer and our time will become more and that I'll miss this constant neediness.  Right now, if I'm being honest, I can't see how I'll miss this.  But I suppose, like any stage of childhood, it comes with it's own challenges which are always outweighed by it's rewards.  I remind myself that it won't be too much longer before Conor won't ask to snuggle (it's hard even now to get him to hold my hand, independent little monster that he is) and soon Finley won't meow like a cat just to see us laugh.  It's funny how every day their needs weigh me down but that every day they're growing away from me.  It's liberating and terrifying all at the same time.

I'm spending so much time trying to wrap my arms around this life that we've built, trying to corral all the madness and that makes it hard for me to enjoy it.  But the tick-tock of time marches on (hello cliche anyone?) and if I don't let a bit go I'll wake up one day and not remember all the tiny precious moments that make up this chaotic, beautiful life.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick Takes

I haven't blogged in a looooong time.  Mainly because the thought of trying to detail everything that has happened in the past few months is more than a little daunting. So here, in no particular order, is what has been going on over the past few months.

1. Our little girl turned one.  If anyone knows how this happened, please let me know.  She has turned out to be such a funny, bright, silly little girl.  In so many ways just like her brother, in so many ways, she is so different.  I think perhaps the most noticeable is her individuality and her ability toward self amusement.  I've mentioned this before but it's become more and more pronounced as she gets older.  She loves to sit by herself and play with whatever is handy.  Today that happened to be a dishtowel and a measuring spoon.  I sat across the room watching her and was just consumed by how freaking amazing she is.  She's really beginning to talk now and loves to repeat words.  In case you're keeping a tally, we have Mommy, Daddy, Tucker, car, ball, bear (rrrarrrrw), bubble, Buggy, tree, poopy (yep.) and HIIIIIIII.  She.  Is.  So.  Cute.  Can't stand it.

2. I ran a half marathon on the 4th of July.  I began training for it in January and expected to run it solo.  I was so, SO glad when my sister-in-law, Josie, decided she wanted to run it with me.  We trained together on a number of long weekend runs, including one rather miserable 11 wet, rainy, cold miles.  We thought we were going to die but we didn't and a few weeks later we tackled 13.1 miles with style.  Ok, there was no style but we wore matching tank tops and we finished without dying so, I count that as a success.  It was pretty freaking awesome and I am so glad we did it.

3. I went back to work.  Oh yeah, kind of a big one.  My first day was May 19th and I worked 2 or 3 days a week until I went back full time near the end of June.  I spent a few weeks working in our Lake Oswego office and then was transferred out to our Clackamas office.  I was not happy.  Clackamas is a long way from Tigard.  Turns out I totally fell in love with the group of people who work at the Clackamas branch.  I'm now back in Lake Oswego which is much better for my commute but I really, REALLY miss those people I got to know in Clackamas.  Funny how you can become so attached so quickly.

Working has come with its challenges and its rewards.  First of all, I LOVE being back at work.  I just really am meant to be a worker.  Which is not to say that being a stay at home mom is not work BECAUSE IT IS, just that, I really like working out of the house.  My pay checks barely cover day care and gas (and in fact, didn't cover day care and gas when I was out in Clackamas) but it doesnt' matter.  I love working. 

I do face challenges though.  I struggle everyday with trying to maintain a perfect image (not looking perfect - those days are long since past) but trying so hard to make sure everyone thinks I know everything and won't make any mistakes.  This is the pattern I had gotten myself in before at work and it is so hard to keep that up.  So, guess what, I make mistakes.  A lot.  Just when I think I can't make any more mistakes, I'll make one.  And that's ok.  It turns out that everyone makes mistakes.  That seems like a really simple thing but I have a hard time accepting that I'll make mistakes.  Or, more accurately, forgiving myself when I do make mistakes.  So, I'm working on it.

(secret whisper voice:  I don't miss the kids as much as I thought I would. Oh my goodness, I can't believe I said it, but IT IS TRUE!)

4. I did Portland to Coast again this year.  This year I captained our team.  It was great when I wasn't working because it gave me something to do.  My little project.  It got a lot harder when I went back to work.  I was all set to pass my captaining duties to someone else for next when I went and set up both a Portland to Coast walking team and a Hood to Coast running team for 2012.  Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either.  Oh well.  It's always such a fun event and next year Morgan and I are both on our running team.  Just a little challenge that will be fun for us to take on together.

5.  We bought a house.  Well, we haven't closed escrow yet but hopefully on October 12th, we'll be happy homeowners again.  Our house is going to be awesome.  Right now it's a little dated and needs some TLC but Morgan's taking a week off of work after we close and I trust in his vision to make is perfect.  I can't wait to move in and start our life there.  We plan to stay in the house until after our little darlings have graduated high school.  Wow, hardly seems possible that my little babies could ever be in high school.

6.  Conor is a giant.  A giant monster, sweet, smart as a whip giant.  We're still struggling with potty training but so many other things are awesome right now.  We went to the circus yesterday and he was completely enthralled.  Enraptured even.  If I loved anything half as much as Conor loved the circus I would be the happiest woman on earth.  We also got to ride the MAX to the circus and that may have even been better than the actual circus.  Even though he annoys me greatly sometimes (a lot of the times) I am so lucky to  be his mommy (yeah, he still calls me Mommy - I love it).  Ask anyone, he is one cool kid.

7.  Morgan and I had our 7 year Meet-a-versary.  We met on Labor Day weekend in 2004.  I was coming off a bad breakup, Morgan was looking to get married.  We were most definitely NOT in the same place.  We spent one super amazing day on the beach together in San Diego and felt so comfortable with one another it was kind of, well, shocking, I guess.  Seven years later we hung out in the beach in Seaside with our kids.  It wasn't quite the same but, looking back, both days make me smile for different reasons.  Two really good days out of life built, mostly, of good days.  That's saying something, right there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Finley Pig!  Peanut Butter!  Clare Bear!  Baby Cakes!  You are the child of many nicknames.  You are the perfect complement to our family.  The daring baby, unafraid to walk off steps, plunge head-first off bunk beds, changing tables, couches or the deck.  You refuse to be left behind and if you can't crawl or walk fast enough, you plop down on your little cloth diapered bottom and scream your bloody head off until someone picks you up and brings you along.

You unreservedly love everyone you've ever met or seen but rather than flash your 1000 watt, be-dimpled smile, you regard strangers with quiet curiosity.  That is until they try to hold you and then you can't jump out of my arms fast enough.

You seem to be pretty independent a fact which I just noticed today as you sat quietly near my feet reading a book.  As much as you love to be a part of the group, you seem content with your solitude, or at least your quiet time.

Just like your brother before you love to eat.  You will eat pretty much anything I put in front of you and if we're having lasagna, watch out!  You will out eat me and Conor and very nearly consume as much as Daddy.

Oh, and speaking of Daddy...yeah, you love him.  Like, love, love, LOVE him.  And my goodness does he just love you right back.  The other day he came home from work and I was in the kitchen doing something while you were in the living room where I had locked you beind the gate (oh I will miss the days when I can legally lock you into a room).  I thought you were going to pull that gate right off the wall so excited were you to see your Daddy.  DADA is by far your favorite, and most often used, word.  You also love Tucker (TATA) which, of course, drives me crazy.  Tucker seems to prefer you over Conor as well although as you're getting older you're beginning to get a little rougher with him.  Bless his little dog heart though, he just endures it all.

You don't really talk much, you have no teeth but but you make plenty of noise when you need something.  You have the softest skin of any baby, anywhere, ever, I swear it.

We have this night time routine and Daddy and I fight over it.  I bring you into your room all smelling good from the bath tub or from the lotion that we've used instead of giving you a proper bath, and sit you down on my lap for one or two stories.  Conor used to sit with his back facing my chest but we sit tummy to tummy and I hold the book backward so you can see it.  When we're done, I pull you foward so your head rests on my chest, my chin on your head .  You reach your sweet, soft hands into my shirt sleeves or my collar and rub the fabric back and forth, back and forth.  I rock you and sing the "Strawberry Love" song.  After a few minutes, you stop rubbing and your breathing, once quick and shallow, slows to long, slow inhales and exhales.  A tiny little arm twitch, followed by a bigger leg twitch and finally a big, full body twitch and you're asleep.  If Daddy can't find me, he pokes his head in your door and his eye meet mine.  He knows I can't get up.  He wouldn't get up either.  You are too, too sweet to put down.  I could sit there all night, tummy to tummy listening to the perfect breathing of my baby girl.

You're our last baby, the last little member of the Walsh family and it's like you complete the puzzle from which we didn't even know a piece was missing.  You came along and "click".  Perfect.

Oh, I hate to see you growing up because I want to hold you and love you and snuggle you forever and I know, one day, you'll pull away and then one day after that, you'll be gone, off at the mall with friends or driving around back roads with the windows down singing at the top of your lungs.  but today, on your birthday, you're my baby.  Sweet, perfect Finley.

I love you more than is humanly possible,


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just pictures

Love everything about this pictures.  From her expression, to the way she is standing on one leg like she's posing for the camera.  She just could not be cuter.

I realize that this picture is over exposed and blurry but I still love it..

Again, over exposed but he actually picked this flower out for me and handed it to me.  I did not ask him to pose like this.

Gorgeous tulips

Tulips and weeds

Just a tree

Conor and Wyatt.

Yikes.  This is one handsome kid.

Too much light so I attempted to fix with black and white but still, she is so adorable!

Oh goodness.

I wish I had a good reason why I haven't been blogging lately but I have no excuse other than I feel like I don't really have anything to say.  The writing bug will come back to me but for now, I've got a bit of writers block so please bear with poorly-captioned pictures.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter, part one of...oh I lost count

The Easter Bunny came early to our house this year so that Zack could hunt for eggs with us. The Friday before Easter was one of the rare sunny days we've had this year and we used the heck out of it. Because the front yard has far less poop than does the back yard the EB chose to hide the eggs out front this year.

First egg of the day

Zack finds an egg

Eggs in trees

That didn't take long

Eyes on the prize

Hands are full already but there's always room for more


You mean there's CANDY in here?

Zack finds candy too


Three little heads

Finley decides she's going to take take some for herself

Subsequently, Zack decides he's just going to get the heck out of here

Conor enjoyed three Easter egg hunts this year and as a result we have more candy than we know what to do with.  We actually have four Easter bunnies.  You know what happens to four Easter bunnies?  Mommy eats them.  Awesome.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finley - Nine Months

Our little girl is 9 months old!  Can you believe it?  And she's just the cutest, sweetest little spitfire you've ever seen.  She's doing all sorts of fun things like crawling, and crusing and dancing.  She's headed quickly for that baby-proof the house stage which, if I'm being honest, I probably won't do.  In fact, yesterday I found her chewing on an outlet cover.

After three months of one ear infection after another I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that we're done with ear infections (and weekly Dr.'s office visits) for at least a few months.

Fin's started to say things like Dada, occasionally Mama and always Tata (for Tucker).  Man, she loves that damn dog.  She ate baby food for about a week before I gave up and just fed her what we were eating.  Just the other night she ate more lasagna than Conor did.  And, believe it or not, she'll out eat YOU on spaghetti night.

She's become quite vocal when left alone or if wants a particular toy (usually the "toy" is my phone or the remote control).  She's got a bit of an attitude for sure but she'll scream in your face for no apparent reason and then, in the very next moment, turn those baby blues on you like-What?  I'm adorable even when I scream.

She goes to bed like a champ every night and, unlike Conor, she'll fall asleep on our chests and Morgan and I find ourselves snuggling waaaay past bedtime.

She had her 9 month checkup yesterday and weighs in at 17 pounds 12 ounces and 28.5 inches long.  Still holding steady at 25% for weight and 75% for height.

Finley had her first turn on a swing last week and didn't care for it too much.

Pretty pitiful but still so darn cute

Our little girl is still the perfect addition to our family.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flowers and freakouts

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
― C.S. Lewis

You know how sometimes you hear just the right thing at just the right time?

I think I"m going to go back to school.  To get my MBA in Healthcare Management.

I'm a little freaked out by this.  (Morgan, who is just now reading this is more than a little freaked out by this.)

Here's the thing:  I was planning on getting my Masters degree anyway.  I was just planning on getting a Masters in teaching.  Now that the whole teaching profession has gone in the crapper (not that teaching is crappy or that teachers are crappy just that the great state of Oregon has decided that educating our children is not really that important and the districts are no longer hiring new teachers because they've got so many experienced teachers that have been laid off - and I lost my train of thought.  Teachers = Good.  Just for the record) it doesn't seem very financially responsible to spend $25,000 on a degree which leads to a job that I can't possibly be hired for.  But!  I need a job.  And I might as well have majored in under-water basket weaving for all the good my degree in Social Science is doing me right now.  And healthcare is a huge, growing field!  And the BLS website says they make more money (lots more) than teachers do and that the industry as a whole is expanding rather than contracting and...and...and...

Ok, breathe.  So, I'm going to an information meeting tomorrow at Marylhurst and one next week at Portland State and we'll see...

Wish me luck.
Thank you for listening.  Here are some pictures of pretty flowers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fair Weather

Today was such a nice afternoon (and by nice I mean 62 degrees and overcast, but it's all about your perspective - after 29 straight days of rain I'm counting 62 and NOT raining damn near tropical) the kids and I played outside.

I played on my phone but that's still playing so it counts.

She's like, what is this "outside" you speak of?  It's fabulous!

She can raise one eyebrow! I love it.

Conor was playing golf (see the stick?) and is pointing to his "hole in one."

It's a dirty face but a cute one.

Private eyes (clap) are watching you (clap, clap) (10 points if you know the name of that super cool 80's band)

Yeah, he went behind these bushes to poop.  When he's 13 and reads this, he's gonna kill me.

Always watching Conor

Always watching the big kids down the street

Thank goodness spring is here...even if only for today.