October 1, 2011

Hidden message

This morning was a typical Saturday. Woke at 6, fed the kids, watched a little HGTV, all the while trying to keep the boys from killing each other. Somewhere around the 9 o'clock hour it ALWAYS goes South. You would think since I've detected a pattern I could have solved the problem. It's usually around that time that I storm upstairs to ask Doug when he is planning on waking up. I send one boy to his room and take the other with me. This is the only part of the pattern that varies each week. It's always a mystery who will end up in tears.

Today it was Jack. I'm not certain what happened, there was a brief dance party and then things got a little heated on the dance floor.

After a lot of 3 year old excuses, and one silent 6 year old, I had identified the guilty party. Some 10 minutes later, Nate decided to patch up their relationship with a card. He asked for the mega sticker book, paper and some pens.

See if you can find the hidden message.

At first glace it appears to be a perfect apology note....a colorful rainbow, balloons, the words "I'm sorry". Then after closer inspection I noticed the hidden sticker.

A handgun smack dab between "Sorry and I pushed you".  Nice.

I better take a look at that Mega sticker book. Who knows what other hidden messages could be lurking.

September 26, 2011

Tooth Fairy

If you want to find out how many questions a 3 year old can ask before you run out of answers, try telling them about the Tooth Fairy!

This is our conversation over the span of 30 minutes, with long pauses in between.

Jack: "WHAT???? I thought the Toof Fairy was supposed to come today?"

Me: "No, she comes tonight when you guys are sleeping."

Jack: "But wait, how does she get here?"

Nate: "Mom the tooth fairy doesn't have bones. They only have arms and legs and bodies like us, but they have to go through walls so they don't have blood, right? Right mom?"

Me: "Right"

Jack: "Who is the Toof Fairy? Dr. Niki? "

Me: "No Jack, It's not Dr. Niki, she's a fairy."

Jack:"Is she a nurse?"

Me: "No she's a fairy."

Jack: "Does the Toof Fairy have a scary face?"

Me: "No, she's really friendly."

Jack: "Oh, and the Toof Fairy doesn't have a penis or butt, right mom?"

Me: "Right, no penis and no butt. Once again, she's a fairy."

Jack: "What if the Tooth Fairy doesn't like me?"

Me: "Of course she will, and don't worry, she's not there to see you anyway. She's there to get a tooth and then she leaves. She comes in quickly like a hummingbird, and no one sees her. She's tiny."

Nate: "How do you know?"

Me: "I've seen a picture of her."

Jack:  "But the Toof fairy is going to wake up me. I want to sleep in your bed."

Me: "Don't worry Jack, she won't wake you. She doesn't wake anybody."

Jack: "So she takes Nate's tooth, and then brings him  a new tooth right? Because I saw new teeth at the Dentist." ( He's referring to the fake teeth they use to show kids how to brush.)

Me: "No, she brings money, not teeth."

Jack: "But where does the Tooth Fairy live mom? In a Pipeline? "
(How am I supposed to answer this one?)

Me: "Maybe."

Jack: "I don't want the Toof Fairy to break the front door."

Me: "Don't worry she doesn't break down doors."

Jack: "Maybe she will take a shovel and smash it into the window."

Me: She's too small, she can't pick up a shovel, and she's not evil"

Jack: "How does she get here?"(I think I heard this question already.)

Me:  "I'm not sure how she gets in. Probably through cracks in windows, or through walls, like Nate said."

Then Jack proceeds to go to the window and says, "HELLO Toof fairy...Are you out there?

It's going to be a long night!

Obama and the Missing Tooth

Who knew September 26th would have been such an exciting day????

It all started with an explosion of energy. While I was showering, Nate rushed in beside himself with excitement. "Mommy, I lost my first tooth!" He was holding his tiny tooth in the palm of his hand with his 3 year old side kick close by. They both stood there examining his tooth like it was the 8th Wonder of the World. Next came the conversation about the Tooth Fairy. Luckily Grandma put a rush order on a homemade pillow at the initial sign of the wiggle. It arrived a few days ago, just in time for it's first offering.

Jack began to negotiate that Nate must share whatever the Tooth Fairy gives. I quickly squashed the idea of any toys, and said the Tooth Fairy leaves money.

To which Nate replied, "Oh good, I can buy a toy with that!"

I made the mistake of mentioning that I used to get a silver dollar. His eyes lit up with excitement. Now I have to run to the bank to try and track one down. Not sure if the Tooth Fairy still carries those.

As if my day wasn't complete....my lunch was equally as exciting. My simple Asian Chicken Salad run turned into a Presidential motorcade sighting. Obama was visiting Linkedin, and flew out of Moffet Airforce Base, down the street from my office. As I was waiting for my salad, I started to notice an excessive amount of police starting to hover. Next came the road barricade, the closure of the freeway exits, and then the helicopters arrived. I figured it must be for Obama.... but then remembered I left my phone in the car. Bummer, I would need to burn the image in my brain. (I guess I can't sell my footage to TMZ.)

It was well worth it! Super cool to see 30+ police vehicles and the President turn right in front of me...and of course my Asian Chicken Salad! I wanted to yell out, "Can you do something about the AMT tax?"

The day isn't even over. I planned a simple pasta night. The possibilities are endless!

September 23, 2011

Catching up

There seems to be a common theme developing, and it called, "Catching Up". My last post was at the beginning of August and covered the previous three months. If I'm looking for trends, I seem to be improving, but I'm no where near my 2 posts a week of yesteryear.

Here is a quick recap from the past 8 weeks.
  • Nate turned 6 and started Kindergarten, Yoga, Basketball and Soccer.
  • Jack started Preschool, Art and Basketball
  • I started a new job at Coupons.com
  • Brooke turned 5 months old, and started cereal! (Everybody was starting something.)
  • Doug started covering for my late hours. :) 

I would love to try and write the funny things the boys have been saying lately, but I can't remember them. Infact, today I Googled, "memory fading at a young age". I know I should have been Googling something much more relevant, like how to get rid of head lice, but my memory loss seemed like a pressing issue. The best part of my 5 minute research were the steps to increase your memory. It said you should use your brain to solve problems everyday. Judging from that advice, I should be as sharp as a razor blade!

I was disappointed to find that they missed a few causes. Nowhere did I find that waking every night at 2AM to change a 3yr old's wet sheets and pj's would cause memory loss. Or waking 3 hours later at 5AM to walk down a flight of stairs to make a bottle would cause it either. Then finally waking at 6AM to shower, get dressed, get the kids "officially" awake, fed, dressed and out the door by 7:40AM would cause you to lose your mind. There was a hyperlink though that said, "See sleep deprived" or "Mother of 3".

Having three kids though has caused me to realize a few things. Caffeine is my drug of choice. Going to bed at 8:30pm is mandatory..... for ME. Spending one on one time with each child is much better than spending it with all three at once....especially between the hours of 5pm-8pm. Having a date night with just Doug is one of the most anticipated events, and one that I no longer take for granted.


August 1, 2011

Back in it!

I'm ripping off the band-aid, and getting back in the blogosphere!
It's been three months, and I've neglected my blog. Now granted, I do have a pretty big excuse, a 14 pound one to be exact.
It's been an eventful 90 days, I'll try to keep the list brief, but catch you up on the Willbanks 411.

  1. Arrival of Brooke Elise - 8lbs 2 oz. I think...I was on a lot of drugs. (I'll write a separate blog post on her arrival. One line doesn't do it justice!)
  2. Nathan learned to ride a 2 wheeler. Came home one day and said, "I know how to ride a bike." Sure enough he did. I love it when he trains himself!
  3. Jack turned 3!
  4. Jack became potty trained - (With the help of a lot of lollipops, and one very important backhoe.)
  5. Walked in the 4th of July parade - with G-ma and G-pa to help rally the troops.
  6. Vacation to So. CA - 7 days of spa bliss
  7. Boys learned to play tennis - (Had to call Atherton police after getting locked in the tennis courts! That's one for the blog later.)
  8. Kids first boat ride around Newport Harbor - Highlight for Jack-seeing a Digger on board a boat while riding on a boat.
  9. Brooke's first road trip - (Between two brothers - surprised she has any hearing left.)
  10. Oh yeah! Resigned from my job! (That's a big one. More details to come on my next move.)
  11. Jack gave up his pacifier....not voluntarily. (It was like watching a drug addict go through withdrawals for a week.)
  12. Doug launched his first product for HealthCPA!
  13. Nate graduated from preschool. Let the Kindergarten countdown begin.
  14. Took the boys to their first Giants game this season. - Bobble head day didn't disappoint.
  15. Left the house with 3 kids. (That definitely deserved recognition.)
Here are a few photos from the past few months.
Jack discovered Popsicles

Nate and G-pa on the 4th of July

Mommy discovered hair bows!

Nate taking a break from Tennis.

G-ma and Brookie on the 4th

Perfect little face-and a hair bow!

Brookie helping me lose a few lbs on a night jog!

Johnson's on the boat cruise 

Nate discovered the ipad with his partner in crime Zack

Swimming with good friends and cousins

Brooke at 3 weeks

Jack and his bff Teddy watching Cars 2

Giants game

Holding Brooke for the first time!

My 3 kids - (Thank you Sara for capturing this moment.)

Jack - the BIG 3!

April 18, 2011

Letter to My Brothers

Dear Big Brothers,
I've been observing you for the past 10 months from inside, and I have a few simple requests before I make my grand entrance.

To the older, semi organized, slightly type A one....I need your help. I hear they call you Mommy's little Sheriff. This will definitely come in handy. How about you stand guard in front of my room during any naps, and make sure the shorter, very sticky, comedian like one isn't allowed in. I've heard Mom use the expression, "Jack....why are you so messy?" more times than I can count. (Well actually I can't count yet...but I know she says it a lot.) She also likes to use the phrase, "Jack, put the hammer down!" And that is why I NEED a strong Sheriff. I know my head will still be soft for a few months, but I'm pretty sure that hammers and babies don't mix.
And one more thing. It sounds like you're pretty good at reminding Mom and Dad when we're out of any food, like Apple Juice or Life cereal. If you could do me a favor and make sure there is always a constant supply of formula I'll be sure to pay you back one day with a tantrum to take the focus off of you! (No need to thank me now!)

To the one they call Jack Jack, you sound like you know how to get things done, and this could work for both of us.  I don't know what popsicles, gummy bears, cakes or cheez-its are, but I'm curious as to why you always ask for them at 6:45AM? Is this what they call breakfast? If so....save me some. By the sound of desperation in your voice, they sound fabulous. When I'm able to talk, we can team-up, and maybe we'll break Mom and Dad down faster.
I will also need your help building muscles. I'm assuming you're pretty strong because I always hear mom say, "Jack, how did you carry that chair to the top of the stairs?" Hence my next request, please don't crush me! Or sit on me, like you do Nathan.

One last appeal for both of you...please try to keep the noise level down over the next week. It's getting cramped in my current bedroom, and you're loud voices are echoing in these narrow halls. When Mom yells at you guys it's incredibly loud and sounds like a dinosaur. So I would appreciate a little brotherly love here. Shhhhh

If you agree to these simple requests.....I'll be sure to hook you up with some of my cute girlfriends when we enter high school!

Thanks- I love you already!


April 10, 2011

Some Genes Don't Run Deep

To Doug's horror, Nate not only went into a petting zoo today, but he actually touched the animals! (Gasp)

It's a big joke in our house regarding Doug's love/hate relationship with the four legged kind. Animals seek him out, but he would rather die a tragic death than to touch some body's pet, let alone one that's in a zoo. Every time we go to the zoo, which isn't often, he takes out a little more stock in hand sanitizer.

This is why these pictures are so funny to me. Even though Nate may be a mini Doug, I guess some genes only run so deep. I only wish I had a picture of the curmudgeon in the background standing ready with the wipes and disinfectant spray.

When I asked Nate about the best part of the party, his reply, "The petting zoo, because he loves bunnies!"

Our good little Jewish boy must be getting ready for Easter...considering that's the day I predict his sister will arrive!

April 6, 2011

Smuggling a Bowling Ball?

Two weeks to go.....That's what I tell myself, and if you read this post, you'll understand my math.

Lately, I've been getting comments like, "Are you due today? or "Are you smuggling a bowling ball?" Personally that's my favorite. It came from the Trader Joes sample man. (A place I frequent too often.)

I'm officially on maternity leave, and it feels fantastic. Monday was my first day, and with the kids off at school and the park, I took time to do some writing. The only problem....I kept falling asleep. You could hear a pin drop in the house, and I'm clearly not used to that level of silence and relaxation. Since I don't know where my next nap will come from, I didn't fight it. If silence is the only hazard to this job, I'll take it. I know it can't last long.

After an even better weekend with best girlfriends.....shopping, lunching, staying in a nice hotel, and sleeping in....I could definitely get used to this life. I plan on taking full advantage of the next four months.

Life is good...even if I am smuggling a bowling ball!

March 23, 2011

ChickenPox Boy

Last week Nathan came down with the Chickenpox. I know what you're thinking.
"Did he get the vaccine?"
Oh wait, maybe you were thinking, "Chickenpox, isn't that so 1982?"
And the answer is "Yes" to both questions. 
Just for your future reference apparently the vaccine isn't 100% effective. BUT...I can testify that it does truly limit the symptoms. Luckily he only got about 20 pox, vs. a typical 300+ for a non vaccinated child.
The Dr.'s office hadn't seen chickenpox in so long that the pediatrician needed to pull out her Dr. Manual when I asked what the incubation period was.
When she walked out of the treatment room, I heard her whisper to the nurses, "It's the chickenpox!"
My little chickenpox boy was having his 5 minutes of fame!
I wonder if it's like Sorority Rush where they show the picture of the "rushee" after the day is over and then the entire sorority has the chance to critique her with only three pathetic words.
In our case I had visions of the staff gathering around after hours with Nate's innocent face on the wall, and someone saying.
1. Leper
2. Parent's probably don't bathe him
3. Chickenpox boy

And then they proceeded to hose down the the treatment room with a big batch of bleach.

Luckily Nate was a trooper, albeit is has been the longest 6 days of our lives. To top it off, we've had torrential rain so we couldn't go outside. When the rain finally let up, I had to think of an outside activity. I asked the boys to clean the yard. They were more than happy to grab two sponges and spend hours cleaning the toys. I know it sounds like child labor, but I can safely say, "No true cleaning went on."

I knew we were running out of ideas when they decided to cut the backyard weeds each with a pair of child scissors. When they showed me their progress, I was truly amazed at the size of the pile. We may no longer need a Gardner. (Only kidding of course...we don't actually have a Gardner.)
Today is Wednesday....day six, and I've run out of crafty ideas and/or chores they can safely do.

Magically a new tent appeared on our doorstep. Long story, but we received a replacement Coleman tent after our last one ripped over the Summer. It couldn't have come at a better time. I wised up after our last camping trip, and picked a new tent that was marketed with the phrase, "Easy 1 minute set up".
Say no more...that's the tent we need!
The poles are already attached, it's beautiful, even a 9 month pregnant woman can set it up. Well almost. I got it out of the box, and then lost steam. The final 30 seconds was Doug making it upright.
But look at those happy faces. It was a great ending to long week.
The pox are gone, and Nate will be returning to school tomorrow! Keep your fingers crossed that Jack won't be the next Chickenpox boy!

March 20, 2011

Not the Next Great Baker

There comes a time in life when you realize as much as you want to be good at something, you come to terms with the fact you just aren't! For me lately, that "thing" is decorating cakes. I was about to write baking cakes, but when it comes to actually cooking them, they turn out fine. It's the decorating piece that is so incredibly hard.

I am impressed when I watch shows like the Cake Boss where they whip up any old cake, even ones with a working toilet. Now, I'm not kidding myself. I don't expect to be a "Cake Boss", but I would just like to write a simple sentence on the top, and not look like I dropped the cake in the parking lot.

I'm also amazed by so many woman who are really really good at it. I read blogs where I see these woman baking cakes in their spare time when they could be selling them for a huge profit in a bakery. So I've been thinking about where I fall short. (I think this is the first step to recovery.)

I realized I'm missing two key components.
1. Patience
2. Spare time (As if I had all the time in the world I would spend baking cakes.)

Anybody who knows me, knows that I don't even really like sweets.....unless I'm pregnant. So most likely this will be the last post on anything sweets related. I'm entering my last month of pregnancy, and once I'm done...I'm back to being a potato chip girl!

So in honor of St. Patty's Day this past week, and Doug being "part" Irish and me being "full" pregnant, I gave it one more shot.

P.S. This photo inspired me, by a mom blogger. See what I mean. Incredible!
Below was my cake. Can't you just feel the love. But I have to say, Nate colored in the green shamrock. (That's why it looks so good.)

March 13, 2011

Sprint Training Roundup

The young Angel lineup is looking solid this year. Most importantly, no injuries...yet.
Their first spring training practice started with rule #1.
1. Bats are for hitting the ball ONLY.  (Funny...we have the same rule in our house.)

The team ran three very strategic drills.
1. Run the bases, and say the base number when you touch the bag. (Amazing how many "home" plates there are.)
2. Throwing. Pick a partner and play catch. Our little smart alack threw the first two pitches about 10 ft beyond his partners head. But the players were quick learners and adjusted their distance accordingly.
3. Batting practice. The team has some strong starters this year. A few balls even made it past the infield.

A special mention really for his father's benefit. Nathan Willbanks had the furthest hit of the day. Five years of practice in the front yard, dodging cars as he shagged balls, has started to pay off. I could see the joy in Doug's face, and know that comment went straight to his head...I mean heart!

The first official game isn't for a few weeks, but the team is looking ready!

Players to keep an eye on: Nathan Willbanks Age - 5.5, Weight 42lbs, Height - (who knows, we can't find the measuring tape.) Salary - $1 a day. Future Goals - When he grows up he wants to be a Hotel Man. (whatever that means.)

The Motley Crew

Ready for Anything
Probably negotiating with the Coach

March 9, 2011

8th Inning Stretch

Tomorrow I'll be 31 weeks pregnant. I've been telling people that I'm due at the end of April, which isn't entirely true, but it makes me feel better.

My official due date is May 15th, but I'll have a scheduled c-section on the books for the beginning of May.

If this baby is anything like her brothers....(god help us)......she's planning her big exit around April 25th.  By the size of my belly, I better listen to her. Nate was born at 36 weeks, and Jack at 37.5.  So rather than go into all those details with every person that asks, "When are you due?" I simply say, end of April!

Today was a big day. I hit the 40lb mark of weight gain. If you just gasped, don't worry, I'm actually happy about it.
With Nathan I gained 75 lbs, and with Jack 55 lbs.

Apparently it takes three kids for me to realize that I shouldn't eat two lunches.

Although I am somewhat happy with the 40lbs, I can't help but wonder what I could have done differently.

  1. Never should have ordered 6 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies..... two weeks ago.
  2. Probably should have shared those cookies with my family.
  3. Made Martinelli's Sparkling Cider my drink of choice at the holidays. (Purchased in bulk at Costco) 
  4. Should have eaten Turkey at Thanksgiving.....rather than just the mashed potatoes and stuffing.... 3X.
  5. For some reason Chipotle burritos were calling my name in the first few months.... I should have changed my name.
Of course this list would have been 4 times longer when I was pregnant with Nathan, so I'm feeling pretty proud today, but still a little stuffed. I'm entering what I call the "indescent phase" where my pants won't stay up, and I need perfect strangers to tell me if my belly is hanging out. (At least I'm not drooling.)

BTW: I was going to title this post, "7th Inning Stretch", but that would mean I have two more innings to go, and if you are going by my predictions I technically only have an inning and a half, hence the new title.

It's the little ways that I lie to myself that keep me going. If you've been pregnant you understand! If you haven't....stay away from these expressions, "Oh my god....are you having twins?" Or could you GET any larger? Take it from me, those never go over well for either party.

February 16, 2011

Mad Science

When I come home at night, I scan the kitchen table for any urgent school forms, bills to be paid, or daily happenings that need my attention. Mari is fantastic about putting all the kid's school notices in plain sight.

On Monday I came home, scanned the table, saw a piece of artwork from Jack, Nate's lunch box, a few pieces of mail, and worms. Wait what?


It took a minute for my brain to process what I was looking at. It was a flyer titled, Caring for your Worms, and directly on top of the flyer was a cup filled with....you guessed it, worms! (Luckily there was a lid on it.)

Now somewhere back in 1984 I didn't have a problem with worms, but as years passed I evolved. In 2011, I can safely say I don't want to see worms on my kitchen table, in the exact spot I eat dinner.

I picked up the flyer and started reading. I was actually curious, how do you care for worms? About half way through the instructions Nate walked up and proceeded to describe all the "important" facts about worms.

"They don't have teeth."
"They breeth through holes in their bodies."
"They live in dirt and come to the surface when they need air." (Pretty sure this one is only half true, but I could be wrong.)

The flyer states that the worms should be set free in two weeks. TWO WEEKS?
Luckily Nate woke up yesterday and decided that two weeks were up! We needed to set them free today! Thank God! (This is one time I'm thankful we haven't reinforced the calendar too much.)

I happily agreed, and proceeded to take them outside to our newly planted garden. Nate said, "They have to be buried deep!
"Oh don't worry about that Nate, I'll put them so far down in the dirt we won't see them for a while!"

Thankfully Jack's handy work over the weekend happened to leave a large hole in the dirt, that was just the perfect spot to dump/free our worms.

I'll be sending a thank you note to the Mad Science instructor, with a special mention to stick to bubbles and volcanoes. I don't have to feed them!

February 15, 2011

Thirteen Year Later


Thirteen year ago Doug and I had our first Valentine's Day. We had been dating for a few months and he surprised me by taking me to San Francisco. There were two parts to my surprise.

First we went to the Starlight Room, with amazing city views, at the top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. We had a couple of drinks, and a really good conversation. I vividly remember talking about happiness, and how I felt in that moment.

Next we walked down the street to the St. Francis hotel where he said, "Let's check-in, I need to drop something off before dinner." When we arrived in the room, he had a arranged a private dinner for two in a suite. We ate filet mignon, champagne and creme brulee.

It was a perfect night!

I wanted to recount this story so when I've lost my memory, with our soon to be three kids, I'll remember what life used to be like.


I arrived home to find two very excited little Valentine boys. The third was running a few minutes late, and said he would be home shortly. We had a date planned for the four us.

Our plan....Pizza My Heart and the new G-rated movie Gnomeo and Juliet.

When Doug arrived home, he hurried upstairs to have the boys sign my newly purchased Valentine cards. (I'm always surprised the store has any left.) Nathan handed me the pretty bouquet of Tulips Doug purchased. (I made sure to put my request for flowers in early this year. The Tulips were a surprise.)

As we sat down to eat our slices of pizza, I had a flashback to 1998. The conversation was very different, as were the drinks, but the feeling I had was very much the same.

It was a perfect night!

Thirteen year later Valentine's Day had no major surprises, but these days that's a good thing!

February 13, 2011

My Little Helpers

I was trying to remember my weekends before kids...and I can't. (I must have watched a lot of TV.) If I did try to accomplish anything, it was done at a casual pace.

My weekends now.....not so casual, and the pace.....it's directly related to the amount of sleep everyone got.

I now prioritize what needs to get done, and what I could realistically get done.... with the boys in tow. The key is to find a project that will keep them occupied long enough that they are interested, semi-helpful, and is achievable in a short time frame ie. 2 hours. The end goal can't be perfection, it has to be "good enough".

Yesterday we gardened!

It started off relatively calm. They both had shovels, and specific jobs. Our goal was to plant three pots of flowers and clear out the weeds.

Right on schedule, at the two hour mark, our timer went off.
After watering the flowers, and the dirt, then came the mud.

Jack and mud don't mix. It was time to evaluate our day's work, and decide the project was over. Our flowers were successfully in the pots, most of the weeds had been cleared out. Yep....it's good enough.

I forgot to mention I had a superhero show up half way through the project.