Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hi-ho, hi-ho….

It’s back to work I go!

As I begin to write this post, I am sitting in row 19, seat A on a Southwest Airplane heading to Oakland, California. Obviously, I will be *posting* this from the ground, but for now I am enjoying the view out the window of the airplane at about 15,000ft above ground. Before my quick trip to Oakland on Monday with Cooper I had not been on a LUV jet since March of 08’, but I know this trip well- I have taken off and landed in Portland more times than I can count. Tonight, we took off to the east and out my window I could follow Airport Way/181st all the way to our neighborhood. I could see all of the Gresham/Troutdale area, including Gresham Station, which is very recognizable from the air at night (if you know what you’re looking for). I love this view!!

Pretty much all of the past year that I have been blogging, I have been on maternity leave- I have been all mommy and not so much a flight attendant. Rick and the kids dropped me off at the airport tonight and saying goodbye was harder than I imagined for a couple of reasons. I am still nursing Cooper (sorry to any of the men who read the blog, for bringing up breasts and stuff), so emotionally I am really attached to the little guy. He and I have never been apart for more than 7 or 8 hours and I am going to try and continue to nurse and pump on the road for a bit while I am working- we’ll see how this little trial run goes. Also, Riley and Tyson are a year older than before, much more aware of mommy being gone, and have been used to having me around all the time. I know they are resilient and will be great with daddy, but it is still hard. This is where I have to mention that I have the most amazing husband in the world, because when I’m out of town, he is at it alone. I know he has everything under control and can totally handle it, but getting up early, getting himself ready, feeding Cooper, getting the other two up and ready by 7am when the babysitter comes, then getting to the school just in time for students to arrive, teach all day, get home by 4pm, and do the dinner and bedtime routine with all three kids will not be easy. But, like I said, he’s amazing and he can handle it! The fact that he is such an incredible dad is just one of the many reasons I love him so much!

So, I am heading to Oakland for a little refresher course in how to be a flight attendant! ☺ We have an annual recurrent training and since I have been out so long, I missed my regular month of training and I am not legal to fly until I complete the course. I certainly need a refresher! After 9 ½ years, most of the information is ingrained in my memory, but I am still a little nervous to actually work a trip and while much is the same, so many things have changed since I've been away. This will be the perfect way to ease me back into things. After I complete the course, I will be able to start picking up trips and work again.

Top priority for my first trip is to get an overnight in a city with an In N’ Out Burger near the hotel- Reno, LA, Burbank, San Jose… any one of these will do. I just can’t wait to sit down and enjoy a cheeseburger and fries from one of my all-time favorite places to eat. I’m also looking forward to visiting some friends of mine on overnights, so Spokane and Jackson, Mississippi are tops on my list of overnights too! I am looking forward to running in cities with warmer weather, sleeping in beds with comfy pillows (and nobody to steal the covers from me- Rick!), and enjoying a little more adult interaction!

I have always said that being a flight attendant was the perfect job when I was single. It got harder to leave when I met Rick and we got married and has gotten progressively harder as we have added children to our family. But, I am starting to realize that being a flight attendant can be a pretty great job as a wife and mom too. I have been with Southwest long enough that the seniority (HUGE in this business) and the money are both really good for me right now. When I first started flying, I lived in Phoenix and worked A LOT just to pay the bills and truthfully, I didn’t have anything better to do. I loved to work and go on great overnights to fun cities, catch a Mariners game in a different city when I could (Baltimore, New York, Oakland, Chicago), and I would typically travel to visit family and friends on my days off. Now, I can enjoy the fruits of my labor by working less and making more or the same as I did in the early days.

I am going to try out this new positive, I-love-my-job attitude and hopefully it will make leaving a little less painful. Tonight, after turning back to Rick in the van and waving one last time, I walked through the doors of the airport and lost it! I cried all the way through security and for the long walk to the Southwest gates. I pulled it together to check-in for the flight, and have managed to keep it together since then. It will never be easy to leave my husband and kids for 2-3 days at a time, but we will make it work. I’m sure it won’t take long for passengers to get to me or I miss a flight home and have to wait around Oakland for hours or I work a 12+ hour day with a 10 hour overnight and I begin to dislike my job again, but in the meantime, I will enjoy the optimism! ☺

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cooper and Mommy's big adventure!

First things first... today is my 1st Blog-iversary! One year ago today, I began The Thames Family blog with this post. I have really enjoyed having an outlet to share my thoughts and photos of our growing family! Thanks for reading!

Now for the fun stuff! Today, Cooper went on his very first airplane ride!

I'm going back to work very soon (more on that in an upcoming post) and decided it would be fun to fly down to Oakland with Cooper to pick up my badge. Rick and I did the same thing with Riley for her first flight when I went back to work after she was born and we even took the BART into San Fransisco for the day. Tyson's first flight was to Spokane a few months after he was born, to visit a good friend of mine up there. Knowing how unlikely it is that we'll be taking all three kids on a plane anytime soon, I was afraid Cooper's first flight wouldn't happen for a while. This was the perfect opportunity!

It was a very quick trip. The flight to Oakland left Portland at 6:50am and landed in Oakland at 8:35am. There was a flight back to Portland at 9:10am that we never would have made it on, so the plan was to hang out in the Oakland Airport for a few hours and catch the 12:35pm flight home and land back in Portland around 2:20pm. Crazy enough, the 9:10am flight was running late... just late enough for me to run and get my badge, take care of some other business, and head back up to the gate to board the now 9:35am flight home! By the time we landed in Portland at 11:20am, we'd only been gone for 4 1/2 hours! Crazy!

Everything went really well. Cooper hardly made a sound, except for a few laughs as we were waiting to de-plane in Oakland. He also received many oohs and aahs from the women in the inflight office. And a big "Thank you!" to Amy in AZ for reminding me to put my mask on first and then Cooper's if they were to come down during the flight! Great advice! :)

Here is the first photo I took of Cooper on the plane. Notice the wings he is wearing? Each of the kids received their very own wings with names engraved on them after they were born. Very cool!
I couldn't resist taking the next two photos... the sun rising behind Mt. Hood. Watching the sights from the airplane window is one of my favorite things to do while commuting back and forth from Oakland each week.

Cooper quickly fell asleep after take-off!

And when my arms got tired, he found a comfy spot on the seat next to me!

I know this one is a little over-exposed with the flash, but check out those blue eyes!

One of the flight attendants was kind enough to take a picture of both of us! What a fun memory I will have! (Doesn't he looked thrilled!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It was no fluke!

If you have not read the post below this one, stop reading and go read "Mini-milestone" first... it's okay, I'll wait....

Have you read it yet? Here it goes...

So, about 3 minutes after I posted "Mini-milestone", Cooper decided to prove me wrong about the rolling over. He rolled from his back to his front and then did it again, and again, and again. I actually think he was showing off. It's official- no more couches, beds, or counters for this little guy (I'm kidding about the counters of course!). I caught a roll on tape, but don't know how to upload from that camera yet, so I'll get back to you with video if I can.

I have to say, I think he's growing up way too fast! He's going to be crawling and walking before we know it! :)

*Stay tuned tomorrow night (hopefully) for a post on a little adventure that Cooper and I are taking in the morning!! Those of you on facebook may get a little hint/preview before the post!*


Cooper hit a little baby milestone yesterday- he found his toes! Isn't it funny the little things we parents get excited over! :)

He also rolled over from his front to back and then back again to the front yesterday morning after his bath... I'm pretty sure it was fluke, so I'm not going to start saying he's rolling over quite yet!
He sure is a happy little guy!

We also enjoyed some unseasonably "warm" weather last week (sunny, mid-50's) and were able to spend time playing in the backyard.

Notice who has the mower and who has the stroller...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Serious bed-head

Check out those post-naptime bangs! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tyson's Special Day!

Today, Rick and I took Tyson out for his special birthday time with Mommy and Daddy. He loves the Bob the Builder exhibit going on at the Portland Children's Museum, so we knew it would be a big hit. He hit the ground running as soon as we entered the museum, it was hilarious to watch- it was like he was on speed or something. He was running from one thing to the next in the Bob the Builder exhibit, excitedly saying, "Look at that!" and "Who's that daddy?"

"It's loud!"
Using the pipe as a trumpet!
Peeking out from the story time treehouse.
Practicing his brushing skills on the alligator.
Having fun in the dig pit.
Family shot.
Giving "fists" to Bob the Builder! "See you next time!"
I'm not sleepy...
A ride on Daddy's shoulders.
Exhausted... what a fun day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Loving Memory of Grandma Doris

Doris Thames
December 9, 1938- February 15, 2008

One year ago today, Rick's mom lost her battle with cancer. She passed away less than a week before we found out Cooper would be joining our family- she would have been so thrilled at the news! Doris loved hanging out with the family, working out in the field of her lace-leaf maple nursery, and especially playing games like Scrabble, Hand and Foot, and poker! She also enjoyed spending time with all 7 of her grandchildren.

Not a day goes by that she is not thought about, loved, and missed!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Our attempt at a group shot! :)
Tyson wasn't exactly willing to sit for a photo op, but ask him to say "Cheese!" and he'll stop in his tracks and smile big for that!
Cooper giving smiles to Daddy! The Handsome shirt he is wearing is one of my favorite hand-me-downs from Tyson- perfect for V-day!
It's tough to capture Riley truly *smiling* without a big cheesy grin... this is a wonderful example of a sweet smile from our little girl!
Whether it's sitting next to each other in their car seats or hanging around the house, Riley *loves* to hold her baby brother's hand.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday, Tyson!

I can't say enough about how much we love this little guy with the huge grin! It's still hard to believe he is 2 years old today!
I just couldn't resist posting this adorable picture too!

Stay tuned for pictures this weekend of Tyson's special day with Mommy and Daddy for his birthday, we can't wait!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, Riley!

Our beautiful little girl is growing up so quickly!
After a big weekend of celebration, Riley's 3rd birthday finally arrived!

*We enjoyed a special breakfast of eggs, chocolate chip muffins, and apple.
*A trip to the mall for pictures in her pretty Easter dress and Jamba Juice!
*Riley wanted PB & J and yogurt for lunch.
*A nice long, much-needed nap!
*Birthday wishes via phone from Grandma, Great-Grandma, Papa and Grandma Gayle, and Aunt Robyn and Cousin Cassidy.
*And more presents- "Mary Poppins" on DVD, more Legos!
*Extra late bedtime to enjoy some quality play time with Daddy.

What a wonderful day...

I am officially no longer the mother of three kids under the age of 3! :)

Riley's Special Day

Riley was only 1 year and 2 days old when Tyson was born, so they truly don't know life without each other and they are also rarely apart from one another. Rick and I decided one of the best birthday gifts we could give each of the kids this year is quality alone time with Mommy and Daddy. We got a babysitter for the boys and took Riley out for special birthday time!

A couple of runs down the new slide couldn't hurt to start off the day!
A few birthday wish pennies for the fountain at the mall.
We thought Riley might really enjoy doing Build-A-Bear. After much deliberation, she chose a very soft and cuddly bunny. She was so thoughtful and picked out a black bear for Tyson, but after all, this was her day... Tyson will get his turn someday! She was also a little confused by the fact that the bunny she picked was smaller than the display and kept wanting the "bigger one" on the wall.
Putting the heart in her bunny after it "got bigger" with all the fluffy stuff.
Picking the perfect outfit!
Meet Princess!
Coming up with a name was harder than I thought... but when we mentioned Princess, Riley decided that was the perfect name for her new friend!
The very important walk through the mall with her brand new Build-A-Bear box, with Princess tucked safely away inside!
Doesn't she look happy!
It was off to Red Robin for the birthday dinner. If we go out to eat anywhere, the kids always share a Kids Meal, but tonight Riley got one all to herself.
Here she is coloring on the menu and picking out the "R's" for Riley in the word search.
She was so excited at the idea of getting a special treat and a Happy Birthday song... but, as you can tell from her face, she wasn't too sure what to think of it!
Dig in!
"Three years old!"
(And a completely empty sundae sitting in front of her... without sharing a single bite with us!)

Back at home, Riley was so excited to show off Princess to her brothers. One of my favorite memories of the evening was watching Riley yell "Tyson!" and run over when we got home to give him a big hug and kiss!
Taking Princess on a few rides down the slide was the perfect end to a wonderful evening!
* Can you tell that I was crazy camera Mom throughout the whole thing!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Birthday Party

We had a small birthday party for the kids on Saturday with most of Rick's family and Grandma Diane and Grandpa Jim from the Tri-Cities. We enjoyed yummy tacos for dinner, a little present opening, and then some cake! Riley had a Princess theme, while Tyson enjoyed a "Cars" birthday- two great birthday parties wrapped into one! It was such fun watching both of them get so excited about pretty much everything that day! Tyson was particularly excited about his cake. It was sitting out on the table when he woke up from his nap and he literally cried "I want cake!" for over an hour. The boy was on a cake mission... but he had to wait until after dinner like the rest of us!

The decorations were very simple and I made both of the cakes (although I must give the frosting credit to my mom!)
Riley's Princess cake
Tyson's Cars cake
Reading the first present they opened... they are both VERY into books right now, and especially books about animals- which this book was!
This slide was the "big" gift for both kids from Rick and I. It seems to work really well inside for the time being, until the weather warms up and we can move it to the backyard. The kids LOVE it!
Cooper, with his oldest cousin, Jamie.
Riley getting ready to blow out her candles.
We even sang "Happy Birthday!" twice, so here is Tyson getting his turn to blow out the candles on his cake.