Four eyes are better than two

First and foremost I want to start this off by wishing my wife, my Mom, my Mother-in-law, my sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends (basically all the Moms in our lives) a very happy Mother’s Day! It’s a special day that you all very much deserve, so I hope it’s a good one. Normally I’d be spending this morning making a nice brunch for Jessica, but this year is a little different. Jessica will be working brunch at El Gaucho Bellevue while I spend the day with the kids, then tonight we’ll do a nice dinner at home. Yesterday I stopped by Central Market (which is the really nice grocery store in Mill Creek) and picked up fresh Kusshi oysters, dungeness crab, jumbo prawns, scallops, and calamari. I’m looking forward to treating her to a seafood extravaganza this evening.

To explain to the kids a little bit about the character of their mamma, Jessica received a phone call from Tony, the GM at El Gaucho Bellevue, asking for a favor. Although she normally only works Wednesday and Thursday nights, and of course he knows she is a Mom, he had to ask her if she was willing to work Mother’s Day brunch. They already had over 600 reservations on the books and basically needed all hands on deck. He also promised her that she would be the first one to get called off, should they end up over-staffed. Without hesitation she said yes, and later on decided that even if she were given the opportunity to get called off, she wouldn’t take it. It’s too good of a shift to pass up, and we’re going on vacation in a couple weeks, so working made sense. Yesterday she got another call from Tony saying they actually could get by without her and offered her the day off, which was cool because he stayed true to his word, but so did she, and declined his offer. That’s classic Jessica – always putting what’s best for our family ahead of herself. Obviously we’re quite lucky to have her and greatly appreciate everything she does. Happy Mother’s Day honey, as Ava would say, we “love you around the volcano.”

Although I won’t get to spend Mother’s Day with my own Mom, I’m very much excited to be spending a week with her on the Alaska cruise, which is only two weeks away! We’re all getting very excited for the trip. The girls seem to really understand that we’re going on a trip with Nana on a big boat and we’re going to see all kinds of exciting things. I know this is something my Mom has been looking forward to since she presented the idea several months ago, and of course getting this week with her grandkids will be something she never forgets. Hopefully this will suffice as a delayed, but unforgettable, Mother’s Day gift.

Finally, speaking of Grandma’s, Amy and Tom left earlier this week after a nice long visit. Amy was here for 2.5 weeks, and Tom joined her with us for the final week of the stay. We always enjoy spending time with them, and they always provide so much help with the kids. It sort of dawned on me that first night after they left while Jessica was at work that I hadn’t made dinner for the kids, or given them a bath, or barely even changed a diaper for that matter, in two weeks! They really take on the kids head first when they’re here and it gives Jessica and I a lot more free time, so we appreciate it very much. As far as I know they’re in Germany right now. Tom had to go for some work he’s doing with a company based in Colorado, and Amy went along with him to visit her niece Lauren, who lives with her family in Frankfurt. Lauren’s husband John is an officer in the Marine Corps, so they have already had an opportunity to live in some pretty exciting places. Randomly they were stationed in San Diego at the same time we were there, which is when I got a chance to know them.

Regarding the kids, everyone is doing really well. Ava is such a little helper these days, and she really seems to thrive when given a task. Maybe you need her to run upstairs to grab something, or keep Enzo busy while you change Elise, whatever it is she is always eager to help. She also likes helping with things that you don’t really need help with, like vacuuming or making dinner, but I usually do my best to find some way for her to help. She definitely understands that she is the oldest of the kids and seems to thrive in that role. She’s also doing well at school and looks forward to going every Tuesday and Thursday.

Earlier this week Jessica and the kids met up with my sister Dana at the Snohomish Aquatic Center. Everyone had a blast and Ava couldn’t stop talking about it all night. She’s still unwilling to go completely underwater based on an incident we had at the pool last summer, but we’re getting there. She definitely loves to go swimming, but I think we need to get her into lessons ASAP. Jessica said Elise was absolutely fearless in the water (much like her Daddy) and Enzo, who unexpectedly went under a few times, always popped right back up and kept going. All night Ava kept saying, I want to go back to the pool with Auntie Dana and Anna.

Speaking of my niece Anna, I guess we know who the star athlete in the family is. Anna, who is 15, has been playing soccer as long as I can remember. She set a goal as a very young child to become a soccer star and get a college scholarship out of it. Her dedication throughout this whole time is beyond impressive, especially to someone like me who tried so many different things growing up. Her ability to stick with one thing and become great at it is so inspiring, and I hope my kids take notice of it. We really need to take them to one of Anna’s games sometime soon. In her last game, Bellevue High (Anna’s team) won by a score of 13-2. Anna scored all 13 goals.

Elise is doing great and growing so fast. Based on one of my recent posts when I talked about Elise and how sweet she is, Jessica said I need to be careful because I seem to favor her a bit. At first I felt bad when she said that, but then thought about it some more and agreed with her. I do favor Elise, but not because I love her more or anything like that. Obviously my love for all 3 of the kids could never be compared. The reason I favor Elise is simply that at some level, I think she needs it. Being the middle child is rough, and let’s face it, she will always be Ava’s younger sister. At this point I think it’s fair to say that Ava is always going to have a big personality; she’s the life of the party and people are naturally attracted to her. Like her Mom, Ava is going to be the ‘cool kid’ in school (something that I definitely was not) and so I can’t help but worry about Elise feeling like she is always in Ava’s shadow. I hope they both understand this when they get older. In many ways Elise’s personality is closest to my own as a child, and in all honesty she needs a little more coddling than Ava. I have to be careful with it though because she recently said to Jessica that sometimes she gets sad on purpose because she knows that when she is sad Daddy will pick her up, take her outside to ‘search for tigers’, coddle her, etc. She’s a smart little girl so I have to be careful in how I reward her. It’s too bad this parenting thing doesn’t come with an owner’s manual. Not to worry though, it’s just part of the dynamic when you have three distinctly different little personalities all forming in the same household.

Enzo is doing great lately and continues to prove his fearlessness on a regular basis. He hasn’t needed any breathing treatments in about two weeks and seems to be fully recovered from the bug he had. It’s a good thing he has his little Star Wars helmet because Jessica caught him the other day barreling down our driveway on Elise’s scooter with the biggest smile on his face. Thankfully she was there to catch him before he bit it going over the curb. I just love how he’s only 15 months old and is already riding scooters! He recently had a checkup and has finally come back down onto the charts; he’s now at 98% for height in his age group. He’s such a little boy too. I guess I’ve gotten used to having girls so Enzo’s insistence on climbing everything in sight is new to me. If you come to our house now you’ll see the dining table out near the middle of the kitchen, because that’s the only place we can put it where Enzo isn’t able to climb up on it. He just loves to climb on things and stand there with this little grin on his face because he knows he got away with something. He’s also doing really well with his vocabulary. He’s even starting to string a couple words together and make his own little sentences. As I’ve said before, the girls deserve plenty of credit for his advancements with walking and talking at such a young age. He’s such an awesome little dude and has completed our family in ways we never could have imagined.

Regarding the title of this post, Jessica has been asking me for at least the past few years to go get my eyes checked. I’ve always resisted because I have good vision and can easily read tiny print, or things that are far away. However over the past 6 months I’ve been noticing that my eyes feel really fatigued at the end of the day. It makes sense considering I’ve basically been starting at a computer screen for the past 5 years. So finally this week I went to see the optometrist to get my eyes checked. They did all kinds of tests including blowing a puff of air into each eye to test your eye pressure, taking pictures of the back of my eyeballs, and doing all the typical stuff where you read random letters at various sizes. I have to admit I was feeling cocky throughout the tests because I was able to read the smallest letters they put in front of me without too much difficulty.

At the end of the tests the doctor explained to me that I am far-sighted, meaning I can see things well at a distance. To me that just means you have good vision, but it doesn’t account for the constant fatigue I’d been experiencing. As he explained, I’m good at seeing things far away, but not as good at seeing things clearly up close. To compensate for this, I’m using the muscles in my eyes that are normally reserved for seeing far away, to see things up close. Those muscles aren’t meant for seeing up close, so they end up getting worn out, and that is what I’ve been experiencing. He said I would benefit greatly from wearing glasses whenever I’m on the computer, and that it also wouldn’t hurt to wear them when watching TV or driving. I’m certainly not required to wear them when driving, but at the same time it wouldn’t hurt.

So I swallowed my pride and said okay, let’s get glasses then. I tried on quite a few pair and finally ended up choosing something I really liked. I felt a little guilty because the ones I selected are Ferragamo’s, and they weren’t exactly the cheapest pair available, but they were definitely my favorite. I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance I had to my Dad when wearing them. I was a little nervous to tell Jessica what I’d chosen, but she was totally cool about it. I joked with her that I’d always wanted a ‘pair of Ferragamo’s’, but always figured it would be a pair of shoes, not glasses.

When I first put them on yesterday it was crazy. The best analogy I can make is it was like going from regular TV to high definition, although by the time my kids read this they won’t know what the hell regular TV even means. To put it another way, it was like going from an analog world, to a digital one. Everything snapped into such a level of focus that it honestly made me dizzy for a second. I remember walking around at the grocery store right after getting them and feeling slightly off balance; not because the prescription was wrong, but because I wasn’t used to this level of detail and clarity, and it was playing tricks on my mind. It was really weird. I also felt like random strangers were looking at me differently, which is obviously all in my head, but I couldn’t help it. I’ve been wearing them constantly since then and have basically gotten used to it. When I got home the girls saw me and giggled. Ava says “Daddy you look funny” and Elise says “Daddy why are you wearing Mommy’s glasses?” It was pretty cute.

Finally, during Amy and Tom’s stay, we got all new carpet upstairs. Unlike the visit when they helped us with the wood floors downstairs, this time we had a professional installation company come out to do the work. We went with a nice carpet as well as a nice padding underneath it, and all I can say is that it’s lovely. I’ve never had brand new carpet before, but it feels so nice to walk around barefoot on. I’m just as excited about this as I was with the new wood floors downstairs. At this point the only rooms in our house that don’t have brand new flooring are the two upstairs bathrooms.

We got to do another band practice on Friday and things are better. I was under the impression that the house was empty while we practiced, so I was slightly self conscious when finding out at the end that Dana and Anna were home the entire time and heard everything. Oh well, gotta get used to people hearing you at some point, I just wasn’t expecting it. We’ve added the song ‘Cold Shot’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan to our repertoire and are having fun with it, as well as all the others. I’m struggling with ‘Texas Flood’ the most, but we’re getting there, and most of all, we’re having fun in the process.

Here’s just a few recent pics, but something tells me we’ll have plenty more to share after our vacation. Plus I’ve got that whole Ferrari/Lamborghini thing going on the day we leave. Lots of good stuff coming up in the very near-term, including a visit from Grandpa Rick shortly after our vacation. Until then, Happy Mother’s Day!

The little climber, doing his thing

Grandma and the girls at Mommy’s birthday dinner

Jessica wanted a selfie after I picked up my specs.

Fun at the park with the girls while Zo stayed home with Grandma & Grandpa

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