Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A letter to Mr. Quinn from Heather Quinn in anticipation of meeting Ms. Quinn

Dear Mr. Quinn,

It was 29 years ago this month that a dashing young Navy-man and his blonde, beaming wife entered your doors looking for the perfect nursery paint for their impending bundle of joy. No matter that they, at 19, were just babies themselves, their enthusiasm and commitment to both each other and that bulging baby bump were contagious, and you found yourself taking them around the store to inspect every shade of pink on your premises. The woman was giddily picking out pinks and purples while the young man, a talented artist who took his responsibility for creating a haven for his daughter quite seriously, would close his eyes and imagine how the colors on the walls would paint a picture of the life he would help create for her, and them--this new family they were starting.

I don't know what you saw in this young couple, besides the enviable Farrah Fawcett flip on her and his adorable high and tight buzz cut, but you saw something. You marched them up to the front of the store with a cart so full of paint it could have turned every room in their house (and heck, probably the exterior too) into a little girl's wonderland, and then you said the unexpected. You looked at those two young people square in the face, wished them all the luck in the world, and told them that every can of paint they picked out in the store that day was absolutely free. The couple left in grateful tears (after, knowing her, a hug and maybe even a kiss on the cheek was given to you as well) knowing that their little girl was entering a beautiful world with beautiful people who were good. So, so good.

I'm writing you this letter because you are an integral part of my family history. Those cute young people were my parents, and that baby born just one month after your encounter was me, Heather Quinn. My parents were so touched by your selfless act that they gave me the middle name Quinn, hoping that I would have the same charity that you so effortlessly exemplified. I grew up knowing that my name stood for goodness, and was so proud of sharing my names' roots that my college roommates started calling me Heather Paint-Store McKee!

After being married and having two adorable and feisty little boys of my own, I am expecting my first daughter who will be born this fall. I've known her name since long before I ever knew I'd be blessed with a daughter. She'll be named after me, but mostly after you: her name will be Quinn.

All my life I've wondered about you and why you did what you did. Maybe you respected the devotion in my parents' eyes, or recognized that as teenage parents (albeit, married already 2 years at that point!) they needed all the help in the world. Maybe you had once been a young, poor parent on the receiving end of an act of goodness, or maybe you hadn't, and charity was just as much a part of your being as your dark hair and brown eyes. I really don't know. But there is one thing I do know for sure and one thing I would like to say: 1. the Quinn name will always be held with respect in our home, and 2. thank you so much for doing what you did.

Once little Miss Quinn is here I'll be sure to send you pictures. I'm sure she'll be just as delightful as her brothers, although let's all pray that she's a little less rambunctious! And just FYI, upon finding your name and address online I called my parents, married over 30 years by this point, and asked them to verify that I had found the right Quinn. Without hesitation my Mom said, "Yes! That is it! That is the place!" We spent the next few minutes reflecting on good people and good memories.

Yours Truly and SO Many Thanks,

Heather Quinn Wigginton


I've been trying to reach the Quinn's since April (when I wrote the letter) to no avail. I was fearful that we'd never re-connect, even though I wanted so badly to tell them about how our Miss Quinn is coming and the goodness that came from their actions. Well, just a few weeks ago my parents were visiting family in Washington and adventured over to Whidbey Island (near the Navy base where I was born) and hunted down that Quinn paint store. And guys, it was still there! My parents met the son of the man who gave them free paint so many years ago, told him the whole story, and they even took a picture because, as our new Mr. Quinn friend said, "Of course, we're family!" Gosh. My heart has been so happy to pass on the name Quinn in general, but now, oh now...well let's just say there have been a lot of happy tears! I finally was able to send my letter, so now I wanted to share it with everyone else. And just for the this story couldn't possibly be more perfect record, in our email exchange Mr. Quinn offered to supply and send all the paint Ms. Quinn will need for her nursery. I know, right? I hope he wasn't too disappointed when I told him that his namesake may just be sleeping under the dining room table!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

They be learnin' things.

{Ever tried to get the attention of 6 3-year-olds at once? I was super good at it!}

B week was at my house, and in case you're ever co-op preschoolin' it and are signing up for letters--definitely pick B! I mean, what doesn't start with B? (except Captain America, sorry Ev) Day one we made Bee's out of B's, made and ate banana berry bread, built buildings with boxes and played with balloons. Day two we focused on bears (Going on a Bear Hunt and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?) with activities and treats all focused on bears--gummy bears were definitely the highlight! We also worked on colors on day two. This is such a great group of kids and I'm anticipating a wonderful year of learning and growth for Ever Knight.

Making and eating their banana bread!

Everett is a very visual/artistic kid and I was super impressed at his attention to detail with this coloring activity. As you can imagine, almost every single other child scribbled one color over their whole paper and called it quits after 3 minutes. Everett, on the other hand, sat at the table for 20 minutes and colored each individual animal their respective color. He's an impressive Ev!

 {In the picture I am wearing Jim's Killers shirt, and you'll see T, Ev and Quinn at the library with me}

Last week James and I were able to go to Talmage's class for back-to-school night. In true me fashion, I choked up multiple times as his amazing teacher described what he would be learning this year. He {and we} are lucky to have such a fabulous school and fabulous teacher in our neighborhood. Have you ever felt so profoundly grateful about something that you can barely talk about it without crying? That's how I feel about this situation. I know T will learn so much this year, and more than anything he will truly learn to love school.

I loved finding his work around the room and made sure to leave him a little, secret love note in his writing folder as well. These were two of my favorite pieces--left you'll see an NYC moving truck, one of his obsessions as we start feeling cold weather again! And on the right is his soccer practice--subway stairs, big coaches and flying soccer balls.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Pirate's Life for Me, and Ev

I'm kind of in a feel-bad-for-the-second-child chapter of my life because let me tell you, Everett has done a whole lotta been carted around lately. Somehow our lives are revolving an awful lot around that first child, what with school and soccer and piano and such and Ever Knight, well he's along for all those "quick, we're going to be late" hop in the stroller and run like mad kind of rides. And since our days are so packed around school hours, we need every second of the mornings to just get things done--and then there's the whole I'm making him nap WAY earlier than normal because, again, we gotta be on brother's schedule and usually I end up having to wake him up anyway. Sigh. We're still learning the ropes I guess. But that sweet Ev, he really has been a champ (while missing his brother horribly, tears people) so today I decided to buck up, buttercup and take him on a date for donuts. Free donuts at that and in costumes to boot. Yes, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day again and good old Krispy Kreme did right by us for the second year in a row. Last year the boys dressed up together but in the absence of T, Ever begged for me to dress up with him. Ever wondered what a 9-month-pregnant pirate looked like? Well eat your heart out with that picture. ARRR!!!

For the record, I bought that pirate costume at a thrift store for $5 in the Bronx when T was 19 months old and it has been worn every single season since. Now that is $5 well spent. Also I should mention that the manager at Krispy Kreme remembered us from last year, and even asked where, "the other boy was." Sniff. Tear. At school. She gave us tattoos for Ev and T, a bouncy red balloon, two dozen donuts for dressing up, and when she saw Everett marveling at their special pirate donuts she gave him one of those as well. She also said she was excited to see us next year with a baby pirate in tow. Gold star, that manager, a gold star should definitely go to her. Everett was in attention-heaven and loved that everyone was looking at us. And yep, as we walked through Penn Station pretty much everyone was looking at us! He also made a rule that we were only allowed to speak in pirate voices while we were dressed up, so we made quite the adorable scene on the C train. I love that little pirate and was so glad we could share such a fun, special morning together!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ever the Preschooler

As if the Universe hadn't required enough of my tears this week after dropping babies off at school, Ever Knight started co-op preschool. He was excited to go and happy to see me when I picked him up, the perfect mixture of independence and Mamma's boy. We're on a Tuesday/Thursday rotation for three hours a pop, so I still have a few days of the week to hoard his time and attention, but I'm pretty selfish and hate to give up any of our dates, which Everett calls any day when it's just me and him! I love that kid like I love to breath. Darn this growing up thing.

Everett had a blast on his first day, as if this picture didn't already paint that picture! There are two more kids in his class besides the ones shown above, and they're all adorable with fabulous mom's who will make this school year out of control awesome. I am so happy for my big boy Ever!

And lest you think I walked around in circles for 3 hours during Everett's first day of school, then yep, you're right. Sure I had a doctor's appointment and stopped by Jamba Juice but really, what does one do when all of one's loves are suddenly doing and learning important things at someone else's hand? Sigh. Three more weeks until that free time becomes a little less free and a little more diaper-changey so I'm gonna live it up now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Silver Dragons

Under the overpass and squished between the Trump Towers on Riverside and that murky Hudson River Talmage had his first, official, "I got a uniform and it's #8 like I've always wanted!" soccer game. It was a week full of firsts for him and he walked around the rest of the day repeating, "I totally rocked it," which just so happen to be the words I kissed him with when he rushed to me after completing 20 minutes of age-appropriate, endearing and hardcore bunch ball! I honestly couldn't have been prouder if I tried, because gosh darn it that kid just ran and ran and never once got discouraged or gave up. It's going to be a good soccer season, I can feel it in my bones. So, in one week I'm now a school mom and a soccer mom, and wondering all the while how the heck this has happened to me.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Intrepid

We spent Labor Day on the USS Intrepid, a WWII aircraft carrier that has been converted into a museum, and the boys were in heaven being on that ship, and seeing that sub, and seeing those planes, and don't even get me started about the space shuttle because, wow, T's mind was most definitely blown. "That space shuttle was really in the real space?" he kept asking. Yes it was T (and turns out, after talking to Mema, that I saw it land after a space mission. Cool Mom points definitely scored on that one!) It was a fun little stay-cation day and made me realize again how fun it is to have little boys this age. It's just the best.

Everett may or may not be in for a rude awakening when he is no longer the baby. Don't get me wrong, he'll always be my baby, but I don't know how he's gonna take not being able to be carried at his every whim. Just sayin'.

Three of T's favorite planes:

Talmage is our resident plane expert and read all the signs and taught us everything we need to know. If I thought he was obsessed with planes before, gosh, that was nothing. He. is. in. love. Planes, trains and automobiles, that's our Talmage-boy.

Everett found the submarine particularly interesting, especially when we told him stories about Grampa cramping his huge body in those tight quarters. How anyone can survive in a sub is beyond me, but with as tall as my Grampa is? Sheesh. Overall, the Intrepid gets two thumbs up from the Wigs.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Kindergarten Kid

T is officially a kindergartener!!! He ate lunch in the "bacteria" and learned a lot on his first day, like when his teacher says "Hands up top!" he is supposed to put his hands on his head and say "That means stop!'' I think I'll use that one at home because it made quite the impression on him. He also learned kindergarten bathroom etiquette and drew a picture of a NYC Moving Truck for his "first day of the month" picture. His teacher is just the most energetic, adorable person I have ever met and when T described her to me later he said, "she's little and she smiles all of the time!" Mostly, she's not a giant like his parents so of course he thinks she's small, but she truthfully does smile a lot. I like her already, and so does T which is even more important! But mostly let's just mention how T is a school kid now, and I'm a school Mom now, and this is my new normal for the rest of my parenting life. Wild, right?

T was up and ready for school before I even left my pillow, which is basically par for the course around our house. We spent most of the morning with him asking, "Is it time yet? I'm ready to go! What time should we head out?" That, and eating Daddy's famous waffles--T's request that James got up at the break of dawn to make happen. Such a good dad. We left the house WAY before school started because the little man couldn't stand another second of our tight quarters. We walked Daddy to our subway station, took some pictures, and then headed off to school.

Many-a-person thought I was dropping off both of my boys for kindergarten, and I'm sure Ever and his backpack would have been more than happy to stay with his brother in that brightly-colored classroom full of toys. But alas, after some tears (me) and anxiety (me again) Everett and I left a very independent, very happy, very eager little boy (T, obviously) in the hands of his new teacher. She had the parents blow a kiss and wave and then bam!, she kicked us out. Some kids cried and held onto their parents, but T was more interested in telling his teacher about all of the Magic Treehouse Books he's recently read! He'll be just fine, that Talmage-boy.  And just FYI, I don't think Everett totally minded having all the legos to himself either!

Last night we did our big back to school dinner and today we went out for a celebratory Pinkberry, and both times he said the best thing about his class was that Grace is in it. Seven kindergarten classes with 25 students a pop and the only two kids from church (and last year's preschool) end up in the same class. The odds were in our favor on that one! Happy first day of school Talmage Scott. Oh how we're proud of you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

One month from today...

If everything goes as planned, our little miss will be "popping out" exactly one month from today. Popping out is not exactly how I would describe having your body cut in half in order to deliver a baby, but that's what makes sense to my boys, so "popping out" it is! We have a paper chain to count down the days, her itty-bitty bassinet is set up by our bed (and it fits! hallelujah!), and this tiny little house is full to the brim with excitement to meet her. Excitement in my case is manifesting itself through swollen fingers and an angry back, but believe me, a very happy heart as well. She really couldn't find a home that would love her more, we feel so ridiculously blessed.