Thursday, December 31, 2009


We got you a gift for your cabbage. [Cabin]

I'd like some key-pon pie. [Pecan]

* * * * * * * *

I want me lamb in me bed.

Justin over heard on the monitor: Uh-oh. Baby cryin' an' Mama in da shower.

This Past Year's Resolutions

How did you do on your resolutions, if you made any?

I would say I hit two out of my three--

I got my teaching license.

Kate pretty well knows her letters, just some issues with similar looking letters.

I failed on the board games. I guess the reasons for this are many fold--Justin often working in the evenings, pregnancy exhaustion, and now a new baby. I did play Go Fish with Justin and Kate last night, but it's not exactly what I meant.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of the Year

Well, it's hard to believe another year is coming to a close. It's been an adventure, full of twists that we weren't anticipating, particularly the arrival of this handsome little boy.

Nate -- 6 weeks

My parents bought a cabin.

Justin's parents bought a house.

Kate began gymnastics.

Gabby's vocabulary has grown to rival Kate's.

It's been a good, busy, blessed, and exciting year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from us to you! I hope that anyone who stops by this little blog is blessed with the true joy of Christmas from that baby in a manger who came to save us all.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Favorite Memories

My husband recently asked me what my favorite Christmas memory was. I couldn't give him one specific answer. There were so many, and sometimes the years run together. There are things that we did each year that made the Christmas holiday so special to me.

Here are some of my favorite memories:

*Christmas Caroling. My parents' Sunday school class went (and still does) go caroling every year. When we were kids, I remember the fun of all piling into station wagons (before our church bought it's first van and before minivans were popular...and car seats or even seat belts were required). I remember the fun of real candles and playing with the hot wax (the last few times I went they'd switched to battery powered "candles" for the kids--whether it's because someone was afraid they'd catch themselves on fire or the fact everyone quit smoking and no one had a light, I don't know). I remember years with snow and years without. I remember ladies serving us cookies as we went, going to someone's home or the the church afterward for warm drinks, food, and fellowship.

*The candle light service on Christmas Eve. Seeing who came back to town for Christmas with their families, singing lots of wonderful carols, hearing the special music, and singing "Silent Night" by candle light in the darkened sanctuary. Everyone slipped out silently and whispered their Merry Christmas's in the vestibule.

*The year we started opening packages at midnight. I believe I was in 7th grade that year. My grandparents had come up from Georgia to visit and we went to the 11:00 Christmas Eve service. When we got home, all the packages were under the tree and we got to open them then. It was so novel for us. That's how we had Christmas ever after, rather than stumbling to bed late and rising early, we stayed up to the wee hours of the morning enjoying our Christmas together.

*Putting up our tree with our exchange student. It was a rough year that Christmas because my grandfather was quite ill. Holly, Sie and I went up to the attic late one night and dug out all the Christmas decorations to try to lighten the mood. My mom was pretty aggravated when she found out, but we had a lot of fun doing it.

First, she couldn't believe that we had a tree in a box and then she couldn't believe that we decorated it before Christmas Eve. In her home, the tree was like a part of the presents. The parents did it on Christmas Eve after the kids were in bed. It was truly fun to share those things with her.

Sie, Holly & Me

*Babies' First Christmases a always a joy too.

We'd waited so long for Kate, it was such a joy to have her. She got a playmat and her Winnie the Pooh.

Then Gabby's was fun too. She was so happy. The girls got their kitchen and wagon that year. Gabby got the Tigger she sleeps with.

Do you have favorite memories?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You've Got to Be Kidding...Right?

Some times you've just got to laugh...

Last night we set up the bouncy seat in our room for Nate to sleep in. He still couldn't breathe well that way, so I sat up with him in my chair in the living room. I made a short trip back to bed, trying both laying him down in his Moses basket and sitting him in the bouncy seat again. Neither way worked. I don't think I slept more than a 45 minute stretch all night.

The girls both woke up with the cold. Then while the girls were up, the little boy who couldn't sleep laying down, remember that? He laid down and took a nap.

I called and asked Justin to come home a little early so I could get a nap. I went up to bed, where I could hear the neighbor kids arguing. A couple of minutes later I heard heavy equipment coming down the street. The water main that was repaired last winter and this summer, evidently needs more work. So while I try to sleep they dig up our front yard.

After dinner a workman came to the door and asked if we had water. The water in the sink was running, so I answered yes and he began to walk off. So I asked, "Will we have water?" He told me they weren't turning it off right now. I pursued it further telling him we have three very small children and water is a necessity. Finally he admitted it would likely be off later. He did say that they would get us water if it became necessary. We filled a pitcher and put a spare jug (from this summer's water being off) in the fridge.

It is frustrating that they failed to complete the work correctly the two previous times they attempted this. It's hard to have three sick children in the house (please, oh please let this be the cause of some of Kate's behavior). But sometimes you just have to laugh. At least it's not Old Faithful in the bathroom again!

Gingerbread House

This is a new tradition. I don't recall ever making a ginger bread house growing up. I bought the first one a couple of years ago for Kate to make with my in-laws. That was actually the intent this time too, but since they had to cancel their trip we put it together ourselves. It is a fun little activity. I'm sure as they grow older, and more patient, the creations will become more detailed, but it's all fun and quite tasty.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What a Day!

Today is a lot more than ‘one of those days.’ I have a lot of ‘those days’, trying to figure out my way through motherhood, but today was a really rough one.

There’s the normal busy-ness of being a mom. The day started early, at 4 AM, with a sick baby. This morning there was a grocery list to make, a dishwasher to empty, a floor to sweep, three little bodies to feed & dress, and laundry to do. We did our grocery shopping (which requires three coats, one snow suit, a Moby wrap, a cart cover and six car seat bucklings in and of itself) and had lunch. Then we baked pumpkin bread, and I made peanut better fudge. More dishes. Two snacks served. Made dinner. More dishes. Wrapped Christmas presents. PJs on, teeth brushed, hair combed, bed time routine competed.

The baby started running a fever in the middle of all of this. This is one of those things I feel badly about. I should have been more firm about people handling him. There are only three people outside of our family who’ve held him lately, but perhaps I should have kept him home. He’s young enough that a temperature of 100.4 will send us at least to the doctor immediately. I’m so afraid that his temperature will go back up (its normal again now) and we’ll spend the week of Christmas at the hospital. He also had two diaper blow outs, so more laundry.

Then there is my oldest. I love her dearly, but I’m really struggling with her right now. She back talks consistently, she refuses to follow directions, she pushes me to my very limits. One success I felt I had, was not yelling today, but that pales in comparison to the failures I have felt with her. She knocked over a display at the store, flipped off a chair after I told her to stop, knocked her sister over, sat in her brother’s car seat, tore apart the bottom of her box spring mattress, hit her sister with a stick horse, and all through out the day defied nearly every direct command she was given.

I know what many would think she’s not disciplined enough, but the child spent nearly as much time in time out today as she did in ‘time in.’ I’ve explained rationally. I’ve done special things with her (we did the pumpkin bread together). I try to be sure she’s well rested—I bribed her used positive reinforcement to get her to take a nap with baking pumpkin bread.

I know this too shall pass, but I have to admit that as a mother there are days that I wonder how on earth we will make it through the rest of the growing up years. I am so thankful that at the end of the day, once I’ve done my very best, I can leave the situation, and ultimately my children with God. After all, they are his children, and simply on loan to me.

Baking Cookies

Growing up we always made "Christmas Tree cookies." They were just one of those things we always had. They are a lemon crisp recipe, made with a cookie press.

Right after Justin and I got married my mom picked up a cookie press for me, so I could make my own. At the time Justin was working a split 3rd/1st shift as a chemist at a plating factory and I was still in college. Many of my classes were at night because they were being offered as both undergraduate and graduate courses for people seeking a Master's degree in special education. One night I got out of class a little early, so I rushed home to our little apartment and excitedly decided to make my first batch of cookies. As I was pressing out the second cookie sheet full of cookies, my sleeping husband stumbles out of the bedroom and demands to know what on earth I'm doing with a caulking gun at that hour (7:30 PM). We joke about my caulking gun every Christmas.

This year both of the girls were old enough to help me with the baking. It is a little more interesting baking with "help." They really enjoy it though and as they get older they'll gain lots of great memories (I hope) and perhaps some math skills too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Discussion with Gabby about snack:

Daddy eat banana?

No Gabby, Daddy doesn't like bananas.

Daddy spit it out in the garbage can. Yuck!

Over dinner, about the White Chili I made:

I would add milk and bake it for 14 minutes. Then it would be (some made up word that sounded like) horse crap.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Night Out

Justin and I rarely hire a sitter. The reasons for this are many...the cost of course, then there's the fact we really like to spend most of our time with our kiddos, plus a lack of fancy places that we go that require one. That's not to say we're never apart from our children. Kate has Sunday school and gymnastics, Gabby goes to the nursery at church, and both of the girls attend Moppets. We don't have trouble leaving them any of these places and generally they are so excited they don't even say good-bye when we leave. We've left our kids with friends or family for midwives appointments and even to have a little time off to see a movie or dinner, but the official sitter in our home is rather novel to our kids--the last time we had a sitter was when we went to the opening dinner of the year at the university 15 months ago.

Last night we had Justin's department Christmas party and the thought of wrangling all three children through that time, especially since one of them is a rather demanding nursing infant we opted for a sitter for the girls. We got a gal from church to keep them.

We enjoyed our evening of not having to chase anyone or having to remind someone to use a quiet voice. When we got home, the young lady told us the girls were well behaved and the only incident was that Kate cried when she went to bed because she missed us.

The story I got this morning was a little different. Over breakfast Kate started telling me about their evening. We had the girls ready for bed before we left. There were about 45 minutes until the girls were due to be in bed--this is important because you need to keep in mind that's all the time that Kate had to pull off this feat.

My children who are on a pretty strict schedule convinced the sitter that they needed a snack. They never have a snack after dinner. At least it was a banana.

Then Kate got the sitter to put on a video. So there went 30 minutes. Kate knows that she's not supposed to watch TV at night. She will even tell you, "Your brain will run out your ears if you watch too much TV." Thank you to my husband for teaching her that lovely phrasology.

She also convinced her sitter that she's allowed to do somersaults on her bed. She got extra stories because of her crying.

Now I know kids will try to get away with things and none of it individually was that bad, but the fact she did all that in such a short amount of time is somewhat scary! After all that 'fun' she tells me she doesn't want us to leave her with a sitter again because she missed us. What will I do with this girl?!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas. I love the music, the food, the family, and the decorations. I love all the traditions.

When I was a kid, I loved the white nativity set my parents had and the colored lights on the tree. We had an eclectic tree. The kind with ornaments that had been collected over many decades. Handmade and store bought. Quite the hodge podge. As we got older, my mom wanted a "pretty" tree, so she gave to us our sentimental ornaments, put a few of her own on a small table top tree, and started decorating her tree with gold and lots (and lots) of angels.

My Mama's trees now.

My house now looks a lot like hers did when I was growing up. Our tree with colored lights and ornaments from my grandparents tree down to the "Baby's First Christmas" Nate will get this year. My white nativity pieces like hers. I was able to repeat those things in our home.

Our tree from last Christmas morning--forgive me, our tree is up with lights on it, but the ornaments aren't yet. Busy, busy with the new baby!

Our Nativity Set

We've added some new traditions though. We have our own Advent wreath--something I grew up with at church. We light the candles and do Advent readings. We also have this great Advent box my dad built for us last year. We get to open a drawer each day. Often it's filled with a figurine or a tiny ornament. We talk about the significance of it to the Christmas story. Sometimes it is something to represent an activity. We're planning a few of those here soon--Kate's first Christmas program, building a gingerbread house, driving through town to look at Christmas lights, and baking Christmas tree cookies (another of my childhood Christmas traditions).

I hope that my children look back at their childhood Christmas seasons and remember these things more than the packages. I know that I do. Thank you to my parents for making those Christmases special.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Update on Our Cold Weather Fun

After yesterday's frozen doors, I checked the doors before getting the kiddos all ready. They were fine, so I set about bundling everyone up. I got us all to the van. all the belts buckled and straps fastened. I turned the key, and heard, "Click, click, click."

I called my Daddy. He told me that it was the battery. I brought the troops back inside. Then I gave my husband a call at work, so he could decide when he wanted to work on this. He opted to come home mid-day, since while it's cold there is some sun to help. Thankfully we had no pressing issues today and he doesn't teach classes on Thursdays. I'm afraid we caused him to have to bring grading home for the evening rather than putting up our Christmas tree, but I am thankful that the van now starts and that I have a husband that can fix such things quickly (and a Daddy I can call to tell me what to do).

Now lets just hope the alternator isn't the cause of all of this and that it's just that the battery was old!


Life has gotten cold here in it was 4 (degrees Fahrenheit--look Justin I included the proper units) outside--right next to the house--this morning.

Yesterday morning we had to leave the house fairly early. I got everyone fed, dressed, hair fixed, winter coats, mittens, hats, and baby blankets ready. We made our way the the van...where I found I couldn't open the doors to the back. Neither of them would budge. It seems that the rain from Monday mixed with the plummeting temperatures yielded doors that were frozen shut. In the mean time, Kate threw snow at Gabby, Gabby fell, and Nate woke up.

So I take my now crying children back to the house. I go back out to start the van. I have recently been made aware that it is illegal to leave your started car to warm in Kansas, so I'm back and forth between the children and the van. I ran upstairs to get my hair dryer, just to find that our extension cords are being used on Christmas lights.

I did eventually pry the doors open and we were able to leave. I have also found that the roads here are not cleared like I'm used to, so I took it rather slow. Other people seemed impatient when we were behind a salt truck, but I didn't mind him clearing my path at all. Thankfully my parents always taught me to get every where early, so we made it right on time, even with our delays.

The girls, of course didn't see our weather as much of an inconvenience. They were just excited about the very first snow of this season.

Never mind it took as long to get dressed in all the warm clothes I made them put on than the length of time I let them play!

They got to be in the snow.

And, of course to throw some of it!

The Little Man, was not so impressed by the cold weather clothes I've made him wear this week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Visiting Saint Nick

We took the kids to see Santa Saturday.

Kate, in true Kate form, told him what she wanted...and what Gabby wanted.

Gabby was very excited about going to see him, but was hesitant when she saw him. She did sit on his lap. She didn't talk to him, but she doesn't ever talk to strangers.

Nate was fine with his first visit with Santa, though I don't think he asked for anything.


Then yesterday morning we hear from Kate, "Santa sounded different this year." I think we're in trouble with the whole Santa deal!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baby Shower

When Kate was born, we were blessed to be given showers to meet the needs (and several of our wants) of a new baby. We were given lots of the things that make life easier with children--bouncy seat, swing, baby tub, and diaper bag.

When we had Gabby, we really didn't need much, beyond a few special momentos for her and a double stroller. This time with Nate, since we prefer not to dress him entirely in pink, we have needed a few more things. We were also starting to wear out some of our baby items. The diaper pail could only be flipped so many times before it no longer seals...

We planned to just get by with what we had and a few new clothes for him, but other people had different plans. My mom bought quite a few clothes for him. Then the ladies at our church decided they wanted to throw us a baby shower!

Kate's Sunday School teacher, who I love!!! put it together for us. This is the same woman who led the littlest kids out of the sanctuary saying, we should go to the nursery for a little while because, "I'm just so wiggly. I need to get my wiggles out," so the kids could have a little break before singing in the service.

The ladies who attended (and even some who didn't) were so kind and so generous. We are thankful for the lovely gifts and the wonderful fellowship.

Some of the yummy food.

Generous gifts.

The best diaper rash cream.

Wonderful guests and hostess!

Nate's Piggy Bank.