Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I love Christmas treats

My only regret is that I did not bring my camera to the Cruze-women cookie swap. But then, I was pretty much too busy stuffing my face to take pictures anyway.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun with photos

Jan von Holleben's got nothing on us (well, besides backgrounds).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Preschool Christmas party

Finally it was Lydia's turn to get in on the merriment.
Graham cracker houses, singing, and a visit from Santa.
(check out the nervous hair-flipping and avoidance of eye-contact)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"What am I supposed to do with all these Christmas cards?" Tutorial

Through all the years of Christmas card receiving, we've never owned one of those whatchimacallits to display them. (like this:)My go-to solution has always been tape. Find a door or a barren wall and just tape them right up. Easy.
I can't remember what I did with them last year...probably used them as burp rags or something. This year I decided to get fancy.
Step one: get a pack of mini-clothespins and clip them on something (like a box of popcorn for instance) so your kids can paint them in festive colors.

Step two: when all three of your Christmas greetings have arrived, find somewhere to clip them up with newly-festive clothespins (like on the blinds if you don't have any cumbersome valances in the way). Voila!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Afton = One

Our baby.
Turned one today.
Recently it occurred to me that she's not really a baby anymore. How can you call her a baby when she walks all over the place and goes up stairs and lets you know what she wants with a combination of signs and specific grunts and objects when you take something away from her and loves to be chased and shoves her older siblings away when they try to hug a parent while said parent is holding her?
We now have another little person around here.
Sometimes when I think about holding Afton-the-newborn-baby I have just the slightest twinge of missing that feeling. But mostly I just feel so happy from watching her grow and learn and change every day.
Last Christmas was extra sweet because we had a fresh new baby to love. This year will be even sweeter because we have one more full-participant in on the fun.
Last Sunday night we went over to the Sextons to celebrate Afton's birthday along with Trey, who hit 17 last week. (How's that for growing up way too fast?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time out for complaining:

Why oh why oh why do they put the turkey's neck into its body cavity?? Or for that matter the bag of giblets? The church Christmas party is tonight. My kids just listened to me whine and groan and suppress my gag reflex while I prepared a turkey for roasting as fast as humanly possible (which reminded me the whole time of dissecting a fetal pig in the 9th grade) and threw it in the oven and then washed my hands for five minutes straight and sanitized every single kitchen surface and I don't even like turkey.
Then I took a deep breath.
Then I chastised myself for playing the martyr because I had to do something that took me 10 minutes.
Then I told them about how in the olden days people had to cut off the heads and feet and pull out the guts and feathers themselves and I was very grateful we live in the day of grocery stores and that it wasn't really a big deal.
But seriously, I bet our progenitors did not cram the neck back into their turkeys.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Like any good Tennessean, I'm here to report an astounding and exciting one inch snowfall last Saturday!! See how pretty? This was our deck around 9am. Here are the kids ready to go out and enjoy it (Emma's looking awfully Asian here...oh wait, that's Claire. We traded cousins around a little the night before). Here is Afton wishing to go out.
They had a great time, in fact they had all of their fun so quickly they were done in about forty minutes. Delicious hot chocolate warmed them all up.

Here is the deck around 4pm. Snow is a fickle mistress indeed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Olivia

Ben's friend from school had a party last weekend. Her mom said she loved stuffed animals.

Now I know why owls are so trendy...they are super-easy to make.

On the left is the rough draft (which is now being fought over for ownership here at home).

On the right is the final copy which was gifted to Olivia.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Ben is good: Emma came home from school early the Monday before Thanksgiving so I could keep an eye on her because she was breaking out in some sort of rashy/hivey business on her face and neck (how's that for a run-on sentence?). She was fine, a little Benadryl cleared her right up, though we never could determine the cause (this is not so unusual for her). Anyway, the point is Ben somehow heard from someone in her class that she had gone to the clinic and gone home. When he got home from school he rushed in to find us in the kitchen and his first anxious words were, "Emma, are you okay?" I could see on his face and hear in his tone his genuine concern. Before he took off his shoes, before he took off his backpack, he wanted to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with her. How I love him.

Josh's finger is fine: Josh was coming down the back steps this past Monday when I heard him start screaming. Josh is a dramatic kid, he screams a lot. For one half of a second I did not pay any attention to the sound. The next half second it registered that this was one of those more intense, panicked screams. I ran to him to find that he somehow got his pinky finger stuck in the cord to the blinds that are right at the top of the stairs as he was coming down. He was sort of reclined on the steps with his arm stretched up to the cord, his pinky tightly bound. I imagined that he must have been going full force (as is his Joshee way) starting to come down the stairs when he was pulled up short by his ensnarement. He ended up with a little bit of a tear/cut and some swelling, but no permanent damage. Totally fine by the next day, and all in all really not that bad. But at the time it happened my mind instantly filled with every story I've ever heard about people who've lost fingers through freak accidents (mostly involving wedding rings: caught in machinery, caught on the rope you hold while skiing, caught on the basketball goal during a dunk, etc). I spent the rest of the evening wondering what I would have done if his finger had been ripped off (which I realize wasn't going to happen, but it could happen to someone someday, right?). Call 911 or head straight to hospital? Which hospital? Traffic? Why don't we live closer to a hospital?? Take all the kids or leave Emma in charge and call someone to go to the house while I'm driving? These are the worries that keep me up at night.

Lydia and Afton: are starting to play together. I love it. I can't wait for them to realize they're going to be best friends.