Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

I really have no idea how to sum up our Christmas in a blog post. And I didn't even really get that many pictures, because it is always so hectic that I forget. It never could have really captured the moments anyway.

The same weekend of Cookie Day we celebrated Christmas with my family. This consists of a giant present-opening free-for-all since there are three two year olds ready to get ripping! Their styles were very different. Each present Weston opened he wanted to sit and play with it for a while. Meanwhile, Drew was mostly into the opening part. Give me the present, I'll rip the paper off, hand you what's inside and move on to the next one. He really caught the fever and then very "generously" offered to help everyone else open their presents. It was really fun.

Christmas Eve we celebrated at our house with a really mixed group! My mom, Daniel's dad, Uncle Mick (Dan's brother) and his girlfriend Lindsey, Uncle Sam (my brother), and Uncle Jon, Aunt Katy and Lyla! It was another par-tay. I had one more present for Lyla that I forgot to give her in Knoxville, so she and Drew got an open early-plastic microphones-they were a hit! We ate a ton more junk food and finally put Drew to bed. Then it was time to get to work. I enlisted everyone's help to serve as Santa's helpers. And, yes, I waited until Christmas Eve to finish wrapping. Hey! I had a lot to do this month! At least they got wrapped!

Daniel and Uncle Mick worked on the tool bench. This was like a total rite of passage moment for Dan. Welcome to fatherhood!!

And I love the look on Daniel's face in this one!!

I got Drew a mini trampoline to burn off the pent up energy in the dead of winter. It was a DOOZY to put together. Who knew?? This is the story of my life. I have a "great" idea and then tons of people get roped into pulling it off. Just ask anyone who used to work with me! So, Grandad, Uncle Sam and I toiled over the trampoline. You know the one he jumped on about twice? Yeah, that one.

Christmas morning came and Drew was super excited. The first thing he said to me when I went in to get him out of bed was "Open presents?" We waited for Uncle Mick and Lindsey to get here (which we all realize is probably the last time we'll be able to pull that off!) so we watched for them out Drew's bedroom window. When he finally saw them pull up, I thought he was going to burst with excitement. He said through gritted teeth, "OPEN PRESENTS!!" He did such a great job and was much less greedy than round 1 in Knoxville. He really loved handing out the gifts that he made for everyone and watching everyone else open their presents. Every time someone would get ready to open one he would say "Wait, see!" (Translation: Wait and see!) He got a boat load of loot and definitely wanted to open up everything right away.

It was a wonderful day.

All the while I kept my advent Christ candle burning. Every day of the season I tried to pause and reflect on the candle and just what all the hoopla is really about. At times, I felt a little like Drew, getting Baby Jesus and Santa and everything all jumbled up together. That's why I love the day after Christmas. For me it's the time to sit back and say, "Hope has come!" I love the food, fun and family of Christmas. But mostly I love that I am loved, forgiven, and set free.

"And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

Cookie Day!!

Cookie Day is a long standing tradition in my family. I am not exactly sure when it started, but suffice it to say that one of the funniest memories from Cookie Day involves my mom in a rocking chair rocking a baby. Her youngest child is now 20!! We have been doing Cookie Day as long as I can remember. It all started with my Aunt Susie. She would have us all over and the moms would bake and the kids would run around and act crazy. Er. I mean, play! Once we were all a little older, our main job would be to decorate the roll out cookies with icing and a variety of sprinkles. As time went on, I think Aunt Susie thought we might get tired of Cookie Day and not want to do it anymore. Nope! Not us! We have kept the thing going through all sorts of new family events, including a whole new generation of cookie decorators!! The past two years my sister Kristin has hosted Cookie Day at her house. Aunt Susie has missed the last couple, but hopefully really soon we'll all be back together for a day of baking madness and sugar comas! Here are some highlights from this year's event:

While the moms baked in the kitchen the dads "supervised" the kids...or played Rock Band!!

I really, really wish I had a video of their performance. It was quite "special". The fun could not last, though. My son was obnoxiously screeching for the "bu-down" for around 30 minutes. At that time the dads finally gave the kids a turn.

Finally, it was time to decorate a cookie. And I say "a" cookie because one was all they had the attention span to do.

First, they "helped" Poppy get the icing ready:

Then it was time to get down to business!

And here is a picture of Drew's first ever Cookie Day iced cookie. Yes, I took a picture of it. It's for posterity!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Field Trip!!

My "little" brother goes to college about 45 minutes away. I put "little" in quotes, because he is not my little brother any more. He is my man brother!! I was 12 when he was born, so I can pretty much remember every thing about his growing up years. We had some really fun times together. Now he is all grown up, making straight A's in college (What??) and working almost full-time waiting tables. The kids LOVE to spend time with him-he is super fun.

So, we decided to take a little trip down the road to visit him. He got up early, on his Christmas Break no less, to come play with us at the Discovery Center. I love this place and really wish it was closer than 45 minutes away. We have been twice and this time we saw things that I didn't even remember from the last time! And, there was a woman doing a talk with live animals! The kids were not really interested, but Uncle Sam and I were! Ha! Here are some pics of the fun:

After the Discovery Center it was time for lunch. My brother works at Macaroni Grill and wanted us to come see the restaurant and meet some of his co-workers. Let me just say that I entered into this agreement with fear and trembling. Two 2 year olds in a sit down restaurant? Oh my. This is a scenario just begging for disaster. I made sure he realized just how embarrassing this could turn out to be for him, but he wasn't worried. So...we did it! The kids were ultra, miraculously, amazing. I am still amazed and it was three weeks ago! And, not only did they behave well, but they ate like grown people. Let's just say that Lyla is not generally a big eater-more like a bite here and a bite there. But let me tell you, little girl threw down the fettuccine! She ate more that day at lunch than I'm pretty sure I've ever seen her eat in all of her life combined! And on top of that, she ate an ice-cream sundae. With chocolate sauce! (Um, Katy, did I mention that part??) It was astounding. I was pretty sure she was going to puke, but she never did. Check this out:

We hopped in the car to head home. It was already nap time and I was pretty sure they would conk out for 3o minutes or so and that would be it. But, another miracle occurred. Both kids stayed awake the WHOLE way home, and then took amazing naps. BEST EVER. You absolutely cannot script a day like that.

Thanks, Uncle Sam, for a great field trip!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Barnyard Birthday Bash

For Drew's second birthday we decided to have a Barnyard Bash. It was so much fun to throw a party. I'm a girl who loves a theme!! I had a blast picking out little odds and ends to make everything very "farm-y". We had lots of family and some good friends to celebrate, and since we have a built-in toddler posse, we skipped inviting any little friends. You know Drew - I think too many kiddos might have sent him over the edge. Because most of my family lives out of town, any party lasts the whole weekend. It was definitely a blow-out!

Drew started out on a lovely birthday note...

Since it was cold outside, I made a big red barn out of cardboard boxes. It got wrecked in about 5 minutes, and Grammy had to do the repair job!

And somehow this is the only pic of Lyla I have from the party! Sorry girl!

Drew absolutely loved opening his presents. He even paused to look at the cards!!

And then came the opening of the most coveted gift of all!! The guitar!! My son is a man obsessed when it comes to a guitar, and Grandad got him one his own size! He had to play it right away!

Finally, it was time for cake and ice-cream!

It was a great party, and I think Drew really had a fun time. We partied our socks off and by the end of it, even the dog was in on the fun!

Happy Birthday, Buddy!! I love you more than you could ever know!!

Get Well Soon, Granna!

Whew! I have some serious posting to do. We have had a WONDERFUL birthday/holiday season, but we have been so busy.

But, before I fill you in on all the merriment, I wanted to pause and ask you to say prayers for our Granna (Daniel's mom). The day before Drew's birthday she took a serious fall and shattered her shoulder bone. She has been in extreme pain and has had to miss all of the festivities. Tomorrow (Tuesday) she will be having shoulder replacement surgery. Please say lots of prayers for her safety during surgery and for a quick and full recovery.

We love you, Granna!! Get well soon!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Drew is totally tuned into the person of Santa this year. I'm not sure he exactly has the whole thing figured out, but he does get that he is supposed to be excited about him. And he has been. There is a giant, blow-up Santa down the street and he is pretty obsessed with him. So, last weekend, Daniel and Drew had some guy time and went out to Bass Pro Shops. They had Santa there, and somehow, Daniel talked Drew into sitting on his lap. Sadly, we only have a hard copy of the picture. I'll tell you it was only slightly less sad than this one:

The total added bonus of this year's picture is the giant stuffed caribou in the background!!

You might be wondering what I was doing while the guys were having guy time. Oh, I'll tell ya! Massage!! There is a fabulous day spa really close to my house and I have been lucky enough to procure a few gift certificates over the past year (Thanks Jane, Dan and Karen!!!). I don't get a ton of time to go, so I still have quite a few dollars to use. =) As I was getting my massage, I realized there are many, many ways that a massage could easily turn into the most embarrassing moment of one's life. Let me explain. I have made the controversial decision to use a male masseuse. This is quite unlike me given that I am, probably, the world's most modest human. How did this happen, you ask? By accident. The last time I scheduled an appointment no one asked the all important "Do you have a preference male/female?" question. So, imagine my surprise, when a GUY came and called my name. I was completely panicked. Completely. Panicked. But, because I am the kind of person who doesn't want to ever hurt anyone's feelings (it's a sickness...I'm working on it) I just went with it. It was THE most amazing massage I have ever had. Ever. So, the decision was sort of made for me. Bring on Jeremiah!!

Ok, so back to the quick slide to most embarrassing moment. First, they walk you into the little room with your robe on, tell you to get undressed and then tell you they'll be back in a moment. Ok, I'll be honest, I take the robe off and jump under that sheet faster than greased lightning. Heaven forbid they walk back in and see you without the robe! Then there's the whole face in the hole scenario. I feel like a complete moron with my face hanging down like that. And this past time there was drooling. I could feel it coming, and I could see his shoes down there...oh crap I'm going drool on his shoe, stop! stop! Ugh, there it is. I drooled on his shoe.

I also don't do great forming words when I'm 100% relaxed. This guys is not a big talker, which is a bonus, but every now and then he has to ask the perfunctory masseuse questions like "Is the pressure ok?" What do you think he makes of my response when it is "umsrhekmph". And then finally there comes the end when he says, "Take your time getting up and I'll be waiting for you in the hall". How long is too long to lay there you think? Because really, I'd like to take about a 4 hour nap. Would he still be waiting in the hall for me? What if I fell asleep? Would they eventually come in? So, in my pleaser fashion, I hop right up (and get a massive head rush) and scurry to the hallway. And then he says his usual blah, blah-drink some water, you might have some muscle soreness. Let's get real, he really wants to say, "Thanks a lot for drooling on my shoe, and by the way, why don't you take a giant chill pill?! You're the most tangled up mess I've ever dealt with!"


We have an interesting phenomenon around here this time of year. It's called the birthday/Christmas vortex. I'm pretty familiar with this particular vortex, because I have a December birthday. I swore my whole life I would never have a baby in December. Hmph. Funny how things change when you're desperate to get pregnant!! Ha! That's right! Drew's birthday is this month and he will be TWO. Sniff, sniff. Most of you know that the first year of Drew's life was pretty tough. Daniel and I were having a major celebration when we crossed that 1 year mark. It was a slow year. And I pretty much wanted to slap everyone who kept saying, "Enjoy it! It goes by sooo fast!" Really? Because from what I could tell it was dragging at a snail's pace.

But now, oh but now, I get it. The past year has FLOWN by. It seems like just yesterday that we were having that first party and I swear I blinked and the summer was gone. Yeesh. Well, more on that in a later post about the actual birthday! Back to the vortex...

So, it's weird trying to juggle the holiday season and a birthday. My mom was great at this, and always worked really hard to make our birthdays special (and by our, I mean, my birthday and my sister's birthday-1 day apart, both in December!!) We have very early December birthdays while Drew has a middle of December birthday. And so the rub. I can't very well wait until the middle of December to start putting up Christmas can I??? Considering it took me a full week to get it up this year, I'd be pushing getting it done in time for the big guy to show up!! So, I'm riding two rails at the same time and both are moving at super duper speed. We did manage to carve out a little time to trim the tree together. Like most things that involve a two year old boy, it wasn't what I would call "picturesque", but it sure was funny! Here are some pics from the big event. (I apologize for the crappy nature of the pictures. I got a new camera for my birthday (!!) and I'm still getting it figured out.

Drew also had his first taste of eggnog! (Kid friendly, of course!) In this first picture you can see the look of skepticism on his face:

But he loved it, of course, and wanted more and more! Cheers!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Girl

I hope my sister and brother-in-law are not offended by the title of this entry. I swear I'm not trying to lay claim to Lyla! I KNOW she is actually YOUR daughter, but she sure helps me get my girly fix!

Lyla has been AMAZING this week. This is especially handy since Drew is a complete maniac. I think the combo of detoxing from all of our travel and cutting molars has turned him into a very naughty elf! All the while, Lyla has twirled her way through the week, being nothing short of sugar and spice and everything nice!

On Tuesday she came in with her orange and white, "Go Vols!" pom-pom. She would shake it here and there and later in the morning she started waving it and shouting, "Go, Kel!" I mean, really, what mom couldn't use their own cheerleader?? "Fold those clothes! Fold those clothes!" or maybe, "Do the dishes, do, do the dishes!".

And today she brought over her ballerina costume and has been wearing it over her pjs all day (yep, we're all still in our pjs today!). She has also been very diligent in brushing my hair all day long. She brushes it really well and then says, "See? So pitty!". I'm pretty sure if I handed Drew the hairbrush this week, he would promptly club me with it!

I'm not sure a girl of my own will ever be in the cards. And truthfully, when the time comes for us to have another, I wouldn't mind Drew having a brother. If boys is all I get, I won't be disappointed. I'll always have my Lyla!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Giving Thanks

We are still in recovery from all the holiday frolicking we did last week (and from all the giant amounts of food I ate!) We had a great time this Thanksgiving, and as Drew gets older, it gets easier and easier to travel with him. We celebrated Thanksgiving Day with Daniel's family, and Drew had a great time being the center of attention. Nothing like several adults and only one toddler!! He loved playing with Granna, Grandad, and of course, Uncle Mick and Lindsey. He never did eat any turkey, but he did have ham and mac and cheese. He apparently missed the memo that says you're supposed to eat different things than you do everyday!

Saturday we went to the "Fantasy of Trees" in Knoxville with Grammy, Aunt Katy, Aunt Kristin, Weston and Lyla. Boy, did we ever have a great time. The kids made all kinds of crafts, rode the carousel and played on the pretend train. Drew also LOVED looking at the gingerbread houses (and man, there were some AMAZING ones). I'm pretty sure he loved them because they were made with tons of candy. The kid is obsessed. It was only a matter of time.

Saturday night we had Thanksgiving dinner with my family. The kids were so great and we all actually got to sit down and eat our dinner! Miracles never cease! The dads were all glued to the TV watching Phil Fulmer's final game as UT head coach. And, at one point we looked around the table and it was our little family all sitting there was one of those very rare moments-especially these days, and it was wonderful. [Sadly our camera is on the fritz, so I have no pictures of any of these fun times. Bool.]

We have such wonderful family. So blessed, so blessed.

I have been thinking a lot about being thankful lately. And it is actually Drew who has me in a humble, thankful place. He is back in a phase where he wants to rock before he goes to sleep. We have started using this time to say prayers, which is very sweet. At some point, the prayer time sort of turned into a stalling the bedtime time!! At least that's how I looked at it at first. I mean, really, Drew was just looking around the room pointing things out and asking to pray for them. Praying for a humidifier??? Seriously?? And then I decided that we would indeed say a prayer of thanks for anything he wanted to. As I started thanking the Lord for the bed, and the paci, and the lights and the books and the clothes it stopped me dead in my tracks.

I am blessed beyond blessed. I flip switches in my house all day long and the lights turn on. When my child was a tiny baby struggling with reflux and congestion, I could run straight to the store and buy a humidifier for him-right then. I have received so many hand-me-downs from my sister that I have barely had to buy one single thing for Drew. My child and I both have beds to sleep in-really nice ones, too. We even have beds that lay empty night after night waiting for a guest to sleep in them. So. We thank the Lord for every thing we can see, and we pray for those children who don't have.

These little prayers, with my son each night, are slowly changing my heart.