Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell 2006...You Were a Good Year

Ok, so I'm a pessimist. A bona fide "woe is me, the glass is 1/2 empty and there's no hope it will ever be full again, we're all doomed forever" pessimist. And as is often the case with pessimists.....I married an eternal optimist. A "happy-go-lucky, even-keeled, so what if the grass is greener on the other side, I'm enjoying life making mud pies with my kids in our patchy lawn, life is good" optimist.

Last week we were out running errands and I was on a rampage complaining about this, that, and the other when David cheerily broke in and said, "I have an idea! How 'bout for the next hour you only talk about happy things? Just one hour." I sulkily settled into my seat as the minutes ticked by. Finally we began another innocent conversation which ultimately led to me having a less than sunny outlook on our topic. We both looked down at the clock and I'd made it a whopping.....5 minutes!

So, yes, that served as a wake up call to me that perhaps, I could muster up a more positive outlook on my circumstances. Which, I might add, are wonderful. I mean, I wouldn't really blame someone on skid row owning only the clothes on their back, not having eaten a decent meal in months, to complain about some things. But it's people like this who are often times more optimistic and grateful than me. They may be thankful just to find a half eaten sandwich in the trash which makes their whole day.

The other day at supper David suggested I do a "Blessing Blog". (I wasn't even being negative at the time...he just thought it would be neat to recount my blessings as this year draws to a close). A lot of you did this type of thing at Thanksgiving. But I was probably too busy complaining at that time about how much we had to do to get ready for the upcoming holidays.

So, here goes. A tiny fraction of my many blessings received in 2006 (in no particular order of importance):

1. The safe and sound arrival of my son, Tate, this past May. The health and safety of all my kids this past year.
Sure, I grumble & yell when they're running through the house screaming at the top of their lungs. But
sometimes I simply need to stop, scoop them up, and give them a big kiss being thankful they are healthy
enough to act ornery.

2. A loving husband who never lets my negativity bring him down and who loves me in spite of my
aforementioned negative tendencies.

3. I'm grateful we live close to our parents and our kids are able to grow up knowing them and seeing them
throughout the year.

4. Very thankful that our current lifestyle allows me to only have to work 2 days a week. Even though my
entries are many times about the crazy and exhausting day to day experiences with my kids, I wouldn't trade
being home with them for anything in the world. (Not even a bigger house with a jacuzzi tub that I keep
hinting around to David to will come in time...and one day I'll have all the time in the world to lay in
that tub and relax...and I'll wish that, instead, I was scrubbing marker off the walls.)

5. While I'm on the subject of housing, I am grateful for our house. Sure, we bought it pre-kids and wondered
how we were ever going to fill it up with things, and now, we are busting at the seams. But the girls love
sharing a room together and have already said when we do get a new house, they want to continue to share a

6. We have great church (a large church) but have been able to meet some people there through the Sunday
School class we started going to in August. Reese looks forward to learning her Bible verses each week for
her Cubbies class and has already started asking questions about Heaven. We've taught her that everything
we have really belongs to God . David finally departed with his beloved (pink) hairbrush he's had for ages
and passed it down to the girls. One day he was looking for his hairbrush and found that one, instead, so he
used it. "But Daddy, that's not your hairbrush", Reese pointed out. "I know....I know. I gave it to you," he
replied. "But Daddy, that's not my hairbrush's God's. He's just letting us borrow it."

7. Great friends. I'm not one of those people who has ever had a lot of friends, but I'd rather have a few close
friends, than a lot of acquaintances.

8. My basic needs are met and then some. However, I have been known to begin flinging clothes out of my
closet onto my bed, exclaiming I have nothing! A timeless humorous illustration used to stereotype women,
however, I am thankful that I have so many clothes. And the next time I start to complain about having so
much laundry to do....I will have this post to look back on.

9. Two running cars that we don't have to pray will make it to our destination each time.

10. A merciful and forgiving God who continues to bestow upon me all these blessings I don't deserve, and don't
say "Thank you" enough for, because He loves me.

I stopped with "10" just because that's a nice even number, when in fact, my blessings this past year are limitless. May your New Year be filled with blessings and may you stop and take time to thank the One they come from...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Making of a Memory

Exhausting. Emotionally Draining. That's what behind the scenes of the making of this years' Christmas picture was. And I started the whole process (props, poses, etc) back in SEPTEMBER!! But I knew I wanted to do the Nativity because this was the only year Tate could pass for Baby Jesus. So I wasn't about to give up.

First, we started with the manger. I dumped all our shoes out of the "Shoe Basket" (clever name don't you think), threw some craft moss in the bottom for hay, grabbed a crib sheet and swaddled up little Baby Jesus.

Next began the 47 tries at getting a card worthy picture. I always tackle these projects by myself because David isn't exactly supportive in my endeavors to create the perfect picture with our little brood. Here is just one example of what I was up against....sweet little Baby Jesus is happy as a lark, looking at the camera (in between bouts of stuffing craft moss in his mouth), however, Angel #1 is tired of wearing her halo and Angel #2 is staring intently at who knows what on the ground.

I ditched the idea of 2 angels and turned Drue into that special young lady "highly favored by the Lord"....Mary. This next picture almost made the cut. Baby Jesus looks like He's peacefully sleeping Away in a Manger, and Angel #1 is looking quite sweet...but wait a minute...Mary is in the depths of despair.

I tried getting her into character. "Drue, you just gave birth to the Savior of the WORLD! Could you at least crack a smile? I am pretty sure this was a JOYOUS occasion for Mary." When that didn't work I tried to bribe her with a fruit snack, candy, even a cookie, all to no avail.

I finally decided on this last one. Angel #1 still looking as though she's happy to be spreading the good news of our Messiah's arrival, Mary, plastering on a fake smile hoping it will pass enough to get her a fruit snack even though her eyes still give her away as being quite unhappy, and Baby Jesus, eating his swaddling clothes.

As I was looking through all the downloaded pictures deciding which one to use, Drue came up and started looking with me. "Dat Mary," she said pointing at herself. I was a little amazed that she actually remembered who she was supposed to be depicting during her ordeal of torture. "Very good Drue, you were Mary," I responded encouragingly.

"Mary sad," she keenly observed.

Of course this led me to launch into the many reasons the real Mary was probably anything but sad, however, I'm not quite sure it all sunk in this year. Maybe next year when she's 3....


p.s. I almost forgot to post this little tidbit of sweetness: I pulled Reese into my lap today and asked her what her favorite gift for Christmas was this year. She was so sweet and said she liked everything she had gotten. Then I said, "Do you know what my favorite gift was?". I held her tighter and said, "My favorite gift was you....and Drue....and Tate!". To which she responded, "But Mommy, I'm not a gift from Santa...I'm a gift from God!".
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Musings from my Old Man...

So, I'm on vacation today and Kristen is at work. This isn't my first time staying home with all the kids but maybe it's the first time that I found some time to turn on the computer. In between yelling...I mean admonishing the children, I decided to post a blog of my own. Perhaps my wife will copy my comment into a new blog. (hint hint)

The day went very well. While the kids ate breakfast and "woke up" I went grocery shopping online. It was a fantastic experience. I've done it once before but with updated explorers and websites it went much smoother than before. I'm having the groceries delivered any minute now and realized I've neglected to have any cash on hand for a tip. I hope they forgive me...maybe I'll have egg on my face (literally). I plan on making hot wings for dinner if the children cooperate.

When Tate took his morning nap we turned on some holiday tunes and decided to clean out the toy trunk for Christmas. Who bought them all these toys?! We sorted toys into 3 piles: 1) things that should go back to the toy kitchen 2) things that should stay in the trunk and 3) things that should go upstairs back to the kids rooms. The basket was overflowing with toys heading back upstairs and I wondered how we could stem the flow from upstairs to downstairs. I decided to use buckets. When Tate woke up we all piled in the van and went to Target to find the best buckets we could. I decided to make the rule that the girls could bring toys downstairs in their buckets and they had to load them back in their buckets and take everything back upstairs before bed time. The girls were very excited to pick out the buckets. As soon as we hit the store it was, “Daddy where are the buckets?”, Reese said. “Daddy where are the buckets?” (Drue echoed) over and over until we finally found them. After trying several different kids out they settled on some blue ones. Not only do they work well for the toys but they have them turned upside down and are watching tv on them now….from the cheap seats.

So far (4 hours into it) the system seems to be working. We’ll see…

Kristen always posts funny things the kids say…here’s my contribution:

Drue: “I want a hippopotamus for lunch!”
Daddy: “ How are you going to eat a whole hippopotamus?!”
Reese: “ If you baked it we can!”

Who can argue with that?

So to recap our day:

1) I’ve done-- no strike that-- I’ve moved around 5 loads of laundry. Currently all the clean laundry is resting peacefully on the dining room table.
2) All the kids are alive
3) We managed to eat some good food—ham, cheese, pickles (home made), milk, cheerios
4) We managed to eat some bad good—candy, cookies, choclate
5) All the kids are alive
6) We cleaned up the toy trunk (all the toys that went back upstairs are still in the laundry basket)
7) I may get to cook dinner
8) All the kids are alive.

It’s been a GREAT Day!!!

4:16 PM

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Welcome Home X2

When David came home for the weekend after his first week away this month, these were waiting for him. Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing and red hots. His favorite! (Well, I don't know how big a fan he is of red hots, but me and icing letters just don't get along). Reese helped me make them and I forgot to tell her to keep it a surprise. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have kept her from blurting it out to him within the first five minutes after we met him at the airport though.

The second week he was gone didn't quite go as smoothly as the first. The trash didn't get taken to the curb in time to be picked up. (Not sure why they have to come at the crack of dawn/2pm in the first place). Our daily newspaper was only brought in from the curb by my mom the 2 days a week she comes to watch the kids while I go to work. The dogs' bowl rarely had water in it and I found them licking the shower floor multiple times. Bedtime routines were shot to heck and it was all I could do to slop some toothpaste in the girls' mouths, throw some mismatched pjs on them, and sing a rushed version of "You are my Sunshine" before padding across the hall to my own bed (sans snoring husband) and collapse for 15 minutes before Tate woke up for his last feeding of the night.

I'm sure three of my good friends (Heather, Kelly, & Alice) and my mom (who are all military wives) are rolling their eyes at me right now. They can all operate a household while their husbands are gone one-handed with their eyes closed. And for years at a time, not just a week or two. Hats off to you ladies! Honest to goodness, you've earned a new respect from me. I may get the hang of it one day....

Needless to say, there were no special homemade treats waiting upon David's return this second time. Nevertheless, we wanted to make his homecoming special. Reese played dress up with a little friend of hers who came over the day David came home. So I asked her if she and Drue wanted to dress up to meet Daddy at the airport. Of course, this is like asking them if they'd like a piece of candy or if they'd like to stay up until midnight watching was met with a resounding Y-E-S!

I thought I'd join in the fun and dress up also to surprise David. Poor Tate was out of luck. I couldn't very well have us girls dressed to the nines and him wearing footie he donned a tie and black felt driving hat for the occasion. I figured out how to set the camera to snap a picture on a timer but didn't really expect it to turn out. Imagine my surprise when I saw this:

Besides my less than ladylike pose, I was quite proud that it didn't cut anyone's head/arm off and we were all looking generally in the direction of the camera. If I hadn't already mailed our Christmas cards, I would have been tempted to photo shop David in and have this be our holiday picture!

So that's how we met David as he got off the plane (at 9pm when his flight was due at 6pm...grrrrrr!). People in the airport kept giving us strange looks. Not a, "She's a hottie and has cute kids" look. But more of a, "She must be drunk and think she's at a nightclub all dressed up like that...those poor kids" look. A few people did comment how fancy the kids looked--thank you kind souls.

I was covered in spit up by the time David's plane arrived, but doggone it, I held my head high & tried to look suave as I hid the cloth diaper/burp cloth behind my back after dusting off Drue's tights and dress as a result of her running and sliding on her tummy across the floor.

Welcome home dear....I'm going to bed....and not planning to wake up until Tuesday.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Whatever it Takes

Last month I posted about how I hadn't yet started Tate on baby food as part of my grand scheme to try and keep him a baby longer. That very night I realized the silliness of the situation and sat him down to a good old fashioned meal of pureed squash. But he just wasn't interested. I tried again the next night. No interest whatsoever. My motherly survival instinct began to kick in and I started to panic and picture him at a business dinner 25 years down the road with all the other distinguished gentlemen around him ordering a hearty steak and him opting only for a simple glass of milk.

Over the next few days I tried sweet potatoes and carrots. He took probably 2 bites total! Now mind you, this isn't our maiden voyage as far as feeding babies baby food. We successfully cultivated interest in the jar o' mush for our girls. We knew all the tricks, techniques, and sneaky ways to get that spoon into their little mouths. In fact, Drue loved her baby food so much, once she finished the first jar, she would cry until we could get the second one opened. Yes, we finally did learn to open BOTH at the same time to prevent her squeals of starvation.

It's not that Tate isn't interested in food or doesn't find it attractive. He stares at our plates with a longing in his eyes and drool on his chin from licking his gums. He has nary a tooth in his head. The other day I made myself a hamburger helper singles snack (not as good as the full dinners, but filling nonetheless). Tate was in my arms when I pulled it from the microwave and set it on the counter. He watched intently as I took a bite. I seized this opportunity to try and fake him out by making him think he was eating what I was eating. I hurriedly heated up some carrots (they were orange and so was my hamburger helper so I thought that might aid in the deception) and tried to scoop a spoonful into his mouth. He turned his head the other way. I tried again. Head went the opposite way. He then strained his little neck to look all the way around me at my plate of hamburger helper!

I resigned myself to just keep trying to introduce baby food to him until at which time he either begins growing teeth and can eat table food with us, or the rapture occurs. I broke out some sweet potatoes tonight and plopped him in his little seat and wearily began our little feeding charade. I got a little in his mouth, he assumed the appropriate look of total disgust and I was about to throw in the towel (literally, because his cherubic face was already covered in orange from just one bite). I started trying the old I'm a helicopter coming in for a landing trick and laughed at myself because he doesn't know what the heck a helicopter is, let alone, that he is supposed to respond by opening his mouth then close it gracefully around the spoon.

I'm not sure how or why I started clucking like a chicken. But as soon as I did, Tate looked right at me, smiled a big smile, and I was able to slide the spoon right on in. And he swallowed the entire spoonful down without a fuss. Somewhat skeptical of what just took place, I tried again. "Bawk Bawk BawkAA!!". Big smile, swallowed another bite without a fuss. I continued this with each bite until 3/4 of his little container was gone. Aaahhhhhh, progress.

Obviously I haven't had a chance to experiment with other animal sounds to discover whether or not he is partial to chickens or animals of the farm variety. To quote Scarlett's famous line, "Tomorrow is another day." And I'm sure after reading this uninteresting post about baby food you are quoting Rhett's equally famous line in your head, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a $#&@".

So if you happen to be out to dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant and hear a faint clucking sound coming from the booth behind you, turn around and say hello, we may just be out eating with the kids.....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dedicated to Him

Baby Baptism....Baby Blessing....different religions have different names for the ceremonies they hold to recognize their new little gifts from God and to publicly acknowledge that they will raise these children up in the church and teach them to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

Our ceremony is called "Baby Dedication". David and I proudly participated with 20+ couples at our church on Sunday who brought their little ones to the altar. We made a promise before God and our church to raise our little boy to love God first and foremost and to be Godly examples for him to follow. (What an awesome responsibility that is!).

Here we are with our pastor as he read our names, Tate's name, and his date of birth. After reading everyone's name, his wife said a prayer for the moms and he said one for the dads.

Oops....sorry honey....the picture I took of you and Tate was a tad blurry so I decided to post mine instead. (Besides, you said you didn't have any pictures of me to take along on your trip, so now you can just pop in any time you'd like and here I am! No dart throwing allowed.)

We are so thankful for all 3 of our "little blessings" from the Lord and that we've now had the opportunity to dedicate all of them to Him. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Letter From Home

Dear Daddy-

I cannot believe you left me for a week in this house all by myself surrounded by a bunch of WOMEN!!! I don't know how much more of this I can take. The mood swings, the indecision, the color's all making my head spin. Hurry home for some manly bonding time. Here's just a little bit of what I've been subjected to....

I'm forced to take a bath with the girls because you're not here for Mommy to throw me into the shower with. And she says if she bathes us all separately she won't have time to do anything else.

I figured the day would come when my big sisters decided I was a fun real live baby doll for them to dress up. They made me smile for this picture. Believe you me, I wasn't actually enjoying being dressed up in this pink hat.

There are certain perks to being the man of the house, however....I took your seat at the head of the table. Mommy laughed because she said I had food on my face just like you do sometimes.

I was forced to participate in PJ movie night. We cuddled on the couch and watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". If word about this gets out on the streets (a.k.a. church nursery), I'll never live it down. I didn't even get a single piece of popcorn out of the deal. (Although I tried my darndest).

Oh dear...Mommy just ran upstairs to get the nail polish. I'd better make this quick so I can start "crying" for her to put me to bed early. Come home soon so we can lounge around in your leather recliner and smoke stogies. I think instead of "Hush Little Baby" tonight, I'll ask Mommy to appropriately sing "Rescue Me".

Love, Tate

p.s. Mommy is talking silly talk and saying something about you being gone next week too. Say it ain't so.....
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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thought for the Season

I bought a new book yesterday while we were out and about. "The Christmas Hope" by Donna VanLiere. Haven't started it yet, but I couldn't pass it up after reading the back cover.....

For some reason I had always assumed that when God wanted our attention He would do something big that would rouse us from our sleep to bring us back to Him, but I was wrong. God is always speaking. We are the ones who are hard of hearing. God is always patient, waiting for us to believe. We are the impatient ones, demanding to be convinced. We want something real, something we can touch and see to help us believe. The mountains, oceans, and skies aren't enough. Our babies who smile and laugh and reach for us aren't enough. We need more. And we have it, all around us, every day. If we would just take the time to listen and see, we would walk toward God and believe, or at least some us will. Some like me.
I especially loved the line about "our babies who smile and laugh and reach for us"....I don't understand how anyone could not believe in God after witnessing firsthand these little miracles whom we tuck in each night and who walk around calling us Mommy and Daddy.

Having kids has taught me so much about God's love. After the younger two are in bed for the night, Reese and I will often find a cozy blanket and cuddle up on the couch together. On occasion, she has been busily working in the other room so I'll call for her.

"Mommy, I'm making you some 'tea'", she'll say. Or, "I'm drawing you a picture, Mommy."

While I think it's great that she's thinking of me and doing those things for me, what I really want right then is for her to drop everything and come and sit with me and spend some time with me. I think that's how God must feel with me often. Especially around this time of year. I'm sure He thinks it's great that I'm decorating the house and trying to teach our children the real meaning of Christmas or that I'm out buying a pair of gloves for Reese to take to church tonight for the "Mitten Drive" for kids who don't have any, but with all that said and done, what He really longs for is for me to find some time each day where I can just stop everything and spend time with Him.

He's waiting patiently for me.....

(I'll let you know how my new book turns out if I get it read before 2008....)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Guess I won't be mowing the lawn today....

Our first snowfall of the year. And it's a beauty. I thought about constructing a little igloo outside or rigging up a little papoose to carry Tate around in, but in the end we just had to sneak out while he was napping in his warm cozy crib. But by golly, next year, he'll be romping around out there with us, pelting his sisters with snowballs.

Here were some discoveries I made during our 20 minutes or so playing outside:

#1. I am OUT OF SHAPE!!! I excitedly piled both the girls on the sled and started jogging around the backyard. About 5 steps into it, my breath became labored and I had to slow down to more of a brisk walk.....then 5 steps later....a slow, methodical walk. (In my defense, today of all days, I woke up with an awful crick in my neck and can't look to my right or behind me without turning my entire body).

#2. I desperately wish we had one of those machines like the Jetsons had that would dress each member of the family....all they had to do was stand on a conveyor belt and little robot hands dressed them in an assembly line. That would be SO MUCH easier than trying to squeeze 2 squirmy, excited little girls into all their outgrown snow gear from last year. Whoever heard of trying to put MITTENS on a TWO YEAR OLD??? That was almost harder for me to figure out than a rubiks cube. Her little index finger kept sneaking its' way in with her thumb. And I tried to put her coat on over her mittens to keep the snow out, but to no avail. Her little hands and wrists were bright red by the time we got back inside.

#3. I found another cheap delicacy Reese enjoys.....SNOW! Everytime I turned around, she was shoveling fisttfuls of the acid filled precipitation into her mouth. It didn't help matters that our entire yard looked like a powdered donut factory exploded in it. I quickly scanned the premises, located our 2 beagles, and warned her not to eat the yellow snow.

I enjoyed watching the girls have so much fun playing. Reese had barely gotten off the deck stairs before she plopped down backwards and started making snow angels.

Now where'd those blasted dogs get to? I want to try to persuade them to pull the sled later.....Here Molly!....Here Mabel!.....come let me tie this nice little rope around your stout fur covered torsos....

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Deck The Halls

The stable from the manger scene.

A Santa who reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" aloud (over and over and over again).

A mini snow globe.

What do these three things have in common? They are all Christmas decorations that have been broken by little hands so far this season. The sad part is our "season" only just begun 24 hours ago. We decorate our house the day after Thanksgiving. I'm thinking perhaps more than just our halls will require some "decking" this year......(just kidding....I wouldn't want Santa to switch me to the naughty list at the last minute).

David and I used to go to a Christmas Tree farm and chop down our own tree. Then we started having kids, and it just got to be too much to bundle them up and work around feeding schedules. We plan to revisit this tradition when the kids get a little older and can all walk around on their own and get excited about picking a Christmas tree for Daddy to chop down....and, yes, we'll continue on through their teenage years and try to ignore the eye rolling accompanied by the pleas of "Do we have to go help pick out the tree?". That will be a sad day. This year we piled the kids in the van sans coats because it was a crazy 65 degrees outside, went to Lowe's Hardware Store and found the perfect tree in 3 minutes flat.

It is so exciting to see Christmas through our childrens' eyes. It brings back that same magical feeling it once did when we were kids ourselves. Since Reese has no concept of time yet, now that all our decorations are up, I'm just sure she's going to wake up every morning from now until Dec. 25th asking, "Is this Christmas Day today?".

It really has been quite humorous listening to the new fights that have been occurring over our decorations and the admonitions that ensue:



"DRUE, IF YOU TAKE ONE MORE ORNAMENT OFF THAT TREE......" stern parent walks swiftly towards her as she covers her little tushy pleading, "Don't 'pank my bottom."


I'm afraid there'll be no Peace on Earth or Goodwill Towards Men at the Hollaway house this season.....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Harvest Time has come again
That's how the story goes,
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving
From our 3 little Scarecrows!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've mentioned before about the differences in our attitudes about parenting/child rearing with each child. Crazy- overprotective- overreacting- first- time- parenting vs relaxed- been-there-done-that-they're-not-as-fragile-as-we-thought parenting. One other difference I've noticed during our 3rd go 'round at this is that, while I am truly thankful for my healthy little boy and thrilled that he is developmentally on track......I WISH TIME WOULD SLOW DOWN A LITTLE BIT!!!

I think it must be a case of "Thisisourlastplannedbabywewilleverhaveitis" or something. You would think I'd be prepared for all his milestones and take them in stride. However here are some examples of my reactions to his development thus far:

- I eagerly awaited the day when I could start Reese and Drue on cereal and solid food. Both started cereal at 4 months, then solid foods a few weeks after. Our doctor once again gave me the green light to start Tate on the same regimen at his 4 month appt. At his 6 month appt the doctor asked how it was going and I admitted I hadn't started him on solids yet. I bought the food, but just couldn't bring myself to feed it to him. I wanted to continue to be his only source of nourishment for awhile. (In fact, in my plot to keep him a baby forever, to David's horror I announced to him that I would be nursing Tate until he went to offense to you mothers who actually do that, but I was totally kidding about it and actually plan to wean him at about a year).

- A few weeks ago I did a double take when I looked up and Tate was on his hands and knees rocking back and forth. "That's odd," I thought to myself. "The girls didn't crawl until they were at least 7 months. Must be a fluke. He's got at least a month or two before he really gets going." Wrong. He is all over this house now and is only 6 months old. I keep watching him thinking, "He's too little to be doing this. He's just a newborn." With Reese we were shouting on the rooftops when she started crawling rejoicing at her newfound independence. I keep trying to talk Tate out of it, telling him it's much more fun to cuddle with Mommy and have her carry him everywhere in the house.

- Also at his 6 month checkup, the doctor informed me it was about time for a new carseat. He is getting too tall for his carrier. What? Too tall for his carrier? Now I will have to come up with an entirely new gameplan for running errands with the kids because I won't be able to just whisk him out of the van into the cart via his convenient carrying case. When it was time for the girls to graduate to a larger seat, I rushed out that very day and excitedly installed it in the car.

- And instead of eagerly looking forward to the night my sweet little bundle sleeps all the way through, I rather enjoy our midnight meetings together and will be sad when they are no more.

Somewhere deep in my subconcious, I must think that if I don't encourage and give into his natural growth progression patterns (i.e. not feeding him solid foods, being in denial that he is indeed a crawler now) that I can somehow pause the hands of time and enjoy the days of having a baby around the house a little bit longer.

Poor little guy. I promise I won't try and hold you back too will definitely be potty trained before you start Junior High.

Monday, November 20, 2006

'Atta Girl

I swear strangers are breaking into our house at night, wearing our clothes, then putting them in our hampers. There is no way my family is going through as many clothes as are needing laundering each week. This weekend was "catch up" weekend on the laundry that had begun to spill out over onto our closet floor.

I did find one surefire way to enlist David's help without asking though. There was a pair of pants that he was wanting to wear, and when he asked where they were I said, "In the washer", (which had finished its' cycle). He quickly took the load of clothes that had been in the dryer up to our room and transferred the washer load and started drying them.

After a busy day and dinner at his moms' house, we returned home and got Drue and Tate down for bed. I piddled around downstairs picking up and at about 10:00p Reese, David, and I headed upstairs for the night. I think you can guess what was hindering me from collapsing into my nice cozy bed.....THE ENTIRE PILE OF CLOTHES DAVID BROUGHT UP EARLIER!

I didn't scream. I didn't shout. I didn't even berate him on the woes I endure as a worn out housewife. I simply said, "Dear, whoever brings the load up....folds the load." I would like to tell you that David saw the error of his ways, ushered me to a nearby chair, propped my tired feet up, and folded the laundry. But that wouldn't make for a funny story.....he went to brush his teeth while Reese offered to help me fold.

Without any prompting from me (honest) Reese said, "Daddy! These aren't magical clothes. These are just regular clothes. They aren't going to fold themselves!".

And you men thought we took a class on Sarcastic Nagging's just inate.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'll be one busy Grandma......

Reese is always talking about things she'll do when she's a mommy. Today we were on the floor playing with Tate and here is how our conversation went:

Me: "Reese, how many babies do you want when you're a mommy?".

Reese: "78".

Me: "78?!?! How are you going to take care of 78 babies?".

Reese: "I'll say, 'Babies, let's take turns now'. And I'll also call 'Daaaddddyyyy!' because everyone knows there's a daddy around if there's a mommy and he can help me."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

That's the Spirit....(well, not quite)

Our church participates in one of Franklin Grahams' ministries called Operation: Christmas Child. The idea behind it is to fill a shoe box (or similar sized box--we had to buy plastic container boxes because David makes me throw out all shoe boxes and other items I don't have an immediate use for) with small gifts for children living in poverty stricken countries so they will have something to open for Christmas. They are also provided with little booklets in their own language that tell the Gospel message.

This was the first year our family took part. You are supposed to pick a girl or boy and specify what age group your box is intended for (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14). My first question to David was, "How are we going to decide what gender/age to buy for?". He had the great idea to do three boxes, one for each of our kids....and buy for 2 girls and a boy. (Yes dear, you actually have it in writing that I gave you a compliment and admitted that, once in awhile, you really do have a great idea....I may regret this later).

We hope to make this one of our holiday traditions and as our children get older, get them involved by getting to pick out the gifts that go in the shoeboxes. This year, however, I was rushing around at the last minute, and during a solo trip to Target, I just picked out all the gifts myself. When I got home, I dumped them all out on the floor and started separating them into the appropriate box.

Reese happened to be the only child not taking a nap and was quickly lured over my way out of curiosity. Her eyes got wide as she surveyed all the neat little treasures that came out of the bag. David started explaining to her how we were going to send these toys to children who probably wouldn't be getting any other gifts for Christmas this year.

A little while later, as I was wrapping the last box, Reese appeared at the kitchen table where I was working. I again used this opportunity to talk about why we were sending gifts to these children who don't have a nice house to live in, or many clothes to wear, or toys to play with. One of the neat things about getting your gifts together, is that you are supposed to say a prayer for the child who will be receiving your shoebox. I asked Reese if she would like to say a prayer with me.

I went first and asked God to bless the children who'd be receiving our gifts, etc. and then nodded to Reese that it was her turn to pray. She bowed her little head and prayed, "Dear God.....I like sending these gifts to those children.....and I hope that they will send me some gifts also....."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Move over Gerber....

One day a week on my days off, I treat the girls (and myself) to lunch from Sonic or McDonalds. It's normally on an errand day and is their prize (aka bribe) for them not causing me to check myself into a looney bin. The routine usually errands, grab lunch, go home and set them up at the kitchen table, turn on Family Feud (I'm actually getting used to the new host....I was sad when Richard Karn was replaced) and nurse Tate while I eat.

Today our culinary delight was from McDonalds. (We got back too late to see Family Feud--BLAST!). I perched my bag up on the arm of the sofa and started nursing Tate. He would eat a little bit, then stop, lift his head up, and stare intently at, stop, look up, stare intently. What in the world? He usually only does this when the girls are in the room.

After about a full minute of this, he finally stopped one last time, sat himself up on my lap, and reached out with BOTH HANDS towards my quarter pounder, sitting in it's box, apparently beckoning him this whole time!

Poor little guy. I removed the distracting dish to the kitchen, and outta sight outta mind, he contentedly finished his milk. Perhaps it's time to move on to bigger and better things besides rice cereal....

Delicious & Nutritious

My keen Mommy senses alerted me this morning that Reese was eating something, and I knew I hadn't given her anything at that time. I looked a little more closely and it appeared she was actually licking something off her finger. Uh oh.

"Reese, what are you eating," I casually asked.

"Pepper," she replied.

Now as gross as that sounds, she was sitting by the TV in the living room, which is not normally where our pepper shaker is I peered over her shoulder, and, sure enough, there was an undeniable finger sized trail right through the DUST on the entertainment center.

"REESE!!! That's not ate DUST!"

I decided to look on the bright side of all of this.....Reese, our child who never eats anything, apparently likes dust.....hey, it's cheap, and there's certainly enough to go around at our house! (Honey, I found one way to cut back on our grocery bill....)

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Do Unto Others...."

After weeks of passing a cold between them, Tate and Drue decided to pass it along to....ME! Colds normally don't phase me too much but this one knocked me on my (still larger than I'd like) patootie Saturday. I left for a Girls Night Out at the Cheesecake Factory Friday night and gave David a quick peck on the cheek because I told him I felt like I was coming down with something. My colds are so predictable....they always start with that cruddy feeling right in that little space between where my knobby collarbones almost meet.

That night, I hacked a lot and sort of felt bad thinking I was keeping David up. I woke up the next morning sounding like an old man who had smoked a pack a day for 50 years. After I'd been up about 30 minutes, David finally made the observation that I sounded sick. (I resisted the urge to jump up and down on the couch screaming "NEWSFLASH!". I just didn't have the energy). Instead I said, "Um....yeah, I coughed all night long." "You did?", he asked. So much for worrying about my poor husband not getting any sleep.

We ran errands and went about our day but by 7:30 that night I collapsed in the bed. I felt like I'd been pulled through the wringer, hung out to dry, but had somehow fallen from the clothesline and been run over by a Mack Truck.....yet I wasn't sleepy. Reese came up in a bit and watched TV with me in the bed until we both fell asleep. At one point I looked over and she was staring at me. "What?", I asked. "Mommy, I think you look pretty." Then she added, "Even though Daddy doesn't think you look good like that, I think you look pretty." (She was referring to earlier in the day when David commented that I looked "awful".)

During my "downtime" this weekend, David picked up the living room multiple times, picked up the girls' room, loaded and unloaded the dishes all weekend, made supper, and even did a few loads of laundry complete with folding and putting away the clothes. My first instinct was to say "Thank you, Sweetheart".....but I stubbornly held myself back because, normally, I do those things around the house EVERYDAY without getting a thank you. (Note: Obviously I have been a mother long enough to know it is mostly a "thankless" job filled with silent sacrifices, so I don't go about my day expecting to get thanked, but it would be an added bonus every once in a while.)

So today as I mulled over our weekend and would start to feel bad for poor David because I never thanked him for taking care of the household stuff, I would remind myself, again, that nobody thanks me when I do it. But then this thought popped into my head....."And how many times have you thanked David for working so hard at his job, never slacking off or calling in sick when he wasn't, working so diligently that he's gotten numerous promotions since starting there, all so he could support this family and make it possible for you to stay home with the kids 3 days a week?". Ouch.

Yesterday our Sunday School lesson was about the Golden Rule. Yes, the same Golden Rule that we are trying so desperately to teach our 2 and 4 year old. Basic good behavior. Then we got to talking about how our spouses were actually the easiest people in our lives to get angry with, the easiest ones to get annoyed by, etc. because we feel safe around them and know that they will still love us tomorrow. Double ouch.

While I'm not going to unrealistically declare right here and now that I will never again take the husband God gave me for granted.....I do at least want to say THANK YOU, David for all that you are and all that you do for this family. We appreciate you more than you know. And if the girls' bedtimes and schedules get thrown out the window (once in awhile) because you are spending time reading them one more story after a long day at the lab.....I will try and silently go about gathering up all the crusty rags from the bathtub and throwing away the wet diapers that somehow haven't made it down to the trash yet. WE LOVE YOU!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


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Moms of little boys who would see me out and about with my little girls would always comment to me that little girls were so fun to buy for and dress up, there are so many more cute clothing choices for girls, etc. But I am having just as much fun dressing up our little man as I did/do with the girls! My "Momma's Boy" is going to be a heatbreaker I'm afraid....

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Date Night Pictures

Reese, wearing everything except my dress itself. And Drue in the background, not wanting to be left out, wearing David's shoes....

Little Muslim Drue....

My delicious "Beef Veronica" leftovers that I was so excited about taking a picture of, that I forgot to put them in the fridge and they sat out all night on the dining room table!

Scroll down for the accompanying story of Date Night....
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Date Night Recap

Alright already....I have been reprimanded by 2 people for not posting anything about my much anticipated "Date Night" last Saturday. One being my sweet husband who took me on said date, the other being my friend whom I turned to for advice on what to wear under my new fancy dress to hide my post baby bulge (she had a baby a week after me and looks great by the way).

Sad to say, David and I spent most of Saturday not speaking to each other due to some silly squabble. But I was determined not to let that take away from my night out. Speaking or no speaking, I would still get to eat a delicious meal. I went ahead and painted my nails, bought some new hose, and decided I would be able to put aside my pride for a few hours and enjoy our evening. Reese had me paint her nails too and she put on a fancy dress up dress. She kept eyeing my dress saying, "I wish that came in my size. Maybe I could borrow that when I'm a Mommy." She also kept asking us if we were going to a ball.

When we got out to the garage David grabbed my hand, and with an amused twinkle in his eye (the same one I was ready to poke out a mere hour earlier) said, "Let's pretend we love each other for our date tonight." Of course, that broke the ice and we laughed about our petty little tiff and were genuinely able to relax and enjoy each others' company.

Our dinner reservations were at 7pm at the Peppercorn Duck Club. So first, we headed down to the Plaza to walk around. Thankfully, it was a beautiful evening and I didn't even have to wear the coat David brought for me. We spent most of our time at Eddie Bauer and came away spending a small fortune on some new clothes for both of us. I can't remember the last time I didn't purchase an outfit either off the sale rack, or one that didn't cost more than $20 at Target. I felt a little guilty about it.

The saleslady who helped us commented on our attire. "You two sure look nice. Are you going somewhere or do you just like to dress up?". We explained to her how we were simply out on a date without our 3 babies. It turned out, she had an 8 month old little boy so we ended up chatting for a few minutes about life with kids. We agreed that it was fun to look forward to a needed night out once in awhile, but, inevitably, during the date itself, whenever we see a family with small children, we immediately miss our little dears at home.

Dinner was lovely. It was nice to eat at a restaurant without a larger than life Mouse and his motorized band playing on stage. I was a tad self conscious since I normally like to blend in with my surroundings and not draw attention to myself, but that is hard to do being all fancified. The quiet romantic atmosphere was shattered when a group of conference attenders were seated at a table for 10 right next to us. As we finished up our entree the waiter came by and informed us that we could visit the chocolate bar whenever we were ready. I jumped at the invitation exclaiming that I'd been ready since the moment we stepped into the restaurant.

Our leisurely night out lasted a mere.....4 hours! But we are both homebodies at heart and couldn't think of anywhere else we wanted to go so we were home by 9pm (which was really 8pm for DST). I no sooner plopped down on the couch when Reese came over and began extracting all my accessories for herself. First went my shawl, then my headband, followed by my necklace and shoes. I felt like Cinderella as her stepsisters stripped her of her carefully put together outfit for the ball.

It was then that it dawned on me, we hadn't had our picture taken like I was wanting. So I whipped out the camera and took some snapshots of the girls dressed up.

I did enjoy my time with David all to myself, being able to actually finish a conversation all the way through without having to stop 15 times to pick up a crying baby, referee a knock down drag out fight between our 2 loving daughters, or let the barking dogs out the back door that someone inadvertently closed. And I'm already looking forward to our next date. (Which we agreed would have to be a trip to Steak & Shake and the Goodwill Store to even out our upscale rendevous).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Princesses & The Pea...

Here are our 2 lovely princesses......Ariel & Snow White (for all you Disney impaired folk).

And our little pea. This costume goes down in history as my best bargain purchase ever!! I bought it during one of my garage saling days the summer before Reese was born. Since she was due Oct. 25th I didn't want to spend mucho dollars on a costume just in case she was still swimming around inside me come Halloween. But I went ahead and "splurged" on this costume for 50 cents. All 3 of our kids have worn it and I believe it will definitely be one of my keepsakes for life.

A new dimension to the "pea in the pod" experience this time around was that Tate rather enjoyed pulling off the nerf ball peas and eating them. (Reese and Drue were 2 weeks old and 1 month old respectively when they were "the pea".)

Desperate times call for creative measures. I am a procrastinator at heart and when 3 kids are added to the equation, things are often done at the last minute or not at all. We didn't make it to the pumpkin patch until this past Sunday. And we never quite found the time since then to carve our pumpkins. Since I didn't want to win the "lamest porch on the block award" for not having any cool jack-o-lanterns displayed, I quickly threw together this snowman using chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth.

Last night was a beautiful evening and I even ran to the grocery store in my shorts. But of course, as is the curse of Halloween, it was FREEZING tonight!! Last year Reese's little hands were so frozen by the time we got home she couldn't even open her candy. (Which wasn't altogether a bad thing...oh, come on, they thawed out eventually). This year I broke the bad news to Reese that she would have to wear pants under her mermaid costume. (A few tears and minimal pouting ensued).

"Whoever heard of a princess wearing tights and pants?!", she sarcastically inquired.

"I'll bet the ones who live in Alaska do!", I quickly retorted.

I do remember what a bummer it was to spend so much time deciding on, and making the coolest Halloween costume, only to have to cover it up with a boring winter jacket. (I was one of those kids who usually opted to layer as many clothes as I could underneath so as not to take away from my creation. I probably ended up getting a lot less candy that way because the people whose houses I went to didn't want to encourage my "obesity" by giving me too much).

David and I originally planned to take turns taking the girls around the neighborhood while the other one camped out at the homestead to watch Tate and eat, I mean, pass out our candy. (Funny, David volunteered mighty quickly to take the first shift of staying home). I bundled the girls up with mittens and coats and off we went.

Drue actually got the hang of trick-or-treating pretty quickly and it was so cute to hear her say "Twick-or-Tweat" and "Fank you" at every house. I ended up holding her bucket for awhile and sometimes she wouldn't see them put candy in it, so she would keep standing there saying "Trick-or-Treat" until I would finally convince her that, yes, indeed, some candy had been dropped into her bucket. Reese only took a few spills as she is prone to do and you would have thought she was carrying a load of diamonds the way she would dive to the ground collecting all her fallen pieces of candy with an urgency in her voice, "Help me Mommy! Help me!!".

Right after we finished at the first house, Reese began plotting her plan to ring the doorbell at our house and surprise her daddy. She was more excited to do that anything else. After each house she would say, "Now we can go ring our doorbell?".

I seriously doubt that I will ever be one of those magically prepared mothers. You know the ones...they pack their diaper bags the night before rather than scrambling around stuffing random outfits into it and snatching "one more diaper" on their way out the door. They anticipate that their children will inevitably become "starving" before the first errand is complete, so they pack some healthy snacks into those neat little plastic containers, rather than presenting them with a few stray fries from yesterday's trip to McDonalds that managed to stow away in their carseats. And the kicker, they always manage to whip out a hankie just at the exact moment their little one raises their head back to begin a sneeze. So, why, oh, why, knowing that on any given day between the beginning of September through the end of February, at least one of my children will have the sniffles, did I leave on our jaunt without any kleenex?! Drue sneezed no less than 17 times while we were out. When the first sneeze occurred, I stupidly looked around like there might actually be something available in the great outdoors for me to use. My bewildered eyes finally landed guessed it....the super soft sleeve of my fleece jacket. (Here's the beauty of it though, it actually wasn't my jacket, I had borrowed David's). By the time we returned home, I kid you not, (well, maybe just a little) I had to wring my sleeve out before we headed in the door. I'm sure it could have filled one of those rain gauge thingies.....

Of course it wouldn't be a complete night out with my girls without one of them innocently saying something embarrassing. We walked up to a house that has the same floorplan as ours and they had piles upon piles of junk in the living room and dining room. Thankfully, Reese waited until we started to walk away before she said, "Mommy, are they having a garage sale?". "What do you mean," I laughed. "Well, they sure do have a lot of stuff out."

We finally made it back to our house and the girls were content to call it quits for the night. Reese said she had no idea trick-or-treating would be so fun. It's neat to think these little memories will stay with her for her entire lifetime. With Daddy's prompting, they poured out all their loot on the living room floor and picked a few pieces to eat. They looked over all the chocolates, starbursts, etc. then ran to the kitchen and asked if they could have a piece of cheese! Well, I guess so...just this once girls....

They both enjoyed running to the door when the other kids came by our house. I was priding myself on how smart my little Drue was figuring out this whole Halloween deal so quickly when I heard her saying "Twick-or-Tweat" to the kids at our door, and standing there expecting them to give her some of their candy. Would you believe they all looked at her like she was off her rocker and not one of the little selfish things gave her any?

It was a fun night...I'm exhausted...Tate is still trying to figure out what is up with this whole time change mess...and why he is not in his cozy crib as soon as darkness falls. So good night all you little ghosts and goblins....

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Out on the Town

Last month David and I went to an evening wedding for a friend of his. For some reason, I didn't plan out at all what I was going to wear until about an hour beforehand. The invitations mentioned something about "evening wear". Evening wear? To me, "evening wear" means pajama bottoms and one of David's shirts. I deduced that attire would be frowned upon at a formal function. I ended up grabbing the only dress that fit me, a long, brown, sleeveless floral number with a beige linen jacket. I thought I looked halfway decent until we actually got to the wedding and I saw all the ladies dressed in evening gowns and cute little cocktail dresses.

I just sat there feeling frumpy and old. I have never scored too high on fashion sense, but this was the last straw. I mulled it over for a few days before bringing it up with David. "I just looked plain frumpy at that wedding." I approached him one evening. He really is the sweetest little thing sometimes and responded with, "You know honey...why don't you go out and buy 2 really nice outfits you can wear out on the town. One for summertime, and for wintertime." How sweet. Of course, I had to read between the lines and exclaim, "So you thought I looked frumpy too!!".

I chalked my poor outfit choice up to my inexperience with picking evening wear and vowed to find something suitable to wear out on the town to make me look suave and sophisticated, not like a tired 30 year old mother of 3. That was going to be hard for me.

After weeks of hinting to David that I am a neglected housewife, he finally announced that he was taking me out on a date this weekend. WOO HOO! I am so psyched. (Is that still a word people use? Or did that, like most of my wardrobe, go out with the eighties?). In anticipation of our upcoming night out, I decided it was as good a time as any to buy one of my new hip outfits. David gave me just one instruction...."Don't go to any of the stores you usually go to either. Go to a nice store that I would pick for my clothes."

I was only gone a short while this evening when I found a great little black number that's really fancy looking. (If I'm brave, I may post pictures after this weekend). I went back and forth between 2 sizes in the dressing room. The medium was a tad snug, but the large was a bit loose, so hoping that my weight doesn't go in the upward direction again any time soon, I went ahead and got the medium.

I wanted to wait and "WOW" David on our date night. But I went ahead and tried it on for him when I got home for a second opinion so I would have time to exchange it if need be. The girls both followed me upstairs to watch me try on my "pretty" (as they call dresses, nightgowns, etc.). As soon as I put it on, they both started exclaiming how beautiful it was. "Let me marry you," Drue kept repeating, "Let me marry you."

David's reaction wasn't quite what I was hoping for. In my mind I envisioned his jaw dropping to the floor, awed and speechless at the beauty he beheld. Not quite. He looked up, and because he could sense that he needed to say something, he simply said, "Yeah, honey, that looks nice. Turn around."

"It's a tad tight," I said and went on to explain my rationale for getting the medium. "I'll have to get something to hold everything in down there," pointing to my stomach region. "Well, let me see," he said. "Relax yourself and stand as you normally would." "I CAN'T RELAX MYSELF!! IF I DO, IT LOOKS LIKE 2 HIPPOS ARE FIGHTING UNDER MY DRESS!!!". (Changing up the words to the Steel Magnolias quote about the lady who wasn't wearing a girdle and looked like 2 pigs were fighting under a blanket). I stormed upstairs to take it off.

Reese followed me into our bedroom and said in her sweet little encouraging tone, "Mommy, the dress looks fine. There aren't 2 hippos under's just your belly."

Great....that makes me feel SO much better.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Guardian Angel Totaled Her Car Today...

Well, I feel horrible but extremely thankful at the same time. I piled the kids into the van this morning and headed out to run some errands. First the dry cleaners, then Target. One of my pet peeves is slow drivers who have nowhere to be at any certain time, and sit lurking in the shadows until they see my van start to back out of the driveway, before all deciding to come out on the road at once.

Driving in our town can make me absolutely crazy sometimes because there are certain traffic lights that only stay green for 3.5 seconds before turning red again for 8 minutes. So, on occasion, I have been known to speed up a tad through the yellow lights in my haste to get around town and finish my errands before the kids reach their "tolerable behavior" limit (which can vary anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour at a time).

So, this morning as we approached an intersection to turn left, I was delighted to see the light was staying green. "Life is good," I was thinking to myself when all of a sudden, the car in front of me stopped. "What are you doing?" I yelled. I quickly glanced up at the sign to make sure it wasn't a "left turn signal only" deal and saw that the sign plainly read, "left turn yield on green". It appeared there were no oncoming cars to yield to, so I sternly instructed the driver to "GO!". (Of course there was no way for her to hear me shouting but she did go ahead and pull out anyway).

Just as she turned into the intersection, I saw the front end of a car coming straight from the other direction. The view from our vantage point was blocked by a huge SUV that was trying to turn left coming the opposite way. As is the case with most horrific experiences, the next set of events happened in slow motion. The lady in front of me kept going as the squeal of tires from the oncoming car filled the air, obviously as a result of him slamming on his brakes. The force of the collision smashed her back end and his front end to smithereens and spun her car completely around in the opposite direction. Shattered taillights reflected the sunlight as they lay scattered across the road.

My heart stopped beating for a full 5 seconds before the beats began to come faster and faster. I wasn't quite sure what I should do. The guy jumped out of his car and immediately got on his cell phone. I didn't want to get out of the van and leave all the kids in there by themselves for fear another car would come by not paying attention and slam into the back of it. Thankfully another lady who witnessed the whole thing jumped out of her car and ran to check on the lady who had been in front of me to see if she was ok. Out climbed this white haired little old lady seemingly without a scratch on her.

We went ahead and pulled slowly passed them, which I felt awful doing, but, again, there was not much I could do with all the kids in the van. I turned the radio off and tried to absorb what we had just seen. In near misses such as these, it is easy to recount all the "what ifs" that, had they occurred, would have all added up to us being right in the middle of that wreck. What if Drue had put her socks on the first time I told her to and we had left the house 30 seconds earlier? What if that lady had stopped midway into the intersection when she saw the other car and he had slammed into her front end thus sending her spinning back around toward our van?

Certainly I feel incredibly guilty for yelling at her for stopping initially when the light was green, and I can't help but wonder if God sent her to do just that. Otherwise, she would have already made her turn, and I would have followed behind her, not being able to see that other car myself. Calculating that he would have hit my van in the same spot he hit her car, that would have been right where Tate and Drue were sitting!

As we drove down the road in silence, I told Reese to say thank you to Jesus for keeping us safe in our car as I offered up many prayers of thanks myself. I've always wondered what my guardian angel looked like. After this mornings' events, I believe she must look a lot like a little old white haired lady.....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Embracing the 21st Century

With each new modern technological advance that makes its' debut, my mom always says, "My Grandpa would roll over in his grave...". Cell phones, DVD players, etc. have all elicited this response from her.

Last night David and I communicated with each other in a prime example of modern day technology in the 21st century. Earlier in the afternoon, before he left work, he e-mailed me asking if we'd be able to pop into his friends' open house this Saturday.

I didn't check my e-mail until after we had put Drue and Tate down for the night. David was downstairs on the computer in the basement and I sat down at the laptop in our living room. I saw his message and wrote him back saying we might be able to pop in for a bit but reminded him that we had also planned to take the kids to a Fall Festival that same night at a local college.

As we were getting ready for bed David said, "I got your message about this weekend." We couldn't help but laugh as we recapped how that whole conversation had taken place. He e-mailed me from work, I checked it in our living room, then e-mailed him back, and since he was logged into his work account, he received my reply while he was one floor beneath me in the basement!

Along these same lines of modern day communication, David used to put all his appointments (work related and family related) on his computer calendar at work. (He recently got a new phone which has this same feature). Prior to getting his phone, however, on more than one occasion, we would be sitting in our living room and I would remind him of an upcoming obligation we had. Rather than take the time to discuss it and imprint the date and time onto his brain, he would say, "It's not on my calendar." So I would call his voicemail at work (while he was sitting 2 feet away from me on the couch), and leave him a message to add that event to his calendar the next morning when he got to work!

Who says communication is a problem in marriages today....?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Boo!

Reese is 4 years old today! She came into the world at almost the exact time I am sitting down the write this....9:15pm to be specific. She was actually due on the 25th, so I told my boss at the nursing home where I worked (and still work) that my last day there would be the 18th. My friends planned a going away luncheon for me on the 17th.

WARNING: Graphic pregnancy related talk to follow. If you are easily embarrassed about that sort of thing just skip the rest of this post and scroll down to her cute little picture.

I got up that morning and there was a little bit of water coming out where it doesn't normally just flow out of. I used the restroom and took a shower and it was still coming out. I told David I thought my water had broken. (In my defense, I wasn't really sure it had. I thought it would gush out, not trickle). He said, "Wow, really, well, let's call the doctor, I'll call work and tell them I won't be in today..."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold your horses," I instructed. "They are having my going away lunch today and I haven't even had a contraction yet, plus I still have a lot to get organized at work for my replacement. I'm going to go on in to work."

Of course, he thought I was crazy (and rightfully so) but there's no arguing with a full term hormonal pregnant lady, so he let me go on in to work and he went to work as well. I got to work and my dear friend, who also happens to be a nurse and mother of 3 herself, could tell something wasn't quite right with me. She followed me into the hall and cornered me so I told her what was going on. She grabbed me by the shoulders and calmly said, "Kristen, your water has broken, you need to call your doctor and go to the hospital."

I called my doctor, then sheepishly called David and told him to meet me back at home because we had to go to the hospital. (It was only 8am in the morning). I was still in denial for some reason and as we went up to the desk at the entrance I gave them my name and said, "My doctor just wants me to get checked out." The lady behind the desk called back to the nursing desk and said, "Mrs. Hollaway is here and she's in labor." "I DIDN'T SAY THAT!!!" I corrected her.

It was a loooonnnngggg day after we got settled in our room. It all seemed so surreal to me. I couldn't believe in a matter of hours I was going to be meeting my precious little girl face to face. (David and I found out we were having a girl months before, but decided to wait and let our friends and family be surprised. At first we weren't going to find out what we were having, but we had our sonogram tech write it down on a slip of paper and put it in an envelope in case we wanted to know later. "Later" was all of about an hour. We looked as soon as we got home that day.)

That night, Reese made her way into the world as a tiny 6lb 6oz bundle. While the nurse was assessing her my doctor said "Wow, you had a velamentous cord insertion", and called all the other medical staff in the room over to look at the spot where the umbilical cord connected to the placenta. I had no idea what that was and actually put it in the back of my mind until my sister, who is a labor and delivery room nurse, came to visit. David mentioned it to her and she had the same reaction as the doctor saying, "Wow...I've only seen one other of those in my 9 years as a nurse." So, of course, when I got home, I looked it up on the internet and after reading about it, I realized what an even bigger miracle had happened that day.

As we headed home from the hospital, David was driving like a little old man and was barely going 50 down the freeway as well as being extra cautious with merging, turning, etc. He said it was because of the new little bundle we were carrying in the backseat. "She's been with us the past 9 months, inside of me, and you've never driven like this before," I reminded him. "I know, but I didn't actually see her before so it was different," he explained.

We talked about how for the first time, it really hit home about how much God must truly love us, to be able to sacrifice His only child for our sins. David and I were so amazed that we had only had our little girl for 3 days and our love for her was already indescribable.

Parenthood is an exhausting, trying, 24/7 job but we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. The rewards of eskimo kisses, watching your little girls dress up in your clothes, and feeling tiny little hands clasped around your neck in a good night hug far outweigh any other experience this world has to offer.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Never Send a Man to do a Woman's Job

Back in August Tate graduated to sleeping in his crib at night. We haven't used a baby monitor since Reese was tiny because they pick up every last whimper, sigh, etc. which made me sit bolt upright in bed trying to discern if that "whimper" was really an intruder trying to sneak her out of her crib. Alas, after the 14th time I went to check on her one night, we decided to do away with the baby monitor. The nursery is just across the hall from our room, so we can easily hear their cries when they wake up to chow.

As I've written before, we've become quite a bit more relaxed at this Parenting Deal with each child. One thing I'll never give up doing, however, is checking on them while they sleep before I retire for the evening. A few days after Tate began sleeping in his own room, I sent David in there to check on him while we were getting ready for bed, thinking that was an easy task to give him, there's no way he can mess that up.

He popped his head in the nursery quickly, then returned to bed.

" he ok?", I asked.

"Yep. He's fine.", he stated casually as he began fluffing his pillow to settle down.

"That was awfully quick. How could you even tell anything by just popping your head in the door?", I probed.

"What do you mean? You told me to check on him. I opened the door...and there he was...still in his crib.", he explained.

"But did you happen to check to see if he was still BREATHING?", I asked as I jumped out of bed and ran across the hall. I creeped over to the side of his crib and peered down. Since my eyes hadn't quited adjusted to the dark yet, I bent closer and put my hand on his little chest. Letting out a huge sigh of relief, I felt the familiar rise and fall of his soft pajamas.

I headed back to bed to an unsuspecting David who had already started to drift off.

"You mean to tell me.....that for the past 4 years since we started having babies, everytime I have sent you in to check on them, all you have been doing is popping your head in and making sure they were still in their crib?!" I asked, horrified.

"Well, yeah. I thought that was checking on them. Making sure they were still in their crib and hadn't escaped." he said, defending himself.

Astonished, I asked, "Just how in the world, do you think a 2 month old baby, who can barely hold up the weight of his own head, is going to miraculously pull himself up over the side of the crib rail and disappear into some deep dark crevice of his nursery? All this time, I have been sending you in there to make sure they still have respirations, and all these years, I have been going to sleep with a false sense of security going on your simple statement of 'They're fine'. "

From now on I am either more direct with my questions for David, "Did you check on Tate? Is he still breathing?" or I just do it myself. (Which, actually, I think was David's plan all along so he could hop into his nice warm cozy bed a little bit quicker).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Random Funnies

David and I bravely attempted, and somewhat successfully accomplished, taking the kids out to eat with us the other night at Outback. I could write a whole entire post about that trip, but I will just highlight one of the amusing parts. (A lady at the table next to us was celebrating a birthday so Drue kept looking over her way saying, "Cake, cake. I want some cake".) We always get the girls some sort of chicken finger basket to share when we go out. Drue gobbles her entire meal up and starts grabbing food from David's plate also. Reese gobbles up her fries, but needs a little coaxing to eat her chicken. She doesn't like the fried part so she peels it off and just eats the chicken. And she only likes plain fries, if they have so much as a speck of cheese on them, she won't eat them. So, it never really looks like she ate much in the end because there is so much left on her plate. After we all got finished I asked Reese, "Did you get enough to eat? Did your tummy get full?", to which she replied, "Yep. But not the dessert part."

Many times during lunch it's just Drue and I at the table eating because Reese has inhaled her standard spoonful of peanut butter and is off on her merry way. Today, Drue and I sat down to enjoy some corndogs. I recently started putting a splat of ketchup on her plate to go with it. She hasn't quite gotten down the idea of dipping her corndog into the ketchup. She just eats the ketchup by itself with her fork. Something Drue does at every mealtime is inspect everyone else's plate to make sure she isn't missing out on anything, and that we all have the same food on our plates. Today she looked over at the mustard splat on my plate and said, "Some of dat" (meaning "Can I have some of that). "It's just mustard, honey, " I explained. She looked up at me forlornly and said, " Where's my lellow?" (meaning "Where's my yellow?"). She quickly got a splat of "lellow" all her own......

The other day I had a harried visit to the doctors' office with all the kids in tow for Drue's 2 year checkup, which included her getting a shot I wasn't prepared for, a fussy Tate who wanted out of his stroller, and Reese who was whining the entire time because she wasn't getting a checkup. (Incidentally, we found out that Drue is on track to grow to be 5'11"!!). So, after our exhausting ordeal, I wearily shuffled them all back to the van to head home. We have automatic doors that you can either open with a remote, or simply tug on the handle, and they easily slide open. So I tugged. Nothing happened. So I tugged again. Nothing. I thought the handle felt a little strange so I finally looked up and discovered that our van was in the next parking spot over! Thank goodness, the van I was inadevertently trying to break into was unoccupied at the time. Reese takes in and remembers every little thing. So of course she wanted to know why we couldn't get the door open and why we were walking away. I sheepishly explained to her that it wasn't our van. Now, everytime we finish an errand and we head back out to the parking lot, she says, "Mommy, is this our van?" "Yes, dear, it's our van." "Are you sure it's our van?". Argh.

How we spent our morning

We spent a "haunting" morning decorating a Halloween gingerbread house, while listening to Halloween tunes such as Monster Mash. (I know, I know, a far cry from Away in a Manger). I asked Reese on the sly the other day if she wanted to include Drue or just decorate the house with me after Drue went down for a nap, fully expecting her to pick the latter choice. She surprised me, however, and wanted Drue to help.

Of course, more than half the fun of making a gingerbread house was eating the I will probably have some very wound up little girls for the rest of the morning. But they actually were able to part with a few of the precious sugary treasures and decorate the house itself.

And just so Tate doesn't grow up with a complex looking back on these pictures when he's older thinking I just stuck him in a closet somewhere while they girls and I played, here he is....Halloween bib and all. (Once a theme is decided, I like to go all out).

The finished product. Enjoy it while you can kids, before the beagles find a way to get it (like they did our gingerbread house last Christmas).

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Monday, October 09, 2006

We Wish you a Merry Christmas....

It is Fall. It is October. Specifically, it is October 9th and the Hollaway household has been listening to Christmas music already for the past 2 days!! Now, I'm a big fan of the radio stations who play nonstop Christmas music beginning the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Day. But the past few years, they have actually started playing it before Thanksgiving. Not a big fan of this, but once I hear a few bars of Silver Bells I just can't turn back....I'm hooked.

Anyway, our premature yuletide celebration began innocently enough. Friday night David sent me out clothes shopping by myself and there was nothing good playing on the radio. So, I fumbled around for my CD case to pop something in. Our CD collection has made quite a transformation over the past couple years. Our relaxing classical selections such as Pavarotti, Enya, etc. have been replaced by Veggie Tales, Children's Bible songs, and the like.

I happened to come across a Christmas CD we actually bought in the $1 bin at Target last year. It ended up being the girls' favorite one to listen to when we bought it. So, on a whim, I popped it into the CD player so I could reflect on all the happy memories of last Christmas. And that's all she wrote. I forgot to take it out before running errands with the kids the next day. They can't get enough of it.

The only slight problem is that they prefer 2 songs on it over all the others. One is an African Carol/Go Tell it on the Mountain and the other is Away in a Manger. How sweet. Well, the first 100 times you hear it anyway. We have been switching back between those TWO songs since Saturday. We will put one of them on repeat for awhile and then switch and put the other one on repeat for awhile. Heaven help us if we try and sneakily switch it to something else. The van is filled with chants for, "MANGER, MOMMY, MANGER!!".

The girls get so wrapped up in their carols, they forget to fight with each other or whine. It will be a small price to pay to listen to Christmas music for the rest of the year if it means getting to run errands in peace.....

Friday, October 06, 2006

Challenge Accepted...

David learned long ago to think about the way he phrases a question or statement to me before he says it. For instance, he used to convey his "helpful" suggestions by starting out, "Hey honey, you know what you should do....."....which automatically put me on the defense and got my blood boiling as I sarcastically thought, "Oh please, oh please, oh wise one....enlighten me with what I should do by instructing me in the only correct way, your way, since I have not been blessed with such an astute mind and advanced problem solving skills as yourself. And since I am just lying around on the couch all day eating bon bons and having myself fanned, I welcome any suggestions on errands/chores you may have in mind for me to do in order to break up my relaxing day at home with our children."

Of course, it took a few times before he finally figured out that with a simple wording change, he could detour around my bad attitude and actually get me to do what he was suggesting. (Wait a minute, I thought I had finally trained him, but it sounds like he's the one who has learned to train me.) BLAST!

Case in point...the other day I got an e-mail from him while he was at work saying, "Here's a challenge for my highly creative wife....I have a picture of the girls lying on their tummies. Can you get a similar picture of all three kids doing this?" Well I jumped at the "challenge" and the fruit of my labor is published below.

Now, had that e-mail read, "Honey, you know what you should do....take a cute picture of our children lying on their tummies for me to take to work".....he would be sleeping in the doghouse that night because I would have been in a huff that he actually assumed I had an extra 5 minutes in my busy day of doing laundry, scrubbing toilets, diapering children, and making supper to sit and pose them for a picture!

**Just a sidenote....this was actually the "first try" picture and I can't belive all three munchkins are: (a) looking at the camera (b) smiling and (c) not pulling each other's hair, kicking each other, or trying to smother poor little Tate with kisses. (When I pose them all for a picture I usually end up taking about 20 just to get 1 that looks presentable). Posted by Picasa

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