Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Formal Christmas greetings....

Casual Christmas greetings...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ever since Tate was a baby he has flapped his arms when he gets excited about something. Watch him when he realizes our food has been delivered by the train overhead. (Oh, and no, that child rarely sits still...unless he's 'nuggling someone).

I wasn't really trying to video the lights. I was trying to get on tape some some of the cute things the kids were saying. They kept excitedly telling us what they could see out their windows. This one I just thought was funny because here we are right in the midst of them all and Tate asks, "Are we there yet?".

Gingerbread Village


At last! A perfect fit. In years past we've tried a Gingerbread house and a Gingerbread train. Both of which went over as well as can be expected. But this year I discovered the Gingerbread Village. Each member of the family had their own individual little house/structure to decorate as they chose fit. Reese was figuring out who would decorate what the other day and said, "There's one for me and Drue. Mom, you'll probably have to help Tate. Oh, and you'll probably also have to do Daddy's for him because he won't do it."

But David surprised us all this year and joined in the fun. He broke all the pieces apart and helped "cement" them together with icing. He did have to dash off to do some work from home for a bit and put Reese in charge of decorating his little hut.

The houses were a lot smaller than I anticipated, but they were just right for tiny hands.

They all ate their fair share of the candy and icing. And wouldn't you know it...our decorating day fell on the same day as our teeth cleaning. How convenient!
Posted by Picasa

Tate was with me when I bought these weeks ago and almost everyday since then has asked to decorate our "gingermen house".


Posted by Picasa

Longview Lake Lights

Jammies, Starbucks hot chocolate, Christmas music, and the Longview Lake lights. One of my many favorite family Christmas traditions.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pains, Trains, & Automatic Teller Machines

Just how does Kristen normally spend her Thursdays? I am sure that question has been at the forefront of your minds. In all honesty, in the cold weather it is usually deemed our PJ day. We drop Reese off at school in our PJs and pretty much stay in them until we pick her up again. Which feels funny to Drue. She will ask a few times, "Are we ever going to get in our clothes?".

Mondays and Wednesdays are my errand days while both girls are at school. So by Thursday, I am ready to stay at home and clean what didn't get cleaned on those two days. This past Thursday, however, I decided to go an a mini adventure with Drue and Tate. Actually I gave them the choice. "Hey, would you guys rather stay home and do chores and clean the house this morning or go someplace fun?".

Drue actually gave it some thought before saying, "Go somewhere fun."

At least 4 of my friends recently have taken their kids to see the train display at Union Station and to Fritzs. So that's where we decided to go. (It was also train day at school for Reese. They watched the Polar Express and she got to wear her PJs to school). Otherwise, I would have felt bad taking the other 2 on an adventure without her. It still felt weird though not having them all with me.

They didn't want to miss a thing. They kept crouching down to look in all the little caves and tunnels.

Just a plain cute picture of them on a bench at Union Station.

After their ride on the Holiday Train. I promise they rode it. But those pictures were either blurry or both of them weren't looking my direction, etc. I read on a website that the train cost $3 per person. We had no cash in the house and our bank is out of the way, so I carefully counted out $6 in quarters before we left. We walked up to board the train and the sign said $5 per person! (Thank goodness there was an ATM at Union Station.)

I braved parking garages and driving in downtown KC. The only pains of the trip. In fact, I never know exactly how to get home from that area. I just kind of drive around until I see a sign that says I35 South and head in that direction.
Posted by Picasa
Crown Center was next on our agenda. We waltzed through Crayola World for a bit. Where Tate exclaimed, "Hey! There's another Santa!" but thankfully left it at that.

They really enjoyed Fritz's. (I need to upload a video of Tate waiting for our food.) I vaguely remember that we had a baby with us the last time we went. And I can't for the life of me remember if that baby was Drue or Tate. I remember them perched on my lap, even being too small to sit in the high chair yet. Basically, it's been awhile since we were there.

Standing sweetly by the Crayola House.

Hanging like a wild animal from the Crayola House.

All Aboard!

New delicacy...nugget on a straw.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Posted by Picasa

I love this picture. I really do.

But I wish that I had gotten on film what happened after this picture was taken.

Tate was the most excited of all the kids to go see Santa this year. He's been looking at all the pictures we have of past years and analyzing them.

2005- "Where's baby Tate? Baby Druebie cryin'".

2006- "There's baby Tate".

2007- "I was cryin'. Look, there's boo key!"

2008- "Tate happy. Druebie scared."

So he was definitely ready to go see him this year. All the way up to the mall he kept saying, "I'm going to hug Santa!".

Hug him? I would just be happy if he sat in his vicinity and looked somewhat cheery for the picture.

There was one little girl in line ahead of us, so we didn't have to wait long at all. Tate was still excited, yet I could tell his shyness was beginning to peek through. Last year he did fine and Drue is the one who wouldn't go near him. Santa had to end up standing behind the chair and Drue leaned into Reese for protection.

Their turn came and they all walked up to the jolly fellow. Reese was positioned in that little chair in front, Drue perched on one knee, and Tate on the other. They took a few shots and were about to send us on our merry way when I said, "Tate, smile normal." So they took one more shot. It's still not his normal melt your heart smile, but that's ok.

(He decided to run with his hands in his pockets on the way to Drue's school this morning and toppled forward onto his face, thus the red chin.)

On a sidenote, one of the workers asked me, "Do they all belong to you?" as though I'd just traipsed in with 12 children or something.

After the picture was taken, they all just sat up there and had a little conversation with Santa. I could only hear bits and pieces of it. I made out Drue say softly that she wanted a zhu zhu pet. Then Santa asked a question and their little hands shot up in the air. (I later found out from Reese that he had asked them who was going to make him a cookie).

They finished up and he directed them to a big bucket of lollipops. As they were heading back to me Tate stopped, turned around, ran back to Santa and threw his arms around his neck! Santa hugged him like he was his long lost grandson. The. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.

Then Santa called the girls back to get hugs from them as well.

I had started to feel a bit sad that they were all grown up now and no one was afraid of him this year. But what a special moment that was to watch them each give Santa a huge bear hug and share in their joy and excitement. Yes, they are growing. But they are still young and innocent and have such tender spirits.

Of course, they excitedly told me all the details of their visit on the ride home. Reese exclaimed, "And Mom! Santa could tell what Buddy was saying!". I asked her how she knew, and she continued, "Because Santa repeated it! He said, 'You want a T Rex that can open it's mouth?'".

This could very well be the last year all three of them still believe. So I am going to enjoy every last minute of it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

That Boy of Mine

Tate has been making me laugh all day today! I wish I had video snippets from our day because the way he says things cracks me up. I had to start writing them down on scraps of paper so I could remember to share them with you fine people.

It started while we were at Target. He didn't really want to go in the first place. But I knew if we went home after dropping Drue off at school, I'd never want to get back out in this cold! He asked if he could walk (instead of ride in a cart). Of course, my internal motherly voice screamed "NO!" but my external one said, "Yes you may if you stay close to Mommy."

I figured it was a good teachable opportunity. The girls weren't with me. We weren't in a hurry, and I only needed a few items. Besides, how will the little guy learn to walk in a store in a civil manner if he's never allowed to do it?

He actually did really well. He got caught up in the $1 section and I was about to pull him away when I realized he was picking out little gifts for me, David, Reese, and Drue. CUTENESS! He jabbered the rest of the way through the store about how he was going to wrap them up and hide them under his bed and not say anything about them.

On the way to the van I said, "Tate, you really did pretty good in there."

He said, "Pretty good? I did handsome good."
He and I shared some Ramen chicken noodles for lunch. I have made them for myself a few times and he and Drue have both ended up eating most of mine. He was quite excited to get his very own bowl.

He took one bite and said, "Mmmmmmm....this is tasty...and yummy! I like bean soup!".
In the van he kept pushing himself up real tall in his carseat. And he kept saying, "Mommy, my arms are getting stronger!" and "Mommy, I am getting taller" etc.

Then he said, "I will be taller than Mommy, Daddy, Reesie, & Druebie when I am grown up. And I will be able to have scissors!".
Drue's school called about noon to say she was crying and complaining that her ear hurt. So off we went to get her. I explained to Tate that Drue wasn't feeling well, her ear hurt her, and we had to take her to the doctor.

Apparently thinking that going to the doctor is like going to a mechanic he said, "After Drue's ear is fixed, can we go pick up Reese?".
I had just laid Tate down for his nap when Drue's school called so I had to go right back upstairs to get him. He had already settled under his covers with his blanky, sucking his thumb. Earlier in the day his Spiderman sweatshirt had gotten a water droplet on it so he insisted he had to take it off. I grabbed it to put back on him before we went to get Drue. Not wanting it to get wet again Tate held his hand in the air and said, "Wait 'til my thumb dries off."

Thursday, December 10, 2009



Just look at his little cherubic face. My happy-go-lucky little guy. Perched up on the kitchen counter sporting his new winter hat. Sweet little fella.

No, he did not plummet from the counter. That is not the reason I have dubbed myself "Worst Mother Ever".

Nor did I sit by idly as he wrapped the braided strings of his cap around his neck.

Yesterday was one of those days. Time after time one of the kids would holler out tattling about some injustice that had befallen them as a result of one of their siblings' behavior. Suffice it to say, it got to the point where I kind of tuned out these little outbursts.

At one point, I vaguely remember Tate crying and saying something about his foot. But in my defense, he didn't cry for more than about 30 seconds, so I figured it had been worked out.

Later on in the evening it was time for he and I to go pick up the girls from choir practice. I hoisted his little hiney up on the kitchen counter to put his socks on. (For some reason, the socks I bought him are about 3 sizes too small. I think they were mismarked or something. They fit fine once his little foot gets shoved into them, but there is no way he is able to maneuver them on by himself. He did sweetly ask if he could have some new socks for Christmas. Which of course, melted my little heart and I will be getting him some this weekend.)

I digress.

I grabbed his little foot to force the sock on it and this is what I discovered...
Posted by Picasa

I gasped! My baby had a bloody foot! And I had ignored his cry of pain altogether.

I inspected it further. My brain searched for another explanation. My guilt began to wane. Of course! He and I shared a pizza for supper. In my panic mode, I didn't stop to think it could be pizza sauce!

Whew! What a terrible mother I almost turned out to be.

I grabbed a wet paper towel and began to wash it off. Only it didn't come off that easily. Because my first inclination was correct. His little foot was caked with dried blood!!

My terrible mother status was confirmed.

After I cleaned it all up, I searched for the gaping wound, but found none. His pinky toe was quite crooked, however, which led me to believe maybe he had broken it. I compared it with his other pinky toe, which looked identical. Then I felt like an even worse mother for not knowing my son well enough to know he has crooked pinky toes!

Back to the injury in question, his pinky toe nail bed is so tiny, I could barely even tell if he has a toenail on that toe. Piecing together his story, and the girls' story, we believe a door got closed on his foot which probably did take off some of the microscopic nail.

He beamed up at me brightly after I got him all cleaned up, which made me feel even worse.

I love that little guy, and his crooked little piggies.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I'm never sure how extreme I should go when explaining to the kids how dangerous things can be. But I don't want to sugar coat things either.

They have all known what "choking hazards" are since they could talk. And they know they are not allowed to go to sleep with a hoodie on, or a balloon with a string in their room, etc. They know to never wrap a cord to their blinds around their necks. Or wind themselves up in their curtains.

Tate is even able to tell you why he must hold my hand in the parking lot and what would happen if a car were to run over him.

As a parent, however, I'm never quite sure what all is sinking in or what they are comprehending or remembering. This afternoon, I got a little glimpse.

Drue and Tate were playing in the basement while I picked up the upstairs. All of a sudden Tate came tearing up the steps and asked, "Mommy, can you plug in the radio?".

"Sure, I'll come plug in the radio for you", I answered, not really thinking that much about it.

Drue was two steps behind him and explained, "I told him not to plug it in because it would shock him. And he would die!".

Monday, December 07, 2009


I love finding random little notes that Reese has written. This one was on the floor of her room.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember When...

Drue amazes me with the things she remembers. She remembers people, places, situations, and word for word what people say, just to name a few examples.

Today on our way out the door to pick Reese up from school, I grabbed Drue a sweatshirt to put on. (By the way, I'm loving that it's the end of November and we are able to go outside in sweatshirts!)

I grabbed a rainbow striped fleece sweatshirt that hardly ever gets worn anymore but just happened to be the first thing I spotted on the closet shelf. She eyed it skeptically, as she does any article of clothing she isn't very familiar. Giving it the once over to ascertain if there is any part of it which will cause her discomfort.

But suddenly she smiled and her eyes filled with recognition.

"Ohhhhhh yeah....I remember that. That's what I was wearing that one day when I fell down and got blue stuff all over me."

I was at a loss about what she was talking about so I probed her further. And she elaborated.

"Yeah, I was wearing that sweatshirt and I fell in there (she pointed to our laundry room) in the blue stuff that was all over the floor and it got all over me. And you were in the basement working on the computer and so I went down there to tell you about it. Because you didn't have a computer up here yet so you had to go the basement."


Then it dawned on me what she was referring to. I had to search quite a ways back in my blog to find it. Do you remember? She was remembering the laundry detergent fiasco from March 2008!

Un. Be. Lieveable.

Giving Thanks


This is, and forever will be, one of my all time favorite holiday pictures. I can't believe it's from 2005! How could 4years have gone by so quickly?

Reese had just turned 3. Drue had just turned 1. And Tate was a mere 6 months from making his appearance in the world.

I miss these years.

I miss these little girls.

But I love the ones who have grown in their place.

And their brother too.

We are so blessed.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 20, 2009

That's my Boy

The kids LOVE pointing out to me new things they can do by themselves.

"Mom! I can reach the sink without the step stool!".

"Look! I put my shoes on the right feet! All by myself!".

Reese washes her own apples and makes microwave popcorn all on her own.

Some time ago I teasingly started saying, " don't need your Mommy anymore" after yet another revelation of something they could do for themselves.

The girls are both quick to assure me that they do still need me. It's become a little game between us.

"But Mommy, I can't drive," one will say encouragingly.

"Mommy, I can't straighten my own hair" has also been used.

Tate, however, is a different story altogether.

Tonight he was excited to show me that he could unscrew his water bottle lid.

"I can do it all by myself!" he squealed with a big smile on his face.

Of course I responded, "Awwwww, Tate, you don't need your Mommy anymore."

To which he simply replied, "Nope".

And went on his merry way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sugar Daddy

That man I married. *Sigh*

He riles the kids up right before bedtime when he should be evoking calm and relaxation.

He thinks Kool-aid is an approved breakfast drink. And never washes off their subsequent colored mustache before church.

And he pulls a stunt like the one he pulled this evening...

I was sitting on the fireplace when Drue came and plopped down beside me. She asked me a question and the unmistakable fruity smell of sugary something or other wafted out of her mouth.

"Drue, what did you just eat?" I asked accusingly.

Smart girl that she is, she didn't simply say "Candy".

She said, "Well, Daddy gave me some candy to eat."

The clock read 7:42pm. Ugh.

Rather than hoot and holler and try and pry the remaining bits of the offending substance from her mouth, I just sat there trying to decide how to respond.

"Daddy gave me some candy too," Reese added.

So I said teasingly, "But you reminded Daddy that you aren't supposed to be eating candy this close to bedtime right? And you know that the correct response to Daddy's offer would have been to say 'No thank you' right?".

Reese thought for a second before saying, "Ummmm...I'll have to get back to you on that one."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I try to instill in my children how important it is to have character.

And I've explained to them that means: doing the right thing even when no one is looking. I go a bit further and remind them that God is always watching, even when other people aren't.

Reese is figuring that out. The other two still try and sneak around just trying not to get caught at times.

Another one of Tate's lovely table manners (besides noodle stuffing)is dipping/putting his food in his drink. Just one more reason no one in the family will share a drink with him. Ever.

For some reason that container of liquid is a huge temptation for him and in goes his noodles, hot dogs, salad, etc. And out comes milky, watery, kool-aidy fingers.

Tonight was a quick hodge podge supper before I had to dash the girls off to choir practice. Drue chose PB&J, Reese chose turkey cheese dogs, and Tate chose grilled cheese.

He wolfed down his sandwich and was still hungry. So I relented to him having a few cinnamon graham crackers as well.

I was standing by the sink and happened to look over at him just in time to see his little hand holding a graham cracker poised above his cup of milk. A graham cracker dipped in milk doesn't sound so bad. But he would probably saturate it and pull it back out so quickly that the soggy mess would fling all over the walls.

I simply said (in my motherly warning tone): "Tate....".

He looked like a deer caught in the headlights, then gave me a little grin and pointed behind me and said, "Face your head that way."

Actually, he thinks the word your has an "s" on the end, so what he actually said was, "Face yours head that way."

Back to the character lessons.

Doggone It

Reese's class has an "Estimation Jar".

It's a small plastic container with a lid that each child gets a turn to take home and fill with small items for the class to estimate. Whoever guesses correctly, or the closest, gets to bring it home next.

This week they were guessing the number of miniature marshmallows. Reese was so excited that she guessed correctly and got to bring it home.

"Mom! I guessed 70 marshmallows and know what?! There were 70 in there!".

So we started brainstorming about what she could put in the container. She suggested none other than Reese's Pieces! So cute.

We picked a few small bags up at the checkout counter when we went to Target last night. After we got home, I walked into the living room and saw pieces of blue and clear plastic in the middle of the floor. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a big plastic piece that had "Estimation Jar" written on it in marker. The beagles must have picked up the scent of the marshmallows!


The child is only in 1st grade and already has to tell her teacher that her dog ate her homework!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dinner Conversations from this Evening

Tonight we all sat down to a lovely dinner of steak, noodles with cheese sauce, and salad. Around the dining room table and everything. Which is where our family has graduated to. We outgrew the kitchen table, but sometimes, if we're in a hurry, or just too lazy to clear off the day to day junk that tends to accumulate on the dining room table, the kids will eat at the kitchen table, I will hop up onto the counter and eat, and David will just stand. An endearing family picture, I know. But it happens.

Anyway, back to this evening's tale. I think I will be one of those mothers who cuts up her children's food into teensy bite sized pieces until they're in junior high. Probably out of habit from all those years of having to be so careful about what they put in their mouth.

Tonight I cut up the steak but just sort of slopped the noodles on everyone's plate. Reese isn't a big noodle eater anyway. Drue eats them just a few at a time and very carefully. But I forgot about Tate's tendency to shove all his food into his mouth at once like he has just returned from a refugee camp, and is eating his first good meal in months.

He shoved in a large helping of noodles and gagged a tiny bit, then promptly started pulling them back out of his mouth. Long, full sized, noodles.

Once his mouth was clear of noodles, he commented, "These noodles are good...but they choke me!".

Before you call child protective services, I did promptly get up and cut his noodles into inch sized pieces.

Meanwhile, Drue was making her way through her little meal. Halfway through her second helping she said that her foot had fallen asleep. (Probably from kicking mine 32 times under the table).

A few seconds later she said, "Oooooh, it feels all krinkly!".

Wednesday, November 04, 2009



We have officially made it through the birthday hullabaloo that surrounds the girls' celebrations each Fall. With their birthdays being just 3 weeks apart, it gets kind of busy. Buying gifts for each of them, planning friend parties, planning family parties, cleaning, and decorating for each gathering. And this year, canceling friends/family parties for Reese due to illness and then trying to reschedule them back into our already seemingly packed Fall weekend agenda.

Don't misread this. I love, love, love everything that goes along with celebrating their special days but having that behind us now, and with having Halloween thrown in there also, we are sitting back and catching our breath for a moment.

The kids have fun figuring out who has the next birthday within our household and beginning to plan it. Knowing full well that his birthday is next in line in February, David asked the kids excitedly the other day, "Who has the next birthday coming up?".

Drue deflated his birthday balloon a bit when she answered, "Jesus!".

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Hollaway Halloween


Here's our cat, green dinosaur, and Pippi Longstocking of course. Am I a wee bit sad that they don't let me dress them up as a cohesive theme? Sure, a bit. Is it fun to see their unique personalities shine through in what they pick to be themselves? Definitely! They all came up with their own costume ideas this year.

The girls and I have read two of the Pippi books so far and they have loved them! Reese won the costume contest for her age group when they trick or treated at my work earlier in the week. (Unfortunately, Drue was in that same age category so there were a few tears from her).

People mistaked Tate for a dragon, crocodile, and almost any other greenish amphibious or fictional character. When they would finally ask him which one he was he would say, "I'm a green dinosaur!". He really was excited about being in his costume...the face he's making in this picture is of him trying to act ferocious.

Of course, Drue is my most challenging child to dress up, heck, to just plain dress. I was so relieved when she wanted to be a black cat this year. No itchy costumes or ones with props that would feel kooky on her. We just went with a black, tagless, shirt (which still took her trying on 3 different ones to find the perfect fit). Oh, and the sleeves can't even fall just a little past her wrists or she will go into minor hysterics. Black leggings, which we already owned and she'd worn before so they were safe. I bought the ears and the tail in September so she could get used to how they felt on her before the big day. And viola, our precious little black kitty cat.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

I am going to start a petition that pumpkin patches should open earlier in the season next year. Like Sept 1st even. We haven't been able to go as a family yet this year, and it is looking like that might not even happen. Between other planned weekend activities, freezing temps, and sick kids, there just hasn't been much of an opportunity for us to all trek out there together and hunt for pumpkins.

Reese went a few weekends ago with a friend of hers. So I have no pictures of her. Zero. Zilch. Nada. These shots were all taken when Tate and I accompanied Drue on her field trip last week with preschool. It was 40 degrees! And they are so bundled, you can barely tell who is who. It was cold, wet, and muddy.

Don't ask me why they are tilted like this. Probably just thrown off balance by their many layers...


Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Roll Baby Roll

So the kids are feeling better.


Gone are the fever induced stupors where they are content to lie on the couch under a blanket with me.

Again, very thankful they are on the mend.

Along with that, comes their slow integration back to fighting with each other and tattling on one another.

So late in the morning we pulled out the board games. To refocus their newfound (thank you Motrin) energy.

First board game? Yahtzee. Princess Yahtzee. There is just no hope for poor Tate in this household. I realized this as I was dividing up the pieces and asked him, "Which princess do you want to be?". And he leaned over and chose Snow White from the remaining choices.

My next purchase will be a manly version of Yahtzee with tools or cars or lawnmowers on the dice.

Tate really enjoys getting to play the big kid games with us. He was all smiles as his little hand shook up the dice and tossed them into the box lid we were using. He needed just a little help from Reese and I deciding on which ones to keep out and which ones to roll again.

On one roll as he peered into the box lid surveying the various princess faces he excitedly hollered, "Did I get a lot-zee?!".

Happy Birthday Boo! (Yesterday)

I can't believe I didn't get this posted on her actual birthday. Her actual 7th birthday. Which was spent dispensing medicine to bring her 103 temp down, keeping her fully supplied with tissues, and just snuggling on the couch.

She asked to open her presents in the morning. Before the meds had fully kicked in. But what parent in their right mind would deprive a sick child of opening her gifts when she wants to? She was void of all emotion as she opened each one though.

She even showed no excitement when Geoffrey from Toys R Us called to wish her a Happy Birthday. Drue's eyes, however, got real big and she said, "I didn't know Geoffrey was real!".

She did perk up later in the day and we were able to play her new karaoke/dance wii game for a good part of the afternoon.

This picture pretty much sums up our day/weekend. Tate started his fever last night. And was actually pretty excited that he made it to the "sick couch" today with the girls. We tried to keep him out of their room and off the couch where they were lounging.

Throughout the day I kept saying, "This time 7 years ago, you weren't even born yet". She didn't make her way into the world until 9:15pm that day. I added, "Then there you were...this tiny little bald thing with chicken legs!"

Here Reese is on her 1st birthday. I had almost forgotten how much red she had in her hair as a baby. She didn't even know who this was when I showed her the picture.
Posted by Picasa

Happy 7th Birthday Reese!!

Site Meter