Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Formal Christmas greetings....

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


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Longview Lake Lights

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

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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.
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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.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

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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...
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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.
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