It’s What Jesus Would Have Wanted

At Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad got the boys a book called The Sparkle Box to read this Christmas season. It’s a book that has a sweet message – that our gift to Jesus for his birthday can be intentional actions to help other people in some way. In the book, they give examples like donating blankets and food for the homeless, money to build wells in Africa, etc.

Graham and I read the book last night and talked about it a bit. We’ll just say: I think this book came at a good time – he’s definitely intoxicated by Christmas this year. He’s also four, so reconciling Jesus’s-Birthday-Christmas with Santa-Presents-Christmas is difficult. I gave him some examples of how he might be able to do things for other people. Things like helping Ms. Peggy clean up toys or including a lonely classmate in a game.

That’s pretty much where we left it. This is definitely less exhilarating conversation for a 4-year-old than where in the house he thinks Buddy the Elf is going to be when he wakes up the next morning, but I was still glad that he was thinking about it.


This morning, I had preschool drop-off duty. Normally Andy does this (and I pick them up) but today I left for a work trip to Chicago, so I offered to flip-flop schedules with him. Andy got the kids’ coats and backpacks on, and I loaded them into the car. I noticed Graham holding a note, but I didn’t ask about it. Honestly, he always has something odd in his hands when he leaves the house.

When we arrived at school, I unloaded the kids from their carseats. Graham started heading into school, but he turned on his heel and ran back to the car. “Mom! I left my note!”

We got the note from the car, and I asked him what was on it. He handed it to me and I opened it. It was a yellow, lined piece of paper that had one thing written on it in Andy’s writing:

“Honey Bunches of Oats”


I handed it back to Graham, “Did you take Daddy’s grocery list?” I knew Andy had poured him a bowl of that particular cereal this morning – maybe we’d run out. He said, “No, I had Daddy write it down for me.”  ”Why did you want him to write it down?”

Graham looked at me like I had two heads, “Because it’s good cereal.”


We walked a little further and he continued, “I thought I could tell my friends in Ms. Peggy’s class about it… That can be my nice thing I do for my friends for Jesus’s birthday.”

“Recommend a good cereal…”


Zinc Lozenges

I’ve been thinking a lot about health & wellness here these past few days. Reid continues to recover from his tummy bug – which good! Except, oh right, he still has a chest cold.

And fun! Graham now has it [the chest cold] too.

He is also chock full of vague complaints like he “has stuffing in his throat” or “cracklies when [he] breathe[s]“. He also looked at me and said, “Mom, I think I have a sore throat.” This comment, for no good reason took me back to a time when I was home from college for break.


I walked into my parents’ living room and flopped onto one of the armchairs and complained about having gotten a sore throat. My mom was sitting across from me on the couch, reading, and mentioned that she’d gotten some zinc lozenges from the chiropractor that I could try.

“Have you tried them already?”
“Did they work?”
“I”m not sure.”
“You’re not sure??”
“I don’t remember.”

I laughed and gave her a hard time. How do you not remember if something worked or not? Mom and I are in full agreement – the sore throat is the worst part of the cold. So how could you have such an unsure assessment of something that was supposed to fix the worst part of a cold.

She ignored my jabs and asked again if I wanted one, so I agreed to try it. She went to the kitchen and opened a prescription pill container (not actually a prescription, by the way, just the container that it happened to be sold in. Sketchy, no?) She extracted one of these.


Like this… only the size of a milk cap

There were no words. It was gray-brown, and grainy-looking. Flat and HUGE. Mom just said, “I know.”

I popped it in my mouth and held it there. A huge Necco wafer gone horribly wrong. It tasted like it looked. Chalky, grainy, brown. Slightly metallic. Earthy, like someone ground up and dried down a bunch of twigs from the backyard.

I moved it around – as one does with a lozenge – but found it to be sort of unwieldy and obtrusive. I had to have grimaced. Mom said, “Give it a minute.”

So, we both resumed our original places in the living room. She with her book, and I with my twig-wafer. The thing slowly started to dissolve, making it only rougher. The muddy flavor was increasing, as was the metallic taste. My stomach started to turn. I wondered if the sensation was psychosomatic or if there was actually something in the lozenge I was physically rejecting. The worst part was: I still had a good quarter-sized lozenge left to dissolve – the thickness of about three quarters too.

I looked over and said, “Dith you finish thith entire thing?” Mom replied, “No, I had to spit it out.” I sprung off the couch, spit it out in the kitchen and came back to the living room. The metallic aftertaste and the nausea lingered. When I came back, she continued, “I’m not sure if it actually works or if it’s just so bad that it takes your mind off your sore throat.”

“So,” she continued, “did it work?”

Green around the gills and trying to bring feeling back to my tongue, I thought about it and then realized…

“I’m not sure.”

Building Immunity

Seriously. Reid is sick again.


I’m pretty sure this [above] is what I looked like this afternoon. Reid is not only on Day 3 of a head/chest cold but now also has a stomach bug as well.

Yes, absolutely correct, for those of you paying close attention. He did, in fact, have a stomach virus two weeks ago to the day. He apparently has been lucky enough to pick up some other strain. Probably from his 2-year well visit to the pediatrician on Friday. Kid is cutting a tooth, so in addition to climbing on every vinyl chair in the doctor’s waiting room and flipping through all the books, he was also chewing on his fingers non-stop.

But, hey, whaddyagonnado.

Thankfully this time around, I was able to get him psyched about “grape juice” (shh, don’t tell him, but it’s Pedialyte). Both kids went on a Pedialyte strike for about a year, making hydration more of a challenge in times like these. Big thanks for small blessings, I guess.

In other news, I got Christmas cards out this weekend and Christmas decorations distributed in the house. I never realized just how difficult it would be to decorate a new house with a previous home’s decorations. It took forever, and it’s definitely going to be a work in progress over the next couple of years.

Andy and I also got outside today and conjured up some exterior decorations. I’ll see if I can snap a pic one of these days. We were able to repurpose some lit garland from the old house. Very unfortunately, 3 of the 4 strands had half their strands out. This, we realized after it was attached to the roofline.


I was like, “Well, these won’t be lit garland this year.” Andy was like, “Yeah, that’s going to bother me.” Suffice it to say, stringing lights on garland on an extension ladder in 34 degrees was an experience I hope not to relive soon.

Okay, ever. But it does look pretty. Proof coming soon.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Reid

Two years old.


I feel like the normal thing to do for this post is wax poetic about how I can’t believe how fast time has gone – how we’ve blinked and already somehow here we are… but really? I’m practically speechless that only two years have passed since we first met you.


I hope that this is because I haven’t taken one single day for granted. It’s certainly not because it’s been any kind of a hardship. You have been pure joy since you arrived on the scene.


Reid, so much has happened this year. Our worlds have spun around us and every single one of us has faltered through these transitions except for you. You – the tiniest among us – have been our steady.





You are such a buddy – to anyone you’re around, really. We all love hanging out with you. But your best playmate is brother. You call him “Mammy,” and he loves it. He loves you, kid. (Your dad and I could never get away with calling him that!)




Arguably, though, your favorite person in the whole world is your Grandpa P. He is your absolute hero. If you hear his voice in another room, you stop what you’re doing, yell, “PAPA!” and run off in search of him. Poor Grandma has been shunned so many times in favor of good ol’ Papa. In fact, it’s not hard to find pictures of you with him, because when he is visiting – you are always with him.





Also? You are a complete and utter ham, just like your brother. Maybe it runs in the family. You love making us all laugh – but some of it isn’t intentional. You have a flare for mommy’s accessories, which – might I say – perfectly complement this husky frame you have going. You absolutely light up a room.







You also seem to have realized from early on that you catch more flies with honey, because you sure do turn on the charm at key moments. Guess you do have a little southern in you yet.






Buddy, you’re it. I don’t know how I got so lucky that you joined our little family, but I thank God every day that you did. I love you so much my sweet Baby Bear. Happy 2nd Birthday, my darling.

Thanksgiving 2014

We are back from a great weekend at Mom and Dad’s. No thanks to a Halloween-weekend visit cancelled due to illness, it has been quite some time since we had seen Grandpa and Grandma. Even longer since we’ve had a chance to visit with Michael & Rose and Tony & Erin (along with their respective crews).

Wednesday afternoon – after Andy worked that morning – we all piled in the car and listened to Graham complain for 4 straight hours about the amount of snacks he’d been allowed to have. This trip was an unprecedented non-stop trip for us! Andy disagrees with this, saying we’ve done a non-stop trip twice before, but I feel like I would have remembered this. Plus it’s my blog, so I get to be right. Unprecedented.



When we arrived, we had a taco dinner (now Graham’s favorite) with mom and dad, and quickly turned around to get the boys ready for bed. Gotta love bedtime at Grandpa and Grandma’s, we get to pass around the work! Namely bedtime story-reading.

Thanksgiving Day came and went. Amazing turkey (Yordy, of course) and other sides that complemented the turkey. Dad taught Graham how to make his rolls – which is to say he gave Graham instructions along the way while Graham insisted he “already knew that.”


Desserts were out of control. I brought two pies, Erin brought one and Rose brought cookies, so I guess maybe we should talk to each other next time? Gabriel informed me that the pumpkin pie I brought wasn’t very good then proceeded to list the reasons to support his assertion. I tended to agree with him, if I’m on the hunt for pumpkin another year, I’ll look elsewhere. Graham, though, jumped to my defense while scarfing down his piece of pie and said, “I love your pie, mommy! It’s so yummy!!” Sweet kid.

On Friday, we had two big events:

1. Family photo: I have no pics of this. It was chaos. Besides, during the kids-only pic, I was crouched behind the loveseat assuring Graham that he wasn’t going to fall off.

2. Reid & Grace’s birthday party! Reid is turning two on Thursday, guys. Grace is turning 1 a week later. When does time slow down? Can anyone tell me? No, wait. Please don’t. I don’t think I’m going to like the answer.


This picture cracks me up. All the patience for posed picture-taking is GONE at this point.


Wasn’t the cake super adorable? Walmart, for the win! Reid kept Big Bird’s tow truck, and Grace kept Elmo’s car. Reid calls this “Happy Cake”. :)


Everyone singing “Happy Birthday” (kind of?).

Reid made out like a bandit. Happy Birthday potato head, pegboard puzzle, new toy cars.. perfect. He was very excited to be the center of attention. It happens so little!


Grace got her inaugural piece of sweet-lovin’-goodness and made the most out of every bite.

The rest of the kids had fun at the party, too. With hats and noisemakers, who wouldn’t?



The rest of the weekend, we just caught up. Mom and Dad offered to take the kids Friday night (YESYESYES) so Andy and I could go on a date. We hit up a restaurant called Taproot – totally yummy! – in Decatur’s beautifully redone downtown area. There has been a lot of investment and energy put into it, and it shows. So fun to spend an evening down there. We also caught Dumb and Dumber To. Wasn’t sure I was going to be able to summon the same kind of energy for these characters again, but it was a great ride. Recommended. :)

I’m so glad that we got a chance to catch up with everyone. Amazing how even though we are 12 hours closer to home, our lives still manage to get in the way of connecting frequently. Maybe in 2015 we can make it a more-usual occurrence.