Archives for October 2009

Pop-a Pocka Posies

There are days when they fight,

Fall '09 005

When they kick, scream and bite

Fall '09 004

There are days when I feel

Fall '09 007

Like I’m losing my mind.

Fall '09 008

Those are the days I don’t really like.

Fall '09 009

But then there are days – snapshots frozen in time,

Fall '09 011

When they laugh, sing and play,

These days I like.

We came face to face with Big Foot

My kids love a good story.  And as story tellers go, I have to say, my husband and I are pretty good.

Remember this story that Sloan and I concocted with his Star Wars figurines and a dollhouse?

While my stories tend to be rather fantastic and, erm, out there (think unicorns and flying mommy’s) Lee are more realistic and he adds a lot of special sound effects.  He’s actually freaked Tia out with his stories so much that she immediately burrows under her bed covers before he even begins. 

And, well, you know how we get pleasure out of terrifying our poor children

Last night was a beautiful fall night.  A little cold for my liking, but pleasant enough for us to take a long walk as a family, then come home and build a fire in the fire pit and roast hot dogs, then sit in a circle and tell stories.

When Lee began telling his story about two little boys camping in the woods where a Big Foot was known to live, a hush fell over our little group.  Tia climbed into my lap and put her hands over her ears as Lee ran around in the shadows of the yard, growling softly, rattling the chain link fence and stomping around.

Midway through the story, Landon climbed into my arms.  Because he’s a bit of a mama’s boy and tends to get jealous when others get my time, I assumed he just wanted to let Tia know that he had a solid stake on the territory of my lap.

Lee ended his story by telling us all to close our eyes.  When we did, he dashed back into  the darkest part of the yard and shook the chain link fence letting out a fierce growl.  Sloan and Tia screamed and laughed.  I let out a mock scream and we all folded over in a heap of giggles at daddy’s fantastic tale.

Until, that is, I tried to extract my poor third child from my arms only to discover he had a death grip on my neck and his little heart was racing wildly.  I pulled his face back just enough to tell him everything was all right and he dissolved into tears and buried his face in my neck.

Landon is only 21 months old, so we didn’t even realize that he was paying attention to our story, much less comprehending it.  But he did, poor baby, and we scared him half to death.  He moaned “Daddy,” and refused to let go of my neck.

I finally extracted him enough to pass him off to Lee who held him tight and reassured him everything was okay, while we both cracked up  looked on in pity feeling deeply saddened that we had scared the boy so much.  Of course, Daddy always has the ability to make everything better and in no time had Landon laughing and happy again.

So, needless to say, I think we have sufficiently damaged the third child enough to ensure that he’ll need significant therapy as an adult to deal with his irrational fear of that mythical creature called Big Foot.

Yay us.


Don’t let the door hit you in the—

Mornings are crazy.  We manage to get out the door, but not without a bit of stress.  Can anyone identify?

Here’s how a typical (hectic) morning in the Stuart household looks:

Up at 7:00 – I know, I know…We should get up earlier; things would run so much more smoothly.  I got it!

After breakfast is eaten, beds are made, teeth are brushed and kids are dressed, it 7:55.  Awesome – we’ve got 5 minutes before the bus arrives.  Just enough time for my blood pressure to level out.

Oh, but wait!  It’s getting colder, which means we need coats on, and oh yeah!  The hall closet is so packed with coats that by the time I dig one out that actually fits, it’s 7:58.  Up goes the blood pressure and, at this point, I actually begin clapping my hands.

Yes, sometime in the last year, I actually morphed into the mom who claps her hands at her children.  “C’Mon guys, we gotta go out.  Let’s go, go, go!”  clap, clap, clap.

By the time we manage to get out – usually Landon is the one who ends up outside without his shoes or coat on…poor third child – my heart is racing and I feel like I need a stiff drink.  Don’t worry – I don’t imbibe.  At least not yet.

Once child #1 is packed off to school (loaded down with hugs and kisses – I’m not mean mommy), it’s time for mommy to get dressed because I’m usually shivering out on the front porch barefoot in my pajamas.  Once I get myself dressed and ready and finally get the poor third child fully clothed, I usually discover that Tia has shed her socks and shoes somewhere in the recesses of our house.

And by the time I get her shoes back on her feet, Landon has shed his shoes somewhere in the recesses of the house.  So I threaten Tia within an inch of her life if she removes her shoes again, I clap my hands a few times for good effect, I locate Landon’s shoes and I pack the two younger kids in the car, not even bothering to put Landon’s shoes back on his feet.

At this point, I usually notice that the dog’s food and water bowls are bare and guilt sends my running back in to fill them. 

When I come back out, it’s not uncommon to find Tia jumping around in the car rather than sitting in her seat with her belt buckled.  Thus necessitating the need for more clapping. 

My hands are getting raw.

I hop in the car and then it hits me.  Where are my keys?!  Where are my KEYS?!?

With the clock an ever present reminder of just how late we really are, I search, I tear, I mutter and growl, I stomp around the house, I pass the key ring hanging just inside the door where Lee always tells me to hang my keys when I come in and I glare at it for good measure.

(This evening, when running late for russian school, I may or may not have muttered a few choice words under my breath as I frantically searched for my missing car key.  All the while Lee looked at me in mild amusement and wisely stayed out of my way.  I found it in the bottom of my purse, by the way.  Only after I checked there for the third time.) 

Usually, though, I find them someplace really obvious, like the pocket of my jeans, or on the bathroom floor, or under the crumbled mess of snacks in the bottom of the diaper bag.

And somehow, I make it out the door, dropping Tia off with seconds to spare (loaded down with hugs and kisses, of course).

And many days I head to the gym where I drop Landon off and I fight the urge to curl up in the fetal position in a dark corner and suck my thumb.

Seriously, while I make it seem absolutely awful, our morning routine is not horrible, but it is hectic.  Getting three kids dressed and ready to get out the door can be stressful.

So what about you?  How do you make it out the door in the morning?

Rainy Day Fun

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Wordless Wednesday: Wrestling Babes and a Russian Song

Lee surprise 35th 049

Lee surprise 35th 050

Lee surprise 35th 047

 Lee surprise 35th 051

Memo2 – click the link to listen to Sloan and Tia sing one of their russian school songs…

Happy Wednesday.

It’s an off day

Well, it’s just been a nutty morning so I’m taking a little bloggy break today.  There are errands to run, doctors to visit, children to love on, clothes to fold, carpets to vacuum, rooms to clean (it appears that a group of angry fairies flitted about my home last night leaving destruction in their wake…*sigh*) naps to take and so much more!

I hope you’re all enjoying this lovely, albeit wet, Tuesday.  I’ll be back tomorrow!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a good laugh, this post made me snort my McCalister’s sweet tea out my nose…

My bid for Wife of the Year

Earlier this year, Lee and I attended an auction for a local school where we bid on and won a backyard grill package. This item included a huge grill (which we ultimately sold) and a party that would be completely planned and catered for us.

So, in the spirit of awesome wifedom, I cashed in on said prize and threw Lee a surprise party for his birthday.  And I actually managed to pull it off, which is no small feat when you’re married to a man who tends to smell surprises and weasel them out of you early.

I may or may not have told a couple of little white lies in order to pull it all together, but I’m pretty sure that somewhere in Leviticus the Lord tells us that lying to protect a good secret is permissible and encouraged.

Or maybe it’s in the book of Nahum…

Whatever the case, my fibs worked – thankfully.  I thought my secret was blown Friday when he came home at noon to find someone cleaning our house.  I had made a big deal out of the fact that I was planning to clean the house, when in fact I was really out running my last few errands.

So when he came home early (noon – he came home at noon!  He never comes home at noon!) I spun a fantastic tale about my mom wanting to bless us with a deep house cleaning and I called this girl and she just happened to have an opening that morning and blah, blah, blah…

He bought it. 

It’s like feeding candy to a baby.

And so, after my poor dad had to stall for quite some time, Lee showed up having already downed a couple of margaritas, a hot dog and a quesadilla.  And he was surprised.  Very, very surprised. 

The party package included a caterer who made amazing appetizers, a grill master who smoked a brisket over night and delivered it hot to our door and an amazing Jazz band.  The weather was perfect; it was crisp and cool – perfect for sitting around the fire pit and listening to the music and enjoying family and friends.

And we have sweet, sweet friends.  I am constantly amazed at just how blessed we are to have such amazing people around us, pouring into our lives.

I got a few pictures.  They’re not great, because I’ve finally embraced the fact that I’m not a good photographer.  I’ve messed around with my camera so much that I think it’s finally gone on strike and is refusing to take a decent picture purely on principle.   I can almost hear it laughing at me every time I take a picture.

But these shots should give you a basic idea…


Now, earlier this year, I left my dear husband for eight days while I romped around the Caribbean.  That trip really set me back in my bid for Wife of the Year.  But this party, my friends, this. party. put me back in the running – big time.

You all are going to have to work pretty hard if you want to catch up now.

The end.

To hang or not to hang

For some time (read, two and a half years) Lee has been not so subtly suggesting we hang our television over our fireplace. 

When I say not so subtly, I mean he’s been saying things like, “Hey babe.  We should hang the TV over the fireplace.”

He insists that in order to fully utilize the awesomeness (my word, not his) of our TV, it should be hanging on the wall. 

You know – because it’s a flat screen. (his words, not mine)

This week, he has almost convinced me to give it a try.  But I’m still not sure.  Do I really want my TV hanging on the wall above my fireplace?  How will that look?

Oh my, what to do!

Here are a couple of pictures to give you a visual.  After viewing, please take a moment to vote on the poll.  Because I know that men and women will have different viewpoints on this matter, I’ve included gender specific choices. 

You’re welcome.

This first shot is where the TV is now.  A brief background (because I know you’re dying to know more).  Lee won that TV in a work contest a few years ago.  We had a lovely armoir unit that housed our old, non-flat screen, TV, but the new one wouldn’t fit in it. 

What to do?  We didn’t really want to buy a new TV stand, and I nixed the hangitoverthefireplce idea, so we sawed the top of the armoir off.  Yes, we are indeed hoosiers.

Summer '09 194

This is where Lee wants to hang the TV.  I’m just not sure.  It seems odd to me to have a TV hanging over the fireplace.  What do you think?  Vote below!Summer '09 195

Re-Post: Redeeming Halloween

It’s a lazy, rainy day and I have  a lot to do around the house this morning, so I am recycling one of my post’s from last year.  With Halloween approaching, I figured it was a good time for this re-post.  This was origianlly posted on October 28, 2008.

As the Halloween season approaches I thought I’d pass on the name of a great book that I think is important for parents to read – particularly those who struggle with the concept of Halloween.

It seems that Halloween has gotten a bit of a bad wrap over the years. What can be, and should be, a fun, innocent holiday for children has been mired by slasher movies and horror tales of cult-like sacrifices. This, in my opinion, is unfortunate because Halloween is really a fun time for both children and parents.

The idea of Halloween being a pagan holiday is particularly prevalent among christian circles. I understand where this is coming from. In fact, Lee and I really debated whether or not we would celebrate Halloween with our kids. Both of us just assumed that Halloween was a holiday that opened the door to evil and wondered if we should just scrap it. But, when Sloan was born, it broke my heart to think of not dressing him up and parading him around the neighborhood, showing off his cute, fat cheeks and racking up a little sugary delight.

I also couldn’t figure out how to not celebrate the holiday without it seeming weird and legalistic.  Did we hand out candy to Trick or Treaters, but just not take our kids Trick or Treating?  That didn’t seem right because it just makes the practice of Trick or Treating seem wrong.

Did we turn off all the lights and hide in a dark corner all night, ignoring the Trick or Treaters on our front step?  That didn’t seem like a good conclusion either because how would we explain that to our kids?

And, while I love fall festivals that church’s put on and have no problem attending them, the fact is, they are still a celebration of the holiday called Halloween so I didn’t see how that was a reasonable alternative to Trick or Treating.

So before Lee and I made a decision, I decided it was time to research Halloween. And I am glad I did!

I came across a book called Redeeming Halloween: Celebrating Without Selling Out. This book was published by Focus on the Family, a reputable christian organization whose focus is, oddly enough, on issues that affect families. I learned a lot from this book.

Perhaps the thing that most surprised me was the fact the Halloween, the original holiday, is not pagan but rather a Christian holiday. It stands for All Hallow ‘een or “the eve of the holy ones“.

Under the reign of Nero, a tyrannous and horrible Roman leader, christian’s were brutally murdered in public places. Literally thrown before the lions, christians in early Rome were martyred for no other reason than that Nero felt threatened by them. In A.D. 610, as the church gained more honor, these martyrs were officially recognized and given their own holiday, All Saints’ Day or All Hallows Day. This holiday eventually landed on the calendar on November 1. It was meant to be a day for the church to remember and recognize the believers who died for their faith.

(Incidentally, if you’re looking for an excellent read on the early Christian martyrs, I highly recommend the book Quo Vadis.  It’s a novel, but it’s so historically factual that it barely passes as fiction.  It is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read in a long time.)

Now, there is no denying that this meaning of Halloween has been wildly distorted over the centuries. But the fact remains that Halloween is not pagan, and this book gives great suggestions of ways to celebrate Halloween by merging the traditions that we have today, Trick or Treating, with the true meaning of the holiday. After all, isn’t that what we try to do at Christmas as well? If you think about it, Christmas has also been dreadfully distorted and paganized.

So where did the costumes and trick or treating come into play? The authors state that there is no real conclusive evidence as to where this tradition began but there is some historical evidence that in the mid-1800’s, masquaraders would go from door to door performing plays in exchange for food or drink.

Around this time, a large population of Irish immigrants came to America bringing with them a tradition known as “mischeif night” where they would canvas neighborhoods playing harmless tricks on their neighbors. By the 1920’s, however, this tradition had gotten out of hand leading to true vandalism, so a small town mayor instituted a night where “good” children could go to neighbor’s homes and shops, crying “Trick or Treat!” The idea was that the shop owners should give them a treat so they wouldn’t be “tricked.” Placing this tradition on the eve of All Hallow’s Day was merely a way to designate it as a once a year occasion.

So, for those of you who may be unsure of whether or not to celebrate Halloween, I highly recommend this book.  You still have to do what you feel is right for your family, but you owe it to yourself to be educated about the decision you are making. 

For those of you who celebrate Halloween but feel guilty about doing so – Don’t! You don’t have to skulk around on Halloween hoping no one from church see’s you taking your kids out. Bottom line is that there are ways to enjoy the innocence and the fun of Halloween without partaking of the evil that pervades.

So, in closing, Happy Halloween!