Russ’ gut punch

Back in February of this year, Taylor got engaged on the bus.

She and “T” have been growing in their fondness for each other since then.  Taylor talks about him all the time.

During football season, Taylor declared that she like Carolina AND Clemson because T liked Clemson.  We definitely need to work on this!

Last week, she said that she was going to marry T and another little boy whom we’ll call “C”.  Even though we try to tell her that she can’t marry two people, she keeps insisting.  But I think T is still her favorite of her future husbands.

Later last week, she was talking about how “E” was wrestling with her, and T pulled him off and told him to leave her alone.  Her own little knight in shining armor.

It’s funny that whenever I pick her up she is running around playing rough with the boys much more often than she is playing with the quiet girls putting together puzzles or playing with the dollhouse.  At first, Russ thought this was great – preferring a rough and tumble girl to a prissy girl – until he realized that this extra time spent with boys meant she was spending more time with boys, and T in particular.

She missed that last 2.5 days of school because of a mystery fever, and has been asking to see her friends each day.  Today, I finally let her go visit when we picked Caleb up.  She walked into the room, and “T” was the first one to run over to her to say hello.  I could tell that they were both really excited to see see each other.  He told her all about the day they had been having.

Then they had a little spat.  Taylor said that she got the plates for their class Christmas party (we got Christmas plates today for another party and she got it confused).  He corrected her and said, “No, I’m bringing the plates for the party.  You must be bringing something else.”  It was hilarious because it totally could have been a married couple arguing over a miscommunication about who was supposed to buy the plates.

But after the brief preschool spat, I told Taylor that it was time to go.  T gave her a big hug, even picking her up off the ground.  As we were leaving, he yelled out, “Your dress is really cute”

When we got into the hallway, Taylor smiled slyly, giggled, and recapped, “T said my dress was cute.”

And with every story about T, Russ’ heart breaks just a little.

what dreams are made of

Last Christmas, my sister and brother-in-law gave us a fire pit.  We were really excited about, but there was always some reason we didn’t actually USE it…it was too cold or too hot or too light outside or raining…or Russ was working late…or I was working late.  You know, life.  But last weekend, we decided it was the perfect time to try it out.  So great! And now we are hooked.  We did it again last night.

I mean, really, what’s better than sitting around the fire on a crisp fall evening sipping hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, roasting marshmallows, making s’mores and hanging out with your favorite people?  Nothing.  Nada.  The only thing that would make it better is if Caleb would refrain from trying to touch the fire and therefore be allowed to hang out with us.  So far, he’s only made it 5 minutes before I put him to bed so we can enjoy the time without fear of third degree burns and a screaming toddler.  But the upside of that is that Taylor has gotten some good quality time with the undivided attention from both parents.

Last night we sat around talking for a while.  Taylor finished her hot chocolate, then pulled her s’more apart, ate the melty chocolate, then scraped the gooey marshmallow off the cracker, then decided to put the cracker in the bushes for the ducks.  Then she wiped melty chocolate and gooey marshmallow on her jeans (*note to self:  bring wipes outside next time).  She sits back in her chair for a minute gazing into the fire before looking at Russ and saying:

Daddy I want to cuddle with you.

and climbs up into his lap with her blanket in hand.

His face was covered side to side with a grin of perfect contentment as he says back to her:

I love you so much.

She gives him a kiss and says:

I love my whole family.

Then she snuggles her hello kitty hat covered head under his chin as he and I share a glance that confirms that this is what dreams are made of.

heart. warm.


Baby Tim Taylor

Have you ever known a baby to grunt?  Baby B grunts pretty much constantly – when he’s awake, when he’s asleep.  You would think he was always pooping because that’s what it sounds like.  The other day, one of the teachers was on break at the front desk at Piglet’s school and offered to watch Baby B while I went down the hall to Piglet’s room.  I definitely took her up on that offer because lugging the car seat with a 10.8 lb kid down the hall and back twice a day and trying to keep grubby little two year-old hands off of him while in the room is exhausting.  When I came back, she said, “I think he may need a diaper change, he was grunting a lot.”  I checked, but nope, he just does that.  It’s especially fun at night when he starts grunting for 5 minutes every 10 minutes about an hour before he wakes up to eat.  I think we’re going to move him over to his room soon because I can take much more of that.  So I can’t decide why he’s grunting.  I think maybe it’s his way of declaring mild discontentment.  He doesn’t really cry much – only when he’s hungry or when he’s just eaten and is having painful reflux related issues.  So I think he grunts when he’s bored or tired or about to get hungry or needs a diaper change.  I don’t know, but it’s just a little weird.



We have been trying to decide whether or not to have a friend party for Piglet’s birthday this year or just stick to the laid back family thing.   Today, Piglet went to a birthday party for a little boy from school and she was the only one from her class that went.  The boy has a twin in another classroom, and they invited all the kids from both classes.  And out of those 20 kids, only 2 came.  How sad.  I know people are busy, but only 2?!  So maybe we won’t have a friend party just yet.  I would hate for her to get all excited about her friends coming and then none of them showing up.



Thursday night was meet the teacher night at school.  We are excited about her new teacher – she seems really nice and has a BS degree in education.  And bonus:  her old teacher is going to be the teacher assistant, so that should make the transition much easier – she doesn’t handle change or chaos really well at school.  Anyway, we went to her new room and saw that all of the chairs had their names on them.  We told Piglet to find her name, and she did.


Awesome Parenting

Piglet’s food intake today:

6:00 am:  5 Pez (she filled up her sticker chart and got a prize – she chose pez at 6:00 am)

Breakfast:  1.5 cinnamon rolls

Lunch:  1 chicken nugget, cupcake, ice cream

Snack:   a strawberry starburst and a cookie

Dinner:  half of a banana

I think tomorrow it’s time for a sugar detox – it’s a wonder she’s asleep right now…but then maybe she’s crashed into a sugar coma.


I Just Laughed

Russ:  I have a new favorite movie.

Me:  What?

Russ:  “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”  I watched it last night.

Me:  Ok.

Russ:  I laughed.  I cried.

Me:  bank stare

Russ:  Seriously.

love at first sight

Nine years and two months ago at the battle fields of Verdun in France, I saw a boy in khaki shorts, a t-shirt, tennis shoes, slouched socks, baseball cap, and glasses with a camera around his neck and…..a black pleather fanny pack around his waist.  And for some reason, I thought – I’m going to marry that guy.  Love is blind I suppose.

Today, when I logged onto My Yahoo page, there was an article about the worst fashion trends for guys – top of the list….THE FANNY PACK….and I laughed out loud a little – you have to read the caption, too.

I think telling the fanny pack story is hilarious, but then Russ always throws in the “well, what does it say about you that you still dated me?” question.  But I remember thinking that it was kind of sweet because he was wearing it because his grandmother gave it to him and told him it would be good to have.  And being that I wasn’t exactly a fashionista myself, I also liked the fact that he wasn’t overly concerned with his appearance – he didn’t care about hair gel and expensive clothes.  And he took it well when he and the fanny pack became the source of laughter and jokes from the rest of the group (although the fanny pack did not see the light of day the rest of the trip).  AND it was the topic of our very first conversation as we walked from dinner to the Eiffel Tower.  I had seen a Parisian walking down the street earlier that day wearing his fanny pack more like a back pack, diagonally over his right shoulder and under the left arm, so I told Russ that he was like a local, just wearing it the wrong way.

That’s where it all began folks, in the trenches of Verdun and on the streets of Paris.

Whodathunk that nine years later that fanny pack wearing boy and I would be married for almost seven years and have almost two kids?

Russ in a dress

Two years or so ago, in a youth ministry committee meeting brainstorming ideas for fundraisers, Russ said that he thought we should have a Womanless Beauty Pageant.  His dad had been in one at his home church (I’ve seen pictures, he looked EXACTLY like his sister, crazy).  I was hesitant, but slowly the idea caught on among the youth, and before I knew it we were planning our first Womanless Beauty Pageant.   The youth chose a date and the pageant format.  They decided who the judges would be.  They made a long list of men that they wanted to ask to be in the pageant.

I began to panic two weeks ago when VERY few men were willing/able to be a part of this spectacle.  Even Russ who HAD THE IDEA said that he wasn’t going to be in it.  But slowly but surely, nine brave and secure contestants stepped up to the plate, including Russ (I had to remind him 104 times that it was his idea and we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for his idea in the first place).  And oh my goodness gracious – it was the most fun.  I haven’t heard a group of Presbyterians get that rowdy in a long time (since seminary perhaps).

The youth are forever indebted to these men who went to goodwill to try on dresses, practiced walking in high heels, painted their own finger nails, recruited our Mary Kay member to do their make-up, created lovely female characters, and went ALL OUT to make sure the audience had a good time and that we raised money for the youth.  I think it is especially humorous that when asked to pick their pageant name, THREE of the contestants chose Daisy – apparently that is the southern idea of a proper pageant name.

I was able to see the contestants get ready, so I knew what was coming, but seeing/hearing the audience reactions as each beauty stepped out of the doorway and headed to the stage was absolutely priceless, especially because our contestants were so into their characters with struts and hair flips and high pitched voices.   They began by introducing themselves and telling a bit about who they were.  Next the question round elicited responses to questions such as: “What is your idea of a perfect date?”  “What are your favorite traits in a man?” and “If you could get away with a crime what would it be?” (This last question got my favorite answer…all of the contestants began to harass/hit on the host and the answer to the question was “stealing your heart, baby” – quick witted those ladies).

Then came the talent portion – there was cornhole, balloon animal making, poetry reading, cheering, jumping on a pogo stick, “singing”, magic, “dip art”, and juggling a soccer ball while wearing heels.  All awesome.  The judges had a very difficult job with so much beauty and talent up on that stage.  But alas, they did choose their top three.

And you wouldn’t believe who won Second Runner-Up:  Nixie Knockers, the soccer juggling, bearded pregnant contestant.  Also known to you as Russ:

I am sad that I really didn’t get a good picture of the full get up.  I’m afraid that Piglet may need therapy after this whole experience.  She was very concerned that he used her little soccer balls for boobs and a ball she wanted to play with for the belly.  At one point she ran on stage, lifted the dress, and birthed the baby ball.  This is the point when I cried I was laughing so hard.

Good Times

Miss chief

AKA miss demeanor if you’re Missy Elliott.  Piglet has become very creative and good at entertaining herself.  This is awesome when we are trying to get things done, like showering.  But sometimes she reminds us that she shouldn’t be left to her own devices for too long.  The other day, Russ went outside to water the plants.  While he was there, she got her little plastic tea pot, pushed a chair up to the sink, filled her tea pot with water, and headed to the front door to help daddy.  The only problem came when she had trouble opening the door and spilt all of the water on the floor.

On Saturday, I had to go to work for a bit to get ready for Sunday and Russ was at home smoking some butt and watching Piglet.   During that hour, she took some creative license with her pooping sticker chart (I circle the stickers to help us count together when we get to the goal number of stickers just to make sure she gets her reward – she was just trying to help).  Too bad her skills don’t include staying within the lines…or on the page.  I guess we’ll be repainting that wall.

In that same hour, she decided that she wanted to play mommy and took her baby into what will be Baby B’s room and began trying to find something for the baby to wear, then trying to put the baby down for a nap with just the right blanket and even reading the baby some books.   When I came in, Russ asked, how long did it take you to organize the baby stuff?  Then I find this:

PS – Has anyone else noticed that all of these things happened while Russ was “in charge”?

PPS – Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I still give him the gold star for winning the parenting challenge this week because I failed.