Friday, December 26, 2008

Little ones bring big smiles

Every year on Christmas Eve, Jim's family joins other members of their church for a time of caroling at a local nursing home. For a number of years now, even back to our dating days, Jim and I have enjoyed taking part in this annual tradition. We hold our little song books and make our way up and down the wings of the nursing home belting out every Christmas song you can think of. The kids pass out goody bags to the residents as we go along and we spend a few minutes here and there socializing with anyone who welcomes our company. This year, we brought our girls with us.

We didn't think of it as a big deal. In fact, we didn't really think about it at all. We wanted to go caroling with Jim's family, so the girls, naturally, would come along. When we arrived, I strapped Kylie to me in the Baby Bjorn and Jim took Kyra with him. We joined the group and began roaming the halls.

As I made my way, I noticed something special. I noticed the faces of the residents light up as I passed by, but they weren't smiling at me. They were enamored with the tiny little girl strapped to my chest. So I began taking her to say a little "hello" to some of the elderly folks. And as soon as she was close enough, they would reach out a fragile, wrinkled hand and take hold of hers. And she wiggled and giggled and cooed and smiled as she met each one. A few of them even pulled us closer so they could kiss her hand or forehead. And I swear I witnessed the years lift from them, just for a moment. I could picture them as a new mom or dad. I knew they were once where I am now.

Kyra also brought joy to the residents as she ducked and dodged her way around their wheelchairs. She danced to our songs and even tried talking with a few of them. Several times during our visit, we were told what a joy it was for the residents to see such small children and how much they love being around little babies. In the world they now live in, that aspect of life is missing. And most of them, having been a parent and grandparent miss the feeling you get from seeing a baby smile or a child at play.

So even though we didn't come in a Santa suit bearing loads of presents, we apparently brought a much more precious gift.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wonder

I have always been a big fan of Christmas. For the obvious reasons:
1. It is when we, as Christians, celebrate the birth of the one who came to save us.
2. Everyone goes on the same diet known as "It's the holidays, eat whatever you want".
3. You can give your husband silky underwear that he has to open in front of his parents.
4. No one cares if you're belting Christmas carols in your car at the top of your lungs, slightly off key.
5. Christmas decorations divert guests attention away from the mounds of toys strewn all over the house.
6. The look of utter shock and amazement on an unsuspecting relative's face when you actually give them something they needed.

Yes, this Season of seasons brings about so many fun and joyous things. But in the last couple of years Christmas has begun to reveal even more excitement around here. Since we have had kids, I find myself anticipating Christmas with a new fervor. One that I'm sure I once felt twenty-something years ago, but had since faded away. Seeing my children experience Christmas and all it's trimmings fills my heart with giddiness.

This will be Kyra's third Christmas, but it is the first year she has really taken note of the decorations, gift wrapping, and endless supply of sweets. For Kylie, this really is her first Christmas and she has found endless fascination with the tree in our living room. I make mental notes every time I spy either of them noticing something new.

Last night was our church's Christmas Eve Service (yes, it was the day before Christmas Eve). The girls were dressed to the nines in their matching Christmas dresses. Kyra even decided to add a little apple juice perfume to her outfit for that little something extra. We watched the toddler class bound onto the stage and sing their best rendition of Jesus Loves Me and I grinned ear to ear knowing that Kyra would be joining them up there next year. We sang Christmas songs and lit candles (which dripped wax all over my hands and jeans - is it easier to get wax out of denim if you were singing Silent Night when it dripped on you?) And when it was all over, we watched Kyra sprint all over the fellowship hall, so as to not get caught by mommy's camera.

We left the church and headed to dinner with Jim's parents and our friend Faith. The restaurant was packed and we were seated next to the bar area. Kyra must have known she looked super cute in her Christmas dress because she immediately took to flirting with the thirty-something year old men in the bar behind her. And they played right into her tiny little hands by flirting back. (I was half expecting her to leave with a few phone numbers!) She definitely kept us entertained during our meal to say the least.

This morning she must've been exhausted from her night out because she slept until 9:30. But as soon as she was awake, I eagerly raced into her room and jumped onto her bed, bouncing and squealing "Kyra do you know what today is?! It's Christmas Eve! That means tomorrow is CHRISTMAS!!" She gave me a strange look and then crawled out of bed. I sort of love the fact that she has no idea that tomorrow morning she will be overwhelmed with presents.

I wonder what Kyra will say when she opens the box of Sesame Street stickers we bought her and sees Elmo. I wonder if she'll help Kylie open her gifts. I wonder if we will be able to get her to sit still long enough to take a picture. I wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight with all the anticipation I have for Kyra's Christmas tomorrow.

I won't have to wonder much longer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the most wonderful(ly insane) time of the year

I can't believe it's been over a week since I've had a chance to sit down at the computer and blog. Then again, I think back on what all has transpired during that time and I can believe it. Time is just flying by. I mean, by the leftover turkey and stuffing that was still in my fridge up until a few days ago, I could just swear that last Thursday was Thanksgiving.

To say the least, the girls and I have kept very busy lately and today was no exception. After getting up and around and playing superstar diva for a little bit, we headed to West Chester to play at our friends' house. Ang had made graham cracker houses for the kids to decorate and I was curious to see how this would turn out. Kendall, Foster, Owen, and Kyra gathered around the table as Angie put out dishes filled with delicious decor: m&m's, gumdrops, licorice, pretzels, lollipops, marshmallows, sprinkles, smarties, and even coconut "snow". Kyra has never had access to so many sweets before and as soon as she realized the adults weren't swatting away little hands that ventured into the candy dishes, she took full advantage. She had sampled nearly all the various goods before any actually made their way onto her house. But to my surprise, she did an excellent job parting with the candies and gluing them to the graham cracker structure once we began putting the icing on for her. Although, I believe her method of decorating went something like "one m&m for the house, two for my mouth". We knew she was done decorating when the "one for the house" part diminished and all candies went straight to the mouth instead. The final product was pretty impressive considering this was her first ever edible craft. I was really proud of her and found myself looking forward to years of cookie baking and decorating in the future.

After the confections were cleaned up, the kids ate lunch (much to my amazement that they even had any room left in their little tummies after downing so many sweets). They then proceeded to jump on all Angie's living room furniture, propelled to new heights by their sugar buzz. We watched (and refereed) the crazy energy until I could sense nap time approaching.

We said goodbye to our decorating buddies and I tried to race home in an attempt to beat the "car nap". 15 minutes into our drive, I realized I had failed. So.... Kyra got a 20 minute nap in the car and when we arrived home, she was wide awake. In need of some "down time" myself, I decided to put Kyra in her room for a bit and just see if by some miracle she would fall back asleep. But it was all for naught. So I reluctantly went to her room to get her. However, when I turned the door handle... it was locked. Kyra recently discovered the push button locks on our interior doors and has spent a lot of time playing with them. Though she can't turn the knobs to open a door, she can turn them enough to release the lock so I called to her through the door and told her to turn the knob. I could tell by the sounds coming from her room that she made a few attempts, but after that she got upset and gave up. So there we were, on opposite sides of the door. I got a bobby pin and began to attempt to pick the lock, but it wasn't budging. And the longer I tried, the more frustrated Kyra sounded, so I called for backup. Yes, I dialed the facilities manager at Jim's work and asked him what I was doing wrong with the lock. He helped me get it open and then encouraged me to buy door handles without locks on them. But now that I know how to pick the locks on the knobs we have now, whats the point? :)

Five months old

Five months old and cute as can be!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We've all heard the little saying "Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words can never hurt me." And we all know that it is definitely NOT true. Words often times cause wounds that take ions longer to heal than a flesh wound. And yesterday I fell victim to words, or rather the lack thereof. Allow me to explain.

For about the last 4 months I have had moments of concern regarding Kyra's communication skills. I read things on parenting websites and monitor other children Kyra's age (and some much younger) regarding spoken words. I struggle as I try not to make comparisons. But with each day that passes, I grow more wary of the fact that Kyra appears to be behind the "average" child her age in terms of talking.

Her pediatrician was not at all worried when I took her for her 2 year check up, but she did give me a referral to have Kyra's hearing screened should I continue to be concerned. I thanked her and filed the paperwork away, feeling very optimistic that Kyra's vocabulary would pick up any day. And I am still hopeful of that, but yesterday really tested my hope and faith.

It started at the very beginning of our day, before I'd even fed her breakfast. Kyra took to whining and fussing as a form of communication, entirely forsaking the small vocabulary that she does have. I did my best to encourage her to use her words to tell me what she wanted or needed. I asked questions that begged her to just afford me a little yes or no. But as the day wore on, her whining turned to full blown crying and the fussing became temper tantrums that flung her onto the floor. And I did my best to stay the course, to keep my patience with God's help. And He covered me with His grace and allowed me to stay calm all day long as I continued to try and encourage her to speak.

When Jim came home he immediately said I looked frazzled and I told him all about my day. He took over the role of encourager, but had little more success than I had all day. By the time I was getting into bed, the weight of the day came crashing down on top of me and I found myself sobbing as I talked to God about it. Of course He already knew what I was going through and how I was feeling, but I needed to release it all to Him because it was too heavy a burden to carry on my own. And so I told God that I just want to be able to begin to have little conversations with my daughter. I want her to tell me what she wants. What she needs. What she likes. What makes her happy. Where she hurts. I want to hear her call me mommy. I want to listen to her talk about Jesus. I want to teach her how to pray.

And after I got it all off my chest, I asked for peace and for rest. And He gave me both. And today is a new day. Although I didn't wake to find Kyra rambling on in full sentences, she has been using some words today and that has once again restored my hope. I like to imagine that months from now I'll read this post and laugh because I will have seen God's goodness in Kyra's and my own life. I will be getting bombarded with questions from an inquiring toddler on a minute to minute basis and just when I am at the pinnacle of being annoyed, I'll thank God for it.

As an encouragement to myself, below is a list of words that Kyra does say (although most are slightly mispronounced):

mama (although she doesn't seem to connect me with the term)
chay chay (Chase, our dog)
thank you
uh oh
nana (for banana)
all done

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

Actually, we did have somewhere to go. And we almost made it there. Almost.

For weeks I'd been anticipating, planning for this night. Jim's company Christmas party. It was not only to be a guaranteed night out without kids, but it also provided the oh so rare opportunity to really get dressed up. You know, one of those nights when you get to wear the kind of outfit that makes you forget you're a parent because you feel like a celebrity instead.

I had arranged for another couple to come over with their kids to watch Kyra and Kylie and so I spent the entire day cleaning the house, preparing dinner for our sitters, ironing, and getting myself ready (which takes quite a while when you have a 2 year old wrapped around your knees).

Just a little bit before our friends arrived, Jim informed me that it was snowing. I didn't know it was supposed to snow, but I was delighted at the thought of it adding a little additional romance to the evening. Our sitters arrived with their two girls in tow and I gave them the rundown for the evening. We grabbed our coats, said our goodbyes and ran to the truck. We took the most obvious route toward our location only to find an ambulance blocking the road, so we detoured down a back road that would get us to the road we needed a little further down. However, our alternate route proved to be blocked as well. So we turned around and headed another direction. We had been on and off the phone with Jim's parents who were also attempting to make their way to the party. They were telling us of all the accidents they had seen and how icy the road conditions were. After discovering that only a handful (6 or 7) employees were actually at the event, they told us they were calling it quits and heading home. With no family to hang out with and few other employees, we weighed our options and decided to go back home ourselves. If the roads were already so bad who knew what they would be like when our babysitters headed home with their kids later on and we didn't feel right about putting them in jeopardy just to hang out for a few hours with a dozen people that we may or may not know.

We arrived back home only about a half hour after we had left and sent our friends on their way to get their own family home safe as soon as possible. We changed out of our fancy clothes and in the blink of an eye were daddy and mommy once again. I kept telling myself we had done the right thing, but it didn't take away the sadness I felt. And I realized it was because I was mourning the loss of something dear to me, quality time with my husband. Time where we are husband and wife. Time to socialize with other adults. Time to make memories that don't involve the kids. And I cried. And then I learned that Jim's family and about 90 other employees did all eventually make it to the party. And I cried harder. And as much as I wanted to rush upstairs and change back into my nice clothes and speed (slowly so as not to spin off the icy road) toward the party, our fate had already been set. We were home, our sitters were gone, our kids were asleep.

It will most likely be another year before I get the chance to play dress up again and knowing that makes me feel a little sad even today, but maybe life will surprise me. And knowing that life is full of surprises makes me smile and anticipate tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A perfect night out

Last week, Jim and I had a night out. We had been planning for a couple of weeks to attend an event at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum for ORU Alums in the Philly area. The new Chairman of the Board, Mart Green, would be hosting a Q & A session after a buffet dinner at the Museum. Since his family's $70 million donation to the university, ORU has been making many campus and other improvements and this gathering in Philadelphia was an attempt to keep Alumni informed and excited about what is happening back in Tulsa.

We had Jim's parents lined up to babysit and we left the house around 6:00 as soon as his mom arrived. The dinner started at 7:00 and the Q & A forum at 8:00. We knew we didn't leave ourselves much time for unexpected delays, but we figured at the worst we'd arrive about 15 minutes late to the dinner. After only about 25 minutes of driving we hit serious traffic. We kept telling ourselves it would clear up any second, after we got passed this stretch of highway or after we got passed that mall. But it didn't clear up. And we found ourselves arriving in the city just before 8:00.

So we weighed our options. We had wanted to be responsible Alumni, but since the dinner would be over, was it worth it to sit through an hour of questions when we were starving and this was a rare night out of the house without any kids? After our grumbling stomachs convinced us to skip the event altogether, we started putting together a new plan. Jim pulled out his iPhone and in 60 seconds had directions from our current location on the highway to Rittenhouse Square where we knew there was a fantastic steak place we had been to about 4 years ago.

So we changed our course and after arriving at the square, took on the next challenge of finding parking at a meter somewhere within the vicinity. After driving around for 10 minutes and not seeing anything in any direction, we were about to give up and head to another restaurant when miraculously a car pulled away from a meter directly in front of us, only 30 feet from the steak house. I almost cried as I felt this sense that God was somehow orchestrating our evening for us, even down to the parking. We breathed a prayer as we walked toward the restaurant that we wouldn't have to wait to get a table since it is strongly recommended that you have a reservation at this particular place. And as expected the hostess greeted us with "Do you have a reservation?" "No" we replied. She looked at us and asked "Is it just the two of you?" "Yes." And at that simple reply, she lead us to a table at the front of the restaurant overlooking the Christmas lights on the square. It was perfect.

We took full advantage of this surprising change in plans and ordered calamari, the house salad, and the most exquisite fillets you could imagine. And, to end the already amazing meal on a sweet note, we split a piece of carrot cake that turned out to be way more than we could handle. So we left with a doggy bag full of steak and carrot cake and hearts full of a romance rekindled. We didn't realize until we were in the moment how much we needed dinner out together. We talked and flirted and laughed and soaked up every moment. And I know that the whole time we had been looking forward to attending the ORU function, God was looking forward to surprising us with a more perfect night out.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thankful Prayer

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

I thank you for my life and that you are alive in me. I thank you for my husband's love and that he is a good father to our children. I thank you for my beautiful Kyra and her spunky personality. I thank you for my sweet Kylie and her joyful spirit. I thank you that Kyra and Kylie and any children yet to come will love you with all their heart all the days of their lives. I thank you for our dog, Chase, and the fun he adds to our family.

I thank you for my parents, who showed me the way to a loving relationship with you. I thank you for my dad who has been a model of Christ for me as long as I can remember. I thank you for my mom and that I am able to call her one of my closest friends. I thank you for my brother Daniel and that you will one day get a grip on his heart and reunite him with you and with our family. I thank you for my sister Krystal and her sensitive spirit toward others. I thank you that you have given her a wonderful husband in Sean and that you've given them the gift of children. I thank you for my sister Lindsay and how you have revealed yourself to her this year. I thank you that you have a perfect plan for her future. I thank you for my brother Ethan and his sense of humor. I thank you that you guide his steps into the unknowns after high school.

I thank you for my father-in-law and how you have prospered him in business and as a vessel for your work all over the world. I thank you for my mother-in-law and how you've used her life to bless the lives of so many others. I thank you for Susan and that you have shown yourself to her and that she was paying enough attention to notice. I thank you for Declan and Katie and how they have blessed us by helping out with the girls. I thank you that you have blessed them with good jobs and a new home and a cute little puppy. I thank you for Wit and the talents you have blessed him with. I thank you that he has been able to bless others through his gifts.

I thank you for Godly friends. I thank you for women with whom I can study your word. I thank you for health and protection for myself and all those I love. I thank you for joy, peace, patience, hope, and faith. I thank you for your love even when I don't deserve it. I thank you for the cross and what took place upon it. I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank you that you go before me and always prepare the way.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Its Party Time!

We had the pleasure of celebrating Kyra's 2nd birthday both in Oklahoma and in Pennsylvania. And although I don't think Kyra fully grasped the concept of what a birthday is, she did appreciate all the attention and gifts and opportunities to eat lots and lots of sugar.

Party #1: November 15th at GP and Grammy's house in Tulsa, OK
My mom hosted a wonderful party for Kyra that was a nice little family reunion of sorts. My Grandparents were there along with a few of my aunts and one crazy uncle and some of my cousins and 2nd cousins, who are conveniently old enough to play with/entertain Kyra. We ate lunch and then congregated in the family room for Kyra to open presents. We then ran into a minor delay when my Aunt Cindy gave Kyra a lollipop just as I had her ready to dive into her gifts. It quickly became apparent that no presents would be opened until Kyra had devoured the sucker. Fortunately(although the dentist would probably disagree), Kyra likes to bite lollipops rather than suck on them, so after a few minutes we were back in business.

She got some books with accompanying CD's, clothes, markers, glue, play-doh, a Veggie Tales DVD, and a totally awesome, what little girl wouldn't love it, pink play tent complete with detachable butterfly wings that can be worn (as modelled by my nephew in the picture below). Naturally we put Jim to work immediately setting up the fun tent and the kids (and several adults) had a good time playing in it.

Next it was cake time and after singing to Kyra, she actually blew out her candles herself. The cake was quite delicious and I'm typically critical of store bought cakes, but this cake was from Merrit's Bakery, so it was seriously the next best thing to making the cake myself.

Party #2: November 22nd at our house in Pennsylvania
After having an absolutely insane morning prepping the house for the party, our guests arrived and we got the good times under way. Our friends from our Bible Study all came with their kids and Kyra's Uncle Wit joined us as well.

We had lunch and then immediately jumped in to the presents as Kyra is quite the gift opening pro now after her first party only one week prior. She got some Hello Kitty goodies, clothes, PJ's, a ball and glove, another Veggie Tales DVD (we heart Veggie Tales), and more play-doh complete with all the fun accessories (cookie cutters, rolling pin, etc.). Oh, and her very own bouncy castle. Yes, after not buying her any presents for her first birthday or first 2 Christmases (we knew she wouldn't care or remember anyway), we went all out and got her a moon bounce.

We cleared all the furniture from our formal dining room (who needs a formal dining room anyway) and set it up so Kyra and her friends could jump and slide to their little hearts content. And all the adults had a blast watching them and taking pictures and hoping that all the kids would wear themselves out enough to nap for a long time afterward.

As the party neared an end, we sang "Happy Birthday" and cut into the cute little Hello Kitty cake I made to go along with the party's Hello Kitty theme. And as I side note, there are no Hello Kitty cake pans currently in existence so I found myself having to hand cut the shape of the cake, which was a very crumby experience (pun).

All in all, Kyra had a very fun birthday, celebrated with lots of cool people, and got many much appreciated gifts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

and now we're back again!
We left PA on Thursday, the 13th, and flew to Tulsa to celebrate Kyra's 2nd birthday and introduce Kylie to her great grandparents and the rest of my extended family.

The flights to and from Tulsa went incredibly smooth. They were busy, but smooth. I had packed a backpack for Kyra filled with snacks and distractions to keep her occupied on the plane. Granted, part of my planned activities included an hour and a half long DVD watching session. And had it happened, the ride would've been a lot less busy. However, when you discover at 30,000 feet that you never reinstalled a DVD decoder on your laptop after your hard drive crashed several months back, you're basically screwed. And you have to improvise. So Jim and I made games out of anything and everything around us in order to keep Kyra entertained in 10 minute increments for the better part of 4 hours. You'd be surprised at how fascinating it can be for a 2 year old to decorate her daddy with princess stickers. Kylie on the other hand mostly slept. That is as soon as she gave into the fact that we would have to hold her during her naps. (She generally prefers to be laid down and left to herself while sleeping.)

On Friday morning we hit the ground running and started our jam packed visit with a torturous session at Picture People. All I wanted was to get a generations picture with my mom and my girls and then a couple of pictures of Kyra and Kylie together as I don't have many and Kylie is already 4 months old. We arrived at the studio dressed and optimistic, despite the fact that Kyra had a breakdown only 8 months earlier when we tried to get Easter pictures taken. But Kyra managed to recreate the hysteria of that incredibly tense and torturous session all over again and this time there were many more witnesses to the chaos. Although Jim wasn't going to be in any pictures I brought him along for moral support. And he did a great job taking care of Kyra as she was crying and clawing and turning all sorts of shades of red in the face that even the best photo editing programs couldn't repair. I of course kept trying to get her calm enough to attempt the shots of her with Kylie and ended up pushing everyone too far. We finally waved our white flag and everyone cleared the room so Jim and I could "work things out" (translation: so that I could freak out at him and vice versa until we regained our sanity).

The trip wasn't a total loss since we were able to bribe Kyra with fruit snacks at the beginning of the portrait session long enough to get this shot:
But the pictures I had intended to have done of my two girls turned out like this:
Not that I'm complaining. Seeing this picture of Kylie after all the stress we had gone through made us all smile and forget the intensity of the chaos of the previous moments.

We left the mall and had lunch at Panera Bread Co. where I met up with my high school cheer coach and caught up on the past few years. She is one of the few women I admire and respect so it was refreshing to get to have lunch with her.

On Saturday we had a birthday party for Kyra (which I'll write more about in a later post). And then Jim headed off to the ORU vs. TU basketball game with a long time friend of ours (who also happens to be a TU fan). Jim phoned me after the game and I took the girls to meet him and Ashley and his wife Mindy and their 2 boys for dinner and some play time with the kids. We just love their family and wish so bad that we could see them more often!

Sunday we had a big family lunch with ribs and chicken and bologna from my Aunt's church BBQ. Afterward we headed to the park to try and get a picture of the entire family that would presumably end up in my mom's Christmas cards. After Friday's photo fiasco, we decided we had to be very strategic this go round. We agreed that we would unleash Kyra to play wherever she wanted and as she was playing the rest of us would gather around to try and get a good shot. And it worked. We all ran from one play area to the next chasing after Kyra and quickly snapping pictures before Kyra realized what was happening. We even managed to get a good picture of our little family foursome: What you don't see in this picture is the rest of my family standing behind the camera singing "If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet!" and then jumping up and down and crunching the leaves like crazy people. But it captured Kyra's attention and even made her smile!

Sunday night we farkled it up on the living room floor (it's a dice game... so get your mind out of the gutter!) and finally got to just relax with my family for a little bit.

We were only in Tulsa for a few days and we crammed a lot into that short time frame. We felt like we arrived with a checklist in hand and were constantly ticking boxes the entire trip. We just barely caught our plane leaving Tulsa on Monday morning and touched down in Philly around 2:30 that afternoon. We had no major delays and all our luggage made it to Tulsa and home again safely, so I really have no complaints. Although, I could argue that the economy parking bus was way too crowded on our return to PA, but they always are and we survived, so all is well.

Friday, November 21, 2008

So much to blog about, so little time

I know I've been away from my blog for a while. We've been crazy busy with birthdays and trips and house cleaning and doctors appointments and all kinds of fun (even a date night). I've collected some nice stories and pictures that I can't wait to share, but unfortunately I will have to wait for now. I promise that I will do my best to immortalize these wonderful experiences in my blog as soon as possible.

I believe in Santa

Kyra turned 2 last Saturday and we're having a little party to celebrate with our friends and family in PA tomorrow. Naturally, that means I had to go to Wal-Mart this morning to get those last minute things you need to have THE perfect party.

It was snowing when I arrived at Wal-Mart, so to cut down on the number of things I had to carry while running (literally) into the store, I left the diaper bag in the car. We hadn't been down 2 aisles yet when Kyra started asking for her drink, which was in the diaper bag in the car. She was getting frustrated that I didn't have anything for her, so I began to give her the various items I was buying to entertain her. She would shake, twist, tug, and finally place each item in the shopping cart behind her. I didn't pay much attention to the fact that one particular item had stayed on her lap for quite a while. I was too busy picking out bread and waiting in line at the deli counter for my number to come up.

As I stood in a stupor of thought about which items I still needed to get, something jolted me back to reality. I heard a little voice say "MMMM!" It was the cutest little sound, accompanied by the cutest little smile a child could give. Which could only mean one thing.... Kyra was eating something.... something delicious. And that's when I noticed that the bag of M & M's never made it into the shopping cart. Kyra had strategically chewed a tiny hole into the bag, just big enough to suck little pieces of chocolate heaven through. I laughed as I stood there impressed by her accomplishment.

When my moment of amusement passed I took the bag of candy from her and placed it into the cart, way out of reach of little arms. She didn't react immediately, but as I left the deli counter to collect a few more items, she started to lose it. Not that I blame her. She was hungry and she had had a taste of one of the finest foods in the world. I'd be mad if someone had taken that away from me too. So I tried to calm her down the best I could while still shopping. After a couple minutes I thought I was going to go crazy. She was twisting and turning underneath the seat belt and whining... oh the whining! It was almost too much.

But mere seconds before I lost it, someone interfered. Kyra and I were both startled by a voice behind us saying, "You better be good 'cause I'm watching!" We turned our heads and found ourselves face to face with a charming older gentleman. He had white hair tucked up beneath a sock hat and a white beard that nearly reached his belly button. He was jolly and round and everything you'd picture a certain Christmas icon to be, only he wore brown work boots with khaki pants and a tan winter coat rather than a velvety red suit. Before Kyra or I could make sense of him, he handed her a candy cane out of his shopping cart, smiled, and moved on to look at the apples. She was baffled and finally quiet.

She immediately snapped the hook off the candy cane and began sucking on it as if she'd had 100 candy canes before (when in reality, that was her first). We finished our shopping on a pleasant note thanks to the candy cane. But what struck me about it was the lack of sticky mess that usually accompanies a treat of that nature. No drool coming down the chin, no sticky fingers or clothes, nothing. I mean, just yesterday Kyra had a sucker at the doctor's office and it was on EVERYTHING, so I'm dumbfounded by the lack of stickiness from the candy cane. Which made me think... maybe that really was you-know-who, since he gave us both a gift.

I know around the holidays a lot of stores advertise that this certain jolly ol' soul shops with them, but its is all a bunch of lies. Take it from me, Santa shops at Wal-Mart.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Crafty Kyra

This week Kyra impressed me with her adept ability to use a glue stick. I didn't even have to show her what to do. I simply put the glue stick in front of her and presto! she began gluing away.

How is it that toddlers have an uncanny innate ability to use glue? As a parent we teach our kids to walk and talk and tie their shoes, but when it comes to glue, no training necessary. Is it because glue falls into the "mess" category? You know, you don't have to teach a kid how to make a mess, they just do. That might explain it.

Regardless, Kyra's incredible skill with a glue stick resulted in some adorable moments and produced pictures that would make her art teacher aunt, Katie, proud. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


At the ripe old age of 113 days, Kylie is going bald. Yes folks, there is now a spot on the back of her head whence all beautiful redish hair has now left. It has been rubbed away from countless days and nights of frantic head turning to see what is going on in the world around her. (She is, after all, a curious little being.) As I rub my hand over the bare landscape of her cranium, I feel tiny little sprouts of new growth trying to spring forth and replace what has been lost. "And where did all that beautiful hair go to?" you ask. I reply:(click on the image for a closer look)

So long little hairs... I have to do the laundry.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Roughing it

Jim's Bible study is currently going through the book Wild At Heart. The book has opened his eyes to the wild creation God intended man to be and with that in mind, the guys planned a camping trip to help them get back in touch with their rustic nature.

They took off Saturday afternoon around 2:00 with just the provisions they would need to rough it for 24 hours and directions to a campsite near Harrisburg. About 5 hours later, I received a call from one of the other wives who was tickled pink over the boys current camping status. As I had not spoken to Jim since his departure, she filled me in on the major details. She told me that upon arriving at the site, they learned that November 1 is the start of hunting season which meant they would not be permitted to camp at this particular location. They didn't have a backup plan, so they were improvising the best they could and at the moment they were grilling their hot dogs in her Aunt and Uncle's backyard.

Shortly after my conversation with her, Jim sent me a picture from his iPhone of the Messiah vs Elizabethtown soccer game they were watching from Messiah's campus. Then a couple hours later I received a call from Jim stating they had finally made it to a campsite and were setting up camp (at 9:45pm).

The next day Jim arrived home earlier than expected and filled me in on the rest of the details. Apparently after the soccer game they went to a Hampton Inn to get rooms for the night, but the cost was $135 per room. When the employee at the front desk wouldn't accept their counteroffer of $100 per room, they took her recommendation and found another campsite near Hershey Park where they were allowed to stay. As they were getting things set up, Jim went a little ways into the woods to break up wood for the fire. In doing so he unintentionally stirred up a yellow jacket nest and was stung on the back and the leg by some of the startled victims. Never having had a reaction to bee stings before, he assumed he was fine and he and the guys finally began the camping part of their camping trip. After a couple of hours Jim was itching all over and his lips felt swollen, so he and another guy went on a hunt for drugs to help alleviate the discomfort. Since it was already so late, they tried 4 locations before finally finding an open store where Jim could buy some Benadryl. Jim said he felt better an hour later and then finally went to bed around 2:30. On Sunday the guys woke up with the morning light, ate eggs and sausage cooked over their fire, downed a few gallons of coffee, and packed up the truck to head home.

When Jim got home, he showered, ate some pizza, and then crashed on the couch for almost 3 hours. The perfect way to get reacquainted with civilization after getting in touch with your wild side. (Not to mention the perfect way to get over horrendous yellow jacket stings! His skin was so irritated and swollen where he had been stung. Blah.)


I had it all planned out. Now that Kyra is almost 2 years old, I figured she might appreciate a little trick or treating at our local (despite the fact that it takes me 30 minutes to get there) mall. The mall starts the festivities at 4:00 pm on Halloween and I had planned to be there just before then so we could get through the entire mall with enough time left to get home and greet the vast number of trick or treaters that make their way through our neighborhood each year (nevermind that most of them don't live anywhere near here). I planned on Kyra taking an early nap so she would be refreshed and ready to hit the mall running in her adorable pink poodle costume. She would love it. I would love taking pictures of it. You would love seeing the pictures and hearing the adorable story of her first trick or treat experience. But alas there is no love.... because there are no pictures, no stories. It didn't happen.

Instead, Kyra woke up from her nap with a fever of 101.3. Rather than donning the cutest little pink poodle costume ever and collecting candy from all the over priced retailers, Kyra spent Halloween as a little hot potato, sitting on the stairs with Mom-Mom (her Grandma) and watching all the (non)neighborhood kids come to our door in their fabulous get-ups.

I was very sad for her that now she has to wait a whole year before she has the chance to trick or treat. (And sad for the super cute poodle costume that will now have to wait for Kylie to grow into it.) On the plus side however, Kyra did get to discover the deliciousness of Reese's Pieces candy. I mean I had to give them to her. Isn't that what they gave ET to make him feel better? Oh no wait... that's what they used to lure him into the woods. Oops, my bad.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Watching the Phillies Win

Here is a little photo journal of Jim watching the final inning of the World Series last night:

We're overwhelmed with excitement now that the Phillies have finally (after 28 years) won the World Series.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Jim and I were amazed recently when Kyra suddenly added the word "stuck" to her vocabulary. Not only does she say "stuck", but she uses it appropriately, when she really is stuck. We can't for the life of us figure out where she picked up the word, since Jim and I don't exactly go around saying that we're stuck, but nevertheless we've been quite amused by Kyra's use of the word. Here is one example of when the word has been appropriately spoken: