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Santa and Mrs. Claus! Callen didn’t tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. He was too busy eyeballing the candy that Mrs. Claus had. Carina reported that she wants a Barbie playhouse and makeup! Not sure what to do about that.

Carina is having a fantastic time in Kindergarten this year.  She loves her teacher and the class pets, the sugar gliders.  She’s learning so much that she is certain she is the “smartest girl in the world” and she is also meeting lots of new friends!

Last night at bedtime, Craig was downstairs brushing the kid’s teeth. Usually I take over after that point and read them a book and put them to bed. But, last night was different.

photo credit: Arnaud Bram

Downstairs (unbeknownst to me):

Carina: Daddy, can we read books?

Craig: I don’t know. Go upstairs and ask your mom if she’s reading books or if I am.

Then, Carina came upstairs.

Me: Hey Carina. Are you ready for bed?

Carina: Mom, can we read books?

Me: No, it’s too late. We can read books tomorrow.

Carina: Oh. Ok.

Me: Let’s get you in your pajamas…

Carina: No, Mom. Daddy is putting us to bed tonight. You can put us to bed tomorrow. (hurridly kissing and hugging me goodnight)

Me: Uh, ok…

Carina runs back downstairs

Carina: Dad, Mom said that you are reading the books tonight.

…Bear?  This statue is outside of an investment firm near our house (that is now out of business).  We drive past it all the time, with the kids often commenting, “I see a bear!”  I always think to myself, we should stop in there sometime so the kids can get an up close look, but I never pull in.  Now that the craziness of the first part of the summer is over, I really am trying to slow down and enjoy the world around us.  The long, hot, midsouth days nearly require it.  This summer, it’s the little things that matter, because in the fall, some big things are happening!  (And that’s no bull.)

Sorry.  I couldn’t help it.

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The kids’ school had a mothers day tea today. It was fun to visit their classrooms and see what they had made for me.

We had a fantastic mini-session with Jennifer McHam Photography, her paddle of ducks, and one brave little chick!  Still deciding which to print…

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Tonight’s dinner discussion started when Carina asked if she was a monkey after the dinosaurs “got extinct”. Not sure how to fully explain that in four year old terms, so I turned to google images for the classic rising monkey montage picture. And then Callen wrapped it up by singing his ABCs, ending with, “now I know my ABCs, thank you God for feeding me.” We are well rounded around here, I tell ya.

For the first time since, well, ever, we stayed home for Christmas.  One of our main reasons for doing this was because we felt like the kids are getting old enough to start to appreciate holiday traditions, and we wanted to establish those traditions in our own home.  We started the kids off with one of the most common family traditions – putting up the tree.

Carina said she wanted to add some wood to make a bigger base for the tree, after hearing about how her friend Amelie’s tree tipped over in the middle of the night.

Callen really enjoyed figuring out what order the three pieces of our tree went in.  “Like that big snowman I made last year!” he says.

Wasn’t it great of the kids to take pictures of one another while they worked?  They sent Craig and I out to get some extra lights.  “You can never have too many bulbs on a 12 footer!” said Carina.

Luckily we got back from the blinkin’ light store just in time to help the kids with the ornaments.  It wouldn’t be a family tradition if we didn’t all contribute!

The kids really love this holiday tradition thing, and so do Craig and I.  Putting up the tree has never been as enjoyable as it was this year.

Bathtime is generally something that Craig oversees (mommy has too many rules for bathtime to be very fun), but sometimes I have to point out to Craig when the kids start to smell. At the same time, I don’t want to be bossy, so I try to ask him if he can give the kids a bath rather than tell him he needs to. But, if I say the word “bath” in front of the kids, they’re in the bathroom, naked, with the water running before I can utter another syllable.  Spelling is not good either, because the kids know that if I am spelling something, important stuff is going down, and they pay more attention.  So, I try to speak in code.  Sometimes I do a better job than others.  Tonight, for example.

Me: (after admiring the layers of dirt, dinner, and chocolate milk smattered across Callen’s face) Daddy, would you be interested in giving the kids, a, uh…

Carina: a mekoglony? (Carina likes to make up her own words)

Me: Yes, a mekoglony. (raising eyebrows questioningly at Craig)

Craig: A what? (possibly feigning ignorance, but very possibly not sure what we girls are talking about)

Me: An athbay. (although I know I am alone in my pig latin speaking skills)

Craig: What?  I have no idea what you mean.

Sweet Victory

Me: Will you please launder our offspring?

Craig:  I don’t understand. (now obviously faking inhibited vocabulary skills)

Me: Get a clue, Daddy!

I roll my eyes at Craig, and there’s a slight pause as we all chew our dinner.

Carina:  Daddy, I think what mommy is trying to say is that she wants you to give us a bath.

Craig and I:  Cracking up laughing (me more than him, because now he’s stuck)

Me: Carina, how do you know that is what I was saying?

Carina: Cause I got a clue!

More uproarous laughter

Me: And what was your clue?

Carina: You said launder, like WASHING us like laundry! So, let’s go, Daddy!

It’s so much fun to have smart, funny kids.  Who are now clean.

Santa came to see everyone at Asbury UMC, where we go to preschool. In addition to lots of fun games and crafts we also got to sing and dance along with OUR FAVORITE – Brian and Terry Kinder.

Can you find Carina and Callen in the crowd?

Decorating Cookies

Then, we had to wait in line for quite a while to see Santa, but it was worth it!  We told him what we wanted (a princess castle and a dolphin for Carina, an airplane for Callen), gave him some cuddles, and had our picture taken.  That Santa is a pretty cool guy!

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