Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I am currently waiting for my boys to awaken (yes, I know it's only 4:00 AM!), but I'm SO anxious to get Christmas day underway!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Love you all!

Last night, I caught Caleb reading the Christmas story to his bear...enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Like Mother, Like Son

Caleb is very skilled in the "art of the technicality." He has been spared many a time-out using this technique. On several occasions, I have been fussing about various mishaps only to hear things like, "I did put all of my toys away. These are books." or "I didn't jump off of the couch; I jumped off the loveseat." (Keep in mind that all of these things are said in a purely 'stating the facts' kind of way, with no smartallecky undertones...otherwise, we'd be dealing with a new set of issues. :) ) While these responses are both cute and chuckle-worthy, they have forced us to be very specific in our rules. We now go down very detailed lists of things we can't climb on, jump off of, throw, put in our mouths, feed the animals, flush down the toilet, etc. And, just when I thought we'd covered everything, we had this conversation yesterday:

After spreading a blanket over his kids' table, Caleb proceeded to climb on top of the table.

Mommy: Caleb, we don't climb on tables. You know the rules.
Caleb: (Looking me dead in the eye) I didn't climb on the table.
Mommy: (Shocked that he is lying right to my face) Yes, you did! I just watched you climb up there.
Caleb: But it's not a table anymore; it's a cave.

House Rule #2,075: No climbing on top of caves.

And, just to be on the safe side...

House Rule #2,076: No jumping off of caves.
House Rule #2,077: No throwing caves.
House Rule #2,078: No putting caves in our mouths.
House Rule #2,079: No feeding caves to the animals.
House Rule #2,080: No flushing caves down the toilet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


OK, after yesterday's post, I feel I owe you something more upbeat and completely adorable! This is quite possibly the cutest thing I've seen in a while. Watch the whole thing, and make sure your sound is turned on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Electronic Everything!


In shopping for Caleb's Christmas gifts, I have come across a lot of neat toys, but the biggest thing I have noticed is that almost everything is electronic now! And, sadly, that's what most parents are looking for. At Target a couple of weeks ago, I overheard a child really excitedly showing his mom some animal figures (basic, non-electronic figures). Her reply (no joke) was, "What do they do?" What do they do?!?! They inspire imagination! That's what they do! She then redirected his attention to a set of animal toys that also made animal sounds. What ever happened to making the sounds yourself? This was only the beginning of what has proven to be a very frustrating shopping season.

While scoping out toys at Toys R US, I came across a Doodler that plays music and sounds! Why in the heck would a kid need all of that to draw/write? No wonder so many kids are ADD! It truly makes me sad that kids' toys don't really encourage creativity anymore. Play kitchens are SO similar to the real thing that you may as well bypass that purchase and let them hang out in the real thing. As kids, didn't we have just as much fun imagining those cooking sounds? And don't get me started on the dolls! I don't think I ever had a doll that did anything more than open and close its eyes, but I can't imagine having had any fonder memories of playing "mommy" with all of my "lifeless" babies. Though they never "did anything," I remember changing imaginary dirty diapers, wiping imaginary tears, and responding to voiceless cries for comfort. And I loved every minute of it!

And now, probably my biggest current electronic pet peeve is the new Leapfrog Tag Reading System. I think the commercial itself pretty much makes my point. Please watch it:

"That book doesn't talk." That's EXACTLY what kids are going to think about books! They will want nothing to do with a book that just sits there and demands to be read solely by you. I DO understand the point of this toy. I get that it is supposed to help kids learn to read. But, I also know that Caleb never needed a talking pen to teach him to read. He only needed parents who were willing to take the time out to read to/with him. We were even capable of using funny voices (imagine that!). And, not only did he learn to read, but he also learned that he is loved and that time spent with him is something that we value greatly.

I'm not saying that there is no place for electronic toys. Educational toys CAN be a good supplement to the things that you are teaching, but they should never become a substitute for hands-on parenting, and it seems like that is increasingly becoming the case. We are purchasing a Leapster for Caleb this year, so that he can play games that will reinforce his math and reading skills, but we will NOT rely solely on it to teach him these skills nor to encourage him. We had considered getting him a toy that promotes writing skills, but later decided that we'd rather use good ol' paper and pencil/crayon. That way WE'RE the ones saying, "Great job" and not some electronic pseudo-parent. What ever happened to parents actually doing the teaching and praising? Kids need to hear approval from their parents' lips.

There are many more toys that I could mention, but I've probably stepped on enough toes for now. If you have bought any of these toys or are planning to, please don't be offended. I'm not saying that ALL electronic toys are bad or that kids should never be exposed to them. Caleb has several "just for fun" toys. They are completely useless except for a quick giggle and that's fine IN MODERATION. I just wish companies would go back to manufacturing toys that foster imagination and creativity. And, more importantly, I wish that parents would go back to wanting these types of toys. ::Sigh:: At least we'll always have Legos. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Isaac posted this on Facebook yesterday. I thought some of you who don't have Facebook might like to read it too.

Thoughts elsewhere on November 5th
Yesterday at 11:32pm

In the midst of this election, amongst thoughts public and private of the new president (some happy, some angry), I couldn't help but to feel uneasy. Perhaps the political air was too thick. People reveling, some proclaiming their ignorance openly. Mostly though, my thoughts were not on the election, as prevalent as it was. They were on my late father, Gary Phillips. Today would have been his 54th birthday.

I felt like sharing with everyone a bit about him because he was very dear to me, and much more I to him. He grew up in Augusta, Georgia, but made his way to Columbia in the early 80's. I was born when he was 30. He and my mom divorced when I was pretty young. In fact, I don't actually remember a time when we were all together. I think I was about 4 or 5 when my mom, sister, and I moved into a trailer on our own. Over the years, I would visit him every other weekend.

I learned a lot about my father. I always thought he was hilarious. Most people found him very funny. His usual, cooky behavior bought him the name "Wildman" that he would keep for the rest of his life. The name seems so appropriate. He loved the wild. He cherished open skies, trees, plants, and even animals. Many animals appeared at his door and he couldn't help except to take them in, no matter how much he told himself that he shouldn't keep them. He felt strongly for the wild. He likened it to his slight (1/32) Cherokee heritage.

My dad was also a writer. When I say writer, I mean a writer of all types. He wrote short stories, essays, letters, memorandums, poetry, songs, and even one full novel about King Arthur (that I am in the middle of reading). He was a great writer. I hope to later include quotes from some of his work as I continue to organize and read it all.

The most important thing I learned from my father was love. As a person that most would not consider to be a Christian, he understood and showed love better than many Believers I know. He chose many times to not better himself in order to be with me. He got it and I understand it now so much more because of how he showed it to me. He had his rough side. He was very crass, had a fondness for certain illegal substances, and had some serious anger issues that I even carry today. However, I can't ignore the love he showed. I honestly don't know if I'm going to see him again. I can't sit here and think I will and wish for it or think that I won't and despair. Neither does me any good. I can only hope that I take the love that he showed me and give it to those close to me, praying that God helps me to leave behind the bad things I got from him and cultivate the good.

I loved my dad. I still do when I think of him. It still hurts that he's not here because I've gone through a lot of hard stuff in the past 4 years that I really could've used him for. Sometimes I'm mad about him being gone and sometimes I just desperately miss him. Feel free to ask me about him. I love to talk about him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Romans 13

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

Caleb decided that he wanted to dress as Super Mario for Halloween this year. He was also adamant that Isaac dress as Luigi and I dress as Princess Peach. Caleb later revoked my title, and gave that honor to Jessie. Yes, I was replaced by the dog! What?!? Instead, he said that he wanted me to be Bowser. Gee thanks, Caleb! Yeah, Bowser was not happening. I have to admit, though, that Jessie did make an adorable Princess.

After searching for a child's Mario costume to no avail, I realized I was going to have to make one. It sounded easy enough... some overalls, a red t-shirt and a red hat. Little did I know that Caleb had become a picky little Mario expert (as if I needed another one of those in my house!). Mario, he informed me, did NOT wear regular overalls or a baseball cap. ::sigh:: Luckily, Isaac had bought me a sewing machine for Mother's Day. I had not had the time to sit down down and figure out how to use it yet, so there was no time like the present! After tons of failed attempts, I figured out how to effectively use my machine and got started making a pair of authentic Mario overalls and an acceptable hat. I also managed to throw together a felt mask and a question block pail. The pail was just a wooden tissue box cover. It worked out great!

This was Caleb's first year trick or treating. We'd done fall festivals and Boo at the Zoo in the past, but had never gone door to door. My friend Wendy lives in a great neighborhood where almost everyone knows one another and participates in passing out candy, so we headed out to Lexington for some fun. Caleb stayed in character ALL night. If anyone mistakingly called him Caleb, he'd say, "Actually, I'm Mario tonight." He even referred to Isaac as Luigi the entire evening. It was SO funny.

The Mask

The Hat

The Overalls

The Question Block Pail

Mario, Princess Peach, and Luigi

Wendy and Brynn (in utero) as a jack-o-lantern

Quintin as Wolverine

Collin as a Storm Trooper (minus his mask)

Jordan as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (with a tiara just for fun) and Will as a spider

Vince as Mickey Mouse

Victoria and Will

Mario and Luigi

The trick-or-treaters in action

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SC State Fair

We were fortunate to get to attend the Fair 3 times this year: once with my family, once with Isaac's mom, and once just us. I put all of the pictures into one big slide show.

Caleb's Highlights:

Trip #1- Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Jason, Aunt Heather, and Camryn

1-Eating fried mushrooms (He told me and Grandpa on the way home that it was his favorite part)
2-Meeting J.R. Berry from WLTX
3-Watching the silly lemurs at the petting zoo
4-Riding the carousel

Trip #2- Gram Gram
1-Riding his first real fair ride!
2-Watching Daddy win at Whac A Mole 2 times! Yay, Daddy!
3-Riding his first roller coaster (which IS different and a bigger deal than regular rides)
4-Riding Dizzy Dragons 3 times because "it makes me dizzy like my Sit n' Spin!" :)

Trip #3- Mommy, Daddy, and Caleb
1-Riding the Ferris Wheel "Look at all that fair stuff down there."
2-Fun Houses! Caleb absolutely loved these this year and, since it was a pay one price day, he could just go through them over and over again until he wanted to move on to the next one.
3-Riding an elephant with Daddy
4-Watching the sea lion show
5-Eating an elephant ear
6-Running into his friend Hayden and getting to ride a couple of rides with him
7-Riding his first roller coaster without Daddy! (You can't begin to imagine how much of a wreck I was!)
8-First taste of cotton candy
9-Meeting Darci Strickland and Andrea Mock from WLTX and getting to be on Friends at Five! SO cool for him! Check out the video clip!

Caleb on Friends at Five

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day Out With Thomas

I must confess that I've been cheating on my blog with Facebook. Yes, I have joined the world of Facebook; a dark, evil world where you can find anyone and everyone you've ever known and, worse, THEY can find YOU! Seriously, though, it has been pretty remarkable. I've really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and just keeping in touch better with current ones. But, now that I've caught up with everyone from my past, I can turn my focus back to ye ole' blog!

Two weeks ago, Isaac and I took Caleb to the NC Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC for Day Out With Thomas. We ALL had a lot of fun. Here are some pictures from our awesome day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Photo Friday

Lately, Caleb has turned into quite the little architect/artist...

One of Caleb's more elaborate creations

The architect posing with his work




Godzilla (Don't ask)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Adventures at Edventure

Wow, two posts in two days! Last Friday, our niece Camryn spent the night with us while her mommy recovered from a nasty stomach bug. We all went to Edventure on Saturday and the kids really had a great time. Here are a few pictures from our day:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fripp Island

OK, so I'm running for slackest blogger of the year. I hope I can count on your vote!

A few weeks ago, we went on a family vacation to Fripp Island with Isaac's extended family (on his dad's side). This was Caleb's first time seeing the ocean, and we were really excited for him. We left on Thursday, after Isaac got home and arrived about 9:00 that night. When we arrived at the house, the moon was shining so brightly that we were able to see the ocean pretty well. Caleb's first reaction to seeing the ocean was, "Wow! That's a lot of water." He then asked if there were whales in "that ocean" and, at one point, remarked that "we could give Jessie a good bath in the ocean." :)

On our first morning, Isaac, Caleb, and I woke up early and had breakfast outside on the deck, overlooking the water. Because we were staying on the south side of the island, we didn't have beach until around 10:45 each day. That meant the water was pretty much right at our deck all morning. It was so relaxing out there! There were a few swallows fluttering about and tons of pelicans flying overhead. We actually got to watch several groups of pelicans change their formations. That was really remarkable. To see how well-orchestrated their movements were was just... well, I can't imagine how anyone could deny the existence of God after watching it. It was just amazing. In addition to the birds, we also saw a small pod of dolphins and even spotted a shark getting some breakfast! Yikes! This was all before 9:00 in the morning! When we finally had beach to walk on, we headed down and stayed for several hours (during which I managed to get a nasty sunburn). Caleb had a blast! Once he got used to the waves, he would run from them as they came in and then chase them back out. It was really great to watch him play so freely.

One of the coolest things about Fripp Island is that there are deer everywhere. Most of these deer are very friendly and will let you feed and even pet them! This was truly one of the biggest highlights for all of us. There was one buck in particular that became quite a fixture at our house. The kids named him Max. He came every morning and evening to eat and, one day, even brought a couple of friends with him. Max became pretty accustomed to being fed anytime he came around, so when he arrived one afternoon while we were all watching a movie, he seemed less than thrilled to be ignored. He peered in at us for about 30 minutes, before giving up and moving on!

Our last morning at Fripp, Isaac and I set our alarms to get up in time to watch the sunrise. Though it was really cloudy, it was still a beautiful scene. Being at the beach was such a great reminder of how big God is and how small we are. Observing the intricacies of the ocean and witnessing the sheer vastness of it all was staggering at times. But, I was also reminded of that verse in Matthew (I believe it's chapter 6, but don't quote me) that talks about observing the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and not worrying about tomorrow. Seeing the attention to detail that God displays in every aspect of nature is such a reassurance of how loved and revered we truly are. I definitely think I get too bogged down by things in my everyday life. It was really nice to get away and truly get to appreciate God's creation in all its splendor and to be reminded of what a beautiful thing it is to just rest in him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hayden's Birthday

On Friday, we went to a really fun birthday pool party for Caleb's friend, Hayden. We have known Darcy and Andrea (Hayden's parents) for several years and became really close to them when we had babies 4 months apart. Fun! I can still remember what a cute baby he was. Hayden started smiling really early and could mimic you sticking out your tongue at 2 months! Oh, how that used to crack me up!

Hayden is a really amazing little boy. Last year, he still hadn't said his first word and wasn't even doing any "real" babbling. He also didn't respond to his name at all, so we all worried that he had Autism. Darcy and Andrea took him to a few specialists, who determined that it wasn't Autism. As it turned out, he had an undiagnosed ear infection that had rendered him deaf for nearly a year! He had tubes put in his ears, started speech therapy and, now, is a happy and very talkative 3 year old! We are so proud of how far he's come since last year. Happy Birthday, Hayden!

Here are some pictures from the party:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My baby just wrote me a letter...

A few weeks ago, Caleb and I watched an episode of Sesame Street in which Elmo and Abby wrote letters back and forth to one another. Well, this morning, Caleb told me that he wanted to write a letter for Daddy. I thought that was really sweet, so I got him a pen and some paper. As he started, I was impressed because he remembered that he needed to start with "Dear Daddy". He wrote that, and then we had this conversation:

Mommy: OK, now what would you like to say to Daddy in the letter?
Caleb: I have to write him a letter.
Mommy: I know, so what do you want to say to him? Do you want to say, "hi" or "I love you"or something else?
Caleb: No! I want to write him a letter.
Mommy: You are writing him a letter.
Caleb: But I want to write him a "W'!
Mommy (Now on the same page): Oh! You want to write him an alphabet letter!
Caleb: Yes!

I spent a few minutes trying to explain that there are two types of letters, but quickly gave up on that! So, here's my sweet little guy's finished "letter".

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Burley Reunion

On Saturday, we attended the annual Burley Reunion. We had a lot of fun visiting with everyone. There weren't very many people there this year, but my Aunt Anne from Texas, who we don't get to see often, was able to be there, so that was exciting for us. Caleb really enjoyed his Uncle Happy this year. I think they have similar personalities, so it was fun watching them interact. Caleb also had a blast playing Tag and Hide and Seek with his cousin, Caroline. Here are a few pictures from the day:

Ilona's Birthday

Last Sunday, our dear friends, Mat and Nikki, celebrated their daughter's first birthday! Ilona is one of the sweetest little girls we know, and we just adore her. Caleb has been doting on Ilona since he first met her in the hospital, and she thinks everything he says and does is hilarious. They are really cute to watch.

I also got to see an old friend of mine (and Mat's sister) at the party. Robin and I were good friends for about 10 years, but I hadn't seen her since right after her daughter, Nova, was born. Nova is 5 now! It was nice catching up with her and spending time with Nova.

Calebism #1-
Caleb: What's that friend's name?
Mommy: Nova
Caleb: Wow! That's a pretty good name!

Calebism #2-
As we were leaving,
Ms. Nikki: Thanks for coming, Caleb.
Caleb: Thanks for having cake!
He sure does have his priorities! :)

Here are a few pictures of our precious future daughter-in-law. Are betrothals legal in the US? :)

Also here's an old video clip of Ilona laughing at Caleb when she was about 8 months old:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Overdue Post #4- Zoo Trip

A couple of Fridays ago, Caleb and I went to the zoo. Yes, it was stinkin' hot, and yes, we still had fun! We were really excited about seeing the new lion cubs. The zoo was supposed to be alternating them, two at a time, during visiting hours, but there were four in there when we went by! Here's a cute picture of one of them cuddling with a stuffed animal:

One of Caleb's favorite things to do at the zoo is to feed the goats. He is really sweet and always makes sure that every goat gets some food, even if it means staying at the exhibit for 15 minutes waiting for one goat to wake up and come get his share! Here's a pic of that groggy goat!

As we were making our way into the barn, Caleb got a really sad look on his face. I asked him what was wrong.
Caleb: Oh no, Mommy. Did you see that sign? It says, "Do not feed the goats."
I looked over and saw this:

I explained that the sign was only referring to the specific plants in that area and NOT to the pellets we'd just fed the goats. He was very relieved!

Next, was lunch at the oh-so-classy- Kenya Cafe, where I purchased a little tiger lunchbox for Caleb. He, however, was adamant that it was NOT a lunchbox, but a tiger PAIL! Not sure what that was about, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.

During lunch I asked Caleb what he wanted to see next. Although he's never shown any interest in it before, he was insistent we go see the turkey. The turkey? Really, Caleb? The gross, wrinkly-headed, evil-eyed, snood-toting turkey?

So, back to the barn we went. Once there, he walked right up to the turkey, said hey, and proceeded to hold a short conversation with it, before saying, "See ya later, turkey" and waving goodbye. Random! As we were walking away, the turkey jumped up on the rail! Perhaps they were hatching an evil plot!

We always allow Caleb to pick one "extra" activity to do per visit to the zoo (either the pony rides, the carousel, or the train ride). This time around, he picked the train ride, which, I have to admit, was really fun. The nice "conductor" snapped this photo for us:

Here's a picture of the closed hippo exhibit-Montgomery the Hippo was euthanized earlier in the week. :( Montgomery was one of only 4 original animals still living at Riverbanks since the park opened in 1974!. The others include a flamingo, a male Siamang named Solo, and a female white-faced saki named Sterling. I think it's pretty neat that Caleb gets to see a few of the same animals that I enjoyed when I was his age.

Sometimes I think the kids enjoy these statues more than they do the actual animals. We actually had to wait in line to get these pictures! What?!? Maybe they just like the hands-on aspect of it.

While walking through the zoo, Caleb started looking up at some really tall trees...

Caleb: Wow. Look at those giant trees Mommy.
Mommy: Those are giant trees!
Caleb: Yep. Do you know what those trees are called?
Mommy: What?
Caleb: Goliath trees

Monday, July 21, 2008

Overdue Post #3- Brady's Party

My cousin's adorable son, Brady, celebrated his 2nd birthday last weekend! He loves (understatement of the year) baseball and is very good at playing too! They were able to pull some strings and have his party at Sarge Frye Field! What an awesome place for his baseball party! Caleb had a blast. Here are a few pictures from the party:

Watch Brady pitch!

Overdue Post #2- Potty Training

As most of you know, we have had a long and arduous journey trying to potty train Caleb. It has resulted in many tears being shed (from both sides) and just frustration in general. I have read all the books, watched every DVD, tried every piece of advice given, and, while it is all great, in theory, none of it has worked for us! Since Isaac's sister and family were coming to town for a week, Isaac and I decided to put the "training" on hold. We knew there would be too much going on to attempt it.

The Emery's left on Sunday, so I decided to use Monday to get Caleb back on his regular schedule and then dive back into training on Tuesday. So, first thing Monday morning, I was putting a dry pull-up on Caleb, when, to my surprise, he said he needed to pee pee in the potty! We hurried to the bathroom and he used the potty like he'd been doing it all year! It's been two weeks now and he's only had 3 accidents (2 of which occurred on the way to the potty)! He even used the potty at Target on Saturday!

So, although I get a little weepy-eyed when folding Caleb's big boy underwear, I am VERY excited that he has entered this new phase.

Congratulations to my big boy!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Overdue Post #1- Visiting with the Emery Family!

Well, first off, let me apologize for my lack of posting these past few weeks. I've been fairly busy and have had a lot on my mind. But, quit your crying...I'm back!

So, without further ado, here come the updates!

The first week in July, Isaac's sister and her family were in town from Pennsylvania! It was SO good to get to see April, Pat and our amazing nieces, Grace and Abigail. We don't get to see them often, but, when we do, it's always SO much fun. As I've told them before, it's always nice to be around people you don't have to pretend to like!

Our time with them included lots of hanging out, a trip to Edventure and even a He-Man surprise party for Patrick's 30th birthday! Here are some of the many pictures from their visit. April took a lot of pictures as well, so I'll post a few of hers when I get them.

"Calebisms" from that week-

1.) Caleb was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Grace. He had read it three times and each time he finished Grace would
ask him to read it again. The fourth time...
Grace: Again
Caleb: ::sigh:: OK, I'll read it one more time, and then we have to put it away.
(Welcome to my world, Caleb!)

2.) While looking at a picture of Abigail-
Caleb: Aww, that cutie face is so good!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Movie Monday


Friday, June 27, 2008

Photo Friday


Barn owl at Riverbanks

Sleeping during Family Movie Time! Did that stop me from watching Follow That Bird by myself? Nope!

Yes, that's a Thomas puzzle in my washing machine!

My little sweetie

I love this dog!

Ready for the pitch

"I want to wear Daddy's clothes today."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tim Russert

Last weekend, I watched several Tim Russert tributes, and the things that seemed to most resonate were that he was an amazing journalist and that he was completely devoted to his family and faith (albeit Catholicism).

I was talking to a friend, and fellow Meet the Press junkie, about the fact that, in interviews, you could never decide if Russert was a conservative or a liberal. He always did his homework and knew as much about his guests and their stances as possible, so he could take the "other side", whatever that side may have been. He could interview/argue from both sides completely objectively and, what's most amazing, is that he did it so effortlessly. Yes, I know he was a democrat and, arguably, a liberal, but he didn't wear his personal ideaology on his sleeve and certainly didn't bring it into his interviews. He was always equally tough on both democrats and republicans- tough, but always fair. This is why he was both loved and feared by liberals and conservatives alike. His hard-hitting manner of journalism never came across as mean. He was always decent and civil to his guests, which, knowing who some of his guests were, was a pretty remarkable feat.

I heard that Tom Brokaw is going to replace Russert through the Nov. elections. Because he was such a close friend to Russert, and is so well-respected, I suppose he was an obvious choice. I definitely can't see him being Russert's permanent replacement, but I think he will do well in seeing Meet the Press through the election season. No, the tough interviews that Tim Russert was famous for are not going to happen this year, which is unfortunate because Russert seemed SO ready for Nov., but Brokaw will do his job and will do it well.

I don't know how the exact wording of the original adage goes (it's a little different every time I hear it), but I think Tim Russert epitomized it: "Love what you do and you'll never work another day of your life." Russert seemed to love and embrace his job whole-heartedly and he made a tough and grueling job look easy and even, at times, fun. There will never be another one quite as good as him and my Sundays will never quite be the same...

This morning started out like every other Sunday. I took a shower and got Caleb up, fed, and tossed in the bathtub. I was just starting to dry him off when I realized the time. It was almost 9:00, so I rushed to get Caleb dried off and dressed for church, and we hurried into the living room. I turned the TV to NBC and sat down. I guess in going through my normal routine, it had somehow slipped my mind. As Meet the Press came into focus, I saw Brian Williams. I looked over at Isaac and sighed, "I forgot." Then, Caleb, with a confused look on his face, said, "Mommy, it's supposed to be Tim Wussert, right?" Yes, Caleb, it IS supposed to be Tim Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Alison A.K.A The White Rabbit

"I'm late. I'm late for a very important date..."

If you have ever ridden with me somewhere, invited me to an event, hung out with me, or just known me for longer than a few months, you know that I am always late. It's something that has driven my family mad for years and continues to bug Isaac to no end.

If you know Isaac, you know that he is very punctual. He's the guy that arrives 15 minutes early for work "just in case." I am the person who aims to be somewhere early and is lucky to be there before the event ends. I am just chronically late.  I know it's awful, and I absolutely hate it.

I know that my tardiness partially stems from procrastination, but I think the main problem is that I truly have no concept of time.  I seriously cannot tell you if 10 minutes or 30 minutes has passed, and, unlike Isaac, I CANNOT judge the time, to the minute, based on what it looks like outside (Freak!). Time is just a foreign notion to my brain, no matter how hard I try to drill it in.

I am starting to take things more seriously, as Caleb gets older. I'm so scared of being the mom whose child is constantly late for school or is the last to be picked up, but, if I don't get this under control, it looks like a real possibility.

Taking the first step:

Today, I purchased a watch.
Ordinarily, I don't wear a watch. In fact, until today, I didn't even own one. Besides feeling like they get in my way when I wear them, I usually end up breaking or misplacing them.
But, this time I'm going to force myself to wear it no matter how much it annoys me, and I'm going to develop a concept of time. I'm determined!

So, with my new watch in tote, I hope to begin a new journey on the road to being on time or, at the very least, being able to tell just how late I am. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun Times

Friday night, our adorable niece, Camryn, spent the night with us. It was so much fun! The kids had a blast playing with one another. I wish they could get together more often.

It was a really hot day, so we were forced to stay indoors, but we did manage to have craft time. Since Caleb and Camryn are both big fans of the Wonder Pets, I thought it would be fun to make flyboats. They turned out pretty cute and the kids really seemed to enjoy making/playing with them.

Here are a few pictures from her visit:

The kids loved taking turns "blowing" Isaac and me over.

One of the many songs Camryn sang for us. So cute! This was, by far, my favorite. "He's the great I'm yam."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman

I just saw on CNN that Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria, was hit by an SUV and killed in the family's driveway. Apparently, their son was driving the car. I can't begin to imagine what their family is going through right now with the loss of their daughter and the heartbreak/guilt that her brother must be feeling too. It's just so tragic. Though I've never been a huge fan of SCC's music (just not my taste), I have always respected Chapman as an artist and, ultimately, as a Christian. He has contributed so much, not only through his music, but also in his efforts to help orphans in China through Shaohannah's Hope. I've always seen him as a genuinely kind and compassionate man.

A couple of months ago, Steven posted a video of his girls singing on his blog. Maria chose to sing Hannah Montana's "Best of Both Worlds," so, of course, Caleb and I ended up watching it several times. She was so precious and really seemed to have a sweet spirit about her. I know their loss is great.

Please keep this family, who has given so much to so many, in your prayers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recipe Wednesday


Chicken Pot Pie Pockets

2 TBL butter
2 TBL flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half-n-half
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup frozen tiny green peas
1 small carrot, grated and finely chopped
2 TBL fresh dill, finely chopped
2 sheets prepared pie dough
Egg wash (1 lightly beaten egg with a splash of water)

Preheat oven to 400

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in broth and half-n-half and season with salt and pepper. Cook the sauce, whisking often, for a couple of minutes until it has thickened. Then, stir in the Dijon and remove pan from heat. Add in the chicken, peas, carrot, and dill and stir to combine. Set aside

Grease a baking sheet. Lay out the pie dough. Roll dough to about 9 inches diameter and 1/8" thick. Cut the dough into eight evenly sized triangles. Place the triangles onto your baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.

Divide filling evenly among the triangles on baking sheet, leaving a little room around the edges to seal the pockets.


Brush the edges of each triangle with egg wash and top with the remaining wedges of dough, pressing around the perimeter to seal the filling. Use a fork to decorate the border of the pocket.

Brush the tops of the pockets with the remaining egg wash and use kitchen scissors to cut an x in the top of each pocket to let the steam escape.


Bake about 20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.



This recipe serves 4. We usually have a salad with this. Yummy!