Archive for December, 2007

Christmas In Review

First off, there are too many pictures to share (and we’re not yet Flickr-savvy), so for now, this one’s gonna have to do:


As you can see, Santa made his stop at our house.

Owen’s first Christmas was spread out over three days, starting here in St. Louis. Christmas Eve, we went to our church’s 5:00 service (this was the first year that Emily and I didn’t do the midnight service – guess that’s what happens when you have a little ‘un). That was followed by a delicious dinner over at Em’s parents’ house. The next day was spent at their house as well, opening presents and eating way too much fudge and peanut butter balls. Owen’s favorite thing was to play in the wrapping paper and floss his two teeth with ribbon. And while we’re talking gifts, Em’s brother, Nate, got a Nintendo Wii. It was my first time to play, and I’m a big, big fan.

The next day we headed over to Kansas City to be with my family. We spent the evening of the 26th with my parents, cousins Don, Luke, Amy and Casey, my grandma and Aunt Kelly. We had a great time doing a “Dirty Santa” gift exchange (for you Office fans, nobody brought an iPod). Emily got a guacamole grinder thing (I’m not the cook in the family, so I’ll leave it to her to tell you its official name) and I got the Bourne DVD trilogy. We also carried on a new tradition: for the third straight year, the fam played Bunco! With the luck we were all having, we probably should’ve rounded out the night at a casino. But alas, we decided to give lady luck a night off.

The next day was spent with my Grandma Sue, Grandpa Lane, Aunt Georgann, Uncle Keith, and cousins Cameron and Cori. And the big news here – Cameron brought his girlfriend, who we found out is now his fiancee! So Cristina, welcome to the family. There’s no going back now…

My Grandma Sue knocked out another one of her famous fried chicken feasts, and we also all exchanged presents. Good times all around.

Saturday, my parents came to St. Louis to see Em, Owen and I a little more, as well as to go see “Wicked” at the Fabulous Fox theatre. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it – a very fun spin on the Oz story.

So that was truly a summary of our Christmas. We’ll hopefully do a post soon with more pics and details.

Oh – and a few more engagement congratulations are in order! First to my good friend Patrick (a frequent commenter on this here blog) and his new fiancee, Sara! Also to another old college friend, Becky and her man, Phil.

Kevin…the pressure’s on.

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You’ve probably already figured out that I’m a bit of a movie guy. But you might be surprised to find out that “It’s A Wonderful Life” is my favorite movie of all time.

Call me a sap, but it’s a moving story that’s a lot deeper than most people give it credit for. In high school, I did a research paper on Jimmy Stewart and discovered that, in fact, audiences didn’t really like it when it came out because it was TOO DARK, and they didn’t like seeing him in that kind of role. That’s right – what has come to be known as one of the feel-good movies of the century wasn’t feel good at all.

Emily and I watched it again last night, and I see why people felt this way. George Bailey struggles with his own moral obligations and his selfish “see the world” desires through the whole movie, to the point that he’s ready to commit suicide. See what I’m sayin’?

But as we all know, in the end, things end well. So well, in fact, that the folks at Saturday Night Live did an extended ending years later. You can see that little gem here. Dana Carvey’s Stewart impression is hilarious.

So, in summary, Owen’s going to learn to love this movie…because he’s going to be forced to watch it every Christmas from here on out.

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The above picture doesn’t look like much, but what you are viewing is Green Star, Max’s beloved toy. (In case you’re unaware, Max is our 75 pound Golden Retriever.) Let me set the stage…

It was 4:30 in the afternoon. We were all in the basement doing different things. Owen was seated on a blanket, happily playing with some toys. Rowan was playing video games. Savannah was working on homework. (No, Travis and I don’t have three children…Rowan and Savannah are the kids I take care of every afternoon after school.) And I was wrapping Christmas packages. I was feeling quite a bit like little Sally homemaker, considering I had just made sugar cookie dough for cutouts and we were all hanging out together in the basement, enjoying doing our own things while basking in the glow of the Christmas tree lights. Then I noticed what was really going on…

I mentioned that Owen was sitting on a blanket playing with toys. He had been playing with this Sesame Street toy that makes lots of noise. I realized that he had gotten awfully quiet, so I took a glance at what he was doing. What I saw was something that I had hoped I would never see. Owen was holding onto Green Star with both hands while chewing on the green rubbery frame! (No, I was a little too appalled to capture this moment with my camera!)

I had hoped it would never happen, but alas, it did. Try as I might to prevent it from happening again, I fear this won’t be the last time something like this happens. I have a baby and I own a dog…what are you gonna do?

Oh, yeah…in case you were wondering just HOW Max likes to play with Green Star, the picture below should help:


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7 months old!


Happy 7 months birthday, Owen!

Owen continues to change before our eyes. If you look closely at this picture, you can see his two little teeth. They are really growing in and are super sharp (one big reason why Owen drinks his milk only from a bottle now!!). He is also developing quite a distinct personality. Travis and I are beginning to see that he not only looks like my baby pictures, but has my quick temper, as well! Here’s how Owen demonstrated this personality trait to me today…

Owen had just finished eating his lunch. I wanted him to sit in his high chair for a few more minutes while I finished eating my lunch, so I handed him a cracker to munch on. When I had finished eating my lunch, Owen had pretty much devoured as much of the cracker as I would let him eat. I took it out of his hand and he proceeded to throw what I would consider, his first temper tantrum. It went like this…his fists clenched, his face turned bright red, and the screaming began. He screamed until he was hoarse. He thrashed around when I tried to wipe the cracker goop off his face. This continued for about 3 minutes. I tried to explain to my 7 month old son that he couldn’t continue to eat the cracker because the pieces were too small and he could choke on them. Of course I realize that he couldn’t understand, but I guess it’s never too soon to start having conversations about their unacceptable behavior, right?

Anyway, I’m thinking that I’m bound to see more of these outbursts of temper as he gets older!

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winter wonderland


…for lots and lots of snow!!!  Besides my family being stricken by the stomach flu (Yes, Travis came down with the flu in a BAD BAD way.  I, on the other hand, am still healthy.), we are receiving record amounts of snow here in St. Louis!  I am thrilled because there’s nothing I like better than a white Christmas.  As of right now, the weather man just announced that we have 6 inches on the ground with lots more to come!  Here’s a picture of our house in the snow:


Look for more snow pictures soon.  Until then…


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what a week!

The week started off like this…


Owen has discovered his tongue and can’t get enough of it!  He constantly has it sticking out of his mouth.  It’s pretty cute.


Owen got to spend a lot of quality time with his best buddy, Max.  He lights up when he sees Max.  He loves to touch him and pull his hair.  He thinks it’s great when Max licks him, as you can tell from this picture!

During the week, Owen got a chance to wear some of his holiday duds!  Nana Jules keeps him outfitted in the holiday attire!   But as the week went on, that happy, healthy kid turned into the kid in this picture:


Yeah, I know he’s smiling and playing with lots of toys, but look at those eyes!  Those are the eyes of a kid who came down with a VERY nasty case of the stomach flu!  Owen has always been the type of kid who spits up a lot after he eats.  I often wondered if I’d know the difference between spit up and vomit…let me just say that I don’t wonder that anymore!  After throwing up seven times yesterday, the poor kid was pretty wiped out.  Today Owen felt a little better and was even able to play with some of his toys (as you can see in the picture).  The doctor told me that the stomach flu is really going around and is extremely contagious.  So far, Travis and I are healthy.  I hope it stays that way.  I have tried to imagine taking care of Owen while I am sick as a dog with the stomach flu…it’s not pretty.

Hopefully we’ll have more interesting posts next week when we’re all back to full health!

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Hey all. Sorry we haven’t had much up this week. Things have been a bit hectic. For those of you needing an Owen fix, I’m sure we’ll get something posted soon. Until then, try to stay as excited about Santa as Buddy the Elf is in this clip.

Only 12 more days…

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look what i did today!


My baby’s growing up! Today Owen ate (or should I say, sucked on) his first cracker!! He LOVED it! In fact, he got mad when it had disintegrated into mushy, slimy pieces and I had to take it away.

At first, he worked on picking up the cracker. When that was mastered, he wasn’t sure exactly what to do so he banged the cracker on the high chair tray for a while. Then, he finally put the cracker up to his lips! I erupted into applause, which made him smile and want to do this fantastic applause-getting task again! For about 15 minutes, Owen was satisfied with sitting in his high chair, sucking on his cracker while it dissolved in his mouth.

At the end of the experience, Owen looked like this…


…a very satisfied 6 1/2 month old who now has had a taste of the good stuff. Will he be content to go back to pureed sweet potatoes and bananas? We’ll find out this evening…

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four years ago today…


…Travis and I got engaged! No, unfortunately this is not a picture of us right after we got engaged. This is actually a picture of us from last weekend, but at least it’s a picture of us.

Some of you may know our story, some of you may not. For the sake of the memories, I’ll retell it for you!

Travis and I were friends all through college. We didn’t start dating until the summer after we both graduated. (We blame that on my mother…she told me that I was going to marry Travis when I was only a sophomore in college. Had she not said that, the romance may have begun earlier!) Because we had been friends for so long, we didn’t date very long before we knew that this was it. On December 5, 2003 we were celebrating our 6 month anniversary of dating. We were doing the long-distance relationship thing (Emily in Columbia, M0 and Travis in St. Louis). Travis surprised me by coming to my classroom after school (I was teaching first grade at the time) and taking me to Kansas City for the evening. He told me we had reservations at the Plaza III restaurant. As we were driving, we got a call from our friend, Tyler. He was having car trouble and was stuck in the middle of nowhere. Being the kind friends that we were, we decided to bail on our dinner reservation and rescue Tyler. (Little did I know, this was all a set up. I had NO idea, seriously.)

As we neared the place where Tyler was supposed to be, I realized that we were nearing the place where Travis and I had had the “talk” to determine that we were going to begin dating. (This place was a friend’s hunting cabin. We had been in a wedding and the whole wedding party had stayed in these hunting cabins after the wedding.) Then it dawned on me…there was no broken down car. I noticed that Travis was getting awfully quiet, and I realized this might not only be a 6 month anniversary celebration. I remember conversation lagging, because what exactly are you supposed to say when you realize that you might be about to receive a proposal of marriage?? I sure didn’t want to ruin his surprise. We pulled up at the hunting cabin and he helped me out of the car. Inside the cabin he had candles all set up. He said some sweet things, got down on one knee, and I said yes!

For those of you wondering, we did end up going to the Plaza III for dinner. I remember being convinced that EVERYONE knew that I had just gotten engaged. I walked around in the freezing cold temperatures with my hand exposed, showing off my sparkling new diamond! (Again, I was sure that everyone knew that the ring was brand new!) It was a fabulous night, one that Travis never forgets to celebrate. Happy Engagement Anniversary, Travis!

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Every Christmas, I find myself really wanting to watch the ole’ Holiday kids TV specials. Of course, Charlie Brown and How The Grinch Stole Christmas are must-watches. But then there’s Rankin/Bass’ “classic” claymation special, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Let’s be honest here, Rudolph isn’t up to par with Charlie and the Grinch. For one thing, it’s an hour long – and that last 30 minutes with the island of misfit toys and what-have-you is stretching things pretty thin.

Yet, every year I still find myself actually excited to watch Rudolph, skinny Santa, Yukon Cornelius, Herbie the elf, and of course, the abominable snowman. Maybe it’s nostalgia that draws me in. Or the kitsch factor. Regardless, it was on CBS last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it (even after Owen went to bed…and yes, we WILL own this on DVD whenever he’s old enough to appreciate it).

So, friends, I give you what has to be the most annoying – yet memorable – song in the entire special: “A Couple of Misfits.” One thing of note: I’m not so sure being “a dentist” is what makes Herbie the elf so different from the other elves…if ya know what I’m sayin’…

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