29 November 2009

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

On Saturday I decided that it was time to get a Christmas tree. Chad was hesitant because it wasn't even December yet (which normally I would agree), but we have several busy weekends coming up and I wanted to make sure we got one while they were still available. Last year we ended up getting one from Home Depot because it was the only place we could find one. Although the tree was fine, I didn't necessarily want a repeat of last year. We got this year's tree from Dotson's Market in Monteagle. They were marked $37.99 which turned out to be a good price for freshly cut tree. This one was also a little larger than trees we have had in the past.

The kids were excited. Well actually, Caroline was excited because of the tree and Tucker was excited because Caroline was excited. They were in the car when the man put the tree on the top of the Jeep. This caused much confusion as they just couldn't figure out where the tree was. Once we got home they jumped out of the car and got a good look at the tree on our roof. This was not a sight they see everyday. Chad trimmed up the bottom and got it in the stand and in the house on Saturday afternoon. We had planned on decorating that evening and wanted the kids to be a part of it. However, because Caroline did not think she needed a nap, she fell asleep just a little after 6 pm and didn't wake up until the next morning.

So today was the day we would decorate the tree. It was looking pretty bare and Caroline kept asking when we were going to put the lights on it. Tucker wasn't nearly as enthusiastic, as he and the tree started off on bad terms. He kept throwing his pacifiers in the tree and then stood in front of it and screamed "paci!!!" It seems as though he forgot that he had thrown his pacifiers and that the tree had not reached out and grabbed them from his hands. Tucker also said "go away tree" over and over.

Finally this evening, we went to the attic to get the boxes of Christmas goods. Chad and I got the lights put on and then it was time to hang the ornaments. I honestly thought this would be a fun family activity that we all would enjoy. It was cold outside, our bellies were full from dinner and chocolate ice cream and we had a fire in the fireplace...the conditions were perfect! Well, Tucker and Caroline thought the ornaments were toys. The first five ornaments that I put on came right off almost as if it was a game. Not to mention, the kids decided to crawl under and around the tree. Not cool! Caroline's bow fell out of her hair and Tucker brought it to me and insisted that I put it in his hair.

We soon realized that we would be decorating until midnight at this rate. It was time for Tucker to go to bed. He insisted that he take a train ornament (that was Chad's as a child) to bed with him. He was quiet as always and then I heard him fussing. I went in his dark room assuming that he had dropped his pacifier, when I heard him say "train, Mommy-oh no!" The train had fallen out of his crib and he needed it. Sure enough, I found the train, gave it back to him and never heard another word. I am assuming that this would be his favorite ornament of the season.

Caroline's favorite ornament is---any guesses?---the "princess dress" ornament. She settled down after Tucker went to bed, but still managed to smash two ornaments together and break them. Thankfully, the broken ornaments were just the generic gold balls that I am trying to get rid of anyway. Miraculously, the tree is complete and looks great. I think this is one of the best trees we have had. Chad has decided that we are pulling out all the stops since this is our last Christmas in Sewanee! I'll post more pictures as we get more decorations up.

28 November 2009


Also at the park today were a couple men taking a break from riding their motorcycles. They were very kind and very willing to indulge one curious little boy. Caroline ran over to see what Tucker was doing but she did NOT want to get on the motorcycle! One of the guys even let Tucker beep the horn and he turned on the radio so Tucker could jam while sitting on the fancy motorcycle. They even suggested that Santa bring Tucker a motorcycle. Not a chance! Tucker was one happy little boy today!

Playtime in Monteagle

This morning we went out to Monteagle to run a few errands. We first stopped at Subway (aka "Ham Sandwich Shop") to get some lunch. Chad needed to go to CVS to print some pictures so I suggested that I take the kids to the Monteagle Park. It is just a little playground but it is not a place we go very often, so the kiddos were thrilled. It was in the upper 50's today so we didn't even need jackets. Tucker was super happy to see the parked school bus near the playground. He ran over to it immediately. Notice how little he looks compared to the big school bus...I cannot even think about the day he gets on a bus and goes to school!!!

Kitchen Shots

Curly Cutie! Tucker's hair was super curly this morning so I tried to get a picture of it.

Caroline was not ready to have her picture taken. She had to prepare her dish.

Now she's ready to show off her cottage cheese. Yes folks, this is cottage cheese!

Tucker and Caroline were working hard in the kitchen this morning.

Leftovers Feast

Last night we had a leftovers Thanksgiving feast. We has stuffing, green bean casserole, spinach casserole, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, baked pineapple and Stephen's Shepherd's pie with leftover turkey and mashed potatoes. It was still good on the 3rd time around. The Carson's and Caddell's came over and a few friends from Nashville joined in, as well. The adults sat by the fire and enjoyed some wine while the kids played dress up. This seems to be the new favorite thing. Caroline loves to pull out all her clothes (bathing suits included), try on eight different outfits and run around the house. Last night, tutu's were very popular.

We had another fun night with our friends! And, this was a great way to use up the leftovers, as we did not want to be eating green bean casserole for the next week! We have been going non-stop the past few days. When we did stop, it was only for sleep! Now onto the Christmas tree :)

27 November 2009

Thanksgiving with the Carsons

Yesterday we had a yummy Thanksgiving meal at the refectory, but we still had one more meal to go. We came home and Chad and Tucker took naps and Caroline and I watched Home Alone. We probably could have taken a nap, too, but there was no time for that. Caroline and I had two casseroles to make in preparation for our dinner at the Carson's house. Caroline pulled her chair up to the counter and helped me make baked pineapple and corn pudding.

Thankfully, the recipes are not difficult and there are only a few ingredients in each dish. Basically, I put everything in a big bowl and Caroline stirred it for me. She did a good job and was a big help since I was trying to do two dishes at a time. I used recipes from an old church cookbook that had been my Grandmother's, so there was no doubt that the food would be tasty! As we stood at the counter, it occurred to me that Caroline was learning how to make recipes that her Great Grandmothers had made. It was almost like there were three generations in the kitchen as we were preparing the baked pineapple and corn pudding. It was really neat to know that a tradition was continuing. Caroline was just so excited to be helping Mommy that it didn't matter what we were doing, as long as she got to stir.

Around 5:30 we went over to the Carson's house as we had done the two previous Thanksgivings. And as with the previous Thanksgivings (and most other meals) we ate about an hour later than planned. We love the Carsons! We had smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, baked pineapple, corn pudding, green bean casserole, rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Caroline was a big fan of the pumpkin pie! It was another great meal with great friends!

We stayed at their house a little longer and sat by the fire. The seminarians talked about seminarian stuff and Julie and I rearranged her living room. I realize that it is not typical for people to rearrange their living room right after a large Thanksgiving dinner, but we were both inspired and it had to be done while we were thinking about it. Around 9:30 we came home and went right to bed. Our last Thanksgiving in Sewanee was just as perfect as the first in 2007.

26 November 2009

Orphan Thanksgiving

This year we gathered in the refectory (aka dining hall) for a pot luck Thanksgiving meal. There was a good turn out and lots of food! I made a spinach casserole which I had not made before. It was pretty tasty and there was only a little bit left to bring home. We ate turkey and ham, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, baked apples, and dessert, of course. The kids played with their friends and actually ate pretty well. Tucker tried most of what we offered him. He would not try the sweet potato casserole, which I thought was one of the best things! Caroline enjoyed the mashed potatoes and I think she may have even had some turkey. The chocolate cake was a big hit for everyone. Mr. Harry and Ms. Gina were also a big hit with Caroline and Tucker!

I also wanted to include a story about our morning. Chad went to Chattanooga for the Thanksgiving service. Tucker and Caroline and I watched bits and pieces of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tucker loved Spiderman and Mickey Mouse! Caroline saw a pink princess castle that she wanted. She, of course, had on the pink princess dress. She was insistent that she would be wearing this today. I had other plans. I gave her a bath and then the great debate of what to wear started. She was in her panties crying for about an hour until she finally caved and put on "real" clothes.

I did manage to get 2 casseroles made this morning before the drama began. Caroline has a princess dress but it was ripped. I told her that I would pull out the sewing machine and stitch up her dress if she wanted to wear it. I wasn't opposed to her wearing a princess dress, I just didn't want her to wear Hannah's while eating. We went back and forth about whether or not she wanted me to fix her dress so she could wear it. This involved many tears (on her part) and me telling her more than once to stay in her room until she was ready to get dressed. Finally, she decided that she would wear her princess dress (not Hannah's). So, while most people are in the kitchen cooking, I was in front of the sewing machine trying to appease one little princess.

I asked her to pick out a shirt and pants to wear under her dress. For some reason this was no problem. I then put the princess dress on her and she told me it was not big enough. I think she wanted her skirt to poof out more like Hannah's dress did. I had the great idea of putting her tutu on underneath to make her skirt bigger. Caroline was not pleased with the result, even though I thought it looked great. So, off came the princess dress and she stayed in her pants and shirt and the tutu. Just thought I would offer an explanation in case you were wondering why the tutu!?!?!

Caroline played hide & go seek while Tucker found something on the floor to eat.

There was tons of food on the buffet!

Caroline's favorite thing was the chocolate cake!

Chad attempted to prevent Tucker from getting chocolate cake everywhere!

Tuck had too much fun running around and fell and bumped his nose.

The kids loved coloring with the infamous Mr. Harry and Ms. Gina!

Pink marker was all over Caroline.

Tucker managed to color on his eye with the markers.

He also colored his hands green.

Princess Caroline

The other day Caroline said to me "Mommy, can I be a princess when I grow up?" Well, it appears as though she doesn't want to wait that long so here is Princess Caroline. Yesterday we went over to Hannah's house to play. Hannah has a very extensive collection of dress up clothes and she was kind enough to let Caroline borrow this pink princess dress. Caroline put it on around noon, took it off last night around 9 to go to bed, and then asked for it first thing this morning. She is most definitely in a princess *phase* and wants to wear a princess dress every morning regardless of where we are going.

Tucker didn't want to miss out on the action so he was allowed to wear the tiara. He really just wanted to put it on his head and run circles around Caroline in an attempt to make her mad. For some reason she was ok with him doing that...you never know with her! I do know, however, that she will most definitely be mad when it is time to give this beautiful pink princess dress back to Hannah.

25 November 2009

Soup Night 2009

Last night we had 50 people at our house for Soup Night 2009. This is the second year in a row we have hosted this fun event and we had a great turnout. There was a fire in the fireplace and Chad had a bonfire going, as well. Kids were everywhere but no one seemed to mind. (This is another thing I will miss about Sewanee...there is a very high tolerance for letting kids be kids!) Cars were parked way down the street and all the way up the driveway. We brought in two extra tables which made our house look like a restaurant. We had 8 soups, cheese and crackers, olives, and numerous varieties of bread and desserts. It was yummy!

The kids played and played. They played outside, checked out the bonfire in the backyard, played dress-up, played with the kitchen in Caroline's room, pulled out the trains and at one point the lights were off and they were pretending (or "be-tending" as Caroline says) to go night-night. As you can see from the pictures below, they found Caroline's summer clothes and put on bathing suits and even convinced one of the boys to wear pink shorts. It was a very interesting evening! Caroline and Tucker had a great time playing with all their friends and Chad and I enjoyed chatting with our friends and getting to know some new friends a little better. As far as I am concerned, it couldn't have been better!


Below are a couple pictures of Tucker watching Mickey Mouse. He LOVES Mickey Mouse and can spot Mickey from a mile away! A child at PMO had a very small Mickey on his shirt yesterday and Tucker stopped at nothing to make sure we all saw it! This may not sound like a big deal or even unusual at all for an almost 2 year old. However, this is something that Tucker started to like on his own and not because of Caroline. He usually just likes whatever she likes, but this is one of the first things that he has "claimed." She enjoys watching Mickey but it is usually because Tucker has requested it, as it is rarely her idea. I am proud of Tuck for finding his own things to like! He even says "Oh Tootles!" which they say on the show. It is really cute. Mickey is currently the only show that he will sit on the couch and watch until the end. He usually looses interest with most of Caroline's shows, but not Mickey Mouse. So it looks like Santa might be bringing a Mickey Mouse DVD or two!

22 November 2009

My Challenge

Ok, Ok, Ok! I promise to have new pictures next time I post something on the blog. I guess we have been so busy with events that involve Mommy (for a change!) that I haven't had the camera and I just assumed no one wants pictures of the pashmina party and craft fair. The kids have been busy hanging with Daddy and spending time with their buddies at Sewanee while I have been "crafting." I have made stationary, knitted hats and scarves, book thongs, ribbon key rings and lots and lots of bows! The craft show was worthwhile as I sold quite a few bows. I still have some special orders to complete, as well.

Last week after the Thursday Community Eucharist and dinner, Caroline and I went over to Jan's house to hang out and work on some craft projects. A few other friends were there and we were all busy knitting, cross stitching and making jewelry. We were discussing different Christmas gifts we were making and that got me thinking...what if I challenge myself to make all the Christmas presents that I will be giving this year? Is it possible? Am I that creative? Will I have the time to do this? The biggest question I asked myself was if I really needed another challenge...I mean really, isn't every day with these two krazy kids challenging enough?!?!?

Well, I'm gonna give it a try with one exception. I will buy the kids' gifts from the store. I am not sure that they would be excited or even appreciate something that I have made. Plus, I do enjoy Christmas shopping. If I didn't get in a little shopping it just wouldn't feel like Christmas! I will keep you updated on my progress although I can't tell you too much as some of my readers will be receiving these gifts. So now that I've said it (to someone other than myself) I must follow through with it and I am actually excited and up to challenge.

For now, I'll go back to listening to Caroline ask why it can't be Christmas. She wants us to put a tree up immediately so Santa can come and bring her special "toys" (as in tomorrow). I am excited for the Christmas season because Caroline (obviously) gets it this year so it will be lots of fun! But, I've got lots of work to do between now and then!

20 November 2009


Rather than saying something along the lines of "What did you just say," "I didn't hear you" or "Say it again," Caroline has been known to say "What-chew-say-da-me." I think she is growing out of it, but it is so funny when you say something to her and she looks back at you with a puzzled face and says, "whatchewsaydame?" This morning I had the same reaction to something she said...see below.

Mary: "Caroline, what are you doing?"
Caroline: " Well, I'm giving the lamb a haircut at the hair cut shop because it peed on it and then pooped and that's spaghetti and meatballs."


16 November 2009

Play in the Leaves

I cannot even describe to you how busy things have been! Most of my time has been spent doing auction stuff. Thankfully that paid off and we raised almost $2500 for PMO and SOS. That is the most we have raised to date. I was out almost every night last week. I missed bathing the kids and putting them to bed, which isn't always a bad thing! However, last night after baths, Caroline looked at Chad and said, "Daddy are you gonna babysit us tonight?" At that point I knew that it was time for me to pick up where I left off and be here for their nightly routine...ok, so "routine" may be a bit of an exaggeration, as most nights are not that scheduled.

The weather has been wonderful here for about the last 4 or 5 days. It has been in the 60's and a couple times it reached 70...awesome weather, especially for November! Today I took the kids to run some errands with me. We ran up to school to pass out thank you notes for some auction folks, dropped one by the dentist's office, went to the bank and stopped by the post office to mail yet another thank you note. I had originally suggested that we go to the "new" playground out in Monteagle, but I changed my mind for several reasons. Caroline really wanted to go to the new playground until she realized that I had not brought any juice with us. At that moment she decided that maybe going home was a better idea. So, to "Brown House" we went!

We have tons and tons of leaves in our yard. Thanks to the six oak trees you cannot see any grass! Yesterday I raked some of the leaves and got the idea to make a maze in the leaves. I ended up making lots of connecting paths and the kids thought it was great. We chased each other around the paths and Caroline pushed Elmo in the stroller while Tuck pushed the grocery cart. He did not always understand the concept of staying on the path and frequently tromped through the leaf piles!

Meanwhile, I was enjoying watching and listening to the kids play as I sat in the rocking chair on the deck and knitted a hat (yes, I realize that makes me sound like I am 80). On a side note, I just found out yesterday that I have a spot in the Christmas Craft Show. That is great news but it means that I have lots of work to do so I didn't want to waste one moment! I was also thinking about how much I wished I could find the camera to take pictures of the kiddos. I am thinking (actually, hoping) that Chad knows exactly where it is. So, unfortunately no pictures but I am sure you can imagine the chaos that was about to begin.

The kids were enjoying themselves but it seemed like they were starting to loose interest. I decided that I needed to put the hat down and go play in the leaves. They were so excited to see me jump in the leaves and thrown leaves in the air. Caroline loved to pretend that it was raining leaves, while Tucker preferred to put handfuls of leaves in my hair. We all had bits of fallen leaves in our hair and clothes, but who cares...it was fun! Tucker just continued to squeal with excitement. I secretly think he was excited because he was allowed to throw something. He has been in a "throwing phase," or so I hope and everything gets thrown. Sometimes he is nice enough to announce, "Mommy, I frow it!" Of course that is said as the pacifier flies by my head from the backseat and bounces off of the steering wheel.

I am not going to lie, at first I really didn't have a great desire to roll around in the leaves and have leaf bits all over me for the next three days. But, I couldn't resist. Maybe my mind was going back 20 years and remembering when Chip and I would make leaf piles and play in them until it was dark and we had to go in for dinner. Maybe I was the one that had the most fun today?!?! One thing I know for sure, I am glad that I put down my knitting and took the time to play in the leaves. That's what childhood memories are all about.

08 November 2009

More Chocolate

Tucker loves chocolate pudding! He refused to hand it over until he got every last bit of chocolate out of that pudding cup. When he was finished he looked at me and said "I need more chocolate!" Yeah right!

Caroline: 3 or 13?

This morning we were hanging out in the living room when Caroline disappeared into her room. I heard her talking to herself, but that is not unusual. After a few minutes, Tucker noticed that she was gone and said "where Carwine?" He ran in her room and jumped on the bed as I stood at the door and watched. She told him to be quiet because she was on the phone. I heard her saying "boyfriend, those socks are for the baby..." Apparently she was talking on the phone to her boyfriend, whoever that may be.

Tucker started to really interfere so I had to step in. Once she saw me, I asked who was on the phone and she told me it was Taylor (Swift). Caroline is a big fan. She continued to talk to Taylor for a good bit longer and didn't seem to mind that I was watching. I had visions of her teenage years as I watched her sit on the bed and stare out the window while talking on the phone. Did she just turn 3 or 13?!?!

*Yes, she got dressed all by herself this morning :)

Quick Project

Chad's mom got us this little chest of drawers before we even left Virginia (over 2 years ago). I have always had the intention of repainting it and replacing the knobs. It has been on my to do list for a long, long time. Finally, a couple weeks ago I got the paint and it has been almost a month since I found the knobs. The weather was so nice yesterday that I decided it was now or never. I painted it white and added green decorative knobs. It is still not finished, as I am planning on getting Julie (our artist friend) to add some finishing touches. I know it will look great when it is completely finished!

This "quick" project led to a thorough cleaning of Caroline's room. I sorted through all kinds of stuff that I am not sure why I still had. I have a box of toys (and a few books), clothes, and bottles to donate to a homeless shelter. I was able to make lots of room in Caroline's closet. There is now room to "park" her stroller and grocery cart in there. She calls this her "conrage" aka "garage." We even did a little rearranging. Once the room was vacuumed and clean she walked in her room and said "Wow, Mommy! Thank you for my beautiful room."



07 November 2009

It's Saturday!

The kids walking down the steps to see the natural bridge.

I made them hold hands so they would stay together.

Tucker was not wanting to pose for a picture on the rock. (I told him there was a bird on my head so he would look at me.)

Caroline did not want to leave so she sat on the step until a strange man with a dog started walking towards her.

Finally they both looked at me! They have yet to realize that I will always be taking pictures of them!

Tuck and Caroline checking out the horses at the horse show this morning.

Tucker wanted to be in the horse ring. Front row on the bleachers just wasn't good enough!

Tucker and Daddy checking out the horses!

Caroline was finally brave enough to pet Spotty.

And Daddy was brave enough to pet an unattended horse that looked hungry.