28 January 2010


Last night as I read with Caroline and Tucker (for almost an hour!), I realized that I needed to do another post of the good things that are going on right now. Needless to say, reading with the kids is at the top of the list. Sometimes we just need a reminder of all the blessings that surround us. Here goes...

*Reading with the kids! This was especially good because Tucker sat with us on the bed the entire time. Caroline even took a turn telling stories.
*Listening to Tucker sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and not missing a single word
*Watching the kids play together and with their friends...we've come a long way!
*Having the opportunity to go to Spiritual Direction and feeling like an adult
*Holding little babies at PMO and being thankful that we survived those tough months with little sleep
*Watching Caroline show so much interest in what's going on in the kitchen...She always wants to help us cook, no matter how difficult the recipe.
*Hearing Tucker in the morning say "Mommy, I need you" from his crib, knowing the day will come when he doesn't need me (or at least won't admit it)
*Waking up to no children in our bed and knowing that Caroline stayed in her bed all night (talk about a blessing!)

I could go on and on and on, but I'll stop there. Thanks for reading...

A New Dish

I'm not really a fan of New Year's resolutions, but I do believe in making some worthwhile changes. One of things I wanted to do was be a more adventurous eater. This also means that I need to be a more adventurous cook! I tend to pick out recipes that a) have a maximum of 10 ingredients...2 of these are usually salt and pepper; b) involves chicken or ground beef; c) takes no longer than 1 hour to prepare; and d) needs a 9x13 baking dish which means I'm making a casserole. I definitely need to branch out.

I looked through lots of cookbooks and found several interesting recipes that the "old" Mary would not have chosen. One recipe I found was for a Southwestern Steak Salad. This may not be adventurous to most people, but this is not something I would have normally chosen for several reasons. I usually do not put meat on a salad, especially steak. While I like Mexican food, I tend to stick with quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos. I prefer traditional salad dressings and I generally would not want ranch dressing to be mixed with smoky chipotle salsa.

I put all those ideas aside and tried this new dish. However, it did involve fewer than 10 ingredients and it took about 20 minutes to make...baby steps here. It turned out really well! Chad and I both liked it and now that I have almost an entire jar of salsa left, I think I will be making it a few more times. There is one thing that I could not do - any guesses? - eat the tomatoes! Chad had a few extra on his plate. (Some things may never change)


This is where Caroline napped yesterday...half in her room and half in the dining room. I told her she had to stay in her room. She must have fallen asleep in the middle of her protest, and stayed there for a little over an hour. And she said she wasn't tired...

Fish Tank Treasures

Can you find the following items that Tucker dropped (on purpose) in the fish tank?

-green fish net
-blue ink pen
-votive candle

What you won't find is the camera case that floated and was saved immediately. Thankfully the camera was not in the case...that would have been really bad. Tucker has always loved putting random objects in the tank. He isn't picky about what goes in as long as it is within arms reach. We have scooped out many pacifiers from the fish tank. I guess he had to be more creative since we don't have any pacifiers around.

26 January 2010

Fowler Center Play Time

Last night we all went to the Fowler Center for some play time. The kids had not been out of the house all day and they really needed a new space to get some energy out! Chad worked out on the tread mill while the kids and I walked (and ran) some laps around the indoor track. Tucker was very interested in the boy that was playing basketball. Tucker had his football and tried to play basketball with it hoping the older boy would notice his skills. Unfortunately, a football doesn't quite work on a basketball court.

After we finished on the track, we went to check on Daddy and see how he was doing. The kids sat on a bench right behind the tread mill and watched Chad for a few minutes. Before long, Caroline noticed the big green exercise ball that was unattended. She grabbed the ball and ran into the nearby racquetball room. This was perfect! We've all wished for a big room where the kids could play and not get hurt, and here it was! Caroline had the bouncy ball, Tucker had his football and there was nothing but open space and four walls one of which was glass so I could see their every move. They could squeal and scream and have a blast while I sat quietly on a bench outside the room. It was great!

Once they were finished in there, we walked over to the indoor tennis courts and watched the people play tennis. Caroline was excited by this and really wanted to get down there with them and play. Thankfully at this point, Chad finished up and it was time to go. As we walked to the car (by way of the indoor pool to say bye to the water), Caroline said, "whew, I'm warming out." What she really meant was, "I'm worn out." Either way...I'll take it! Mission Accomplished!

1,2,3,4,5,6,6 PARTY!!

For the second year in a row, we had a big birthday bash for all the January babies. We had little boys turning 1,2 (Tucker), 3, 4, and 6 and girls turning 5 and 6. Almost all of the seminary children were in attendance and we had a great time. Because there were so many January Birthdays, we had to have in at the seminary rather than in someone's house. It was crazy! The kids played dress up and painted nails in the fashion show tent, played limbo, played with playdough, and ate cake and other snacks. We also had a pinata which was lots of fun! It was a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon for the kids of the seminary. Caroline and Tucker came home and went right to bed...they were exhausted!

25 January 2010

No More Pacies!

We did it! No more pacifiers in the Krouse house! On Saturday, we were on our way home from Chattanooga and the kids were exhausted. They both fell asleep in the car without the assistance of a pacifier. As they were sleeping so peacefully, I asked Chad if he was up for the challenge of becoming a paci-free house. After a very brief moment of silence, Chad hesitantly said, "well...OK."
We came home and put Tucker down in his crib to finish his nap. He went right back to sleep with no mention of a paci. We put Caroline in her room to finish her nap, but she immediately asked for a pacifier. When I told her that she and Tucker were not using pacifiers anymore she began to cry and cry. I knew this transition would be harder for her than Tucker. Although she did not go back to sleep, Caroline did spend about an hour in my arms. I must say that even though she was unhappy and whimpering, it was some good snuggle time!

Yesterday, as the kids were playing with their friends, Tucker found a pacifier. He did not put it in his mouth or even try to take it. He picked it up and looked for it's owner. Yay Tucker! Also, one of Caroline's friends had a paci and Caroline had to point that out to me. She was fine with it, but just wanted me to know that she saw it and didn't want it. Yay Caroline!

I have been very surprised at how well the kids have done. I really thought taking the pacifiers away was going to be a huge battle and Chad and I would end up caving in and giving back the pacies. I have frequently reminded the kids (mostly Caroline) that we don't use pacifiers anymore. She would proudly look at me and say "Yes Mommy. We don't need pacies. They are for babies." Tucker has not asked for a paci at all. It is like he never even had one. Thus far, we have gotten through two days of naps and two solid nights of sleep with no major paci issues. This has been great (and unexpected)! Best of all, I can see how proud Caroline is that she was able to give up her pacies cold turkey. I think she may have even surprised herself. Hallelujah is all I have to say!

21 January 2010

"I'm So Tired"

Caroline had a rough time getting to sleep last night. She DID NOT want to go to bed! I wasn't feeling well so I was already in bed, as was Tucker. Chad laid in the bed with Caroline for about 20 minutes and she was not giving up. As his voice got sterner, she giggled louder. I could tell that this was not going to end well, but we knew she was tired. Finally, Chad left her room and the cries began. She fussed for about 10 minutes and then I heard her say (loudly), "I'm so tired," followed by more fussing. Once she said that, we knew it was just a matter of time before she would fall asleep. Sure enough, she stopped crying shortly thereafter.

16 January 2010


Tucker found an old R-MWC hat and wore it all day. He and Chad went to the grocery store and he had it on. We went to play with Hattie and Noah and he had it on. Even this afternoon when he woke up from his nap, he immediately asked about "muh hat." He would only wear it backwards because when he wore it correctly, the brim fell down in his face. He has also been carrying around this football nonstop. He knows how to say (and motion) "touchdown" and bend over and say "down-set-hike." He is most definitely a little boy!!!


Uncle Chip gave the kids Twister for Christmas. Caroline has been begging me to let her play with it for days and days. I finally gave in last night. I thought it might be a good learning game for her with the colors and deciphering between left and right. It worked pretty well for the first 2 minutes. Then, once Tucker joined, it turned into a wrestling mat. We'll keep trying!

The Cross

Here are a few pictures taken at "The Cross." We spent some time out there enjoying the nice weather on Friday afternoon after we picked Chad up from EfM training. The kids love to see The Cross and look down into the valley. They really liked getting out of the car and climbing around the steps at the base of The Cross. This is definitely Sewanee landmark!

15 January 2010

It's Friday!

I am not sure what Tucker would do without Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It is his only TV request and knows most of the catch phrases. His favorites are "Oh Toooootles!" and "Mishca moushca, Mickey Mouse!" He is awfully cute when he gets in his Mickey Mouse zone. Most times Caroline is agreeable and will watch Mickey Mouse with him. I managed to get a few pictures of them on the couch together.

Today was finally a warmish day. We went to the park with our friends and all the kids had a great time and loved finally getting a chance to play outside without freezing. Tucker quickly found the muddy spot on the playground and was very tempted to walk through it. While he did get mud on his shoes, it could have been a lot worse! The kids had a picnic lunch (thank goodness for Happy Meals) and played and played until they willingly admitted it was time to go home and rest. Caroline and Tucker walked to the car without any resistance...they were tired!

14 January 2010

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time!

Just thought I'd share my most recent status update on Facebook.

Mary Lewis Krouse just had the following conversation with Caroline: "Caroline did you hit Tucker?" She replies, "Yes I hit him with the bottle." I said, "Why did you hit him?" She said, "because I just found it and he was there." Sibling rivalry, here we come!

13 January 2010


Caroline and Mommy sledding behind COTA.

Tucker loved sledding on his own!

Caroline had a good time, too!

Yeah, she liked it!

Daddy and Tuck slide down the hill!

09 January 2010

Happy Birthday to Tuck!

Dearest Tucker,

How is it possible that you are already two years old?!?! I can't believe how quickly you have grown. You were the sweetest little baby boy and now you are still the sweetest little boy around. I love that you let me hold you and snuggle with you before you go to bed. (We really, really appreciate the fact that you are a good sleeper, too!!! Thanks, Tuck!) Your head on my shoulder and arms around my neck is possibly the best thing ever.

You love your sister and just adore your Daddy. "Carwine" is so much fun for you and you try so hard to please her...good luck with that! I love watching you and Caroline play together and making each other laugh. For better or worse, you are learning so much from her. I can see you watching her every move and trying to be like her. For the record, she thinks you are pretty awesome! As for Daddy, you always have to know where he is and what he is doing and this usually involves updates every 5 minutes, even if nothing has changed. I love what a caring little boy you have become.

You are curious, energetic and just genuinely fun! I am certain that you are 100% boy and I love you just the way you are. Tuck, you bring much joy to our lives and we love you! You will always be my favorite little boy...

Mommy, Daddy and Caroline

**Just so you can see Daddy and Tuck in their matching clothes...cuties!

Tucker Turns Two

At about 7:30 this morning, I heard the sweetest little voice say "Mom-may. I neeeeed you." A few minutes later we heard "Dad-day. I neeeeed you." He went back and forth between mommy and daddy for about 15 minutes until we got up. Tucker never fussed or cried, just continued with the "I neeeeed you." I went in his room and got him out of his crib and told him Happy Birthday and then started to sing Happy Birthday. Tucker quickly said "No Mommy. No sing it." Why won't my kids let me sing Happy Birthday to them?!?!

Tucker and Caroline made breakfast with Daddy and then Tucker opened presents. We gave him a truck movie, a set of plates with trucks, planes, trains, etc. on them, a truck book and a set of puzzles with trucks, trains, buses and boats. He was in heaven. He snuggled with Mommy on the couch and we watched the truck movie. This was a very exciting Saturday morning for one special birthday boy. His next favorite thing was the new football. He did not put it down and even insisted that he take it with him when we went out to run errands today.

All four of us went to Winchester and had lunch at the Mexican restaurant and then on to a few more places. Caroline wanted to get him a balloon. She picked out a very bright and colorful Happy Birthday balloon and a blue star balloon. They were both pretty excited with the balloons! After a short nap we went over to school to do some sledding. It was 17 degrees so we did not stay long. We each made a couple trips down the hill and that was enough. Tucker kept saying "I cold Mommy" and of course Miss Drama wasn't just cold but "freezing!"

I do not have any pictures of Tucker eating the cake because that hasn't happened yet. After sledding we went to our friends house for dinner and forgot the cake. And, I wasn't about to give him the cake with tons of icing when we got home just before bedtime. However, he did have a taste of the cake earlier this morning. He would sneak into the kitchen, pull up a chair and swipe the side of the cake to get some icing. Shortly after that, he got brave enough to take off a wheel (oreo) and eat that. He was so kind as to bring one for his sister. I think he just did this so if he got in trouble, then she would too...such a smart little boy! So, we will do the fire truck cake tomorrow and take pictures then.

08 January 2010

Fire Truck Cake

So it may not be contest worthy, but I think Tuck will love it! He is napping now and has not seen the cake yet. I must say, this was more work that I expected and icing is not my favorite medium. Now if I can just keep Chad from stealing the Oreos until Tucker officially blows out the candles tomorrow!

Caroline is on the left (note the bow) and Tucker is in the driver's seat.

The number "2" engine for obvious reasons.

Here is the side view on the rosy red fire truck cake.

The back of the cake, with Tucker's initials at the bottom.

Sure hope he likes it because it may be a while before I attempt something like this again!