Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Celestial Wonder

Not only is there the excitement of New Year's Eve in the McClintock household, but tonight the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Venus align with the moon! Now, if you have a 4yr old boy who is totally into space and the planets, you will know why this is so exciting.

"Venus, brighter than all other planets and stars, will dangle just below the thin crescent moon in the southwestern sky. It'll be visible -- impossible to miss, in fact -- just as the sun goes down, assuming skies are cloud-free.
Soon thereafter, Mercury and Jupiter will show up hugging the south-southwestern horizon (just above where the sun went down) and extremely close to each other. Jupiter is very bright and easy to spot; Mercury is faint and harder to see, but it'll be apparent by its location just to the left of Jupiter." (Robert Britt

Venus, we spotted right away from our front yard. (the pictures above) Ristow was ecstatic! Unfortunately trees block our view of the sunset so Christopher and Ristow headed off in the car in search of Ristow's favorite planet- Jupiter!

Upon their arrival home I heard of great exploring and the perfect hill where they could see the planets in the sky.

What an exciting new year lies ahead, full of learning, enjoying God's amazing creation and being together!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

4yr old + roll of toilet paper + mom in the shower =

It actually went all down the hallway and around through the kitchen too!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Excitement

Christmas Eve was wonderful for us. We went to Christmas Eve service and Ristow was precious, singing songs and wishing everyone Merry Christmas, he even got to hold his own candle during the candle lighting. He was very proud of himself. Then when we got back to the house, he couldn't wait to set out cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. (something he had been wanting to do for the last three days straight)
It took him a long time to fall asleep, too excited I guess. He came out of his room numerous times and about 10pm finally gave in. We had a great time of fondue and conversation with family and headed for bed.
Well, when staying at Christopher's parents house, we sleep downstairs in their basement, Ristow sleeps in the room on the main level by Grandma and Grandpa. (Normally this is a fabulous setup as they tend to watch him in the mornings so we can sleep in.) But I was so afraid that I was going to miss him getting up and seeing his stocking and the empty cookie plate. I woke up at 3:30am and couldn't fall back to sleep. I don't think I have been that excited on Christmas Eve since the 2nd grade. Finally around 5am I got up, Amy's husband Todd was up too, so we chatted and headed upstairs to make some hot cocoa and coffee. Then followed Christopher's mom Beth, then Christopher around 6am. Soon C's dad Paul joined us too. Ofcourse Todd decided to wakeup Amy as it had become a family affair, waiting for Ristow to rise. Ristow usually sleeps til about 6 or 6:30. Christmas morning he decided to sleep til 7:30.

We all had a wonderful morning together and Ristow was so excited to see his note from Santa and open his presents. The space shuttle with boosters and a fuel tank had finally arrived!
We had a great dinner and headed to Nana's for more presents and dessert. Nana had been secretly making mittens for the entire family since August. What a fun surprise! Thanks everyone for a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

4yr Old Wisdom

While visiting Christopher's family here in Ohio, we were driving to Nana's house and talking with Ristow about relationships between the different people in the family. (like Grandpa is Daddy's Dad and Nana is Christopher's grandma) Confusing for an adult let alone a 4yr old.

From the back seat Ristow says " Nana is Daddy's grandma, where's your Grandma?". Caught totally off guard I tell him she is up in heaven with Jesus. The reply of " Is she dead?" brought unforeseen tears to my eyes. I tell him yes and he asks "Why is she dead?", luckily Christopher took that one and explained that God decided it was her time to join him in heaven. Ristow pauses for a moment and then looks at me and smiles. "Mom, I know, Nana can be your Grandma now!" With tears running down, I smile back and say yes Ristow you are right, what a great idea. I thank him and we get out of the car at Nana's house.

Christopher's Grandma was delighted at the story when we told her and made sure to give me an extra hug, full of the same type of Godly love my own Grandma would have given. I am blessed to have and to have had such amazing women love me and call me granddaughter.
Thank you Ristow for reminding me of my blessings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

School Christmas Program

Well today was our preschool Christmas program and I am glad to say that all went great. Ristow has become so much more comfortable in front of people and loves to sing to anyone that will listen. His class sang, sweet little baby jesus boy and jingle bells. It was really cute. I am so proud of him. He has been singing around the house for weeks in preparation for the program. Now, I am sure he will keep singing just the songs will probably change.

Yesterday his teacher asked me if he sings at home a lot. Yes, I said, why do you ask? She said he was in the bathroom just singing away on the toilet yesterday and lately he just breaks into song anytime he is in the bathroom. (They always say the acoustics are better in there). ;)
I absolutely loves that he enjoys singing, hopefully he develops a better singing voice than me. he he

Sunday, December 14, 2008


One thing I can tell you about Ristow is that when you talk about giving to people who have less than he does, his interest perks and he wants to do something right away.
When he got some birthday money, he talked about giving some to God and sharing some with other people. The other night he wanted to wrap all the presents he got for his Birthday so that he would have presents to give to his friends for Christmas.
Sometimes it is hard to explain things to him and get him to understand how giving and receiving work, but the desire is definitely there. I really want to take advantage of this giving attitude and let him do something that he can see and feel in his heart. We have put money in the salvation army kettle and he comes home beaming, talking about how he is helping kids who don't have anything. I am just trying to think of what else we can do that we really touch him. Any ideas would be appreciated.
I pray that all of you are touched this holiday season by allowing God to use you to share his love to those around you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Go Away

Well, we finally experienced it. The moment I truly and really realized that Ristow is his own person and sometimes I just can't fix what's wrong.
There have been many nights where Ristow is in a foul mood or overly tired and very cranky. Well the other night was one of those nights. He unfortunately ended up in time out a few times for not obeying while we were trying to get him to bed. By the end of the frustrating ordeal. He was mad at us and all he wanted to do was to go to bed by HIMSELF. So we said goodnight in the hallway and he shut his door and went to bed.
Well, I stood outside the door listening and after a little while decided I would go in and check on him and kiss him goodnight. He was asleep when I went it, so I leaned over and kissed him on the head. Boy, was that a mistake. He woke up enough to tell me to "Go Away" and that he didn't want me. Those words, I am learning, can break a mom's heart. I guess sometimes we all just need to be alone and we can't always go to bed happy and peaceful. I was just hoping that didn't start this early in his life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Fudge Maker

For many years, my mom has carried on a long tradition of fudge making in my family. It is absolutely great fudge. Her fudge is widely known by family and friends who request shipments of it for Christmas around the country. It makes appearances at Christmas parties, cookie exchanges and dad's work. Once you've had it, you'll eagerly await the next holiday season just to have it again. Now, she will tell you there is nothing special, it is just the recipe on the back of the marshmallow jar, but don't be fooled.

This week I have been learning the art of mom's fudge and I have come to understand that it is no mere recipe, it is a beautiful expression of love. Now, of course, I made a little fun as she was showing me the exact way to stir and the exact way to spoon in the ingredients, but when I strayed from the formula the fudge balanced on a slippery slope. She truly has a certain way that everything has to go that make the fudge come out just right.

This year there is a new flavor, chocolate peanut butter layered. yum yum. The only trick is that both flavored batches need to be ready to pour at the exact same time. This is how I got into the game. I was in charge of the chocolate and am proud to say that it passed the test.
I know the importance of passing down family traditions and I am thrilled to be learning the art of fudge. I have much practice ahead of me and all I can say is I hope that when it is my turn to take over the tradition, mom passes down the infamous pan and the magic spoon in her will. ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two Nights of Baking Cookies

As I think I have mentioned before, Ristow LOVES baking cookies. We do the store bought dough, because it is faster, roll it out with some flour and cut out shapes with our plethora of cookie cutters. Then, of course, we have to decorate them before they go into the oven and then wait impatiently till they are done. It is a highly valued family project that means the world to the little man.

So, last night Mommy and Ristow made cookies. We delicately cut out our snowmen and bells and had a great time with the sprinkles. Saving Daddy a cookie when he got home from work. Ristow was proud of his accomplishment and was so excited to show them off. It was wonderful sweet time together.

Tonight it went slightly different... tonight Ristow and Daddy made cookies together while Mom made dinner. Now Ristow and Dad making cookies includes things like Homer Simpson references every time they had to roll the dough (DOH!) and lots of grunting and laughing at silly jokes. It was amusing to watch, but just reminded me how different men and women are, and how important that time with Dad is. Even if I tend to roll my eyes when they high five each other at their bodily functions. I am always thankful for family time together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Season of Giving

Recently my sister-in-law Suzannah posted a blog about the Advent conspiracy, basically the idea of giving to those who really need vs giving needless things to those who don't. She said that really there wasn't anything that she needed for Christmas so the necessity for presents wasn't there. Instead she urged people to give of their time and love to one another. (Check it out for a better explanation)

Anyway, when she and Jim were down here for Thanksgiving, they gave me my Christmas present. Zan had made me a beautiful picture. It was something so simple and so heartwarming. I love it so much and really just feel a mixture of excitement and peace when I look at it. She took the time to do something that would mean a great deal to me and use it as my Christmas gift. I just wanted to thank her and let other people know how simple a touching gift can be, and not have to be bought. (By the way, the picture is a collage of pictures and cards that she has gotten, thoughtfully put together in this great display)

Ristow's 4th Birthday

Wow! What a great birthday! Ristow smiled and cheered nonstop from the moment he woke up and wanted me to sing Happy Birthday to him, to the moment he went to bed with his new space flashlight. It was a very full day.

At school Ristow took in little packs of m&m's for his friends. His teacher said they sang to him once and he looked like he loved it so much that they decided to sing to him a second time.

After school, we packed up the cake and balloons and headed to pump-it-up, the inflatable party place. They provide the party room, ice cream, pizza, paper products and just about everything you need. It was so great and completely stress free for me. The first 30min the 8 4yr olds bounced and slid and jumped like there was no tomorrow! Then the next 30min we headed to the second bounce room for more fun. Then to the party room for pizza and presents. Ristow was in heaven as he stood there getting ready to eat rocketship cake with all his buddies singing Happy Birthday to him.
(Boy, does he love that song)

The staff was great and I was totally relaxed and had a fun time, Christopher and I even got to bounce! Who could ask for more?
At the end of the day, with the living room strewn with rocketship parts and birthday cards, I was so thankful for the 4yr old boy that God has blessed me with. His joy and excitement for everything in life is so infectious, he makes the people around him appreciate those things so much more.
Happy Birthday Little Man!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I truly feel like gratitude was a real and major focus of my weekend. I am so thankful for an amazing time with family and the willingness of my brother and his family to come down to Nashville and share with us. It was a time of blessing, laughter, love and sharing. I loved the time I got to spend just catching up and enjoying everyone. It was great to see my parents smile the entire Thanksgiving holiday too. They really seemed to enjoy having both of their kids together. Thank you to all my family for making it an extra special Thanksgiving.

Ristow just loves his Uncle Jimmy so much and just gets so excited playing with him. He also did very well with his cousin Dylan. Only a few bursts of the green eyed monster peaking through. Jimmy and Suzannah gave Ristow his birthday present while they were here and let me tell you... huge success. I model of the human body torso that Ristow just loved, as you can see from the picture. We also celebrated Dylan's birthday while they were here. It was a very celebratory weekend.

What a great time! I am truly thankful.

My Little Man

My little boy is looking big to me. I can't believe he will be four yrs old tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gingerbread House

Ristow has been asking if we can make a gingerbread house as a family. So today I excitedly bought a kit. The plan was to wait till Thanksgiving, but Ristow was so super excited, it was hard to say no. The gingerbread house came with easy instructions and everything you need already prepackaged. We set it up and started decorating.
Everything was great until Ristow decided that the gingerbread man that came with it needed an actual door to go into the house. What the heck, its only gingerbread right? Well after much struggle, Christopher cut out a door large enough for the gingerbread man and the entire back piece cracked and the roof started to cave in. Luckily, the recent experience of re-doing our bathroom came in handy as we plastered and puttied the house back together with icing. Tragedy averted, or so we thought. Turns out the housing authority (Ristow) deemed the structure not up to par and pitched a fit. It was supposed to be bigger and more gingerbread man accessible, it seems. So Christopher and I decorated the rest of the house by ourselves and had a lovely time.

In the end, Ristow settled for a picture of pretending to eat the house and then proceeded to eat the silly gingerbread man's head anyway.
(I think he will fit now!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The first leaf pile

Today was the first day that there were enough leaves in the front yard for us to rake together a good size leaf pile to jump in. We went out after school and bought a new rake. Ristow was very excited. It was a bit bizarre though, dark by 5pm and still in the 70's, we were out in the yard with flashlights. Raking and jumping, raking and jumping! We had such a good time.

Ristow's two favorite things were hiding the flashlight in the leaf pile and finding it, and then he got paper and tape and made a "diving board" on the step and jumped off the paper into the leaves. He thought he was so cool.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back from NYC

Well, we are back and recovering from the sensory overload that is New York City. We were able to stay in Brooklyn Hts at Christopher's cousin Jenny's apartment. It was fabulous. We were even able to have dinner with Jenny and her fiance Chris and hit the Brooklyn Museum of Art. We had a most amazing trip. Some of the highlights include; the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Times Square, The Bodies Exhibit (yes it was pretty awesome) and of course the Marathon!

First the Bodies... It was amazing to see the human body with no skin. They had different exhibits for each system in the body. In one it was just the nervous system with the brain, eyes and every nerve in the body. In some it was just the blood vessels, and others just the tendons. It was truly an eye opening experience. Christopher loved seeing all the muscles that his clients tend to have issues with and to be able to see exactly what they looked like posed in a real human body was fascinating.
Next, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island... We have a wonderful ferry ride over and learned so much; from the construction of the statue to the examinations the immigrants faced upon arrival to Ellis Island. Very educational and inspiring.

The MARATHON!!!... Christopher had a great race. He ran it in 4:04! I am so proud of him. I was able to meet up with my brother's friend Dann who was able to watch the race with me and help me to get around NYC and see different points of the race. I saw Christopher at mile 8 and he was doing awesome! Unfortunately I missed him at all the other spots but none the less cheered loud and clanged my cowbell for all the runners. There were a number of blind runners with guides, double amputees and other inspiring runners to be amazed by.

During the race something blew into my eye. It hurt and bothered me the rest of the day. Finally it was so irritaing and painful that we went to a 24hr emergency eye infirmary. Only in New York would you find a 24hr eye doctor on a Sunday night. They were great and after a few days of drops and such, I am all healed up. Christopher, however, seems to still be having issues walking down the stairs ;) (Great Job Christopher!)

We really loved the city. We felt like pros on the subway by the time we left. But, at the end of the day, we decided that Nashville is more our style. Though a trip back to the city is definitely in order. We have lots more to see!

Friday, October 31, 2008

I love NewYork....let it be

Christopher and I are in fabulous New York City and loving every minute of it. I think it is the little things that make it so great.
Today as we got off the subway in Brooklyn, our ears were drawn to the melodic sounds of the Beatles classic "Let it Be" played on the pan flute performed by some street performers. We couldn't help but smile and dance.
The weather is perfect and the people are awesome to watch. We walked the Brookyn Bridge yesterday into Manhattan and toured the sights, saw some great mohawks and ate some big pizza. Today we hit the Marathon Expo, experienced times square and the subways for the first time. Later Christopher wants to go see the Bodies exhibit. (yeah, the gross no skin posed bodies, yikes)
I will keep you updated on our NYC tour.
Have a great Halloween!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Beautiful Day for Bocce!

Today was one of those perfect fall days in Tennessee. Sunny, high 60's. We had a wonderful church service, great lunch, watched a Halloween parade (which, spur of the moment, Christopher and I were asked to be judges in the kids costume contest) and played an exciting game of Bocce ball!

I honestly forgot how much fun Bocce can be. For those who don't know, in bocce, there is a small ball or pauline that is thrown, then up to four players who each have two balls take turns trying to toss their ball and hit or get closest to the pauline. Whoever gets closest gets to throw the pauline for the next round. It may sound simple, but when you play with people like my dad who likes to throw the pauline on the side of a hill or other difficult spots it can make the game quite interesting. And there's Christopher who ended up juggling the bocce balls like a pro. (well kind of) ;) We introduced Ristow to the game and he seemed to enjoy it, more of course when he would win. But, none the less, it was a fun way to spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Bring on the Bocce ball!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dr. Ristow?

Lately Ristow has been totally excited about bones. No, not the halloween skeleton kind of bones but bones bones. X-rays, medical book diagrams etc. He loves to tell anyone who will listen about your skull and vertebrae, it is pretty funny. And lately, he wants us to read a book at bedtime that is all about the Mayo brothers, you know the ones who founded the Mayo Clinic? He is pretty amazing. He listens intently and really soaks up all the information. Future Dr in the making?
Three is such an inquisitive age. I really enjoy that part of 3. Like the other night, Ristow asked Christopher where poop goes once you flush in down the toilet. (the important questions in life) After, Christopher's explanation about the pipes and a cleaning plant, Ristow wanted to see the pipes. So downstairs they headed, Ristow asking questions all along the way. I was just impressed that Christopher had as many answers for him as he did.
Anyway, I hope that Ristow excitment for learning stays with him throughout his life.
If only he was this excited about listening when I ask him to get dressed or put his toys away ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Superhero Birthday Party

Saturday we took Ristow to a friend from school's 4th Birthday party. It was held at a local gymnastics place and the kids were supposed to dress as their favorite super hero. Ristow has been very excited about the party for quite a while. Ofcourse last minute he decides that he doesn't want to wear his costume and pitches a fit. Anyway, after that it was great. The facility was wonderful and the staff was great with the kids. They bounced on trampolines and dove into big foam pits, zip lines and slides. Ristow had a great time and it was neat to see him interact with other kids that I don't normally get to see.

While there, we could totally see why Ristow got kicked out of his last gymnastics class. Yes, my son got kicked out of gymnastics, crazy huh? The instructor said they he had trouble waiting in line and staying with the group, which is dangerous with lots of other equipment and flipping kids around. At the b-day party, Ristow would run over to us after each turn and then something would catch his eye and he would want to run over and explore it. It was a very cool place with lots of big, new pieces of equipment. I wanted to run over and explore some of that stuff too. Maybe that is where he gets it from ;)

All in all it was a great time!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Date With My Husband

Last night I was able to surprise Christopher (thanks to my mom and dad for watching Ristow) with a night out. Nothing fancy, just a nice dinner at a restaurant we hadn't tried before and some shopping. It was funny how a few hours of interfacing does so much good.
I love going out to eat with Christopher, not just for the mere fact that I love to go out to eat, but because we sit face to face and have conversation together. At home we sit next to each other most times, but not really face to face looking in each other's eyes and talking. Or when we do sit and talk, we hear "mom!, excuse me mom! " as Ristow pokes his head in front of my face to try to get me to talk to him and not Christopher.
So a night out is a good thing. It gives you time to have fun with each other, to laugh, to remember why you got married in the first place. Christopher and I have so much fun together and sometimes stress and home and family can cloud that memory. A night out helps us to be better connected, improves our communication and all in all allows us to be better parents.

Next month we are joining a babysitting swap, we watch all the kids for one evening and we get four date nights in return. Granted there are 8 kids (for 5 families) and that one evening may be a handful, but I am hoping that the benefits of 4 date nights will more than make up for it. We will be rotating through 2 date nights a month. It looks to be promising. I will keep you updated on that one. I am sure lots of good stories will come out of that one!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Inner Ohioan

Yesterday after school we went to the Pumpkin Farm. One of Ristow's favorite places. They have pumpkins, of course, tractors, animals, a corn maze and all sorts of fun stuff. We really enjoy going there. But one thing got to me this year, the weather. Now, don't get me wrong, one of the reasons I love living in TN is the weather, but going to the pumpkin farm in 82 degree heat just seems wrong! My inner Ohioan seems to come out this time of year. I am ready for long sleeves, sweaters, hot cocoa; but all I get is extended summer with a few pretty leaves. I know soon enough the weather will be cold and I will be wishing for spring but it is hard not to miss the Ohio falls. The colors are a little more vibrant and the cool breezes kiss your cheeks on walks in the leaves. What great memories. No, I am not thinking of moving back, just enjoying reminiscing.

For all you northern folks, take a walk, breathe deep the smells of fall, take mental pictures and maybe I can live vicariously through you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Raining Love

Today as Ristow and I were leaving school it was pouring rain. I was trying to figure out how to get us both to the car as dry as possible with no umbrellas. As I was stressing about getting wet, Ristow says " its not rain, its love falling from the sky!" How can you argue with that. We headed off to the car in the rain with little smiles on our face and didn't mind so much the love soaking our clothes. That boy makes me smile!


This past weekend my cousin Dennis got married in PA. It also happened to be a time for the Ristow Clan to reunite. (Ristow is my mom's maiden name for those of you wondering where I got Ristow's name). Ris and I flew up to Buffalo and then had a limo take us to my aunt's house. The guy picked us up in the airport and he even had a little sign with my name on it! I have always wanted to be that person that was being picked up with their name on the sign! I know its a bit silly but it sure was fun.
Anyway, my mom was able to spend a wonderful weekend with her brother, sisters and cousins. It has been a number of years since everyone was together. It was great! The wedding went wonderfully and my Aunt Lee was a supurb hostess.

Christopher met up with us on Saturday evening, in time for the reception. He had just finished a century ride with one of his best friends in OH. He had a great time and was a champ!

I forget how much good it does my heart to be with family. What a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Like Father Like Son

I think it is understood that little boys watch their dads and try to do what they do and be like them. It is a good practice for development and helps them grow into men. I don't know if it ever stops though. This weekend we saw Christopher's parents and he and his dad were living up to this idea. Whatever one did, the other one tried just the same. It was pretty amusing. Christopher did a pull up on the playground monkey bars and then his dad had to do one. Christopher's dad climbed into the giant tree trunk and then Christopher had to join him. It mad me smile to see them together and to know that Christopher and Ristow will be the same way.

We all spent the night at General Butler State Resort Park in Kentucky. It was beautiful. In the summer they have mini golf, paddle boats, fishing, swimming, a cool train for the kids, tennis courts and a golf course. We were able to manage a ride on the train which Ristow loved. It was a wonderful little get away with Christopher's family and we all had a great time together.