Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Crab's Revenge

The saga continues with our favorite pets...ok our only pets.
About 2 months ago one of the crabs was molting and was buried down in the sand doing his thing. (From past posts you will remember that molting is a traumatic time for a crab and they are very vulnerable and weak until their new skin hardens.) Well the smaller punk crab took advantage of the situation and stole the poor molting crabs shell leaving him weak and defenseless without a shell. While it was very cool seeing the crabs full body I quickly added some shells to the tank for him to hide in. Well, no permanent damage done.

Fast forward 2 months. The punk crab has been buried down molting for the last 5 weeks. He finally emerges yesterday and I pull all the crabs out to clean the tank. As I pick them all up and check them out I notice that the punk crab who just finished molting is missing his big claw! His leg is all mutilated and black and he has no big claw anymore.

All I can figure is that the big crab decided to get his revenge on the punk for stealing his shell while he was down and out and made him pay by ripping off the punk's claw while he was weak and defenseless molting. Who knew that the world of crabs could be so violent and full of drama? I wonder if the big crab did it himself or if he ordered a hit on the other crab. Next thing you know there will be horse heads in my tank!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Birthday Central

This past weekend was filled with cake, ice cream, decorations, lots of presents and more cake. Both of my kids celebrated their Birthday! Ristow turned 7 and Jessica turned 2.
Here is a run down of some of the highlights...

Ristow had a rocking karate party at the Karate studio where he takes lessons. It was awesome and the instructor even cut the cake with his Samurai sword! It was everything he could have wished for.

Jess had a Mickey Mouse party and once she opened up the little Mickey figurines she had to show Mickey ALL of her presents as she opened them and have him help her. Totally cute. The highlight for her was the pony jack in the box she got. She turned the crank with eager anticipation and would get so excited as it was about to pop open.

We were glad to be able to share the weekend with Christopher's parents and managed to squeeze in a Birthday dinner at Logan's for Ristow, Breakfast with Santa at church, and a drive through tour of Christmas lights. It was a busy and wonderful weekend!

More pics can be found on my Facebook page

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Carving 2011

This year carving pumpkins it was Team Werewolf (the boys) vs. Team Mickey Mouse (the girls) as determined by Ristow. Christopher and Ristow created some kind of Monster pumpkin while Jess and I opted for the cute pumpkin look.

It was funny to watch Jess tonight. She didn't know what to make of all the activity. She saw me drawing out the design on the pumpkin and thought she was supposed to be doing that too. She drew with pen all over it. Then once we opened it, she watched Ristow pull pumpkin goop out of his pumpkin with a weird look of awe and disgust on her face :) She loved making the "Blech" sound every time Ristow did and finally she reached in and touch the goop herself, with one finger. She was content with that and had fun watching Ris and running around. I guess you have to acquire the desire to touch pumpkin guts!

All in all I think the pumpkins turned out pretty good!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Leaves and Pumpkins

This is Jessica's first fall season since she has been walking. It has been very exciting to see her discover and explore and have the words for all these new experiences. This past weekend I took the kids and my mom to the Pumpkin Farm. We fed goats, went on tractor train rides, the corn maze and played like crazy! It was a blast and so great to watch Jess. I think she tried to pick up just about every pumpkin there.

Today, I raked up what leaves have fallen so far in our yard and taught Jessica the ins and outs of jumping in, kicking and throwing leaves. Though the throwing part she was a pro at ;) We had a leaf fight and buried ourselves in them. New lesson learned ... leaves are very difficult to get out of long curly hair!We laughed and played and had lots of fun. I love this season and am so excited to continue to share it with my kiddos. Though when playing in the leaves in short sleeve shirts because it is 80 degrees outside, it can be kind of itchy ;)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ristow's Cool Cut

Ristow decided last week that he wanted a design shaved into the side of hair when he got his next haircut. We had a long talk about it and decided to let him try it out.

Christopher took his to the barbershop down the street which was a much better idea than to GreatClips that was going to charge him to two haircuts, one to cut and one to shave the designs!
The guys at the shop were pros and this is what Ristow came home with...
This morning he woke up and first thing he said was "mom, is it still there?" Yes, Ristow it is. We will see how school goes today with him showing off his new style. He was super excited and decided to wear his sharktooth necklace for the full effect. School pictures are next week and he couldn't be happier!

Friday, September 30, 2011

WARNING! Jessica can now open doors (sometimes)

This week Jessica and I were playing in the kitchen and all of a sudden she reaches up and opens the door to the basement. Yikes! I scooped her up, headed to Walmart and bought safety knobs for the door. Crisis averted.

Today, I was vacuuming the house and Jess was running around wanting me to chase her with the vacuum and playing with the cord. I must of been really focused on my task at hand because after a while I realized she was longer anywhere to be seen. I turned off the vacuum and hear a faint "Mommmmmmy!" I couldn't figure out where it came from so I called "Jess, where are you?" I then hear a small knocking on the closet door where I keep the vacuum. I open the door and there is Jessica in the dark closet and all she says is "Hi". I guess she can't quite open all the doors yet :)
That kid sure keeps me on my toes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Little Girl

Jessica is different from Ristow is sooooo many ways. Ristow has always been more of an observer at first and then will try something, Jess dives in head first. Ristow never liked to get dirty, Jessica LOVES mud, dirt, water and pretty much anything messy. When Ristow was little he never climbed things he wasn't supposed to or jumped off furniture (nowadays he does), Jessica yells "Parkour!" as she jumps from the ottoman to the couch!

Today we went to the playground and of course Jess wasn't content playing on the little kids playground, she headed right for the big playground suggested for ages 5-12 :) She climbs the ladders like a pro and slides down the big slides with no fear. She amazes me. It is hard to remember at times that she isn't even two yet.
At home she wanted to play outside more and found her special dirt spot under the climbing wall of our little playground. She loves to dig and explore!
She would play outside all day long if she could. Thank goodness for nap time or I would never get anything done inside :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Warrior Dash

A number of months back I saw pictures of my cousin Carrie dressed in some crazy costume covered in mud. I thought to myself "what in the world is she doing?" Then I read about the race she competed in and how much fun she had and I thought "I want to do that too!"

As soon as I saw that the Warrior Dash was coming to Tennessee, I signed up. I was so very excited about it but wasn't really in shape for it. I hadn't been running in a while and definitely didn't feel strong. So in July I started training with one of Christopher's personal trainers Jason to work on my running and getting stronger. Wow, what a difference. Just in the month of August alone I knocked my fastest 5K time down by almost 4minutes! And, I could actually start seeing the outline of muscles in my arms and back!

By the time Saturday came around I felt super ready (besides the head and chest cold that I got Thursday) I suited up my costume, mostly donated by Ristow's costume bin :), braided my hair for the first time ever and was ready to face the challenge.
The atmosphere was energetic and there was great people watching to be done at the race. Christopher, Ristow and my Dad came to cheer me on (mom was kind enough to watch my sick little girl). The race started off and we faced everything from hale bales to barbed wire to junk cars to climb and giant cargo nets. Crawling on our hands and knees in the dirt to using ropes to pull up over walls. After each obstacle I got more and more excited proving to myself that I actually could do this! As you round the turn for the finish you jump over two rows of fire logs and then dive into the mud pit and crawl across to the finish line! It was AWESOME.
They had a few fire hoses to rinse off in but there were so many people crowding the hoses like a herd of cattle I barely got my face rinsed off. So we threw a towel over the seat of the car and headed home. Of course I was still wearing my fuzzy warrior helmet I got for doing the race :)

I am a still a bit sore today and I have a big bruise on my leg but both of those serve to remind me of what I accomplished and how hard I have worked over the last few months. My training has given me confidence and a more positive view of who I am and for that I am grateful!

I highly recommend the Warrior Dash!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thankful for Famly Time

This past week we were lucky enough to have Christopher's sister Amy and her little 11month old daughter Alma visit us here in Nashville. We loved having them here! Here are a few pics from their visit.

We went on Saturday to Centennial Park to feed the geese and ducks. Ristow and Jessica had a blast throwing crackers to the geese. Jess wanted to grab them. As we were feeding the geese in the pond, we look behind us and a giant army of geese are closing in from the rear. It was a crazy parade of them. Once they got right up to us we decided it was better to take the kids to the other side of the pond for a while :)

This is what Alma did while we fed the ducks...

Even though Jess and Alma whined and cried and tried to hit each other more than play together, we still loved having that time together. Ristow on the other hand LOVED playing with Alma and making her laugh and was absolutely great with her.

Thanks for making the trip Ames. We love you guys tons!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

First Day of School & Jazz Hands

Thursday was the first day of 1st Grade for Ristow. He was super excited. He had his new light up shoes, his new Ironman belt, his new backpack, a cool shark fin haircut and he was reading to go!
I took some pictures of him before he headed to the bus stop and he said "wait mom, I've got to do one with Jazz Hands!"
Ristow has all of sudden been doing Jazz hands all the time. Not sure where he got it from or why he thinks it is so funny, no, ok, I get the funny part. But he even wanted to take a picture of Christopher and I but wouldn't take it unless we did Jazz Hands. That kid cracks me up.

So the first day of school went great for him, he loves his teacher and all looks to be headed in the right direction. As long as he doesn't make all the other kids do Jazz Hands ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Freedom in Swimming

For the past three weeks Ristow has been taking swim lessons. They are only 10 minutes long 5 days a week. Now you may wonder what anyone can learn in only 10 minutes and I thought the same thing at first. These swim lessons are basically survival swimming. Teaching babies and kids the basics of how to survive if they fall in a pool.
Ristow has always been afraid of getting his face wet and for years I have been trying to get him to just stick his face IN the water let alone under it. Now that he is 6 1/2 yrs old, we decided it was time. Christopher knew of a woman who did these survival swim lessons and we thought we would give it a try. She is amazing! Ristow went under the water the first day (to my amazement) and took off from there! He swims under water, floats on his back, does jumps off the side and is learning the specific strokes now. He has loved swim lessons but more importantly he has loved what learning to swim has given him... Independence!

This summer we swam at the camp pool when we were up visiting my brother in PA. There were lots of other bigger kids in the pool and Ristow didn't want to swim because he didn't want to have to wear his arm floaties. That is when I understood that he was finally ready to make a change.

Today I took Ristow and Jessica to the community rec center for a last day of summer vacation swim. It was awesome. Ristow was playing in the water and doing Cannonballs like he had been doing it his whole life. I actually was able to take Jessica to the kiddie pool and watch Ristow from there while he played we some other kids his age in the big pool. He LOVED it! He jumped and swam and played just like all the other kids.
Today, as we left the pool Ristow walked with his head a little higher and a big smile on his face. He said "Mom, that was a great time, wasn't it?!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dinosaur World!

For years we have seen this dinosaur as we drove up Interstate 65 on our way through Kentucky to Ohio and for years Ristow has begged to stop at Dinosaur World. Well this past Saturday we finally made the trip he has been waiting for!
It was pouring rain as we stopped and had breakfast on our way out of town with the kids. ( An amazing breakfast by the way at a new restaurant in Brentwood) We drove north through crazy downpours praying that it wasn't raining in Kentucky. When we cross the state line the clouds parted and it looked like we were going to finally see the Dinos.

It was a fun place. It has over 100 lifesize dinosaurs throughout the park, a museum with fossils, a playground and a fossil dig where you actually get to keep 3 of the fossils you find. Ristow dug and found 2 sharks teeth and a sea creature fossil. Christopher and Ristow had fun pretending to fight the dinosaurs.They had a mammoth area that Jessica loved because she got to touch the "elephant" and made tons of elephant noises.
It turned out to be a hot and sunny day with no rain. Definitely worth the trip.
After Dinosaur World we hit Onyx cave. Ristow had never been in a cave before and we thought it would be cool. It was a little intimidating for him but in the end he liked it.

Then we hit a local restaurant that unlike breakfast left much to be desired. We did get to meet the local funeral director who was sitting in the next booth initiating some interesting conversation :)

All in all it was a fun family day! Then Christopher and I actually got to go on a date that night at a great restaurant and then to see Captain America. So thankful for a fun day together.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

When Imitation Isn't Necessarily Flattery

Before Jessica could talk she has been imitating us, learning to clap, making faces and sounds. I knew I was in trouble this past school year, when on a weekend, Jess and Ristow stayed at my parents house overnight and my mom told me that Jessica was waving Ristow's clothes at him and "yelling" for him to get dressed. Now she couldn't say specific words at the time but everyone could tell it was an imitation of me trying to get Ristow dressed before school. Funny and a bit embarrassing at the same time ;)

Since then, she has imitated more sayings and words and loves to pretend to be cookie monster and say everything in a rough low voice. (Christopher likes to pretend that he taught her to talk like Carl from the movie Slingblade). Nowadays Jess has quite the vocabulary and likes to talk almost as much as Ristow does, which as you can guess, doesn't leave much time for anyone else in the family!

This afternoon Jess took it to a whole different level. When we came in from playing outside, she grabbed a toy bunny and put it in the corner for a "time out". She said "bad, hit, out, one" then walked away from him and went back gave him a hug and made him say "sorry baby". Then she gave him a kiss and went on to play with something else. The translation of Jessica's words work out to be something like "That was a bad choice. We do not hit! Sit in time out for one minute." Which she seems to hear quite often and can now obviously imitate in her play.

It really amazes me all that they pick up and learn, even at such a young age. It also is a good self check for me to make sure she is imitating good things and not bad. Imitations like Christopher's fly dance moves or Ristow's silly faces and jokes and hopefully lots of my hugs and kisses and love!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July, Cousins, Chickens and more

After the McClintock Reunion in Ohio, the kids and I decided to drive up to PA to see my brother Jim and his family. We drove up on the 4th and made it just as the Ligonier Camp 4th of July Parade was starting! The kids were so excited and love seeing Uncle Jimmy and Dylan in the parade.
The next big excitement was seeing the cousins. Ristow and Dylan ran to each other from across the parking lot and hugged, it was the cutest thing. Right out of a cheesy movie!
When we got down to their house Jess screamed with glee as she chased after the chickens and ran around. Later in the visit she was walking around the yard and the chickens were actually following her in a little parade.
We did tons of stuff while we were there. From fireworks and sparklers

to riding horses and playing cowboys.

We picked wild black raspberries and saw a military helicopter overhead that responding to our shouting and waving with spins and circles! Ristow's other favorite thing is eating in the camp cafeteria and spending time with Uncle Jimmy.

Unfortunately I didn't get quite as much grown up conversation time as hoped as Suzannah and I spent much of the time refereeing the little ones. James and Jessica weren't quite the loving cousins we had imagined they would be. They are at that age of testing and tantrums and communication frustrations. It is a good thing they are so stinking cute ;) Lots of good hugging time was had and fun on the swings.

All in all, it was a great visit and we are so glad we could make it up to see them. Time passes so quickly and the kids grow so fast. It is important for them to know each other.
Much love to the Paul Family!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

McClintock Family Reunion 2011

Another year, another reunion. Kids are bigger, hairs are more grey, some new faces are added to the mix. But in general reunions stay the same... great food made with lots of love, hugs, laughter, small talk, catching up and sharing pieces of life together.

This year it was fun to see our little niece Alma and Jessica play together. I look forward to the cousins growing up together. They battled over laps and toys but seemed to be pretty intrigued with each other.

Ristow looked forward to his special stash of cookies at Nana's house that he only gets when we go there.
He loved talking and playing with the older kids and gave lots of hugs. We spent great family time at the pool and the playground! It was wonderful.

It was a very enjoyable visit and we are so thankful for the time we got to spend with everyone!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strawberry Picking

For the last few years we have made it a little tradition to go strawberry picking with my Mom and Dad and then we make jam together. It is lots of fun and Ristow has really enjoyed it.
When I was little my brother and I would go strawberry picking with Mom and our Aunt Betty. I have so many found memories of picking strawberries and begging to eat "just one more". They were experiences that I cherish and I am thrilled to be able to share that with my kids.

We are lucky enough to live in an area where there are numerous pick your own farms within an hour of us. We went this weekend and just barely made the end of strawberry season around here. But we picked a few baskets full and enjoyed the time together.

I filled my basket pretty quickly and moved along the row fast enough to keep my basket just out of reach of the toddler on my heels reaching for another strawberry. Jessica loved that the strawberries just kept magically appearing in my basket and would grab one and run away, shoving it into her mouth. It was only much later on that I realized she had been eating the berries stem an all. That should make for interesting digestion ;)

Ristow on the other hand picked only about 15 strawberries total. He is very particular about which berries are worthy of picking or not, so he would rather just have a few GREAT ones than a basket of mediocre ones.

Tomorrow morning is Jam morning at Mom's but at the rate my kids are eating these berries, there may only be enough for one container of jam ;) At least they are enjoying them!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Jess will be 18 months in just a few days and I am truly amazed at how much so has grown, changed and developed. She is so smart and so stubborn, so independent and so cute all at the same time. She challenges me in my patience yet warms my heart. She fights with passion to get her own way and yet conforms to the shape of my lap and relaxes into my arms for a snuggle.
She is beautiful and bold, energetic and exhausting all in a glance. I am thankful that I am blessed to be her Mom and walk along side her as she grows into the person God has created her to be.
So far the last 18 months have been an eye opener and I can't wait to see what comes next!