Great to be 8!

This guy is 8 today!!

He is highly opposed to smiling in pictures.

We never do much on his actual birthday, because it’s so close to Christmas, but we DO have cake, because any excuse to have cake, right? I busted out all my cake decorating skills this year! If by all you mean none. This was probably the easiest birthday cake I’ve ever decorated. Far easier than the one we were reminiscing today- the year he requested a volcano cake with lava and tiny toy dinosaurs, which he insisted be dying in the lava.

Anyway, ta-da! Minecraft creeper cake.

Complete with cake crumbs all around because I take terrible pictures.

Lydia squeezed herself in here and tried to blow out the candles before Will. Apparently he wasn’t being quick enough for her taste. Happy birthday buddy!

Giddy up!

We have a sliding door leading out to our deck, and the lock is wonky, so we secure it in the classic way- by putting a stick in the track to keep the door from opening at all. This would be fine except that Lydia has recently become kind of obsessed with riding horses, and she started taking the stick to ride around. Obviously she put it back when she was done with it, zero times. So I’ve been meaning to get her one of those stick horses so she’d leave our door-lock-stick alone. By lucky chance, when I went grocery shopping yesterday Aldi had one! (Seriously, just one, alone on a shelf. It was meant to be.) We considered saving it for Christmas momentarily, but it’s really a pain to have to FIND A STICK before you can lock the door every night.

She is SO THRILLED y’all. She’s been riding it around nonstop.


When I was a kid, my grandparents lived here in Kansas City. At some point my brothers made these ornaments (kits from said grandparents? I should ask my mom.)

A football player in Chiefs colors, and a baseball player in Royals colors. My grandparents moved away from KC in the early 90s, but these ornaments went on our tree every year. Fast forward to 2014 when we moved out here. My mom sent these to us because here we are in KC! Things come full circle sometimes. These grandparents also sent us each an ornament every year (which I LOVED) and between those, ones I made, and others we picked up along the way I had quite a collection of ornaments by the time Brian and I got married.

I admire those picture perfect Christmas trees, where everything matches and nothing is out of place. They seem very grown up. But I will never have that kind of tree, because I want to get out my box of ornaments and get all nostalgic and reminisce about all of them. It’s one of my favorite parts of the season. I’ll refrain from posting pictures of all my ornaments, but I WILL post this one, because: tiny book! Tiny nursery rhymes!

So. What about your tree?

Christmas tree

We have a fake tree. This is like, 95% because Brian said we can have a real tree when I want to deal with all the nonsense that comes with a real tree. Because he doesn’t want to. So fake tree for now! You know what I miss about real trees though? Besides the smell. I loooove the smell of a Christmas tree (for now I have Christmas tree smelling candles)

Anyway, what I miss is tinsel. Tinsel is a giant pain. It gets on EVERYTHING, and you find it forever (not unlike glitter) and it shocks you with static electricity if you walk too close to the tree. Still I love it. I feel like a Christmas tree looks FINISHED when it has tinsel on it. But I’m not willing to put tinsel on a tree that has to be stored. Only on a tree that you get to throw out. I feel like nobody uses tinsel anymore. Do they? Is tinsel still a thing? I put up our tree today is why this is on my mind. We have a hodgepodge tree and I LOVE IT. 3 different kinds of lights, no matching ornaments, and completely bottom-heavy on the decorating because the kids helped. It’s the best.

Oh, P.S. I DID manage to get the cranberries & marshmallows on the tree! 3rd time’s a charm!


I ended up taking Lydia with me to Daniel’s ENT appointment today. I don’t usually do this, and today was a reminder why.

When they had me take off Daniel’s shoes to weigh him? Lydia took hers off too. Also, Lydia REALLY wanted to get her weight and height measured. Then we moved rooms, but Daniel didn’t want to get back in the stroller, so I had 2 barefoot toddlers and a stroller, and an armful of shoes to maneuver down the halls. Once in the new room, both kids pooped, and obviously I didn’t have wipes with me. Both kids tried to escape down the hall more than once, they turned on equipment, they tried to log in to the computer, they pulled paper covering off the exam table, and tried to empty boxes of gloves. I distracted them by taking pictures, which worked for about 27 seconds. Cute little terrors eh?

In actual appointment news, ears are clear, no more granulation tissue, back in 6 months. In 6 months I’ll be sure to find a babysitter.


Daniel has an ongoing thing with ear tubes. Mostly the problem is everything looks fine when they first come out but then a couple months later he fails a hearing screen and turns out his ears are full of fluid. He hasn’t had trouble with ear infections particularly. No more than our other kids, but he does have regular issues with fluid in his ears. Anyway, the result has been that he’s had 3 sets of tubes, with several months between one set falling out and getting another. And I really wish we didn’t have to wait until his hearing is in trouble again before they put new tubes in. His ear canals are tiny. He KEEPS having problems with fluid in his ears. Can we not just go ahead and put tubes in?

Currently we’re in a weird place- one tube is out, but the other had granulation tissue growing around it, so it’s still there. (This can be problematic) But tomorrow is his follow up appointment to check on the tube that’s still in and see if his other ear stayed clear or not. I’m HOPING it will be obvious if he needs new tubes. Waiting and having follow up after follow up where the ENT says “Well…let’s see how he does” only to have him fail school hearing tests a couple months later is not actually all that fun. I just want him to be able to hear! Because if he can’t hear, how can I get him to work on listening? 😂

Art and stuff

We went to the Nelson-Atkins art museum today. First time since we’ve lived here, because it always takes me awhile to get around to doing the good stuff a place has to offer. I’ve been once before, as a kid, but I remember basically nothing from that visit beyond the giant sculptures outside.

We didn’t stay long because you know, KIDS. But at least Kalena is interested in going back!

I’m sure Lydia would like to go back too, but she’s a little harder to keep track of than Kalena. Will was pouting because he wanted to be playing Minecraft, and Daniel was mad that we wouldn’t let him touch everything. But Daniel peeled up outside when he found some dirt to play in/throw at people.

Turning into mom

You know how lots of girls grow up worried that they’ll turn into their mother? I kind of expected that I would. And that seemed pretty great! She was always patient with us kids, and cooked for the family everyday, and kept the house clean, and made it seem so easy! But as an adult I realized I was decidedly NOT my mom. Nope. I’m my dad. At the end of the day I just want to retreat to a room alone and watch TV. I’m a terrible housekeeper, and, although I try hard, my kids drive me a little crazy. There are even times when they’re doing stuff that I KNOW my sisters and I did as kids and all I can think is, “HOW DID MOM PUT UP WITH US?!”

However, there are occasional times where I can see a little bit of my mom in myself. For instance, if I lose something, I follow her sage advice to clean until I find it. (Because then even if you NEVER find it, at least stuff is clean.) But what got me thinking about this is that the other day I thought, “I should have Brian put up our Christmas lights while my brother is here for Thanksgiving, so he can help!” And y’all. That is my mom right there. We used to joke about how she saved all that kind of stuff for when her sons-in-law were visiting so she could assign it to them. Anyway, I’m always amused by the quirky ways that I AM like her.

Temporary insanity

Something about the Christmas season makes me believe that I’m crafty. I’m not, particularly, but I get it in my head that I should be doing a whole bunch of Fun! Awesome! Christmas crafts with the kids. Last year I picked up some stuff at after-Christmas clearance sales to make ornaments. The clear ball type that you put stuff in. I was so pleased with myself for remembering to put away the craft stuff separate from the Christmas decorations (first time I’ve remembered that.) Anyway, I got all the stuff out last week for some fun ornament making with the kids!

First kind I was planning on having them do were these little kits I bought (uh, a long time ago) that make your ornament light up different colors with an LED light. Fun yeah? Except then I read the directions and turns out you need a soldering iron. Do you have a soldering iron? We do NOT. So next! Next I had little trees & deer & fluff to make winter scenes. But the type of ornaments I bought were the kind where you put stuff in through the top, instead of the kind that come apart into halves. Aaaaaand none of my cute stuff fit through the top. Okay, the fluff did but that’s not really enough for a winter scene. I *DID* manage to get a tiny bottle brush tree through the top (with a lot of shoving) but not with the base on, so then they just fell over. Despite my best efforts with pliers & tweezers & various kind of glue it was all just a hot mess.

In the end the kids filled a some with pompoms and tinsel and glitter. Then Lydia broke a couple, because no craft session is complete without broken stuff. Will this teach me a lesson? Probably not. I’ll still come up with some “great” idea next year, I’m sure.

I don’t do this during the rest of the year! The rest of the year I know my limitations! 😂 But THIS episode of shenanigans won’t even keep me from doing more crafts before Christmas! I still have cranberries and marshmallows to string, since that has gone so well in past years. Or something. Anyway. I plead temporary Christmas insanity. That’s a thing, right?


When Daniel started climbing out of his crib (like, a year ago) we did some INTENSE babyproofing of his bedroom. Because listen, he’s cute, but he is not to be trusted. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Today we failed to notice that there was a 4 pack of crayons in there. So Daniel did some decorating. His walls. His closet door. And his bed, OBVIOUSLY.

So. Who can tell me the best way to get crayon off my walls?