Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An Antibiotic Yuletide

Our first Christmas in our new house with the boys did not turn out as we expected. Late last week Owen & Gus each caught the cold & fever virus that wiped out the young Rutledge lads for five days strong. As a result naps were short, fuses were short, and some pacifiers were called in from the bullpen to salvage the holiday. Luckily for us GJ and Pappy were in town for a few days to lend a helping hand and keep the holiday spirit alive.

Despite the colds and fevers and much like in Whoville when the Grinch stole all the toys, decorations, and roast beast, Christmas still came. The four adults pulled Owen out of the sick bay long enough to sit in Santa's lap since he had missed the opportunity when the Poseys were in town. Amy and I got to attend our Christmas Eve service, and we all gathered round the tree for a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, a new tradition. We didn't let the sickness turn the house into a full-blown infirmary. There were still happy hours and some quality family time which is the best part of Chrismas anyway. Cheers!

Amy & GJ chat scarves, handwork and babies.

Gus goes to work on his new latch puzzle from the Guthries.

Owen Deere is in heaven with more tractors.

Owen patiently waits for Pappy to unharness the Sesame Street pirate ship with Elmo ("Melmo") at the captain's post.

The Rutledges pause for a seat in Santa's chair while he slips in through the trap door for the photo so the boys wouldn't be scared away.

A Merry Multiples Christmas

The Rutledge crew was treated to a visit by the Posey family last week leading up to Christmas. Uncle Scott, Aunt Ashley, Mason, Brooke and Gavin made the trek across three states to spend three days with us here in Apex. Despite the long trip and some gloomy weather, the two herds had a great time together in celebrating the holidays.

The highlights & images...

  • Securing a spot in Santa's lap
  • The Polar Express
  • Ice skating at Tinsel Town
  • An acre of sugar cookies
  • Lots of home-cooked grub
  • Wheel of Fortune (including a spaceship and a trip to New York)
  • Marty McFly and Back to the Future (1.21 gigawatts, Great Scott!)
  • Playroom with the boysJackson chasing the Tuckster

The Posey family with Owen & Gus at Tinsel Town.

The crew poses for a Christmas photo before opening presents.

Jackson pauses for a moment of relaxation before searching for Tucker's heels.

Gavin perfects his video game skills as Brooke and Mason compose a Christmas melody.

The crew invades Santa's garage and lap for a photo. (Owen crashed with his dad at home with a fever & cold.)

Our bellies were filled with a sugar cookie bonanza...

At Tinsel Town, there were ice skating exhibitions...

by Mason...


...and Brooke.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Nothing New Here...And That's the Point"

As the crunch sets in during the last few days before Christmas, here is an interesting read about a group of people in California who have pledged to not buy anything new throughout the year in the face of our modern consumer-obsessed culture.

Personally the execution of such a pact would drive me insane. But the intention is good -- simplify. I could go for some of this -- although new socks are a necessity. ;-)

Food for thought. Cheers!

"We didn't do this to save the world. We did this to improve the quality of our own lives," Perry says. "And what we learned is that we all have a lot of more stuff than you think, and that you can get along on a lot less stuff than you can imagine."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pre-Christmas Tidbits

Thoughts & updates this week as I struggle to keep my head at work and off of dancing sugarplum visions....

  • Thanks again to GJ for coming to North Carolina to visit and help out with the boys last week. We got a lot of things done that had been lingering around since the move and eating at us. We all had a tremendous time.

  • Amy had a ladies' night out on Monday leaving the boys in the care of their dad. I'm happy to report that the house was still standing when she returned, and the boys suffered no injuries that will result in scars.

  • I am wholeheartedly looking forward to a guys' weekend after Christmas to attend the Music City Bowl in Nashville. The last Kentucky bowl game I attended was in 1984 when I was 10 which coincidentally (?) was the last time the Cats were victorious in the postseason. Therefore despite all the antagonistic emails I receive from a Clemson fan who will rename nameless (from Boston....former IBMer....Pats fan....professional Jeff Tweedy supporter), I am confident that the 22-year bowl drought ends on December 29. Marty Moore will sleep well this New Year's. Clemson is going down! ;-)

  • The boys are noticing Christmas things more and more. Last week when we went to pick up our Christmas tree, we had two extremely fussy ones in their car seats until we drove by a house that would make Clark Griswold blush -- lights everywhere, giant straw figures of little drummer boys, plastic Santas, reindeer, snowmen, you name it. Once the boys saw this they were mesmerized. Owen has picked up on snowmen -- "nano" and "nanomen" in toddler-speak. If only snowmen drove trucks or tractors I think the boys would faint from overstimulation. It really is fun to watch them noticing these things more and more.

  • We are getting ready for the arrival of the Posey crew to North Carolina next week. The old-school Nintendo will be dusted off, and the boys will certainly be primed to see aunt, uncle and cousins.

  • The countdown is approaching for the arrival of Baby Crumpton -- it's just a few weeks away. I am ready to start taking bets on a baby boy or a baby girl. Personally I am undoubtedly convinced that Melanie & Roman are having a girl. Perhaps it's simply that I am getting payback by having boys for all the things I did as a child that it's only fair that Mel have a girl so she gets the same reciprocation. ;-) Whatever the reason, my gut says little girl.

  • Finally, The Office returns tomorrow with its Christmas episode which from the write-up looks tremendous. We will be glued to the tube at our house for this one. And the annual Kentucky/Louisville matchup is this Saturday. I know our friends in Louisville look to this game every year as the event to determine whether the next twelve months are spent gloating to or suffering taunts from Cardinal fans. The UK flag will be flying from the Tar Heel state.

Cheers all!

Friday, December 08, 2006

GJ, Stretch & Grow, and Booger Mountain

Nine days between blog posts is entirely unacceptable....

GJ is in town this week. We picked her up at the airport on Sunday, and it's been non-stop action all week. The boys have enjoyed having their grandmother around and are very happy with the extra attention. Of course Gus loves the expanded audience as he gets tired of trying to entertain his parents over and over.

While we have had an extra pair of hands around, Amy finished painting the office this week. One more room to go! (And believe me, neither of us are in a hurry to pick up the paintbrush for that last room -- we've about had our fill.) Finishing the office was key though because that's where the Christmas tree is going. We are starting to get into the Christmas spirit, and having this done gives us the nudge to start decorating the house. Amy & Mom also cleared out the remainder of the garage this week so we can now park the car there for the first time since we moved in. Another milestone that probably seems small but is huge for the Rutledge family!

Amy & GJ took the boys to Stretch & Grow class this week. There the boys get to run around, play with basketballs, hula hoops, slide on slides, act like animals, and sing songs. No wonder being a kid is great -- we adults just give up these things at a certain point. I'm taking a hula hoop to work for my own Stretch & Grow class -- are you with me? Ok, maybe not.

Finally, the crew went searching for the family Christmas tree last night. The weather turned bitter cold as last night was the coldest night of the year so far. The boys didn't care about the cold though as they strapped on their hats, their jackets and ran circles through the trees. (Owen was more interested in the trucks that passed by on the highway, but he had the spirit.) Claudia joined the hunt and brought their truck to haul away a tree from the Booger Mountain Christmas tree farm. Because you haven't had a Christmas until you've had a Booger Mountain Christmas.

Have a good weekend everyone -- cheers!

From the Apex Christmas parade last weekend....we didn't get to stay for the whole thing as there was a stoppage halfway through, but two boys got to see trucks, a firetruck, and a band so they were happy. Here's Mom and the boys waiting for the start.

Owen was a happy little camper when we told him trucks would be coming through. Anticipation, anticipation!

Stretch and Grow is the way to go for little ones. Our two hoard the slide.

GJ explains to Rudolph here that he's about to go on a Christmas tree hunt.

"March! Trees this way, c'mon GJ!"