Monday, January 26, 2009

Jack, Wall-E & the Back

This past weekend Amy acquired another child to care for. Sensing that she was not content with chasing three kids around I pulled a muscle in my abdomen on Friday which made me virtually useless all weekend. At one the lowest point of my self-pity party I waddled off the bed onto to the floor where it took me a good 7 minutes to put my socks on.

"This shows you how much pain I'm in. Look, I can't even put my #$%@ socks on, honey."
"Um, try nine months of feeling like that."


So despite the grumpiness and high maintenance that comes with having a husband who is confined to the couch, our crew managed to have a decent weekend. The boys and I got in two end-to-end viewings of Wall-E, which has quickly become the movie of the moment in our quarters. If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. As Cars was brilliant on multiple levels for parents and kids alike, Wall-E has a wonderful message of taking care of the planet for adults and a sweet, lovable little robot for kids. Not to mention the robot Eve who "shoots hot fire out of her fingers, Dad!" which thrills Owen.

Owen has really taken an interest in learning the sounds of his letters. He told me that he wanted to learn to read like a friend of his at school. Once I told him that the best way to learn to read was know all his sounds, he immersed himself in "what word starts with..." and "what sound does this letter make" games. He took the occasional break from the learning games as he did when I flipped to a volcano show on Discovery Channel -- "Dad, look hot lava and fire shooting all over that truck!" But for the most part a light has gone off with that kid.

Gus has taken an interest into the imaginary world as he now routinely informs Amy and me that he in fact has another brother besides Owen. This brother is named Jack, and apparently Jack is about 10 years old -- or a baby depending on the situation. Yesterday Jack told Gus that Gus didn't need to eat his breakfast or get dressed. Well no wonder my back hurts -- we've got more kids running around here than even Amy & I know about.


Here's the culprit btw. I think I twisted a muscle when I was holding this little one in the driveway. I would be frustrated, but it's kind of hard to get frustrated at a child with a duck hanging out of her mouth.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day

In the 11 years we have lived in Raleigh we can almost count on one hand the number of times we have had a measurable snowfall. So last night when the weather forecasters called for 1" to 3" of the white stuff, Amy & I didn't fully believe that the snow gods would truly deliver.

But deliver they did as 5 to 6 inches of snow fell overnight and this morning, making for the kids' first snow day experience. You would have thought it was Christmas morning with the shouts of excitement as the boys looked out the window after they woke up. It reminded us of how excited we used to get at the prospect of being out of school all day and playing outside in the snow with friends.

So Amy & I dressed and undressed and dressed and undressed the boys for several trips outside to make snow angels, chase the dog, and sled down the hill. Our neighbors next door came over and the girls shared their sleds with the boys as they all took turns sliding down the hill over and over in the backyard.

School is canceled tomorrow as well as a hard freeze will make roads treacherous tomorrow. So we'll likely wake up and do it all over again.

Ah, to be a kid again.

The dryer worked overtime to keep the clothes dry in between trips out in the white stuff.
Gus and his neighbor next door Sarah shared a sled ride to much laughter and shouting.

Unsure of the slippery footing of the snow at first, Owen quickly adapted and enjoyed eating flakes.
Alas, the sun goes down on snow days too. Buck up little fella, it will be around tomorrow too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jodie Meeks

With all due respect to the UT fans among our readers, this was taken off the Kentucky message boards today:
“Rocky Top, you’ll always be
Known for Jodie Meeks
Good ole Rocky Top
54 for 23″

Jodie Meeks unloaded 54 points on Tennessee in Knoxville last night. The game was quickly classified with "Save until I manually delete" status on the DVR.

What a night -- Go Big Blue!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nose beads, channel locks, and sitting down to pee

So the New Year is off to a busy start for our crew after a great holiday break. The boys are back in school and come home every day with stories of their learning adventures. Yesterday one of their friends in class stuck a bead up his nose. The teachers called his mother who took him with her infant son in tow to the emergency room for 5 hours (!!!) before the boy revealed to his mom that the bead had in fact fallen out of his nose while he was still at school.

I am ever so thankful that this "teaching moment" for our kids was one that we learned through someone else's trials and tribulations rather than our own. Amy & I spent much of the dinner conversation last night pounding it into the boys' heads that only Kleenex go into our noses, not fingers and certainly not beads.

Dorothy is back taking care of Tess in the mornings so our little girl is back in her routine as well. Still not a napper, Tess is fully mobile now which led us to dig out the baby gate for the top of the stairs.

(Interesting baby gate side story -- when I was securing the gate to the posts with cable ties, the channel lock pliers slipped and I hit myself right square in the eyeball. I wallowed on the ground screaming for a few minutes until the pain finally subsided. Meanwhile Owen -- who again is going through his ups and downs adjusting to life with a baby sister -- immediately took off for Tess's room to tend to her. Amy had quickly set Tess in the floor to check on me which upset Tess. Owen continues to surprise us. One day he is checking to see if we are looking so he can box Tess's ears; the next he is tending to his sister's cries. We will see how his adjustment continues to play out.)

Tess has started mimicking her brothers grunts and screams as she absorbs everything the boys do while eating or playing. She has four teeth coming in at once so there have been several nights lately where she wakes up crying. This makes for some long days for mom and dad as our bodies have become accustomed to sleeping through the night again. But for the most part, we continue to thank our lucky stars on how easy of a child Tess is.

I took the boys to get haircuts over the weekend. They are truly well behaved when they are in the haircutting chair. Owen takes his curls very seriously, and Gus enjoys looking at himself and making faces in the mirror. The lobby was full of customers when Owen was finished and came over to sit by me. He inquired why there were so many girls there. I explained to him that sometimes boys cut hair but that today only girls were cutting people's hair.

Seeking his continued reaffirmation of gender differences Owen then blurted out, "And these girls pee sitting on their bums too, right Dad?"

I shrugged and couldn't help a smile as some amused people chuckled beneath their breath.

Ah, children and their inquisitiveness.

Have a great week -- cheers!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Well here we are in 2009. The Rutledges had a great two-week break from school and work (paid work at least) and are now getting back into the routine. Gone are the days where the family sleeps in past 7:00 in the morning and where movies play throughout the day. The pile of sugary holiday sweets on the counter has been replaced by fruits and veggies. The Christmas tree, ornaments and lights are stowed away until next December. But it sure was fun while it lasted.

The holidays were a time of celebrating with family -- both immediate and extended. On Christmas day there were 12 people and 4 dogs in la casa de Rutledge. And although we were all a little cramped, we are fortunate to have family that made their separate treks via car and air to come share in the celebration with us.

This Christmas was the first in which the boys really started to comprehend it. They were bouncing off the wall with excitement, but we got them to sit still for just a moment to snap a photo with Mom.

The prospect of Santa's arrival generated a ton of excitement around our house -- so much so that Gus & Owen even sat on Santa's lap this year without screaming in terror.

Luckily the nice outweighed the naughty as Santa visited our house on Christmas morning. He even ate the cookies and left a note for the kiddos, leaving a plate full of crumbs as evidence of his visit.

GJ, Pappy, Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude and cousin Corinne spent the beginning part of Christmas week with us. Two 3 year-old boys and a (soon to be) 2 year-old girl can certainly generate a lot of energy. But that's what it is all about, and the energy reminded us that Christmas is best when seen through the eyes of little ones.

There was plenty of down time as well with Frosty, the Grinch, and Rudolph providing the entertainment during the breaks.

Young Corinne was so worn out most days by noon that she struggled to make it through lunch.

Aunt Mel got to prep for the coming baby Crumpton by hanging out with Tess.

Gus enjoyed a moment of relaxation with a movie and his GJ.

On Christmas day Granddaddy and Nana arrived to share in the fun and excitement. Tess showed Granddaddy that she prefers the shovel method of eating to a more civilized spoon.

The boys received a whole host of gifts from Santa and family. When you ask them what their favorite present was, the answer will depend on the day. A highlight for Gus was a pair of boots that Santa brought which Gus promptly showed off with his Batman costume and Superman belt. Owen thoroughly enjoys his Computer Cool School, as Nana helped him navigate through painting, counting and a safari hunt.

As for Tessa Lane, she preferred the simple joys of ribbons, boxes, wrapping paper, and her Santa Claus hat.

After our families left Amy & I spent a few days together just the five of us. The boys got to experience their first sleepover at Ms. Ann's house while Mom, Dad & Tess partied down on New Year's Eve -- as much as parents of an infant really party down of course.

Amy & I took Tess to our friends the Learys' house to experience a multi-course fondue dinner with good cheer and company. There were four couples in the dining room surrounded by six baby monitors as we toasted in the New Year. It was comical to see the parents jump as a monitor lit up -- Is it mine? Is it yours? But it was truly an enjoyable time.

By the time the holidays were over some of us were zapped -- as evidenced by Tess catching a snooze on Pappy's shoulder.

But by today when preschool opened its doors back up, Owen and Gus sprinted from my car to the door, stripped off their coats and didn't even give Dad the goodbye high five. Even kids can have enough of home days to want to get back into the routine.

Here we go!

Happy New Year everyone -- cheers!