Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fresh milk, fake chimneys and funny songs

Christmas is here at the Rutl Farm. Gus, Owen and Tess boast an excitement level that is through the roof. Christmas cookies have been baked, iced and left out for Santa Claus. Kiddos are snug in their beds with visions of sugarplums, rockets, Batman and a robot.

Gus & Owen were particularly interested in pondering the specifics of Santa tonight. They wanted to ensure that the milk that Amy & I are supposed to leave out for St. Nick is fresh milk, not spoiled milk. When you're 4 and your list is specific, you have to get the little details right.

Next, they needed some clarification on the whole chimney thing. If a house has kids in it and has a chimney, but it's not a real chimney that Santa could fit down (aka, our house), how does Santa get inside to leave the toys? I explained that Santa "just knows" and perhaps he gets in through a window or a door. When the natural follow-up question emerged asking if I had to leave a door or window unlocked, I just explained that Santa Claus has mojo with a crafty resourcefulness that allows him to do things we can't. That confused them enough to convince them that they needed to get to bed so he truly would show up at our house tonight.

I can totally see the boys reasoning their way to a conclusion that I don't hope they reach for several years. Until then, here's hoping Santa doesn't get stuck in your chimneys tonight.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!

When Santa got stuck in the chimney
He began to shout
You girls and boys
Won't get any toys
If you don't pull me out

My beard is black
I have soot on my sack
My nose is ticklish too

When Santa got stuck in the chimney
"Achoo, achoo, achoo!!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Santa

Our crew is geared up for Christmas. The energy level is high as the countdown to the big day takes place every morning at the Advent calendar.

Owen & Gus are just now starting to grasp the concept that if they're good they can ask Santa Claus for what they want in terms of gifts. To that end, two different approaches were employed this week as four year-old boys composed their Christmas letters.

Owen wrote his himself and emphasized his goodness.

"Owen had a dog. We have been good. I would like a cat please."
On the other hand Gus dictated his letter to Santa to Amy as she transcribed. Note the shotgun approach to validating his wholesomeness -- cookies, sympathy, and so wholesome that his goodness rubbed off on his stuffed animal.
Dear Santa,
I am nice. We are going to bake cookies with icing. Icing is my favorite with cookies.

My dad is really crazy and we have played tennis before. I have a stuffed animal dog named Polka Dot. And I have a bear that is 1,000,000,000 years old.

I would like a toy rocket and a robot. My stuffed animal dog, Polka Dot, is very nice.
Cheers everyone.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


My stubborn refusal to join the social networking world has now run its course. I am on Facebook so I can see what the rest of you young whippersnappers are doing.

I still love my blog though and will continue to post here when I can.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Gobble, Gobble...

This poor blog. I have meant to get updates out here for weeks, and I'm now averaging one a month. Someday when time isn't consumed by so many other things that keep Amy & I so busy, we'll do a better job at documenting what's going on with us. Plus, so many people are on Facebook now -- including Amy but excluding me -- that longer posts on blogs are going the way of the typewriter.

Personally, I'm happy being a blog dinosaur. I refuse to go on Facebook so I don't have to turn away some friend request from a person I barely knew in high school or so I don't have to know that my neighbor's status is "looking forward to the weekend!!!!!" Of course, I was a cellphone holdout too for a long time, and now I can't live without it. So it's just a matter of time before I'm eating my words.

On to the post.....

Amy & I took the kids back to Kentucky for Thanksgiving as we had not been to Glasgow in almost a year and a half. The ride there -- despite the detour around the rock slide on I-40 -- was a piece of cake. The kids were great travelers, and we made it from North Carolina to Virginia to Tennessee to Kentucky in two stops. The drive back on the Sunday after turkey day was longer, but that's not surprising given that it's the busiest travel day of the year.

We got to spend quality time with GJ and Pappy and spend Thanksgiving day with my 95-year old grandmother, now "GG" (Great-Grandmother) to the kids. Billy & Elaine came over to spend Friday and Saturday with us which was a nice treat. And C.E. and I drove up to Lexington on Saturday to watch Tennessee rip the heart out of Kentucky in football yet again for what is now a 25-year tradition useless futility. But we had fun tailgating in the process!

Tremendous visit. Tremendous turkey. Tremendous company.


This is what passes at a posed picture at our house these days. Tess has quite the role models to look up to.

Owen got his revenge by getting the wishbone after losing out on it when we cooked a chicken the week before.

The boys marveled at the hot tub as they swam around with Pappy in the cold night air.

Some things change, and thankfully some things stay the same.

A trip to Glasgow wouldn't be complete without a trip to see the horses at cousin Spencer's farm. Our attempt to get a quality family photo against the rolling hill backdrop of rural Barren County ended up with more faces like the ones shown above. So our Christmas card picture will likely be Amy & I holding the boys down forcing a smile while Tess looks on in horror.

There's always time for snuggling when grandchildren are around.

"See here Owen, this is the great state of Tennessee. Your dad is going to make that foolish trek to sit in the cold for 3 hours to see if Kentucky can beat them. But it's not going to make a difference. Be smart kid."

Another highlight for Owen, Gus & Tess was the chiminea. (Bonus points for Owen as it involves fire.) Throw in their four grandparents and there are some happy grandchildren.

Finally, Owen is absolutely obsessed with people smoking. When we stop at a gas station he will loudly proclaim, "Look! Dad! Someone's smoking!!" regardless of the proximity of my child to the offender. If there are cigarette butts on the ground, he is the first to call attention to it and to the evils of smoking.

So while in Kentucky I went over to talk to a neighbor that I had known in high school. Travis happened to be smoking a cigarette while we were catching up. When the conversation was over, you would have thought I was talking to an axe murderer according to my son. Owen could not understand how Dad could be talking to anyone that smoked.

So all the adults tried endlessly to explain to Owen that while smoking is a bad habit that the people themselves who smoked were not necessarily bad people. It's an easy distinction for us as adults, but not to a four year-old.

Nevertheless, when the boys helped decorate their grandparents' house for Christmas on Saturday, GJ had some 'splainin' to do. (Note Santa's mouth)