Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Year in Review


I've been meaning to send out a family newsletter along with our Christmas cards for the past several years, in part because I love reading everyone else's that we receive in our mailbox. November rolled around and I knew that a newsletter definitely wasn't happening for us this year, so instead I have decided to make an online version and post it to our blog. Perhaps not as fun as ink and paper (I'm all about being able to hold something tangible in my hands), but at least our family and friends will have the opportunity to see what we've been up to for the past year. So here goes!

Derek has had a busy year work-wise, expanding and improving Channels 12 and 84 in Ames. He seems to cram a massive amount of work into each workday, then comes home to his other job: Caring for a wife and three(!) kids. Atticus and Adelaide usually greet his daily homecoming with much shrieking and hugging, vying for his attention- even Caedmon usually has a smile for Daddy.
Derek still loves to golf (although the aforementioned children have drastically cut down on his course time), and January brought Derek's annual Florida golf trip, where he enjoyed much milder weather than we were experiencing here in Iowa. This sanity-restoring vacation combines Derek's love of golf, reuniting with old friends from ESPN, and Disney World. His obsession- I mean, passion for the Minnesota Vikings has not waned; it's been a rough year for us all.

Kristy had an eventful year, gestating and bringing forth our third addition to the family: Caedmon James (sorry about all the "bringing forth" business, but it's honestly the only wording I can think of- we've been reading alot of the Christmas Story lately, so the phrase "Mary brought forth a child" has been ricocheting around my head). She continues to read just about anything she can get her hands on, and even managed to start (and finish!) multiple cross-stitch projects this year. She is also really enjoying living in small-town Huxley, where she has found many other moms of young children just trying to keep it together. Having three children in four and a half years has proven to be challenging, but rewarding.

Adelaide danced in her first dance recital in the spring. She looked lovely in her blue costume (although she wished it were pink), and did very well remembering all the steps to her ballet dance, not a whisp of stage fright (but decided not to continue with ballet). She turned 4 in May, and in the fall began a much-anticipated program: Preschool. She loves school, so much that she continually reminds us that she can't wait until next year, when she gets to start Kindergarten, which means she'll get to go to school all day, five days a week. We hope this enthusiasm for education continues for a long time.

Atticus (aka the Destroyer) has changed so much in the past year. He started the year as a new walker, babbling nonsense sprinkled with a few legitimate words, and is now running-stomping-jumping-dancing just about any time he's awake, speaking in (somewhat intelligible) sentences, and singing his favorite songs (the ABC's, the Itsby Bitsy Spider, Jesus Loves Me). He and Adelaide get along reasonably well. They love to play together, although he is just learning what fun it is terrorize and purposely irritate his big sister. It's hard to believe he turned 2 in October.

Caedmon has probably had the biggest year of us all: he was born September 21 (just one day after his due date), at 7 lbs, 13 oz, and 22 inches long. He's changing so fast; he smiles so much now, and just recently began experimenting with laughing. He lifts his head easily during tummy time, and has begun the rocking back-and-forth motion that precedes rolling over. He nearly always has a smile for Mommy and Daddy, and loves his brother and sister (particularly Adelaide, who likes to sit close to him and talk in an extremely high-pitched voice; whereas just about all he can expect from Atticus are snotty kisses). For the most part, he seems to have outgrown his colic, for which we are all grateful.

2010 has been a full and blessed year for the Crisler family, and we have so much for which to be thankful. We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season.

We all enjoyed a visit to Adventureland last summer:  Adelaide liked the amusement park...

...and Atticus liked the waterpark.

We'll see what Caedmon thinks of Adventureland next summer.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake



Today is my birthday.

This is how my conversation went with Adelaide this morning before school.

Adelaide: "Happy Birthday, Mommy!"
Me: "Well, thank you, Adelaide!"
A: "What kind of cake are you baking for yourself today?"
Me: "I don't think I'm going to make a cake today."
A: "What?! But that's what birthdays are all about! THE CAKE!"

I was about to argue with her and tell her that birthdays are about celebrating someone's life and another year and blah blah blah, but then realized I have no room to talk: half to maybe three-quarters of the reason I ever go to weddings are for the cake. The cakes pictured above are from my sister Kelli's wedding in September: the groom's cake was a red velvet armadillo (Steel Magnolias, anyone?), and the flavors in the bride's cake (if I remember correctly) were vanilla latte and creme de menthe, which was delicious.

Cake credit goes to Sweet Designs Cakery in Pittsburg, KS.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thankfulness


Adelaide came home from school last week with this pinned to her coat. When I asked her why she was thankful for scissors, she said, "For cutting hair, Mommy." (In a "Duh, Mom," tone of voice.)
While I'm also thankful for scissors, and I know Derek is thankful for Garfield, Adelaide's little leaf pin got me thinking about all for which I am thankful. Oddly enough, the thing that comes to mind again and again is our washer and dryer. Maybe it's because I spend so much time in front of them, doing endless loads of laundry.
When we lived in Connecticut in our condo, the washers and dryers were in the basement of the building. On laundry days, I had to first make sure we had enough quarters for the coin-operated machines. Then, juggling multiple laundry baskets and baby Adelaide, I made my way from our second-floor condo to the basement, where I then I had to unlock the finicky basement door, and I could finally begin washing our clothes. (We actually have several photos of Adelaide as a baby, either perched on top of a pile of clothes in a laundry basket, or with her head poking out from under the pile.) It was important to remember to set the timer when I got back upstairs, because if I forgot to switch the wet clothes right over to the dryer, or forgot to pull the dry clothes out of the dryer, I was liable to find our clothes piled on top of one of the machines. This is all assuming the machines worked; I would frequently make the trek down to the basement to find one or both of the washing machines not working. Laundry in Connecticut was a major chore, and I dreaded it.

The good thing about all that work back in CT is that it's made me appreciate the fact that all I have to do now is march into our laundry room and stuff our own clothes into our own machines- our own home, no quarters, no locked doors, no waiting in line for the washer.

Not to mention the fact that we are blessed with clothing to wash, and three children to (constantly) soil them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving








This post represents the sum total of all the things I plan on accomplishing today (other than the general care and feeding of my children).
Why?
Well, because we accomplished an absurd amount of things over Thanksgiving weekend (and by "we", I mean Derek, his parents, my mom and Mark, and my sister Stephanie). This efficiency is so foreign to me (as a mother of three children ages four and under), I feel the need to do as little today as possible, just to restore balance to my little world.
So, what all did we get done this weekend?
Set up a home-gym in the basement, went Black Friday shopping, set up our new Shuffleboard table, decorated the house inside and out for Christmas, further winterized the house, cut my hair, put together the bunk beds for Atticus and Adelaide, purchased mattresses for said bunk beds, and of course, prepared and ate as much food in four days as would usually last us two weeks.
Oh yeah, and Derek and I have both taken turns being sick over the last two weeks. Over the weekend, Adelaide, Atticus, and Becky all shared what seemed to be some kind of flu bug.
Oh, and Dennis and Adelaide went to a Cyclones volleyball game (match? tournament? I profess total ignorance to general volleyball parlance. I'm sure someone will soon be correcting me.), and Derek and I got to go out to eat. (By ourselves. Without children. It was amazing.)
And I suspect Derek made the Vikings win through sheer force of will. You must admit, this is impressive.
And of course, this list doesn't include the requisite two to three loads of laundry I do per day just to avoid being buried by clothing and blankets that are pickled in spit-up and other unmentionable bodily fluids. I live such a glamorous life.
I realize I didn't address any of the things our family has to be thankful for in this post, and this is supposed to be the season of thankfulness; however, Atticus's patience has been stretched to the breaking point just in the time it's taken me to make you all feel bad about how little you got done compared to us this weekend. Our family does have so many things to be thankful for, so let's just plan on making that the topic of the next entry, which I'll try and post within the next few days. (I think I'll end on that note, leaving you all breathless with anticipation.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Caedmon James

Caedmon has been busy the past week. He was dedicated at church last Sunday morning (along with about a dozen other babies- and that was just during the 9 am service). This morning he had his 2-month well-baby checkup at the doctor's office. He decided to show the doctor just what kind of baby he is and cried almost the entire time; after about ten minutes, she asked about his behavior at home, what his schedule looks like, etc, and declared, "Well, he definitely has colic." So, I guess we now have a reason that he's so cranky all the time; but of course, there's nothing we can do about it. The hopeful news is that colic usually disappears at around three months of age, so let's all pray for just one more month of evil baby.

Thankfully, although fussy, Caedmon has a healthy appetite and is growing well: he now weighs 13 lbs, 6 oz, so he's gained about five pounds in the past two months, and he's 22 1/2 inches long, so he's grown about 1/2 an inch. He's in the 90th percentile for his weight, and 50th percentile for length. (In comparison, Adelaide was 13 lbs 9 oz, 24 inches, and Atticus was 14 lbs 11 oz, 25 inches at two months.) We ended the visit to the doctor with three shots in poor Caedmon's legs, plus an oral vaccination for Rotavirus (and Atticus took his Flu Mist up the nose like a champ). Dr. Halbur always likes to scare me with information like, "About 1 in every 200 babies who contract pertussis (whooping cough) dies, and there's a pertussis outbreak in Iowa right now," until I'm begging for the immunizations. Atticus dealt with the whole appointment quite well, although he did start yelling, "Mommy go! Mommy go!" (which is his way of saying he wants to leave) when they gave Caedmon his shots and really made him scream.

On a positive note, Caedmon does like his brother and sister, smiling and cooing when they stray into his visual range, and he has an amazing tolerance for the amount of noise they make. He passed all his developmental milestones at the doc's with flying colors, and he's sleeping pretty well at night. We're all looking forward to lots of food and family next week with Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quiet Week






This has been a pretty quiet week. And by quiet, I don't actually mean quiet. How can it be quiet, with Caedmon crying (almost anytime he's not eating), Atticus screaming (because he's having to share, he's fallen down, he's upset, he's breathing...) and Adelaide also crying due to having Nursemaid's Elbow for the FOURTH TIME (otherwise known as having her elbow dislocated), this time because another little girl at school tried to pull Adelaide up off the floor. Fortunately Derek has become an expert at talking me through popping it back into place over the phone, thus saving us a $10 copay for a ten-second doctor's visit.

On the bright side, we decided it's close enough to Christmas to start playing Christmas music at our house, the Vikings won last weekend, brightening everyone's mood, and Caedmon is starting to smile a little more often, even cooing at all of us a bit (I think he wised up to the fact that no one could take much more of his drama... the big baby).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween





About a month ago, Adelaide received this month's copy of the magazine "Ranger Rick."
Amongst fascinating facts about crocodile fish and desert creatures were photos and instructions on how to paint your face and become a tiger. She instantly decided that's what she wanted to be for Halloween, and began practicing her "tiger growls." So for about $7, Adelaide got to be a tiger, once for her Halloween party at school, and once for trick-or-treating (and judging by the amount of makeup left over, we should be able to face-paint the kids for the next 10 Halloweens). The tiger growl came in handy when one man actually requested a trick before he would give her any candy. I didn't know people still did that.

Atticus didn't really have a clear concept of what Halloween meant, so it was decided for him that he would be a fireman, mostly owing to the fact that Adelaide recently took a field trip to the Huxley fire station and came back with a Junior Fire Fighter hat. Interestingly (but not surprisingly) enough, I saw 4-year-olds in Adelaide's class whose hats fit just fine. As you may be able to tell in the pictures, the same hat just sort of perched atop Atticus's gigantic head. Another fun fact about his costume: his fireman's coat was also my raincoat in kindergarten. Total cost of Atticus's costume: $0.

We had a great time trick-or-treating. Derek corralled Atticus and Adelaide, while
I carried Caedmon, who was dressed up as a bundle of blankets. Our route was basically just a trip around the block, but the kids still brought home a fairly decent haul. Our neighbors are apparently very generous candy-givers, as evidenced by the couple houses who even gave out full-sized candy bars. All in all it was a good night.

Testing

Well, let's just see how this goes. I've created this blog in order to try and share information with our far-flung family and friends. I'm terrible about emailing pictures, and frankly, Facebook kinda creeps me out. I plan to post pictures and/or news and trivialities about our little family, and my goal is to do so every week. I'm putting that on here so that everyone can hold me accountable: if I start slacking and don't update this on a regular basis, remind me about my weekly goal. I'll probably either get back on the ball and post something or yell at you about how I have no time.
-Kristy