Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Gavinisms

On what I do at work:
Me: "What do you think I do at work all day?"
Gavin: "Pump."
Me: "Well, yes...but what do I do for my job?"
Gavin: "You prolly eat lunch."

During a shower with Daddy:
Gavin, to Ryan: "Why is your penis so big and fat?"
Ryan, stifling laughter: "Well, because I'm an adult. When you're an adult, yours will be bigger, too."
Gavin: "Yeah...mine's gonna be real big."

After seeing an ambulance drive by at night:
Gavin: "I don't know why there's a lot of ambliances in the world."
Me: " they can take people to the hospital if they get hurt."
Gavin: "Yeah...but I didn't know they could help people in the dark!"

Hearing part of "Deck the Halls" playing in another room:
Gavin, with surprised expression: "Boughs of holly!!"

At bedtime one night:
Gavin: "Mommy, I have a secret to tell you."
Me: "Oh yeah? What is it?"
Gavin: "I can't tell you."
Me: "Why not?"
Gavin: "Weeellll...if you want me to tell you, I'll have to give you a wet willy first."

Commenting on the birthday cake Grandma Clifford made for Jesus:
Cousin Brittany: "Do you like that cake?"
Gavin: "Yep. Grandma makes good Jesus cake."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nine Months: A Poem

When Gavin turned nine months old, I remember marking the occasion in my mind. Nine months inside, nine months outside. It seemed significant somehow. Bennett turned nine months old this week, and again, it feels heavy with meaning. Hence, this poem:

Nine Months
For My Boys
Into my body you burrowed—
a parasite that broke open
my hips, raised my blood
pressure, and stretched my ligaments
until I swelled ripe like a plum.
I couldn’t wait to be free.

The doctors cut you from me,
and I heard you squawk
before I saw you—
then a series of howls
that didn’t cease
until I held you skin to skin.

Now you’ve been outside
as long as you were in
and it’s you seeking freedom—
twisting your torso to deliver
yourself from my arms
and on to the floor…
            …crawling into independence.
Gavin at 9 months
Bennett at 9 months

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crazy Christmas Blessings


We just finished our traditional month-long Christmas marathon of eleventy-thousand sides of family. We're exhausted. Turns out having two children at Christmastime multiplies the crazy a bit.

But we also discovered the blessings multiply as well. Sure, our eight-sides-of-family Christmas plans stress others out just hearing about them, but between the chaos and the crazy, there are bright little spots of joy shining through--and we're learning a little more every year to let those moments outshine the clutter.

It's little things like watching old home movies, or someone going out of their way to make a snack with no nuts, just for Gavin. And it's big things like seeing 18 people show up to a preschool Christmas program just for our little guy, or watching Bennett's eyes fill with wonder every time we turned on the Christmas lights.

It's crazy. It's exhausting. But it's more blessing than curse. And we can't imagine our Christmas any other way.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa Sucks (A Joyful Photo Memory)

Oh how I love Santa photos. It's like gambling, really. You're never quite sure if you'll score and get a great shot of both kids smiling, or if you'll hit the jackpot and get this:
As you can see, last year's joy and wonder has now turned into apathy for Gavin (He's so over Santa). And Bennett...well, he's a tad terrified.

I can't wait to see what our roll of the dice will bring next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Words on 12-12-12

Remember wishing
when the clock struck

are those wishes

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Imaginary Friends

Oh, this child and his imagination.

For a few months now, Gavin's had some imaginary friends. Five imaginary friends actually, though lately, one has been sick and "at the hospital." He calls them "my army mens," and could care less how many times I try to explain that "men" is already plural and doesn't require an "s." Go figure.

Their individual names change while their collective "army mens" title stays consistent. I've heard Fred and Simbia (pronounced Sym-bee-ah) most often, but no matter what he calls them, they've become members of our everyday routine.

They're mostly "good guys" but in Gavin's own words: "Sometimes they like to be bad guys."

If we leave the house, his "army mens" have to follow us, usually in their "super-fast race cars." Sometimes they even beat us to our destination.

When we're eating, they sometimes need a place at the table, though it's ironically only one place (they must be the tiny, Toy-Story-sized army men).

If he gets into trouble, he'll often blame it on his fictitious friends, saying something like, " army mens say it's okay," or "But my army mens want to watch TV!"

When we read books before bed, I cannot just lie down anywhere...lest I unleash a tearful protest that I've "squished" his friends.

He's asked for some "real army mens" for Christmas.  You know..."the kind that talk like in Toy Story."  I have a feeling that a they're-just-pretend explanation might not work in this case. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twinkies--Part Two

Several months ago, I put up this post about my boys looking exactly alike. Time has not changed things, and I thought an update was past due.

Here they are in their blond-haired, blue-eyed alikeness. They'll never be able to deny they're brothers, that's for sure.

First smiles:

Sleepy close-ups:
 Goofy faces:

Toe-grabbing cuteness:

Bundled up tight with Daddy:

"I'll get you" crawling action:


Friday, November 30, 2012

A Letter to My Boys

Oh, how I love you, kid. I know I say it every month, but you're just getting SO big. Every time I look at you, you seem taller, and every time you speak I hear new words or phrases I didn't know you knew, or that you hadn't been able to say properly before. You're braver, smarter, funnier and more independent every day.

You seem so grown up to me now that I sometimes forget about your sensitive nature. We started Elf on the Shelf this year (Spoiler: Mommy & Daddy move the elf every night), and the first night, "Fred Tootie Elfvans" (as you've named him) tore up a couple of your kleenexes and sat in the kleenex box in your room.  Your face dropped when you saw him and you said, "Why would he do that? Why is he mean to me?" It didn't even occur to me that you would have thought it was unkind instead of ornery, but I should have known.  It's a good lesson for me to constantly be aware to be sensitive with your sensitivity. You're more like your daddy that way and I need to remember that.
You stayed the night at Nana & Grandpa's house for the first time this month on a whim. We'd been over for a dinner and you were having fun and didn't want to leave. You asked if you could stay and they were more than happy to oblige. You had a good time, but woke up pretty early "missing Mommy." I think some snuggles from Grandpa made it all better.

We put the Christmas decorations up right after Thanksgiving and you're so excited already with the tree, and decorations, and the lights that I can't wait to spend the rest of this season with you. You studied every ornament as we put it up and wanted to help with everything. It makes Christmas that much more magical--thank you for that.

I love you more,

This has been a busy month for you, kiddo! I should have known as soon as I posted that last letter about you almost crawling, you'd be off at lightning speed. It wasn't two days later that you discovered how to move those chunky legs forward instead of backward, and since then, it's been a blur.  As soon as you could crawl toward our ottoman you started pulling up, and as soon as you got steady pulling up, you started cruising. I keep telling you to slow down, but all I get in response is an adorable two-toothed grin before you tear off in the direction of some dangerous object. (P.S. Mommy forgot how utterly terrifying this age is. Stop trying to kill yourself!)
You are in to everything now. Everything! If there's anything you shouldn't have laying on the floor or otherwise within your reach, that's the first object you power toward, glancing in our direction to see if we're watching. And if we are, you move that much faster. I think we may be in for some orneriness with you, sir.

And now that you can move freely on your own, you also LOUDLY let us know how much you hate it when we stop you from gouging your eyes out with one of your brother's pointy toys, or choking yourself on a small bouncy ball. As soon as we take the coveted possession away, you throw a little tantrum worthy of a toddler. Sorry kid, but we love you too much to let you harm yourself. We're trying to get better about making sure Gavin picks up his smaller toys, but it's near impossible. Fortunately, your generally happy nature helps you get over it quickly and you're still easily distracted by something else new and shiny.

You're also moving at lightning speed in the food department, too.  You're eating two meals a day now--oatmeal in the morning and fruits/veggies in the evening. We haven't found anything you don't like yet. Your list of foods now includes: carrots, apples, cauliflower, parsnips, avocado, pears, green beans, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and banana.
"Yay for food! I gotta keep up these chubs somehow."
This month, you also went on your very first plane ride. Multiple plane rides, actually. Two on the way to Texas to visit your Great-Grandma Green and two on the way back. You were a traveling pro, and elicited multiple comments from strangers about what a good air traveler you were. I've been telling everyone that since you went to Russia in utero last year, it must have set you up to be an excellent traveler. We need to take more advantage of it while you're still free to fly!
Looking out the window with Grandpa Green on our way home.
Last night, we finally moved you into your own room. After leaky window and stucco replacement, re-doing insulation, drywall and carpet, (and maybe a bit of the Momma's-not-ready type of anxiety), your room was finally done and we were all ready for the move. You did great, and I'm hoping we'll all get some better sleep now.

Slow down a little next month, okay?

I love you more,

Watch Bennett Grow--Eight Months Old

Unofficial Stats:
Weight:  21.5 lbs.
Height (guess): 27.5 inches

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Gavinisms

On election day:
Me: "Who should I vote for today?"
Gavin: "Ice cream!"

After a particularly ornery moment:
Me: "You little turkey!"
Gavin: "I'm not a turkey. I don't have a beard!"

After reading a Carl story one night:
Gavin: "Dogs shouldn't go to parties. They'll eat up all the cake!"

When having trouble following directions:
Me: "Gavin, I asked you to clean up your toys.  You need to listen and obey."
Gavin: "Obey is a dangerous word."

Noticing Bennett chewing on a piece of paper:
Gavin, with his most serious tone: "Bennett, no."
Bennett: {giggling}
Gavin, to me: "Mommy, he's laughing at me."
Me: "Ya...that happens sometimes."

After learning about pilgrims and native americans (Indians) at school:
Me: "What songs did you sing at school at school today?"
Gavin, in his best singing voice: "All my idiot friends...hi ya, hi ya, hiiiiii."
Me: "Mmm...hmmm. And what else did you do today?"
Gavin: "I made a idiot vest and a idiot headband."

Thursday, November 22, 2012


For this list, and so much more...I am incredibly thankful:

colorfully crisp fall mornings

hushed giggles at bedtime

tangible faith

not-so-tangible faith

love notes on a paper lunch bag

preschooler anecdotes

the right to vote


the warm, wet snuggle of a baby boy wrapped in a froggy towel
Christmas music

grown men walking around work with giant stuffed animals

an unprovoked, "I love you, Momma."

love wins. period.

baby giggles

friends who know exactly how I feel

the occasional spiritual ass-kicking

baby thighs

cheesy smiles
cards in the mail

coming home after a few days away

old family stories I've heard a thousand times


palm trees in November

forever, no-matter-what love

my boys' baby blues


Starbucks' Chai Lattes

my handsome hubbalicious

big family gatherings

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Last week, I got to introduce Bennett to his Great-Grandma Green.
My Grandma and Grandpa Green moved to Texas when I was in junior high, and they came back to Kansas City frequently, so I never visited them in their Texas home. When my Grandpa passed away almost three years ago, I remember wishing I would have visited earlier to see them together, in the place they called home for so many years. Silly things kept me from visiting--school and sports commitments when I was younger morphed into work and money excuses as I got older. Before I knew it, I'd started my own family and traveling seemed like more work than it was worth.

But when my dad mentioned he planned to make the trip this fall, I decided to ignore all those excuses and crash his visit...with baby in tow.

I am so glad I did.

It was a fantastic long weekend, full of old memories, popsicles and leisurely walks. It forced me to slow down for a few days and remember that the little things matter. I got to take a nap, and reminisce about eating caramel popcorn and learning to sew as a kid. I got to see how much it meant to my Grandma, and my Dad, that I'd given Bennett the middle name "Green." I got to feel my Grandpa's presence everywhere, and say goodbye to him in a way I hadn't yet done.

I also got a four-generation picture with my baby, who's named after this side of his family.
Four Generations of Greens
My only regret is that Gavin couldn't be there, too. I guess a four-generation picture with both of my boys will have to wait until the next visit. Until then, the individuals will do just fine.
Four generations picture when my Grandma last visited in the Summer of 2010, a few months after Gavin turned one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Fun--A (Mostly) Picture Post

How is it that fall is full of so many adorable photo ops? I mean, really. It's almost not fair to the rest of the year. And guess what, boys? I'll make you take every one of them. Every. Single. Year. You'll thank me later.
My two pumpkins in the pumpkins.
Hmmm...what is this orange thing?
Maybe it's because I'm just too comfortable being around boys ALL THE TIME now,
but I failed to notice how incredibly phallic this gourd was until I uploaded these pics.
This was the first year he could dig all by himself!
The annual Faulkner's face-in-the-pumpkins photo, now with one new member.
I'm not quite sure where this kid gets his goofy.
What's cuter than a baby surrounded by pumpkins?
Family photo at the Clifford fall farm party.
Bundled up tight with Momma.
One of the three pumpkins he chose that evening.
How cute are my guys?!
Pumpkin carving with Daddy at Grandma Jan's house.
Because every kid needs a photo in a pumpkin.
I still can't believe we found one big enough for him!
These boys--they are too cute.
Finished pumpkins!
My little fire chief and bulldog, ready for trick-or-treating.