Introducing Our New Family Member!

But first, some breaking news and a photo dump from my phone: Annie has gotten her bottom teeth and I can feel her top ones. Pray for me and these sleepy nights.

So let’s get to it!

Ryan comes home and occasionally Ruthie serves him up an adult beverage from her play kitchen.

Annie immediately grabs Ryan’s goatee when he holds her. She’s hanging on for dear life because normally Ruthie is climbing all over him at the same time.
I organized my essential oils and dried herbs cupboard. I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to recipes and they just sit there collecting dust. I like imagining myself using the morter and pestle to grind up herbs, mixing essential oils like I’m a freaking scientist and healing the world. Instead, I suffer through illnesses, whining instead of even taking Dayquil to get through it. Maybe I’ve just organized my complaint cupboard. Looks too positive for that. I’ll mess it all up and complain. Much better.
The biggest stinking spider this side of the Mississippi. We had a showdown. The Children’s Cowboy songs playing in the background helped give me courage. So did the tumbleweed that blew through the living room. I looked at this Brown Recluse and killed it in one shot to save my family.
Turns out it was a friendly garden spider, not a brown recluse. So.

Sisterly love:IMG_2647Here’s a snippit of Ruthie playing hopscotch:

When we were at my parents house, I decided to give Ruth a haircut.


…and asked my mom to document it. This was the first shot:
She said, “Oh darn. Let me try it again.”

Ruthie was so good, doing exactly what I asked.
IMG_2651IMG_2653I hope my hairdresser cousin isn’t reading this because of a) my snipping skills and b) my own hair. Look away Katie!!!IMG_2656 I always have to include proof that Ruthie Annie is here. And yes, I did write the wrong name down.IMG_2661IMG_2663My sister went on a trip last month and we happened to be up there when she swung by my parents’ house. Mom and Dad live really close to the airport so if any of us ever leave from the KC airport, we always use them as our personal shuttle service. One time, when Ryan and I were coming back from a trip, we waited for them inside and looked out the window for their car because the weather was bad. Problem is, they wanted to surprise us with their new car. Tell me friends, why would you not tell someone that you’re picking up what car to look for? Thankfully I saw my mom’s face pressed against the window of a random vehicle searching for us. Although, maybe I shouldn’t have assumed that. She could’ve been kidnapped, but I just stood there in the warm airport simultaneously squealing about their new wheels and yelling that they should’ve told us.

But I digress.

Amy swung by and because we were only up there for a very short visit because of a conference Ryan had to go to, we didn’t tell anyone. Sometimes we slip in and out if it’s short. Sorry. Anyway, she came over and immediately yelled that she would’ve come over sooner had she known we were there. So we chit-chatted and poo-pooed my dad when he suggested they get on the road. I remember the words, “Settle down” being thrown about as we kept talking and Ruthie kept hugging on Amy. Finally they left.

IMG_2665And she barely made it on the flight. Her bags did not. They didn’t make it there until the next day and she had to go to a fancy wedding reception in jeans, tennies, and that striped shirt. She did say it was a nice ice-breaker, so really, you’re welcome Amy.

….and now to introduce our newest addition…..

Her name is Matilda, maybe.

Or Gertrude, maybe. (Sorry grandma, your name just fits.. maybe)

Or Charles, maybe.

Or, I don’t know.

Can you help me name her/him?

It’s our new minivan!!!!

IMG_2668She’s a 1982 Chevy Camper Van. A camper van you say??
Heck yeah!

Complete with a grill, sink, cupboards, and a cooler-soon-to-be-turned-into-a-fridge! We love it. It gets awful gas mileage, but being able to stroll down the hallway to the back seat to nurse Annie during our stops is worth it.

IMG_2669 More on her later.

More sisterly love: I seriously cannot get over how much they love each other!!!!

IMG_2674Sometimes we bundle Annie up when we play in the toy room: IMG_2677I found roller skates at a thrift store for a couple bucks. She’s scared to go on the kitchen floor.IMG_2680IMG_2687These are blurry (like all the rest of them), but had to snap a pic of Ruthie during a nap. Everyday I ask her to pick out some books to read before going to sleep. I’ll here her read her version of them out loud and then silence. Zonked.IMG_2689IMG_2690….Right on top of a book. You know I squealed as soon as  I left the room. Love!

I ran away one Saturday morning to go antiquing by myself, saw this and had to send it to Dana who was at Annie (and Ruthie’s) birth. I could not imagine squatting on that thing.

But back to the other baby our bank account birthed:
IMG_2697The back seat folds down into a bed and all the captain chairs swivel and fold down. We have a table that can be inserted in a couple places so we can play cards while in line at Taco Bell.

Our plan is to sell our Saab and pocket the difference. Even if it only lasts a couple years, it would be worth it…. it was a steal.

We debuted our new lady at a dutch oven party. A friend peeked in while outside with her husband and came in and whispered, “My husband and I did it in your van. Don’t worry, we washed up at the sink.”

We had a good day when these was taken. She and I actually have conversations now and I’m seeing her imagination take off. The good days definitely outweigh the bad. Ryan’s mostly her favorite, but sometimes she clings to me even when he’s home. It’s rare and I eat it up.

IMG_2708IMG_2711IMG_2713 I love this idea:IMG_2717Then I found this listing on craigslist. Do I dare?

Here’s a video confirming Ruthie needs to be on stage. We thinking maybe there really was someone talking through the remote. This was taken in October and it’s amazing what just a couple months will do because she’s even more chit-chatty. It’s nice when I don’t have a headache.

Ruthie snuggles in with Annie whenever possible. Also, Ruthie has a new booster seat. No highchair for the moment!IMG_2718Reading her thrifted new big book.IMG_2724
I get no privacy while going to the bathroom. Yes I’m on the pot taking this photo.IMG_2728IMG_2729This is what I look like when I accidently take a photo of myself. I guess I take after my mom.IMG_2734This is so blurry and you probably can’t tell, but I remember this day well. I was going on little sleep and both girls cried all day long. I didn’t think 6pm would come and texted Ryan that I wanted to leave. He texted back after an hour, “Are you still there or did you go?” I stayed. Lucky girls.IMG_2741Ruthie was doodling and then exclaimed, “There’s an M!!” Total accident.IMG_2742Thanksgiving was our first road trip in …. Gertie?
Ruthie celebrated with a nose pick.IMG_2746Ryan celebrated with buying 2 million different drinks at our food stop. One thing this beauty doesn’t have a lot of are cupholders. Ashtrays? Yes, a ton. Cupholders? Only these:IMG_2747
Midway through, both girls were asleep and Ryan had to take a leak. So, instead of stopping at a gas stations with bright lights that may wake them up, he pulled to the side of a low-traffic off ramp. Low traffic, until this particular night I guess because he was standing full monty to the car that came up the ramp. I haven’t seen him run that fast in awhile.
IMG_2748We stayed at my sister’s house the first night and it was a whirlwind. It’s always fast, maybe because of all the kids running around.

We were greeted with a fire and my brother in law yelling, “You can’t park that in Prairie Village!!!”

IMG_2813 IMG_2814

Will rode his bike for the first time to get his haircut. We offered to take him in the van. He preferred to go in the freezing weather.


We played videogames and generally laid around until it was time to go. Kate came along with us for the ride to mom and dad’s.

IMG_2750 I felt like a tourist with our big front windows.IMG_2752The night before Thanksgiving we had our aunts and uncles and cousins over. It was so fun! Chatty McChattersons, everyone was in a good mood.


I like full kitchens and lots of talking.

We surprised my dad with a video of his 1967 college basketball championship. At one point my cousin asked him, “Did you ever think that you’d have daughters who’d squeal over this?” We yelled and cheered as if it were a real game. It made me happy when he was remembering a specific shot that he’d blocked and then a few minutes later it was on film for us to see.


But seriously, those shorts.

My Uncle Donald said he would’ve made the team too, but he was too busy fighting in Vietnam for our country. That got a big laugh. He really was in the navy though.

The next day we gorged our faces and then played Pictionary. Boys won. Annie could’ve helped out more.
IMG_2755IMG_2757Later that evening we told our parents we were going to the store to get more mixers.IMG_2758

Lisa and Joe had other plans.

IMG_2763Amy was impressed with the space.IMG_2759Once we were in the van, something inexplicable took over the steering wheel. It took us all the way to…:IMG_2766The boats!!IMG_2767Joe offered to pay for valet, if only to watch their expression. After we left (everyone won or broke even except for me.. of course), we walked out to the valet service. The guy was wondering which car it was and Joe yelled, “It’s the only POS in the parking lot.”

Can you see it? I like a girl that stands out.
IMG_2770And then we watched it pull around the corner to pick us up. The driver had a big smile on his face. IMG_2773You know he liked it.

While in the casino, my sister repeatedly asked me to dye my hair. She even pulled Ryan aside to see if he liked it… which, believe it or not, he really does. He thinks it “glistens.” I can handle teasing, but her genuine concern made me start to doubt myself. So I googled young women who embraced their gray.

IMG_2774My other sister confirmed this girl (who works for Vogue) looks like she’s in her forties, but that it “probably helps her with her high-profile position.”

I’m used to people not understanding me, why stop now? And please, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere… but that’s just me!

Here’s Annie and Ryan again. She both a smiler and a non-smiler. I like them both.

IMG_2778Ruthie got a quick fall pic in front of the house.IMG_2781My mom and I spent an morning working on some appliques for Ruth and Annie’s stockings. I’m trying to replicate my stocking as much as possible. It was fun to get crafty.

My dad and Ruthie played with Play-doh too.IMG_2784Ruthie was not “havin’ it” with her mom this particular day so grandma asked her to make me a cake out of playdoh, you know.. to become friends again.

This is what I got:IMG_2785
On the ride home. I love how Ruthie holds up her books:IMG_2788
After hearing my dad give their neighbor an earful about the leaves in their yard (you know, while sitting inside their kitchen), I came home and swept leaves into a pile under the car port.IMG_2793They’re still there.
We’ve had a couple glorious days of weather here this week and we tried to take advantage. Ruthie dug in the dirt saying “I need to dig dirt for church.”  IMG_2794One time she asked me to walk her all over the yard and after awhile I told her I had to put her down because of my back. So she scratched it and told me I’d feel better.

I did.
Busy month and it’s not slowing down. Hoping the new year will bring long evenings and more cuddles.