Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Exploration Continues

This is an update to a previous post where I told you about the interesting places the kids have been getting themselves into. Well, Christmas has presented them with even more spaces to explore. Banana climbed into a cardboard box big enough that we could have shipped her somewhere in it (though we would NEVER do that in a million years!) And look at C.B. wearing the box that one of the kids' new toys came in:

I love it when children can have just as much fun with the box the toy came in as they can with the toy itself. Christmas rocks!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day is here!

We ate.
We drank.
We opened.
We played.
We napped.
We played some more.
Check us out!

Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is coming together

I have been having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit so far this year. Not because I am a scrooge (bah humbug!), but because of all the things I feel like I have to get done before the big day arrives. Things like sending cards, baking cookies, cleaning the house; not to mention wrapping gifts. My husband says I shouldn't stress out about this stuff so much, but I can't seem to help it. It's what I do.

Yesterday I finally sent out the Christmas cards. I dropped them off to be mailed with a little prayer that they will actually be received before Christmas. Then last night I got some wrapping done. There's still more to do, but it felt pretty good to get a start on it. Then today we baked cookies...a LOT of cookies.

We chose four different kinds to make, and the kids each had a special kind they wanted to help with. Miss M helped with cranberry white chocolate chip, Big D helped with peanut butter chip, C.B. helped with good ole chocolate chip cookies, and the Banana banged on a pot with a plastic spoon. I made the oatmeal raisin by myself. We have a big pile of cookies and a really big mess. Now more than ever we have to get to that last item on my list - CLEANING THE HOUSE. Cleaning always seems a little easier with music. Maybe if I turn the Christmas music up really loud it will help to make the season (and the kitchen) bright.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cousin-ly love

Everybody at the Reddy Zoo seems to be recovering from last week's germ infestation. There are a few sniffles and coughs still hanging around, but nothing like what we experienced last week. Everyone is back at school this week. Today we are spending the day with our cousins.

Cousins are an extremely big part of our lives. Not just because there are so many, but also because of how close they all are. Everyone has a cousin (or two or three) who is pretty close to their same age which creates instant playmates. Since there are plenty of people and things to celebrate in the Reddy family, the cousins are together quite a bit, especially around the holidays. Everyone lives relatively close to one another, which makes this togetherness more convenient. The close proximity also makes it easier to get together for no reason at all. Or for the moms to trade days of babysitting in order get errands done.

In addition to all of that, Miss M, Big D and C.B. each have at least one cousin in their classes at school. Banana will also be in the same class as one of her cousins when the time comes. One of my sisters-in-law and I were just discussing how our kids know their cousins as their friends in addition to being cousins. Her son is at an age where things need to be clearly defined and he was referring to Big D as his "cousin-friend". It's really the perfect definition.

Looking back at my childhood and my lack of cousins nearby, I envy the relationship my children have with their cousins. However, it is because of them that I have wonderful relationships with my sisters-in-law. I enjoy being with them as much as our kids enjoy being together. Although we'd rather chat over coffee than have lightsaber battles during our "playtime".

The cousin-friend relationship is a very special bond that I plan to help nurture in any way that I can. I pray that my kids and their cousins are able to maintain their closeness into their adult lives.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

That time of year

Well, it's that time again. The time of year when moms everywhere begin their conversations with, "So, are your kids well?" Unfortunately, quite a few of the moms I have asked have answered NO. That's the answer at our house as well. Banana and Miss M started with fever and congestion over the weekend. Banana's fever was fairly low and she was much better by Monday. Miss M, however, is on her third day absent from school. And Big D started with symptoms this morning. I am guessing it's the flu because Banana recently had a flu shot and she isn't nearly as sick as the other two. The upside to this situation is that since it's less than two weeks before Christmas, the sickness should have already swept through our household and be gone before the big day arrives. I HOPE! The flu’s proximity to Christmas also means that I can pick up my Christmas cards and another round of cold & fever medicine from Walgreens all at the same time. Could it be that there is a such thing as a convenient time to get sick?

Friday, December 08, 2006

He wants YOU...

...to read this blog. I don't blame you for not checking us out lately; for thinking it hadn't been updated. I admit I have given you every reason to believe that I only write a new post once every couple of months. But I've been better lately. You'd be proud of me. In fact, if you haven't checked lately you've missed out on a lot of posts. And I've added lots of pictures to Flickr as well. Now, I can't make any promises that I will keep on posting like this, but I am trying. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Space Exploration

No...I'm not talking about "a galaxy far, far away". I'm talking about the interesting spaces my kids have been exploring lately. It all started when Big D put C.B. into a box I was using for Christmas gifts. It was pretty funny because C.B. completely disappeared into that box. The boys thought it was funny too. In fact, that box became their favorite toy for a while, and I had to find a new place for my gifts to go.

It seems to have escalated from there. C.B. has since squished himself into a cooler that doesn't hold much more than a 12-pack, and Banana has been crawling into cabinets here and there. I just hope I don't lose anyone!!

Click here for pictures...and may the Force be with you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day

We had a snow day today, like much of the St. Louis area. The kids were dying to go out and play in the white stuff. I think they spent as much time getting in and out of their snow clothes as they did playing outside. But they were thrilled to be out there, and even got all dressed up to go back out again later in the day. It was beautiful out there. See for yourself!

Click on the picture for more snowy photos.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday yesterday. We had a great dinner with Gramma Marsha, Grampa Jerry, Uncle John and Uncle Steve. We played some games and ate lots of food and enjoyed not having to work or go to school. We also enjoyed our annual Thanksgiving tradition of White Castles at midnight (well after the turkey has been digested!)

Thanksgiving is technically over, but since school and work are not happening until MONDAY, it seems the holiday is going to last four days here at the Reddy Zoo. However, I'm not sure there are enough leftovers to last that long. Oh, well! Enjoy your turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey tetrazzini, turkey jerky.....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Terrible Three with Middle Child Syndrome

C.B. is three-and-a-half, seemingly the perfect age to use the "Terrible 3’s" to describe his behavior lately. (That's right; I said "Terrible 3s". Two is a breeze compared with three.) However, some may call it "Middle Child Syndrome", since he is one of the two kids in the middle of our four. Labels like these and the behaviors they imply do seem to describe C.B. at this stage of his life. And maybe labels like these make it easier on parents to explain away these behaviors. But who really wants to be labeled?

Think about it...if the label is positive, we tend to feel pressure to live up to it, which could be good. But what if we can’t? Many people then become depressed or resentful when they’re unable to live up to the expectations of the positive label. Likewise when the label is negative, like "Terrible 3's" or "Middle Child Syndrome", we often find ourselves living up to that negativity and exhibiting all the expected negative behaviors. So it doesn't seem helpful to put a label on C.B.'s behavior. What I really need is to spend more time with him, be more patient with him, and remember that "this, too, shall pass!"

I realized this morning that I have help with this in unexpected ways. When C.B. got up and came downstairs this morning, Banana walked as fast as I've seen her walk yet to get over to him. C.B. was amused by this and exclaimed, "She ran!" (I guess you could call it running.) But what happened next was even better. She went right up to him and gave him a great big hug. What a smile he had on his face! I think that hug meant more to him than anything I could have done or said this morning.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Who's that kid with the OREO cookie?

We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new Shop-n-Save near our house for about a year now. We go by it every time we drive to or from school so we have been watching the building progress. Well, it finally opened yesterday and we just HAD to go and check it out! There were tons of other people there with the same idea, but plenty of cashiers as well so the wait wasn't too bad. Also I only had two of the kids with me. However, Banana chose the checkout line as the perfect place for her tantrum in the cart. In case you aren't aware, you get to bag your own groceries at Shop-n-Save. It's not bad, but I need more practice. My strategy is to cram as many things as possible into each bag so I don't have so many bags to carry in when I get home. Sounds logical, right? Well, it works for me. Anyway, with Banana crying I had to throw any strategy out the window and bag like the wind so I could get out of there. As we were sprinting out, a nice Shop-n-Save employee handed C.B. a package of Oreos and told me thanks for shopping today. And since Banana was crying the nice lady gave Banana her own package of Oreos and told me to have a nice day. Free cookies! Twice even!! I never thought I would say there was anything positive about tantrums in the grocery store. Though my sister-in-law Debbie just mentioned the other day that they opened an extra checkout lane just to get her out of the store one time when her son was having a moment. It might be worth a try to pinch your kid while you're in the checkout lane and see what you get when the crying starts. Okay, maybe not.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Another Halloween came and went. It's the same every year...the excitement builds up for at least a month before the actual day gets here, and then we're left with more candy that we can possible finish even weeks after it is over. We decided after last Halloween that we would be a family of vampires, and the idea stuck one year later. It stuck with Big D and Miss M, that is. C.B., who has been generally uncooperative lately, and Banana, who is too little and cute to turn into a vampire, dressed up as less threatening creatures. I lost count of how many times we got kids in and out of costumes, due to the number of Halloween parties at school, church, etc. I'm surprised the costumes actually made it through Trick-or-Treating in one piece. Click here for some spooky Halloween fun!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Big D!

Big D turned five years old today. He woke up and immediately began telling everyone that it was his "real" birthday (not to be confused with the birthday parties he's already had). I have to admit I feel like we've been celebrating D's birthday for a week already, but it hit me today that he is really FIVE now. I try to tell myself that it can't be five years already, but there he is blowing out the big #5 candle.

Here are some more pictures of our big five-year-old boy. Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Look how old I am!

Today is Banana's FIRST BIRTHDAY! I had visions of posting pictures here that captured her personality throughout this first year. But then Blogger decided it didn't want to publish any of my pictures, so I decided to try Flickr. Here is a link that I hope will get you to some cute pictures of our baby. If this works I may have to use it more often (don't hold your breath!)


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oktoberfest 2006

Oktoberfest (ock-toe'-burr-fest) is a two-week festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September and early October. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year. Other cities across the world also hold fairs, modeled after the Munich event, also called Oktoberfest. Beer plays a central role in the fair, with every festival beginning with a keg of beer tapped by the Mayor of Munich who declares "O'zapft is!" (Bavarian for "It's tapped!"). Visitors also consume large quantities of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as sausage, hendl (chicken), käsespätzle (cheese noodles), and sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as roast ox tails.

The first "Oktoberfest" took place on October 12, 1810. Our version of Oktoberfest took place on October 7, 2006 at Aspenhof. We followed tradition as beer played a central role in the event and large quantities of food were consumed. We started with the lighter fare like grapes and cheese and worked our way to hot items such as chicken wings and party rye pizzas. Roast ox tails were NOT served. The fall colors were in full swing at the country and the weather could not have been better. Click on the photo below to view some pictures from the event.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Favorite Pictures

Miss M's first day of school
C.B. in the backyard
Big D playing with his food Miss M with her baby cousin
Big D enjoys his fruit
Big D with a Banana
C.B. washing his cares away
The whole gang at Banana's Baptism
Miss M and me at a Leader-Daughter weekend

Me and my dad at the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dogtown

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cute and Sweet

You might think I am on a food kick judging by these last two posts. Maybe I am, but I couldn't resist displaying this picture of the cake we had at my nephews' double baptism.

Click to enlarge

The boys' moms (Terri and Debbie) and I worked on this together, and I think the team approach really paid off! Believe it or not, it even tasted pretty good under all that fondant icing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ice cream with a Banana

Sorry this took so long; but between problems with Blogger and my laptop on the fritz it's been a little hard to keep this going. Not to mention keeping up with school, scouts, church, and everything else that is life here at the Reddy Zoo. Anyway, I'll try to be better. Enjoy!!

Ice Cream!


Uh-Oh...that was a BIG bite


Monday, June 12, 2006

Lake Wappapello

Funny name...fun camping trip. We went with Uncle Dave and Aunt Tara for four days and had a blast. Here are some highlights:

C.B. looks pretty serious about fishing
Big D puts a fish back into the water
C.B. uses the FORCE on his brother
Yes...we actually brought lightsabers along on our camping trip.
The Banana with her Daddy
Aunt Tara with Miss M and C.B.
Uncle Dave & Aunt Tara found "Rocket" in the road.
Rocket was awesome in the turtle races.
He won every race but one. What a champion!
Aunt Tara with Banana
Miss M with the Lake Wappapello sunset in the background
Miss M and Dad drive the boat
Big D found a toad

Our bathing beauty, Banana

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Welcome, Baby Luke!

The Reddy Zoo is proud to welcome it's newest nephew/cousin, Luke Michael. This little bundle of joy was brought into the world on June 6, looking a bit like a clone of his big brother. We are happy to have our seventh nephew and thirteenth cousin. We are awaiting the birth of one more cousin (boy) this summer and the adoption of two more boy cousins from Russia by next year's end. We LOVE our big family!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bathtime for Baby!

These are just a couple of cute pics of the Banana having a bath in the kitchen sink. She had a great time splashing water all over everywhere. She did get clean eventually.

Monday, May 22, 2006

So long for the summer to Sunday School

We closed out our FIFTH year of Sunday School this weekend with a wonderful last class and end-of-year picnic. All the kids were good listeners while Miss Joan read a story, they worked hard on their crafts and clapped for each other when special prizes were handed out at the end. Miss M, a Sunday School alum, was on hand to help the younger kids. The teachers expressed their gratitude to Miss (Aunt) Joan for all her hard work these past five years, since this is her last year. She helped make this one another great Sunday School year. C.B. is already looking forward to the next one when he will be old enough to go with Big D - yeah!