Today Carter decided to kick off our Christmas family time with a fun little playground accident. Apparently while running around on the playground he tripped going up some stairs and face planted biting through his bottom lip and knocking his top two front teeth loose. Luckily it was an early release day and that Carter and Amy are at the same school. Lucky Amy got the call at around 10:40 a.m. She figured at first that it was something little like a scraped knee but got there to find a much more serious situation. After a quick visit to the school nurse they headed over to the pediatrician's office where they saw several people who all gave the " Ooooooh that looks bad." comment. Because it was a face wound they encouraged us to see an ENT doctor with more experience with stitches and scarring. The only problem was, of the two docs they recommended one was out of town and the other was closing for the day to take his staff out for a Christmas Luncheon. He was gracious enough to come back and see us at 3:00 even though his office was closed. Between the pediatricians and our 3:00 Amy called and got Carter in at the dentist to check out his teeth. (by now they were bothering him). The dentist said they needed to go and so after some funny gas(nitrous) and sleepy juice (novicaine) Carter had both top front teeth pulled. They finished up just in time for us to run next door to the ENT doc. Dr. Ford was incredible. It was just him and the cleaning staff and he had even called in his own daughter just in case so we wouldn't feel like it was just him. The good news after a thorough look was that by now Carter's lip was healing up nicely and he didn't think he could improve on what was happening all by itself. He ushered us out with a Merry Christmas and didn't charge us for any of his (I'm sure very valuable) time. So maybe this wasn't such a bad start to the holidays being reminded how blessed we really are that this was a "major" event. It made us think about how really minor the event was. We live in a great little town with incredibly generous and caring people. All of our docs, nurses, and assistants we dealt with today were very nice, and Carter was well cared for. God bless our health care workers and the job they do every day.
Yes we've finally gone and done it. We have fully given into the hype. We are now one of those houses that I never imagined. Amy went out to Lowes the other day and bought lights for the front porch. Then she went back and got the dangling Moravian star string for the big opening and some stars for the opening in our kitchen. I must say they look festive and pretty in a non-gawdy statement of holiday cheer. I just never figured I'd be "that guy". I'm drawing the line here and now for all the world to see (and mock me for when I'm unable to deliver on my ultimatum) that THERE WILL BE NO SANTA OR REINDEER OR OTHER SUCH NON-SENSE BEYOND THESE LIGHTS! The only reason I feel remotely secure in this statement is that that would never be something that Amy would be into (at least I pray that is the case).
We had our annual Christmas party last night. Sorry no pics. It was complete with the Russ Hiatt ( Amy would say overly complicated and bossy) version of the White Elephant Gift Exchange which features a mandatory spin of the Chutes and Ladders Spinner of Chance (DEATH as I like to call it). It's a twist on the standard holiday party pattern that apparently you either love or hate and our group of friends is growing weary of . Of course it is still instigated by me and as long as I can delude myself that even a single person among the group finds it even the least bit entertaining shall continue henceforth. Pardon me while I step down from my cruise-director soap box. OK now then where was I? Oh yes Christmas Party. It was a nice return to the crowd who has been coming for the past few years. Last year events conspired against many attending. I just like any excuse to get friends together.
And then that leads us to today and a holiday tradition from my childhood that has been absent for many years. The making of CHEESE BREAD. This was an annual occurance at my house which I became increasingly involved with as I grew older each year. It goes back to my grandparents restaurant days when my Dad was responsible for making the bread for the day. I remember being allowed to help a little more each year (translation get a little more in the way and my hands a little messier playing with dough). Below are some pics of Carter's first involvement this year. He was a great little helper while Gracen took her nap and Amy ran errands. The messiest parts are undocumented as I had dough stuck to my hands for over 30 minutes while Carter did his best to assist with flour pouring. Now the bread is rising despite grossly underestimating the amount of flour needed. We ended up supplementing with whole wheat flour and a little self rising as that was all we had in the house and thank goodness we even had that. Hope that doesn't mess anything up but the dough appears to be rising just fine as I type this. Won't be long before Carter and I are back into making a huge mess in the kitchen. Happy Holidays...
Sunday we had Carter's birthday party. Five pre-k and kindergarten kids running wild in the Rescue Squad wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds. They got the quick tour of an ambulance as well as crawled all over our big crash truck. We did a turn-out gear race and then a rousing game of pin the siren on the ambulance. The big hits were the Monster Truck pinata, opening presents, cake and icecream, and a ride in the big ambulance around the local neighborhood. I guess we've entered into the big time now and there's no going back. Carter is such a big boy now and it is so funny to see him with his friends. He is so confident and self assured. He some times gets a tad bossy but he is well liked in his class. I'll do another post on the rest of the weekend soon.
Saturday was Gracen's Birthday. We had a house full of family to help celebrate. Aunt Kristi, Uncle Kevin, Papa, Granny, Great Aunt Dory, Great Aunt Jackie, and Great Uncle Paul all came Friday night for a super fun slumber party. Saturday morning Grandpa and Grandmommy McWhirter came up to join the festivities. After a nap we all had birthday cupcakes and then Gracen got down to the real business at hand. She loved all of her presents and of course quickly ran out of hands to hold and play with everything although she made a valiant effort at times. It was definitely fun to see her enjoying herself with everyone there. She really is growing up right before our eyes. Happy Birthday big girl.
Papa came up this weekend to watch Carter and Gracen on Friday during our workday. Although Friday was a dreary rainy day, Saturday and Sunday turned into a classic Carolina clear fall day. We totally took advantage of Papa's photography equipment and savy to try and get some decent family shots. Here are some of the better shots. As you can see the fall colors are on the scene and so are all the people who come here to look at them. We managed to avoid most of the mob scene.
Today makes it only one month left before Gracen is officially two. In many ways she may as well already be there. She is talking more and more each day and her words get more clear with each sentence. My favorites right now are "Don't want it;" " Go baby go baby allway," (an imitation of my cheering friends on during a race) and "Want spyman spoon" (thanks to big brother she has an attachment to spiderman). She has also, in a not so amusing turn of events, discovered a whole new level of screaming which happens mostly while playing with Carter, and is with delight but it also gets employed when he starts messing with her.
Carter on the other hand is a full fledged little man. He is for the most part a very loving older brother very concerned with Gracen's safety. Of course he does get a tad bossy from time to time and although I have no earthly idea where he would ever get the impulse from also a bit ornery with his little sister. Of course Gracen is quite a bruiser and for the most part is able to hold her ground if not give better than she gets. She is definitely tougher than her older brother. Carter is loving school. We hear about his day every night at dinner. Amy loves having her little boy to herself in the morning and getting to see him first thing at the end of the day. I on the other hand love my time with my little girl on the way to work and first thing after work it is incredible to get the rock star treatment. Every day she lights up when I walk through the door of the babysitter.
We've really been enjoying the fall weather lately with a cooling off and the beginning of the leaves turning color. The other day we took a little walk after school all together just up the road with the kids racing each other up the gravel to look for Buckeyes, acorns, and other assorted treasures. Life is simple and good.
We just returned from our annual trip to Isle of Palms with the Boone gang. This year we missed Lance and Nicole due to their new baby girl's arrival being immenent, but added Lynn and Abby along with the regulars of Todd and Jess, and Jasyn and Corrie. What a different experience with EVERYONE having kids! It was great to hang out with everyone, eat awesome food, have fancy drinks, and relax on the beach. The kids did great and Carter loved playing with Lucy, Lynn and Abby's 2 1/2 year old. Gracen kind of did her almost two year old thing, playing on her own, and not wanting share with anyone. (what is up with the terrible twos anyway?) Mostly it was just fun hanging with good friends in a beautiful place. The boys (the big ones) caught both some surf during the day and some crabs in a night stealth mission. Carter loved "surfing" on his boogie board and played in the water most of the time. It was great finally being at the beach when none of my children were eating the sand and could just run around and play. It just makes me even more excited for next year's trip!
Back towards the end of July we met Amy's family for the annual McWhirter get together. This year it was at Natural Tunnel State Park in Virginia only about 30 minutes from Kingsport. We had a great time visiting with everyone and spent a ton of time in the pool. It was pretty hot while we were there but the pool was right next to the lodge we were staying in. In fact we even had our own little back gate to access the pool. Carter's swimming progressed exponentially during our time there to the culmination of jumping off the diving board all by himself and on the last day even swimming to the side unassisted.
Carter really enjoyed playing with his cousins Ethan and Ellie the whole time. He also really liked hanging out with the bigger cousins especially his cousin April.
Todd and the twins spent a night with us after the reunion back in Boone. Gracen is still putting things on her head and saying "hat" (a game with her silly Uncle Todd). We got to hang out at the pond together where Ethan and Ellie both got to real in a couple of bass.