Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This is what I cannot stand:

I've thought about it... For months- years, actually. This grosses me out way more than dirty diapers or puke. Officially, the thing I dislike most about the toddler years --- I despise the after meal cleanup under the table. It is so disgusting to me for some reason... I'm not sure why my kids can't seem to keep the majority of their food in their mouths or on their plate or at least on the table somewhere. Anywhere. But crawling on my hands and knees with a rag under the table picking up moist morsels of half eaten food after a meal... Hate it. Hate it. The end. This is Chris writing in case anyone ever reads this or wonders if Curt or Chris is the one who hates this. It's me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Loving this weather!

I was about to post a picture of what I dislike the most about the toddler years. But I decided to first give thanks for the good things in our life- like being outside together, enjoying this gorgeous weather and doing some hiking. So after this post, I will feel less guilt about posting what I really can't stand. Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Food Smear time

We had another great session of food smear.  We have this ritual of food smearing that has been passed down through the generations (on the Barkers side I am sure...).  We start with just some peanut butter.  We smash it on the table, on the floor, in our kids hair, under their fingernails, under the table, both sides of the plate, in the folds of their neck, on cabinets, walls, windows oh and occasionally in their mouth.  Then we add bananas and repeat the whole process not leaving any crevase untouched. 

Some people call this time snack time, but that seems strange.  We think food smear time is more apt.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Coming into focus

Don't all dads think their daughter is perfect?  So it was a shock to my system when she recently required glasses.  And due to my poor choice, she is wearing dark gray glasses against her pale skin and looks hilarious. Studious.  Dorky. One well meaning friend even said she was cute in a quirky sort of way.  What? My crazy, funny, beautiful daughter?  Quirky?
It is in relationship that we learn most about ourselves - usually the parts of ourselves that we have kept most hidden from others and perhaps even our self.  We try not to focus on those parts but they come out at odd times and remind us that they need to be dealt with at some point.  Joseay is a beautiful girl and she remains so.  Her energy and curiosity alone are infectious and that smile melts me quickly.  Now she has an additional advantage, she can see more easily when she has her father wrapped around her finger. Not fair.

Thank you my beautiful daughter for teaching me about beauty and correcting my altered view of the situation.  We love you like crazy. 

I might look for another color of glasses...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green to Radiant

Fall seems to have snuck up on us out of the blazing heat as we received about 10 inches of rain in a 24 hour period here in Chattanooga taking us immediately from a parched, hot summer to a wet, cool autumn. We lost electricity (or “the batteries are dead” according to Brown) with down power lines blocking the driveway forcing a sleep over at the house with a few guests around candles which was nice.
With all the changes in the air, we decided it was time to rid our house of that blessed peace-bringing invention called the pacifier. We have had them as a part of our lives for a few years now but it is time to say good bye. So me, I thought of several gradual ways to wean Miss Joseay off of her pacie, taking slow baby steps one at a time. While I was coming up with a spreadsheet to plan these steps (not really, but don’t put it past me), I came home and Chris said “it is done.” “What is done?” “Her pacie.” “What do you mean?” “They are gone. She took a nap without the pacie and now they are packed up.” Hmm. I wanted to tell her how abrupt that change was and how it clearly would not work. Except that it worked beautifully. Joseay has slept through several naps and nights without the pacie now so just like that, she (and we) loses another remnant of her babyhood, and she takes another step toward being a little girl and no longer a toddler.
Seasons change at the blink of an eye, where you once saw beautiful summer in the green leaves, they suddenly turn radiant and summer exists only as a glowing memory.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Plasma Cars

So Brown and Joseay are enjoying the newly paved driveway. Wait a second, who is that big kid on Brown's plama car?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seriously Summer

Not sure where you are as you read this, but it is hot in Chattanooga. Red cheeks, sweaty forheads, skinned knees (and shines, and elbows, and foreheads), lots of scooters and bikes, screams of ice cream – must be full on summer in the south. I notice it so much more with kids. Even after being inside for 30-45 minutes last night as we tried to cool them off in the AC before they went to bed, Brown’s hair was still wet. It makes me hot just looking at them, but they don’t seem to mind.

Joseay is growing into her personality which is exciting and scary at the same time. They both are competing to be the loudest and I think we have two champions in the making. But we are having fun.

We are learning to make directions very explicit at this age. Chris told Brown to help clean up and line up the shoes by the back door. This was the result:

You really can't make this up can you?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring into Summer

Well, blog posts come rarely these days. There are so many notable moments in our lives now that to try to encompass them seems ridiculous, so I will just share a bit as it comes to mind now.

Our neighbors loaned us a children’s Noah’s Ark play set with ark, animals, and people. Brown and I were looking through the animals and he was naming them as I pulled them out. Giraffe, lion, cow, etc.

I next pulled out Noah, robe, white beard.

Brown looked at him, cocked his head over to the side. Then his eyes brightened as he said “Santa Claus!”

Suppressing laughter, I just said ok, and moved on to the next animal. I would like to wax eloquent about how confusing fairy tales and bible stories are to children who can only think in concrete terms, but I will save that.

Brown's speech therapy is going well, too well. They forgot to tell us where the off switch is. He loves asking "what that?" or "who gave me that?" or "what doing daddy?" Its hard to believe he was ever nonverbal.

Joseay is a trip. Not sure how to describe her current phase. Willful, curious, loud, messy, still nearly bald, hilarous, ticklish, all that. Come visit for a first hand look and then let us know your opinion.

This weekend, we were moving sand for the sandbox and I was using the wheelbarrow and Brown of course wanted to help.

He came over, slipped under one of the handles and was holding both handles in front of me as we walked sand around the garden. His interest just lasted a few seconds really but there I was, working in the yard with my son working and playing in the sun, sweaty, healthy fun. I looked over at Miss farmer Chris who was hoeing in the garden (yes, that minivan driving, signal living mom of two now wields a hoe so watch it) and thought, does it get any better than this? Speaking of garden and my wife, we had our first produce from the garden last night in the form of a basil/cilantro pasta dish.

Not sure where this life is taking us, but we are enjoying a generous season in many ways at the moment and are so grateful.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


My Dad's mom died earlier this month. She recently had broken a vertebrae in her back and had been going through rehab in the hospital, then a rehab unit and then finally had made it to an assisted living sort of place where she could have her own stuff in her room - her own bed, dresser etc. Not home, but fairly close. It was run by her church and had worship services and bible study for her and I believe she was beginning to settle in. She died apparently peacefully in her sleep at 92. She had a long, blessed life and for that we are thankful. Brown had become fond of visiting with her on a regular basis and still mentions her name at random times. He got to visit her the day before she died as Chris took Joseay and Brown by to see her at lunch. Of course the workers loved seeing the kids and brought them some ice cream which you can see Brown devouring in this picture. This is the last picture we have of grandma. I am glad that she knew my kids and obviously loved their visits and seeing them grow and develop. She knew Joseay was a girl, but would frequently say things like: "oh isn't he cute." Joseay still could use some hair...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day 2011

The Chaffin family has had a wonderful morning. Up early, Brown doesn't understand that when school and work are canceled, that means to be lazy for a while. But it is 3pm as I write this, and though we have been out in the snow, eaten several times, bathed the kids, everyone is still in pajamas so I guess we qualify for lazy.

Joseay likes touching the snow. Her face kind of squeezes up when her hand pushes through the surface of the snow. But this 6 or 8 inches or whatever we have on the ground out there, comes up past her knees. That translates to about two foot for an equivalent amount for an adult. So my point is, a toddler, with a true “toddler”gait does not handle the snow so well. So her time outside has been fairly brief.

Brown came out and played for a while, but his gloves just don't quite stay on and his hands got cold really quickly. Add that to the fact that he just likes eating the snow and he got chilly quickly. His first words when we looked out the window early this morning were “want to eat that snow.” But we did get in some sled rides in our backyard along with some snowball fighting which consisted of him coming and throwing loose snow at my knees. But it was really fun none the less.

We continue to be blessed with happy kids, happy times and lots of love. Brown is talking much more now and can communicate his needs more easily which I think had led to a lot less frustration for him as well as us. He is developing friends in that he looks forward to seeing them when they get together at various times. He and Joseay love to play with each other which has been nice. We had cinnamon rolls this morning and while Chris and I were lingering at the table eating, both of the kids were playing in Joseay's room. When they were both laughing, Chris looked at me and said, “See, everyone told us the kids would get to this point.” Fun times in St. Elmo!