Category Archives: Family

Yip Yip Family

Most of my generation who grew up in front of public television remember Sesame Street and its host of memorable characters: Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, The Count… Who can forget such gems as “It’s Not Easy Being Green” or “C is for Cookie” or “Rubber Ducky?”

As fun as it is to wax nostalgic with Sesame Street, I can’t say that I really enjoyed the show that much as a child. I was terribly averse to anything that felt like learning disguised as entertainment. My fondest memories from the show actually come from some of the more obscure characters such as the Martians, a.k.a. the Yip Yips.tumblr_mjtvxkvoiT1qb5gkjo1_500

The premise behind the Yip Yips was to teach kids about the properties of certain objects by looking at them from an alien perspective. Although this concept was by no means new or revolutionary, the Yip Yips were able to pull it off in a way that still makes me laugh today.

These were probably the simplest puppets ever featured on Sesame Street, controlled by only a pair of sticks. Yet I remember quoting them back and forth with my dad for years after, well into my teens.

Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube and some other kind souls who apparently thought the Yip Yips were worthy of preservation, my kids have now become subject to my crazy sense of humor.

So now, we’ve found ourselves going around in public saying dumb things like, “Book say Earth person have hands!” And the little ones oblige me by replying with the obligatory, “Yip yip yip yip yip!” It’s a strange feeling, to say the least – I’m so proud of them for having such offbeat senses of humor, but I worry that I’m going to make them as nuts as I am.

Unfortunately, Tabitha is not immune. While digging around for Yip Yip videos, we found one with a Yip Yip family singing a cute song that I didn’t seem to remember from my childhood. Of course, it didn’t take long before we all knew the words and started singing it back and forth, because it embedded itself in our heads. It’s getting as bad as Bananaphone was at first.

So, if you happen to see us over the holidays or any other time in the future reciting some ridiculousness back and forth, please don’t be alarmed. Don’t start making your way to the nearest exit while pretending to take an important phone call – all the while dialing 9-1-1. Just ask us what movie or show we’re quoting and we’ll happily show you what’s so darn funny on the nearest available interweb portal.

For more Yip Yip hijinks, check out what happens when they find a radio, a fan, a computer, and Planet Earth.

Saying No To Santa Claus

The deeper that Tabitha and I get into the Christian life, the more we’ve come to realize that we needed to tweak the way we celebrate Christmas. We’ve been trying to move away from the whole “Santa Claus” thing and instead return the focus of the holiday back to Jesus Christ.santa

This is not to say that we’ve taken all the fun out of Christmas and turned ourselves into a couple of Scrooges. We still exchange gifts, but we try to do it in the true spirit of giving and to commemorate the fact that Jesus once gave us the ultimate gift: The gift of salvation.

I understand that there are compelling arguments both for and against letting children believe in Santa Claus. Tabitha and I dealt with them extensively before making our decision. Ultimately, we let our hearts decide, but I want divulge some of the logic behind it all.

I remember that as a child, there was something “magical” about believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The anticipation on the nights before Christmas and Easter was always overwhelming. I’d hate to be the one to deny that magic to any child, but if I want my children to learn the true spirit of these days, an unfortunate side effect is dispelling all the myths surrounding them.

Besides, I believe that there is something even more “magical” about believing in Jesus Christ. Santa and the Easter Bunny are only around a couple of days out of the year, but Jesus is eternal! And the best part is, when my children get older, they won’t be crushed to find out that they believe in something that’s not real. Belief in Jesus, unlike belief in Santa Claus, doesn’t have to stop when we’re eight or even when we’re eighty.

Jesus does not abandon us if we’ve been “naughty,” (as if “naughty” children don’t receive Christmas presents from Santa Claus, anyway) but cares for us even when we’ve hit rock bottom. He wants us to pick ourselves back up and make things right, and he’s willing to help us every step of the way. His teachings invariably transcend the materialism of Christmas presents and Easter eggs.

I suppose it’s good that we’ve made this decision while our kids are still quite young. Kristopher has always seemed rather indifferent to the whole notion of Santa Claus anyway, so when we explained the difference between the real St. Nicholas and the Santa Claus of modern times, he didn’t seem too torn up at all. He still gets to believe in Jesus Christ, a belief that will carry him much further in life than any other.

So this year, before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, no mention was made of Santa, or chimneys, or reindeer on rooftops, or magical flying sleighs loaded with toys, or industriously laboring elves, or a workshop at the North Pole. When we woke up Christmas Day, we baked a birthday cake, had a nice meal, and spent some quality time together as a family. We talked about the life and trials of Jesus, thanked him for his sacrifice, and exchanged gifts in his name.

This Christmas season, I found that when we peel away the layers of noise and distraction from our lives, we are able to see more clearly that there is magic to be found in the everyday miracles of the universe. Celebrating Christmas in this manner was a great way to bring such magic into sharper focus.

What We’ve Been Up To

Our home has remained in a state of perpetual disarray, to put it lightly, since Taylor’s arrival. Coupled with work, school, and Kristopher’s boundless energy through it all, I’m still not entirely certain how I still have the wits about me to form coherent sentences.

Ah yes. Taylor.

What can I say about Taylor? She’s quite a handful. People used to tell us what a calm baby Kristopher was. We agreed with them because he usually was, but mostly because we didn’t know any different. Only now do we truly realize how lucky we were. The mild and easy-going temperament of Kristopher’s infancy contrasts sharply with Taylor’s clinginess and incessant need.

I know several of you got a sample of her manner during the last few holidays. Don’t let it upset you if she cried when you held her. My record for “Consecutive Time Spent Holding Taylor While Awake and without Her Crying” currently stands at just over ten minutes. Mommy is the undeniable center of her universe.

We were worried that Tabitha and Taylor wouldn’t be able make it to the annual Brown’s Grove Bonfire – or at least not be able to stay long. At just over a month old, though, Taylor did really well. Everyone seemed to have a great deal of fun this year, especially Kristopher and his new friend, whose name I unfortunately can’t recall. All I can really remember was the food, which seemed particularly awesome this year for some reason. I must have spent half the night hovering around the snack table. We managed to snap a few good photographs which I’ll have posted sometime before next year’s bonfire – I hope.

Thanksgiving was actually rather uneventful for us. We didn’t really go crazy with the food this year, since we were just feeding ourselves. We didn’t even have any ham or turkey, because I most likely would have had to eat it all myself :(. In a way, the lack of extravagance kinda helped make the holiday a bit more relaxing. People tend to wear themselves out cooking and busying themselves with so many activities that they really don’t get to spend much time appreciating Thanksgiving and what it really stands for.

The funny thing about fall semesters in college is suddenly realizing that after Thanksgiving break, classes are almost over. For some, that means a mad rush of getting things in order before finals. I actually avoided that this semester and coasted relatively unscathed into a fairly respectable (but disappointing) 3.28 GPA after having to take just one final.

The weekend of December 17th we set aside some time to visit Tabitha’s family in Louisville. We exchanged a few early Christmas gifts, Tabitha got some shopping done with her aunt, and Tabitha’s dad, Kristopher, and I got some swimming time in. The pool heater wasn’t functioning correctly, and the water was actually kinda cool, but if it bothered Kristopher, he certainly didn’t let it show.

Like so many years before, we spent Christmas Eve at my grandfather’s house with my mom’s family. I always look forward to this because of the amazing food and the five dollar Chinese Auction, which has become one of the highlights of the evening since we started it a few years ago. Usually the items placed in the auction are of practical use. Sometimes, however, someone will throw in a gag gift that results in absolute hilarity.

I’m going to save my recap of Christmas day for a different post, because as it looks right now, it can and probably should stand out on its own.

The Rest of the Story

Well I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a newborn in the house. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that takes some getting used to again.

In my haste, I only managed to put up some basic information about Taylor’s birth. As you all know, however, every birth has a story. Taylor’s story was, to say the least, a whirlwind of events.

For about two weeks up to the 21st, Tabitha insisted that I bring her phone with me to class in case she went into labor while I was getting my brain stuffed. I kept it on “Silent” at all times, and since I wasn’t used to carrying a phone with me, I usually forgot to check it for missed calls before coming home. By some miracle, I remembered to check it on that afternoon, discovering that Tabitha was experiencing severe pain and needed me to drive her to the hospital.

Both of us were almost certain it would be a false alarm. We figured the doctors would examine Tabitha and the baby, tell us we’re silly, and just send us back home. To stay on the safe side, though, they wanted her to come in and get checked anyway.

I was so certain it was a false alarm that I went ahead and went to work at 4pm after I got her settled into the hospital. My mom was there to take Tabitha back home and me, being a guy, would have only been in the way had I stayed. Now imagine my utter surprise when I was at work and got a message at 5:30 that the baby was going to be delivered early.

I made it to the hospital just in time to throw on some scrubs and get briefed on what I had missed. It turns out that Tabitha’s pains were indeed labor pains, and her doctor had decided to go ahead and perform the C-section instead of inhibiting the labor.

At 6:14, our family was blessed with a new little girl a week before we were expecting her. I think Tabitha was quite relieved to have the pregnancy over with and thankful that she wasn’t in labor for 21 hours like she was with Kristopher.09-21-05 Taylor & Mommy (5)

So that’s it. A Wednesday that began normally and ended with a welcome addition to the family. We thank everyone for their support and many gifts. We are thankful that we have so many loving friends and family.

Not a Day of Labor at All

Well another beautiful Labor Day has drawn to a close and for the first time in a few years, we didn’t do much but clean the house and enjoy some quiet time together as a family. With gas prices as they are, I’m sure we weren’t the only family to spend the holiday at home instead of taking a trip somewhere.

Besides, the closer it gets to baby time, the more miserable Tabitha becomes. I’d hate to try to drag her out somewhere at a time like this. She’s reached the point where she’s ready to have it over with, and it could very well be soon, seeing as Kristopher came about 4 weeks early. We even joked a bit about going into labor on Labor Day.

As for me, I’m only a week and a half into classes, and already I was welcoming the three-day weekend. As my last post so accurately predicted, this semester will indeed be an exercise in time management. For the curious, here’s a quick rundown of my classes this semester:

  • CSC 232 (Programming in Visual Basic) – A programming class! I’ve wanted to learn VB for a while. Now I get to learn it for credit! For the record, I have never messed up a semester during which I took a programming class.
  • CSC 301 (Foundations of Computer Science I) – This basically boils down to being another math class (discrete math, to be exact), but at least it’s more directly relevant to programming than calculus.
  • CSC 405 (Computer Architecture) – This course actually couples quite well with my CSC 301 class, but it’s run with the assumption that its students have already completed CSC 301. Thankfully, the same professor teaches both classes this semester, and I’m not the only one taking both. This course comes with a lab where we get to design and build electrical circuits based on binary logic.
  • PSY 180 (General Psychology) – A relentlessly boring lecture class. I’ve taken it before, now I’m taking it again. We’ll see if I make it to the end of the semester this time.

Almost every day of the week, I have a two- to three-hour gap between two of my classes. I’ve already found that these gaps are great for finishing most of my homework, leaving very little work to take time doing at home. I hope this trend continues after our little girl is born, because I doubt I’ll be able to concentrate on things as well with a newborn in the house. Besides, who would want to work on homework when there’s a new baby to hold?

It’s been stressful trying to settle into this new routine, but hopefully soon I’ll find my rhythm. All I know is that I’m am not planning on letting this semester slip away from me like so many before. Making the Dean’s List last semester certainly helped boost my confidence in myself that I can do this stuff and do it well. I should have graduated years ago, and kick myself every time I think of all the time I squandered. At least I seem to be back on track now.

A Collection of Chaos

Well it seems that our household continues to get busier as the family ramps up toward a new baby and I prepare for another semester of classes at Murray State. I used to find all kinds of time to write near the beginning of the summer, but anymore it seems that I’m barely able to manage an update a month.

I suppose I’ll start my recap with our most exciting news: Kristopher is now potty trained! I find myself unable to form the words to express how proud of him we are right now. It’s certainly a notable milestone for us all. Tabitha and I are also very excitied that we won’t have to touch another stinky diaper until late September, when we get to start the entire process anew.

/sigh. Such is life. :)

I’m also happy to report that Tabitha’s pregnancy is progressing steadily with no known complications, for which we are very thankful. I have great difficulty trying to fathom the discomfort of carrying a child in the womb, much less the discomfort when the final trimester falls in the hot, humid summer months characteristic of Western Kentucky. She’s kept a positive attitude in light of it all and remains a shining example of how deep down, women truly are stronger than men in many respects.

So what have I been doing as she sits there and suffers? Goofing off as much as I can get away with, of course! I’ve been spending these last few weeks of free time trying to extract every possible trace of fun I can before I end up locking myself back down into academic mode.

I’m already quite anxious to get back into class. I’ve enjoyed my abundance of free time, but time away from school certainly doesn’t put a degree in my hands any quicker.

I’ll be trying out a new work/school balance this semester, with the recent change in my work schedule being the main difference. Last semester, my work hours were concentrated entirely on Saturdays and Sundays. I now work three eight-hour days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings.

Spreading my hours over three days instead of two should help me better cope with work, but it will also force me to manage my time more effectively. I already miss having those five days off work in a row, but I certainly enjoy having my weekends back as compensation.

I seem to remember mentioning Kristopher’s terrible itchy, puffy, red skin rash in my last post, which we had all hoped was just an isolated outbreak. Regrettably, it has come back with a vengeance, despite treatments of Benadryl and prescription steroids from the doctor. Try as we may, we have yet to determine the cause of it. We still don’t know if it is a contact-based allergic reaction, an allergic reaction to some type of food or additive, or something else entirely.

All I know is that it has been causing us all a disparaging amount of grief. We humbly ask for your prayers as we try to deal with this on top of everything else going on. It’s making Kristopher very miserable and just getting him to take his medicine has been an uphill battle. We’d give anything just to somehow relieve him of it, as it pains us to see him suffer.

As always, I hope those of you who visit this site are doing well. I know I don’t stay in contact with most of you as well as I feel I should, and for that I apologize. I suppose I continue to write these news posts in an attempt to reach you all at once, because I’m lazy like that. :)