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New Things are a’Happenin’

When I sit down to update this blog, I usually forget to write about how things are changing in our house.  But things are always changing, ammaright?  But we’re like frogs sitting in cold water set to boil: it’s sometimes hard to see the change ourselves.  All of that to say: here are some new things that are happening around here.

ZK and Reid now take every bath together.  It’s their FAVORITE part of the day, no doubt.  Reid splashes like it’s a game to see how much water he can get outside the tub.  ZK tries her best to swim in it (picture her going from one end of the tub to the next, on her belly).  And the water is cold by the time they get out.  Good, solid sibling fun.



Also, Reid has started pulling-up on everything.  No more cough-drops or water glasses left on the tables anymore.  But he still isn’t interested in walking.  We know that most kids his age are walking, but he’ll get around to it when he wants to.  My friend has a baby boy his same age, and we raced them crawling the other day; Reid won.  If he wins at these competitions, why on earth would he would to be the slowest walker?  I get it.  He’s fast.  Aaaaaand that’s why he makes it to the bathroom to splash his hands in the toilet before I can get there most days.

ZK had her first visit to the dentist.  For whatever reason, she felt like she was on vacation.


And they really are starting to play together more and more.

Zk’s first time to pack herself up in a suitcase.


Reid had an excellent visit to the pediatric cardiologist!  His heart continues to behave as if he was never born with complications.  Thankful to God for protecting him.


Look at that wicked scar. When he grows-up and other kids try to pick on him, he’ll have to show them his chest and tell them to feel sorry for the other guy.

ZK was due for a haircut, so I took her on our first mommy-daughter coffee date before we went to the salon.  She got hot chocolate, and spilled it on the first sip.  That’s my girl.

She likes hot-chocolate so much, she wanted to wear it.

She likes hot-chocolate so much, she wanted to wear it.




Thanksgiving & Christmas

We don’t usually travel for Thanksgiving, which was no different this year.  But I also have zero interest in making a huge meal for 2-3 people.  So we invited people over!  Then they couldn’t make it.  Then our friends, Marisa and John Stone rescued our family from a potential Mac & Cheese Thanksgiving-to-remember, and invited us over to their place.  So kind.  Plus, Zoe Kate is kind of obsessed with their dog, Precious, so she was thrilled, as well.

I stole the idea of having a “Thankful Tree” from a friend of mine.  For the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, we would randomly ask Zoe Kate what she was thankful for, and we would write it on a piece of paper and hang it on the tree.  You can read some of the hallmark answers, like “Jesus” or “Friends” or “Treats,” but she was also thankful for “Lights” and “Doors” and “Walls.”  I get it…you look around the room and say the first thing that you see.  But, you see, when we pray each night before bed with her and ask her what she wants to thank God for, she usually says “light” and “doors” and “walls”.  Seriously, for about 215 days straight now, we’ve been thanking God for lights and doors and walls.  It’s a little odd.  I guess it’s good that she doesn’t take these things for granted??



After Thanksgiving, we got on the road (and into the air) to drive to Memphis and then fly to Dallas!  Pege & Pops and GaGi & PapPaw pulled out all of the stops for a fun and festive 10 days of Christmas.  Zoe Kate & Reid got quality time with their grandparents and aunt and uncles and cousins…and Matt and I got quality help!  It’s a beautiful thing when you can go to the bathroom by yourself.  We even got to go on a couple of free-babysitting dates.  In this stage of life, rest is a mighty precious thing.  If somebody asked me right now what my idea of fun is, I think I would say “sleep”.  I’m secure enough in myself to own that.

And while we were in Dallas, we celebrated a big landmark: Reid turned one!  For obvious reasons, the weather and the Christmas season were ever-present reminders of the really tough December we went through last year, with Reid’s birth and diagnosis and surgery and recovery.  Getting to celebrate his life through this season was so redemptive.  God has brought so much healing.

(I completely forgot to bring my camera to Dallas, which is why I’m missing pics from our time there…forgive me!)

Uncle Don with his youngest son, Freddy, and Reid.

Uncle Don with his youngest son, Freddy, and Reid.





Pege & Pops took Zoe Kate and Dewey to see their first play, Peter Pan. Squirmy little ZK sat still the entire time! meaning, she loved it 🙂



The best picture we could secure of the Drinkard grandchildren.


When we got back to Knoxville, we had a quiet and simple and wonderful Christmas here at our home.  There’s not a lot about Christmas I don’t love.  It was merry, indeed.


Christmas Eve…my favorite day of the year.













Owl & Lion Take to the Streets

This past Halloween was one of the best days of the year.  I don’t know if you remember, but it was unseasonably warm.  Our neighbors were having a party for all of the families in the neighborhood, to gather and eat before we went trick-or-treating.  ZK lives for candy (I guess every kid does, but her excitement seems hilariously high).  And the kids loved dressing-up.  We have our bad days, for sure, but this was one of the good ones.  Also, it was the first Halloween where we’ve had a kid who “gets” it.




All of the neighborhood kids gathering for a photo before they left for the streets.

“I’m Starting to Turn 3!”

Zoe Kate turned 3 on September 29.  More than any other time in her life, she seems so grown-up these days.  We have actual conversations.  She’s expressing more complex emotions.  She’s constantly using her imagination.  I find myself truly enjoying her more often.  She’s so great.

We had some good friends over to celebrate her birthday.  Party hats, friends, balloons, cupcakes, dogs: these are a few of her favorite things.  Needless to say, she loved every minute of it and is still talking about it today.  As we were saying goodbye to our last guest in the front yard, we returned to the backyard to find ZK scavenging the yard for all of the half-eaten cupcakes.  The kid loves a cupcake.


One of ZK’s first friends here was Precious (the Stone’s dog). So, naturally, Precious was invited.


I have so many pics of ZK chasing these boys and/or the soccer ball.




It was a “bubble” themed party.



She went inside to go potty by herself and then emerged looking like this. No shame in her game.


I love her reaction when we’re all singing to her. I hope she always knows how delighted-in she is.



Opening presents was probably the most stressful part of the party. “Wait – who gave you that? WHO GAVE YOU THAT? Did you thank them? Hey – let’s let Zoe Kate open that one. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO GAVE HER THAT??”


Sweet birthday girl

Claiming Grace, Part 2

In August, we also celebrated the beautiful privilege of Reid being baptized.  When ZK was baptized, we had a lot more space in our schedule to plan a bigger celebration.  My parents were able to come in town for Reid’s baptism, but we never planned a brunch.  I chalk it up to the whole second-kid thing (plus, remember how August was nuts?).  BUT!  It was no less important and exciting.  We’re so grateful we have a God who gives so graciously.


Funny but cute picture, in my opinion.


The August Train

I remember at RUF training a few years ago, they compared the school year to a train that leaves the station in August at 100 mph.  The analogy is not all that original, but it’s accurate.  In August this year, we met many of our sweet UT-RUF students as the school year began.  Then Zoe Kate and Reid started school, too.  I don’t know if it’s because we’re new to Knoxville/UT/kid’s school or if it’s because we still have an infant (more or less), but August was indeed a splash of cold water in the face: shocking but also invigorating.  I do love a schedule!

Zoe Kate goes to school 2 days/week, while Reid goes once/week, from 9-1:30.  It’s d’lovely.  Love my kids.  Love love love them.  But I don’t feel guilty about enjoying a break from them.  And they love school.  Win-win.  I think the teachers think I’m kray-kray, though, because I’m constantly forgetting something and I rarely brush my hair before I drop them off.  I am an outward advertisement that parenting does not make you prettier, and I like to think I make other moms feel better about their scruff.


The obligatory first-day-of-school picture.

We hosted our church’s back-to-school cookout for the students.  200 of them.  But truly, the church hosted it (food, set-up, etc).  We just had it at our house.  I loved getting to meet so many of our UT students!  I don’t remember most of their names, yet, but doggonit, I’ll keep trying.  Thanks for your patience, students – we’re so glad to be here!


I can’t find our pics of the actual party, but I snapped these pics right before the students got there.


Matt teaching ZK how to be weird.

Autumn Activity

This past Fall, we enjoyed getting outside.  I don’t do hot (or cold) weather all that well.  I wish I did, because I love being outside.  So it’s carpe diem in the Fall and Spring!  We got season tickets to the zoo, which Zoe Kate loves!  We usually go with my good friend Lesley and her 2 boys, Abe and Henry.  The last time we were there as a family, we saw a giraffe drinking urine straight from the “stream” of the giraffe in front of him.  It was a cultural moment for all of us.



ZK got a kick out of riding one of the “animals” at the zoo.


ZK & her good buddy, Abe

This past Fall, ZK also took dance for the first time.  There’s not much cuter than a 3-yr-old in a leotard, I don’t care where you’re from.  She had a lot of fun!  Too bad her trusty ol’ parents forgot to sign her up for the next semester.  Woops.

ZK, ready to go to dance class

ZK, ready to go to dance class

And look at the adorableness in the sleeping Reid below!  Can you tell that the kids are napping while I’m writing this post?  I’m can’t stop talking about how cute and adorable and squishy and huggable they are.  It’s because they’re not screaming, whining, arguing, or disobeying right now.  They’re sleeping.  Holy goodness, I love them…but they’re so much cuter when they’re sleeping.


I love how droopy his face is. I’ll be so sad when he loses his baby fat!