Sunday, November 30, 2008


This past week I was blessed to be able to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday three times. Yes, three times! And yes, I do still like turkey and I officially need to go on a diet (but the diet may have to be postponed until New Year's resolutions as I have a weakness for gingerbread men). It was a wonderful week and all three times of feasting were extraordinary. I thoroughly enjoyed the time of recollecting the Lord's blessings in my life, teaching my children the history of Thanksgiving, visiting with family, and of course eating delicious food.
The week started off with a visit to Grammy and Pappy’s house in Williamsburg for a Saturday Thanksgiving celebration. This was the first holiday spent in John and Karen’s new home and it was a special time for all. Brian’s sweet grandmother, Nana, had flown in from Houston, Texas and Brian’s sister, Tara, and her boyfriend, Archie, drove down from D.C. We were able to introduce Nannie to her fifth great-grandson and Davis enjoyed several hours of attention in her arms. Brian’s mom had the table beautifully set and treated us to a delectable meal. The turkey was absolutely perfect (I will have to find out her secrets!). The boys had fun playing with all of the new toys at Grammy and Pappy’s house and being entertained by fun Aunt Tara (or as Bryce says, “funny Aunt Tara”). We had a wonderful time.

Nannie and Davis.

Grammy and Carter.

Nana, Tara, Carter and Karen.

Pappy carving the turkey with Grant looking on.

Nana and Bryce.

On Tuesday I helped out with the kindergarten Thanksgiving feast at Alberta Smith Elementary school. The children enjoyed a feast of all the traditional Thanksgiving foods while dressed in costumes they had made to look like the Native American Indians who took part in the first Thanksgiving. I enjoyed seeing Grant with his classmates and had fun talking with the kindergartners. Grant’s teacher sent home a list of what each child in her class had said when asked the question, “How do you cook a Thanksgiving turkey?” The answers were quite amusing (and creative!). Here are a few:
Alexis: "Put on pepper, sauce, chicken and fries. Put in the oven for 3 minutes."
Gracie: "Put in milk, eggs, and pancakes. Put on feathers, pepper and salt. Cook in oven for 25 seconds."
Grant: "Cut it. Cook in oven for 13 minutes. Put on cinnamon."
Grant and Bryce helped the day before the feast to make some cornucopia favors for Grant’s classmates. I got the idea from my friend Jillian who is Bryce’s Sunday school teacher. Using sugar cones as the cornucopia, the boys filled them with sunflower seeds, raisins, candy corn, and pretzels, each item symbolizing something different. I attached a paper with the following inscription on each cornucopia:
Ice Cream Cone
represents a cornucopia, or a horn of plenty.
represent arms folded in thanks and prayer.
Dried fruit
represents the celebration of the harvest, when the pilgrims finally had enough food to eat.
Sunflower seeds
present next season’s harvest.
Candy Corn
represents maize. During the first year of settlement, many pilgrims died because food was so scarce. Native Americans shared corn with them and taught them how to plant this new crop.
Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Grant wearing his Indian headdress, sitting next to Jolie and Kameron.
On Thursday we hosted the annual Callahan Thanksgiving gathering in our home. This was the first time that Brian and I had hosted the big event. It was a cozy get-together with roughly thirty people in our house, but everyone enjoyed the close fellowship. We had family come in from northern Virginia, Portsmouth, Virginia, Charlotte, North Carolina and Delaware. It was a potluck style meal with everyone contributing a dish (or two or three). We truly had a feast. There was enough food in our kitchen to feed a small army. We also discovered that the Callahans can drink some coffee! Brian brewed the coffee while I kept busy rotating casseroles in and out of the oven. The weather was nice and after our meal we were able to walk off a few of those calories and make room for some pumpkin pie. We enjoyed seeing my mom’s side of the family and were grateful that everyone was willing to make the trip to our house. It was a memorable day.
Brian carving the ham.

The women talking in the kitchen.

Eric--"Uncle Eric" to my boys.

The young people's table.

The fine china crowd.

Four out of the eight Callahan brothers. My mom is one of eleven children.

Grandpa and Davis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bryce's 4th birthday

This past Saturday we celebrated Bryce's fourth birthday. We had a fun evening with family over for dinner, cake, and opening presents. Bryce requested a train cake for his birthday. Doing my best to replicate a cake idea we found online, the boys and I had fun decorating our own train cake together. Bryce received some fun gifts including a couple of puzzles (Bryce loves putting puzzles together), a kids laptop computer toy, a Curious George book and stuffed animal from Grant (Grant saw them in the store and knew they would be a hit with Bryce who is enamored with Curious George), letter tracing cards, a fun sock matching game, a Hot Wheels race track, and a hand-painted letter train from Aunt Susannah. It was a fun night and Bryce is glad to be a big four-year-old now.

Bryce showing Daddy his train cake.

Blowing out the candles.

It is at this instant (according to Grant and Bryce) that he actually turned four.

Grammy, Grant and Davis.

Pappy, Carter and Grant all smiles.

Bryce with his name train from Aunt Su-Su.

A good report

Above is a picture of Grant with his new lightsaber toy. He has recently acquired an interest in Star Wars. He has never seen any of the movies but has really picked up on the Star Wars lingo from all of his buddies. The lightsaber was a reward for the good report card he received this past Friday. He is doing very well in kindergarten and I have yet to hear a single complaint about school from him. In fact, by Sunday afternoon he is usually asking when does he get to go back to school (I may have to remind him of this in the future!). When Brian took a look at Grant's report card he said, "Wow, that's amazing!" I agreed that Grant was doing great and then he said, "No, I mean at the bottom where it says Days Tardy: 0. You've managed to get all four kids out the door and on time every day." It was nice of Brian to recognize that zero tardy days was a big accomplishment on my part (not just shocked that I could be punctual on a regular basis). It has definitely been an adjustment to be on a stricter schedule and on many days no easy task to get all four kids up and ready to go by 8:00am, but I tend to like routine so it's actually been a nice change. What a thoughtful husband to appreciate my "line of work." It was also Brian's idea to reward Grant for his efforts in school. I guess we both got a good report!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I've learned about boys this week

While I am blessed to be the mother of four little boys, I still have quite a lot to learn about boys. You see, I have never actually been a boy and I have learned that they act, think, feel, and do things differently than I did as a little girl. These are some of the things I have learned this week:
1. Pretending to be construction equipment can be hazardous to your health. Carter has recently developed an affinity for construction equipment (which I have learned is a male trait that develops at approximately two years of age). This being said, he decided to pretend to be a bulldozer earlier in the week. He did this by crawling on his knees with his face buried in the carpet as he 'plowed' the room. Unfortunately, his cute face now has a nasty rug burn across his nose as a result of all the pretend play.

2. Underwear is hilarious. On the way home from school one day this week Grant and Bryce discovered their bag of extra clothes that I keep in the car (you never know when a little boy might need to change out of soiled clothes--see below). They pulled out their spare pair of underwear and threw them up and at each other shouting, "Underwear!" and laughing hysterically. As I hollered back at them, "Stop throwing your underwear in the car!" I couldn't help but chuckle under my breath as I saw Buzz Lightyear and Spider-man underwear getting tossed about in the rear-view mirror.

3. Yes, puddles are irresistible. I don't think I need to elaborate on this one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My mom

It is definitely true that having your own children causes you to have a new appreciation for your parents. Since becoming a mother myself I realize even more what an amazing mom I have. She is always patient, generous with encouraging words, strong in her faith, and the most giving person I've ever known. I have a particular memory from childhood that stands out as an example of who my mom is and the kind of mother I hope to be. It is a simple, everyday sort of memory that my mother most likely does not even recall. When I was in first grade the school bus pulled up to our driveway one morning and I anxiously ran to get on the bus. Our driveway was gravel and sloped and in my haste I fell down scraping my knee, ruining my tights, and humiliating myself. I knew that I shouldn't have been running and realized I deserved a reprimand for my carelessness. But I remember my mom gently picking me up, brushing the hair out of my face, wiping away my tears, and calmly telling the bus driver that she would take me to school as if it wasn't any inconvenience at all. There was no scolding, no ‘how many times have I told you not to run down the driveway,’ just unconditional love when I needed it most. That's the kind of mother I want to be. I am not naturally as selfless as my mom and often have to bite my tongue so as not to say, "I told you so.” I fall far (very far) short of being the perfect mom and pray God’s grace will cover my inadequacies. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful role model for mothering as a mom.
The past few months have brought a new journey for my mom as she was diagnosed with lymphoma in August. Once again I am amazed at the joy that she has amidst such difficult circumstances. I am learning from her how to truly surrender to the Lord’s will. I used to think in terms of committing to doing God’s will. But it’s more than that. He desires for us to surrender everything to Him. He wants to show us that He’s all we need. Yesterday I was able to escort my mom to her weekly chemotherapy treatment. It was her sixth treatment and the second time that I have been able to go with her. We enjoyed several hours of conversation and even while she was sitting in the chair receiving chemotherapy my mom was talking about ways that she could reach out to others.
Thanks, mom, for being such an amazing mother and example of authentic Christian living.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Three 'Little' Cowboys

This past Friday night Brian and I were able to go out for a date while the three older boys spent the night at Gramma and Grandpa’s house. It was a nice break for us and Grant, Bryce and Carter had a blast. My mom (Gramma) is always coming up with creative activities for the boys to do. Friday night when they arrived at Gramma and Grandpa’s house they were given cowboy hats to wear and handed a wanted add for Black Hat Bart. Gramma and Aunt Susannah then had fun leading them on a hunt through the 'Wild West' which ended with the capture of Black Hat Bart (Grandpa good-naturedly played the part of the outlaw). It was a fun time for all and a memorable night for the boys.
Cowboy Carter

Wanted: Black Hat Bart!

Gramma Waagner with the three cowboys

Aunt Susannah and Cowboy Bryce

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Everyday life in our house can be quite amusing at times (when you can see beyond the chaos of four boys). Bryce, our almost four year old, is quite the talker and frequently says some really funny things. While cleaning up from breakfast this morning I heard the well known thump sound from upstairs followed by cries from a little boy. Upon entering Grant and Bryce's room I found Carter in tears and Bryce with a wide-eyed, uh-oh sort of look on his face. When asked, "What happened?" Bryce's response was, "Mom, I was just jumping off the bed and Carter's head got in the way."
During our discussion about his poor choice to jump on the bed, Bryce inquired as to how many spankings he would be receiving. Apparently he thought that three was one too many because he went on to advise me, "Three spankings will hurt a little bit mommy, but two spankings will really hurt."
A few minutes later while I was trying to coral the boys into their rooms to get dressed I had to tell them to stop running in the hall. Bryce looked at me straight-faced and said, "But mom when we're running there's no smoke coming out." Too many Road Runner and Coyote episodes I'm presuming? "Yes, Bryce," I said, "there's no smoke coming out."