15 December 2011

The Saga Continues

Scene from the Reynolds household:

Kara exits kitchen to see Ryan sitting on couch, watching Finding Nemo

K: Is Sam in the bath tub?
R: Yeah.
S(from bathroom): Poopy! poopy!
R: Is he saying poopy?
K: *runs to bathroom to see Sam standing up in the tub, taking a dump* Argh! Grab him! Put him on the toilet!
R: *grabs Sam out of the tub* Put the potty seat on for me!
*panicked flurry of action*

Much rejoicing ensued as the poop went in the potty.

12 December 2011

Guest Post- Andrew

Andrew has gallantly offered his time and talents again this year, gracing us with a blog post about his and Tara's first Christmas as a married couple. Check out his blog Absolutely Andrew for his outdoor adventures/photography and funny stories about his life.
The tone for Tara's and my first holiday season as a married couple was set in early December when I was fired from my job.  In retrospect, this was a blessing in disguise, but at the time, it was our sole source of income that I had just flushed down the drain with some extraneous facebooking.  And so, for much of December, I sat cooped up in our cold apartment sending my resume to myriad companies, endlessly tweaking it, trying to get through those blasted text filtering algorithms.  The only things that helped me retain my sanity were the Mondays season pass I had at Solitude (purchased when I still had a job), teaching myself html, and Tara's endless awesomeness throughout the entire ordeal.  Meanwhile, my mother notified the entire extended family that  I was unemployed so we would't be doing gifts that year.  Thanks, Mom.
After two weeks of feeling like the ultimate loser who can't hold down a job and support his new wife, I decided it was time to get out of the apartment.  I suggested to Tara that we drive up to Park City for the evening to see the lights and peruse the galleries.  It turned out to be a wonderful idea.  PC is so magical during the holidays and it was nice to be out in the crisp mountain air.  Window shopping the expensive boutiques amidst all the yuppies clad in over-the-top apres-ski outfits made us practically forget we were poor.
In the car, we popped in the Ingrid Michaelson album Be OK that I had gotten for Tara as a Christmas gift.  The entire album is good, but it was the last song, "You and I", that really struck us on our way back to SLC:

don't you worry, there my honey 
we might not have any money 
but we've got our love to pay the bills 

maybe I think you're cute and funny, 
maybe I wanna do what bunnies do with you, 
if you know what I mean

And within moments were we both belting out along with the song, tears streaming down our faces.  It was the quintessential Christmas moment in which all the stresses of the world are forgotten and the unbreakable bond between two people is all that matters.  Yes, a similar scene has probably been depicted in at lest 3 Sundance films, but this was ours.

Since that first year, we continue to make a tradition of visiting Park City each Christmas.  Sure, these days we may actually enjoy a fancy dinner up there, but the laughing at fur-clad Californians remains the same.  It is also safe to say that Ingrid Michaelson is choice Christmas music in the Newcomb house.

08 December 2011

All Dogs Go To Heaven

We lost our beloved family pet, Allie, this week. She's been battling cancer for several months, and my mom finally had to put her to sleep when it became apparent that the cancer had spread to her brain. Our family misses our dear pooch. Sorry to get all Marley and Me on you, but I wanted to pay tribute to Allie on our blog.
Allie, mid-"ROOGLE!"

When my sister and I were young children, we had two family dogs that had been with my parents longer than we had. Whiskey was a big lovable Alaskan Malamute, who sadly died when I was only 5 years old. I remember being so sad about our dog being gone- I think it's the earliest time I ever actually said a prayer, for my dog who had left me. Buck lasted a long time- he made it to Anchorage with us. My dad had to put him down one summer while the rest of us were back in Maryland visiting family. It was so hard not to be there to say goodbye, and I'm sure it was hard on my dad to have to do that by himself.
After being dog-less for a time, my parents decided that it was time to get another family pet. We went down to Anchorage Animal Control and fell in love with the fluffy white puppy. Cassi picked out the name Allie. It was the first time we'd been involved in selecting and naming our dog, and boy was it exciting.

Torturing Allie by making her wear my sweatshirt. She was a good sport about being dressed up in people-clothes.

Allie was a unique dog for us right from the start because she didn't bark- she only howled (or "roogled", in our family vernacular). She did have one major vice, however: digging. She dug her way out of our yard many times that first summer. Thankfully she never ran away, but only hung around our street waiting for us to find her. We thought she was simultaneously the smartest and dumbest dog we'd ever met.
Dressed up for our Beatles party as "Martha My Dear"

Hanging out in her favorite spot, where she could survey the living room

Even though Cassi and I never called the dog our "sister", Allie was definitely part of the family.

Dad helps Allie open a Christmas present. Usually a new squeaky toy or some kind of doggie delicacy

Why is Grandpa sleeping in my house?

Getting a bath from Cassi

Sammy has loved Allie ever since he met her. To her credit, Allie always treated him gently, from when he was a newborn to when he was a not-so-gentle 2-year-old. I know when we visit my parents for Christmas, Sam will want to know where Allie is.

When my parents moved to New Mexico, Allie spent a semester living with Cassi in Northern California. 
On a walk through the redwood trees

On a walk in Anchorage

We all loved our dog very much, and she will be greatly missed. RIP, Allie.

07 December 2011

Guest Post- Sarah

Our first Christmas guest post comes from Sarah Müller. When we moved into our apartment, I asked some of the other moms who they would recommend as a babysitter. Sarah was top of the list, so we had her watch Sam for us a few times. Sammy LOVES Sarah, and when she first left SLC to go to college, it took him a few months to stop asking for her every day. Ryan and I love Sarah, too, and we've enjoyed keeping in touch with her while she's away at school. She maintains a personal blog (check it out here) and tumblr account, and is also working as a DJ for a college radio station!
Growing up, I was always excited for the Christmas season. Not because it meant presents or time off school (although both were great), but because it meant decorations. My family puts our decorations up the first Monday of December and it's always an exciting time. My sisters and I would come home from school, grab the boxes from the attic/basement, and start decorating. We love Christmas decorations so much that we have fake mistletoe that hangs up year round. My favorite decoration was and still is our Veggie Tales nativity set. As well as the fake mistletoe. (:
This semester I moved away from home to attend college. Since I won't be back home until the middle of December, I'm missing out on decorating. I decided that even though there are only two and a half weeks of school left, my roommates and I definitely needed some Christmas spirit. So I set my schoolwork down and got to decorating.
I'm not very artistically talented but I decided that bringing the Christmas spirit definitely trumps my lack of artistic abilities. So after learning how to make a snowflake (because up until this point I didn't know how) and nearly breaking my leg putting up decorations (desk chairs don't have a lot of holiday spirit) I made 27 snowflakes, 26 paper chains, a few paper ornaments, and a paper Christmas tree. (:

As I put up my decorations, I started thinking about how people "decorate" their lives with Christmas. Some believe that Christmas is all about material items and focus on getting presents and buying presents. They "decorate" their season with money, busyness, and pride. Others believe that Christmas centers on Christ and "decorate" their season with him. While my decorations don't reflect centering Christ in my season, that is my goal. (:

Also, I have to share my must listen to while putting up Christmas decorations song- The Cowboy's Christmas Ball by The Killers. :D

06 December 2011

Christmas Recollections

Last year I asked a few friends to write a guest post for the blog that shared a Thanksgiving memory. I really enjoyed it, and decided to feature guest bloggers again this year, but at Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. I have a few lined up, but if anyone else is interested please let me know! I would be happy to write a post for your blog in return!
Does anyone else do the Christmas pickle? Not the kind that you eat, but the kind on your tree!
Every year on Christmas Eve my mom hides an ornament shaped like a pickle on our Christmas tree. Then, on Christmas morning, the first person to find the pickle gets an extra present, which is usually a game or something to do as a family. Not to brag, but I pretty much always win. That pickle and I have a special affinity for each other.
Cassi experiences the agony of defeat, 2007

When it comes down to opening presents, we all sit in front of the Christmas tree and my dad hands out presents one at a time for us to open.

Cassi gets a present from "Ninja Claus", 2007

Let me pause here to say something about my dad. My dad and I are alike in many ways, and yet in a lot of ways we're really different. We get along well, though, and I think that's because neither of us like to indulge in conversation. We're not really big talkers, and we're both comfortable with silence. And my dad is even less sentimental than I am. So anyways, that hat that my dad is wearing in the above picture says "Grinch" across the front. It's kind of a family joke that my dad isn't exactly a high-energy jovial kind of guy. He doesn't like to draw attention to himself.
When they lived in Alaska, my parents and the other FedEx pilots/spouses would collect presents and deliver them to the kids in the local hospital. One of the guys would always dress up as Santa Claus to deliver the presents. One year, the guy who usually dressed up as Santa couldn't make it, so somehow my dad ended up inside the Santa suit. I'm sure he hated the idea, but there you go: Even "the Grinch" himself was willing to do something to make a bunch of sick kids happy. That's the spirit of Christmas, right? Going the extra mile to make someone else happy. I was really proud of my dad for dressing up as Santa that year.

My family, Christmas 2007

05 December 2011

Christmastime is here

If that title doesn't get Charlie Brown Christmas music running through your head, I don't think we can be friends. Just kidding, of course.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready to embrace Christmas, rampant commercialism and all. Sammy and I have been listening to the Christmas radio station in the car as we do errands, and last week Ryan brought home a Christmas tree for us to decorate for Family Home Evening. It's the first year we've actually had a tree, and we love it!
Christmas 2009

Christmas 2011- quite an improvement!

Ryan and I strung the lights and the beaded strings around the tree (which was harder than I thought it would be). Then we let Sam put the ornaments on wherever he wanted.

But, being the control freak that I am, I spread them out so they looked better after he went to bed.
Below is a picture of Sam playing with two ornaments. I believe they are the Nutcracker and Clara from the Nutcracker collection. 
When I was a kid, the best part of decorating the tree was playing with the ornaments. I know some people like to decorate their tree with globes of various colors, or candy canes, or something like that, but we always had a mishmash of ornaments that my parents had collected over the years and my sister and I had made in school. We had a Rosebud sled (the significance of which I didn't get as a kid), some  musical instruments, gingerbread men that retained their smell year after year, and some plastic angels, to name a few. My mom now has more ornaments than can actually fit on a Christmas tree, so some get left off. It always makes me a little sad, knowing that one of my favorite ornaments from childhood didn't make the cut.
The Reynolds Christmas tree, however, only has a handful of ornaments. My mom bought a Nutcracker set for me, because those were our very favorites as kids. Ryan's dad carved a rocking horse for Sam's first Christmas, which we hang up pretty high so he can't get to it. There's a snowflake with Sam's picture on it that the Nursery leaders made last year- Sam's eyes are all red because it was his first month in Nursery and he cried A LOT when we left him there. And there is the Mommy and Daddy clay elf ornament, with a little string to hang the "elf babies" on- we added Baby Brudder this year, although we haven't written his name on it yet because we still don't have a name for the poor kid. And that's it for ornaments. I'm sure in a few years we'll have added a lot more to our collection. For now, though, we're just happy to sit in the glow of our tree and be reminded of the Christmas memories we already have.

03 December 2011


In the last-minute rush to finish NaNoWriMo this year, I didn't have a lot of time to post about our lovely Thanksgiving trip. Part of that rush was due to the fact that I was so busy over the long weekend that I got behind on my word count- which was actually a positive thing. We left Salt Lake around 2:30pm the day before Thanksgiving with our friend Elisa, who we always bring back to Colorado with us. Sammy was a champion for the whole long drive- every time he got fussy, we'd give him his blanket and Snugaphant and ignore him for a few minutes, and he'd fall asleep. In fact, in Ryan's opinion, I was the worst passenger because ol' pregnant bladder insisted on stopping at every "major city" in Wyoming to use the bathroom. This was because
1)Sometimes it is 50 miles between restrooms along that portion of I-80 and,
2)There are no private places along the side of the road to stop because Wyoming has no trees.
We dropped Elisa off and made it into Deer Trail in only 9 hours, even with all my bathroom breaks. So there, Ryan.
On Thanksgiving morning we headed out to the ranch where Ryan's dad works and lives. The kids whose family owns the ranch wanted to play with Sammy, so we went out and threw rocks at a cattle guard for a good hour. Ryan took me and Sam out on his dad's 4-wheeler to see the ranch, which was terrifying and yet exciting. The rest of Ryan's family joined us for Thanksgiving dinner, which was wonderful. Russ and Richard cooked a big turkey, and we had all the traditional side dishes (plus a few surprises, like the lasagna Richard made in his Dutch oven). Sammy was having too much fun playing with his cousins to eat more than a few crackers.
We headed into Denver the next day to hang out at Ryan's brother Rusty's house. My cousin Steven and his wife Lauren drove up from the Springs to see us. We met them for dinner at an old favorite of ours, Mustard's Last Stand. It was so nice to see them, and nice for them to indulge us on our restaurant pick! The food must not have agreed with Sammy, however, because he barfed twice that night. Lucky for us, Rusty lives in a for real house with his own washing machine, which happened to be right off the room we slept in. That made it pretty easy to clean up after him.
Saturday morning we woke up all strung out from being up all night with His Royal Barfiness, and met Ryan's mom for breakfast. We ate lunch back at Rusty's, picked Elisa up at her mom's, and headed back to Utah! Ryan actually let me drive through Wyoming- it was really windy, which was a little nervewracking. But we made it home safely, somehow.
It was a really good Thanksgiving, with good food and good company. I think Sam will remember his cousins when he sees them next year, and he'll be really excited to play with them again. Next year we'll also have Baby Brudder in tow- we'll see who's the worst traveler then!