Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for September, 2008

Nearly a New Haircut

11th September 2008

I very nearly got a new haricut this morning, thanks to Thomas the Train.  I was changing J’s diaper and getting him dressed.  Sometimes he likes to hold a car or a train while we get him dressed, and sometimes he pretends to run the car over you.  “Vroom… da car go over da head!”  Very cute.  This morning he was holding battery-operated Thomas, who was whirring away.  He was laying on the ground, and said, “Thomas go on your head!”, holding Thomas out towards me.

“No”, I said sharply, “Thomas can’t go on anyone’s head, because his wheels could get caught in their hair.  No, Josiah.”

I stood him up to finish getting him dressed, and he wrapped his arms around my neck… with Thomas still whirring away in his hand… and the wheels spun themselves right into the hair behind my ear!

I’d like to say I handled it calmly, but I didn’t.  I freaked out, and it’s a good thing Brian was here.  I screamed for him, and he came running up, thinking something terrible had just happened (which it had, in my mind).  I’d gotten Thomas turned off, and it was hanging from my hair.

“Do you want me to get the scissors?” Brian asked, as I was sobbing.  “NO!” I cried!  It would have been a serious chunk out of my hair.  Brian wasn’t sure what to do, but then he said, “I’ll put Thomas in reverse.”

Whatever, I thought.  Thomas doesn’t go in reverse, and I wasn’t pleased with his joking at a time like this.  I kept sobbing like someone had died.

But Brian was serious, and he wound Thomas’ wheels in reverse and my hair pulled right out, without a single piece damaged.  Amazing.  Brian is my hero.  And we’ve all learned a valuable lesson that battery-operated Thomas’ and hair don’t mix.  And I’d be happy if all Thomas’ stayed away from my head, just to be safe!

Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Sleeping Beauties

9th September 2008

This is what life looks like 30 minutes after we get home from picking Analise up at school.

Analise had changed into her princess costume briefly, before she collapsed into a nap on my bed.

My sweet boy loves his afternoon naps.  “I sweepy…” he’ll say on our way home.  He’ll go right into his room, asking for his ‘fier (“fire”, short for pacifier), curl up with his knees tucked under him, butt in the air and go right to sleep.  Thomas the Train kept him company today.  In fact, when I came in to check on him, battery-powered Thomas was still whirring awy in J’s hand.

(Edited to add: I just found this photo of Analise, from April 2005, when she was just 10 months old.  Still curled on her side, thumb in her mouth…)

Posted in Daily Grind | 1 Comment »

Words on the Wall

9th September 2008

A couple weeks ago I hosted an Uppercase Living party… decorative lettering that you can use on walls, mirrors, canvases and other places around your home.  They’ve got a huge selection of beautiful things to choose from, but I custom ordered this phrase, the table grace I grew up saying, to go in our dining room.  The conultant I ordered from, Michelle, came over and helped me put it up today, and I’m so impressed!  She was really excited at how well it turned out.  I love these… wondering if maybe I should go into business 🙂  I’ve got a couple more things coming in the next few weeks, so I’ll post those when they get here!

Posted in Daily Grind, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

What’s Cooking… Health Nut Blueberry Muffins

8th September 2008

It’s rare that I find a recipe that will be my “standby”. I’ve shared my Best Buttermilk Pancake recipe, that has become a new standby. I love homemade blueberry muffins, and I’m always trying new recipes. Recently, I found a delicious recipe (that I’ll share another day) that had pretty much set itself in as my new standby muffin recipe. But… while I was in Chicago visiting Michele, she made this fantastic recipe (originally found at These are moist, full of flavor, sweet, nutty, with lots of possibilities for subbing/changing things (check out the reviews on the page for ideas), as well as super easy. I’ll be making a double batch tomorrow to freeze for quick and healthy breakfasts. These are a definite new muffin standby!


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
  3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.

Notes: I didn’t have wheat germ, so I substituted ground flaxseed meal. It was great… and it’s full of very good stuff for you. I also topped them with a bit of crumbly brownsugar/butter/oat/nutmeg/cinnamon mixture. Not necessary at all, but it was a nice little sweet touch.

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A Wrinkle in Time – more of Grandma Sandy & Poppa Dale’s visit!

5th September 2008

Another fun adventure was our day trip to Huntsville.  Brian did a long bike ride in the area, while we explored the US Space & Rocket Center.  It was VERY FUN!  The kids lasted longer than I thought they would, and they seemed pretty interested in all the fun space things to look at.  Then we took our lunch to a nearby playground at the Monte Sano State Park.

The Rocket Park was very impressive.

Um, can you find my family hidden below the space shuttle and boosters?  This was HUGE!

Have I mentioned its impossible to take posted pictures of my kids?

There was a Kid Zone that Analise and Josiah really enjoyed.

There’s an adult ride called, Space Shot (“Soar 150 feet in the air with 4 G’s of force during liftoff of the Space Shot simulator”).  I rode it, and it was VERY SCARY.  They had a mini (fun) version for the kids, and though Analise wasn’t sure at first, she did try it, much to my amazement.  She loved it, probably riding it 7 times before we left.  Of course, Josiah had to do it, too, with much hesitation.  But he just followed her lead, and he was laughing his little belly laugh the whole time.  It was so cute to watch them!  (I’m hoping to post a video, too, eventually…)

Posted in Adventure, Travel | No Comments »

A Wrinkle in Time – Poppa Dale & Grandma Sandy’s Visit

5th September 2008

I’m finally getting caught up on photos, particularly this evening I’ve done the photos from Grandma Sandy & Poppa Dale’s visit in early August. Have I mentioned how much fun we had? I’ll let you see for yourself…

Checking out the trains at the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum.

A cool photo, thanks to Photoshop 🙂

One of my new favorite Josiah photos.

More trains… this time at home!  Poppa built some great tracks for the trains.

A fun afternoon rainshower.  I’ll work on finding Josiah some more boyish boots 🙂

Posted in Adventure, Travel | 1 Comment »

School days again…

2nd September 2008

The public schools here in Alabama started back in early August, Brian started last Monday, and today was finally Analise’s first day back at school.  She’s in the 4-year-old kindergarten program, Tuesday through Friday.  To be honest, I’ve been pretty ready to send her back to school.  She’s very busy, and we’re having a hard time finding enough creative activities to keep her out of trouble around here.  And she loves the social aspect of school.  And I love having one-on-one time with Josiah.  He plays very well by himself these days, too, so that gives me some much needed time to get things done for myself.  It will be a big change for us to have 4 days instead of the 2 days a week we’ve had the last 2 years, but it will be a good preparation for kindergarten next year.

Kindergarten!  Crazy to think that next year at this time, I’ll have one child in school 5 days a week at kindergarten, and Josiah will be in preschool 2 days a week.  What in the world will I do with 2 days entirely to myself?  I can’t even imagine all the things I might actually get accomplished!  Still, the thought of Analise in kindergarten tugs at my heart.  I can’t believe how fast she’s growing up!

A glimpse from last year’s first day of school…

Brian walks Analise to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays when he’s available.  Believe it or not, she still rides in the backpack, as she has has since she started 2 years ago.  They love their walk over!  Josiah usually hates to see her go on the backpack adventure without him, but this morning, he and I joined them for part of the walk, so there were no tears.  Then we both enjoyed our walk… I, particularly, enjoyed pushing just 1 child in the stroller… 50lbs of weight versus 85+! Josiah and I also went to the mall to get him some new shoes, picked up some yummy Auntie Annie’s pretzel stix, then played with the Thomas train table at the bookstore. It’s so fun to chat with him these days! And it sure is easy taking one child out and about, rather than 2!

(Added by Brian): Here’s her “first day of school” picture from 2006, too!

Posted in Daily Grind, Parenting | 1 Comment »

Our Labor Day getaway!

1st September 2008

Thanks to a surprise in Samford’s academic calendar, Brian had today off!  It’s never been a school holiday, but this year his students swore there was no class, and Brian was excited to find they were right.  There is always a big cycling race in Atlanta that he’s never been able to do… so within minutes, he was registered 🙂  His parents stayed with the kids, giving us a kid-free getaway!  Sweet!

On the trip over, we saw lots and lots of Louisiana cars heading to Atlanta, and our hotel had many LA cars in the parking lot.  We stayed in a very nice Doubletree hotel (the bed was absolutely heavenly… like sleeping on a cloud!).   Last night we were busy picking up race numbers, driving the race course, and checking in, so it was a late night.  Brian was up super early, for the 7:15am start.  Thankfully he could ride the short distance to the start, so I stayed in the cozy bed for an extra hour or so, before heading out to the race course.

There were 11 laps, and Brian made it an EXCITING RACE.  He was in a break with 2 other riders, and they had 40 seconds to 1-minute gap.  I was so excited!  This was a HUGE race, with lots of top pros, and the payout was $20,000 over 35 places.  I could hardly sit still in the 12 minutes between each 5-mile lap.  The break did eventually get pulled back to the main field, unfortunately, but Brian did win $100 in a prime while they were out front.  The sprint was downhill and crazy fast, with 100 riders jockeying for position, and spinning as fast as their legs could go… probably hitting 50-55mph into the finish.  Brian ended up 41st.  Still, it was so exciting and fun to see him be such a big part of the race.  Here’s a link to a good picture on, a well-known cycling news site.  (Brian was hoping the caption would have been more telling, with something like, “A look at the day’s most promising break”, as what’s written sure doesn’t capture the excitement!).  Brian’s written a detailed report on his blog.

We were able to go back to the room to shower and relax before checkout.  Of course, then we had to make our obligatory Trader Joe’s stop, since we were withint 50 miles of my favorite store 🙂  Highlights in my shopping cart…

  • Gyoza Chicken Potstickers (great quick dinner tonight, and though they were good, we have been spoiled by tasting Corrie‘s homemade ones!)
  • whole wheat and tabbouli salad (greek with bulgar, parsley, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers… a treat for me)
  • TJ’s Mocha and Chocolate yogurt (!!!!  Can’t wait to try it!  We CANNOT like this too much, because it’s nearly impossible to bring cold stuff back with us, like if we’re at TJs in Chicago.)
  • Vegetable Root Chips – very colorful, and I thought they were tasty.  Sweet potoes, parsnips, batara (?) and something else.
  • Vanilla paste – I love this.  One of my favorite baking essentials.  Only at TJs.
  • Freeze dried strawberries.  A favorite snack of the kids.

Then we had a nice quiet lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack (we didn’t plan the Joe-theme!).  We were home by 4pm, and it’s amazing how sweet and cute my kids are after less than 24 hours away!  What a treat to have such a nice spontaneous getaway!

Posted in Cycling, Travel | 1 Comment »