Love Overflowing

Museum of Transportation

A couple of weekends ago we found ourselves with a *free* day after church. All the errands had been taken care of and there was nothing on the calendar. To top it off, it was a beautiful day!!! We thought we would head to Grant’s Farm after lunch. As you can see, the title of this post is not “Grant’s Farm”. apparently everyone in the St. Louis area had the same idea. We should have known it was a bad idea as we turned the corner and came to a complete standstill. Creeping, creeping up the road with nowhere to turn around. we were trapped. Finally we hit the parking lot, with empty spaces. As we got ready to pay, the attendant told us that it was at least a 45 minute wait just to board the tram to get inside. 45 minutes. In the sun. With two kids. One of whom, was missing a nap. Despite having spent the past 25 minutes moving at a snail’s pace, we declined. Not enough beer in Grant’s Farm to recover from that one. So we decided to head back on the highway and go to the Transportation Museum. It was also on Emily’s summer fun list. And none of us had ever been.

It was fun. Lots of trains to see. We got to ride the tram and take a train ride around the location. They also have a building with old cars in it. Those were pretty cool to look at. Zachary wasn’t really impressed with the cars. Or maybe it was because he was stuck in the stroller….. It was a pretty good day all in all. I still want to go back to the museum during the week and check out their Creation Station that every one raves about. I am sure Zachary and Emily would enjoy it.

Another thing off the list!

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Pickin’ peaches

One of Emily’s super summer fun item was to pick peaches. I thought we would have to go to Eckerts to get this accomplished. I was pleasantly surprised when my playgroup had an event at a local farm where we could…drum roll….pick peaches! Who knew! I knew you could pick apples there in the fall but I wasn’t aware that they had peaches as well. Yay!

It’s a cute little farm on the edge of town. You keep driving and driving, thinking you have missed it but there it is. A little house and a little farm. They have a produce stand to sell their yummy pickings and a little greenhouse that they have toys for the kids to play with in the fall. New this year is the castle play equipment. It has swings, a slide and lots of fun. I think Zachary would have been content to play in there all day.

The very nice farmer squeezed, a very tight squeeze, all the mommas and kiddos in the back of a wagon and took us on a little “tour” of the farm. He showed us okra, tomatoes, peppers, apples, and more. Each kid got a little basket to fill with yummy peaches. Emily was quite the picky picker. She only wanted the best peaches off of the tree. So it took us a bit to fill up basket. I had to explain to her that every peach has “imperfections” and doesn’t look like the play kitchen food at home. Zachary thought it was cool that he could run up and down the rows of trees. He wasn’t really thrilled when he got squashed rotten peaches through the holes in his crocs. Gross.

After a ride back to the front, and a look at the apple trees, the kids played for a little more. Zachary got yet another lesson of why not to walk in front of a swing. He is a magnet for those things. Luckily, he fought the gravel and won this time. One of these times, knock on wood, he might not be so lucky. Poor kid. You think he would learn, as he does this all the time at home.  Maybe he’s trying to see how much air time he can get.

After getting him cleaned up, the kids and I picked some heirloom tomatoes. Yummy, juicy tomatoes. Unfortunately, our tomato plant at home didn’t survive long. We got some yummy goodness off of it but the hot summer just did it in. Emily and Zachary thought it was pretty cool that the tomato plants at the farm were taller than they were. Emily’s favorite type of tomato was the pink variety. They are a little sweeter than a typical tomato. But she didn’t care, she just liked the name. Imagine that. Emily liking something because it’s pink. We had yummy caprese salad for dinner that evening!

We had a really great time. Can’t wait for next month’s trip to the farm for apples. Emily is a little miffed that she won’t be able to go. She starts pre-kindergarten September 1 and goes half days Monday through Friday. It will just be me and Zachary. An adjustment for all!

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Master Chef

Emily is becoming quite the chef these days. She has been helping me bake muffins, cookies and cakes. She also made dinner by herself twice in the past few weeks.

The first dinner a la Emily was pizza. It was her first attempt at making dinner pretty much on her own so I thought we would take the simple route. I bought a package of “make your own pizza dough” and let her add the water and mix. She then spread it out on the pan and topped the pizza with sauce, mushrooms and black olives. Dinner was delish that night and I didn’t have to make it. For the most part.

 

 

The second meal Emily made was enchiladas. I didn’t follow a recipe, per se. I pretty much merged a couple of recipes to suit what I had on hand and what was easy enough for Emily to do on her own. And she did it all. She mixed the ingredients and filled the corn tortillas. She really enjoyed rolling them herself. Add some enchilada sauce and cheese. Voila! Dinner you can sink your teeth into. If you want to know the ingredients and how she made these yummies, let me know!

Bon appetit!

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Laumeier Sculpture park

Beautiful weather in August? We’ll take it!

Last week we decided that we needed to head to the great outdoors and enjoy the nice day. Park? Been there, done that. Several times. Zoo? Was there not too long ago… I wanted to go somewhere that we had never been before and somewhere the kids would enjoy. More importantly, somewhere I could handle both kids by myself. So we drove to Laumeier Sculpture park. We have never been and I have always wanted to check it out.

It was a beautiful day and the park wasn’t crowded when we got there. The weather was perfect as well. Which was good because it is quite a bit of walking on some not always level terrain. I got my workout while pushing a stroller down gravel paths, up dirt hills and over grass. Whew! Zachary did get out and got to walk and play for a bit as well. Emily really loved looking at the sculptures but loved the ones that she could interact with more. I think Zachary’s favorite piece was the bleachers in the Children’s section. He could have spent all day climbing up and down.

We had a great day and had great timing. As we were leaving, 100 kids from a YMCA summer camp arrived. They were loud and a little on the rude side. After we left, we headed to Sonic for lunch. The kids their coupons for ice cream and slushes from the library program and Emily had been getting to use.

It was really a great day!

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Eight years and counting…..

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8 years Stephen and I have been married. August 9, 2003 was a day that I will cherish and remember always. That was the day that I married my best friend, my confidante, my true love and the future father of my children. It was a beautiful day in every way. The weather was perfect, considering it was August and the sun was shining. We had our family surrounding us to celebrate the joining of our futures. Our future was full of possibility and hope. Eight year later, our lives are full of love and laughter. Our days consist of laundry, cleaning, refereeing and hugs. We find time to talk to each other and share our lives, our dreams and our frustrations. Life is good.

Every year around our anniversary, we take a trip. It started out as a weekend away but has become an overnight. Even though our time away is shorter, we still cherish the time we have to reconnect and be together. Our tradition is to go to a bed and breakfast. We have never stayed at the same one and try to mix up where we go. This year we found ourselves in Sainte Genevieve again. We spent our first anniversary in a little b&b in their historic downtown area. Our eighth anniversary we decided to stay at Chaumette Winery and Villas. The scenery was beautiful. It was so peaceful and serene.

After arriving in Ste. Gen, we walked around their little downtown area. They have little shops, similar to our Main Street but on a smaller scale. After lunch in a firehouse converted to a restaurant, we headed toward the wine trails. We really didn’t have time to stop at more than one because we treated ourselves this year. We had booked a couples massage at the spa  at the villas. Unfortunately/fortunately, our appointment was running an hour behind. Unfortunately because we could have spent more time exploring the local wineries but fortunately because we were able to lounge by the pool with a glass of wine. It was so beautiful, albeit hot. After our massage, we checked into our villa and got ready for dinner. We had reservations at the restaurant there. The food was delicious! The service left quite a bit to be desired to be honest. We were seated outside, even though we had reservations and weren’t given a choice. It took quite a long time to receive our food and our waitress was spotty at best. It took us 45 minutes to receive our food and we didn’t leave the restaurant for almost two hours. Not a good experience. The food was good but I don’t think I would ever go back to be honest.

Breakfast was a “cook your own” deal. Which was pretty nice. We were able to get up on our own time and lounge around until we were ready to eat. They left quite a spread in our kitchen. Eggs, fruit, bacon, hash browns, bread, juice and milk. We had quite the spread. The view was breathtaking as we ate together.

It was a wonderful anniversary getaway. It’s always nice to get some time alone to recharge, away from the kids. I believe that every marriage needs this at least once a year. At the very minimum. We missed the kids but enjoyed the time together to bond and remember why we got married in the first place.

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A few projects

Emily spent a week at my sister’s last month. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and didn’t want to come home. Zachary thought being an only child was the bees knees. I am not totally convinced that he really missed her while she was gone. I really enjoyed some bonding time with him. And I took the quiet of nap time to work on my “list”. Every one has one. A list that is a mile and a half long of things that they want/need to do. I still have a ton left to do but I was able to finish getting everything priced for the upcoming consignment sale and finish a few projects.

The first one was a baby gift. I wanted to send something unique and one-of-a-kind. Something other than a gift card. I wanted to show that I put some time and thought into this gift. It was super easy and it turned out pretty cute. I am not real happy with my writing on the bottom. The paint pen did not work so well but it’s still cute, I think.
I bought an 8×10 canvas at Michaels. I blocked out with stencils the name “Matthew” and sponge painted the canvas blue. I found some super cute vinyl dinosaur stickers at Michaels as well that I put on the canvas after it tried. Then, I attempted to paint the baby’s full name, date of birth and weight with a paint pen I bought. Really not the best idea as it didn’t write as smoothly as I would have liked.
Super easy project. I think the mom liked it.

The second project was for Emily’s room. Zachary and I were looking through the clearance section of Michaels when I found a two pack 5×7 canvases for $1.50. The canvas on top had a small dent in it. Even if I had to pitch it, $1.50 for a canvas is a steal. I had an idea though. I painted the entire thing purple. Then I attached a crown stencil and painted pink over the entire canvas. After the paint tried, I attempted to use a stencil to write Emily’s name on the side with the paint pen. Again, not a good idea. The paint ran together and it turned into a big blob. I hated to pitch the entire project so I decided to print out Emily’s name onto a sheet of cardstock. I then cut it out and used modpodge to attach it to the canvas. I then hotglued silver ribbon and jewels. Emily loved it!

The last project was for Zachary! I love crafty blogs. I found this super cute idea on How Joyful. I knew I had to make this! We had some styrofoam in the basement that I thought would be perfect for this craft. I printed Zachary’s name out and made a template on the foam. I then attempted to cut it out. Not as easy as I had imagined. Next time I would find a thinner, more even piece of foam. Mine was a little thick and different sizes in place. I managed to make it work. I did accidentally break it  but was able to use some hot glue to fix it. After I sanded the styrofoam, I modpodged tissue paper to it and let it dry. I love the 3d look!

A sidenote: I love crafty/sewing blogs. I would like to be craftier than I am. I love making things and saying “I did this!” Pinterest. Oh my. It just adds to my addiction. I have found SO many ideas! I could keep myself busy for a long, long time. With my, you know, free time!

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18 months old

Now that Zachary is almost 19 months, I think it is safe to talk about him turning a year and a half!

What a funny little guy! He is so full of energy and life. He is so animated and has some of the funniest expressions. I will look at him during dinner and he will make a certain face that sends me into laughter every time. And he feeds off my laughter and amusement. Zachary is a very loving little guy. He is one of the friendliest kids I have ever seen. He says “hi” to everyone. I sometimes think he would do a much better job than the Wal-mart greeters. His smile knocks the socks off of people’s feet.

I know everyone believes their kids are adorable, and rightfully so. But Zachary just has a presence about him that just stops traffic. He is cute and charming. I probably won’t like that combination when he is a teenager. The server at the bowling alley recently made the comment that he was going to be a heart breaker when he’s older. I can’t imagine him being 4, let alone 16. I don’t/can’t think that far ahead. Not only is he cute but he’s also very open with his love. Just today, he walked up to the neighbor and gave her a hug. While it is super cute, it also scares me in a way. There is no “stranger danger” there.

I used to think that he didn’t like me all that much. I remember talking to my friend Stephanie about how he preferred Stephen to help him with stuff and didn’t really want much to do with me. Those days, for better or for worse, are long gone. We are stuck on the “mommy channel”. It’s not highly amusing when he and Emily fight over who gets to sit on my lap or who has my attention. That boy loves his family fiercely. He calls for “Daddy” first thing in the morning, “Mommy” when he needs something and “Gaga” all day long. He calls Emily “sis-er”. It’s super cute. I have been trying to teach him to answer the question “What’s your name?” with “Zachy”. He says it when the mood strikes him. That’s another thing. The little guy is STUBBORN!! And he has a temper. He hasn’t had a full-blown temper tantrum yet but he has tried to swing at me a few times when he was mad. He wants what he wants, when he wants it. He wants his toys, Emily’s toys and everything in the kitchen.

A few tidbits about Zachary:

  • Picky, picky eater. He won’t touch a vegetable with a ten foot pole. He is currently on an anti-fruit kick. Not too long ago, the kid HAD to have a banana every day. Now he won’t touch it. Meat- won’t eat. Mac and cheese- only large noodles. Prefers McAlisters Deli. Grilled cheese is on again/off again. Stuff he never falls out of love with: yogurt, cottage cheese and corn Chex. And cookies.
  • He can spot a Dierbergs, Sams or Schnucks from the highway. He yells out “cookie!!!!!!!” Bad, bad cookie sample habit.
  • He is a climber and a gymnast.
  • He loves Yo Gabba Gabba. He will ask to watch “Gabba” but only sit for the opening of the show. He LOVES the music. On a long, loud car ride home, I played the Yo Gabba soundtrack and he quieted down and was able to make it home without totally losing his mind.
  • He loves cars and dogs. He still calls dogs “bark, bark” and will point them out.
  • He is learning his animals sounds. Today he pointed up to a monkey in his closet and said “ah, ah, ah”.  He can also say “bark” and “meow”
  • He is learning more and more words. I really need to start a list of them. He surprised me the other day with sandal. Took me a minute to figure out what he was saying but it’s sandal. He brings me my shoes, saying sandal, when he wants to leave.
  • He loves to be outside. He doesn’t care if it is 110. It’s been hard the past few weeks with it being so hot outside. Poor kid has been cooped up.
  • He has shown a tiny interest in potty training. I am not sure how to proceed. He will lift his shirt up and walk to the potty. Especially when we are outside of the house, he wants you to take him to the bathroom, take off his diaper and put him on the toilet. He has not actually gone in the potty but has definitely shown an interest. I do think 18 months is way too young but I don’t want to not put him on the potty when he is showing some interest.

I could write a book on my baby boy. I love that child dearly, with all of my heart. He drives me absolutely mad at times but I wouldn’t change a thing. I used to think that people were nuts when they said “I can’t keep my house clean. My child follows behind me, destroying everything. ” I have eaten my words. I will try to pick up toys throughout the day but it is futile. The child will come behind me and pull out more toys than I put away. I give up. I pick up toys after he goes down for a nap and after he goes to bed. So if you ever come to my house during the day, you will find trucks and blocks all over the floor. I’d pick them up but it’s just not worth it. So just watch where you step.

 

18 month stats:

25.8 pounds (50%)
34 inches long (91%)
Head 48.2cm (63%)
size 7 shoes
18 months clothing. 24 months if it’s a one piece.

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Scoops of Fun

Magic House and ice cream? Yes, please!

Scoops of Fun is an event held at the Magic House. The proceeds benefit Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospitals. Stephen’s company is one of the corporate sponsors so for the past two years, we have gotten tickets to attend. Last year we took Emily and her friend. This year we decided that Zachary was old enough to go. It was his first time there and I think it was a hit. He was not ready to go after a short hour and a half of eating ice cream and playing. It was 8pm by the time we left so we will have to go another time when he can play more. Emily, of course, thoroughly enjoyed herself and was quite upset that we didn’t have more time to play. There is so much to do at the Magic House. We never make it to all the exhibits! Another trip will be in short order.

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Time with family

We have been lucky enough to spend lots of time with family this summer. Family reunions, visits with cousins… Lots of fun! One Sunday, we drove to Springfield, IL and met up with Stephen paternal side. There are quite a few kids Emily and Zachary’s age in the family. It was a hot day…In July. And we were getting together at a park. Heat stroke, anyone? Luckily, our pavilion was right on the lake and it had a nice cool breeze. Walk across the bridge and you were sweltering. It was a lot of fun. The kids had a blast playing with their cousins and they even got to feed some ducks! A nice family was there and very generously shared bread with us so Emily and Zachary could feed them as well. Both kids were pretty worn out on the ride home!
We also had a reunion on Stephen’s maternal side. In July, in a church. I had a mishap with my camera (if by mishap you mean I ran it over with the car) and have no pictures. There was only one child there Emily’s age but the kids had fun regardless. Any time with Grandma and Papa is fun.

My side of the family… My sister and her two kids came over one day. The kids had lots of fun playing. While Zachary was napping, Emily, Chloe and Cole played outside in the sprinkler. Poor Zach was just too tired to enjoy any of the fun. We also met in Fairview Heights and went to Chuck E. Cheese’s. It was Zachary’s first time at one and he could not get enough of the little kid rides. He was content just sitting in the car next to the mouse.

Just last week, the kids and I drove to Centralia. We spent the day with my family and left Emily there. For a week!!!!! While we were visiting, the kids enjoyed some not hot weather and got to play outside. They wore themselves out! Emily was ready for Zachary and I to leave. She wanted to be alone with Chloe. She did great the entire week. She attended bible school and didn’t want to come home until it was over. Bribes didn’t work at all. So we compromised. She got to go to Friday evening’s session and I met them in Fairview Heights. At 9:30. I thought she would be so tired that she would sleep in the car on the ride home. Would you believe that she didn’t stop talking for 45 minutes straight?  She is still recovering from her week at her cousin’s but I am so glad she was able to do that. Some of my favorite memories as a child are of spending time with my cousin during summer. I hope this becomes a tradition!

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