Saturday, August 30, 2008

Afternoon at the Arboretum


It was off to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botannical Gardens today. More easily referred to as a pretty place with cool trails. Reese was the official keeper and reader of the map. So most of the time we had no idea which way we were headed.

My apologies to the visitors out to enjoy a quiet relaxing atmosphere. This was pretty much completely shattered when my brood showed up. They actually faired pretty well though. Through the course of the almost 2 hours we were there they felt the need to share with me how tired, hungry, and hot they were. However, each time we discovered a new trail through the woods, they would miraculously perk up and run ahead. Hmmmmm....

Once they saw the first little bridge and waterfall, they were hooked. They decided that an outdoor nature trail could be pretty cool after all. They seemed genuinely pleasantly surprised. We were minus Daddy today who always points out the fun bugs and wildlife and thinks he is an exception to the "stay on the path" rule.

Only one small flower was picked by Reese...who picked it for me. When she realized she had picked the forbidden flower she guiltily scanned the grounds half expecting the garden police to descend.

The girls tried out almost every bench there. And even laid down on some benches in a gazebo for a little rest. Tate took one look at them and said, "No...'mon (come on)" and kept on going. He wasn't too thrilled at having to stop and get his picture taken either.

As I was explaining how to creep quietly into the bird watching area they all bumbled ahead excitedly and every last bird flew off their feeders into the wild blue yonder.

We finished our first loop in about an hour and were about to call it a day when one more mulch covered trail beckoned us. A handful of trails and bridges and an additional hour later, we made it back up to the front and headed for pizza.
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This actually turned out kinda artsy looking...on accident. Just as I was letting Drue take a picture of me Tate took off down the path. I was afraid he would end up in the creek so I dashed off to get him at the exact moment she pressed the button.

I almost dropped the camera when I looked back to find Reese like this on one of the benches. I asked her where in the world she had picked that up....apparently a cartoon.

I weighed the pros and cons of posing them by this waterfall. With the biggest con being curious soaked kids, I went ahead and took the chance...

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Didn't Want To


Reese had me straighten her hair for school yesterday. Straighten every last one of her beautiful golden curls. It pained me to do so. With every swipe of the straightening iron I pretended to cry. To which she kept reassuring me, "Mommy, Mommy, it's ok. You just have to add some water to them and they'll come back!".

She loved seeing how long her hair really is. I did not love that it seemed to add about 3 years to her age.

After her bath last night, I hugged her dramatically and welcomed my little Reesie home again....
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Weekend Adventures

Our destinations this weekend were the Wonderscope Children's Museum and Dee Anna Rose Farm. (Wonderscope got thrown in at the last minute when we woke up to a rainy morning.) It has lost some magic for us, I must say. We spent almost $30 for the 5 of us, and we only ended up staying about 30 minutes! That is some expensive entertainment! I believe that will be our last trip there...

My two astronauts.

Paging Dr. Druebie to Pediatrics STAT.

One minute they were flying to the moon...the next they were diving to the bottom of the ocean in a submarine.
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Farm Pictures

Feeding baby goats with bottles tops my list as one of the cutest activities in the world! David bought 3 bottles and headed over to the goat pen with Tate while the girls rode ponies. By the time we got over to join them, Tate had used up all the bottles! So off David went to buy some more. The goats bombard you right as you slip through their gate and gobble up the milk. David said Tate was very particular about the goats he fed. He didn't like feeding the ones that pushed their way to the front. He would jerk the bottle out of their mouth saying, "No!" and go seek out the ones that were lying away from the crowd. How sweet is that?!

A kiss from one kid to another...


Sometimes we end up splitting up at the farm if the kids want to do different things. The girls and I explored the old time school room then they headed off with David while Tate and I went to play. I still can't get over that he can actually carry on little conversations now. Just a few months ago I was concerned that he would never talk. He came up to me and said, "Water". So I thought he wanted to go play in the water where they can splash around in their bare feet. He humored me for a bit, then came over and said "Water" again.

"Yeah, you like playing in the water?" I responded.

He looked puzzled then said, "Water to drink. Hot."

So off we went in search of the water fountain.

There is the cutest little kid sized bench in front of a waterfall when you first get to the farm. I wanted to get a cute shot of the kids on it when we first got there before they got tired and cranky, but David whisked us past because there was only a little time left to feed the goats. I tried again right before we left to go home and positioned all the kids with the picturesque scene behind them camera battery died! Grrrrr.....
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Friday, August 22, 2008

See Spot Pose


David just got home from his first annual Target conference. While I was at home dealing with a dead van, unraveled toilet paper rolls, and hungry kids who thought they were entitled to supper every night, he was being entertained in Minneapolis by Josh Groban, the Jonas Bros, and Christina Aguilera! Way to work hard for the cause dear...

Target goes all out for these things and it really sounded like a great time. He got to pose with the actual Target mascot, Spot. Should they ever decide on a new mascot, I will be the first to offer up a couple of beagles...I just have to find a red sharpie for their bullseye.

Now if you'll excuse me, I am off to treat myself to a new outfit from, where else(?)...TARGET!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Playground=New Adventure=New Injuries

Now, my title may be a wee bit misleading. There were actually no injuries incurred this evening...except a tiny boo boo on Tate's finger that I thought was imaginary because I couldn't see it through all the grime on his hands. It wasn't until we got home and washed up that I saw his little knuckle was slit open...and he howled like the dickens when the juice from his oranges ran into it.

Unfortunately I fear my title may be more prophetic than anything else. This is a new playground at Reese's school and is designed for 5-12 year olds. But Drue and Tate are determined to play the heck out of it also.

Tate got stuck at the top of the rope contraption and I barely heard his little voice call, "Help. Mommy. Help. Mommy." He just kept repeating it softly over and over until I noticed. So of course I had to snap a picture...

...or two before I came to his rescue.

The girls were sad that David wasn't there for our first night at the new playground. And David was just as disappointed when he called from Minneapolis and found out we were on our way home from playing at the new playground.
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I managed to get all 3 of them in this picture...barely.

Content just to roll in the gravel...

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Sunday, August 17, 2008


With Davids' new schedule of working every other weekend, combined with his upcoming trip to Minnesota this week, we had to pack a lot of fun into one day. I am still exhausted from our trip to the zoo and the county fair yesterday.

Their first camel ride. I have been wanting them to do this ever since last summer and yesterday was the big day! It was so cute. And I am sure "camel" will end up on either a birthday list or Christmas list this year.

I love catching the girls being sweet to each other. Reese actually put Drue on the left side of the seat on the train because she was afraid she would fall out the other side. Then she asked Drue if she wanted to hold hands with her as we went through the long, dark tunnel.

We usually take the same route through the zoo each time we go. We buy armbands that allow us to ride everything as much as we want. We always ride the train, tram, and boat. Every trip as we come around through Africa and get to a certain bridge, the girls simultaneously get tired and both want to be carried. We coax them to walk just around the bend where we get in line to wait for the tram to take us back up front. They both conk out on the bench. And Tate walks around and around the bench and plays peek-a-boo around the pillars. That boy never gets tired if we're out and about. He's afraid he'll miss something. He waits until he's buckled back into his carseat and is usually asleep before we get out of the parking lot.

Towards the end of our trip Drue kept saying, "I'm boot. I'm boot." "You're what?" I finally asked "You're boot?".

"Yes" she explained, "You know...tired".
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Fun at the Fair

We had a great time at the fair. (Except for the last 5 minutes when we were trying to get 3 tired kids back into the van and convince them our evening must come to a close.) I seriously enjoy these things as much as the kids. And, yes, part of that is just because I have fun watching them get excited. But the other part is that I love the atmosphere...and the rides...and the funnel cakes.

They all loved this ride. Drue kept honking her horn and had a big smile on her face, then the ride jerked to a start all of a sudden and a brief look of terror replaced it.

Reese and Tate popping a wheelie on their hog. Tate sat behind Reese on the same bike.

The Octopus was the first ride we saw as we were walking up to the fair. I went on and on about how much fun it was and how it used to be my favorite ride at carnivals when I was little. So I was very excited to see that the girls were tall enough to ride if an adult was with them. Then man who came over to lock our car was really nice and joked with the girls, etc. Then he asked, "Do you want to spin?". I looked at the girls uncertainly and just said, "Uhhhhh....". The next thing I know, he spun our car with all his might and my breath escaped me! The girls were squealing and when I could breathe again, I started laughing and looked down...we were already up in the air! He spun us around so hard I couldn't even feel us moving upward.

It is hard to try and act calm for your kids' sake when you are scared out of your mind. When the ride really got going, we were still spinning like crazy and dipping up and down way faster than I remember that ride EVER going when I was little! I was screaming like a little girl. Couldn't be helped. Reese kept hollering, "My tummy feels funny! My tummy feels funny!" and I was so glad we hadn't eaten anything yet. When I finally got my bearings, I looked over at Drue to make sure she was ok and asked if the ride scared her. "No" she said, "It just startled me! I love this ride!".

Every bone in my body felt every bit of their 32 years when we finally came to a stop. I thought our car would never stop spinning. I will let you know when my head does...

I love to watch Tate at things like this. He just takes it all in. He is a people watcher. He loves to explore every part of everything. David and I took turns climbing the steps of a huge slide with him and sliding down on a felt bag. We would barely get to the bottom and he would shout, "Again!". He also kept pointing to a ride that just went around and around in a big circle, upside down, and wanted very badly to ride it. We declined.

David rode the ferris wheel with the girls and I rode the Scrambler with them...twice. I would much rather ride the ones that go 1,000 miles an hour, than ride the huge ferris wheel that just stops at the top and gives you too much time to ponder your car unhooking or the whole ride tipping over.

Drue first announced that she wanted an Octopus ride in our backyard, then later decided that she would like to live at the fair instead.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Chapter: Kindergarten


Here stands my brand new kindergartner...on the same front steps we carried her up almost 6 years ago, her first day home from the hospital. Was I ready then? No. Was I ready yesterday for this new venture? No. Will I ever be ready for a new milestone in their lives which only points closer to their independence from me?

(Well...I doubt I'll shed any tears when Tate gets potty trained...)


Reese hasn't really talked much about school the past month. We didn't know how she was feeling about it there for awhile. Everyone kept asking, "Are you excited to start Kindergarten?" and she would just smile shyly and mumble some expected response. I was beginning to grow a little concerned. The other day when she and I were running errands, she brought along her teddy bear, Slumbers. Reese started pretending like Slumbers was talking. So my psychology skills kicked in. I carried on a conversation with Slumbers for a few minutes then geared the conversation toward school.

"Slumbers, did you know Reese is getting ready to go to Kindergarten?" I asked the tiny little furball.

"Yes" squeaked the answer from the backseat.

"Do you think she's excited about that?" I slyly slipped in.

"Oh yes! She is!", Slumbers comfortingly informed me.

David got to come drop her off her first day too. We walked her there and her little hand held tight to mine. Tighter than usual. We barely made it through the front door of the school when my vision started to blur. I was still able to see, however, that some of the students were almost as tall as me! We made our way through the crowds back to the more appopriately sized kids and found her room. She hung up her little backpack and found her seat just as the first few tears slipped down my cheek. I quickly scanned the room for another tearful mother to catch my eye and smile reassuredly. But I found none. All the other mothers had big smiles on their faces and were snapping pictures and waving at their children. I worked my way back over to David who offered to swipe a brand new Kleenex box on the table behind us for me.

We all just kind of hung out there for a few minutes watching, then headed to a parents meeting to learn more about what to expect this year. I almost fell out of my chair when the principal said, "Now for the first week or so, if you want to walk your child back to his or her room, feel free. After that, we encourage you to drop them off at the curb and let them walk in by themselves." BY HERSELF?! Are they crazy? I suppose they are going to let her play in traffic during recess also?

As David and I walked back home I informed him that all the other mothers in that classroom must have had hearts of stone. That's the only explanation I could reasonably come up with.

As Reese scrambled into the van after I picked her back up, she was full of tales about her day. "We have a folder that we bring home everyday and have to take back to school. We had Science today. We didn't pray....". That was hard to explain to her about. I had tried to prepare her that they wouldn't pray at school and she wouldn't be learning Bible verses at school. To which she asked uncertainly, "They don't care about the Lord?".

So Mrs. Herl, we entrust our little girl to you this school year. To nurture and teach. You now have a hand in helping mold her into the young woman she will all too soon become.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Yet Another Title...

Within the past two weeks I have been introduced to two mothers, on separate occassions, who attend the same church as me. We have seen each other in passing but it was nice to put names with faces. Both of their faces sparked recognition when they met me and they commented, "Oh yeah, you're the mother of the curly headed girls...".

Yep. That'd be me.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Movie Madness

I took Reese to her first movie, Elmo in Grouchland, just before she turned two. I had high hopes that she would sit quietly and be mesmerized by the big screen. Not so. She was mesmerized until the popcorn ran out. Then she did. Ran out, that is. Of the theater. With my 8 month pregnant self waddling briskly after her.

Now she is a great little movie goer. I recently took her to see the American Girl movie and it was an enjoyable afternoon. I love the movies.

Drue actually does fairly decently. Well, I say that now. I was not saying that when she needed to potty not once, but twice, during Kung Fu Panda. The second trip coinciding nicely with the last 5 minutes of the movie. This coming from the same girl who normally only potties about twice a day.

Tate's presence does not make for a relaxing, enjoyable, theater experience just yet. And I want it to. I really want it to. These cute kid movies come out, we load up the kids, grab our treats, and settle into the cushy seats believing this time will be different. This time we won't be taking turns leaving the theater to follow his restless little self around and around the complex.

This past Wednesday we woke up to a looooonnnngggg rainy day before us. I had to get out of that house. I found a Summer movie playing at the mall up the road. Wouldn't you know it, it was Elmo in Grouchland. Beckoning my return. Mocking me if you will. Summer movies are just $2 so I figured if Tate did wander out, we wouldn't be out too much money. I carefully prepared the girls about this beforehand. Since David was at work and I was taking them by myself, if one kid had to leave the theater (i.e. to potty or explore) we ALL had to leave the theater.

And it was there I discovered the secret to getting a 2 year old to sit through a movie. Simply find a theater where the seats fold up. And don't grab a booster seat. Tate could barely move he was so crushed up in the seat. After checking to ensure that he could, indeed, both inhale and exhale sufficiently, I sat back and was able to finish the movie I started 4 years ago.

He finagled his little self somehow and was actually able to sit comfortably, yet still not having easy access to get out of the chair. The poor mom in front of me had a little boy around Tate's age that kept getting down, climbing the stairs, walking out the door, going down the row in front of him.

Then I witnessed a rare occurrence. My little man was actually used as an example of good behavior. In desperation the mother pointed to Tate and said, "Look at that little boy. He's sitting in his seat."

I didn't want to ruin the moment by correcting the mother that he was actually stuck in his seat, so I just smiled to myself and at the crumpled up bundle of sweetness beside me.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Birthdays Past...

With less than an hour left of my 32nd birthday, I dug through some OLD pictures of me and found these of my 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th birthdays...


Please keep all comments such as "they had color film back then?" to yourselves...
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