Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Will Alex Be When He Grows Up?

Alex & I sing together before he goes to bed each night.  It’s just part of our nightly routine – we read a Bible story, sing a few songs, and pray together.  

We  like to sing an ABC song that goes like this:

Jesus died for you and me.
Jesus died for sinful men, Amen!
I believe God’s Word is true.
God has promised you…
A home eternally!

Well, that’s not how it went a few nights ago.  I was singing the alphabet part, and Alex was singing the words.  We were happily singing along, when Alex decided the song needed some new words.


Alex:  I believe I will be God.

And the song ended there, as I burst into a fit of giggles. 
And I thought he was aiming high when he told Grandma & Papa that he would grow up to be wise and go to college. 

My son has high aspirations.  At some point, I’ll have to inform him that the job is already taken. *Ü*

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our New (to us…) Camper

We went camping once when Alex was a baby.  It was a short adventure, as the storms during the night left us floating in our tent!  We gave up, vowed to buy a camper when our kids were bigger, and assumed that would be several years away.

That was before we had this nice deal land in our lap.  Some church friends were selling their 2007 camper, and the price was more than fair.  So we’re the proud owners of this Yuma: a small, cozy camper that’s just the right size for our family.

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After one trip to Walmart to buy food and supplies, we were ready to go.  We chose a small campground about 10 minutes from home.  Yeah, we’re adventurous like that! ;)

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We had a TON of rain on the first evening.  Strong storms came through with heavy rain and crazy winds.  Our first camping meal ended up being hamburgers cooked on the indoor cookstove and served at the dinette table in the camper.  It wasn’t quite what we had in mind, but at least we were comfy and dry!  Weathering a storm in a camper is MUCH nicer than in a tent!

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Eventually it dried out, and we had lots of fun outdoors.  The campground came under new ownership last year, and they have been working hard to make this place nice.  We think it’s a great place to camp, and we’ll keep it in mind as a last-minute camping spot any time.

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This trip reminded me of that phrase “Boy – A Noise With Dirt On It”.  Alex just reveled in all the freedoms that come with camping.  He could get dirty, dig holes, run all over, and be a boy.  June2010 276

We’d brought along a shovel, pail and small dump truck.  Alex chose a spot on the far side of our camper and called it “my dig”. He dug there all weekend.  What made it the “right” spot, we’ll never know, but he couldn’t be swayed from that spot.
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He cracked me up because by saying he was digging for ants.  He told me, “But the ants aren’t home.”  I asked him how he knew, and he stuck his face right down in his digging hole and yelled, “Ants, are you home?”  Then he looked at me and said, “See?  They are not home.”

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If we had one complaint about the weekend, it was the firewood that the campground provided.  It wouldn’t burn.   It had beads of condensation sizzling up because it was fresh, damp wood.  No amount of lighter fluid or fire starters could get the wood to burn well!  We very patiently cooked our pizza pudgy pies for a long, long time.

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It was worth the wait – they were YUMMY!  We even had them again for dinner – although, Daddy wasn’t there at the time to struggle with the fire, so Mommy made them on the griddle!  (Thanks for the loan on the pie irons, Angie!)June2010 251

Alex had his first s’more, and he loved it!  He called it his marshmallow cookie.

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Max fell in love with mozzarella, and he ate a ton of it this weekend. June2010 249

Max was a good little camper, too.  He loved all the outdoor stuff, and he was well-behaved in the camper too.  Other than general baby needs and wanting to be held a lot, he was a good kid!

June2010 216He absolutely LOVED playing in the sand, splashing, and even eating the sand.  Later, Daddy took him out in the lake, and he just giggled like crazy!June2010 239

The lake there is very pretty, with a small island out in the middle.  The owners said it was a pretty nasty swamp when they purchased the place last year, but it's sure pretty now! June2010 257 I forgot my suit, and was too lazy to drive the 10 minute home to get it.  I waded & watched the boys in the shallow water while Keith took turns bringing them out in the deeper water.  June2010 243There’s a lot of excitement involved in trying out a new camper.  While it took great effort to get Alex to settle down and take a nap on Friday afternoon, he was an amazing sleeper for the rest of the weekend.  All the fresh air & activity wore him out, and our little guy slept for THREE hours on Saturday afternoon!  June2010 254

Our church held a men’s night with cornhole tournament and steak for Father’s Day weekend.  Since we were so close to home, Keith headed over on Saturday afternoon. I got to just sit and read a book while the boys napped (ahh, that was nice!)  Later, Grandma P came out to the campground to hang out with us for a while. June2010 255Keith brought his dad back with him after the men’s night, and we all played at the park for a bit.  Even Grandma…June2010 258

Keith thought to use the camera and prove that I came along on this trip.  (I’m grateful for that!)

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Both boys slept fairly well for their first time in a camper.  We’re fortunate to have a/c to drown out the campground noise, but I was amazed at how they slept through torrential downpours and thunder!

Alex woke around 6 both mornings. I’d grabbed our DVD player for “emergencies”, and I was grateful to have that as a way to keep him quiet until the rest of the campground woke for the day!  I doubt our “neighbors” would have appreciated a playful, shouting toddler at 6 AM!

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The baby slept in his pack n play, and he woke early each morning as well.  4 AM on Saturday morning.  Uh-uh, baby.  No thanks!  I pulled him into our bunk to snuggle for a bit, and we both dozed.  Keith grabbed the camera to snap this shot.  Not the most lovely of hairdos for me, but I love snuggling with my sweet sleeping baby.

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It’s not exactly an organized home, is it?  While everything went well this weekend, it was a MESS in our camper by Sunday morning!  Over time, hopefully we’ll get an idea of what’s best for arranging our stuff!  Not that it will ever be pretty & neat, but I’d like to have a bit of organization in here!  June2010 272

On a similar note, we were able to determine what we brought unnecessarily & what we should have brought.  That should make next time even smoother!June2010 273Alex – our “push all the buttons” kids - had to be taught what knobs and levers to leave alone, but he was also a good little helper.  He threw away all his plates and cups after meals.  He cleaned around the campsite.  He removed the tablecloth clips when it was time to go home.  He pushed the sleepy baby’s stroller all around our campsite while we were taking down the camper.  And his favorite?  Alex can crank down the camper all by himself!

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We loved the lake, the beautiful new playground, the quiet/family-friendly atmostphere, and the clean bathrooms.  We never even had a chance to check out the hiking trails…guess we’ll do that next time!

For a first trip, Keith & I agreed that it was a very nice weekend!  We’re hoping to go again next month – haven’t decided where yet.  Who’s coming with us?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tot School – Watermelon – 29 Months

Alex wasn’t ready to give up the caterpillars yet.  On Monday, when I told him it was time to do Tot School, he ran to get his size-sorting caterpillars.  It’s still taking some reminders from Mama, but he’s beginning to understand small, medium, and large.  June2010 165

Moving on to watermelon, we did this shape-matching activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler.   June2010 168

Most shapes were pretty easy, but the diamond and rectangles confused him a bit.  He’s into “thumbs up” lately, so Alex was giving me a thumbs up every time he made a match. June2010 169

This one is from Childcareland.  It’s a printout of a watermelon with two circles.  I printed two copies of the numbers 1 – 10.  I’d put a number in “my” circle, and Alex had to name it and put the matching number in “his” circle.  He really liked this! June2010 170 June2010 171

W is for Watermelon from Making Learning Fun.  He chose to do it with magnets this week.  (Every day this week!  He told me, “Mommy, I’ll do my own tot school right now.”) June2010 173June2010 185

And what would watermelon week be without WATERMELON?  It’s our first of the season, and he’s one excited boy!

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I think he wants this one all to himself!  It’s a good thing I left the other half on the counter, ha ha!June2010 192

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Most games say ages 3 and up, but I’ve been wanting to try teaching him a few simple games.  I’ve been eying this Memory game at CVS for a few weeks now, and finally decided to spend part of a free gift card to get it. 


June2010 195For our first try at the game, we only used 10 cards.  He seemed to understand the concept, but I think he might be overwhelmed if we played with all the cards.  We’ll try it a few more times with 10 – 20 cards and see how it goes.

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My friend Angie mentioned Hi Ho Cherry-0 yesterday, saying that she thought Alex would be ready for that game.  I *loved* that game as a child, but I’d kind of forgotten about it.  I looked for it before buying the memory game, but couldn’t find it anywhere in our little town.  We’ll have to be on the lookout for that one next time we’re shopping.

And last, just a couple pictures of my kiddo being cute…with band-aids on his knees…again.  He skinned them last Thursday, then fell and skinned them again on Sunday.  With two little boys, I might as well take stock in Bandaids and get used to it, huh?


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If we’re not outside, this is where I’ll almost always find Alex…at the kitchen table with his cars and trucks.  This week, it’s been the car transported, the mechanic “guy”, and the John Deere gator.

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The rest of our time this week was spent outside – playing, picnicking with family, taking walks, getting our new camper ready to go…but at least we got in some decent tot school time, too!

Have a wonderful weekend!  We’re heading out to try out the new camper – first time camping with two kids.  We’re hoping the storms hold off & we have a wonderful time…but even if they don’t, we’re making memories!  Just hopefully not sopping wet memories! ;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brookfield Zoo


Aunt Donna called last week, asking if we’d like to join her & Emma for a day at the zoo.  We’d missed Emma’s birthday party due to a sick baby, and Emma had been pretty sad about that.  She was hoping to spend a fun day with her cousins.  Of course, we said yes!

Alex had been to the St. Louis Zoo when he was about 6 months old, but that’s the only zoo trip we’ve ever taken with kids.  He wasn’t sure what to expect at Brookfield other than, “I will see an-mals.  I want to see fishies.”

zoo2Aunt Donna took some great pictures today!  My camera is nearing death, I think, and every picture I took with zoom was blurry.  Sigh.  Thank goodness for Aunt Donna’s photography!

zoo3The primate house was nearly empty!  The South America exhibit had NO animals.  The Asia exhibit had 1 baboon and one hippo.  The Africa exhibit was a little better, thank goodness!  Alex enjoyed watching the gorillas eating lunch.June2010 159

Aunt Donna got some pictures of a few other monkeys while we were there…
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This was the best picture that we got of the 3 kids together.  Alex was just too distracted to look at a camera on command!zoo6   zoo7 June2010 082     June2010 080    June2010 088

Alex’s favorite – the fish

June2010 098Aunt Donna’s favorite – penguins.  They weren’t very active at the time, though.

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Emma’s favorite – although ALL of us totally LOVED this exhibit – the new Stingray Bay.  It’s a shallow pool filled with stingrays.  You can touch them as they swim by, and once in a while a stingray will jump out of the water and splash you! June2010 129

Poor Alex – his arms weren’t quite long enough to touch the stingray.  We put him close enough to the water to get his sleeves wet, but the only way he could have reached the stingray was to put his head in or hang him over the water by his toes…not very smart options! ;)  He still had fun running his hands through the water & watching the stingrays swim by.


We spent about an hour in here, and we could have stayed longer if we didn’t have tickets for the dolphin show.

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Alex liked watching the dolphins.  The new, “improved” dolphin show was actually rather short and dull compared to what it used to be.  Donna, Emma, and I were disappointed.  Alex had no clue that it could have been better, and he enjoyed himself!

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The splash fountains outside of the aquarium…Alex wasn’t so sure about this, and Emma had to talk him into splashing in the very smallest fountain.  He refused to go near the larger ones!

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We found a few more “monkeys” for Alex to enjoy.June2010 117 June2010 120 Max hung in there for as long as he could, but eventually, he had to sleep…

June2010 122 And all good things must come to an end…we had to head for home.

June2010 124Poor Emma had a headache, and she felt miserable in the car on the way home.  We got stuck in traffic for a bit, and my poor sweet niece sat in the back of our car just crying.  I felt so sorry for her, as there was nothing I could do except get her home.  Hopefully, the day was enjoyable enough that she’ll remember the good stuff!

Honestly, this zoo seems to be in need of some cleaning & repairs.  It’s not as nice as we remember it!  We still had fun, but Donna & I were both surprised at the condition of some of the hands-on exhibits and the cleanliness of the zoo.  We had a GREAT day, though, and I’m glad we got to spend some fun times with Donna & Emma!