Archive for May, 2008

Some of you may remember reading about the Jumpin’ Pumpkin Jamboree at Eckert’s that Travis, Owen, and I went to last October. Well, the pumpkins are long gone…but strawberries are in season! Yesterday, Owen and I drove to Eckert’s Farm to meet some friends for some strawberry picking.

I tried my hardest to teach Owen how to pick strawberries.

He put some of them in the tray…

…while others got mushed and smeared across his face!

Even though there were more strawberries to pick than we could even imagine, I had a hard time keeping him from playing in the hay!

When he wasn’t smashing strawberries and chewing on hay, Owen had a blast racing down the rows of strawberries!

By the time we left, I had picked about 2 pounds of strawberries. The great part: strawberry picking only cost me $4! At $2 a pound, this was such a great experience. I can’t wait to go back…peach picking starts in July!

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rock on.

Radiohead has been – and continues to be – one of my favorite bands. We’re talking top 4 here (I know, I know, “Top 5” is a much more socially acceptable number, but there are only four bands I can personally put into these kinds of terms). So when I heard that they were coming to St. Louis on what is a very limited North American tour, I was quite happy.

Regular seats sold out in 3 minutes, but my friends, Matt, Kim, Tony, Lynn and I were able to get seats in the lawn at the Verizon Ampitheater (thanks for getting the tix, Matt & Kim). For those of you that haven’t read this post, Emily’s not a fan of live music, so she stayed home and watched something I’ll assume had to do with making over, remodeling, or flipping a house.

The show was great. My friend, Jeff, who once saw them in Chicago, described their live shows quite well: “atmospheric.” They played a wide variety of songs from all of their albums except Pablo Honey (their first), which was fine by me. There was definitely a lot of songs from their new album, In Rainbows, which I highly recommend. For a good read about the band, how they’ve changed over the years, and the process they used on In Rainbows, click away (thanks for the article, Patrick).

The stage set-up was great, too. As you can see in the image at the top of the post, several long, stringy banners dangled from the ceiling, lighting up in a variety of ways throughout. Behind the banners was the video board, showing each of the band members separately. Here’s another pic (wish I could say these were taken from my seats, but I was in the lawn about 70 yards back. Meh.)

So there you have it. I can scratch another one of my Top 4 bands off the “saw them in concert” list. Now if only I can get that time machine finished and go back to see The Beatles, I’ll have all four under my belt…

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Over the summer, I’m going to be taking care of Rowan and Savannah for a few sporadic days. School finished up last Friday, so today was the first official “summer” day for them. Although, in St. Louis it doesn’t feel too much like summer. I was planning on taking them to the zoo to see the Dinosaur exhibit, but it was rainy. Instead, I took the kids (Rowan, Savannah, and Owen) to the St. Louis Science Center. The Science Center has so much to offer, from an OmniMax theater to a bridge over Highway 40 where kids can monitor the speed of cars; it’s great fun and it’s totally free! (Both the St. Louis Zoo and the Science Center offer free admission! I love the fact that I can take my child to do fun, educational things without spending a dime!)

One of the first things we did was watch a science demonstration about plastic. The kids got to watch and participate in several experiments involving the making of and recycling of plastic. Savannah got to be the lucky volunteer! See how the lady is demonstrating how she can poke a pencil through a plastic bag and Savannah won’t even get wet? From the looks of the picture, I think Savannah is expecting it not to work!

Next, we went to an area with all kinds of hands-on activities pertaining to animals. This was Owen’s favorite part. He found his all-time favorite animal, a “boggy”. Doggy is officially his first word, although he pronounces it “boggy”. He gets really excited when he sees a “boggy” and loves to point at them.

After learning all about animals and DNA, we decided to weigh ourselves in this cool hanging scale!

Next, we made our way down to the restaurant to eat our sack lunches (Much to the kids disappointment, I have a hard time paying the high prices they charge at places like this!). I had just finished cleaning up our mess when we heard a voice over the loudspeaker announcing that we were under a tornado warning and all guests were being evacuated to the basement. Herds of children, moms, dads, kids on field trips, teachers, and strollers were making their way to the basement. I’m a little bit freaking out (secretly though…I taught 2nd grade long enough to know that the kids take their freak-out cue from whether or not you seem concerned). My wild imagination instantly created images of us inside this monstrosity of a museum while the whole roof is torn off by a twister. Once we reached the basement, science center employees escorted everyone into a huge, blue, windowless room where we are told to take a seat by the wall. Having no clue what is going on outside except what I’ve been told, I guide my group of three over to an empty place on the wall and sit down. I have a bit of claustrophobia, so the idea of being in a windowless room with hundreds of other people and no way to get out kind of makes me want to scream. Considering I was the adult in the group, I held it together and we made the most of our 30 minute stay in the blue room. The science center people were great. They got some of their scientists together to put on a show for the kids to keep them entertained. This was great for Rowan and Savannah. Unfortunately, Owen couldn’t have cared less about the show. He wanted to crawl away from me as fast as he possibly could. On top of the crawling away as fast as he could, whenever I’d pick up him to return him to our segment of the wall, he would arch his back and let out his best “my mom is torturing me” scream. Fun times for all. Here’s a picture of us making the most of this real-life scientific experience:

When we were finally allowed to leave the blue room, we decided to take in a few more science exhibits. My personal favorite area is where kids can try to make all these different kinds of structures. There’s even an area for little construction workers! Owen had a blast because I finally let him down to play!

If you’re ever in St. Louis, the Science Center is a great place to visit…adults and kids, alike!

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“hand”made by owen

Anticipating the need to write thank-you cards after Owen’s first birthday, I wanted Owen to create his own thank-yous.

The final product looked like this:

The process was not quite so neat and orderly. My idea was that I would have two colors and would dip his hand in one, he would straighten out his chubby little fingers on command, and then he would hold still as I placed his hand on the card.

Obviously I had forgotten what my child is like. Once his little hands were covered in paint, he wanted to smear them all over every available surface, not excluding my arms, the floor, and his body. All I can say is, painting with a one year old is a brave experience and one that should not be attempted alone! Here’s a video to show you the crazy little artist…

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Owen’s birthday party began at 7:15am on Saturday morning. I started the day by making a big French Toast breakfast for the family. This was Owen’s first experience with French Toast, and he thoroughly enjoyed it!

Next, we headed to the zoo with Travis’s parents, my parents, Uncle Nate, and my grandma. The weather in St. Louis on Saturday was in the mid-70’s and perfectly sunny. The perfect day, in my opinion. We had a blast at the zoo! We took Owen on the carousel. He didn’t cry during the ride, but he wasn’t too enthusiastic about the experience.

We enjoyed checking out lots of animals, but Owen’s favorite animal had to be the penguin. He loves those silly guys! He also had fun hanging out with his grandpas at the zoo.

After the zoo, we headed home for nap time. After nap time, we sat down for hot dogs and hamburgers at my Elmo-themed table (in case you don’t know, Elmo is Owen’s absolute favorite).

Owen enjoyed spending time with Nana Jules, Great Grandma Nini, and Grammy during his party.

After dinner, it was time for presents! Owen got SO much fun stuff, he just didn’t realize it during the present opening time! Check out what Owen was doing while Travis was opening his presents:

The Lego dump truck from Uncle Nate seemed to capture his attention.

After presents, we went outside to play with some of Owen’s new toys. He loves his car from Grammy and Granddad!

A little later, we went back inside for a surprise present from Travis. I had no idea what he was going to give Owen, but I wasn’t at all surprised to find that it was movie-themed! (In case you can’t tell, he gave him the Indiana Jones Potato Head.)

When we were totally finished with presents, it was time for cake! I made Elmo cupcakes to go along with the theme of the party.

Owen delighted all of us by digging into his cupcake and smearing icing all over his face. Needless to say, he went straight to the tub after this experience!

Owen’s first birthday was perfect! I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I’ve loved every minute of it, and it just keeps getting better!

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owen is 1!!

On May 17, Owen turned 1! This was SUCH a fun day for everyone. He had a blast, the weather cooperated nicely…it was as near to perfect as I could imagine. Stay tuned for a post completely dedicated to the birthday festivities… Until then, enjoy the monthly pic on the green chair. Isn’t he looking like such a little boy??

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i caught a 180-pounder!

For those of you looking for an “Owen’s first birthday” post, we’ll have one later this week. In the meantime, I’ll share my adventure from last weekend: a fishing trip in Trophy Country.

I went with some guys from our church on a two-day trip. The private “ranch” we went to was about 2 hours from St. Louis, and was great. Steve (my friend and boat-mate) and I each caught around 40 fish a piece for the weekend.

Most were a decent size:

Others…not so much.

But the biggest catch of the weekend came on Friday night. Steve and I were bringing the boat in around 7:30. We were probably 50 yards from the dock, when I threw out “one last cast” – and sure enough, hooked one. He fought me all the way to the edge of the boat, when he finally broke free. The momentum of the break shot the line and hook directly back at me, and landed directly into my thumb. Needless to say, this sucker was stuck…

It honestly didn’t hurt that much. I got pretty lightheaded for about 10 minutes as my body realized something foreign was hanging out south of my thumb knuckle. But otherwise, it was just annoying and inconvenient. We luckily had a doctor with us, and he knew that this needed to be an ER procedure. So we headed in to good ole’ Moberly, MO, where my ER doctor’s cowboy boots, turquoise-studded belt, and large buckle gave me a lot of relief – who better to take out a fish hook than this guy?! They numbed up the thumb, poked the hook through the skin, clipped off the burr, and took it out.

The way I see it, it’s only fair. After sinking hooks into the fish all day, it’s sweet justice that one of them did the same to me.

Anyway, the thumb’s totally fine, and I was able to be back out on the water the next morning. Oh, and before you mothers out there crucify me, I was only gone Friday and Saturday, so I was home in time to celebrate Em’s first Mother’s Day.

The end.

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o-man’s superhero stance…

I don’t know how it started.  One day I just noticed that he was doing it.  Clenching his fists.  Gritting his teeth.  Flexing his entire body.

My first instinct was to laugh.  My next instinct was to imitate him.  Of course, Owen quickly realized that this move was funny.  I began calling it the “superhero” because, well, he looks like he is trying to conjure up his special powers.  The great thing is that now all I have to do is say, “Owen, do the superhero” and he throws his whole body into the effort.

He’s one day shy of being one year old, and he’s already mastering the superhero stance.  Could my child be a future Oscar-winning actor?  Only time will tell…

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lost? what?

If you’re a fan of LOST, then you know this season has been a doozie (as in, “really, really good”). It’s also likely that all the crazy time traveling reality bending perception changing cabin finding island moving ghost seeing flash forwarding has you asking “What?” Apparently you’re not the only one. Watch the video…

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My mom always used to say that we were members of the “clean plate club” when we ate everything on our plates. Owen has gone above and beyond eating everything on his plate…

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