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Archive for December, 2008

christmas in review

Everyone who has a child knows that Christmas takes on a whole new excitement when you get to see it through the eyes of your child. Last Christmas, Owen was slightly overwhelmed by all the Christmas festivities…this year, he couldn’t get enough!

We started our Christmas celebration with my family here in St. Louis. We loved spending time with my parents and brother, opening tons of presents, and eating WAY too much! Here’s a shot of Owen in front of the tree…he’d already broken into his stocking and was checking out his Snoopy coloring book (ever since he was Charlie Brown for Halloween, he’s been OBSESSED with Snoopy…).

owens-presents1Owen got so many fun toys. I think he got every Little People toy that’s geared towards the male crowd. He’ll be busy for a while. This year, Travis and I got to experience what all parents experience every Christmas…toy assembly! Of course Owen wanted to play with his toys immediately, which meant that Travis had to put them together immediately. Here’s a shot of Owen “helping” Travis put together his Little People farm set:

helping-daddyEvery year since Travis and I have been dating, we’ve had a special type of gift that we give each other. He gives me some type of Christmas children’s book, and I give him a Christmas DVD. Here’s a picture of us holding this year’s choices:

trav-and-emOwen has recently developed a love of trains (but then what little boy doesn’t love trains??). Travis and I decided to give him his first train set for Christmas. Here’s a shot of us helping Owen learn how to work his new “oo oo”, as he likes to call them!

owens-trainWe had so much fun on Christmas day. Our only complaint was that it went too fast! The next morning we headed off to Kansas City to spend our second Christmas with Travis’ parents, grandparents, and cousins. Here’s a shot of Owen and Grammy playing with the train that surrounds their tree. Check out Owen’s awesome Elmo slippers…I saw them at Target 2 months ago and couldn’t resist buying them for Owen for Christmas!

elmo-slippersOur Kansas City Christmas was a great time filled with lots of food and lots of family members. I enjoyed swapping pregnancy stories with Travis’ cousins, Casey and Amy. Casey is expecting Gavin in February, I am expecting ?? in April, and Amy is expecting a baby boy in May!

preggiesWe had lots of fun hanging out with the cousins and realizing that, this time next year, there will be three more babies entertaining us! We also enjoyed catching up with Travis’ parents and exchanging gifts. Here’s a shot of Travis and Owen with Travis’ big gift…the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars. I think this is supposed to be a gift that Travis will share with Owen someday…but I think Travis was pretty pumped to get a toy of his own for Christmas. To each his own!

millenium-falconThat pretty much sums up our Christmas. We are now home and enjoying a week of catching up on things around the house. Travis has the entire week off, and we’ve been hard at work setting up Owen’s big boy bedroom! Stay tuned for pictures…the furniture arrives tomorrow!

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merry christmas!

santa

As you can tell, this picture isn’t recent…it was from last year.  I don’t know about you, but nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a chubby baby dressed in Santa duds.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

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If you aren’t from St. Louis and aren’t familiar with the Magic House, it’s a great children’s museum. The only down side to the Magic House is that it’s always very crowded and claustrophobic feeling. (If you’re like me and really hate the feeling of being trapped in places and not able to get out, the narrow hallways of the Magic House will really make your head spin.) Anyway, I guess other people must have felt that the Magic House was a tad bit too small for the number of people that frequent it on a daily basis…so they built on! The Magic House Expansion opened this weekend and they invited people to come check it out for free on Saturday and Sunday evenings. I was thrilled with the thought of being able to take Owen to check out the new parts of the Magic House and not have to pay a dime. We didn’t feel like we’d wasted our money because we stayed only an hour.

Anyway, it was a great experience. Owen LOVED it! He ran around like crazy and explored every tunnel, slide, and exhibit. The first room we visited was one of the new rooms…the fairy tale room! As a former teacher, I loved this room. There were several exhibits all based on fairy tales. The activities that each exhibit offered were very hands-on and appropriate for many different ages (my one-year-old enjoyed them alongside the eight-year-olds that were there as well!). Here’s a picture of Owen enjoying going down the Jack and the Beanstalk slide:

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Besides all the fun activities in the fairy tale room, the Magic House also has lots of other fun exhibits in their expansion. Most of these are geared toward elementary age kids including a three story climbing tree, a mystery room where you can learn how to crack the case, and a room replicating the oval office where the kids can actually sit at the president’s desk and make speeches at his podium. Pretty cool!

Owen spent a lot of time in an area designated for kids age 1-6. He loved playing in the Lego room. I think he was amazed at how big the Legos were!

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One of Owen’s favorite books is Goodnight Moon. They have an exhibit that lets the kids look through a window into the room from the book. I think this picture is sweet. If you’ve read the book, I’m sure you’ll recognize this scene:

goodnight-moon

The Magic House also has a really neat “town” where kids can work, grocery shop, go fishing, eat pizza, etc. A few years ago, I went on a field trip with my second graders to this town. On the field trip, each kid got to have a job at one of these places, get paid, and then figure out how they were going to spend their money. Pretty cool field trip and a great way to teach economics to little kids. Anyway, the town was open for kids to explore the night we were there. Owen loved all of it, but was most intrigued by the car. He had a lot of fun trying to fix the wheels.

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owens-hat

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I can see us spending a lot more time at the Magic House now that Owen is old enough to enjoy it. What makes this even better is that the Magic House has free family nights every third Friday of the month! You better believe we’ll be trying to make those happen!

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In the spirit of “The Holidays”, I figured we’d pay tribute to one of the less popular celebrations. I can’t wait for this year’s feats of strength!

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Yes, that’s right folks! The St. Louis Zoo actually has a lot to offer around Christmas time. Last night we took advantage of Wild Lights at the Zoo. Here are some pictures that give you an idea of the winter wonderland we walked through last night:

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Owen has loved looking at all the Christmas lights in our neighborhood this year. Every time we drive by a house that has lights, he points and starts laughing and saying “yeah!”. We figured lights at the zoo would be right up his alley. As we had guessed, he couldn’t get enough!

owenEven though it was chilly last night, we bundled up in lots of layers and braved the cold. It helped that the zoo was selling hot chocolate and that the penguin house was open. The penguins must really come to life at night because they were swimming and talking and being really active. Owen loved to watch them and called them ducks the whole time.

penguinsThere were so many lights all over the zoo…it was really was a great experience. They were pumping Christmas music over the speakers so it really felt festive.

o-and-mommy

o-and-daddyWe had a blast. I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the St. Louis area during the month of December. It’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!  I’ll leave you with this video of Owen in the car on the way home. Something about Burl Ives really gives him Christmas cheer…

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19 months…and 22 weeks!

Yes, Owen is 19 months old today…

19-mnths

…and I am 22 weeks pregnant today!

22-weeksI thought it was time to put up a belly pic…considering I am now over halfway through this pregnancy!  Exactly 4 months from today (on April 17) we will be meeting the newest member of the family.  Crazy that we’re already that close!  The baby is doing great.  It moves ALL the time, which is reassuring because I know it’s in there, but it also makes me think that I’m gonna have another active little boy!  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love another boy, but Owen has not exactly been an easy child (extremely fussy baby, broken leg, severe eczema, sinus surgery, staph infections, severe constipation issues…yeah, I haven’t gone into that one on the blog–I’ve been sparing you all the fun details).  If it’s another boy, we’ll be thrilled…but I wouldn’t mind a real laid back, take life as it comes kind of kid!  Anyway, I’m feeling great…a much easier pregnancy than with Owen!

Owen is continuing to be so much fun!  Here are some things he’s been doing:

*  He loves to read (as you can tell in the picture above…he’s holding one of his books because he couldn’t bear to put it down!).

*  He is quite the chatter box and is starting to string together 2 word phrases (his favorite being “daddy work” when asked where daddy is, but he’ll say that anyone is at work if you ask him where someone is!).

*  He loves to play with his nativity scene, but the only two characters he really cares about are Mary (who he calls “the mama”) and the camel (who he calls “a neigh”).  He insists on taking these two many places…including Target, the grocery store, car rides…the list could continue!

*  He has one speed…running!  By the end of the day I am exhausted!

*  He loves to watch TV.  I didn’t think I wanted my kid to watch TV before I had a kid.  Now I love the fact that he’ll sit in his green chair and watch a DVD while I make dinner.  Seriously, sometimes that 30 minutes is the only break I get all day…if you consider making dinner without a one-year-old tugging on your pants leg a break, which I do!

Other big news…Owen will be moving to his big boy bedroom at the beginning of January!  The grandparents were generous enough to buy Owen his big boy room furniture for Christmas and it’s being delivered on New Year’s Eve!  We are going to start the transition as soon as possible.  I want him to be fully settled in his big boy bed by April.  Not quite sure how this transition is going to work, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing our experiences with it here on the blog!

Okay, that’s all for now!

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Christmas Vacation is one of our favorites. We watched it a couple nights ago, and I was reminded that this scene is definitely my personal fav. Classic Cousin Eddie.

The black dickie under the white sweater. “Gettin’ the daughter cured off the wild turkey.” “Barkin’ for the yak woman.” It’s all just too much. So I’ll leave you with a really short snippet that clarifies what exactly a “tenement on wheels” is:

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