Archive for September, 2010

the big 3-0 birthday getaway

I turned 30 last Saturday.  I was a little bit sad to leave my 20s…I’m finally a full fledged adult.  30 is the real deal. 30 makes me feel like I need to stop listening to my favorite top 40 radio station and switch over to Easy Listening…because aren’t adults not supposed to like Kesha?  Anyway, my wonderful husband planned an amazing 30th birthday getaway for me and it was WONDERFUL.  Be prepared…long post, lots of pictures.

Trav and my best friend, Abbey, had been in cahoots to organize a weekend away to celebrate my birthday.  It was an extra special treat to have Scott and Abbey join us because he so rarely gets time away, being a surgeon and all.  We left on a Friday afternoon and drove to Ste. Genevieve, MO.  In case you’re not a Missourian and don’t know about Ste. Gen, it’s a charming little town filled with Bed and Breakfasts, antique shops, and wineries and it’s only a little over an hour from St. Louis.  Travis had reserved rooms for us at this adorable little Bed and Breakfast. 

Isn’t it charming?  Get ready…the inside was even better.  Trav and I stayed in a room called “Forever Summer”.

Our room was wonderful.  We had a cheerful little sitting room…

A really cozy bedroom…

And the most relaxing jacuzzi tub ever. 

After checking into our rooms, we enjoyed cocktail hour in the BnB’s garden.

The view from the garden made me feel like I’d stepped back in time.

After drinks in the garden, we went to an amazingly beautiful winery called Chaumette.  Here’s me and my hubby with the gorgeous countryside in the background.

And one of Ab and Scott…

We got to the winery just in time to have a private wine tasting.  The wines were delicious.  Our favorite of any of the wineries we visited.  The dinner was heavenly.  The food was better than I’ve had in a long while.  And the view from our table…not too shabby.

The next morning we dined on a four-course breakfast.  That’s right folks.  Four courses of delicious homemade wonderfulness.  I have no pictures of this experience because I was too busy stuffing my face.  It was fantastic. 

After breakfast we decided to roam the very quaint streets of Ste. Genevieve and shop some antiques.  Here we are, ready to set out…

There were some very nice antique shops.  And then there was the Bargain Barn (but they spelled it “Bargin”…that should be your first clue).  We saw the sign telling us that the “Bargin Barn” was a block away.  We knew we had to go.  We rounded the corner and saw…

Ab and I were thrilled.  This looked like just the place to find some diamonds in the rough.  The boys left us alone to go search for caffeine.  When we entered the Bargin Barn, we were a little confused because it looked like this:

There was stuff EVERYWHERE.  No order whatsoever.  Piles and piles of junk on every table in sight.  No sign at all of an employee.  And absolutely no prices.  The place pretty much freaked me out.  But at the same time it was a bargain hunters delight.  Ab and I searched every corner of this scary establishment…

And ended up with all this:

We finally found an employee (who was QUITE a character, might I add).  We offered him $5 for the whole lot, thinking we’d leave with a couple of our finds.  (We only had $5 in cash and were quite positive the place did not possess the capabilities to take credit cards.)  The man was very stressed by our offer.  We thought he was stressed because we’d severly under-bid the price of our treasures.  But no, he thought we were over-paying him!  We haggled it out and finally got him to accept our $5 bill.  This was quite the experience.

After this, we headed back into wine country.  Our first stop was a winery that was actually in a cave (hence the name Cave Vineyard).  We did a wine tasting here and then headed down to the cave.  It was a bit chilly so we only stayed to snap some pictures and then moved on.

Our next stop was Crown Valley Brewery.  The wines had all been great, but we decided to switch things up and taste some of the area’s beers.  We also got a chance to sit outside and look at the beautiful countryside. 

Our last stop was Charleville Vineyard.  We almost didn’t make it to this one because we thought it was a 13 mile drive on a dirt road…turns out it was only 1.3 miles.  Very doable.  We were SO glad we made it to this last winery because it was our favorite.  If we go back to the area, this is where I’d want to spend more time.  It was very secluded, gorgeous views, live music, and a great place for picnics.  It was a perfect way to end a perfect weekend.

So there you go.  I was dreading turning 30, but this was my favorite birthday yet!  Thanks Trav, Ab, and Scott for making it so great.  (And for our amazing parents who so generously watched our children so we could have a weekend away!)


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Our little artist thoroughly enjoyed her first scribble date with Mommy.

Her finished product…with a few rips and tears.  She discovered the paper was taped to the table and tearing it became way more interesting than coloring.

And then the empty apple juice container was just so much fun to put the crayons into.  This kept her attention way longer than the coloring. 

This little video of Molly’s scribbles gives you a glimpse of her personality.  And you can see a bit of how she “talks”.  When we ask her a question, she always answers with a long, drawn out, “uhhhhhhhh” and then a made up Molly word.  She’s a character, our Molly.

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17 month update

Our little gal is 17 months old.  Here’s what she’s up to:

* Singing!  She is OBSESSED with The Little Mermaid.  She can sing the Ariel song…one of these days I’ll capture it on video.  She loves to read about Ariel in her princess book…in fact, that’s the only book she enjoys reading these days.  She tells me that she wants to Ariel book by pointing wildly at it and singing the Ariel song.  (Her Daddy is very proud that she can almost sing the Star Wars song…I was hoping that special talent would be reserved only for her brother.  Oh well.)

* Talking.  Whereas her brother was already stringing words together and had 50+ words at this point, Molly isn’t as big of a talker.  That doesn’t mean the girl is shy.  By no means…she’s a little social butterfly and is loud as they come.  She “talks” all the time.  Using words that you can understand is another story altogether.  Here are the words in her repertoire:  daddy, mama, goggy (doggy), cah (car), bah (ball), key cat (kitty cat), cookie, gaga (her paci), uh oh, uh huh (her way of saying “yes”), uh uh (her way of saying “no”), more, again.  When she’s not saying words we understand, she’s babbling in her own Molly language. 

* Understanding.  She may not be saying that many words, but she understands so much of what we say.  For example, I can tell her to go get her shoes and she’ll come back with her shoes.  (Maybe this has more to do with her extreme love for shoes.)

* She loves to watch me put my makeup on.  She loves it when I share a dab of blush or a swipe of lipstick.  She’s a girlie girl already.

* Purses.  She loves to walk around the house carrying her purse.  Her Ariel purse is very favorite.  What a surprise.

* Baby dolls.  She loves loves loves her baby dolls.  She loves to feed them bottles and try to get them to suck on her gaga (paci).  She takes them in the car with her.  She pushes them around the house as fast as she can in her baby stroller.  She holds them on her shoulder and pats them on the back.  I love playing dolls with my little girl. 

Now for an update on Owen…

* Owen LOVES school.  He really likes his teachers and comes home with stories of what he’s learning every day.  Last week he told me the entire story of Adam and Eve.  The snake was his favorite part.

* Playing pretend.  His teachers told me that he was playing Daddy and Mommy with some of the girls on the playground at school yesterday.  He told me that he was being “Twavis” and Ella was being Mommy.  His friend, Kate, was the dog.  And they were chasing bad guys.  I’m not sure if the girls were chasing bad guys or if it was just Owen.  But in his words, “Mom, it was pretty intense.” 

* No more naps.  So sad.  They’re officially over.  This doesn’t mean that he hangs out with me while Molly sleeps, though.  I still make him rest in bed for an hour (hoping that he’ll maybe fall asleep!).  At the end of the hour, he has to read for 15 minutes.  When the dinger dings, he can play in his room for 45 minutes.  At the end of 2 hours, rest time is over.  This is working pretty well.  I miss the days of 2 uninterrupted hours of time to get things done.  Those days are gone.

* Dressing himself!  This has become one of his chores on his chore chart, and he’s really doing great!  He still needs some assistance, but he’s doing really well at getting his underwear and shorts on when I lay them out on the floor for him.  He very rarely throws fits when I ask him to get himself dressed…a huge accomplishment.

That’s all for this month!

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at the arch

One lazy summer day (by the way, those days are GONE!) the kids and I took a picnic lunch to Travis at work.  Working downtown has its perks…one of them being a quick walk to the arch.  This was little gal’s first arch experience.  She was awed at the big-ness of it.

Owen was more interested in picking up sticks (he calls them swords) than in admiring the structure that makes our city famous.

Because I’m crazy, we attempted a picture of the kids together.  Lest you think my kids always pose perfectly, the first few turned out like this:

Little gal is always trying to run off somewhere and Owen is always trying to find some other product of nature to use to fight with.  Because I’m persistant, I finally got my picture.

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labor day weekend

Over Labor Day weekend we had visitors!  Jeff and Julie (Nana and Bubba), Georgann, Keith and Cori (Travis’ aunt, uncle, and cousin) came to visit.  We kicked off the weekend with a night at Busch Stadium.  The weather was PERFECT.  The hot dogs and nachos were everything I imagined they would be (plus $20).  The Cardinals pulled out a win.  And we left with great pictures of everyone.  Surprise surprise. 



Saturday morning we took everyone to Purina Farms.  This was my third visit this summer, and I was excited to share the fun with our family.  Molly still delighted in petting all the “goggies”.  She walked around for about 20 minutes squealing and letting the dogs lick her in the face.  It was adorable.

Owen still wasn’t too big on petting the animals.  He was a little apprehensive when we tried to get him to touch the pigs.  Molly, on the other hand, tried to dive in the pig pen with them.  There is no fear in that child.

Later that day, we came back to our house to watch the Mizzou/Illinois football game.  Georgann (being a preschool teacher) brought some fun dinosaur-themed crafts for Owen to do. 

She even brought dinosaur tatoos!  He was SO proud. 

The next day we enjoyed a yummy picnic lunch at our house.  The weather was PERFECT so we were outside all weekend long. 

Nana and Bubba took over the kids’ bedtime routine for us…much to our delight!  Nana got in some some good snuggles with Molly before bedtime.

Everybody headed for home on Monday morning, but not before Nana and Bubba got one more morning of outdoor play with the kids.  Bubba worked with Molly on her swing… 

While Nana and Owen had an intense sword fight.

Molly wanted in on the sword fighting action, too.  She’s a pretty tough fighter for a little gal.

Molly also discovered her love of the “big swings”.  This girl wants to grow up way too fast!

It was a great weekend!  Come again soon!

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back to school

I’m WAY behind considering this post is coming as Owen is starting his third week of school…but better late than never! 

Owen is back at our church’s Mother’s Day Out (Toddler Time) program this year.  Last year he went one day a week.  This year we increased it to two days.  He’s going every Monday and Friday.  He is super excited about his teachers, Miss Laura and Miss Patty.  He is also pumped about the fact that there are two other boys in his class this year.  Last year he was the only boy in a class of ten!

He comes home each day telling me about the jobs they have in the classroom.  One week he was the snack helper and he LOVED this.  He also has Show and Tell this year.  The teacher in me loves helping him pick out his item for Show and Tell.  Each week they have to bring in something special to them that starts with the letter of the week.  Last week the letter was “A”.  Owen brought in his army guys.  He was so proud.

Owen talks a lot about the other kids in his class…particularly about the things they do that are not okay.  He came home one day and told me about a little girl who had a rough day.  This is what he said…his words:  “Mommy, today J (we’ll keep her name private) cried a lot.  She was very sad.  Bless her heart.”  Owen blesses a lot of hearts these days.  His included. 

Schools off and running.  We’re back into a schedule.  It’s hard to believe summer’s come and gone.

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Not even kidding…Scott Matz makes the best sushi I have ever tasted.  And I’ve eaten a lot of sushi. 

Back in August, I took the kids to Columbia to hang out with Abbey for a couple of days.  Travis joined us on Friday night for a feast.  More on that in a minute. 

Before the big sushi dinner, Ab and I spent a lot of time just hanging out with the kids.  Owen and Harrison had fun playing together and rarely sat this quietly while playing…

More often their playtime looked something like this…

Abbey took us to a children’s museum one morning and the kids had a blast.  It was basically a big room filled with all kinds of different toys for kids to play with.  It was like a preschool classroom you could pay $2 to play in as long as you like.  I wish we had one of these in St. Louis…this made for a great morning out.  Here’s Owen trying on the fireman costume with Henry by his side…

And how often does this happen?  Molly and Henry both looking at the camera!

And finally…the sushi.  Scott and Abbey have perfected the art of making sushi.  And it is definitely an art.  Scott is the master and knew all the perfect ingredients to make it mouth-watering.

Trav and I came in with no knowledge of how to make sushi, but we did learn how do it properly since we all took turns making our own individual sushi rolls. 

When we made our own rolls, we got to choose the combo of ingredients we wanted.  They had salmon, eel, shrimp tempura, and crab with avocado, cream cheese, cucumber, and carrot.  They also had a variety of sauces to make the sushi wonderful. 

Mmmmm…makes me crave it again just looking at the pictures. 

It was a great weekend.  We can’t wait to go back to Columbia to visit again for Mizzou’s homecoming in October!  Go Tigers!

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