Archive for the ‘the fam’ Category

So busy that there isn’t time to devote a post to each activity.  Here’s a review of our jam-packed December…

1.  Our family read advent scripture in church the first Sunday of December.  We each had a part to read, including the kids.  Owen said, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” and Molly said, “Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  They both said the words loudly into the microphone, Owen more clearly than Molly…but both were adorable.  It was a great way to start the Christmas season.  Here’s a picture of them before we left for the service in their Christmas clothes.  I know I’m biased, but aren’t they just adorable??

2.  We’ve watched lots of Christmas movies, including one new one this year.  We took the kids to see Arthur Christmas in the theater…it was so cute and the kids loved it.  And praise the Lord for popcorn.  That’s the only way we can get Molly to sit through an entire movie.

3.  We’ve looked at lots of Christmas lights, but my favorite was when we all bundled up and went on a walking tour of our neighborhood’s Christmas lights one evening after dinner.  It proved to be a great way to see the lights…and a fantastic way to wear out some kids with severe cabin fever.  We also took the kids to see the Wild Lights at the Zoo.  They loved it, but Molly was really confused about why we weren’t able to see any animals.  She didn’t really understand that the point of this trip to the zoo wasn’t about the animals, rather it was about enjoying the Christmas spirit while we looked at the pretty lights.

4.  We made gingerbread houses with Mimi.  This has become one of our favorite yearly traditions.  The kids both got really into it this year…I think they might have actually stuck more candy on the house than in their mouths this year!

And the final product turned out pretty cute!

5.  Our church’s Children’s Ministry had its annual Christmas program.  This year it was called “Arrest These Merry Gentlemen” and Owen got chosen to be a wiseman.  He took the job very seriously and had to walk up our church’s long center aisle carrying his gift for the baby Jesus.  Here he is with his two other wisemen buds…

When he wasn’t playing the part of a wiseman, he was belting it out with the preschool chorus.

6.  This December marked the end of my 18 month run as Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry at our church.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the children, but I miss being involved with adult aspects of the church.  It’s also gotten very difficult to juggle my odd hours with Travis’ increasing work and travel schedule.  It was a good run, but it was time for me to resign.

7.  Owen’s Pre-K class had a morning for moms on December 16.  All the kids participated in a reenactment of the nativity story.  Owen and his friend, Nick, got to be shepherds (which was evidently the coveted role according to him).

Everyone in his little class had a role.  Here they all are, gathered around the manger.

Afterwards all the moms got to decorate Christmas cookies with our kids.  As you could tell from my previous post about Jesus’ birthday cake, Owen is a big fan of sprinkles.  And that held true for cookies, too.

8.  Trav and I went to his annual work holiday party.  It was at a great restaurant downtown called Copia.  This was his 9th holiday party with his company.  Crazy.  We’ve gone from being the young ones at the parties to being considered some of the older ones there (advertising tends to draw a pretty young crowd)…not to mention I’m the only stay-at-home mom and probably the only female in the room that drives a minivan.  That being said, I was still able to have some great conversations with some of the girls he works with.  Here we are…my one occasion each Christmas to buy a new dress and look fancy.

9.  One more thing worth mentioning…I let Owen and Molly pick out something to give the other for Christmas at the dollar store.  They each got to have “dates” with me to the store to pick out their gift.  It was cute to see them picking out a toy for their sibling.  They often picked out things they personally would enjoy (I giggled as Owen tried to convince me that Molly would enjoy some wrestler action figures…who am I kidding…she probably would).  What they ended up picking out was great.  Owen chose a baby alligator figurine for Molly because “she likes to play with animals and she like alligators”.  And Molly chose a microphone.  You’ve seen them…the ones that are echo mikes that take no batteries but somehow magnify your voice.  Once she decided upon her gift, she proceeded to test it out through the remainder of the store yelling “I AM A BAD GUY!!!” into the mike.  Over and over and over.  I splurged and secretly bought another mike just for her…I could see the fights they’d have over that silly thing and decided to make my life a little easier by spending the extra buck.  I can’t wait to see them give their presents to each other on Christmas morning.  My guess is Owen spills the beans before she gets the wrapping paper off.

That pretty much wraps up December!  Have a Merry Christmas!!


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christmas cheer

It’s officially my favorite time of the year and our house is all decked out.  The kids were both old enough this year to really enjoy decorating the tree.  Maybe enjoy is an understatement…

Owen got to hang the first ornament on the tree and he chose his Prep and Landing elves.  He took his job very seriously.

After we got the tree up and the stockings hung, Owen and I did a little crafting one afternoon and made this fun wall hanging.  I love how it turned out…and I’m sure I’ll love it even more as the years go on.

And then I got even craftier and made the kids matching jammies.  I’m becoming addicted to my sewing machine now that I’ve figured out how to use it.  After making the pants, I decided to do little appliques on the t-shirts.  Because these were my first ever appliques, I decided not to buy new t-shirts but use ones the kids had.  Owen’s had a small design in the middle so I cut a circle of fabric big enough to cover it and…voila!

I had a little fun with ric rac on Molly’s jammies…until I realized that ric rac doesn’t stretch.  It was an ugly scene last night when I was trying to get the shirt over her head.  After lots of screaming, crying, pulling, shoving, and finally cutting…it was on!  I ended up having to cut a slit in the back of the shirt and sewing around the rough edges to make it work.  Live and learn.  But the final product was well worth the effort…aren’t they cute??

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100 years of homecoming

For 100 years Mizzou has been celebrating homecoming.  We’ve been a part of that celebration for the last 12 years.  Our kids have been a part of it for the last 4.  We headed down to Columbia last Friday night and got there in time to take the kids to Greektown to see House Decs (or house decorations if you don’t know the lingo).  The weather was awesome and the kids loved getting to hang out with their buddies, Harrison and Henry.  They had fun watching the different fraternities and sororities do skits.

Molly loved all the music and danced like crazy.

We saw Trav’s cousin, Cori, and her roommate, Amanda, at house decs and they graciously shared their popcorn with the kids.  Molly couldn’t get enough, and Owen just didn’t want to get his picture taken.

While we were wandering around Greektown on Friday, we stopped by the Pi Phi house to see all the remodeling that’s been going on.  The kids loved the house because the girls gave them cookies.  I’m not against it if Molly thinks being a Pi Phi would be pretty fun.  No pressure or anything.

And a decent family pic in front of the house.  Thanks Cori!

After we had our fill of house decs, we headed back to Abbey and Scott’s to watch the Cardinals in the playoffs.  But not before we took a quick detour through campus.  The columns at night are so so pretty.  Owen and Molly were fascinated with them…although Owen kept worrying that they were going to fall down.

Saturday morning was the big homecoming parade.  We loaded the kids in strollers and walked from Abbey’s house to campus.  (Huge perk of her location…you never have to find parking because we can walk everywhere we go!)  The big boys with their matching hats rode in one stroller:

And the little kids rode in the other:

Every year before the parade is a free pancake breakfast for alums.  We got filled up on pancakes, cider and sausage before heading out to find a spot to watch the parade.

Henry and Molly, with her goofy cheesy grin.  Crazy girl.

The parade was so much fun this year.  Last year the only word I’d use to describe the parade would have been STRESSFUL.  Molly was a crazy toddler who had no interest in sitting and watching anything.  We spent the whole time chasing her through crowds of people.  This year was SO much better.  The kids even watched a bit of the parade from the comforts of the strollers.

The kids loved the bands, the floats and the firetrucks…but mostly they loved the candy.  And the beads.

And the yoga float.  Who knew?  We were watching with amusement as a float came by with a woman sitting in a flower meditating and several other women doing yoga.  Then we looked over at Molly who had inched her way out into the street and was doing her very best to copy every move the yoga women were making.  And she was pretty good!  She took herself very seriously…until she realized she had an audience.  Then she hammed it up.  And then her brother realized that we thought she was pretty funny and tried to steal some of her attention for himself.  We captured a glimpse of this moment on video…

The kids loved watching the parade.  I loved the time to hang out and catch up with Abbey.  We didn’t go to the football game…the big reason most people go to Homecoming weekend!  But we left in time to listen to it on the radio.  A football game with Molly didn’t sound like the best use of our money!  We are headed back to Mizzou this weekend to see the Oklahoma State/Mizzou game.  We’re pumped and ready for a good game!

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one more labor day post

I’m SOOOO behind in blogging it’s not even funny.  Before I move on to more recent things, I don’t want to miss the end of Grandpa Lane’s birthday weekend.  It was such a special weekend, and the final day was spent together at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

It happened to be the Japanese Festival at the Gardens that weekend, but we spent the majority of the time in the Children’s Garden with these two.

Grandpa Lane stayed back with us and humored Molly while she plopped fake fruits and vegetables in his lap in the farmer’s market.

I love this picture of my big boy and me.  I love that he is completely obsessed with wearing his Missouri Tigers hat everywhere he goes.  The other day we heard him moving around in his room at 6:30am (too early in my opinion) and when he emerged he was wearing his jammies, cowboy boots, his Tigers hat, and holding a rifle (fake, of course).  Not what I was expecting to see early in the morning but I love the kid’s creativity!

After the gardens we went over to Joanie’s Pizza in Soulard.  Grandpa Lane got some great pictures with his great-grandkids while we sat on the patio in the perfect fall weather.

And I had to include this picture of my sweet little girl.  She’s always doing this goofy scrunched up face grin when we take pictures and this one shows off her adorable little face.  But you can see the devilish look in her eyes.  That’s my Molly.

That was Labor Day weekend. It was great.  The end.

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Over Labor Day weekend, we had Travis’ grandpa’s 85th birthday party at our house.  The whole family gathered here…Cameron and Cristina came from California, Georgann and Keith came from Memphis, Cori came from Columbia, Jeff and Julie came up from Mena, and Lane came over from KC…and we had a blast celebrating Lane’s 85 years.  We greeted Lane with a great big sign made especially for him by Owen.

The whole family had wracked our brains to figure out the perfect gift for Grandpa Lane.  What do you get the man who has everything he needs and wants?  We came up with the idea to make him a book listing 85 things we love about Grandpa Lane.  Everyone in the family contributed to the list and shared favorite family pictures from over the years, and Travis and I compiled it into a book.  We were so excited to give it to Lane and his reaction didn’t disappoint!  Here’s a video of the moment he opened his present:

We all sat on the back patio for over an hour and enjoyed seeing him read through every page.  It was a precious time and one that will be cherished for a long time.

I peeked over his shoulder so you can see a glimpse of what the inside of the book looked like.

This afternoon proved to be the perfect time to get some family pictures.  First…Lane with his grandchildren:  Travis, Cori, and Cameron.

Next…Lane with his kids, Georgann and Jeff.

Four generations:  Lane, Jeff, Travis, and Owen.

I love this precious picture of the two Lanes:  Grandpa Lane and Owen Lane.

Later on that afternoon Georgann and Cristina entertained Molly with art projects…

…and then Molly joined the boys in playing yard games.  I couldn’t resist putting in this sweet picture of Trav and Moo.

Later that evening it was time for the birthday feast!  We were celebrating not only Lane’s 85th birthday but Jeff and Julie’s 35th wedding anniversary!!  I knew I had to make the meal extra special.  And how better to make the meal special than with, what else, but another banner for the lovebirds (made especially for them by Owen and Molly with their marvelous paint stamping skills)!

And no celebration is complete without a cake.  I put my newly found love of cake-making to work and made an 85 cake for Lane.  I’ll tell ya…getting those circles out of the 8 without breaking the cake was tricky.

Lane was sweet to let Owen help blow out his candles.  The little guy was pretty excited to help out.  Here’s a video of the candle-blowing:

And then…because I’m so clever…the 85 became a 35 and Jeff and Julie had their very own anniversary cake!

Birthday day was a success.  It was great to have the family together.  Seeing Lane have so much fun was worth so much.  But the fun wasn’t over.  Labor Day Monday took us to the Botanical Gardens.  More on that in the next post…

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The day before Owen started school, Travis took a random day off to have one last day of family fun.  The weather took a break from being suffocatingly hot and we piled in the mini and headed to the zoo.  We got there just barely before 9am so we could get into the stingray and shark petting pool while it was still free.  The kids think this is really cool, and Owen was brave enough to put his hand in the water and touch one.  Molly wanted nothing to do with it.  The memorable moment came when the stingray chose to give Travis a little salt water shower!

The fantastic 70ish degree weather brought all the animals out to play.  I’ve never seen the chimps out like they were this day.   I counted 9 out at one time!  We even got to see them swinging on their ropes and having a snack.

The chimps weren’t the only ones having fun.  The orangutangs were hilarious.  One of them put on a show for us and got dressed in a poncho.  Another impressed us with his strength as he swung through the trees.  And a third just snuggled up close to the glass so we could get a look at his face.

Wild Cat Country didn’t disappoint either.  The leopards normally stay hidden but not on this day!  The leopard was pacing at the very edge of his cage about 3 feet from where we were standing.  We were able to see what an absolutely beautiful animal he is.

During a snack break, I snapped some pictures of my favorite people on earth.

Owen’s been obsessed with taking pictures lately.  Normally he gets very eraseable pictures of crotches or the floor, but I think this one’s a keeper.

Before we left the zoo we had to see the elephants.  They weren’t doing much but the hippos sure were!  I’ve never seen the hippos doing anything but laying in the water, but today one of them was swimming around.  It was so cool.  We were fascinated.

This was a perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

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After our great visit with Trav’s parents, we headed to Fayetteville to visit Beau and Stephanie.  Beau and Travis have been best friends since first grade and always pick right back up where they left off.  We don’t see them nearly enough and were really excited to spend some quality time with them on our way back to St. Louis.  They own a boat,  live only 20 minutes from a great lake, and the weather cooperated so we spent Sunday afternoon and evening out on the water.  Trav and I weren’t sure how the kids would feel about the boat but we were thrilled when they loved every second of it!  Beau was great and started out going slow so the kids could get used to it.  After a couple minutes Owen looked over at Beau and yelled, “FASTER!!”.  They both loved the boat and the snacks that Stephanie packed.  I think this picture is hilarious…Owen looks like he’s smoking a Veggie Straw and Molly’s talking with her mouth full, as usual. 

Beau has the patience of a saint and let both kids have their first experience tubing.  Travis took Owen out first.  He was a little apprehensive at the start but got the hang of it and loved it!  In fact, he even took another turn after Molly was done.

And then it was Molly’s turn.  She had a good time but had no desire to do it again.  When she got back into the boat she told me the water got in her eyes and face and she needed to wear a mask.  She even specified that she’d like it to be a Nemo mask.  Silly girl.

Not only did Beau show crazy amounts of patience with tubing, he also let both kids drive the boat!  He controlled the speed but they completely took control of steering.  Owen was a big fan of spinning the boat in circles…so much so that his turn ended because we were all getting dizzy. 

The tubing was probably Owen’s favorite part, but Molly’s favorite part by far was swimming in the lake.  When we were in the water, she kept saying, “Leave me alone.  I swim away from you.”  Not the most polite thing to say (we’re working on that) but it gives you an idea of the girl’s independence.  She loves to swim and has become a little fish since we started her on the vest/floaties combo.  It opens up a whole new world of swimming freedom for me.  We spent lots of time just like this in the water:

We had talked with Owen about how you go to the bathroom when you’re on the lake (well…#1 at least).  He thought this was pretty cool and eventually decided it was time to try it.  We’d been having a snack in the boat when he announced that he had to pee.  Travis was preparing to jump into the water with him when Owen dropped his swim trunks and started peeing off the side of the boat!  He didn’t really grasp it when we said that if you have to pee you can do it in the water…he literally just stood on the boat and peed into the water!  I’m sure this picture will embarrass him someday but I think it’s hysterical.

We were sad to see the day end.  We had so much fun and cannot wait to do it again!  Thanks Beau and Steph for showing us such a great time and being absolutely fabulous hosts! 

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