Friday, November 3, 2017

Corn Maze

We did Shyrock's Corn Maze on an unseasonably warm day (hence the t-shirts and shorts).

I was going to say that we only walked around in circles in the lower right quadrant, but I do remember going along the bottom of Missouri and ending up in the tiger.

Here's that open space for the tiger:

Sam diligently punching the questions at the check-points. They were really hard this year! (All related to Mizzou sports, and I don't know if we got any right of the 4 checkpoints we managed to find.)

There was mud:

and of course the kids found it:

James may or may not have fallen in. At least he was wearing appropriate shoes.

Me and Leah in the "activity barn."

One of the activities was the big corn pit (which seems like it would be very uncomfortable to me!)

There were also several rope swings and a big, two-story slide.

I got some cute pictures of Leah in her overalls in the pumpkin patch.

These two were not nearly as willing to pose for a photo opportunity:

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Well, the Buffaloes have had a fun-filled Halloween. James ended up going as Mario:

And I impressed all of the teachers and none of the kids in the preschool class by bringing this treat for the party (I signed up for fruit/vegetable).

James had maintained for weeks and weeks that he wanted to be the video game character Ness, however - a costume that looks a whole lot like just a kid:

And Amelie wanted to be Thea, a pokemon trainer in Nina Village in Pokemon, who as best as I could figure looks something like this:

So we spent a lot of time Sunday night putting together costumes of basically just clothes and I was convinced that everyone would think they were just trick-or-treating without costumes.

James did wear the Ness costume to school one day (they had two days of parties for the kids who go Mon/Wed/Fri and the kids who go Tues/Thurs, believe it or not).

Leah wore the same pumpkin onesie that Amelie wore her 1st Halloween.

And the orange skirt my friend Liz made for us! By the way, look who's pulling up on the couch! Get out!

We carved pumpkins. The kids were pretty much in charge of their own pumpkins. I cut the tops off, then they did 90% of the cleaning out and 100% of the drawing of the design on with a marker. Sam let them cut as much as they could cut with the little cutter tool. Maybe we'll brave a real knife next year. Amelie's is on the left and is a vampire cat, inspired by the Bunnicula book she just had to read for school, and James's is on the right. I'm especially impressed with the cat scratch on one side - creative!

Here's Amelie! The other major part of her costume was her pokemon belt which held her pokeball, but you can't really see it in this picture. She says Thea would use a staff and mask during battles - I have no idea about anything related to Pokemon, so I'm just taking her word for it.

Leah looks just thrilled to be a part of this bunch, huh? 

Since our neighborhood is super-awesome for trick-or-treating, we had some friends come over to check it out. They were Thor and Valkyrie, and they walked around the loop with Sam and the big kids while I stayed home with Leah and passed out candy. 

I didn't get many pictures of Amelie, but I did take a blurry, low-light video of her describing Halloween for me, since I stayed home: 

And finally, not exactly Halloween, but we went out to grown-up dinner and dessert on Sunday for my 35th birthday. Thanks to the Buffaloes for kiddo- and baby-wrangling! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

I have a lot to get caught up on with the blog! My goodness, things have been busy.

In the meantime, here's a fun fall photo. Never mind that it was 87 degrees this past weekend :)
Amelie is 7, James is 5 and Leah is 7 months old.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Birthday Party

So we didn't celebrate James's 5th birthday on his actual birthday because my co-worker was getting married, and there was the rehearsal dinner and then the ceremony, and Nana Jana couldn't come on the next day, so we thought no big deal to move it to the next weekend. NEVER AGAIN. The week before his birthday, he got chocolate cupcakes and presents out at the Buffaloes. Then we had leftover chocolate cupcakes for dessert in the nights leading up to his birthday. The morning of the 15th, James picked out his breakfast. He really wanted mini-muffins. His verdict after 8 was that they weren't as good as the ones some kid brought to summer school: 

Then James had rice crispy treats at Ready Set Learn and his classmates sung him "Happy Birthday." That night at the rehearsal, there were cupcakes and a candle especially for him. Then the next day of course, there was wedding cake. 

The next day was Sunday and they announced his birthday at church, and then James continued to milk the birthday celebration(s) all week long. He got birthday money in the mail and had a bonanza at Toys R Us. Finally, we had a small birthday party at the park just around from our house with his cousins and our neighbors. Sam made a cookie cake: 

It was hot! I bought out the last of the water balloons and various water-squirting toys on very deep discount at Target for the kids to play with, plus some Halloween stuff for favors, and James got even more presents. 

The balloons even magically lasted over a week at the house.

His favorite thing to do is play video games:

Thursday, September 28, 2017


I think I mentioned before that we have our first thumb-sucker. I tried really hard to get her to take a pacifier. I tried 3 different kinds/shapes doing all sorts of things they said on the internet might work. I could have maybe bought some more kinds to try, but after all the bottles we went through I was a little burnt out.

I looked through my camera and actually don't have that many photos showing Leah sucking her thumb, even though I think it's kind of sweet when she finds her thumb, so I took this one on purpose:

Just a little blurry:

And just a little suspicious:

One thing that is nice is that she never loses it in the car seat or crib, so I'm not groping around in the dark trying to find something to soothe her.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Amelie's playing coach-pitch softball. I wanted her to play this summer with James, but it's worked out well with her playing in the Fall. The weather is much better than it was for the summer season, that's for sure.

I made a video of her getting a hit (and batting in a run) at her last game (there's 1 more left in the season). I forgot to turn the camera sideways, though! Sorry about that! (In my defense, I was holding Leah and trying to poke the phone camera part through the chain link fence.)

The pictures didn't come with baseball cards showing her height/weight/position (remember those?) maybe because they just rotate them through all of the positions at this level. Amelie's favorite is 2nd base.

James enjoys watching the games and playing with the other younger sibs.

I like the "good game" ritual afterward.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Doctor Visits

Tuesday was very, very busy! It was the big move-in day at the new shelter, plus curriculum night at Amelie's school, plus I'd scheduled James and Leah's well-child checks forever ago for that evening, since our doctor's office does evening appointments one day a week, but you have to book them way out in advance (before the grand move-in had been rescheduled or we'd gotten notice about curriculum night).

Anyway, Sam took Amelie to Ridgeway to learn about Individually Guided Education, and I took James and Leah to the doctor. I'll ask Sam if he took any pictures to make his own post! Ha!

James went first and everyone was very impressed with his spelling and drawing abilities :)

The doctor gave him the pen to test him copying some shapes for her and writing his name (right there on the exam table paper), but then she left the pen in the room while we were waiting on shots.

Vital statistics: 39.2 pounds (39th percentile); 3 feet, 5 inches tall (17th percentile)

He was so disappointed that he didn't weigh 40 pounds, since we said he could move to the booster seat if Dr. Swofford said he could at the appointment. I'm hoping that this spurs him to eat a better supper! Anyway, he'll go back with Leah at her 1-year appointment so he can get his kindergarten shots, and we said we'd weigh again then and he'll probably be able to.

Things James can do right now:
  • Dress himself
  • Do a summersault
  • Stand & hop on one foot & kick a ball & hit a baseball 
  • Draw a person with many details
  • Write his first and last name
  • Sound out some 3-letter consonant-vowel-consonant words
  • Stay dry all night
  • I don't know how high he can count - I'm pretty sure it's well up over 20*
  • Knows our address, the first & last names of his parents & siblings & we've been practicing our phone number
  • Still hanging on to some baby speech sounds, but uses many complex sentences and can carry on a conversation and tell a story intelligible to strangers.
Link to his 4-year checkup for comparison: *Okay, so when I looked at last year's doctor visit, he counted to 25, so I'm assuming he can still do that! Haha!

Next it was Leah's turn. The nurse took our picture (also pre-shots):

Vital statistics: 14 pounds, 11 ounces (19th percentile); 2 feet, 1 inch long (12th percentile), head circumference: 42.5 cm (53rd percentile)

Things Leah can do right now:
  • Sitting up some (not super stable) 
  • Army crawling! (I thought this came after sitting)
  • Using a palmer and sometimes a pincer grasp (mostly to eat)
  • Babbling lots of "Dadadada"
  • Has doubled her birth weight and is trying new foods
  • Definitely prefers familiar people and has some stranger danger (this seems early to me, too)
  • Likes to bang her spoon on the table and splash in the bath
  • I hadn't noticed if she's passing things from one hand to the other - I think so, but I need to pay attention and make sure - she does grab things with each hand and bring them to her mouth
Here's a link to her 4-month checkup for comparison: