Friday, July 18, 2014


Sometimes this is my view after I exit the shower.

Harmoniously using an ipad together.  Quickly followed by howls and tears, but, you know how that goes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Grand VBS Reveal

This year marks three that I have worked alongside a friend to create the atmosphere and decor for our church's VBS.  It's a huge job that starts in the spring as we brainstorm and plan and order oodles of materials.  Last year we transformed CCC into a castle... this year's task was to create a jungle safari.

Here's what we created.

 A tiki hut...
 ...jungle canopy...

 ... the friendliest little snake...
... lagoon and bridge entrance ...

 ... butterfly covered vines ...

 ... an inviting jungle space for parents to wait ...
 ... the stage backdrop ...

 ... sprinkle with animal print as often as possible ...
 ... and finally, a safari tent to walk through ...

Lakin is finally old enough to attend VBS.  She's loving her week.  It's also making her an emotional wreck.  But all the bedtime tears are worth the late night adventures.  Right?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kansas City Visit

I took the kids for a much needed visit to see my parents a couple weekends ago.  The drive to KC from Rochester is just about 6.5 hours.  I will say that our drive there will go down in history as the worst drive ever with the kids.  At one point Lakin pulled the cords out of the DVD player (judge me hard) and both children were wailing because Nemo was off... followed by someone, who shall remain nameless, opening her the car door and a very frazzled mother having to pull over on the side of the interstate to close and lock all vehicle exits.  So it was terrible behavior from the little people and sub par parenting from the adult.  Our nutritious meal at McDonald's for lunch covered a multitude of sins.

But we made it.

When we visit my parents we do a lot of book reading - or should I say my parents do a lot of book reading.  Which is awesome.  There's usually some baking, movie watching and trips around the greater KC area to keep the littles entertained.  This trip certainly didn't disappoint.

 My mom reading to the Queen.  When we arrived to my parents house, there were special surprises left all over for the kids to discover.  Ugly purple unicorns, tiny race cars, paper crowns; the kids were delighted with each new discovery.

 My dad treated Lakin and Ben to some donuts from Dunkin'.  They thought this was Ah. Mazing.

 A very serious thumb of approval for fried dough in the morning.

 Saturday morning we took the kids to the Line Creek kids railroad for a $0.50 ride on the train.  When we arrived Ben was out of his mind excited.  He kept cheering, "Choo Choo, Choo Choo," over and over.

 But upon getting on the train, his enthusiasm waned and he struggled to enjoy the ride.  There was some weeping from Ben, but I made him face his fears and he rode the train crying and clinging to me the whole way.  

 We took the kids to Penguin Park.  I loved this place as a kid and it's much nicer than the original days where the Penguin had a perma-pee smell.
 Because anything she can do, he can do too.

 Look at that angry face!  Ben is less than pleased to be photographed these days.  Get used to it, dude.

 When in Kansas City, one must always hit up Chick-Fil-A.  Lakin had a taste of my sweet tea and was in heaven.

 There was lots of blanket sharing and unrequited snuggles...

 Sunday we hit up the KC Zoo.  The new Polar Bear exhibit was pretty impressive.  The polar bear would push off the glass and swim right next to his audience.  Almost like he was putting on a show.

 Lakin refused to take a photo with me.  Gotta love the almost 4 year old attitude.
 Picnic lunches are always better on Grandma's lap.
 Ben was ready to share a cold drink with the penguin.  If only the glass hadn't separated these two friends.
 A very tired (and cranky) Lakin rests her weary body on the carousel.  
 The penguins were the kids' favorite animals.  They also performed amazing underwater feats for our viewing pleasure.

 Monday I hit the road with Bonnie and headed to Columbia, MO.  Oh, how I miss this town and it's people.  It felt so good to drive through the familiar streets and remember the glorious college years we spent there. We visited Polly in her new home and Carly drove in from St. Louis.  It was the BEST treat ever to be with these dear friends.

 The kittens wait for the dough and watch the pizza masters do their thang.

 This photo is so special to me.  Bonnie and Asher, Adelyn, Reece, Lakin, Peyton, Carly, Ben, Me, Polly, Tyler and baby Campbell.  The reproductive potential of this group is quite astounding.  This is the product of 4 years!
 The car ride back to Kansas City was SILENT.  Good thing, because Bonnie and I needed to drink our iced caramel lattes and eat our Kadi's baked goods in peace.
 The last morning we were home we hit up Barnes & Noble and Ben played with the trains until I carried him out kicking and screaming.  No really.
Lakin made Grandma continue to work for it by reading a million books together on tiny benches in the children's section.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for putting up with our chaos!  It was so good to be home and to see so many people we miss.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Preschool Playgroup

We wrapped up our first and only year of Preschool Playgroup.  The group was comprised of five  little girls and we'd take turns hosting the group each Monday.  We worked our way through the alphabet and came up with a few learning activities for each week, as well as let the girls play together.  The bonds that were built are so precious.

Three of our five little girls are moving in the next week.  Which I guess is a natural part of this whole residency gig.  But Lakin already misses the Monday morning meetings and soon will miss a few of these cute faces as they relocated to Columbus, Seattle and Philadelphia.

For our final meetings we threw a tea party.  The girls dressed fancy and ate cookies and drank real tea.  What a treasure it was to teach and love these sweet little beauties!