A Trip to KC: Day 1...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
We headed down to KC in mid-October for Scott's best friend from college's wedding!  We went down early so we could do some fun things with the kids.  Vera was a flower girl in the wedding so the whole gang went!  My mom came down with us too and then Scott's parents and my dad joined us later on in the day on Friday.  The kids were so excited to go on vacation and spend the night in the hotel!  My sweet friend Meghan from college (we traveled and student taught in Rome together among many other things) had her first sweet little girl and I knew I had to stop by to meet her and visit.  I sent the munchkins with Scott and my mom to a nearby park.  They had a blast while Meg and I had a chance to catch up quickly, see her adorable home and meet little C.  She was so sweet and I even got to hold her while she slept...melt.my.heart.  The visit came and went quickly as they always do but I was so glad we got to see each other.  And doesn't she look amazing for just having a baby not that long ago :)?!?!

Meg is a very talented teacher in the KC area so I of course asked her ahead of time some tips of things to do in KC with kids.  She recommended the children's museum.  It is an old school and Meg said if you overlook the old facade, its a real gem and it was!  IT was the right size for a few hours of a lot of fun.  They had some awesome exhibits that were a hit with everyone.

First stop was a rocket ship complete with keyboards so they blasted off to who knows where with Grandma, she has a great imagination...

Then we built a house with life-size Lincoln logs.  These were SO cool and made by a Girl Scout troop for a service project.  They should patent and sell them, we would totally buy them.  Solon was so sad someone else was playing with them as we were leaving, he wanted to go back and play with them again.  The adults equally enjoyed it.



Next up was the Vet office and Hospital baby nursery.  I about died from cuteness.  They had all the makings for both set-ups.  The kids stayed in this room the longest.  We cured sick animals and rocked and took care of lots of newborns.
 Dr. Vera was taking some calls at the desk...
We also hit up the other exhibits including making a ramp for golf balls, shooting little silk scarves around in this series of air tubes, played in bubbles and with our shadows...
...and of course made lots of one of a kind art with paints and a chalk wheel.


It was a super fun day and we capped off the morning with a trip to Steak N' Shake for lunch!  One of our favorites we don't have in central Iowa.  We headed back for naps and rest and to meet up with grandpa before getting ready for the rehearsal dinner.

Grandpa and Grandma took Solon to the T-Rex cafe for dinner.  What a special treat and he came home with a stuffed t-rex.  Vera was treated to pizza with Nana and Papa after she performed perfectly as a flower girl at the rehearsal and Scott and I enjoyed a kid-free nice hot meal reminiscing with fraternity brothers and their wives :).

Preschool Open House...

Monday, November 17, 2014
I remember the first time I walked into the preschool we chose (we chose it based on recommendations from friends!), it was as if I stepped back in time to my own childhood.  They had some of my favorite toys, I contained myself but I may have almost tried to play with the fisher price mixer that I had as a kid.  This year Solon has 29 kids in his class and 3 teachers.  Some may say that's a lot but I think it makes for a reasonable transition to next year in Kindergarten where he will have up to 25 kids in his class for 1 teacher and an occasional associate.

This year his class is focusing on pre-kindergarten skills including sequencing, number recognition, counting sorting, phonemic awareness (hearing letters, words parts and sounds) and phonics (sound to letter recognition).  He seems to really putting it all together and he loves school. 

I of course pulled the teachers aside and assured them that if his behavior didn't match their expectations to be sure to call us and we would make sure it would be corrected.  I have been there and done that in my own career.  Luckily or not so lucky? for me, he uses all of his good energy/vibes at school and lets it all go at home!  :)

He loves to be at school with Max (they are thick as thieves and sometimes their teachers get them confused ;).  They do have similar last names and are both blonde and inseparable.
I love to get a sneak peak into his life away from me.  I am soaking up this last year where he is only gone a half day and he gets 20 questions from mommy (after he is fed of course) on what they did in school.  I do get a decent report most days including who/what he played with and what was for snack ;).
And this little Sassy Pants prays every night that she can go to preschool when Solon is done.  She is on the list and will head there next year (sniff, sniff).  I doubt she will even wave goodbye as she dashes in on the first day.  She already has a list of things she wants to do when she arrives.
She was so excited she got to do the craft too!  She definitely picks up lots of info from big brother and is definitely learning by osmosis (or quite by accident) these days.  It's fun to see what they pick up when she points out a letter or responds correctly to a letter sound I was asking Solon.
We are so thankful for a perfect balance of play and learning.  We are so thankful for his teachers who put their heart and souls into our sweet kiddo!  And I am thankful it's only half day and that he never forgets to kiss and hug me goodbye!

More Cyclone Football...

Thursday, November 13, 2014
There are still a few games late in the season to be played and luckily I go for the company and not necessarily the football because well...it has been another growth year for the Cyclones aka lots of losses.  Solon has tried to find other teams to cheer for.  Just the other day the Cyclones were losing and he overhead the announcers say something about the opposing Sooners dominating, he was all of a sudden a Sooner fan.  I asked him why and he said they win.  Oh the plight we have given our children.  We didn't let him switch allegiances!

Before the cold weather hit we did enjoy a few games and one game our friends the Porter's got hillside seats too.  We moved to the hill when our kids no longer sat still and comfortably on my lap.
Emilie and I

Having fun with our hill seats...like I said I don't go for the football, there wasn't much to watch!

Vera got a hold of the camera...there was a lot of randomness when she was done but this was decent!

And this is Vera's smile these days.  I sure hope to cure this soon.

Solon likes the beginning pomp and circumstance, the run on to the field and then prefers to play his own game of football on the hill.

...and somehow my mom always thinks of crazy things like a popcorn fight for which my dad jumped on the bandwagon and made them awesome grandparents to the kids and their friends.  Grandma even bought an extra bowl of popcorn, she was crazy but they had a blast....
Again the Cyclones were losing bad at this point, don't worry we had lots of space around us (just look in the background) so no one near us went home with a kernel in their eye!

Basketball season is upon us and we are excited for a date night to a game this Friday.  It should be a sold out pre-season game.  Lots of excitement...hoping they will give us lots to cheer for but as we always say Loyal FOREVER true!  
Go State!

Life Lately in Pictures..

There are just some pictures I take daily that I don't want to forget but aren't from anything notable.  Just from our day to day but I found moments of total gratitude when I snap these photos so they worth capturing for later...
Their love for one another is strong.  They are best buds and Solon is a great loving big brother (95% of the time, they do get on each other at times ;).  Vera loves her brother, she would slumber party with him every night if we would let her but according to Solon, I need my beauty sleep Vera so you can't sleep with me.  Oh my!

Vera's new matching PJ's Nana made her for her birthday and of course Solon couldn't be left out...

This is a good representation of what our nights look like...a couple of books, being silly, recapping the day and snuggles, lots and lots of snuggles and giggles with a song and family prayer time too.  Bedtimes are a sweet routine of our day!

We have a fabulous neighborhood which I have shared about.  The kids love to play with all the kids and usually all find each other in someone's backyard til supper time while the moms chat under the warm sun.  I am bummed this is wrapping up due to the cooler temps.

 I asked Vera what her and her baby were doing and she and baby were according to Vera...Baby and I are watching movies on our ipads mom!   These are old phones that don't work so this was purely imaginative play...oy vey!

In the picture above,  Vera tucked Solon in and was putting on a special show for him complete with singing and dancing!

We started up tumbling again and Vera was so excited for her purple tutu and the new real gymnast one Grandma bought her.  They are both in classes at the same time on Thursdays and both absolutely love it!  They have learned so much, it is so fun to watch them while they are in class and peak into what they are like with mommy not around ;)!  Thankfully, they seem to be good listeners and very obedient outside of the home ;) ;)!

Solon has been super into his blocks and legos lately.  Building cities and airports and all sorts of other things which he insists we leave up and not knock over for days at a time which proves futile given he builds them in high traffic areas...you can imagine how it goes when Vera accidentally knocks them over.

This little guy sure has had lightbulbs go off this year and this teacher mom is just entranced with it all.  It is fun to see him blossom before our eyes and get our language and how things work together to communicate meaning.  He was so proud the day he could write all of our names.  Since then he has been practicing other simple CVC words and loves to have letter time as he dubbed it to practice his letter writing and phonemic awareness skills.  He is a competitive little guy so that works to his advantage at time and at others we have to learn to lose gracefully (oh he takes too much after me sometimes ;).

And this little one is pretty independent these days.  Choosing her own outfits in which there are sometimes compromises given where we are going and the temperature outside.  She is also very nurturing, in this picture she was helping me get my gloves on.  She didn't want me to be cold.  She is very motherly.  She is so sweet to her dollies and brother, always looking after him, offering him snacks etc.

So there is a bit of the everyday for you...we are busy this fall with tumbling, bible study and preschool.  Sprinkle in grocery shopping, homemaking, and trips to the gym along with that and we keep pretty busy.  Vera still naps in the afternoon and Solon still rests for about an hour each day (no more naps for him).  We still host small group and Solon now attends Awana (church school) on Wednesday nights.  We are in that stage where we have to really weigh our commitments...how are we there already!  It is a fun stage and the kids keep us laughing and  on our toes!

A trip to the Drive-In...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Okay let's all pretend it was JUST labor day!  We headed out to the drive-in with the Porter's to see the movie "Planes: Fire and Rescue".  We had visited last year to see the first Planes movie and it was so much fun.  The movie played Labor Day weekend and with crazy weather that weekend we ended up going Monday night.  Given it was a school night and a kids movie, there were only about 15 cars and we had front row seats to the movie - nice!  We brought a nice tailgate-style spread and ate while the kids played before switching into jammies to enjoy the movie.



As it would happen, my sister facetimed time just as the movie started.  After several text messages all weekend that she was sure they were not going to get engaged this weekend despite her previously thinking so, I knew something must be up.  I settled into the van and they shared the good news that they were engaged.  Of course I got all of the details best I could in the middle of nowhere at a drive-in movie.  So thankful for technology and being able to see them on their special night.  She was totally surprised but he had it all planned!  Their wedding will be August 1st, 2015 in downtown Minneapolis!  More details on that coming soon! Congrats to the future Mr. and Mrs. Swinton!

Another great and memorable drive-in movie was in the books, hoping to make it an annual tradition.  It is just so much fun!!!

A fall full of fun at the Orchard...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I know I have been absent from the blogosphere lately.  Our life has been full of all sorts of crazy things and so I hadn't even downloaded the nearly 600 photos I have taken from the last 2 months.  600 photos in 2 months people, that seems a bit overkill ;).  I have compiled my favorites from the apple orchard into one post.  We took several  trips out this fall and I can't believe the season has come and gone.  It even snowed a dusting here last night so the kids are in full on Christmas mode around here.   Enjoy these fall pictures...

Vera loved the orchard this year and could do everything independently.  I didn't pack a diaper bag and although we took a stroller, it wasn't really necessary!

Vera's favorite person these days is her brother.  She loved riding down the slide with him.  This is my current favorite of the two of them :).

They love to jump in, have their tootsies covered and shake the millions of kernels out of their clothes.  Per usual, a few traveled back home with us by mistake!

This is tougher then it looks, its a great leg workout -- especially when you are riding as a pair :).

My favorite fall food -- apple nachos...pretty much heaven on a plate BUT so rich, you need to share!

More sliding, this was a fan favorite and proves to be quite a work-out when traversing back up the hill!  Luckily this year both kids walked up themselves!

We tested out the corn maze this year...

...and my favorite fall activity is a good ol' hayride!  Excuse my while I swoon over my sweet daughter and one of my favorite (and nearly too small) outfits of hers.

My boys and that sky...

Every year my parents come and love to go to the orchard with us.  It has become quite the tradition.  My dad loves, loves, loves apples so we were all excited to pick our own!  It was actually a very warm day...Solon dressed the best in his shorts!
Grandpa and his helper...the funny thing was we had to walk a ways to pick so we had my dad carry along an apple picker but when we got there the trees were quite young and so you could hand pick, but since he carried that heavy picker, he used it.  He was tempted to pass it off on the way back to unsuspecting future pickers but he carried it the whole way!  Thanks dad for taking one for the team...next year we will ask the height of the trees.  Lesson learned!

And our taste testers.  We just got a little bag but ate a bunch while picking :).


My mom and dad's favorite might be the cornpool.  It gets silly and full of laughs before we are done...did I mention my dad has REALLY ticklish feet ;).

The gals watching the boys...

And it was the first weekend for pumpkin picking that weekend so of course we had to get some pummpkins.  We got little ones and 2 perfect sized ones for the kids.  Luckily, we had lots of helping hands to carry all our goods!

Of course we can never go to the orchard without a few of our favorite apple cider doughnuts for the road.  Solon even got to go once for a preschool field trip so Vera and mommy got to have a little date the two of us out there while Solon was on his tour.

It was another great season at the orchard.  A special thanks to my Aunt Chris for her generous Christmas gift of season tickets so we could enjoy the orchard so much!  More fall fun coming soon :).



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