alma mater

Well, I'm not making any trifle...

I did make a banana pudding in it once...kind of. I layered my banana pudding and vanilla wafers all beautifully in the trifle bowl then read on the recipe "bake in the oven for..." So I had to dump the whole durn thing in an oven proof bowl and it wasn't so beautiful after that. I'm not against trifle. I just haven't made any. And I am pretty sure I registered for this (it was a wedding gift), so I know I intended to make trifle one day at least. But for now it is our treasure bowl. I had to find something to do with all of the things Olivia comes home with from our walks. And since this is my favorite time of year (also the time of year we were married in and when our first baby was born), I don't mind looking at all of these treasures as we sit down to every meal.
Now I am in the mood for some banana pudding...

"Watch and learn, girls. Watch and learn"

Caleb Farley - Dog Whisperer. It's all in the using of the dog brush as a sort of shield.

He slowly loses his students to the camera.

Breakfast for two

Found it!

In the basket of blocks...of course.

One more reason

As if she needed anymore. I mean, Ms. Jackie and Mr. Warren already got meerkats over the summer while we were gone (one of O's favs). Now, she is giving out Flav-O-ice. Olivia l.o.v.e.s Ms. Jackie. She loves Mr. Warren too, but Ms. Jackie had the snacks tonight. And she was giving out jewelry! Olivia scored a great, green bangle that she has offered to share with me until she is old enough to wear it.

What I love about Jackie and Warren is that even after a long day at work, they never act like they are in a hurry when our kids are out. They are always willing to talk as long as the kids show interest - even if it is only a "hi" or a wave. I've seen Jackie enjoy many a quiet moment by herself, reading a catalog on her patio. I know she enjoys the wind down time. But she lets Olivia come over (with her stuffed tiger which thankfully did not scare away the meerkats) and call the shots for a while, while I finish supper and Mike chats with Warren (and Joseph moans because he has four gigantic molars taking over the back of his mouth). We didn't need any more reasons to love our neighbors, but tonight we found some anyway.

You be the judge

Which kid is more energetic?

The Prairie

We took about a mile and a half walk around the reserve.

This is part of the wildflower garden. Sorry about the glare in a lot of these pictures. It was a perfect, cloudy but bright day for pictures, but I was always taking them right into the brightness it seems.

That is a pond!

Prairie Friends

The Woitas were surrogates for the weekend and they hauled their chicklets out to Prairie Day.

Prairie Day

Let the fall festivals begin!! Maybe I am easy to please. Maybe I am a goob (no comment, Jeremy). Either way, fall festivals make me so happy. The Shaw Nature Reserve has a Prairie Day every two years and this was our first time going. It was very Little House on the Prairie-ish - tons of hands on activities for the kids. Below Olivia is grinding coffee. This guy (with the fabulous handle bar mustache - the only kind of mustache, by the way, that I think does not make a guy look shifty) and his wife also owned sheep and she was exhibiting the whole sheering to yarn process. They had big vats of boiling water with pokeberries or golden rod or walnut shells in them dying the yarn. We bought a $2 loop of pokeberry dyed, wool yarn. Who knows what we will do with it.

The kids got to collect wooden nickels at any of the booths where they asked questions or touched something like a turtle shell or skunk pelt or arrow head. Then they could trade in their nickels for various items. Olivia bought a ring of tree identification tags for 10 nickels. It is very cool and I am sad to say that I currently cannot find it. She was playing with it in the backyard with some friends yesterday and...

Here are the "Herps." It's a python.

This is actually at an interactive area on the other side of the reserve from the festival. This area is worth the drive out there if you have kids.

The Glow

I am not sure how many balloons there were. After they are all up, a horn sounds about every five minutes and they all blow their fire into the balloons. (I know, "blow their fire" is probably not what they call it - but I already gave you the tutorial, you can't expect me to know everything about all of it.) It is really a beautiful sight. That multi-color in the front right was probably my favorite.

The glow was last night. Sometime today they launched all the balloons, but we had other plans (see subsequent posts). Apparently their is a contest to follow the big Energizer Bunny balloon and the first balloon to drop an object where the bunny lands wins a prize. Or, you are just thankful that you don't get wrapped up in some phone lines or run out of hot air over Lake St. Louis and forget about the prize. It is great to see them floating across the city - we saw some of that last year.

Blow Up

The annual St. Louis balloon glow. This was our second time going and you can't live in St. Louis and not go at least once. Here is a progressive tutorial in case you have your own hot air balloon.

Skill Set

A new impressive skill for the grandparents: all we did was give him the basket of blocks - he took them to the chair and made the "towee." Are you see a pattern? Most his words in in "ee" these days.

Beach Withdrawal

He's been carrying around his pail and "shovee" ever since we got back.

Action Shots

These aren't great shots - photography-wise, but I love what they represent. These girls are stair step 1,2,3 - all about to turn another year older - and one of them wasn't even born yet when we moved here. I have seen every one of them learn to crawl and walk and now they run together. And Joseph - just happy to be here. Could careless about all these girls - he is just enjoying the Garden - really, he was eating compost and rearranging rock paths.

The irony of this shot is that Olivia is actually in the lead. Miss Mosy.

Back in the groove

I am kind of surprised that we have been back three weeks and have only just now made it to the Botanical Garden. It seems like we go through phases where we are there 2 and 3 times a week. Sometimes I feel like it is just an extension of our backyard...and my what a good gardner I am. I wish. Olivia, much to Joseph's annoyance, appointed herself life guard of the fountain.

When we left for the summer, Joseph was still content to ride through the Garden. No more.

Apparently word got out

Olivia and I filled up the bird feeder this morning. And this was only a small crowd compaired to what showed up for supper.

Coming down

...from the maple syrup sugar high.
"Give me another pancake and nobody gets hurt."

Safety First


Here is Fred launching Malachi (I am 99% sure it is Malachi), who (Malachi) announced before he lept from the platform onto the blob, "I can't swim." I beg to differ. I stopped the video too soon, otherwise you would see him doing the freestyle like Michael Phelps back to the dock.

The Blob

So, you jump off the platform to launch the person on the end - then you crawl over to the end and get launched. That's Fred doing the launching and based on the suit I am pretty sure that is Andrew being launched.

I think this is Mark Peck and based on the fact that you can see both a hand and a foot from the launcher that means they probably went off the back - which means it was either Glen or Larry.

The smallest Blobber - Ella. This kid has no fear.

Water sporting Crossroads style

Our church had their annual fall retreat this past weekend, only we missed most of it due to pediatric illness. We went out for the day on Saturday, hoping tha tthe fresh air would do better for the colds than being cooped up at home. We think it worked, though Joseph is still struggling a bit. Could be the 10 mosquitos that attacked his head - that kid is an insect magnet! Obviously this is Mike. The midgets are Olivia in the front and Timothy Schumaker who made a run on the boat at the last minute. The Pollacks are in the next picture - can you believe those paddle boats hold six!?

The Mitchell's

"Mary and Mary" as Olivia calls them. He'll have the same picture of us I suppose.

She is not doing what it looks like she is doing. I am not saying she did not do it at another time. She just isn't doing it here. Lest you think the Crossroadians play it safe with their water sporting - stay tuned for another post tomorrow of The Blob.