Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bonding

Abigail has really bonded with my family on this trip. It is so fun to watch her develop this deep love and affection for them. She shouts "grandma and grandpa"(which sounds likes mama and papa) and comes running into the room.  She blows kisses at bedtime and says "love you" to them.  She climbs right in their bed in the morning.  She adores Andrew, and if I'm too slow getting her out of bed in the morning, she will start calling for Andrew. They wrestle and tickle.   She loves Hannah and attacks her the minute she walks in the door.  She lists her cousins all of the time, and asks about Aunt Mer and Uncle David, Aunt Catherine and Uncle John (I wish I could describe how she pronounces Catherine). 

Joseph enjoyed some one-on-one time with Grandma and Grandapa, too. Grandpa brought home all kinds of supplies from his lab and did science experiments with Joseph before work in the morning.  6 am science experiments! These guys are hard core!  Grandma took Joseph swimming while Abigail and I stayed home to nap and rest; Grandma is great fun in the water and she also makes stops by the frozen custard stand, which Joseph didn't mind.

Both Andrew and Hannah started new jobs while we were here so they were gone all day everyday.  The kids made up for it by smothering them the minute they walk in the door at night--and all weekend long! Joseph has enjoyed playing Wii with Andrew and asking him a million questions--these guys have some serious wildlife chats!

We were here for the final farewell to Meridith and the cousins who moved to California. Our trips to Missouri will definitely not be the same without them here. The cousins have always been such a highlight of our time here.

It is sometimes hard to be so far from my family, and I regret that they don't have daily or weekly interactions. But, they sure love this far-away family and treasure our times together.

Science Center

We have made a couple trips to the St. Louis Science Center visit. Our first trip was on a Saturday--with Grandpa & Grandma, Aunt Hannah & Uncle Andrew, plus cousins Ben, Grace & Ally. We had so many people we had to take two cars. Aunt Catherine's work was doing an exhibit so the kids got to go through the Safety Street and see Aunt Catherine do her thing (she's good!) We also got tickets to a session in the Discovery Room which the kids loved!  Abigail also particularly loved the huge, moving dinosaur exhibit (it was more like a fascinated love of how much it scared her). We ended the day with an Omnimax show--"To the Artic"--about polar bears. 
Joseph and Ally in the hamster wheel

Since we didn't make it to everything, we made a second trip the next week.
Of course, we had to visit the Discovery room again.


I dressed Abigail and Joseph in their Cardinals outfits--they fit right in St. Louis!

Joseph playing the laser harp

Joseph made some friends in the architecture hall. They worked together to build this arch!
July 14 and 19, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Zoo traditions

It just isn't a visit to Grandma's and Grandpa's house without a trip to the St. Louis Zoo.  This year it has been so hot (over 100 degrees most days we've been here), that I wasn't sure we were going to make it, but bright and early Saturday morning we headed downtown to beat the heat.

First stop: touching the stingrays and sharks.
Ben, Joseph, Hannah, and Grandpa Bill all reaching into the water to touch the stingrays

Cousin Shaia at least put her hands in the water. Abigail was content to watch this year
  The Sea Lion Show!  I actually didn't make it to the show. I sat outside in the shade and had a cold drink while Aunt Catherine wrestled Abigail--and taught her a pretty good impression of a sea lion bark and Joseph soaked up fascinating sea lion facts. We were there early, but it was hot, and I'm just not quite living up to the Moore family intensity during this pregnancy!

Shaia and Abigail during the sea lion show



Abigail hitching a ride on Uncle Andrew's shoulders
 Riding the train was probably Abigail's favorite activity.  That night when I put her to bed, she talked to me about the trains and the snakes at the zoo. Apparently those were the parts she remembered. They got "wow" after she mentioned them.(This girl is a chatterbox!!!)

Ben, Andrew and Catherine on the train
Uncle David and Shaia on the carousel

Love this picture of Shaia and Joseph holding hands!

July 21, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fishing with Grandpa

Last week every day, Joseph asked "How many more days until Ben sleeps over?"  Joseph was very excited for the fishing trip and sleepover that he and Cousin Ben were going to have with Grandpa Bill.

Finally, Friday arrived. Grandpa took the boys fishing at Klondike Park. They caught over 20 fish, and wanted to keep going!

Joseph with a catch

Ben proud of his fish

After fishing, they stopped at Sno Biz for snowcones and then came home to eat their catch! Grandma promised to cook it if they would clean it.  After chopping off heads and getting fish anatomy lessons, the boys were less enthusiatic about actually eating the cooked fish. But they were still pretty proud of themselves--and had such a fun night. Exhausted and happy Joseph fell asleep at almost 10 pm!

July 20, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Miss you Daddy!


Before church on Sunday we decided to take this picture to send to Marc.  We miss him!  Just a few days ago, Joseph said, "We've gotten to do so many special things. What could we do for Dad that is special?"

Then, the next day, Joseph brought me a card he had written for Marc:  "Dear Dad, I hope you are not too lonely or jealous. I miss you. Love, Joseph"

I think Joseph is feeling a little bad for poor Marc back working while we play!

July 22, 2012

Pool Time

With the heat, we have spent a lot of time at the pool. We've tried out several different places and had lots of water fun (we've tried Aquaport, Blanchette, St. Peters city pool, and a local neighborhood pool). The pictures in this post are from our day at Aquaport water park with Grandma, Aunt Meridith, and the cousins.

On this trip, Abigail has really started loving the water. One day after swimming, the first thing she said on the phone to Marc that night was "I swimming" and was so proud of herself.  She also often wakes up in the morning or after a nap, asking to go to the pool. Very cute!


In addition to kicking, blowing bubbles, and dipping her head under, Abigail also loves the zero entry pools where women sit and chat. She walks up to them, plops down between them and starts making facial expressions like she is a part of the conversation. Hilarious!

Abigail having fun with Aunt Meridith who introduced Abigail to all of the spray features in the kiddie pool. Abigail has been begging for Aunt Meridith everyday since.

Joseph and I took a ride down the lazy river together.  When we first arrived at the water park--a bit before the cousins--I had to stay with Abigail, but he bravely tried the slides and lazy river all by himself (after reading all the rules, of course. Lately, Joseph always reads all the rules and instructions first and gives over zealous heed to any warnings!)

July 18, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fin Inn and more

Grandma Charlotte plans the best adventures. Every day, she has something for us to do. Joseph is in heaven. One of our first adventures was a Golden Eagle Ferry trip over to Grafton, Illinois. 



 First stop: lunch at the Fin Inn which is a great country style restaraunt with over 8000 gallons of aquariums--so you see the fish as you sit and eat.  Grandma is always so fun--she ordered frog legs just so we could all try them.  Joseph ordered the catfish--and loved it.  He also tried hush puppies for the first time--and he's a fan.  Please notice the fish faces Joseph is making in all of the photos.




Next stop: Alton, Illinois to visit the statue of the tallest person ever to live, Robert Wadlow

Joseph standing next to a mold of a special chair made for almost 9 foot Wadlow.
  July 17, 2012

Meet me at the Muny

One of my all time favorite St. Louis summertime activities is going to see an outdoor musical at The Muny.  I was thrilled this year to introduce Joseph to this tradition by taking him to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." He loves the music already--and we sing versions of "Joseph" to him all the time.



The night was a scorcher (106 as we headed over to the show, still 96 at intermission), but we had a wonderful time anyway!  We had a Chipotle burrito picnic beforehand, and then settled in to the watching the show with Aunt Catherine, Uncle Andrew, and Aunt Hannah (Grandma and Grandpa stayed home to put Abigail to bed). 


Joseph was entranced.  He told us he really liked it and wanted to do "this" when he got older.  His little legs bounced to the music, and I just wish I had a video of his face--wide eyed with wonder at it all.

July 24, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blogging Philosophy

Sometimes when I read blogs, I get a little depressed. I see other women who are doing interesting science and art projects with their kids, cooking gourmet meals, traveling to fascinating places, working in meaningful careers, and keeping everything beautiful in the meantime. I get a bit discouraged and feel like a lazy slacker who should be able to manage our time, money, and resources better--then I'd be able to do all those things that I see my friends and acquaintances (and random strangers in the blogosphere) doing.  As I expressed this to one of my sisters she said, "Anyone who reads your blogs would think you're really happy." 

This reminded me of a couple years ago in one of my classes when we were talking about a qualitative research methodology called narrative analysis in which you examine the stories that people tell. A famous narrative researcher, Riessman said the purpose is“to see how respondents in interviews impose order on the flow of experience to make sense of events and actions in their lives (Riessman, 1993, p. 2).  In other words, it is not as much about the actual experience, as how the person makes sense of it, or constructs the story.  I realized I do that with my blog--I construct the story the way I want it to be remembered in our family. When I write about family vacations, I highlight the fun, special, bonding moments that often are much more rare than the struggles throughout the trip.  But it is very effective in shaping the narrative of our family story. For example, when one of us looks back through our Maine trip blog posts from 2010, we remember all the wonderful parts of that trip.

I plan to do the same for our most recent vacation about which I am going to start posting.  But, for anyone, who has tendencies to get depressed while reading blogs--rest assured that you are not getting an unfiltered view of reality--indeed, you are getting the narrative I am choosing to create. And that narrative doesn't include the crying kids in the car, the mom yelling at the kids in the car, Marc's reference to the "misery index" of how bad things are getting on the trip, etc.  I light heartedly report about pit toilets and the sleepless nights in a tent. In reality, it wasn't that light hearted. I don't write about how by the end of the trip--and the arrival (two days early) at my parents' house, Marc and I almost didn't go on our planned get-away because we were so irritated with each other after our "family vacation."  But I'm not going to say all that in my blog posts... and I may delete the confession on this post before long!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love in Missouri

I am with the kids in Missouri, where Marc dropped us off following our family vacation to the wilds of Michigan.  I have lots to post about that, but for now, we're just enjoying being here at my parents' house. The kids are enjoying the toys, treats, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins....

I'm enjoying the air conditioning, Abigail sleeping 12 HOURS A NIGHT, and the unconditional love of my family. If I never finish my PhD, if I never buy a home, if my kids turn out ill mannered burdens on society,  if I gain 100 pounds with this pregnancy, even if I abandon my kids and husband to go be a surfer in Australia, my mother would still love me. Isn't that a great feeling?


  July 2012

Monday, July 02, 2012

Kindergarten

It seems just like yesterday I was dreading sending Joseph to kindergarten--so sad to have him gone from me all day, almost paralyzed in my grief.  And truthfully, I really never got used to it. But, the year has flown by and June 22 he had his last day of kindergarten. And what a year it has been. I'm so glad I didn't keep him home for my sake, because I believe his kindergarten year will be one of his life's treasured experiences. I couldn't have hoped for a more perfect year for him.

He had wonderful teachers- Miss Stegemann and Mrs. Grundy--and a class full of "friends."  Joseph loved the dancing and singing, the reading and playing. They celebrated holidays--ones that I'd heard of and ones that possibly were invented for kindergarten.  They had puppet shows and walking field trips to the local grocery store. They had bus field trips to the planetarium and zoo and more. They explored both inside and outside--working in the school garden, taking nature walks, and having field days. He learned lots about math--patterns and predictions, and loved reading about sharks with his friends. He was introduced to art and music classes, looked forward to PE and Spanish classes.  On the last day of school, each child was given a unique award.  Joseph won the "Great Helper" award.






















Kindergarten, 2011-2012