Category Archives: L

4 years ago

and this year…


First Grade

L started first grade this year and leading up to the first day I was a mess. I held it together and JT, J and I went to drop her off on the first day. She was a PRO. No tears, no fits. She just got ready and went right in to her desk. Every day since has been a breeze. It’s like she was meant to do this. I guess I’m in amazement because I was never good at school. I hated going and I never did the work. She loves the work and loves getting up to go. Hah but I must remember that this is first grade we are talking about, not high school.

The family on the first day. I must mention that I had strep at the time and didn’t realize it, so I was really sick in this picture.

GeGe stopped by for the annual first day photo.

J and L – they’re are growing up WAY too fast

And the first grader…

I’m so proud of her and I’m really loving her school this year. The teacher is awesome and I just love the principal and the school – so things are good.

Chicago Day 2 – The conclusion

We were only there for one night. We definitely need to stay longer next time. We would get a city pass and do a whole lot more… in fact I already have a list made of what to go back and do.

  • The Willis Tower
  • Aquarium
  • Field Museum
  • Speedboat Tour

You get the idea. All the touristy things. Hopefully next time my mom will be able to go with us. L really wants to take her to see the American Girl store, isn’t that sweet?!

Back to our story… after the AG store JT mentioned that we should run the packages back to our car. I said “NAH, let’s just keep going.” Mistake. By the time we made it to the Lego store that AG bag was so heavy it was cutting into my hand. Plus the two days of walking was catching up with J. Poor guy couldn’t keep up. So I had him on my back and the AG bag plus it was warmer this day. Next time he will be older but we should have put him in the stroller that we’d brought but it was back at the car. Yeah every once in a while JT is right.

We walked up to the river and explained to the kids how they make the river green every year for St. Patrick’s Day. They loved that.

Off to the Lego store, which I know where it is… It just always takes me a while to find it. We actually walked past it once. While we were in the AG store he asked a minimum of 30 times when it was his turn, when were we going to the Lego store…. AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! He was driving us nuts. Once we finally made it there he was all smiles. First guy we saw was this guy… he loves this guy.

L stayed at the Lego table almost the entire time. She loved playing there.

J walked around with either JT or myself deciding what he wanted to purchase. I took his picture with all of his favorite lego creations

He did find some things he wanted. A spongebob set and of course a few Star Wars sets. He would not put the Star Wars sets down either. He had a death grip on them while walking around.

I’m not sure why but this is my favorite one, he just looks so sweet next to R2-D2

We were finally able to pull L away from her table to take some pics of her too.

Legos purchased we went back to the hotel and packed up the room and the car. Kept the car in the garage and headed to Millennium Park. Had to see the Bean before we left. Everyone needs a bean picture if you visit Chicago.

Before we crossed the street into the Park the kids saw this cow. So they rushed over for me to take a picture. Normal children would stand next to the cow, my children decided to “milk” the cow.

Finally weirdness aside we made it into the park and saw…

The Bean

Bean pictures…

After bean pictures we decided to get a couple more of the family.

Last cab ride, back to the hotel to retrieve our car. Time to go home.

A little sad to be leaving we all would have liked to stay one more day and do some other fun things, maybe another time.

Goodbye Chicago

or so we thought. We got about 10 minutes outside downtown Chicago on highway 55 when we came to a dead stop. 2 hours we crawled on 55. Ugh. It was miserable. The ride home was fine. Poor kids were exhausted and slept for almost 2 1/2 hours on the way home.

Someone had a great time…

On the way home we were going to stop in Springfield and let the kids run around Lincoln’s home but by the time we were out of traffic and headed that way… it was closed. Oh well. We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel (yum) we always stop at one when we travel by car.

The kids played checkers while JT snoozed a little before getting back in the car for the final miles towards home.

Finally the arch was welcoming us back home.

It was a fantastic mini vacation.

Chicago Day 2 – American Girl

It was a really bad night’s sleep. You would think that we would have slept well, JT and I each had a double bed to ourselves and the kids slept together on a pullout sofa, but JT and I did NOT sleep well at all.

The kids woke up and opened the curtains right away to let in all that nice bright sun. They enjoyed sitting on the air conditioner looking outside at everyone walking to work.

It was a big day. It was American Girl store day!!!! We all got ready and headed down to eat our free breakfast. I forgot that we got 2 $10 gift cards for breakfast when we checked in. That was really nice we only had to pay $5 for breakfast. After that we headed up to get L’s dolls, we had a lunch reservation at 11:00 am and we were going to walk around a little. First stop… Starbucks. 🙂 There was one 10 steps from our hotel. Love that. After my morning coffee run we walked back to the Disney store. There was someone special the kids wanted to buy a present for. We were 15 minutes early for opening so we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful day.

The kids watching cartoons waiting for mommy and daddy to finish getting ready

J made himself at home while waiting

A pic of our hotel

Sitting out side the Disney store waiting for store open.

She’s holding a naked Samantha, we were going to admit her to the hospital at the AG store. I was holding Molly. After the Disney store gifts had been purchased we headed down to the AG store to look around before our reservation.

You walk in and it takes your breath away. L was so excited. She knew which doll she wanted to purchase so she kept trying to pick her up but we told her to be patient, let’s check everything out first, have lunch and then she could shop. She was busting at the seams. She had saved all of her birthday money (it’s what she asked for this year) and we were treating her to a new doll for her belated bday gift.

The store when you walk in

So we explored. Found the doll hospital, talked to a nurse about Samantha and decided that she might not need to be admitted, instead just cleaned up so we made her an appointment in the salon.

Soon after it was time for lunch. My mom had a special gift at the table for each kiddo. They were really excited. The cafe is beautiful. Very cheery with a great view all the way around the restaurant. The meal was okay. Next time I will probably just order one of the kids dishes.

Opening her gift

It’s a mini Kaya and J received a new Iron Man toy

They brought out appetizers and our drinks, Molly was at the table with us in her special high chair. Also at the table there was a cute box with slips of paper they were conversation starters. So cute. L loved answering some of the questions.

Miss Samantha’s appointment was done at the salon so JT ran to pick her up (such a good daddy) and she joined us for lunch.

Here’s the restaurant

L with both her dolls

They sang Happy Birthday to her, which was so sweet. The desserts were so good.

Lunch was definitely worth the money. It’s a little girly, I think JT and J were at their limit but it was worth it for for L.

After lunch she was off and running. At one point I looked back at JT who was bringing up the rear and he gave me a look like geez I can barely keep up. So funny.

I loved the historical characters section. The displays were awesome and she loved walking around looking at everything.

Off to pick up Kit, her next doll

picking out her mini dolls, she only needs to add Addy to her mini collection and she’ll have all of them

With all of her purchases before we left

She had a blast and as we walked out she was talking about her next visit. I was so happy for her. Up next Chicago Day 2 – The rest…

Chicago Day 1

For L’s birthday we promised her a trip to Chicago so she could visit the American Girl store. Not to leave J out we told him we’d take him to the Lego store. Needless to say they were super psyched.

JT and I have been to Chicago many many times separately and then a couple times together. Our first time there together was January 1998. We were dating back then. Next was our honeymoon, it was a layover stop for us. On the day of our return flight we woke up in a Chicago hotel near the airport to a blizzard and canceled flights to STL. We took a cab to the bus station then we had to walk with our luggage, in the snow, in sandals to the ATM so we could purchase two bus tickets we then proceeded to take a bus home. Worst trip ever!!! The next trip would be in 2006, JT planned a trip there with friends for my 30th birthday, kid free trip. We had a lot of fun.

We love Chicago. It’s expensive though so we don’t visit as often as we’d like. We usually drive, we’ve flown a couple times but next time we plan on taking the train because that would be fun. We drove this trip, not too bad.

The kids packed up in the car and ready to go… L had all of her dolls ready to go. BTW the tables we bought a couple of years ago are the best purchase we ever made. Love those things for traveling.

The kids love to scream “goodbye arch” as we leave

JT and I love to play the license plate game, I found this one at Target a couple years ago

The kids were really excited to go and JT and I were in money saving mode (we’re saving for Disney later this year). Do as much as we could for as little money as possible. Not easy.We arrived on Thursday, May 27th. Our hotel was awesome. We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton it’s a block off of Michigan Ave. Awesome hotel, plus they had an American Girl package. L would get checked in with her doll, register to win another doll, get an A.G. bed and fresh baked cookies for bedtime. It was worth every penny. Plus they were playing the Molly movie in our hotel room non-stop. She loved it. After we checked in and relaxed a bit we headed out to grab some lunch. We were starving. When we visited in 2006 we ate at Giordano’s, it happened to be down the street a couple blocks from where we were staying so we decided to eat there. Our kids love pizza so we knew they would like it too. Super yummy. When we sat down poor L knocked over her water all over my shirt and shorts. It was bad. But she was so upset so I acted like it was no big deal. I didn’t want to upset her more. I was wet and it was cold downtown (more on that in a second).

The kids waiting to be called to our table at Giordano’s

After lunch we walked back to the hotel because I had to change my clothes. 🙂 Wet and cold were not a good thing plus I don’t have an incontinence problem, I didn’t feel like walking around looking like I had wet my pants. Back to the hotel I changed into my capris and put J into a pair of pants plus grabbed their sweaters. Got love the cool breeze on Michigan Ave. After the wardrobe change we caught a cab to Navy Pier. We thought the kids would like to ride the Ferris Wheel and explore the Pier.

First cab ride for the kids

At this point I finally got my camera out and stopped taking pictures with my phone 🙂 On the Ferris Wheel

Awesome, awesome views of the city and water.

Kids on the pier…

After the Pier we caught another cab to Michigan Ave., we thought we would walk the mile and head back towards the hotel. Museums were out because they are super pricey for 4. So this was entertaining enough for them.

We looked in the AG store windows, visited the Hershey store, went in the Disney store (they closed ours here) and let the kids buy stuff and just went in a couple other stores before heading back to the hotel to play with the kids new toys.

Finally after resting and playing again in the hotel we went out to eat at Weber Grill. Love this restaurant, it’s so good. The kids were tired though because we had a late reservation so to keep them happy we let them play with my iPhone and JT’s iPod Touch. Remember when crayons and paper kept kids busy.

After we ate we were off to bed. So tired and it was almost 10:00 (late for the kids).

Dance Recital 2010

This last weekend (saturday) my two kiddos had their dance recital. We were so proud of them. They did fantastic. They had a routine to Follow the Yellow Brick Road and you will see their costumes….

I present Dorothy and the Tin Man (taken with my iPhone)

Rest taken with my D70 – Here’s a picture of them sitting on the stage earlier in the day during rehearsals (my babies are in the front row, middle)

Finally on stage, L was so fantastic. She was always ahead of the rest and right on cue. J just watched her to see what he should be doing next.

Bravo!! Bravo!! Bravo!! They did fantastic!!!

She’s a Kindergarten Graduate

Oh how bittersweet to watch your baby girl walk down the aisle in a cap and gown because next year she is going to first grade. Big girl school. All day school. It brought tears to my eyes.

We treated her to special things all day long. She got a manicure and a pedicure, first ever, from her GeGe and I curled her hair. Her dress was specially made by her GeGe and she was so excited to wear her dress. She was all set as we headed to the school.

They paraded in one by one and stood together on the steps, what a sight to see. So sweet. Some of them will be moving on to different schools next year and we will miss them. After a prayer and a few songs they lined up and approached the microphone one at a time so they could tell us their names and what they wanted to be when they grow up.

L was the best. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased but she may have some stage qualities. She walked right up to that microphone and owned it. My name is L…….. T……. and when I grow up I want to be…. (insert small pause) an Animal Trainer. She shook her teachers hand and received her diploma. It was all over in a flash. I stood there with tears in my eyes so proud of her. When everyone was finished they gathered again in front where they sang the sweetest song, EVER. It was called First Grade, First Grade. That song made me lose it…. here are the words. It’s sung to New York New York tune.

Start spreading the news
We’re leaving today
We want to be a part of it
First Grade, First Grade

We’ve worked very hard
We’re ready to go
We’re gonna be a part of it
First Grade, First Grade

We know our ABC’s and our 1,2,3’s so well
We’ve worked at sounding out words and stories to tell

Just asked us to rhyme
We’ll say tens and pens
We’ve learned to share and get along with all our friends

So now we made it there
We’ll make it anywhere
We’re on our way
First Grade, First Grade

I’m the mom of a First grader. Time flew by. Anyway after the song was finished they were back up the aisle to take off the gowns and hats and we had a reception in the gym. We didn’t stay too long because we had cake and beer waiting at home to celebrate. It was one of those sweet moments that you never forget. Now onto the pictures….

Getting her manicure and pedicure

J waiting for his big sister

Awww here she comes… my big girl

Check out that smile.

The whole class

Giving her speech. Love that the microphone is in the middle of her face 😦

Diploma time

Walking away a first grader

One last picture of her class, I’m gonna miss some of these guys

With her flowers, tassle and diploma

At the reception with Uncle T-Bone and Cousin Steph

With Unca Na and Aunt Carrie

With GeGe and J

Our family

and finally her awesome teachers. We’re going to miss them too.

Camp Wyman

There is a kindergarten tradition at L’s school. The week before school ends they head out to Eureka, MO and tromp through the woods exploring Camp Wyman. We were really looking forward to going with L. JT took the day off so we’re really super psyched. I had the backpack packed and I probably overdid it but it’s fine. I’m an over packer, it’s just who I am. Plus we were going in the WOODS. I’m not a woods fan. There are ticks in the woods and I’m not a fan of ticks either. Here’s just half of what I packed (for one day)

Also in preparation, we had been watching the weather for over a week to see if it was going to rain. Because here in the Lou we are currently in a Monsoon season. It has been raining non-stop, so we were very happy about the weather report showing no rain for Friday. Yeah.

Woke on Friday morning, guess what?! It was raining and it didn’t look like it was going to be moving out until after our trip was over.  Awesome. Thank you sucky weather people. I could do your job. Anyway, I threw a couple of books and coloring books into the backpack and off we went.

We got to school, received our instructions and boarded the bus. Short trip later and we were there. It was still raining BTW. Luckily they put our group in this meeting room where it was warm and dry. Once we unloaded our lunches we were free to walk around. We were assigned to groups so we had to stay with our group, that way no one would get lost. The teacher put all the girls in one group, she’s so smart!!!

We walked to the frog pond where we were told to watch for water moccasins but we were also told we would find crawdads and tadpoles, turtles, fish, frogs…. ugh all that grossness. The girls got to the pond and we walked around, saw a snake and that was that. There was no dipping in their jars to catch something, none of that. They wanted to move on. So we did.

Walking to the pond

Hello Mr. Water Moccasin

After the frog pond we walked up this hill and two of the girls fell. It was so funny because they both started screaming and cried a little. So funny. They were all muddy and PISSED. Love it. So we head up this hill/trail and we think we are on our way to awesome exploring – NAH – we never found anything. One cool thing was this obstacle course where they had this huge platform and you would have to balance on it because it would teeter back and forth. That was their favorite part of the whole trip. Girls are awesome. I was totally in the right group. The whole time I was completely relaxed too. I wasn’t worried about L getting muddy or wet because really it was pouring. What did I think was going to happen?!?! She actually ended up being one of the cleanest girls on the trip. I couldn’t be more proud.

The ladies on the platform

I had made these camp bags for all 16 kids in the class and in those bags were a jar for catching “stuff”, a milk carton boat, a snack and a scavenger hunt. When we had had enough “walking around trying to find someplace interesting” we decided to walk back to our comfy meeting room (for lack of a better term). On our walk back we stopped at the creek and one of the mom’s got in the creek to float the girls boats. She was brave but really we were already soaked so what’s a wet shoe or two?!

Onward we marched. Right to another body of water… a larger pond perhaps. I don’t know. Looking for interesting things… NOTHING.

I finally put my foot down and said “Enough of this god forsaken rain, I’m done. In we go.” Hah!!! Yeah it was a group decision. Inside we went. Every single child changed out of their wet clothes and we sat down to eat some lunch and color some pictures. Thank god for that meeting room.

After lunch the kids all wanted to play outside and the rest of the groups were slowly coming back and that’s when the sun decided to come out. We had a lot of fun. There were turtle races, hunting in a creek for crawdads (which L held), pictures and just general playing. At one point they packed so many people on this little dock I thought for sure someone was headed in the water but we were lucky no one swam that day.

Our teachers are awesome!!

JT, L and I

The whole group

After all that fun it was time to head home. We were exhausted. There were quite a few kids asleep on the bus and a few adults. Including my baby…

and my other baby… hah!!

We really did have fun, sure we were wet, muddy, cold and tired but what a day full of memories. I’m really going to miss kindergarten. It’s been a great year.


April is a month of birthdays in this family. Not only do I have two aunts, a cousin, a cousin’s son and two friends but we also have L’s birthday and my birthday. So because I still try to use this blog to document our lives I will finally blog about my daughter’s birthday. I would blog about mine too but #1 there are no pictures because I didn’t do anything exciting on my birthday and #2 who cares!! I’m another year older… SO!!!

FYI – Even though I call myself a photographer these photos will not showcase those skills. I’m not in an editing mood. I’m in a documenting for posterity sake, mood. 🙂

Picture heavy post!!!!!

On Sunday, April 11th we had a party at the Painted Zebra for L and her cousins/friends. I made rainbow cupcakes and L picked out her Princess Tiana plates and other party accessories. It was really nice and low key. They painted little heart boxes and tooth fairy boxes. I think they had a lot of fun.

making cupcakes

the painted zebra party

Then that night we hung out with Uncle Na, Aunt Carrie (we can officially call her that now, more on that later) and GeGe. We had a small party in the backyard. Oh and sparkler candles… SUCK!!! Just an FYI 🙂

Her birthday was on a Monday so that meant we still had to do the school thing but she was able to bring something for snack that day. Plus JT and I were able to decorate her room and get everything perfect for when she came home. J decided at the last second too that he had to go get L a new hu-loop since she loves to hu-loop. Too cute.

J got a few gifts too, it’s a tradition in our family that the other kid gets a gift or two on the other one’s birthday.

For her birthday dinner she wanted Milk N Shakes (um that’s Steak N Shake to everyone else) so my mom came over and joined us for dinner and brought her presents over.

Whew!!! Lots and lots of pictures. Looking back though we had a great celebration for our baby big girl.

My Baby is 6!!!

L turned 6 yesterday and it was so bittersweet. You want them to grow and learn. But at the same time you get sad that they aren’t your babies anymore. She had a great weekend. Sunday we had a birthday party at The Painted Zebra with her girlfriends. It was quick. A lot quicker than I thought it would be.  I took a whole bunch of pictures because, well this is me we’re talking about 😉 but I’m not going to show those in this post. I want to show the fun pics I took while playing outside yesterday. I’ll show the party pictures in another post.

My beautiful baby girl. 6 years flew by. I’m not prepared for the next 6 to fly by. I love you L so very much, you definitely fill me with happiness and love everyday.