Back!

Well, it has been a while.  Tonight as I sit here writing I think back to the last time I posted on the blog.  It was December, shortly after their first birthday.  It was cold outside.  Now we have experienced everything from snow and ice storms to severe spring (and summer weather).  We have gone from extremely cold weather with windchills below zero to extremely hot weather with heat indices above one hundred ten.  Just when we thought we could not take it any more we get tonight where you step outside and it feels like October. 

Well enough about the weather.  I guess I am just using as a point that it has been a long time since I have written on this blog.  Now onto more interesting things–the kids.

Not much has happened since the last time I updated everyone.  Okay, that is not true.  We had Daniel walking shortly after his birthday.  Max started walking shortly after the first of the year.  Abby caught on in February and there has been no stopping her since then.  We celebrated Christmas in cold, snowy Iowa,  Hunted for Easter eggs in Wichita, and in general get out mor frequently than we used to.  We have had several visits from grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends.  The kids really love the park.  Any park.  Especially if there is a slide.

Don’t even try to get a word in edge-wise with them around.  Our vocabulary has expanded exponentially, and there seems to be no off switch.  They all like to play with keys, and not just any old plastic play keys.  They have to be real keys, and not just any set of spare keys.  They have to be the keys to the van.  Those are the only keys that go “beep, beep.”  They attempt to say just about any word they hear us say now.  Pancake, hotdog, thank you, stop it, and Daniel, no are all part of the lexicon now. 

Do not get in their way if it is nine on a weekday morning.  They have to watch Sesame Street.  It is a distinct possibility that we will have a Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby for Halloween this year.  I guess the rabid fanaticism can be attributed to the fact that it is really the only show they get to watch regularly.

This summer while cousin Nicholas and cousin Meghan came to visit over the Fourth of July we all went to Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park and met some farm animals.  Abby loved the goats, even the one who tried to eat her shirt.  Everybody had a good time getting up close with the dairy cow.  It was good, cheap fun for evereybody. 

I better go for now.  I hope to write again soon.  In the meantime, here are some pictures of the last 8 or 9 months.

Playing in the sandobox.

Playing in the sandobox.

At Grandma and Grandpa Poorman's.

At Grandma and Grandpa Poorman's.

Daniel and Paul

Daniel and Paul

Grandma P, Abby, and Daniel

Grandma P, Abby, and Daniel

Splish! Splash!

Splish! Splash!

Loves to have her picture taken.

Loves to have her picture taken.

Brothers on a cold winter day.

Brothers on a cold winter day.

All right.  That’s it for now.  More to come.  Soon, hopefully.

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Birthday (cup)cake!

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A Few More Pictures

Daniel

Daniel

Max

Max

Grandma Pam and Daniel

Grandma Pam and Daniel

Enjoying the weather.

Enjoying the weather.

Uncle Steve and Cousin Nicholas.

Uncle Steve and Cousin Nicholas.

Now they are one year old.

Now they are one year old.

Who is chasing me?

Who is chasing me?

Max contemplates the meaning of life and his jeans.

Max contemplates the meaning of life and his jeans.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a few weeks, I know.  The older they get the busier Julie and I become, it seems.  Well, after their stint as M & M’s for Halloween they rested up for a big visit from their cousins Meghan and Nicholas all the way from Detroit. 

Grandma and Grandpa and the grandkidsOnce the Marlettes arrived in Kansas the chaos began.  First it was a trip to the Kansas City Zoo.  It was the first trip to the zoo for our guys and Cousin Audrey.  It was a nice day for November in Kansas City.  Not too cool.  A little bit of sunshine.  The kangaroos were lounging on a hillside.  The tiger was snoozing in its log.  The zoo turned out to be more of a success than the KU football game against Nebraska the next day.  We made Uncle Justin and Aunt Rachel’s house home base for the next few days since the Marlettes were staying with them during this trip.  They had their pack ‘n’ plays for naps and sleeping at night.  We brought them home after the festivities of the day ended and they went back to sleep for us.  Basically, they had everything but the kitchen sink there.  Thank goodness for the mini van.  They played and squealed and decided they really like macaroni and cheese.  We ventured out one night to the Salty Iguana and they all had various bites of Mexican food.  It was fun, but exhausting.  We will miss the Marlettes—until we see them again.

A week or so later we packed up the troop transport—with everything but the kitchen sink again—and headed down to Wichita for Thanksgiving.  We arrived Wednesday night and immediately put the kids to bed.  Thanksgiving morning we were short one high chair.  Another one was purchased so there would be no fighting amongst the rabble rousers when dinner time came.  The box that it came in turned out to be a big hit later on in the weekend.  We played and tried some turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing. For the most part Thanksgiving food was accepted. 

Max and Daniel playingThe weather was beautiful so we went out back and played in the grass one afternoon.  Max and Daniel chased each other and the beach ball.  Abby crawled through the grass and decided that the late November grass was a little too prickly for her.  I think she also decided she was ready for her nap. 

We visited Great Grandma Whitaker a couple of times.  Daniel was fascinated with anything breakable and really fascinated with her walker.  He seemed to like the brakes and the handles.

Grandpa reads them a storyLater on the box that the high chair came in was discovered.  It brought hours of pulling up, pounding on, crawling in entertainment.  Abby loved to just stand next to it and pound on it.  Max and Daniel learned to play peek-a-boo with Grandpa Whitaker while they stood in it.  All in all, it was a very nice Thanksgiving.  Looking forward to many more. 

Abby stands and smilesSo now we look ahead to birthdays this week, the Christmas season after that.  It is hard to believe it has been a year.  Max loves to clap, pull up and cruise the furniture.  He literally squeals with delight.  Sometimes you can catch Abby swaying or dancing to the music.  If I ask her where my nose is she will point to it most of the time.  Sometimes she will even touch her nose to mine.  Max and Daniel were chasing each other around one of the big toys in the living room last night and having a blast.  Daniel lets out his hearty laugh if you tickle him or turn him upside down.  He also can incite riotous hand waving from all of them with his excited noises and his own hand waving.  We think this might be the first attempts to wave the wheat.  It is hard to believe that this time last year they were less than a day old.

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Halloween

Well, they had their first Halloween.  They did very well even with a late start.  It was not as scary as you might think.  It was definitely not as scary as what happened in broad daylight earlier in the day.
Here is where the scariness starts.  Julie and I had planned on test driving a mini van that Saturday. We figured it would make it that much easier to take the kids to a few houses for Trick or Treating.  Plus we saw one online that we liked.  Julie and I went to the dealership and looked around a little.  We saw several mini vans that we liked, but the one we saw online was no longer there. 

There was one that did have all of the features we wanted for a reasonable price.  A little more than the one we saw online and a different color, but it had what we wanted—and probably a little more.  We were told they do not do extended test drives any more.  I guess that meant we had to seriously consider if we wanted to buy something.  We took it to the gym for a test drive (the kids were at home with Grandma), and then brought it back an hour and a half later.  We liked it.  We wanted it.  Then we had to haggle.  We haggled over APR’s and the trade-in value of my Honda Civic.  It seemed to take all afternoon.  We had to go home and get cleaned up.  While we were cleaning up at home, the dealer was cleaning and prepping the van for us.  We had to go back and sign, sign, and sign some more.  We ended up getting the APR we wanted and the trade-in value we wanted.  Nightmare over.  On to the Halloween fun.

After frantically cleaning the kids after their dinner and then getting them into their costumes it was time to take them out.  It was already after seven and probably a late start for a five year old, let alone three eleven month olds.  But we went to three houses.  We saw neighbors Paul and Patti, Mike and Jen and their sons Tommy the bag worm and Alex the leopard.  We ended the night at an old family friend’s house.  There was no shortage of arms to hold them.  I think they made some new friends too.  Unfortunately, in my earlier haste I did not have the camera on me at that point.  By that time it was after 8:30 and past their witching hour by more than an hour on a normal night.  We found Max’s limit to be about 8:45.  He had enough by that time and wanted his PJ’s and bottle.  Luckily, home was just a few minutes away. 

Hope their dreams were not too haunted.  I imagine they will look forward to the day that they actually get to have some candy.

A couple of little devils

A couple of little devils

The blue one is getting away!

The blue one is getting away!

The sinister Mr. Daniel

The sinister Mr. Daniel

Paul and Daniel

Paul and Daniel

Where's my candy?

Where's my candy?

Look at those good looking M&M's.

Look at those good looking M&M's.

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The Great Pumpkin–Patch

Well, fall is here and we finally got the kids out to enjoy out.  Last weekend Abby, Max, and Daniel joined their cousin, Audrey, at Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch.  That was a mouthful. 

The weather was what you would expect for October in the Midwest.  The sun fought with the clouds for the early part of the day.  The clouds were a little grayer and a little heavier.  When the clouds parted, though, the brilliant sun bathed everything in fall gold. 

Anyway, after getting everybody used to their shoes and socks, which they have not worn much of until recently, we were off to Carolyn’s Pumpkin Patch adjacent to the Liberty Corn Maze.

While we unpacked the stroller and diaper bags we realized that we forgot the baby carrier.  That meant somebody was going to have to be carried at all times.  Abby had fallen asleep on the ride over, so Max took his turn first.  It did not take long for him to become a sack of potatoes.  In fact half way through our first destination inside the pumpkin patch, the petting farm, I had to set him down.  He did get to see goats, chickens, calves, pigs, and donkeys up close.  There was also something there called a turken which I can only imagine was a cross between a turkey and a chicken.

Next it was on to the pig races.  Uncle Lester led the raucous crowd in how to cheer the on the pigs.  Abby was awake and enjoyed this part the most.  She was hopping up and down on my lap.  Max looked very into it.  We watched three pig races.  I am still not sure that they were not the same pigs, but with different names each time.  It was fun and I think the kids just liked being outside for that long extended period of time.

We took some time to sit and eat Cheerios at the picnic tables and let the sun shine on us.  Finally, we all took a ride on the hay wagons (minus the hay) out to the actual pumpkin patch.  I think Daniel was a little nervous about the bumpy ride.  He was riding with Aunt Rachel when he reached out to grab onto my shoulder.  I thought it was pretty cute. 

They were acting pretty tired on the way home and especially when we got home.  They ate their bottle and their bowls of mush and went up to bed.  While the rest of us watched football and ate our pizza we could hear them partying up in nursery.  I doubt they will remember this outing but I like to think that they will.

The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos

The fight over toys begins.

The fight over toys begins.

 

Aunt Rachel and Daniel at the pig races.

Aunt Rachel and Daniel at the pig races.

Uncle Justin and Cousin Audrey cheer those pigs on.

Uncle Justin and Cousin Audrey cheer those pigs on.

Julie and Max cheer for their pig.

Julie and Max cheer for their pig.

Abby is really getting into it!

Abby is really getting into it!

Happy Halloween, pardner.

Happy Halloween, pardner.

Family Photo

Family Photo

Max enjoys the ride.

Max enjoys the ride.

Daniel is not sure about this hay ride thing.

Daniel is not sure about this hay ride thing.

Autumn in a Midwest corn field.

Autumn in a Midwest corn field.

We made it to the pumpkin patch.

We made it to the pumpkin patch.

Goodnight (maybe) from Daniel.

Goodnight (maybe) from Daniel.

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Late summer

Here is a short video of their personalities, expressions, and actions.  Enjoy.

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