Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Plans Are Finally Set

I think I may need a vacation from planning a vacation. If you haven't followed our vacation plans you can read the previous posts here, here, and here.
Due to the uncertainty of Hurricane Gustav, I have decided not to attend my high school reunion in New Orleans. I'm very disappointed, but am hoping it will be rescheduled. Instead, we are heading to Gatlinburg, TN. We went to Gatlinburg last year and had a wonderful vacation. Since our plans were spur of the moment, we thought it would be best to go somewhere we knew, instead of planning a trip to a new destination on such short notice. We will pack and prepare things tomorrow and hit the road on Friday morning. Kyle is a year older so we are planning different activities than we did last year.
My parents are taking precautions and are evacuating the New Orleans area. They will be in Gatlinburg as well, so they will have the opportunity to visit with Kyle. Who knows...maybe even do a little babysitting??? Ha.Ha.
I guess, we weren't meant to go to the beach this year, but may plan to go next year...obviously, before hurricane season begins!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Brush With Art

Sunday morning we were off again for more fun family adventures. We started off at The Original Pancake House for breakfast. John and I aren't big breakfast eaters, but this was a nice treat. After breakfast, it was time for our weekly visit to a new park. The park of the week was Laumeier Sculpture Park. The park is very different from any other park we have visited in STL. The park is tremendous and we walked and walked and walked. Even Kyle was exhausted from the exercise, which doesn't happen very often. Obviously, the main attraction is sculputures, which were very "interesting". I have posted a few pictures of the sculptures for your viewing pleasure.
"Kyle, where is your eye?"
Kyle looks so small compared to the sculpture. Kyle hiding inside the cat.
A sample of the many many sculputres.

St. Louis Union Station

Saturday morning we went downtown to St. Louis Union Station. For those of you not from STL, Union Station is an old train station which has been converted to a shopping mall, restarants, and a hotel. There are really unique stores that you don't find in a typical mall...especially plenty of STL sports stores. There was a Cardinals baseball game that afternoon so we saw plenty of Cardinals and Braves fans. There is a really cool toy store, called Play and Learn, which was fun to tour around. John was on the hunt for a train set for Kyle's birthday, but didn't have any luck. We ate lunch there and walked around outside of Union Station to the old train on display and watched the goldfish. It was a rather warm morning so we didn't explore much of the downtown area. It was a fun way to spend the morning with my little family.
Kyle loved playing with the wheels.
Kyle says..."Bye, I'm out of here!!"

Plan B????

This isn't really it???
Now Tropical Storm Gustav, who is forecasted to be a hurricane soon, looks to be headed to the Gulf of Mexico. We are planning to arrive in Orange Beach, AL. on Labor Day, but maybe not! We are going to have a Plan B in the works just in case Gustav decides to ruin our beach vacation just like Fay did. Maybe we just aren't meant to go to the beach this year. We will have to wait and see what takes place.
Any ideas or suggestions for a fun family friendly vacation? We will be leaving from New Orleans.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Backyardigans Live

Saturday, October 11th, we are taking Kyle to see The Backyardigans Live at The Fox Theatre. This is one of his favorite shows to watch on television, so hopefully he will enjoy the live show just as much. I've been skeptical to take him to a show such as this, but figure it's time to take the plunge and give it a whirl. Kyle's 3rd Birthday is the week before, so this will be part of his birthday present. I'm sure this will be a fun family adventure.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mother Nature

Unfortunately, we can't compete with Mother Nature. It seems she had other plans for our family vacation. This morning, we decided to postpone our trip to the beach. It wouldn't be much fun to head to a beach destination when it is forecasted to rain, rain, rain. We will now leave next Thursday and head to New Orleans first for my reunion and then head to Orange Beach the following week. Hopefully, by then Fay will be a distant memory and nothing new will be brewing.
I spent the morning rearranging our schedule. The postive outcome is that Kyle's preschool evaluations will be complete by the time we leave next week. This is a huge weight off my shoulders. I'm sure Chloe is excited that her stay at the kennel has been put off for another week. Now, we have a free weekend. Looks like some fun family adventures will be in our near future.
Even my toes were all set and ready for vacation. I have never gotten a design painted on my toes, but thought it would be fun to do for a trip to the beach. I guess they will need to be repainted because I don't want to have the design on my toes for my reunion. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Testing Testing Testing

Kyle's evaluations with the local school district began this week. We are having all areas tested (speech, fine motor, sensory, pre-academic, gross motor, cognitive, and behavioral) to see which particular areas he will need assistance with once he starts his new preschool in October. We have a total of seven appointments over the next few weeks. Monday, he had a hearing and vision screening and did well with the test...he can see and hear!! We don't have any concerns in these areas, but the test was required. Tomorrow he has an appointment to have his fine motor and sensory skills tested. We will have a break for vacation and be back in full swing once we return. It is such a relief to have the process in motion and all the appointments scheduled. Wish My Little Munckin luck!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fay, Fay, Stay Away

Friday morning we leave for Orange Beach, AL. and now there is a chance that Tropical Storm Fay could take a turn and head back to the Gulf Coast region, possibly affecting the Orange Beach area. I will certainly be staying tuned to The Weather Channel for the latest developments. Fay needs to go away...she is just a complete nuisance!

Ready To Roll

Mommy got another new set of wheels. This time...a new stroller!! I'm very excited about this new purchase. Yes, I realize, I must get a life if this makes me so happy! This is the sixth stroller I have had...yep, six! The past two strollers have been umbrella strollers. These are great since they are lightweight and don't take up much room in the car. However, if I used an umbrella much longer, I would need to have back surgery. The handles are so low, I would need to bend down in order to push the stroller. Not to mention, my long legs would kick the wheels with each step. At the mall, this weekend, I up and decided I was "all done" with the stroller, so we set out on a hunt for a new one. I couldn't fathom being on a twelve day vacation with the umbrella stroller!
I'm hoping this new Joovy Kooper stroller will fit the bill. It is a little heavier and larger, but the pros outweigh the cons. It is the perfect height so I can stand up straight and push with ease. It has a basket underneath for storage and a double size canopy. The back wheels are set far enough out so I don't kick the wheels when walking. I LOVE the stroller so far!! Since, Kyle is older, I don't use a stroller as often as I have in the past, but when I want to use the stroller, it will be nice to have a comfortable one for me and also for Kyle.
For all you mommies, what is your favorite stroller?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Third Time's A Charm

How difficult can it be to get a toddler's haircut? You would think it wouldn't be all that hard. We planned to arrive at Snip It's Sunday morning when they opened at 11am so we wouldn't have a long wait. Better yet, we have a prepaid book so the haircut would already be paid for. We pull up and see a sign taped to the door, so automatically knew this wasn't a very good sign. The sign says they are closed until the beginning of September for remodeling. Strike One! Great, Kyle needs his haircut before Friday. We rememered another child friendly salon called Cool Cuts For Kids not too far down the road. We arrive there and they closed in February. Strike Two!! Well, by this time I'm determined to have success so we tried a new child friendly place not far from our house called Cookie Cutter's. Believe it or not, they were open and better yet, no wait!! This was a good thing, since it was past lunch and naptime for Kyle. Third times a charm!! We knew Kyle would love the place when we walked in because he had his choice of a fire truck, Cardinals car, and airplane to sit in. Of course, Kyle wanted the fire truck. He did great for the most part and loved ringing the bell on the truck. They have so much to occupy the children...slide, television, bubbles, cool cars/trucks to sit in, balloons and lolly pops. We will definitely bring Kyle back once our prepaid cuts are all used.
Kyle ringing the bell on his fire truck.
I thought it would be funny to get a picture of Kyle in the pink car. Daddy wasn't too happy and is even more upset this picture made it on the blog.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kyle The Builder

We are having quite a bit of street work done in our neighborhood. The past several weeks Kyle has had such fun watching all the dump trucks, bulldozers, diggers, and cement trucks drive through the streets. This morning, on a morning walk, we stopped to let Kyle "play" with the equipment. As you can see in the pictures he was so proud and happy to be up close to all the huge wheels. I also included a couple of other photos from our Sunday stroll.
Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Botanical Gardens

Thursday morning Kyle and I spent the morning at The Missouri Botancial Gardens. This was Kyle's first visit to the gardens and he really had a great time. We spent the majority of our time in The Children's Garden which has so many activities to keep any child occupied for hours. There is a playground, tree house, general store where the children can shop, sand box, water sprinklers, a cave and much more. Kyle was very active and wanted to explore everything. He sure kept his Mommy moving! One of his favorite activities was the music table, playing the xylophone. This was probably the only time he actually stopped moving the entire time we were there.
There is so much more to see and do that we need to plan a family outing to explore all that is offered. We really have had a wonderful, fun-filled summer.
On the move!!
Playing the xylophone at the music table. Kyle loved carrying, moving, and stacking the wood. Beautiful Sculptures at the Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Little Strawberry

Since Kyle started preschool last November he has been in the Lemon classroom for ages two - three year olds. Today, he "graduated" and is now in the Strawberry room. This classroom is for the three year olds, which will provide Kyle different activities to hopefully adjust him to real preschool in October. I like to celebrate all the little "milestones" that My Little Munchkin achieves. Have I mentioned lately how proud I am of Kyle..oh, yeah, just yesterday!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Munchkin Time

I know I've said it before, but I need to say it again...Kyle is just on his own little time frame with his developement, mainly his speech. He still is making great strides in the right direction. It's exciting to witness his progress, but sometimes I feel myself getting a little impatient. I realize their isn't much I can do, but to encourage him to speak, work with him, and provide him with all the services available to him, all of which I am doing. All the therapists that work with him, all six of them, are so impressed and proud of him, which in turn does make me feel proud of My Little Munchkin.
One cool thing he is learning is sign language. He knows many signs including...more, all done, cookie, open, book, fish, sleep, milk, and apple. I'm sure I am forgetting a few. He is learning the signs from mommy and daddy, his therapists, and the Signing Times DVD's. These are fun interactive videos with really upbeat music that Kyle enjoys dancing too. Believe me, I would much prefer to hear him speak the words, but I'm just so proud of what he does learn. He is really imitating a lot more as well, including sounds, actions, and a few words.
Speaking of dancing, Kyle loves to dance. Anytime he hears music, he starts moving. It's so adorable to watch. His favorite song to dance to is the Bob The Builder theme song. At times, I will turn on Bob the Builder just so we can dance. It's really fun!! I really want to record his dancing and post a little video on my blog for all to see.
It's beginning to hit me that we will soon be officially transitioning from The First Steps program and into the school district. I'm sure once we are back from vacation all the evalutions and testing will get underway. I'm nervous, but also very excited. I only hope he will transition to his new preschool setting the way he did to his current school. I'm sure he will because Kyle has a very "go with the flow" personality and attitude.
Enough rambling for one post. Hope everyone is enjoying their week!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend Family Fun - Part Two

Sunday morning we were off to have some more family fun. Where else would you find our little family, but at a local park? The park of the week is Suson Park. This park has so much to offer...lakes, animal farm, playground, and even fishing. Kyle had a good time with the animals. He saw ducks, horses, chickens, and cows. He even got the chance to watch how a cow is milked. His favorites were the ducks..aka., the quack quacks! He had so much fun running and exploring on the playground as well. It was a pretty morning just to enjoy being outdoors. As much as we enjoyed the park, I don't think we will be headed back. There are so many other wonderful parks which are closer to our house that we like much better.
I don't believe I posted about it, but last weekend we visited Castlewood State Park. It was a spur of the moment trip, so we will plan to head back to check out everything that is offered at this park. I don't believe we will have any weekend family fun adventures to share with you next weekend since we will need to concentrate on getting things prepared for our vacation. Who knows, we may have time to sneak one in at some point. We shall see. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Kyle with all of his new "quack quack" friends.

The brown duck was by far his favorite.

Kyle taking a peek at the animals!

Mommy decided to join in the fun!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Family Fun - Part One

Yesterday we went peach picking at Eckert's Orchard in Belleville, IL. It was a little bit of a drive, but it was totally worth it. We really had a great time! Kyle was so excited because we took a wagon ride to pick the peaches! He is fascinated by anything with wheels, so this was right up his alley! He sat on the wagon and watched the huge wheels go round and round! We were pleasantly surprised by how much Kyle enjoyed actually picking the peaches. We picked a total of ten pounds of peaches. I need to decide what yummy treats to make with all these peaches. If you happen to have any suggesstions I would love to hear them!
Kyle looking for the perfect peach!
I think I may have found one!
Oh, here it is...the perfect peach!
Delivering his perfect peach to the basket.
Examining all the peaches he picked.
Can you find Mommy and Kyle?
Eckert's has three locations in Illinois. There are many fun activities at each location...from picking your own strawberries, peaches, blackberries, apples, and pumpkins, kids play areas, barnyard petting corral, country store to purchase homegrown produce, and much much more. Each location has different activities at different times of year so check the Eckert's link for all the fun details. We will be heading back in September for the apple picking and also in October for all the fun Halloween activities they have to offer. In December their Christmas Tree Farm is open if you are interested in a live tree. Below is a picture of some of the Christmas Trees they have growing on the property.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two of our Weekend Family Fun. I hope everyone in the blog world had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 8, 2008

2008 Summer Olympics

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games began today. John and I are watching the opening ceremonies tonight. The Parade of Nations (204 nations) is beginning at the moment. I do enjoy watching this segment. Did you watch the ceremonies? My favorite events of the olympics are the gymnastics, swimming, and diving. I will be checking the schedule so I won't miss these events. What are your favorite games to watch?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Calling All Pet Owners

Just a little reminder to everyone who has a pet...please check them for ticks!! Chloe is almost 12 years old and has never had a tick before...that is until we discovered one on her last night! The tick didn't seem to bother her at all, but it sure wasn't pleasant to find and remove. During the night Chloe got sick and is still not feeling very well. I won't bore you with the gory details. Kyle and I did bring her to the vet this morning for an examination so hopefully she will be fully recovered in the next couple of days. She did come home with two different medications so once they kick in she should be on the road to recovery. According to the vet, her illness isn't related to the tick, but is probably a virus. It sure has been a fun day of washing bedding, sheets, towels, and carpet.
Chloe sure can be high maintenance, but I wouldn't trade her for the world!! She certainly is a very special part of our little family!
How can you not love this adorable little dog???

I forgot to take a picture of the actual tick that we found on Chloe, but this is a picture of it what it looked like. Luckily this is an American Dog tick and they don't carry Lyme disease.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saying Hello...

To All My Fans!

No Excuse

I have no excuse to have a dirty car. I purchased an auto spa package for my new car which includes a years worth of unlimited car washes...inside and out!! According to my husband, I am required to have it cleaned at least once a week. Sounds easy enough, right? We shall see how well I do. I'm thinking, I will go often, especially since Kyle enjoys playing with the train table in the waiting room!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just Chilling

Today was an exciting day! Well, for some it may not sound like a very fun, exciting day!! With the excessive heat warnings in the STL area, Kyle and I stayed at home and just chilled. It was actually really nice not to have anything planned! Usually, we have something on our agenda...I feel guilty if we don't have an activity planned for the day. We spent the morning playing and lounging in the playroom where it is really nice and cool!! I love it down there! This afternoon, was naptime for everyone, which made me even more tired. Poor John came home from work to a lazy, tired family, which I'm sure made him really happy! Especially, since he is in charge of dinner, which involves going outside to the the 111 heat index temperatures!
This morning, when I rounded the corner I was greeted by Kyle standing at the gate to his room, and it looked like he had been punched in the nose. Yes, he had a nose bleed. At least, he was happy about it all!! Mommy attempted to make it all better, but in the long run made it worse...I won't go into the details. Glad we had plans to stay in today...the last thing I would want is to get blood in my brand new car!

Our Beach Vacation

Saturday, August 2, 2008


What better way to spend a hot summer Saturday morning, than to go spelunking??? Yes, the three of us headed to the Meramec Caverns in Stanton, MO. This was a perfect way to spend a scorching hot day, since the cave is consistently at 60 degrees. We took an eighty minute guided tour through the caves. The Meramec Caverns was one of the hide-outs of Jesse James back in 1874 and is a very unique experience. The cave formations are really a sight to see, although the pictures below don't do it any justice.
There are many other activities close by...from camping, river boat ride, canoeing, and an area where children can "pan for gold". Maybe when the weather is a little cooler we will head back and participate in the other fun activities...except maybe the camping.
We certainly are having a fun summer exploring all the fun outings STL and the surrounding areas have to offer. Can't wait to find out what is next on our agenda!
Mommy and Kyle outside the cave
Kyle is all ready for his spelunking adventure with his miner's hat
Just lounging outside the cave