Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween weekend

Hello again! I know I promised cowboys, jedis, and bumblebees, but first, here's an Aggie and an Aggie look-alike. We gave Katie an adorable little Texas A and M t-shirt (don't worry: she already has plenty of Mizzou gear) as a belated birthday present. She really enjoyed wearing it over her sweater and looking like Uncle John.

Here's the crew, motley as it is! Do cowboys always smile like that?

Out on the streets. Uncle John, who reportedly only went trick-or-treating once as a child, was an enthusiastic guide through the streets of Gower. That's Caleb in the stroller there, with John holding out his bucket. One wonders who received the majority of those proceeds?

After pounding the pavement for what seemed like hours, we stopped at the fire station, which had free hot dogs, lemonade, and a hay bale maze. Looks like the Jedi has just seen the Force.

Ryan and his bumblebee.

The next day, we returned again to Gower to celebrate Caleb's first birthday. Caleb willingly gave up his animal adventures to sit on Papa's lap and accept our homage.

The theme this year was pirates. Joy typically makes three cakes: the main attraction (center), a side cake to ensure all the guests are fed (left), and the celebrant's cake (right), which the birthday boy gets all to himself.

According to tradition, the birthday kid gets to eat his cake sans fork. It took a little while for Caleb to get into it, but once he received some help from Daddy, he was more than willing to participate.

The Packers also played that Sunday. Here are Seth and Noah showing off their Green Bay pride.

Audrey and Katie at the swings. Katie adores her older cousin and Audrey takes good care of her.

When each grandchild turns one, Mom and Dad have a rocker handmade for them in a nearby Amish community. Caleb had long been eying his cousins' and sister's rockers; now he finally has his own.

What can we say?

John took this wonderful picture of Katie. It looks like a postcard for autumn.

Noah and I watching the festivities. (Seth was my official photographer while Caleb was opening presents.)

Kids playing in the leaves. If nobody recognizes the little girl on the left, that's because she wandered over to join our party; she even played football with us until her mom called her away.

How many kids are hidden under the leaves? 2? 12?

While we were up in Missouri, I had the privilege of taking care of four struggling kittens that had been born on Steph and Jeff's property. With Mom and Dad's help, we set them up a cozy little area in the backroom. I spent many an hour helping them eat, cleaning their faces, and watching them play. It was very therapeutic. Here are some photos of the wide-eyed little wonders.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We recently took a trip up to Missouri to visit my family. On the way, we stopped at Kathy and Aaron's (Kathy is John's cousin) in Dallas and spent some quality time with their two boys.

Here's Jake. He's five and a half and already (alas!) a Dallas Cowboys fan.

It was a little more difficult to get a still shot of Andrew. This was the best I could do. :-)

We arrived in the Kansas City area earlier than we expected, so we took the opportunity to surprise my darling Grandmother. She was very excited to see us--she even provided us with the opportunity to cut down her rosebushes!

When we finally arrived home, Mom and Dad had just gotten back from some function or another. They looked so good that we just had to take a picture.

The Thursday after we arrived, Mom, John, and I decided to take little Katie (our niece) to her preschool Halloween party. The opportunity of seeing cute little kids running around in costumes was just too good to pass up.

Here's John taking the ladybug to school. Though it doesn't look like it, they're having a good time.

Katie's little brother, Caleb, came along, as well. Enter the penguin and his Nana.

She's having a good time, I swear.

After we returned from trick-or-treating around various classrooms, the preschoolers sat down for some debriefing. The younger siblings of the preschooler, however, got to play.

And attempt feats of daring.

Several times.

But, things finally settled down and the little insects eventually reverted back into little children, complete with smiles.

Later that day, John and I went down to my sister's house to hang out with her, her sick husband, and her kids. We gave Noah his belated birthday present from us, Tyler and Jerilyn--a massive Stitch whom he immediately dressed up as a cowboy.

The present went over well (Stitch would later go trick or treating with us) and was a hit even with Noah's older brother.

Here's John with Audrey. For those of you who were praying for her this summer, look how well she's recovered! Thank you for your prayers: we're so grateful to have our beautiful girl back.

Stay tuned for some cowboys, jedis, witches, and bumblebees. . .