Saturday, September 29, 2012

September in Missouri

I think that mid-late September is the best possible time to be in Missouri; cool air moves in, the humidity is significantly lower, the bugs die out.  It just feels good to be in the mid-west in September.
I felt like we did a TON on this particular trip-- or at least I was busy & not getting much sleep.
On of my main reasons for coming home was for the annual Cook reunion

Thursday, September 20, 2012

St. Louis Zoo

I think that the St. Louis zoo just might be my favorite zoo that we've visited thus far (and we've been to at least 4 zoos in the past 3 years... Well, 3 ½ with the Amarillo zoo being the ½.)
The admission to the St. Louis zoo is absolutely free, and we parked on the street so we didn't even have to pay for parking.  Free!   
Mom & I ended up splurging by buying a $10 wrist band that allowed us access to all of the extras at the zoo: the train, the carousel, the stingray cove as well as several other attractions. 
 Posing with Owen in the stroller we borrowed from Jennifer for the day.
 Kaden, Owen & grandma
Fall might be the perfect time to go to the zoo as most kids are back in school, making everything extremely accessible and easy to view. The weather was also perfect—hovering around 65°.
 excited to see the tiger pacing back & forth

Holding Owen's hand while riding the train
wide-eyed through the dark tunnel
The Penguin & Puffin coast ranked high among my most-favorite attractions.
Kaden taking a look at the penguins outside.
 As we strolled inside the building, there was a definite drop in temperature to mimic a penguin's true climate.
Owen enjoying himself with his new cozy Mizzou tiger hat.
 Mommy & the boys: Kaden (3 years old) & Owen (9 months)

 Last year when we went to the Butterfly House, Kaden wanted to ride the carousel but once we got on and it started, he quickly became terrified and wanted to jump off. 
This year, he seemed excited at the sight of the ride and immediately said that he wanted to ride the tiger!  I think it may have been a little scary at first but he had a good time.
 Owen and grandma relaxing on the bench seat.
I think our favorite attraction of the day was the Stingray cove.  For me, this alone was worth the $10 wristband as we got to leisurely walk around the shallow pool and pet the stingrays & baby hammerhead sharks.

 The only thing we had to do before entering was wash our hands and remove any/all jewelry as to not harm the stingrays in any way. 
Telling Kaden what to do...
Basically, all you had to do was flatten your hand near the surface of the water and wait for a stingray to glide up, underneath your hand... similar to how a cat will rub up against you and essentially get petted.  It was SO neat!
 Owen chillin' off to the side.
smooth & rubbery
   View into the stingray pool.
Lovin it!
Our final destination of the day was the Children’s Petting Farm area and the goat pen.
 Owen taking a closer look. 
Kaden brushing the goats.
Getting acquainted with my new friends.

 Walking back to the car with grandma.
I wish that Ben could have experienced the zoo with us, but then again someone had to stay back and make some money.  We had an awesome day at the St. Louis zoo!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Sonlight Preschool

After much thought, we decided to enroll Kaden into Sonlight preschool this year.
Neither Ben or I went to a formal preschool, but we thought it might be good for Kaden to try- give him another opportunity to socialize & learn from someone else AND give me some quality time with Owen two days a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays).
The night before school began, we got to go to Sonlight Preschool's meet & greet
to check everything out!
 Kaden with his present for Ms. Billie
sitting in his very own seat
Ben & I had to laugh, watching Kaden that night.  After we checked out his classroom and briefly talked to his teacher(s), we let him play on the playground for a bit.  Talk about a social butterfly!  He walked up to stranger parents & kids alike saying things like, "Hi, my name is Kaden!" 
"Everyone... Look at me go down the slide!"
No fear... Climbing up the wall.
Ben & I just looked at each other & laughed... We think that Kaden might be Kyle's kid!
 Kaden, asleep in his bed on his 1st day of school.
Lady, what are you doing? Why are you taking my picture this early?
Love this classic photo of Owen! 
It's too early, mom!
Kaden posing with his brand new nap roll & Cars backpack.
the Dow boys posing in the front yard
One of my good friends, Amy, taught at Sonlight last year before her son was born and Kaden's good friend, Danni, went there last year.  Both gave this preschool a glowing review.
Today Kaden started in Ms. Billie's "early 3's" classroom along with 11 others.
Kaden was SO excited to get out of the car and go to school!
(I think I may have been just as thrilled to drop him off for a few hours.)
"the look" (Mom, quit taking my picture!)
Ms. Billie welcoming Kaden into the classroom
Kaden's basket

I think this might be the beginning of something very wonderful!

Football Season

On Friday night, we picked up Ben from school and watched the Boys Ranch home opener
against the Bovina Mustangs.
Proud papa, showing off his two boys.
  Kaden & mommy eating popcorn during the football game
(the only way that seemed to keep Kaden still).


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Love You

"I love you, mommy!"
(sometimes it's even whispered with an accompanying gentle pat to my head.)
I literally cannot think of a better phrase to wake up to.

Too bad this phrase has to be immediately followed with, "Now get up and make waffles..."
 This is how my mornings have begun over the past few weeks with the only difference being the item he's craving that morning.

Neither Ben or I can recall Ben teaching him this trick to start out with a nice comment...
Which begs the question:
Are boys hard-wired to know how to manipulate girls?