GRANT’S FARM

For our October field trip, we went to Grant’s Farm. G’s mom went with us (and Zack, since teachers had a day off), as well as her sister and my friend, Ven! It was a full house.

The day was, for me, broken up quite a bit – with a doctor appointment for Mae at an early 7 A.M. followed by a two hour drive to the farm and some of our group getting there a bit later than us, some leaving early, and an unexpected lunch outside of the park – all on top of every school in the area being out for the day (busy roads and restaurants). It was quite a day. It was so nice to see everyone there together (even Zack!)

I loved the drizzly, cold weather and the German-style buildings!

The Clydesdales were gorgeous. A couple of them even let us pet them and give ’em a good scratching behind the ears.

They were studying at the map and looked like the cutest little tourists. A sight which quickly dissipated once they saw the camera. Still cute though.

Always collecting. We came home with quite the collection of wet (but colorful!) leaves.

I normally cringe at the thought of making my girls pose, but I couldn’t pass up this gigantic green door without a cheesy mannequin pose.

Thanks, everyone who tagged along and spent their day with us!!

Next month’s field trip will involve only Zack and the girls. They’re going to see a play and go out to lunch!

BOYS IN OCTOBER

Things have shifted a bit here in the Rogers’ house this month. The glory that is a new school year has lost its luster. The dream of what it could be is still there but so is the knowledge that our year won’t be all that it could be and the new hard-to-swallow understanding that that is okay.

The month started out with teething babies, a newly jealous two-year-old, school, those extra! curriculars!, new responsibilities and travel and – among other things – simply not enough hours in the day. But after a near meltdown, a long talk with Zack, and a sermon that said just what I needed to hear, I can safely say I’m genuinely fine. Crisis averted.

We’ve begun evening and weekend schooling and tossed out any notion of a regularly scheduled school day. Flexibility. One of the many many things I appreciate about homeschooling.

All of that (internal) drama and still so many great moments were created with our favorite baby boys!

As I mentioned, A is teething – and that means I get to hold him all day long! Y’all know I never tire snuggling.

(He’s not usually in the carrier, but when he is, my hands are free to hold the camera.)

G loves music as much as we do and dancing as much as his momma! …and holding the speaker as close to his ear as possible…

Zack has had a lot of teacher work days this year, which usually means we get to see him for lunch – and my leg gets a break from this terrific game G loves to play.

In true Ozark fashion, October brought us temperatures from the mid-90s all the way to a freezing 30 degrees. I was (am) ready for cold weather but didn’t mind a couple final warm days on the porch with A. He’s so great.

G is just the right hight to touch the lens when I tilt my head to take his photo. It is a very hilarious game that, I’m sure, will be played for months to come.

Leaving the popcorn in the pot means he can use it as a steering wheel while he chews. Another new game that is sure to stick around for a while.

Mae and ‘her baby’ sitting on the couch. She lervs him so much.

The boys got some visits from their family!

Our new school routine meant G and I had nearly an hour of uninterrupted time building play dough turtles. hashtagworthit.

It’s rare, but when G decides to hang out with his brother and attempts a conversation. Oh boy. I bet their momma’s heart fills up real quick at the sight of such a moment!

G ran and put his coat back on (with the hood, of course!) so he could match his buddy.

G asked me to join him in watching something on the television and then rested his hand on mine and then I died.

Hand resting is gateway behavior to hand-holding don’t ya know. While simpler, in this case, it was somehow better. He just wanted to be closer to me. Ugh. These boys.

My girls are going to have such great memories of spending their childhood alongside their cousins. All the reminder I’ll need the next time I feel overwhelmed by duties and quiet, quality moments that turn into demanding flurries.

MAYBE

I’m a dog-mom again! Meet Miss Maybe.

…only about a year sooner than we planned, but she sure is sweet. She couldn’t stay with her previous family and Lord knows we’ve got the space (and love) to spare for people-less animals.

Zack and I are self-proclaimed cat people. The kind of cat people that will always own a dog and Maybe sure is a great dog to have around.

She seems to be a mix of our past three dogs – Maple, Rosie, and Buckey. While she is a pointer mix and not a hound or healer, she definitely looks like a Maple / Rosie mix. Her personality reminds me most of Buckey. She would’ve made such a great friend to him.

She likes to lie around. Usually, within the room I happen to be in (as Buckey would have done). She really wants to be outside all of the time. She whines to go out most of the day, so we are going to get a fence situation going on soon enough. For now, we will just take her into town for walks and tie her up for some lounging in the sun every now and again.

She is the most talkative dog we have ever had. She makes many different sounds. Whines, low barks, and yelps. She really wants us to know what she is thinking – as opposed to our other, much less talkative, dogs.

Most importantly, Maybe is so great with the kids! At first, she didn’t give any attention to the baby, ‘A’. After a couple of days, she began to lie next to him and follow me around as I held him (and join him for tummy time). G follows her around and lies next to her to chat and pet her paws. Mae likes to give her belly rubs and imitate her various sleeping positions. Rae? Eh. She likes her just as much as the rest of us but acts as though she has lived with us forever (she’s a cat person).

It only took a few hours for her and the cats to get used to each other. Halleluiah.

As for me, I love that she always lays her head on my belly when I sit down and sleeps through the night and is so so sweet and does tricks and doesn’t pull on her leash and lets me use her as a pillow and answers to the name we gave her and…

Thanks for our little lady, Sarah! She will be loved and snuggled and appreciated!

FAMILY DAY OUT : IKEA

Again with the Ikea? I know. I get it if many you have heard enough Ikea chatter from me, but we like it. So much so, that after a full day of walking we still wanted to fill our afternoon with more walking around that gigantic place.

Really, we went there that day so I could buy myself a comfy chair for my birthday. I sit at our table for the majority of each day so I need a decent chair – but everyone else was just as enthusiastic about the visit! (We may be going back to get Mae one of these chairs. She keeps stealing mine…)

^ ^ Zack moving the warm lamp away from the faux fur. Whataguy. ^ ^

We couldn’t help but pop into a couple displays along the way, but overall, we have gotten pretty good at shortcutting our way through if we want to.

These girls are such troopers, always going along with us for great distances and long days without complaint. It totally looks as though Rae is bored out of her gourd, but she’s mega thrilled to be at her favorite store. Just content and calm. Soaking it all in.

I think Ikea is to them what Sam’s was to me as a kid (and what Costco and Sam’s are to most Americans today) It’s pretty great and I’m sure we’ll be back again soon. Maybe next time I’ll spare you the post about it…

FAMILY DAY OUT : ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM

The girls and I took my niece to the St. Louis Art Museum not too long ago, but Zack was stuck walking Buckey around Forest Park. Not a bad gig, but he missed the museum. So! On our family day, he got to stroll at his leisure around the exhibits.

There was plenty of parking available close to the museum (rare!), so we were able to enjoy a stroll through this lovely path. Perfect day for it.

Boy, it sure is great having him around!

Mae and I noticed that Zack and Rae walk just alike. Left us wondering if we walk alike as well.

First stop? The ladies room to compare sidewalk loot.

Notice Zack’s hand by Mae’s face? And again up there by Rae? He likes to play with our hair. I couldn’t help but giggle at the number of times I spotted his hands in someone’s hair as I went through the photos I took. But, I took far too many photos (very unlike me, I know), so I’ll leave you with these two.

This ^ exhibit was a series of engraved images. Just behind that wall by Rae, they had a 3D stop-motion movie playing (Sun Xun: Time Spy) which was made using the displayed images (I’m sure it was the intention behind their creation). It was cool to come out from viewing the film and recognize images we saw.

Rae was incredibly enthusiastic about this fork and knife set. She thought it was both awesome and silly that people used utensils like that a long time ago.

These two. Oi. My heart can hardly take it.

Those images also suggest that I had my own little twin-shadow, which makes my heart just as happy.

The girls took many a photo as we walked along. Mae took this one. She guessed its story correctly and really liked it. She has always dreamed of helping a bird in need.

This large incased platter was trimmed with lions and had a crest in the center. When my girls saw it, they shouted, “Gryffindor!” Hopefully, everyone in our vicinity found this as amusing as I did…

One of the three stops we had to make was the Native American exhibit. Zack dubbed these mocassins, “the first Vans.”

These were my favorite. They look like soccer kleets and have a simple design.

Another required stop was the “knights exhibit.” Rae so graciously took our photo as we studied a headstone. Ain’t we cute?

The final spot we couldn’t pass up was the Egyptian exhibit. They had new mummies, carved porcelain urns with organs in them (might sound unappealing, but they were gorgeous), and an interactive program (Mae is staring at it) that let you observe the mummy in the photo above. It was pretty cool.

The incredibly gorgeous boy and his twerps.

We’ve got one more stop on the blog tour of our family day out. We definitely need more full days together. It seemed much easier when the girls were younger. I’m sure many a song has been written about such things…

FAMILY DAY OUT : LONDON TEA ROOM

This past weekend, I had my monthly book club in St. Peters. I decided to bring the girls along and take them out the following day for a day in the city. Our plans snowballed into a fully packed three day weekend (more on that later) and Zack tagged along – which meant my day with my girls turned into a family day. It was so great to have him around to enjoy a day of (what we consider) fun!

Our first stop was breakfast at the London Tea Room. It was cloudy and freezing and a bit damp from rain the night before. Perfect.

We veered away from our usual Irish Breakfast Tea (basic black tea) with cream and got a large pot of Mango Pear White (I could drink this every day) and a small Maple Walnut Sencha (Liquid Christmas).

The food is fresh, warm, and incredible!

Rae and I got Spinach Ricotta Croissants, Rae got her own Jammie Dodger, while Zack and Mae each enjoyed a Coconut Macaroon, and we all split a scone with jam and butter.

Next time I’m thinking we’ll go for lunch and get some of those hearty pastries.

While Zack and I talked and finished off the teas, the girls walked around the very small, adorable shop. I took that photo from where I sat, and it includes most of the shop.

The best part?? We were able to enjoy one of our favorite spots with our favorite human.

PET FOR A DAY

While taking Mae’s birthday portraits a couple weeks ago, Rae found a turtle. So, I did what you’re not supposed to do, and took it home. We kept it for four hours and set her free by our neighbor’s pond while the cats were not watching.

Below are some photos of the girls holding her shell. Very entertaining stuff…

DEAR MAE : : YEAR EIGHT

Marvelous Mae, you turn EIGHT today!

What an incredible honor it is to be your mom. You are this kindest, most patient, curious, loving human being I will ever know. I was given another year with you (a completely healthy you!), that alone makes my heart burst and my eyes brim with tears – alright, let’s get away from this mushy stuff… Hopefully, as you’re reading this I am still around bothering you with these words in person, daily.

Let’s move along to see what you are like at this very moment in time!

You are, still, always good for a joke, sincere encouragement, or an adventure.

You have grown two inches in the past year!

You care about your clothes and find a way to bring about your own style. You work with what you’ve got and thankfully, your hand-me-downs are just what you prefer to wear!

You are so proud of your progress in dance and have been striving to devote more time to your stretches, your knowledge of what you’re taught as well as building up your technique. You are always floating and dancing your way from one place to the next.

You still do not like meat. Your father wants to know, “Why?” Along those lines, your favorite meal has to be dessert – even if that means designating a non-sweet item on your plate as the “dessert.” You like soup, salads, and the greatest of all foods would have to be pancakes. All types of pancakes.

You are adaptable and pleasant in every situation. You never complain about anything – and I truly mean that ‘anything’. Well okay, if there is meat on your plate by accident, say on pizza or in a meal at someone’s house, you wince a little.

You hold your sister’s hand all. the. time. and it is the greatest.

You always have paper and a pencil with you. You copy words from books, write stories, write letters and write random words whose spelling you want to commit to memory.

And, Oh!, that memory of yours. I’ve never seen anything like it. The other day, you brought up a seemingly insignificant five-minute conversation you and I had two years ago! because it related to a current conversation we were having. You can tell me how to get to Vovo’s old house in Dothan, Alabama. You know certain recipes by heart, and you hear very sophisticated words and will bring them up in the natural flow of a sentence. Words we didn’t even know you knew but had heard somewhere along the way.

You are definitely an older sister. I don’t want to say bossy so before I do, let’s jump on over to the next sentence!

Your favorite subject is probably still science – biology and robotics are where it’s at. You, like your daddy, have to figure out how things work and why they work. But, you are like your momma in the way that you always want to go somewhere, anywhere at all times.

Paris and horses and baking and reading are a few of your favorite things. You can read so well now and are understandably proud of yourself!

I feel as though saying, “We love you so much!” falls short of what we truly mean. Those words are said so frequently that they may lose their meaning if they haven’t already – but I’m not too great at or fond of metaphors. So, I will tell you we feel more deeply for you than we ever thought we could feel. When you came into this world we discovered a new kind of love that is beyond understanding and beyond measure. You share our love with your sister, yet somehow you each have more than our whole hearts in your possession. You are imperfect, yet perfect. I cannot possibly love you more but I can try, more than I do, this year to show you how much I adore you.

My beautiful, Mae. Happy Birthday sweet girl.

LATELY : : SEPTEMBER 2018

September flew by!

I’m very glad I decided to post more frequently throughout the month, as I used to. It feels strange to have such a short monthly round-up post!

^ My buddy on dance nights ^

Wrote a post about dance and gymnastics back here.

There haven’t been enough cold days for me to get into the spirit of autumn, but boy am I tryin’! We’ve got a few good steady playlists for fall playing on the regular, “Hobbit cookies” (above) and other such treats are making the rounds and we’ve gone simple with the decorations so far with just some candles, two pumpkins the girls bought for themselves (we’ll use them for our first from-scratch pie), and some dried oranges to hang by the kitchen window. In October, we’ll go full force with the decorating…if it has become permanently cold by then. Please oh please oh please.

Where we have been successful with the fall mindset is with our movie watching! Fall is our favorite season for movies – followed closely by Christmastime – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Our annual favorite is Fly Away Home. This year added Rudy to our line-up – Zack and I hadn’t seen it since we were kids – we ate this ham and bean soup with homemade bread for the occasion. Oh boy. So good. Some other favorites are You’ve Got Mail, Wallace and Gromit and the Warerabbit, E.T., Harry Potter series, and The Hobbit trilogy – which pairs nicely with those “Hobbit cookies” and more soup.

I had poison ivy and a cold for the first half of the month. I finally caved after a week and a half of torture and went to the doctor for some good stuff (for the poison ivy). The girls were such troopers. I’m not surprised, just happy about it.

Katie has officially grown on us. By that I mean, we have officially grown on her.

She particularly adores G. She actually curled up on his lap and purred loudly as she fell asleep. I didn’t think she was that type of cat!

We only took one trip to the river in September. It was the perfect night for it!

^ Mae’s Black Panther.

We went to the St. Louis Scottish Games.

After more than a month, we finally made it over to our neighbor’s house! It’s weird to go so long without a visit. She has brought us vegetables and other goodies over to us, but taking time to sit and chat about life with them is so nice! All of the kids adore her and she, them. What a blessing good neighbors can be.

There is also our school round-up, here. Our month with the boys, here.