Experiencing Playdo

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Okay, I have more photos than written content for this post, so we’ll see what I come up with.  One of Penelope’s friends, Mason, had a birthday recently and we bought a 24 pack of Playdo for him- but left it at home [realizing this fun fact as we landed on the off-ramp at the beginning of our 2 hour trip]. Instead of turning around, we bought a new one for him once we arrived and decided to give our first purchase to Miss Penelope.
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I love it when she gets to try a new activity! She wasn’t sure what to think of the texture at first, but quickly got over her discomfort and was eager to try every color. By try I mean squeeze each one and put it back in it’s tube.
This will be a great way to teach her colors. We have paint swatch squares that I stuck magnetic paper to on her white board and crayons, but she seemed to understand / want to understand better with Playdo.
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Penelope has been more and more aware and interested in her baby sister, often rubbing my belly saying “Baby”, giving my belly hugs, and sometimes having babbling conversations with her. I’m not worried about jealousy with these two ladies – at least not until much later.
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Penelope has been very independent the past few days. She has been playing quietly in her room and the livingroom with various toys she has previously not shown much interest in – along with old standbys like babies and books. Zack has been good about being in charge of helping her clean up once he arrives home each day. I think she enjoys it more than when I help her… Daddy is just more fun.
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Tonight is seeming like a calm one. It is 6 o’clock and the house is clean, television is off, laundry will get done tonight, Penelope will get a bath soon, and I might even get to do some sewing once she goes to bed!
I have such a terrific husband (the best possible husband in my opinion). Thought I’d put that out there. Maybe I’ll do a post just about him soon. 🙂
Happy Tuesday!

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A Big Weekend

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Saturday morning we drove up to St. Peters for my baby shower (thrown by my favorite sister). We had a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who attended- “Baby” (I’m DYING to call her by her name!) received the perfect gifts – toys, diapers, wipes, washcloths, towels, adorable outfits, her first pair of shoes, a cook book :), and a giant bullfrog book.
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Afterwards I went fall clothes shopping, and to get some cleaning supplies from Target with my Dad and Mom while Penelope took a nap (much needed after an afternoon of fun with Grandmas Shooie and Deedee!). Zack’s grandparents, the famous PawPaw and DeeDee, took us out for supper at Chick-fil-a before we hit the road again. Delicious!
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Today I have been organizing all of things we received and cleaning as I go, although looking around I can’t tell that I did anything. Dog-gone-it. Back to work for me after this I guess.
Also, thank you Laura for all of the stuff you gave us, pretty sure I won’t have to buy clothes for Penelope at all next year! Wish I could somehow repay you with “hand-me-ups”…but they don’t exist…I’ll think of something 🙂
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Sunday’s are grocery shopping days for us (we haven’t quite gotten the hang of once a month trips to the store), Zack has been at the school all morning preparing for next weeks classes, and after lunch we’ll all head to Rolla for some shopping followed by, I’m sure, more cleaning. Oooh, or a nap! That sounds better.
We just got back from a walk, mapping out our way – preparing for fall walks to Friday night football games! So ready for that! It’s still weird to me that I’ll be going as a teachers wife instead of a student though.
Hot chocolate, hoodies, blankets, eating pre-game hotdogs and homemade chili, big cozy hats, and a red button nose proudly presented on Penelope’s face! SO EXCITED!

Happy Sunday!

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Off to a Good Start

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I decided to wake up with Zack this morning (6:00 instead of 7:30 can’t be that different, right?) and make him a nice breakfast. I’m pretty sure I went and laid back in bed three times before it was all said and done. I was nice, however, to spend that time with him before he officially began his day. Breakfast with Zack will have to be a weekend thing from now on though.…
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Having been so tired, and only having half an hour before I knew she would wake up, I was…what’s the word…concerned? Sure, concerned with how the rest of my day would play out. I had unrealistically high hopes for a magical burst of energy- and I got it! For a couple of hours at least. Since the park worked so well yesterday we went again this morning before it got hot, and brought some bread for only duck that decided not to sleep in. We also fit in some more swing-time and left just as it began to get hot.
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         Stuffing a whole slice of bread into her mouth.      / /       Enjoying the big-girl swing
We played in bubbles/ scrubbed the chalk off the porch before a failed attempt at a nap. This of course resulted in a sleepy cranky baby just in time for Daddy to arrive home for lunch. I’m not even sure he noticed, he was just happy to see her. Nap take two worked like a charm, and now she is watching Cars, eating raisins and wearing her old man hat (my favorite).
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This evening she is going to enjoy some Daddy-daughter time. I’m not sure if that will include painting, going to the play ground, or something she hasn’t done in a while, but either way I’m sure they will enjoy the time together.
We have one more day before we head up to St. Peters for my baby shower. It will probably be spent cleaning and packing (yep, you read right, packing for a one. day. trip).
Well, I’m going to cuddle up with Miss Penelope and watch Cars, until next time.
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Decorating and a Kick of Love

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Yesterday we tried something new: : : We went to the park. Parks are not particularly new for us, but we haven’t been to the St. James park yet. It still has see-saws! Penelope has upgraded, thanks Zack, to a “big girl” swing, you know the type where the only security is Mommy’s slower-by-the-day reflexes. She hasn’t fallen yet so I don’t know what I am so worried about.
We brought along her wagon, filled with her baby doll and jacket. We set off on a mission to find natural fall decorations, but also enjoyed swinging, a long walk, and squirrel watching.
We gathered “those pointy things” and some green nuts a squirrel was angrily tossing out of a tree (below) for our kitchen table center piece, and some pinecones for Penelope to paint, which will later be made into a wreath for our front door! (above)
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My creativity for decorating sans money is dwindling, but I am hoping music, foods, and other’s decorating ideas (via Pinterest and blogs) will spark some inspiration. I do love to decorate- I’m going full force with the Autumn and the upcoming holidays!
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Zack took some photos of his girls after supper last night. Penelope seems to love the fact that there is a baby in my belly (whether she understands what that means or not is beside the point…)  As soon as she gave her sister the first kiss, baby started kicking! It seems like every time Penelope intentionally touches my belly the baby starts squirming. A bond is forming – at least until the teenage years!
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I am so proud to have such a wonderful girl (make that two!).

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Sister Love

In attempts to make the transition of a new little lady entering our family a smooth one, we have begun certain steps in preparing Penelope. Hopefully she will not be overwhelmed when the time comes to bring her baby sister home.
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For starters we began trying to get her to say “sister’s” name. She almost has it [fully] correct, and we still have 3 months to practice!
The next step was to get her to understand that there was a baby in Mommy’s belly- (never mind that I was somewhat discouraged that she thinks I am naturally the large… at least she loves me anyway).
She now rubs my belly and says “Baby,” then rests her head on it and says “Oooh,” which is her hug noise. I don’t think jealousy will be an issue I have to worry about. My girl has a heart overflowing with love.
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Yesterday she painted a picture for Baby’s room –which is our room- and it has been placed above her bassinet.
She was ecstatic! Giddy running from the kitchen to the front door, having proudly chosen each color carefully. She wore my old shirt that reached her ankles. So cute. She would say each color she chose as she chose it, though not always correct I still found it great that she was trying.
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As she painted I asked,
“Is this for you sister?” [followed by a head nod yes].
“Can you say [insert Baby’s name]?” [followed by a good attempt].
“Is this going in your sister’s room?” [followed by a head nod yes and attempt at saying “sister”].
Proud Mama.
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She proudly displayed her painting for me, but got distracted by a plane flying over our house.
She repeatedly took me back to our room to show me the painting she had done for her soon-to-be best friend. It’s my favorite work of art. Made with the purest love. My sweet little babies, boding already.

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Daily Life

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Rolling around on our bed…still not sure why she found it so fun.

While Zack is at work, it has been a constant daily challenge for me to balance keeping the house clean, playing with Penelope, educating Penelope, and making sure food is done at the correct times for everyone- while remembering to rest and “take it easy” on myself.
Penelope has been a big help with cleaning and her always eager to help attitude is definitely motivating [that is until she becomes upset when we have to stop scrubbing the floors or wiping tables].  Sometimes I find myself setting her down to watch Rio so I can get things done faster and “in peace,” but the kick myself when I realize that part her day was wasted on television. Balance is hard. Exhausting.
As tired and dreadful as I am making my life sound, it is really awesome. Everyday I have the option to relax when I need to, go swing out on the porch, and spend the ENTIRE day with the coolest girl I know. I get to experience every new word, expression, and habit she discovers. I get to watch her pick out her outfits (Her first attempt is always a snowman sweater from Vovo that she calls”Babies”), chose how to style her hair (Up or down? One ponytail or two? Buns or piggies?), figure out how to hold a pencil. watch her discovering paint for the first time, and watch her intensely fold laundry. She is brilliant amazing and beautiful. I am one blessed lady.
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Tonight we have a faculty family supper over at the high school. Hooray for a night without having to cook! Every evening in the past week has included a family walk through the neighborhoods of St. James. Penelope shrieks with excitement at the site of her stroller and runs to find her shoes and “ocks”.
Yesterday to give us a change of pace, we watched Elf while waiting for Daddy to get home from grading papers, complete with iced hot chocolate, homemade peanut butter cookies, and popcorn. She actually enjoyed the whole movie- dancing to every song (there are a lot!), and running back to cuddle when she was done.  That, plus the Autumn breeze blowing in the window, soft blankets and fluffy pillows – it was magical.
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Talking about the kids playing at recess, saying “Weee!”
Today I am waiting for the internet fella to show up, we’ve cleaned, Penelope has had a bath, and talked to Grandma Penny on the phone, and she (Penelope, not Grandma) is now down for a nap in the hopes that she’ll be awake for Daddy’s lunch break.

Soon we will be finding creative ways to decorate for Fall- since we have no decorations- and I will be posting those as that happen, as well as meals we try, seeing as how we are trying to be creative and frugal with our food budget. Oh, and of course photos of Penelope covered in paint and food as these projects occur, ‘cause she’s cute! (and I’m trigger happy with a camera…)

Happy Tuesday!
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Dance Baby Dance!

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Penelope loves the movie Rio. Love may not be a strong enough word… She knows when the dance scenes are coming up, the “scary” parts, the funny parts, and the parts with “babies” although I have yet to find what babies she is referring to. By far her favorite movie. It has beat Cars for the top spot. Birds might have to be her birthday theme. “Birds” is what she calls the movie, by the way.
Today has been amazing. We tried a new church (which we like!) this morning, followed by lunch at Wendy’s and a diaper/ toilet paper run to Walmart. A nap for the ladies to follow while Zack headed to the High school to work on his lesson plans (so official now). Once awake, Penelope watched “BIRDS!” while I cleaned then she helped me cook supper and bake cookies for Daddy. We listened to Sinatra with the cool breeze flowing in through the kitchen window. Magical. Made me yearn for Autumn even more.
Zack, Penelope, Reese and I got back not too long ago from a walk through the beautiful streets of St. James. I really enjoy our daily family walks.
One more day of travel for the daily photo, then I can do this stuff from home! One happy lady!
Happy Sunday/ Monday!
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Visitors

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Yesterday my mom called, saying Audrey (my sister) and her boys would like to come down before Josh gets back to the States Sunday. Heck yeah! I love company. So, this morning my parents, Audrey and her two boys loaded up the car with snacks, and pool “equipment,” towels, etc…and drove 2 hours to our new place!!
In the five years we lived in Bolivar Audrey never once came to see us (yeah, obviously not harboring hard feelings about that…).  Which I guess is why I was overly excited about this visit. Grilling, swimming (Grandpa and Zack were a HIT with the kids at the waterpark), loads of snacks, a tour of Rolla (and a roughly 30 second apartment tour), chalk drawing on the porch and one excited poodle later and I am one exhausted pregnant lady. Well worth it.
How exhausted you ask? We had Ramen for supper. Yep. Okay, well I did make homemade biscuits, that’s something right?

* * Good News! * *  We are having internet hooked up Tuesday!
Happy Saturday.
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First Days of School

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Zack’s first day teaching was yesterday! As to be expected his first class was quiet- probably nervous, letting it all settle in- his next class wouldn’t stop talking- I’m assuming they were comparing schedules and summers. Next he went on to Kindergarten…ants in their pants, of course. After lunch he had first and second grade and they seemed to know what they were doing, just anxious to get home, like everyone else…
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I am loving his new schedule! Way better than that of MEMC!! I felt like he was home with us the majority of the day. He made it home just after 3:30, and we were eating supper by 4:10- (we had planned on a 6:00 supper.) – and by 4:40, we couldn’t think of what to do with the rest of our day.
I don’t think we expected to have so much family/free time. We took a walk, and returned some movies. We were going to go to YoKiDoki, the local frozen yogurt place, but decided to sit outside at Sonic to enjoy the breeze (and some Raspberry Coke, peach tea, and a grape slush) instead. Afterwards, we headed home for family movie night- Cars 2, can you guess who picked the movie?
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The past two days for Penelope and I have been so so very relaxing. Early morning walks, weather that feels like Autumn, re-planting and watering plants, placing stickers on the walls (my personal favorite), feeding “our” birds, countless rides on the porch swing, loads and loads of dishes, and playing with bubbles on the porch (a bowl of soapy water)- in her underwear no-less. We’re a classy bunch over here.
Penelope also made sure to tell every- and I mean every student walking home yesterday, “BYE!!!!” from our porch swing yesterday. She calls the high school “Daddy,” and says “Bye Daddy” every time we walk by it in the morning.
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Today, all three of us are heading up to McDonalds to use the internet (hopefully we’ll get some at home soon). Zack will be looking up those internet options today, and I will be posting this blog and a photo-of-the-day. I’m sure there will also be a walk in our evening plans, I do love those walks!
We were invited to a church in Rolla this Sunday by one of Zack’s fellow teachers. I’m not sure what it will be like, but hopefully it won’t be hard for us to find a good church. There are, after all, only a bazillion in the tiny town of St. James.

P.S.- Isn’t she cute!
: : : A special thank you to my cousin Anoria, who sent Miss Penelope a bath-time baby doll. She is the cleanest most loved baby doll on the planet! She had two baths yesterday (on in that bowl of soapy water I mentioned earlier!), although she does get plenty of “real world” time!
: : :  And to Vovo, who sent her a box of Fall clothes! She picks them out each morning, but for now they are for dress-up, not long until she can wear them!