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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Annabeth's week with her cousins

The week before last Annabeth's cousins Kendall and Jonathan came and stayed with us from
Monday night until Friday. We had a lot of fun with them, and stayed pretty busy.
We took field trips to the library and Wildlife West (kind of like a zoo with native species here in Edgewood), went swimming in the pool we set up on our deck, played on the swingset at the neighbors' house and in Annabeth's sandbox, and after Annabeth went to bed played with the Wii that the kids brought along.
Annabeth loved having her cousins around, and so did we. Pat and I are thinking that we should make this at least an annual tradition. :) Here are some pictures...

Kendall, Jonathan and Annabeth at Wildlife West. One of the most exciting moments of our field trip there was when we saw a bull snake right on the trail. Of course, I didn't know it was a bull snake at the time.. we didn't go any further until one of the employees assured us he wasn't poisonous! Of course, I forgot to catch him on film..

Annabeth taking a break at Wildlife West

One of the mountain lions we saw at Wildlife West - you can see Kendall and Annabeth's reflections in the glass.

Kendall and Jonny hanging out on their air mattress. Jonny thought the double high air mattress they slept on was really cool!

Kendall, Jonathan and Annabeth at the neighbor's swing set.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


The last couple weeks or so have been really busy over here... last week Jonathan and Kendall, Annabeth's cousins, came to stay with us. I have some pictures from their visit that I'll try to post later this weekend or early next week. We've also been busy trying to start potty training Annabeth, which has been an interesting first for me. :)

This week, Pat was in Albuquerque Tuesday, Wed, and Thurs, facilitating a training for one of the software companies whose software they use for his work. Annabeth was missing her daddy, as she is used to having him working from home. When she asked me where he was, and I told her that he was doing a training, she asked me, "Is Daddy buying me panties?" It took me a minute to make the connection, but then I figured out that she had equated training with POTTY training, which we have been talking about a lot, and so thought what daddy was doing had something to do with her potty training...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Annabeth's friend Matthew

Pat's 20th high school reunion was this past weekend. We had a lot of fun at the three different events visiting with his classmates. Saturday morning there was a tour of his school, and Saturday afternoon was a family picnic, so Annabeth got to come with us for those events. At the school tour and again at the picnic she made friends with an 8 year old boy named Matthew. After lunch when I took her back to the swings, she said, "I want to say, "Hi Matthew!" There were some little horns that when you spoke into one you could hear the person's voice from the other one which was about 25 or 30 feet away. He talked to her through it and she talked back, and she wanted to do it again.

It took us a little while to find Matthew again, and when we did, I told him that Annabeth had been looking for him. He said, "I was looking for her, too." His mom said that he loves little kids, and they love him, too, which I could definitely tell. He was so sweet with her, taking her on the slides, running around with her and swinging her on the swings, with some help from his almost 6 year old twin brothers.

Matthew brought a glider airplane to play with at the picnic. Two brothers, one 12 and the other 8, joined Matthew, his twin brothers, and Annabeth to play with the plane. It was so funny to see Annabeth running around in the field with these 5 boys, ranging in age from 6 to 12. She looked so grown up. She really enjoyed playing with them, and cried when we had to leave.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not so fast...

A couple of days ago we stopped at the mailbox (about 1/2 a mile from our house at the top of our street) to pick up the mail. When I got back in the van, I started down the hill and hadn't put my seatbelt on. Suddenly I hear a little voice from the back seat, "Put your buckles on, Mommy. Put your seat belt on!" She sure doesn't miss much. :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Love and Affection

When we were at the 4th of July celebration with our church a few days ago, Annabeth was talking to one of the other little girls that was there. She told her, "That's my mommy, and I love her!" It was definitely one of those rewarding moments as a parent to hear her say that. Pat and I have both noticed that she has initiated telling us "I love you" recently. Up until this point, when she said "I love you" it was either at our prompting or as a response when we said it first. Pretty neat. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Trip to Branson

Well, it's been a couple weeks since our trip to Branson, and I'm finally sitting down to write about it. :) Pat, Annabeth, Pat's mom Maria, her best friend Glenna and I left for Branson, MO on Saturday morning. Annabeth did very well in the car... the time I took before the trip to make her a box of activities and a box of snacks was worthwhile. Here is a picture of Annabeth with one of her car activities. The stickers were meant to go on a piece of paper, but she had a blast putting them all over herself. :)

We stopped for lunch in Amarillo at the Big Texan. It is a big steakhouse decorated like the Old West, and their gimmick is that if you order their 72 oz steak and eat it along with the baked potato and salad that come with it within an hour, you get it for free. (otherwise it's $72!) At the end of our meal, the waitress brought Annabeth her own cowboy (cowgirl?) hat.

The first night of our trip we spent in Choctaw, OK (outside of Oklahoma City), with Pat's Aunt Judy and Uncle James. Annabeth enjoyed playing with her second cousins, Jessie and MacKenzie. Aunt Judy and Uncle James had some motorized Thomas the train engine and a train depot (which Annabeth called the "car house") that they enjoyed playing with together. There was also a doll stroller there for MacKenzie, and one of Annabeth's favorite things to do at home is to push her doll stroller around, so she felt right at home. We had brunch with them the next day, then continued to the Big Cedar Wilderness Club in Ridgedale, MO, which is about 15 min south of Branson. This was our first "vacation home," which is how we described it to Annabeth when we got there. I neglected to take any pictures of where we stayed or while we were at the resort, but here is a link to some general pictures of the resort. If you click on the photos link to the right, picture 3 is what the outside of our lodge building looks like, and pictures 14-17 is what the inside of our unit looked like. Picture 18 is a picture of the lazy river, which we enjoyed during our time there.

We stayed in Ridgedale for 5 days, and enjoyed relaxing while we were there. Annabeth's favorite activities were the pool and the playground. The indoor pool had a water slide, which she enjoyed a lot the first day, but she was afraid to slide on it the second day. She did the same thing with the playground - the first day she wanted to slide on all the slides, and the second day she was afraid. I think maybe she's just at an age where she's starting to develop caution (this is a good thing!) We went on the lazy river with Annabeth, and I thought she'd really enjoy it, but I think it was actually a little too lazy for her. She kept trying to crawl off of the inner tubes and all over us. She didn't like the idea of sitting still, but wanted to climb into the water and walk around.

One day we had to take our car into the Honda dealership in Springfield (which is another story entirely) and we visited the Bass Pro Shop while they were working on our car, which was about 2 miles from the Honda Dealership. They had a huge store, including an indoor waterfall which Annabeth thought was really cool. On our way back, we stopped in Ozark, MO at Lamberts, "The Home of the Throwed Roll," where they have various side dishes that they bring around to the tables during your meal, including dinner rolls, which they serve from a cart that they push down the middle of the restaurant, and they throw the rolls at you, especially if you sit at a table farther away. We were close to the middle, so we didn't have too many rolls thrown at us, though Pat did make a couple of good catches. The food was excellent and plentiful - in fact, we had another whole meal on the leftovers. Between us, we had smoked pork chops (which basically tasted like ham), chicken fried steak, and catfish, which were all excellent. Some of our favorite sides were the sweet potatoes, the fried okra, and the fried potatoes. I highly recommend Lambert's if you ever happen to be in the area.

While in Ridgedale we also enjoyed mini golf and daily visits from the cookie lady, who brought us a different kind of cookie every evening. Pat and I went horseback riding one afternoon during Annabeth's nap, while Grandma and Glenna babysat for us. This was the first time I'd been horseback riding in over 10 years. We took an hour long ride around the resort property, through the woods and along the lake. It was a lot of fun, and gave Pat and I some quality time together, just the two of us.

After we left Big Cedar Wilderness Club, we spent 2 nights at The Falls Village, right in Branson. Once again, I didn't take any pictures while we were there, but here are some generic pictures from our timeshare's website if you would like to see them: While we were in Branson, we got to take in a couple of shows. The first was the Baldknobbers, "The First Show" in Branson. Glenna's cousin, "Stub", is one of the comedians in the show and got us complimentary tickets to the show (thanks!). The show has patriotic, country and gospel music performances, and comic relief from three comedians. The violin player in the band was from Las Cruces, NM. Maria really enjoyed the show - she said she hadn't laughed that hard in a long time! Here's a picture of Maria, Glenna and I with Stub.

Unfortunately, since we didn't get into our new "vacation home" until late in the afternoon, Annabeth didn't get a nap that day and was very tired and grumpy, so Pat stayed with her instead of bringing her to the show and risking a further meltdown there.
The next day Glenna and Maria went to visit some of Glenna's family (Glenna grew up not far from Branson) and Pat and I spent the morning with Annabeth at the pool.
That evening we went to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, which is basically dinner with an indoor rodeo. The first part of the show is a history of the Old West, and the second part is a competition. They divide the crowd in half, one side was the "Yankees" and the other side (our side) was the "Rebels". Each side cheers for their team in the various rodeo competitions. They had a barrel race, other horse races, racing chickens (little kids from each side chased the chickens from one side of the arena to the other), pigs, and ostriches among other competitions. Unfortunately for our team, the Yankees carried the day. The dinner was great (cheese biscuit, soup, cornish game hen, corn on cob, ham, and an apple turnover for dessert), though you had to eat it without utensils. In fact, the Dixie Stampede wasn't the only place we did without utensils. It seems that Missourians, at least those around Branson, don't believe in spoons, because we never had a spoon with our utensils the whole time we were there. :)
The next morning we left Branson and traveled back to Oklahoma City area, where we had dinner with Pat's cousin Josh, his wife Shannon, their kids Ty and Wes, and Pat's uncle James and his second cousin Jesse. We really enjoyed our evening with them. They put on a great spread, and we enjoyed touring their 10 acres on their golf cart. Annabeth enjoyed playing in the yard and getting her first driving experience on Ty's motorized John Deere tractor and 4-wheeler. Don't worry, even though it looks like they had a head on collision from the picture, no one was seriously injured. :)

We spent the night again at Pat's aunt and uncle's house - they have a beautiful home, and we are so thankful for their hospitality. The next day was our long day's drive back to Edgewood. Two memorable moments on the way home were when we stopped at a rest area a little over an hour outside of Edgewood, and Annabeth got out of the car and said she was going to "stretch her legs". This is what she did:
Then, when we stopped to pick up some dinner at Arby's right before we got home, she saw the hotel next door, and said, "There's my new vacation home!"
We had a great trip, and Annabeth must have enjoyed it, because several times since we got back, she's asked to go on vacation again. :)