75 years of Oz


So, I’m doing some catching up since my blogging has been less than stellar lately. Starting with our visit to the “75 Years of Oz” exhibit in Kansas City. If you didn’t know, Kalena is kind of obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. She loooooves it. So when we heard about this exhibit we knew we’d be going. (Plus, it was free. Best kind of outing.)

Kalena with the ruby slippers!



Don’t worry, we didn’t pick any apples.



Heading back to Kansas.



Will is terrified of the flying monkeys. He was a little scared to take this picture.



Me with Daniel in a munchkin house.



Kalena with her favorite characters, Dorothy and Glinda.



Anyway, lots of fun! And then I had a baby 4 days later!


We took the kids over to an exhibit called “Electricritters” at the zoo tonight. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was a lot of fun! It’s hard to get good pictures of a lights show, so some of the pictures really show off the lights and in others you can see the kids faces, but I’m not sure I got any with both.

Electricritters sign! Plus Kari’s family in front. You can’t see them at all.


Will with a giant snake. Obviously one of his favorite displays.


3D gorilla swinging from a tree! And some enthralled kids underneath.


Kalena with a peacock.


A fire-breathing dragon. (Another favorite of Will’s, of course.)


Not dressed up in lights, but Hey! Kids on a camel statue!


Most of the displays were somewhat animated: penguins throwing snowballs, a beaver chopping down a tree, a crocodile eating a bird. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly in spite of the cold. And then we got to come home and have cake for all the winter-time birthdays! All in all an excellent evening.

Fun times with cousins


One word to describe a house with 10 children ages five and under: LOUD. But pictures are worth a thousand words right? So here are some of those. (And more words. In the form of captions.)

Will has gotten over his fear of Khloe! Mostly. As long as she’s not running toward him he’s good.


I was trying for a picture of Will and Eli in their sweater vests, but the other kids wanted in on the fun too.







Cousins in cute pajamas.



The best we could do with all 10 kids in the picture. (Notice Kirsta holding Will. He did NOT want to be in the shot. Even after being threatened with an early nap.)



Daniel playing some tunes. And by playing tunes I mean banging obnoxiously on the tiny piano. At least he’s enjoying it?


The costumes

Dressed up for trick-or-treat street! This was the day Daniel was diagnosed with strep, so I took the older kids and Brian stayed home. I’m pretty in love with the crown that came with Kalena’s costume. I think it’s the crown that makes it clear she’s Glinda the Good Witch and not some random princess. Her costume didn’t come with a wand, but I think the one from the $1 bin at Target fit the bill nicely. Will’s parrot costume is a size 2-3T which is great, except that the hat is also 2-3T. Will’s head? Decidedly bigger than that. I ended up cutting a slit in the back and inserting a panel of knit material so that he could get it on. (Sized it on my head while I was sewing. Fit perfectly.) He was looking at the camera in zero of the pictures I took.


On Halloween kids were allowed to wear their costumes to school, but we didn’t think the Glinda dress would be very conducive to playing on the playground. Plus, no accessories, so the wand and crown would have to stay at home. Instead, we dug this batgirl costume out of the dress up bin! It was mine from when I was in first grade.


(A little comparison.)

It also has a cape, because DUH. (Those are batgirl barrettes too.)


Then Thursday evening we got the kids all dressed up to go trick-or-treating! Kalena refused to wear the big crown because it made her head sweaty. Fortunately I’d picked up a $1 headband crown to go with her $1 wand, so she wore that. And she took that off about 2/3 of the way through trick-or-treating. Girl doesn’t like stuff in her hair. This is the one happy picture I have of Daniel.



When I bought the kids costumes for Halloween this year, I figured they’d be wearing them 3 times each: once at our church Halloween party, once at trick-or-treat street (put on every year by my mom’s school), and of course to trick-or-treat on Halloween. But then Kalena was diagnosed with strep the day of our church Halloween party so that got nixed. Daniel was diagnosed on the day of trick-or-treat street so he missed that. (Those were really what I intended HIS costume for since they were both indoor things.) And actual trick-or-treating was going to be cold and late, and he made this face a lot after we put on his costume so he ended up staying home from that too. Good thing I bought him a costume, is what I’m saying here.



Sad zebra is sad.

Pumpkin carving time

Hey! We carved pumpkins! Before Halloween even! And by “we” I mostly mean Brian. The kids did a little better with scooping out pumpkin guts this year. (Last year Kalena got a handful of pumpkin goop and gagged and that was the end of that.) But the adults are still doing the majority of the work here. We skipped the pumpkin patch this year because October was crazy, so the kids had to settle for Wal-Mart pumpkins. Spoiler: they didn’t care. Anyway, pictures!

Will was an enthusiastic pumpkin-gut-scooper.



Kalena was decidedly daintier about it. (Actually, her pumpkin was being carved at this point, she just wanted to show me a seed.)



For the first time ever we used templates. And again, by “we” I mean “Brian” because my big contribution was printing them. Kalena wanted a Cinderella pumpkin, so that’s what she got! She was very pleased.



Will insisted on an oviraptor on his pumpkin and nothing else would do. (I offered Buddy from Dinosaur Train, but NOPE. Make the oviraptor happen!) I actually did carve this one, but then Brian had to fix it a lot. (I’m not even sure that template is an oviraptor. I just printed out the closest silhouette I could find.) I tried to get a picture of Will WITH his pumpkin like I did for Kalena, but he insisted he needed to look at it, so the only thing I could get was him looking at the pumpkin, with it turned partly away from me. So.


And Daniel carefully selected this penguin. Alright fine, that’s Tux the Linux penguin and I picked it because I knew Brian would love it. Because we’re both giant nerds. That is Daniel’s pumpkin though!




Sadly, it was unseasonably warm the week after we carved them (before Halloween) so they got pretty wilted and sad looking before trick-or-treating. Usually around here it’s plenty cold enough that carved pumpkins will hold up well for at least a couple weeks. Oh well.

Always somebody’s birthday around here

My sister and her family are here visiting for an extended weekend, and yesterday was my nephew’s birthday! The little guy is one year old now, so obviously there was celebrating to do. And by that I mean cake to make and eat. (Is there another point to birthdays?)

We opted for a dinosaur cake because the older kids all love dinosaurs, and what one year old cares what his cake looks like?



I got the instructions from the Betty Crocker website. It was actually pretty easy.

He was enthralled with his first gift, big boy sippy cups! (Obviously Kirsta was pretty thrilled too.)



In fact, he was so intent on trying to drink out of his new (empty) cups that he needed some help to open his next gift. Luckily Will jumped right in.



The cake was a hit with the birthday boy, of course.



Happy birthday Ethan!

It’s always about cake around here

Last weekend my sister and her family came to visit because it was her 10 year high school reunion. Obviously we went out to sushi while she was here, because that’s what we do. Have a mentioned how much I love maxi-dresses these days? Dressed up but comfortable as pajamas! Best of both worlds!


It also happened that while they were here it was my niece’s birthday. Her GOLDEN birthday! Little miss Amelia turned 4 years old on August 4th. As you know (and is well documented here) I’m sort of obsessed with making cake. So as soon as Kari knew they’d be here for Amelia’s birthday, she asked me to make her a cake. Her only specification was that it be something to represent that it was her golden birthday. Here’s how the final product turned out:



4 tiers for 4 years old and gold accents! It was a giant pain to make but it was pretty! Plus there’s a gold colored “4” candle on top. It was funfetti because hey, she’s 4.

And here’s a cute shot of some of the kids before church that day. Notice Amelia’s lovely gold dress.



Happy birthday to miss Amelia!

Swim lesson time

One of the many things that happened during the busy month of July was swim lessons! It was Will’s first year and Daniel did lessons too. I have a general policy of not doing any “mommy and me” type classes (because I’m lazy) but Daniel LOVES the water, and his OT agreed that swim lessons could be good for him so I broke my rule and signed him up.

It was Kalena’s 3rd year of lessons and as usual she loved them. She even complained the first day that they didn’t last as long as she wanted. She’s getting some proficiency in the pool which is a little crazy to me. She is also fearless and jumped of the diving board this year just with a pool noodle! (Last 2 years it was with a life jacket and she was not very into it.)



Will liked lessons, but still refuses to put his head all the way under water. (He doesn’t like getting water in his ears.) He also still gets a little panicky if you try to make him float on his back (wet head! Panic!) or if you take him in water where he can’t touch. He never cried though, so that’s a win!


Daniel was a little fish. He didn’t do much of the stuff they try to teach at this age (kicking feet, paddling hands, etc) but he loved it anyway! He never cried, even when he got dunked. And as much as I hated getting dressed in a swimsuit and greasy with sunscreen every day it WAS nicer to be in the water than sitting fully dressed in the 90 degree heat.






I didn’t intend to take July off from blogging, and I have a million reasons I did but I’m sure you don’t care. (Probably you didn’t even notice I was gone for a whole month.) Anyway, I’m back! Shall we start with some vacation pictures?

We went back to Estes Park where we had a great time 2 years ago. Just my parents/siblings/families this time though, none of my aunts/uncles/cousins. Still, my parents have 11 grandchildren and the oldest one is 5. Things were chaotic. Obviously we needed to cook some hotdogs over a fire, so here’s Brian helping Will do that.



(The whole time we were at the fire pit I kept thinking, “Why did we think 11 kids plus an open flame was a good idea?” Fortunately nobody fell into the fire.)

Daniel enjoying one of those hotdogs.


I managed to get one shot of me with my sisters! (Or rather, had someone get one.) So many pictures get taken of the kids, and so few of the adults. I think we’re looking more alike as we get older.


And the one picture of our family. Actually taken before Estes Park, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In front of the dinosaur exhibit (aka: the only exhibit Will wanted to see.) Doesn’t Kalena look thrilled to be having her picture taken?



Anyway, good times had by all! Except for the night Kalena fell out of the top bunk of the bunk beds we had the kids in. Twice.