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THANK YOU to Aunt Leigh Anne and Cousin Colin for hosting us for a super-awesome visit!

See all (150 so far!) vacation pics here on flickr.

Kivrin was a WONDERFUL airplane passenger — both our flight to Milwaukee and our flight home again were planned around a noon-ish naptime, and she fell asleep just after takeoff on the way there and just before takeoff on the way home, sleeping in our laps/arms the entire flights both times!

Snuggling on the couch — so much for Lissa’s nap! First Colin joined me for a nice cozy snuggled, then Kivrin decided to jump onboard and Dan played referee at the end of the couch to keep everyone safe…

Kivrin and Mama walking at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

Dan and Kivrin pouring sand through a funnel in the toddler area at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum.

Luckily, Kivrin was appeased by leaning down to touch the water of Lake Michigan and didn’t try to go into the water. She definintely liked the “big” water though!

This is one of the happy moments in the shared baths that were characterized by many (valid) complaints from Colin that Kivrin was “splashing him” and “splashing water in his eyes” and “not stopping splashing him.” The louder he complained, the more vigorously she seemed to splash with delight!

Colin sends his water rocket into orbit, or at least 25 feet in the air. Kivrin liked counting down one-two-three-go, and watching the rocket, but when the spray came her way, she wanted to go inside.

Kivrin and Colin in the rocking chairs outside the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. They are resting up BEFORE our hike down to the lake and back up again.

Dan and Colin making a strawberry rhubarb pie together in the kitchen, which we ate with fresh vanilla homemade ice cream.

While Dan and Leigh Anne explored the fabulous world of menswear together, Lissa tried to keep two kiddos happy and well behaved in a department store. Can we say “thank goodness for iphones?”

Colin gives Kivrin a high-five through the glass at his hockey skating lesson.

We also went to a kite festival down at Veteran’s Park by the lake — and Milwaukee County Zoo and Klode Park and Richards School playgrounds, as well as spending lots of time playing at Aunt Leigh Anne and Colin’s house and in Colin’s bouncy house in the basement play room!

See all (150 so far!) vacation pics here on flickr.

(more pictures to come as I have time! I think I’m about 20 GB of photos and videos behind right now!!!)

Kivrin wearing the new Christmas dress that Nana sewed for her. Unfortunately, she was tired and crabby and she refused to look at the camera for a picture. The dress is adorable though!

Colin and Kivrin both sitting in Papa’s lap to read “Twinkle Toes” by Karen Katz. Papa was such a good reader that he had to keep reading more and more books until he almost lost his voice!

Kivrin loves to open the cabinets and drawers in Papa’s kitchen. She discovered that his bottom drawer has dish towels and potatoes, then dragged the bag of potatoes all over the house before I could catch her. Here she is taking them into Papa’s bedroom and offering them to the vaccuum cleaner that is just to the right inside the door.

On Sunday morning early, Colin and Lissa snuggled on the couch under some blankets. Then Kivrin got jealous and insisted on joining us. She wasn’t very sleep though, so it was more of an aerial attack on our nap!

Thanksgiving visit to Nana’s house means flying Uncle Lee’s helicopters around the living room. Note the phone in Kivrin’s hand here, we had to get Nana’s bedroom handset for her, so that she would leave the other telephone alone.

Thanksgiving dinner around the Fogt family table with Sara, Thomas, Jon, Steve, Lissa, Kivrin, Daniel and Sandy.

Papa Staley, Lissa, Kivrin, Colin are dropping leaves over the bridge into the stream, then rushing to the other side to lean over and watch them on their path down the stream.  At Shaw’s Garden in St. Louis.

Cousins Kivrin and Colin enjoying a warm day at the Missouri Botannical Gardens.

Lissa and Kivrin enjoying the Van de Graaff generator at the Magic House in St. Louis.

Kivrin L-O-V-E-S to ride on Uncle Jim’s special John Deere tractor. She can’t reach the pedals, or the ground, but she likes to be pushed all around the driveway.

Kivrin modeling her fancy party dress that Lissa found for $18!!!! at the Black Friday sales with Leigh Anne.

See the rest of our Thanksgiving pictures on flickr.

View all of the pictures on flickr here.

Leigh Anne and Colin flew in from Milwaukee and we drove from Topeka to meet up for a fun weekend at Papa Staley’s house in Collinsville!

We visited Nana Herring for lunch on Friday, and although we missed her Cahokia Mounds retirement party by a few days, both great-grandkids enjoyed playing with her party balloons! Uncle Lee brought out his remote controlled helicopters which were a HUGE hit with everyone. Kivrin even got to color a picture for Nana, and I don’t think we got crayon on the coffee table!

helicopter 4x6

kivrin coloring at nanas hosue

On Friday night we met the Staley Family at Alfonzo’s in Maryville for some pizza and fun! Kivrin enjoys the flashing lights and sounds of course. She isn’t exactly skilled at the games yet, but she has fun trying to play!

colin and kivrin winning tickets

kivrin playing air hockey

kivrin playing skee ball

Into an already full weekend we added some extra excitement on Saturday, including a trip to Shaw’s Garden for a children’s fair and to meet up with Dave’s family, a baseball game (the Cardinals beat the Brewers which made Colin happy at least), and a visit from Kate’s family in the evening.

family at shaws gardens

kids meet up at shaws garden

kivrin and mama at stadium

kivrin and grandpa

family at ballpark

girls kissing goodbye

girls playing

We enjoyed walking to Woodland Park together, and playing on the playground. Kivrin is a brave one and likes to go down the slide on her own, she just needs help getting up the steps sometimes and getting seated before she slides, so she doesn’t go head first! The weather was warm enough to play baseball outside in Grandpa’s yard, and enjoy his flower garden. Kivrin especially loved playing in the back of Papa Staley’s pickup truck. Her hard soled shoes made a satisfying loud noise when she stomped her feet, she was tall like the grownups, and Mama kept playing peek-a-boo over the edges and through the windows.

kivrin on slide face first

backyard baseball5

excited kids


grandpas truck

collinsville flickr 1

collinsville flickr 2

colin and lissa and kivrin building the playmobile circus

Lissa shared her playmobile circus with Colin — Aunt Lissa was the trapeze artist under the big top once we got it put together! Kivrin helped from her chair!

., cute group shot

posing on the bench at Collins Park

colin and dan on the teeter totter

Colin and his Uncle Dan try out the teeter totter together

kivrin totally loves swinging

Kivrin loves swinging at the park swings

kivrin happy on the slide

This was the first day that Kivrin went down the big slide on her own, she loved it and insisted on doing it a dozen times!

merry go round family pic

Merry go round family photo (thanks to Aunt Leigh Anne for snapping this tricky pic!)

water fountain

Kivrin has also discovered public water fountains, which she adores. I don’t think she gets much water, but she likes to try.

kivrins belated birthday party

With Leigh Anne and Colin in town, we had one last birthday party for Kivrin’s 1st. Dan made the whipped cream pie for Kivrin to enjoy and we all had fresh whipped cream on brownies.

whipped cream cake a success

The whipped cream was a success — Kivrin tasted some, then had fun playing in the whipped cream goodness.

cousins rock band

Colin and Kivrin formed a rock band and played us a concert.

rock band

Kivrin sings lead and Colin plays guitar.

kivrin really likes the concrete lion

Kivrin was reaching for this new concrete lion from the sling!gage park mini train

We went for a ride on the Gage Park mini-train, although Kivrin snacked on green veggies the whole ride.

flickr screenshot la visit

See the rest of the photos from this fabulous trip on flickr.

Oh yeah! Cute cousins, Colin and Kivrin, took time out of their busy Labor Day weekend vacation to pose for the cameras. Prints to come for relatives and friends, or preview more adorableness on flickr now.

cousins piggy back

cousins squared

colin and kivrin together

flickr screenshot

See all of these pictures on flickr here.



playing in the fountain

family at the gardens

watching a sparkler dud

feeding the koi

feeding ducklings



Early morning playtime at Grandpa’s house with everyone still in their jammies.


“Look at me, I can stand up to play.”




Cousins playing and sharing together. At least while the camera was on!!!


“I’m getting you, Nana!”


“Surprise, it’s Colin! And Kivrin!”


“I love clapping with Nana. Everyone works so hard to make babies laugh. I like that!”


“Oh yeah. Check me out. I’m sleeping in Nana’s arms. That’s a pretty sweet deal.”


“What’s this stuff? Is this Nana’s stuff? I wish I could reach it. I would eat it.”


“Oh, I see. When the baby is too big for the lap, the Mommy turns into a lounge chair!”


An artsy photo by Dan, with Colin showing Kivrin his paper crane.


Colin ate some grapes, but was hesitant to pose for a picture.


Colin was amazed by this paper crane that Uncle Lee made.


Colin is guarding the entrance to the castle. The pillows are the hard castle walls. It was a complicated scenario.


“I’m happy to be here!”



Independent play at the Lego table (which we smuggled home in our trunk — don’t tell Colin!)


Colin trying to blow a raspberry on Kivrin’s head.


Crocheting (Lissa, in the background) with a three year old (Colin, in the foreground) is a stupid idea, which some people (Leigh Anne, who is asleep on the couch with yarn tangled in her toes) must have already known.


“Uncle Dan, will you open these stickers for me?”


“Look at my stickers!”


Kivrin is too little for stickers. But she likes them anyway. She admires Colin and Dan’s stickers instead.


Colin tickling Kivrin’s toes.


This is a photo of the very first time Kivrin scooted backwards into a sitting position. Not that you can tell, really. But it is. Look, that is Lissa, pointing excitedly on the left, and Colin cheering her on.


Even though he is a big boy now, Colin liked most of Kivrin’s toys. She was pretty nice about sharing. This trip anyway.


“Wow. Look at that. I wish I could do that with my mom. That looks like fun. Heck, I wish I could do that with anybody. I can’t wait to grow up and wrestle people.”

Colin let Kivrin look at his cool new Legos.


Attack of the giant baby! Since Kivrin is too little to play with Legos, Aunt Leigh Anne let her walk on them instead.


Kivrin enjoyed touching the textures on the Lego and reading the instructions for building a house. She was very impressed by how quickly Leigh Anne can create things, especially while Colin is napping. She can get her own Legos in a few more years!

We enjoyed a Christmas lunch at Jim and Gwen’s house with all of the Staley family.


Colin and Kivrin hanging out together.


Kivrin was eyeing Colin’s new toy as he made the train go around the track.


Uncle Gary and Aunt Carol  have lots of grandaughters so they are experts at appreciating little baby girls!


Kivrin had a blast hanging out with Aunt Gwen.


Sitting with Dan, Kivrin watches Grandpa and Colin playing with a helicopter.


The Staley tradition continues – dominoes around the dining room table after dinner.


Kivrin thought her cousin Allan was very amusing!


Colin holding on to Uncle Lee.kivrin-with-grandpa-and-uncle-jim

Kivrin sitting with Uncle Jim and talking to Grandpa.


It’s a flying baby santa Kivrin!


Kivrin wanted to be clean and good-smelling for Santa on Christmas Eve so she took a bath in this makeshift bathtub on Grandpa’s kitchen counter!



A family picture under the Christmas tree (with the treats for Santa).


 Winding down on Christmas Eve, we snuggled up in Grandpa’s basement to watch WALL-E together (well, not Kivrin… when she kept turning her head, she got her view blocked by a combination of boxes so that she couldn’t watch the TV).

Flickr Photos