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We met Dan’s parents over at the Kansas City Zoo for a fun (hot!) morning of animal watching together. Although we brought the stroller along, it mainly served to hold our “stuff” while we all took turns carrying Kivrin so that she could see the animals.

Grandma carried Kivrin through the bird aviary, and they saw birds flying around them and also swimming in the water.

Grandpa and Kivrin and Mama looked in the water for turtles and fish and ducks.

Kivrin and Grandma watching the giraffes and zebras in the Africa exhibit where we also stopped for a snack!

Kivrin loved to run around this small hut in the Africa exhibit. It was a little bit cooler than outside, but mostly I think she liked running in circles and seeing her daddy play peekaboo through the window.

A lizard was sticking out his tongue at Kivrin, so she started sticking out her tongue back at the lizard–they carried on quite a conversation that way!

Mama pushing Kivrin in the stroller across the bumpy wooded bridge.This was just before Kivrin dumped that water bottle out into her lap, neccesitating the removal of her soaking wet pants for the last bit of our zoo visit!

Kivrin and Dada rode the carousel together on the way out of the zoo. She loved it so much that she fussed when we only let her ride it one time! Whether animals are real or statues, moving or sleeping, toys or wild, Kivrin likes them all.

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.

One of Kivrin’s favorite new activities is to pull on Daddy’s shoelace, and then say “uhhh-ohhh” and point to the laces and say “un-tied” and then have Mama tie Daddy’s shoe again. And then to repeat that game as often as possible. Here I caught her in action at the bowling alley, which the library rented out for the night for a staff appreciation family event.

WAYYYYYY past her bedtime, we were finally leaving the bowling alley, and suddenly they turned on the disco cyber-bowling lights and Kivrin (already in her pajamas) started her own little dance party right down on the lanes. For the record, Mama let her stay up so late because Mama was trying to watch the Cardinals tied baseball game in extra innings on the bowling alley televisions….although even Mama didn’t stay awake for the end of what turned out to be 20 innings

Mama and Kivrin bowling a NINE by pushing the ball down the lane together!!!!!

Kivrni and Daddy enjoying the bowling alley together.

Mama and Kivrin put their secret team bowling strategy on display for the world….

More pictures on flickr here

Kivrin and Mama out for a walk with the mei tai as a back carrier. We mostly look for dogs, and birds, and sometimes squirrels.

Outside in the yard playing soccer in the sunshine…

Trying out the big girl swing at the park

Kivrin watching out her bedroom window at her birdfeeder, looking for robins, black birds, blue birds, sparrows, finches, cardinals and squirrels!

Kivrin likes to spread out ALL of the blankets over her dolls, or in the case, her mama. Sometimes she gets 30 blankets all in a neatly spread pile, and then spreads them out over another doll, or panda, or snake, or Dada!

Kivrin tried to eat her first apple, but she lost interest after a few little bites.

Kivrin hasn’t been eating as much lately as an active toddler, but she does like to carry her food over to her kitchen to “cook” with it.

“Mama? You want me to wear this easter hat?”

We drove to Kansas City just ahead of the snow storm, hoping to start a restful holiday— instead, Kivrin started throwing up on Christmas Eve with a 24 hour stomach bug! We still braved the Christmas Eve service at Dan’s parents’ church, and made it back to their house safely in the heavy snow.

Christmas Morning, Santa brought two bags of presents for Kivrin to open! One had new Playmobil  trucks and cars and the other bag had a new baby doll. Thankfully, she threw up for the last time on Christmas morning in between opening her Santa presents and was her cheerful self the rest of the day.

 On Christmas Day, Kivrin’s cousin Thomas and her Uncle Jon and Aunt Sara came over to celebrate. Kivrin and Thomas had a blast playing together, although since they are both under 2 years old, sharing their new Christmas toys was not at the top of their list of things to do… The 6 grown-ups to 2 toddlers ratio worked out just about right to keep the peace!

See a preview of the rest of our Christmas 2009 pictures:

See all of the full size Christmas pictures on flickr here.

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

iphone for breastfeeding success

Seriously folks. Besides the constant support of my darling spouse, and great advice from the local La Leche League leaders, and my kid’s ongoing desire to continue our breastfeeding relationship, the best thing that has helped me continue nursing my baby for an entire year is my iPhone. If you can swing it financially, I highly recommend it. Instead of long hours alone in the dark, hoping the baby will nurse quickly so I can get back to getting things done, nursing with the baby in one arm and the iPhone in the other has meant that I cuddle the baby longer, and snuggle her long after she has nursed to sleep. I know this isn’t the typical image of staring blissfully into my baby’s eyes while she takes nourishment from my body. I can check email and stay connected. I can play some games, especially CrackCode, Geared, Toobz, reMovem, Blocked, Solebon, StoneLoops!, FlightControl, Bejeweled 2. I can edit and email photos to family, upload videos to youtube, and read google news. And of course, for everyone who has ever read my status update on Facebook when it is about nursing, I can nurse my baby while I update my Facebook status….

As Kivrin enters her toddler years and nurses a bit less, especially during the day, I am finding I sure miss my iPhone personal time. I’m not saying that continuing breastfeeding into Kivrin’s toddler years is not a way to keep checking my work email while bonding with my baby. But having my iPhone handy during the 6-8 times she nurses a day had certainly made the experience more enjoyable…

Our dear friend Carrie grew up on a farm west of Salina. Her parents have been sharing fresh produce with us all summer, and they invited us out to enjoy their farm for the weekend.

the vegetable patch

The vegetable patch is hidden out between the other fields and the late summer weeds.

kivrin and mama at the field

Kivrin and I with our hats and sunscreen, admiring the green fields and blue skies of Kansas!

kivrin and the suttons at their farm

Kivrin posing with the Suttons at their farm. A tomato greenhouse is in the background.

dan and carrie picking eggplant

Dan and Carrie picking eggplant with an irrigation pump in the background.

kivrin and the doll and washing machine toy

Kivrin loved playing with this plastic washing machine. She kept hiding her doll in the top and then “finding” it again.

kivrin and mama wrestling

Kivrin and I were wrestling and tickling on the floor – we loved the big open space to play together!

mama and kivrin rolling across the floor

Kivrin and Mama rolling across the floor together.

hot and sweaty mama and baby in the field

Kivrin helped pick this red pepper and then carried it around the fields, sometimes holding and patting it like a baby doll.

family at the farm

Family photo in the garden patch.

how kivrin measures up to the corn

“I’m as corny as Kansas in August….”   Here’s how Kivrin measures up to the corn.

shucking corn together

Carrie’s dad picked up twenty dozen corn first thing Sunday morning and we all worked together to shuck it. Carrie’s brother Allen put the corn in boiling water for a few minutes using a propane powered turkey fryer and then we dunked it in an ice bath, cut the corn off the cob and bagged it in quart freezer backs. I can’t remember the final count but I think it was more than 50 bags of corn in one afternoon!

kivrin eating the corn

Kivrin loves corn on the cob, especially the delicious Sutton bicolor sweet corn!

lots of fresh produce from the garden

The beautiful fresh produce from the garden.

A random selection of the best Kivrin clips from the last few weeks. Kivrin is really moving fast now, and laughing and babbling more. Watch for some dancing and singing to music and imitating others. She is learning to express herself, for better or worse! Some clips include our dear friend Laurel who was visiting us from California. You’ll notice I’ve gotten over my efforts to have a clean house in any of these videos. Now you know what it looks like before we clean for company.

For the conclusion of our fabulous anniversary weekend getaway, we went to the Kansas City Zoo for the afternoon.

daddy and daughter zoo watching

Kivrin and Dan watching a monkey together.

meekats and kivrin

Kivrin liked to watch the meerkats. And to stand on her own at the fence, with the animals at eye level.

pointing to monkeys

Kivrin and I admiring some monkeys.

waving to the gorilla

Kivrin giving the lowland gorilla a friendly wave hello. (He was lounging, which I’m sure she admired!)

new baby zebra at the kc zoo

This was the view from our lunch (peas and tofu for the baby, nachos and pretzels for the parents) at the zoo. The farthest little animal on the right is the brand new baby zebra.

kivrin and the lion

Kivrin and her daddy went to admire the lions and this one was right up close!

end of the zoo trip

It was pretty obvious when Kivrin was done for the day! We went through the new rainforest exhibit while she was sleeping, and she slept the whole way home to Topeka. It was a wonderful weekend away, but Kivrin was happy to see her bath toys, her trucks and eating in her high chair while watching the cats. All her favorites!

love the monkey

Behold Kivrin’s absolute joy at a bizzare monkey toy she charmed out of our waiters  at the Mexican restaurant near our house (El Agave)…she left a huge mess of rice everwhere, we left a big tip to compensate for the mess and then they gave her a present!

pushing the stroller

Kivrin discovered at the big Barnes and Noble on the plaza that she could push around the stroller herself!

mother daughter trains

At the same store, Kivrin and I discovered TRAINS! neither one of us is very good at playing trains yet — Kivrin throws them and Lissa tries to hook them together backwards, but we both had a good time.

on the big bed

This is a naptime reenactment of how Kivrin hogged the king sized bed all night for our big anniversary trip. Although she does not sleep across the pillows at the top (yet) I think she gets this bed-hogging from her Aunt Leigh Anne!

kivrin and mom swimming

Although the water in the outdoor pool was cool, Kivrin loveed swimming and splashing.

lounging around

This picture doesn’t look like much, but it illustrates three of Kivrin’s newest hobbies — the first, holding socks. She likes to carry around socks (clean, dirty, doesn’t matter to her) like little dolls. The second activity is dragging around grownup shoes by the laces. She likes to carry a pair and walk around dangling them with her. The third activity is lounging. Kivrin likes to lounge on mommy or daddy, or course, or on the bed or the couch. Here she is lounging on the floor, with her feet up on the stroller.

Kivrin entertaining herself (an iphone video during dinner)

Lissa and Daniel took a special weekend trip for their 5th wedding anniversary, and Kivrin came with us! We ate dinner at Buca di Beppo on the Kansas City Plaza, figuring (correctly) that at a busy family style restaurant, Kivrin would enjoy herself and fit right in! She even got to sit in a booster seat between us in a big comfy booth. All of the waiters and waitresses stopped to get smiles from the baby, and Kivrin had a blast!

action shot of signing more

mashed potatoes at buca di beppo

Kivrin signing her version of “more” and getting a bite of mashed potatoes.

my monkey eats at the table

i love bread

Kivrin chewing on the heel of the bread and playing with her monkey.

Flickr Photos