Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All Aboard on the Santa Express

So, Oliver "gets it" this year. Christmas that is. And all that is wonderful and magical about it. We're working on the Jesus's birthday part, and he sort of understands that concept and is excited to sing Happy Birthday to Him when the big day comes. But as far as Santa goes, well in Oliver's mind, he and St. Nick are best buds. He had nary a worry last weekend in marching right up and plopping in the big guy's lap, rushing to exclaim that he wants "two swords" for Christmas. Now, it sounds like he's saying he wants "two shorts" for Christmas, which I can assure you would only lead to major disappointment in the unwrapping department if I ran with that interpretation.
And not only did Oliver get to have a little one-on-one chat with Santa once last weekend, but twice. He saw Santa at our daycare's annual pancake breakfast with Santa fundraiser at Applebee's on Saturday. Then, Matt and I surprised him on Sunday morning with tickets to take a ride on the Santa Express in Baldwin City. It's a real live train, with a few of the cars built back in 1898 (Note for next year - bring a blanket. It's chilly in December). It's really hard to not get too crazed with Christmas cheer and overdo things during the holidays, but I think this little outing was/is totally worth it. Our family, along with about 100 other families, hopped on a train that (slowly) took us on a magical 10-ish mile journey, where we listened to Christmas stories, sang Christmas songs, drank hot cocoa and ate sugar cookies, and, oh yeah, marched on up to the last train car and paid a visit to Santa and Mrs. Claus. It was pretty awesome. Another note, make sure to potty at the train station, as no bathrooms are to be found once you start your journey!

All smiles at Applebee's

Posing on the front of another train at the Baldwin City station. So, I guess this place is like a real train station. With real trains. And crossings. But no gates or flashing lights. And no barriers to keep kids from climbing on said trains. And really only some guys yelling out to "hurry up and cross" if you are walking along the tracks and a train happens to come up on ya. And 200 people milling around outside waiting for the Santa Express to arrive. Hmm. Oh well, no one got hit. :)

Honorary conductor.

Can you tell it was sunny? Really sunny. With no window shades. But, we were so happy to see sun after the December we've had that we weren't complaining. Just letting it wash over us.

Hamming it up with the Clauses.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving down in Oklahoma with Nana, Papa, Aunt Jennifer, and her BF Sasha (who valiantly endured several days of Oliver's nonstop chattering). It was a much needed break from the routine, and we saw more old friends and family than I have seen during a visit home in a long, long time. Matt and I even left Oliver there to spend some QT alone time with Nana and Papa so Mom and Dad could do the same in Kansas. :) Here are some pics of our visit and of the Wichita Mountains, where Oliver loved seeing all the longhorns (the nice, animal kind; not the yucky burnt-orange-crappy-football-fan kind), rocks, and all-around uniqueness that is the Wichitas.
'Til next time Oklahoma. XOXO!

Dear friends and hot mamas Amanda and Sarah.

Sasha and Aunt Jen try to wear out Oliver. I think the opposite occurred.

Cold at the top of Mt. Scott.

But on a clear day, you can see forever.

The sky's the limit, kid.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Worst Skee Ball Players Ever

I dare you to watch this video and not have at least one giggle escape you. Oliver and Mia Kenkel went on a play date to Power Play in KC this past Sunday. They had a ball...no pun intended, but couldn't quite get the hang of skee ball. They did, however, master their blue raspberry slushies quite expertly!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Here comes Bullet! (and other tales from Stillwater)

On November 9, 2013, Oliver experienced a truly magical event. One I hope he will get to repeat over and over and over...Nope, not Disney World. An Oklahoma State home football game! Whoop! We road-tripped down to Cowboy Country, along with the rest of the Lawrence crew - Clothiers, Griffiths and Gudgells, to watch OSU destroy KU. Oliver had a blast wreaking havoc touring around campus. We took nostalgia pics at the Phi Kappa Tau house (where all the dads lived during college and where all the moms met the dads during college. Note, no kids were made at the PKT house during college. ;)) The Coles Family's pre-game activities then commenced: We sprinted strolled through Theta pond and Library Lawn; careened moseyed by the student union; crashed caught a pep rally at the Alumni Center - complete with band, Pistol Pete and cheerleaders; got our cheese-fries on at Eskimo Joe's - outside tent only, to be specific; got our picture taken with Bullet the horse - actually, only 1 person got their picture taken, b/c he refused to let his parents join in; and then made our way to Boone Pickens Stadium, where Oliver thoroughly enjoyed watching Bullet race out onto the field after after Poke touchdown - of which there were alot! He passed out dozed off on Matt near the end of the first half, so we gave up on the game, made a quick stop at heaven Coney Island on our way out of town, and were back home and asleep by 10pm. A great introduction to OSU game day if ever there was one!
Now, to figure out a way to make it to a basketball game this season....

  Phi Kappa Tau Alums and Futures. I'm not sure if it's technically allowed to take photos with the fraternity crest and share them with the outside world. I still don't know where Matt's fraternity nickname comes from. Hush hush and all.

 Not to be left out.

I would love to tell you that the PKT's have really classed up the joint and made great improvements to the house since our time there. But, alas, not so much. Those alumni should really step up, don't you think? :)

Library Lawn. As beautiful as ever.

Three little stinkers.

Meeting Bullet. Solo. Alone. Individually. Sans parents.


Friday, November 1, 2013

A Very Curious Halloween!

Well, hello there November. When did you creep up on us?

Another Halloween has come and gone. You may remember last year's debacle....(Screaming Zebra) where Oliver was just too overwhelmed by everything to function normally (read: breakdown city). This year went much more smoothly. He decided to be Curious George in early October and never looked back. We packed in quite a few festivities leading up to the big night: We went to Boo At The Zoo in Kansas City with our friends the Roberts family a couple weekends ago, where Oliver made a beeline for...who else - the monkeys. We had Stepping Stones Halloween Carnival this past Sunday. I picked Oliver up from school early yesterday and we trick-or-treated around my office building, and then last night was THE night to end all nights - especially when you're 3.5 years old and your best buds are with you and there's an endless supply of candy being thrown around.

This year, same as last year, we headed over to the Griffith family's house for pre-haunt pizza and photos, then it was off in the wagons, down their street, which is seriously Halloween Central, where Oliver, Charlie and Noah pretty much maintained a slow sprint from house to house. The girls of the group, as usual, took their lady-like time and reminded us all to stop and smell the chocolate. Then, it was off to Mike and Tara Zerr's ( (Tara almost Zerr - T-minus 2 weeks to wedding) for their annual Halloween party. Holy chaos, Batman! Our George was having so much fun, we had to drag him kicking and screaming from their house - where he sobbed the entire way home blubbering "I don't want to leave. I don't want to leave. I don't want to...Hey Mom, can I have a piece of candy?"

Halloween as a parent is, of course, way more stressful than pre-kid, but I think we are slowly but surely getting the hang of it. Next year we may even, gasp! decorate our house! Here's to many more Happy Halloweens in Lawrence, USA.

At the zoo - in his natural element

Fun with Nory Roberts

Almost go time!

Game faces on? 

Why look! It's the Man In The Yellow Hat. Here to claim his monkey!

Griffith neighbors set up a dance floor in their driveway, prompting Oliver/George to show his moves.

Obligatory family pic!

Um, this is what happens when you attempt a group boy pic.

And, this is what happens when you take a group girl pic. Sigh.


Monday, October 14, 2013

When Mom's Away The GP's Play!

The other weekend I flew off for a whirlwind visit to Colorado so I could catch up with some dear old college friends. While I was gone, Grammy & Grandpa came to Kansas to spend some QT with Oliver. And it sounds like they had just the best time! Oliver had a birthday party at the pumpkin patch that G&G got to experience, they got to see the KU Homecoming Parade, they got to see Oliver's complete domination at bowling (I think this was b/c he refused to let anyone else have a turn), and they got to cheer on Dad at his soccer game.
Looking stylish at the patch!

Cheering on Dad. Hmm, notice the difference b/w Oliver's attire and Jerry's????

This past weekend, Matt, Oliver and myself had our first trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. It is only a 30 minute drive down I-70, but it is definitely a different world inside! Oliver loves anything to do with water, and combine this with two of his favorite friends on the planet (Charlie Griffith and Noah Clothier) and he was in heaven. I think Matt enjoyed the water slides more than he expected to. As for me and the other moms, well, we tried to spend as much time in the family-friendly hot tub as possible! Oliver really likes going to hotels in general, so I plan to be peppered with requests to go back for a long time. I'm sure we will enjoy more stays at the GWL, but I'm hoping he will be big enough next time to go on all the rides himself, and then I really will be spending the entire time in the hot tub (the adults-only one at that)!

O is a big fan of all the bear-related decor at the GWL.

Action shot shooting out of the slide tunnel. Oliver LOVES fast slides that go through pitch-black tunnels. WHO is this kid???

The Wrecking Crew.
The just warm "Hot Tub".

And last but not least, Oliver commits 2 rule violations in under 10 seconds. 1. Cuts off the poor little girl moving too slow in front of him, and 2. Goes down on his stomach (not allowed per GWL lifeguards)!

Next update will likely be Halloween related. Fingers crossed the screaming zebra from last year will not make another appearance! See 2012 Halloween Blog Post for those enjoyable details.

Friday, September 27, 2013

All things September

Ahh, the great outdoors.
We had our first soccer practice experience a couple of Saturdays ago. It went great! Oliver and his BFF Charlie (they act like brothers - which is both good and bad) are on the same "team". It's pretty much like herding cats at this age. Oliver is pretty driven at coming in first in everything he does, so it's already evident he will be the kid laying out other kids flat if they get between him and the ball. I really have no idea where he gets this trait from (cough, cough). We have also enjoyed our first apple picking experience out in the country. The countryside around Lawrence is very pretty this time of year. But, I will say, country folk are just different. Very nice. But very different. I like the mix of city-living with the proximity nearby of life slowed-down. It's nice to visit the country. I just wouldn't want my only mode of transportation to and from my house to be a tractor (one from the 1940's at that.) Speaking of old tractors, Oliver and Matt also took in an antique tractor show the other weekend, also out in the "country". I am told there was a memo involving overalls and motorized wheelchairs that my family missed somehow. Oliver loved the event (and discovered there is a tractor brand named after him)!
Kickin' it with his homie.

All smiles all day!

Now, you would think looking at this photo, that Oliver really enjoyed his time spent picking apples.

And this one as well. Boy, he sure did have fun, huh?

Well, the two photos above were taken right near the end of our time at the orchard. The majority of the time there was spent whining, not listening, falling down for no reason, and refusing to pose for photos. Like this one.

Oliver, meet Oliver. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Friends, Fish, Family = FUN with a capital F!

Just hitting the highlights here folks so excuse the brevity (but there are lots of pics)! Labor day weekend was all play and no work for us. Oliver had 2 birthday parties, we all went to the lake, and Matt and I even made it to an adult house party at the Gudgells like the good old days. Ahem, curse you Flip Cup. (The next morning reminded us that it is no longer the old days, but now the days in which we are old).

Next up, last weekend, Dad went off to Vegas with "other daddies" for their annual trip-o-debauchery (it gets milder each year for some reason. Oh yeah, it's cuz they're old and getting older). So, not to be outdone on the fun, Oliver and I packed up and headed down to Oklahoma City to meet Nana and Pa-Pa for a weekend of Zoo, Pool, and a Bricktown Boat ride. It was super fun but super hot. Oy vey, Mother Nature! I get it. You bestowed a blessed summer of mild temps upon us, and we were not grateful enough, so you are making us pay in September. Enough of the heat rash already! Digression.
Oliver and I also got to meet Cousin Evie Nagy for the first time - she's 15ish months now!

Moral of this past weekend: OKC is fun! And totally doable in a weekend. Drive on down and check out the action. You might even score yourself a Kevin Durant sighting! (I did not. BUT, I did see his new KD's restaurant in Bricktown. It's close to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. Not to be confused with North OKC's Wes Welker's Bar and Grill. No, I'm not kidding. If you're an anyone in Oklahoma = if you build it, they will come. And eat!)

Okay, so this pic may be a week older than Labor Day. But, it's the freaking cutest pic ever!

Wearing their OSU Orange to Waylan Roberts's 2nd Birthday Party at the Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park. So much fun with the animals. 

Oliver caught his first fish at Deanna Rose! Heck, it might have been my 1st as well.

At the OKC Zoo. It's now ranked in the Top 5 zoos in the country. We were there for 3 hours and only made it halfway through! 

Nana and Pa-Pa were troopers in the heat! 

To say Oliver would not leave Pa-Pa alone in the hotel pool would be an understatement.

 Bricktown Water Taxi Tour.

 2nd attempt for a smile worked after he saw a big kid pose for a pic.

Great series of sculptures depicting the land run right off the Bricktown canal. More to be created to make it the largest scultpure series in the world, so we were told.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We're On A Boat!

All three of us were lucky enough to be invited out on our friends Mike and Tara's boat last weekend. Thanks so much Mike & Tara! We had a great time. Matt grew up with a boat, I like sunshine, and Oliver is a fish, so it was kind of a win-win for all of us. In fact, there were several other families we know out on the water that day as well, and the kids had a great time jumping, splashing and heading out on a 3-hour tour. Mike even let Oliver drive his boat, which meant Oliver promptly found the gas, which then led to an abrupt change in speed for a second! I don't think he quite understands what a "no wake zone" means. :)
Kids Day at Lake Perry! Plus three more little ones not shown! 

I promise Oliver was doused in sunscreen! 

Don't mind the music in the background! 

In other news, we bought a new car! Woohoo! Matt's 2002 gold Nissan Sentra with the dent in the bumper and missing side mirror (I did not do it!) has been retired. In its place is a 2014 Subaru Forester with all the bells and whistles. We love it! The best part, now we can hopefully make it up our hill and out of our neighborhood when it snows. Fingers crossed! (Actually, I would be okay with no snow and no need for all-wheel drive, but that's for a different post!)
Don't worry, we already put the orange OSU sticker on the back window! :)