Monday, August 30, 2010

Minnesota Part 3: Duluth

On Tuesday, my Mom and I took the boys down to Duluth. We visited with family (see Minnesota Part 2) and then met up with Lara and her family at the Great Lakes Aquarium. What a neat place!
Watching ships in the harborParker had many stroller shots
The Aquarium

This was the kids' favorite part of the aquarium. It was a model of the Great Lakes waterways, the locks, and the rivers that lead out to the Atlantic Ocean. There were small boats to float from the Duluth Harbor all the way to the ocean. The locks actually worked, too!
After the aquarium, my mom and I took the boys to my favorite spot in Duluth, Canal Park.

Nolan LOVED the lift bridge. We were lucky enough to watch a 1000 foot ore boat come through the canal, under the bridge, and out past the pier we were standing on. Nolan was enthralled.

What a great day!

Minnesota Part 2: Family

One of the reasons that this Minnesota trip was so important was visiting with my Grandfather. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and recently experienced some major medical problems. We are not sure how much longer we have with this great man, and I was so grateful I had a chance to see him.
Ben, Nolan, Great-Grandpa O'Neill, Emma, Parker and Grace
I was also fortunate to visit some other relatives while there.
My Grandma O'Neill
Meaghan and Aunt TeriJenae, Uncle Steve, Justyna, Trevor and Aunt Geri

It was very sad to say goodbye to everyone, but especially my grandfather. One of the things I remember most about him is how he was always singing. Since his recent medical setbacks, he hasn't been able to communicate very easily. While visiting him, I asked him if he remembered a song he used to sing, "Arizona". He smiled and nodded, so I started singing it to him. He actually sang the song with me.

Arizona, how do you do?

Arizona, glad to see you.

I love your sunshine,

honest I do.

That's why you see me, smiling at you.

You're the pride of

Old Mother Earth

and nothing can compare with you.

I love your desert trees

and your cactus leaves.


I'm wild about you.

I love you Grandpa.

Minnesota Part 1

Nolan, Parker and I spent all of last week in beautiful Minnesota with my parents. We stayed at their house in the woods.

and played, played, and played.We hung out with some great cousins, too!
Seeing that we were in my home state, Parker had to represent. Go Gophers!

While Nolan played, ran, played, and did some more running, Parker melted everyone's heart.
We had a great time!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

6 Months

Our sweet Parker is 6 months old today! We went to the doctor for his 6 week check-up on Thursday. He is healthy and growing very well! He weighs 18lbs. 13oz which is the 75% and is 27 3/4 inches long, which is 90%. What a big boy!
I am really loving everything about Parker these days. He loves to laugh, especially at Nolan. He enjoys his exersaucer, the bouncy seat, and just rolling around on the floor. He has recently been able to sit up on his own. He loves grabbing toys and "playing" while sitting. He likes eating, but loves vegetables much more than fruits. He is happy to go anywhere as long as he can see people and nap when he needs it. He sleeps really well at night and is a pretty good napper, too. We just really enjoy being with him and are so grateful for his easy-going, happy personality.
Everyday we are enjoying the brother thing more and more. Nolan is DYING for a playmate, and Parker can't grow fast enough for him. Parker loves watching Nolan play and will crack up whenever he sees him. Sometimes Nolan really thinks Parker is bigger that 6 months and tries to "get" him. I truly don't think he means to make Parker cry. Right?

I am not much of a photographer, but I love the comparison in size between these guys. Also, notice Parker's really cute birthmark.
Now if you ask how old Parker is, we can say a half!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Family visits

This past week we were fortunate to have some of my family come and stay with us in hot, humid St. Louis. My brother JJ is in law school at Vermont Law School. He had a summer internship in Washington DC and a fall internship in Denver, CO. St. Louis happened to be a half-way point, so he stayed with us for 5 days. He was pretty busy finishing up some things for school and his internship, so I think he saw more of Borders than of us, but we were happy with whatever we could get!

My sister Lara and her 3 kids also came down to visit us and see JJ. The kids are Ben, 6 1/2, Grace, almost 5 and Emma, 2. What a blast we had together. My favorite part was how well the kids played together. Nolan keeps asking for Ben and Grace and wondering when we can see them.

We were pretty busy each day, but knowing me, I of course only got a few pictures.

Emma, Nolan and Ben
Grace and Parker
Ben, Nolan and Emma

The first day we went to the Whittle Train Store in Valley Park. The second day we went to the Kirkwood park, played in the sprinklers, and watched the ducks by the lake. That evening we took the kids swimming at Ted's parents. Grace even learned to swim without her life jacket!
On Saturday we all (including JJ!) got up early and went to the zoo. During the first hour, you can do some of the things that cost money for free. We did the sting ray exhibit.

It started getting pretty warm, so Lara and I took Emma and Parker home while JJ and Ted kept the 3 big kids to have lunch and ride the train. They loved it!
That afternoon, Lara and I did a little sisterly shopping. You can't have a sister trip without including a little shopping! We left our sweet, kind, clean kids with JJ and Ted. This is what happened while we were gone:

Mud baths! They told us over the phone, and Lara and I were dreading coming home to clean it all up. We really underestimated those guys. We got home to thoroughly rinsed off, dressed nicely, and ready to go kids. Thanks guys! We then took JJ to Super Smokers for his birthday dinner. The kids loved it, but no one more than Grace. She at 3 1/2 chicken legs! Go Gracie! Then we all went out for Tropical Moose. Monkey Snot was deemed the best!
With Uncle JJ

JJ had to leave Sunday morning. It was hard to say goodbye. We loved having you!
Sunday was church and then we had dinner and swimming with Ted's parents again. Nolan can now jump off the side of the pool (over his head) and swim to me in the middle. Without floaties or anything. What a super star!
Monday we spent at the Magic House. What a great place to go and explore!
Soon enough sweet ParkerPlaying checkers with random girls

Trying to be inside a bubble
Due to the health of our Grandfather, Lara and the kids had to cut their trip short. We swam at the Kirkwood pool Tuesday morning, and they left shortly after. We loved having you guys here and can't wait to see you in Minnesota soon!