Florida Firsts

Aaaand we’re back! The busy times continue. We’d be remiss, though, if we didn’t post a recap of last month’s fabulous Florida vacation. We had a wonderful spring break with Granny Sue and Grandpa Bill in Orlando. As a special bonus, we were also able to meet up with Melissa (Mom’s friend from HS) and her family and Stacey (Mom’s friend from ND).

All in all, it was a relaxing week full of ‘firsts’, which we’ll share with you now.

First trip to Disney*
disney gang

*When you think of Orlando, we’re guessing that Disney is one of the first things that comes to mind. In our case, “Disney” refers to the Downtown Disney Area, which is FREE … haha. Yeeaaah … Mom entertained the theme park idea for about 2.5 seconds. Then she saw the ticket prices, and that was that. She says we’ll save it for a time when I’m tall enough for the rides and can remember more of the experience. It’s cool. I was quite content to stroll past the shops with Grandpa Bill and play in the Legoland store with Granny Sue.

downtown disney


Our condo facility had a number of fun pools that we frequented during our stay. Molly and I were excited to wear our new swim suits. :)
poolside bear

molly lounger

This pool’s major claim to fame? It gave us our first water slide adventure!
fun pool people

I lost track of how many times I went down the slide with Dad and Grandpa Bill. There were two options, and I preferred the slide “without a top” (as I called it). Who wants a cramped tunnel when you can have the thrill of the open air? Yep … gotta love those topless slides! (haha … sorry, Mom can’t resist a bad joke.)

After lots of swimming and sliding, our favorite activities were, of course, the lounging and snacking.
reflecting pool

molly pool burrito

Midway through our week, we enjoyed another neat activity  (and one not likely to be repeated for a while) – our first ride in a swan boat! I hired the finest boat drivers I could find to chauffeur me around in my white chariot.
swan boat buddies

As you’d guess, we spent most of each day outside. Back in the condo, I played games of Uno with Grandpa Bill and Dad. It may be difficult to tell, but this is a picture of me looking a little too excited to play my “Draw 4″ card and make Grandpa pick up extra cards. Muuuwaaahaahaha!
draw 4, grandpa!

Here’s me and Granny Sue reading one of my favorite books of late – Miss Nelson is Missing. I’d be happy to recite it for you, word for word, at your earliest convenience. :)
miss nelson

Oh, and if you’re looking for super sophisticated dining companions to accompany you on your travels, look no further!
love dinner!

this good!

clean plate club

Yep – classy ladies!

And last but not least, this trek included our first visit to the Atlantic Ocean. Woohoo! We’ve waded in the Pacific during trips to see family in California, but this was my first time (and Molly’s) on the opposite coast.

look! the ocean!

Look! Waves!

admiring waves

My sister’s activity of choice: digging in the sand (closely followed in popularity by the burying o’ the feet).
happy beach lady

ocean gang

Thanks to Granny Sue and Grandpa Bill for an excellent Florida vacation! It was just the break that we needed. :) More good times with family to come in our next post!
sweet sisters


Dear Blog,

You feel neglected lately, and I’m sorry about that. March has been quite the crazy month for the Munchkrennlanders. I know, I know; you’re not interested in excuses. Would you forgive us if I told you that we had a bad case of stomach flu early in the month?  (Trust me – you don’t want the gory details.) Or that we were out of town in mid-March? (Don’t worry – this was 1000% more fun than the aforementioned plague.)

Still harboring some resentment? Would a bunch of pictures make you feel better? See below for a recap of the past few weeks. Oh, and I promise we’ll continue to make amends by posting lovely vacation photos soon.

Affectionately yours,

The Munchkrennland gang

smiley snow people

March 1 brought snow and happy sledders

snow riders

no hands molly

Molly prefers the “no hands” approach to sledding

biking with mimi

Aunt Mimi spent her spring break with us (yay!) just before the onset of plague (not yay!)

big girl rider

classy ladies

Classy ladies! (Guess who had the blue lollipop …)

crazy deck diners

This seems to be the Bear’s go-to expression

happy swingin lady


Adios, March! April – here we come …

Points for Creativity

It’s no secret that cleaning up – and chores in general – can be a total drag. Claire is pretty cooperative when it comes to pitching in, and we try to make a game of it whenever possible (like Mary Poppins, minus the singing and finger snapping). That said, she’ll often claim that she needs to finish what she’s doing first, or that she’s unavailable for some random reason. Most of these excuses are just what you’d expect from a three-year-old, but lately she has thrown a few surprises my way.

Case in point – This conversation, which took place the other night:

Me (surveying toys scattered throughout family room): I’d like you to help me pick up these Legos tomorrow.

Claire: I can’t help with that because I’m going to be in Michigan tomorrow.

Me: Oh, really?

Claire (in her faux apology voice): I’m brushing my teeth, and then I’m going to Michigan. Sorry about that, Mama.

crazy ol' bear

Let’s hit the road.

So, this exchange was amusing on several levels:

a.) She has never been to Michigan (unless you count the Detroit airport), nor do we really know anyone in Michigan

b.) Traveling out-of-state falls into the “above and beyond” category when it comes to excuses for chore avoidance

c.) Maybe she figures that by offering the token ‘sorry’ and shifting my focus to good hygiene that she has covered her bases?

Well, joke is on you, lady. My friend Google Maps says that it will take us more than 8 days to walk 600+ miles to Michigan. If only we could carry more provisions in the bottom of the double stroller!
chilly strollin'

Or perhaps I should start borrowing Claire’s tactics and applying them in my day-to-day life? “Mom, can you get me a snack?” “Oooo … so sorry … I’m going to be in Michigan.” :)

Cabin Fever

While we’ve had quite the mild winter when compared with some of our friends, we’re always on the lookout for new and exciting indoor activities (lest the cabin fever set in!).

We had a few bouts of illness earlier this month, which called for the ever-popular “resting on the couch with Dad” remedy. (This one is a favorite whether sick or well, actually.) And it probably won’t surprise you that the sicky-sick grossness was accompanied by two other pastimes: the “watching of waaay too much Dora the Explorer” and the “eating of lots of bland foods.”


Fortunately, we’re back to feeling like ourselves again, which means that our list o’ indoor fun can include things like “riding super fast horses with jolly Molly” …
ridin' molly

and “hibernating in homemade caves with the fearsome C. Bear.”
bear tent

Off to a good start, I’d say! As it happens, cold weather is also conducive to Saturday strolls around Costco. Free samples as far as the eye can see! Claire scored a lovely (read: random) assortment of treats on her last visit – pizza, spinach ravioli, tuna on a cracker (her favorite), tilapia with mango salsa, and seaweed salad (only Dad was brave enough for this one).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the sickness we referred to earlier was not caused by this umm … interesting … collection of culinary delights … haha.

Have other suggestions for taming the stir crazy winter blahs? It’s hard to imagine what could be better than Costco, but we’re all ears! :)

Molly Moo at Month 18

You there! Yes, YOU! Did you know that I just passed the 18-month mark? Woohoo! I’ll celebrate by drooling on my shirt (the teething adventure continues).
drooly mcgee

A lot has happened in a year and a half, that’s for sure. Fast forward to today, and I’m a speedy walker, constant babbler and voracious eater. It won’t surprise you to learn that some of my favorite words – besides animal noises – relate to food appreciation. They include “this” (as in, “Quick! This! Yes, fetch me those graham crackers!”) and “um” (a.k.a. “Yum.”)

Oh, and before you eat, I recommend washing your hands. I’m a big fan of hand washing and sinks (both the real and pretend kinds).
clean hands

Then you’re ready to kick back at the picnic table with your snack, drink and best bud.
picnic ladies

When we’re not snacking or playing kitchen, I enjoy shape sorters and puzzles of all kinds. I’m becoming quite the sorting expert – preparing for future Tetris domination, perhaps?
sorty mcsorter

epic fail

But watch out – that game builds character! haha

In other 18-month news, I spend much of my time observing the “big kids” with curiosity (and often confusion). Take Claire’s preschool Valentine’s party … umm … what are those kids doing??
student of human nature

Ah, yes – pretending to be snakes. Makes total sense!

When I’m not in observation mode, I’m eager to help with various projects. The same party featured a Valentine’s craft and I was happy to taste organize the festive tissue paper.
tissue helper

And speaking of helping, what could be more thrilling than unloading utensils from the dishwasher?? Woo!
utensil assistant

That’s it for the 18-month update. Here’s a parting selfie (oh, how I love phones!). Have a great weekend!
m. moo selfie


Welcome to February, friends. What a wacky winter it’s been thus far! Perhaps we’ll get walloped this month, but we haven’t had much snow yet – and no accumulation whatsoever. Sure, we’ve had some of the cold, overcast days, but I’m glad we’ve been able to spend time in the yard and at the playground without busting out the heavy coats.
leaf stompin'

sidewalk stompin'

swing and moo

strolling the grounds

Last Wednesday, about the time that our Boston pals were shoveling their way out of Winter Storm Juno (so named by our friends at The Weather Channel), we had an unreal high of 72 … t-shirt weather! Every vitamin D deficient Kansan was walking around with a goofy, euphoric grin … haha.

unusual sight

What’s that thing up in the sky? Oh yeah, it’s the sun.

And in other “frozen” stories of the non-weather variety, the observant Disney fans may have noticed that Molly is sporting her Frozen movie shirt, which she received as a gift a while back. Now, because we have daughters who fall in the Frozen-obsessed age range, people will often comment on this choice of attire.

Random person: Oh, don’t your girls just LOVE Frozen?

Me: Umm … well, we’ve seen like the first 20 minutes.

(This is usually followed by the look of surprised befuddlement.)

classy ladies

What?!? That’s crazy!!

On this particular occasion, my Frozen ignorance was put on display in a conversation with a friend’s daughter:

Girl: I have a shirt like Molly’s. I watch Frozen every day!

Me: Wow – You must know all the songs! And your hair looks nice in that clip. I bet you look just like Anna from the movie.

Girl: It’s not An-na. It’s Ah-na. And I have blonde hair. The blonde one is ELSA.

Me: Oh. My bad. Well, I like that snowman guy. He seems pretty funny.

Girl (sighing): That’s OLAF.

Sooo … clearly I’m not winning any popularity contests among the 4-year-old crowd … haha. It kinda reminds me of when we moved here and I knew nothing about KU/K-State/Mizzou rivalries, which meant that every conversation sounded like this:


Guess I’d better get with the program! And speaking of sports, we understand that there’s a rather large sports-type event happening today. :)

Go Pats! Beat smelly Seahawks!

potatoes and football

Watching football and creating Potato Head masterpieces

Three Times the Fun

Greetings, friends. We hope you’re enjoying a pleasant January. We’re excited about our temps this weekend (highs in the mid-50’s … hoooray!). We’ve been spending a lot of time inside, so it’s nice to be able to go out for walks – even if it only lasts a few days. :)

Sooo … announcement time. As you may already know, we’re expecting a third child. If you didn’t know … well, surprise! Now you do! I’m past the halfway point (due May 24).  And we recently learned that we’re having … drumroll, please … a SUPER SWEET GIRL!!! 

We’re thrilled about our trio of ladies and looking forward to meeting the new one in about four months. I have no doubt that these sisters will follow in the tradition of other great sister triads, including (but not limited to): 

The Andrews Sisters: LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, a close harmony group that produced a string of hits from the late 30’s to early 50’s, teaming up with Bing Crosby for several songs. (But I suppose the whole ‘family singing group’ thing is less likely when you consider that the girls have my genes … haha.)brontes

The Brontë sisters: Charlotte, Emily and Anne, who were all well-known poets and novelists. Famous Russian Anton Chekhov wrote a play, Three Sisters, that was said to have been inspired by the Brontës.

And that’s just the people … you wouldn’t believe how many “three sisters” references you can find with your dear friend Google!

3 sistersFor instance, three sisters can refer to the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups: squash, maize (corn) and climbing beans.

The Three Sisters is also a spectacular rock formation in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The rocks even have names: Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m). Sooo … umm … I guess our third daughter will be named Gunnedoo??

cereal sistersAnd if you’re hungry, there’s Three Sisters Cereal and Three Sisters Fudge. Oh, and let’s not forget the Three Sisters Inn, which is a lovely B&B about 30 miles southwest of where we live.

But though the Three Sisters label is a well-traveled one, I’m sure our sisters will find a unique way to make an impact. :)

In the meantime, Claire and Molly have been eagerly compiling a list of valuable life skills to teach the new little lady (much like Claire prepared for Molly back in the day).

So far this list includes getting ready for school …
lunchbox lady

and learning the alphabet …
mmm ... cake

so that you can become a doctor …
doc molly

or even a PANDA!
panda suit

Yep. Just two pandas, walkin’ around. (Panda suits courtesy of Uncle Patrick & Aunt Monica)
strollin' pandas

Also on the list? How to row a boat (Claire is wondering about the seaworthiness of this cardboard) …

jump on trampolines …
trampoline lady

dance on bath mats …
towel dancer

carry fake food in your mouth …
mmm ... fake food

give awkward hugs to stuffed animals while dressed in your finest “Halloween in January” attire …
awkward hug.

and, umm … bend over while yelling?
bend and yell

Yeah … so basically everything a person needs to know. Baby #3 will be all set! :)

Thanks for sharing in our good news, and we’ll look forward to updating you as things go along.

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