Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer in St. Louis

Before our annual trip to Ocean City, we stopped off in Belleville, IL to visit Kevin's family.  Despite the 100+ degree temperatures, and the 1000% humidity, we had a wonderful visit.  It was especially nice to see Papa doing so well.  It was about this time last year that he was diagnosed with cancer and, since then, he has been valiantly fighting it.  After a final surgery in July of this year, he is said to be cancer free!  It was a long year for him, full of one medical procedure after another, but he is gathering his strength and is sure to spend the next year enjoying all the things he missed out on this past one.  We know we missed seeing him!  It had been over a year since our last visit, but Kaden easily remembered his BaNoi and Papa and enjoyed his visit with them immensely.

The two highlights of the trip, were a super successful fishing and boating expedition in the backyard pond and a visit to the St. Louis Arch.  

Kaden excitedly watching Dad and Uncle Brian bring out the paddle boat

Kaden's first fishing experience...and, within one minute, his first fish!!

Off to the yacht you think our boat will stand out?

Proudly showing off his catch.

Kaden had talked about going up in the Arch for weeks before the trip.  Every time he saw it on TV (we watch a lot of Cardinals games), he'd mention that he wanted to go up in it.  He couldn't fathom that an elevator would take you to the very top.  By the time we got there, he was beside himself with excitement.  Unfortunately, the line to get in and the awful smell of the fertilizer being spread on the grounds dampened his excitement a bit.  Not to worry, it was instantly revived when we got inside and purchased our tickets to ride.  

Super excited about boarding our pod

A tight squeeze...both in the pod and in Mama's arms

Viewing Busch Stadium from the western side of the Arch

Looking for BaNoi and Papa's house out to the east

Catching up on some greatly missed snuggle time with BaNoi and Papa

Thanks to Uncle Brian for the matching shirts and to "Ju-wee" for reading a favorite book

We had a nice visit with friends, Sandy and Aaron.  And, FINALLY got to met the adorable Caleb Rodman!

Last, but certainly not least, we were lucky to spend some time chatting with Kaden's Great Grandma.  With the patience of Job, she let Kaden pick up each and every trinket in her room at Our Lady of the Snows.  He particularly liked her walker and grabber tool.  We particularly liked the time we were able to spend with her and the perfectly timed visit of Aunt Pat!  Overall, a really good way to start our summer vacation.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Camp Willoughby

One of the highlights of our summer was attending a camp-out hosted by our good friends, the Willoughbys.  Six families gathered at the Willoughby's house on a Saturday afternoon for a swim, some play time, and a cookout.  Afterwards, the dads worked on setting up tents in the back yard, the moms supervised, and the kids gathered to watch a movie al fresco on the giant projection screen.  No camp-out is complete without a S'mores Bar so, for dessert, we tasted all of the varieties.  The kids were so excited about the prospect of sleeping outdoors, and maybe because of the sugar coursing through their veins from the S'mores, that they didn't get to bed until 11 o'clock.  The next morning it was a classic camp-side breakfast and then home for a big nap! Everyone had a fantastic time and we hope it will become an annual event.  Since the camp-out Kaden has asked, repeatedly, to sleep outside.  We may have an outdoorsman on our hands!!  

The decor and utility camping kits for the kids

We ain't scared of no bears!!!

Dinner consisted of hot dogs, mac n' cheese, and fruit cups.

Kaden helping the men get everything set up.

Movie time!  
Tangled - Kaden LOVED it, especially the fact that the prince is named Flynn ("just like me" he said).

Getting cozy for the show

Still not tired

Mommy and Kaden after he helped assemble the tent

Mmmmm...S'mores!  Kaden liked his first taste of this yummy treat, but didn't like the mess they created.

Our first camping trip was a great success!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July Block Party

Preparations:  The Flag Cake and Red White & Blue Popsicles

The Guest List:  Kaden's Best Buddies

...and their siblings.

The popsicles were a huge hit!

For Kaden, the band was an even bigger hit.  He was their biggest little fan.

Danced a few numbers with Gammi, but promptly return to his post front and center.

The bouncy house...what kid doesn't like these?

A year older, but he still doesn't love the fireworks.

Front yard dinner picnic - the pied piper being played by Gammi (of course).

Saved the last dance for mama.

And his favorite part, running around in the middle of the street with not a care in the world!  How's that for freedom?