Sunday, September 27, 2009

While It's Still Cute

Wesley has graduated from the world of nodding and shaking his head to almost exclusively using "yah" and "nooo." We still think it's adorable and funny, but we're not naive enough to think it will always be adorable and funny. So, while it's still cute, enjoy Wesley practicing "no."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Flight Plight of the Penguin

As Wesley begins to express himself in somewhat clearer ways, we are trying to capture a few of those moments on video. This particular day I was trying to record him saying "hello." Little did I know I would document such a terrible fate for our friend Penguin Puppet. The worst is that, after being discarded by the very person that made him come to life, Penguin Puppet was then tossed around by a baby! A baby who, I might add, received several kisses from Penguin Puppet just moments earlier.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,
and He guided them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:28-30

Ahh, summer in Minnesota. Little is more peaceful than sitting in a small fishing boat in the middle of a calm lake somewhere "up north" just waiting for the fish to bite. Or not bite. Whichever you prefer. Beautiful.

The funny thing is that I took this picture in the middle of the afternoon on the 4th of July while a boat parade was driving by and a rowdy water baloon fight was going on overhead. But you'd never know from this perspective.

It's that way in life too. If I start to pay attention to the "rowdiness" of life, I miss out on the peace God has to offer. If we cry out to Him, He will "calm the storm to a whisper" and what we'll be left with is a life focused on Him. A life in which we can submit to His will as He guides us to our "desired haven."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Going on a Bear Giraffe Cow Hunt

Monday was a good day to hit the zoo. Not only did we have beautiful weather, but we had "educational purpose" in our adventure that day. Wesley formally started "informal" preschool on Monday with a teacher that looks, acts and sounds a lot like his Mama. I was turned on to a pre-preschool curriculum and decided to give it a shot. (When I told Jack we were going to play school that morning he instantly started referring to me as "teacher.) Week one has been good. The weekly theme is cows so before we were zoo bound we crawled around the living room pretending to be cows...mooing, eating grass, you know, all those things cows do.

The farm is deep into the zoo so we had to see some of the other exhibits before heading out to look at cows. The newest feature is a playground that reflects many of the characteristics of Minnesota; fishing, the north shore, bears (really? I didn't know Minnesota was known for bears) and mosquitoes (there is a 5-foot tall mosquito that the kids can climb on...only in Minnesota).

It sure would have been nice if this kid I don't know hadn't been in the boat.

He finally got to drive.

Jack practiced casting.

And patience.

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one...

One shiny wet nose. Two big furry ears. Two big goggly eyes.

It's a bear!!!!!

strawberry birds return.

Jack found a new home.

And then we found the water.

And a real bear...

or two.

On our way to the farm we saw the giraffe.
People feed him a lot so he comes close whenever there are people near the fence.

And we finally made it to the farm. Unfortunately we missed the milking demonstration. It probably had something to do with the many many times we had to stop on the way out there so that someone could get into and then out of and then back into the stroller because it was just too far to walk.

On the final stretch of our adventure we saw some turtles sunbathing on a log.

I think these were Jack's favorite animals to see.

Goodbye zoo.

Hello car & naptime. By the way, this is not a triple stroller.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting Together

August 31st was a momentus occassion for (most of) the Starkey family. For Wes and Elise, it marked their first time to the "Great Minnesota Get Together" as our state fair is more commonly referred to. For Sean, it was his first time to the fair in at least 20 years and, despite a bum foot and an intense dislike for all crowded places, on our way out the gates was talking about our return trip next year. The only thing about next year is that we'll need to budget all summer to be able to feed and entertain 5 people. Very little exotic food was consumed among us, but we did eat Pronto Pups, a state fair staple. One of the first things Jack asked when we got there was if there were any ice cream cones. When we confirmed that, yes, there were ice cream cones that's all he thought about until he had one. Before lunch.

We explored the animal barns. We all thought the bleeting sheep were pretty funny (and loud!) and loved seeing the week old piglets. The cow barn was full of traffic with people bringing a new round of animals (is that what it's called? a new round? I apologize to my farming family who actually knows about all that stuff - I just make it up). As much as we wanted to experience the Miracle of Life, the barn was packed from wall to wall and it was impossible (actually, impossible doesn't even begin to describe it) to follow a man and his three-year-old while pushing a double stroller. So we went in one door and immediately got in line to leave through the next closest door.

We had to stop and watch the water at Ye Old Mill. Maybe next year we'll all get in one of those little boats.
And of course we hit the Kidway. Jack got the first ride - a "buggy" (interpretation: 4-wheeler). Wesley was too short.

We found one that Wes could ride. He did smile part of the time. I just didn't catch it.

Last year when Jack and I went to the fair we just walked by the Kidway and saw bumper boats. He remembered seeing them last year and insisted on riding this year. Again, Wesley was too little. Maybe next year, Wes.

One more ride for both boys. Wes was having fun "beeping" the horn (if you can call such an obnoxious noise "beeping"). Jack - Mr. Serious - was concentrating on his driving.

Four rides and $20 (yes $20!) later we headed across the street and found this display:

Any guesses?

What about now?

Okay, okay. Guessing game is over. We spent at least 30 minutes "driving" Bobcats. The boys had to try them all.

The funny thing is that this display was about 20 feet away and they had no interest in playing there.

We wrapped up our fair trip by watching Garage Logic for about 45 minutes. I think this is what convinced Sean that the fair isn't so bad and that he could maybe go back next year.

Our children weren't quite as entertained as Sean was.

In the true spirit of "getting together," Jack turned the camera on all of those that had "gotten together."

A very close up of "Daddy"

The whole family really liked this guy.
I was standing next to him holding Elise and she kept reaching for him.

No idea.

Apparently Jack liked these girls because we have several pictures of them.

Another one

And another

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Babies

No longer one-on-one (yes, I realize it's been 8 months since we were), we have come up with various ways to reference our child-groupings. This makes it easier when we need to split the child responsibilities. I can simply say, "You deal with the boys, I'll take Elise" instead of using their oh-so-complex-and-long names (okay, okay I know they're not complex or long, but many time saving tools must be implemented to achieve (?) that exists in our house). Jack and Wesley are often referred to as "the boys" or "the big kids." My favorite is when we get to group Jack and Elise (doesn't happen very often) and refer to them as "the bookends." Wesley and Elise are referred to as "the babies" because, while Wesley may not be a baby anymore, he was still a baby when Elise was born.

I wonder if the Duggars implement such time-saving techniques in their soon-to-be 21 person family.

Anyway...this post happens to be about the babies, neither of whom look much like babies anymore...sniff, sniff (will someone get me a tissue please?).

"Elise, that's your sippy cup. You get a drink from it."
"Like this, watch"

"Oh, nevermind. I'll just do it for you."
After mastering her "sippy cup technique," Elise went on to more
interesting things like discovering that her brother has feet.

I would just like to assure everyone that the fact that Elise's sippy cup matches her dress is purely coincidental. Child-group references don't save that much time.