Hanging out in Texas

After Christmas, Bryan and I spent a couple days hanging out with the family before venturing out on our own vacation.  I thought I’d share some pics from our fun times.  There’s a video at the end of Sylvia playing with an electric car that’s pretty cute.

This is actually on our flight to Texas on the 23rd, but I had to share these pictures because the kids were looking so silly.



Andrew had a “blue raspberry” lemonade.  He was so proud of his blue tongue!


After Christmas, Melanie gave us all some new holiday beer toppers.  Reindeer and santa hats:)


A perfect poker combo.


Bryan got sick on Christmas Day and he was out of commission most of the 26th, but by the evening of the 27th, he was back in the game…the poker game.



I don’t know if I can count the number of “tubbies” that Sylvia took while at Granny and Gradad’s.  I’m guessing it’s around 4 per day.


Bryan and Mark went golfing in the balmy Texas weather.


Here’s a cute video of Andrew and Sylvia playing with a motorized car.  I like how she gently pats it when it stops and then runs gleefully away.  So cute.


Christmas Eve frolic

On Christmas Eve, Grandad put together a really fun scavenger hunt for all us kids.  I spent a quiet December morning putting together the videos that Granny shot with the photos I took to make this Scavenger Hunt video.

After the prizes were uncovered (the traditional Christmas Eve pajamas), the kids were full of excitement and glee, and they danced together around and around and around.




Then they went to the kitchen to get some cookies and milk for Santa.


And then they gamboled together again.




Oh those two…they really crack me up!

Here’s my favorite picture from Christmas.


And a quick posed photo (with the obligatory sibling-neck-squeeze) in front of the fire place.


Ahh the excitement of being a kid on Christmas Eve.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Breaking it down with Eli and Celia

One afternoon in late October, we had Eli and Celia over, and all the kids engaged in a little dance show.  The boys were caped wonders, dancing fiercely and courageously with ninja moves and powerful dances.


The girls seemed to prefer a more flowing dance style.  Yet they still had a lot of power in their sometimes cute, sometimes where-did-you-learn-how-to-move-like-that (!!) too-sultry-for-three-year-olds dance numbers.


Celia brandishes her cape with a flourish.


Then of course, there were the combined dances.  Fortunately, there were no collisions.

Here’s all the dancers after the final bow…10-18-11_untitled_052

Jessica, it’s so fun to watch these kiddos play and move and grow together over time.  Thank you for sharing your amazing kids with Andrew, Sylvia, and me!

Andrew’s new bedroom

Andrew and Sylvia got new beds this fall.  Since he moved out of his toddler bed, Andrew’s had the lower trundle from the bed I had a kid.  I kind of wanted Andrew and Sylvie to share one bedroom and have the other room be a play room.  But Sylvie really needs her own space when she gets mad – which is still a lot – so after discussing it, we decided to keep two separate bedrooms.  However, we’d already talked about bunk beds, and Andrew was pretty keen on (read: committed to) the idea.

The bed itself was back ordered for a month, but in October, it came in, and I’m so happy with how it looks!  I took all the wall hangings down and re-hung them in places that I liked.  For the past four years, they’ve been hanging in spots where there happened to be nail holes in the walls, and it felt nice to put things together in a more cohesive way.

Andrew’s room looks nice and big since I took these pictures with a wide-angle lens – actual dimensions are (12.75′ by 9.5′).  (Sylvia’s room in contrast is is 9.5′ x 9′ square.)





I’m so happy with how this guy’s room looks!  It feels nice to have pictures on the walls in a nice configuration (the blue fabric square is from Joe’s trip to Sri Lanka and the tapestry is from his trip to Ecuador).  The water color drawings up around the top bunk used to hang in the living room, but Andrew liked the idea of them in his room.

He’s slept on the top bunk since the bed’s second night here.  And Sylvia has in turn slept on the bottom bunk.  It’s fun to have these two munchkins falling asleep and waking together.  Good for sibling bonding:)

And I’m so happy to have these rooms furnished and arranged in ways that makes my heart glad.  Happy big boy room, Andrew!

Backyard football

One afternoon in September, I asked Jessica to watch my kids for a bit while I did some photography.  When I came to get them, I found Eli (in red) and Andrew (in yellow) engaged in a heart-felt game of football with Mitch.  This remains one of Andrew’s favorite play times of fall 2011.10-03-11_Klaboughs_001

It seemed that a huge part of the playing of football was the celebrating of runs.10-03-11_Klaboughs_002

There was helmet knocking, hugging, high-fiving, and extreme happiness.  Can you see Eli’s missing tooth (it didn’t get knocked out during football play).10-03-11_Klaboughs_005


Love the earnest looks on these boys’ faces.  10-03-11_Klaboughs_009

Watch out, boys, it looks like Mitch is coming through!10-03-11_Klaboughs_011

He’s broken through the defensive line!!10-03-11_Klaboughs_013

Did Mitch make it to the end zone?  Perhaps.  I’m pretty sure, though, the that helmeted players carried the day.10-03-11_Klaboughs_015

Ahh, and now some well-deserved nourishment – a made-from-scratch caprese sandwich.  I love this picture of these two friends sitting.  Together.  Both so dear to my heart.10-03-11_Klaboughs_018

School this fall

Here’s Andrew, with his first grade teacher, Maestra Samaca.  He’s so happy about his classmates, and I’m just so thankful that school continues to feel to him like a huge treat that he gets to do five days a week.  He goes to school with a smile on his face and comes home with a happy glow.

09-20-11_RenFair_002I’m going to be volunteering in the classroom once a week during the class they have in English – Geology.  Andrew is so excited that I get to come to his school and he can introduce me to his friends.  They’ve been studying rocks in science class – looking at them with magnified glasses, getting the rocks wet and letting them dry, scratching the rocks and seeing what happens.  Andrew tells me almost every day that he loves being a geologist!

Here’s a video of Sylvia walking to school the first week.  She is loving her preschool class with Sue and Jodi – she goes in the mornings twice a week and stays for Lunch Bunch.  I can’t tell you how happy she is to finally be a big girl and get to go to school all by herself.

[flickr video=6152999242]

She’s also been going to daycare at Donna’s twice a week this past month, and then she has ballet and tap on our free day.  Given my heavy photography workload this fall, it’s been a great schedule, and Miss Sylv is just thriving on the many activities.

Jump around

Happy Monday morning.  I know it can take a bit to get going on a Monday after a beautiful weekend, so here’s a video of Andrew and Sylvia to help you start your day with a chuckle.

They’re at a Badger’s women’s soccer game, dancing to the song Jump Around.  Where they learned how to:

  • shake their booties like that
  • do the robot dance

I don’t know:)

[flickr video=6169347753]

First sleepover

On Labor Day weekend, Andrew had his first sleep over.  He and Alivia had been talking about it for ages, and at last it seemed like the right time.

It was fun to have our Alivia girl over for supper.  Afterwards, we roasted marshmallows.


I love her look in this picture!09-02-11_sleepover_006

These kids have become expert pepper harvesters.  I planted six pepper seedlings this spring, and they’ve produced well.  Bryan’s made pepper jelly and hot pepper sauce, and the freezer is full of more to process!09-02-11_sleepover_009



I think they’ve only eaten one or two.  They’re not too hot, but I think they have fun daring each other to test the spiciness!09-02-11_sleepover_018

The next morning, I had to get a picture of these two buddies. 09-03-11_sleepover_023


I have no idea what they are doing in these photos.09-03-11_sleepover_024


So glad that we have friends like these just down the street.  Andrew and Alivia have know each other their whole lives.  Well, at least Andrew’s whole life.  He’s a year younger.09-03-11_sleepover_032Petitions have been put in for sleepover #2.  Since the first went so well, I think we’ll be happy to oblige, but I’ve indicated my preference for no more than one per month:)  They are counting the days until October.

Hard to believe that we have sleep-over aged kids!

Sibling time

Andrew and Sylvia can be so sweet together.  I just love those kiddos so much!  Have I mentioned recently how cute they are together?  Oh, they are:)

Andrew is such a kind and loving big brother.08-29-11_FirstDayofSchool_003

Many days when Andrew is walking home from school, Sylvia will run down the street toward him, her arms spread wide.  And Andrew then runs toward her, his arms spread wide.  They meet half-way down the block in a big sibling embrace.  Reminds me of the scene from the Muppet Movie where Kermit and Miss Piggy are running toward each other through a flower-strewn meadow.  Makes my heart spark and pulse with happiness.

08-29-11_FirstDayofSchool_017In and amidst the sibling squabbles, there’s so much love and fun between these two.  Sometimes when they’re watching a movie and Andrew is feeling a bit worried, Sylvia bravely states, “Don’t worry, Andrew, I’ll protect you.”  And of course, he does the same for her.

Sometimes the two of them get laughing about something (often a bare bootie or a “sweet potato” as we oft refer to them), and they roll on the floor together, cackling and laughing so hard they can’t breathe.

They play games where Andrew is the villain and Sylvia is the girl baby or Andrew is the pirate and Sylvia is the pirate baby.  Or Andrew is a caped superhero and Sylvia is a tiny “born baby.”  See a theme? gaa gaa

Sylv enjoys having time at home by herself.  Franky, I think she relishes the solo time.  However, nothing beats having a cool brother to come home at the end of the day to play with her.

I’m so glad these two have each other.  Love you, kiddos!

First day of first grade

Andrew had his first day of first grade last Thursday.   He was excited:)


There’s something so neat about seeing your kid open and ready to tackle the next challenge.  Andrew just loves school, and he was excited to be in a classroom with his best buddy, Jayquan, and he was excited to be a first grader!


In the last few weeks, people often asked me if Andrew was excited about going back to school.  I had to give a qualified answer.  He was excited, but Andrew is (at this time) a kid who experiences life very much in the moment. He doesn’t tend to anticipate things too much (positively or negatively).  He said he was looking forward to school.  He smiled when we talked about it, but he never brought it up.

However, on the morning of – his excitement bloomed forth:)09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_025

I don’t think I can tell how much I love this kid.  Except perhaps you can tell from these pictures a little bit of my adoration:)



For comparison, here’s a photo of Andrew’s first day of Kindergarten…

09-01_10_first day of KG_003

Here’s Andrew’s buddy, Alivia on her first day of second grade.


There’s our blondies…


Andrew’s teacher is Maestra Samaca.  Here she’s greeting her new classmates.


Here’s Andrew and his good friend Jayquan.


There was lots of hugging:)09-01-11_FirstDayofSchool_052Have a great year of first grade, Andrew!!

I like how they start school on Thursday.  That gives them two (short) days, a three day weekend, and then a four day week.  Seems like a nice, measured start to the year.  My boy’s looking forward to heading back to the classroom this morning!