Trains and Dinosaurs

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It’s been a couple of weeks now, but I promised I’d share a report from our staycation, so here I go.

After our visit to Plymouth, we gathered up our munchkins and headed out for a day on a farm, including a used homeschool book sale. Our favorite part was getting to see the animals. Lydia loved petting the bunny and watching the ducklings. We like to call them Ducklets. Lately I’ve been thinking about the way baby ducks follow their Mommy around in a little train. I’ve been wishing it was that easy going places with little people. Ours tend to scatter in all different directions rather than follow their parents in a little row.

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The next and biggest event of our staycation was a trip to Greenfield Village. It was Abby’s first time and Paul’s too, and for the rest of us it was only our second visit. I wanted to watch the glass blowing, Dan wanted to see Edison’s buildings, Lydia wanted to watch the train, and Abby wanted to eat some sweet potato tots. Paul just wanted to be carried around all day.

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In the end, Dan got to see his buildings, Paul got to be carried, and I got to see my glass blowing. The girls loved the playground. Abby never got her tot, and Lydia’s first glimpse of the train made her cry (too loud). But in time, we figured out how to enjoy the train. We even stayed late to watch it go by one last time.

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The last successful voyage was over to Ann Arbor to look at the dinosaurs and animals in the Natural History Museum. As always, the dinosaurs were a big hit. We splurged and ate out at a restaurant, only to learn that it’s not worth it to buy the girls a $9 plate of food to share. Abby will definitely throw it on the floor. Lydia will complain that it doesn’t taste good, and in the end they will enjoy the $2 fruit cups from Seven Eleven much more than the $9 plate of restaurant food. Lesson learned. After our lunch and museum visit we trekked over to the Ann Arbor Arboretum for a little walk in some nature. We found a bench in the shade and sat to rest for a long while. I think that time resting on the bench might have been my favorite part of the whole week!

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The last outing for our week was to the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. It was an epic fail. Dan and I don’t really enjoy art that much, but when you throw in a needy baby, a very loud toddler, and a high energy preschooler, we really don’t enjoy art. So, another lesson learned: dinosaurs – yes, paintings – no.

In all I’d say the staycation was a success. We learned a little, had some fun, and ran around enough that we were ready for a normal Monday once Dan started his job. Getting regular meals, naps, and playtime does our family good.

Fur Rondy Highlights

Fur Rondezvous is our church’s annual talent show, named after the Fur Rondezvous festival that takes place in Alaska every year. It’s one of the most anticipated nights of the whole year and our family was especially excited to attend this year because we didn’t know if Baby would make it (in Mommy’s belly) that long.

There were so many fun and beautiful acts this year, but I wanted to share just a few with those of you who weren’t able to join us.

So we begin…

Lydia wanted me to share her two favorite acts.

The Good Samaritan:

And “the Ballerinas”:

This sweet song was a favorite of mine:

Oh, there were just so many good ones!

This group of boys did a superb job at boiling down a long, long Bible story into a very concise skit:

Now that you’ve seen the fun we enjoyed, maybe you’ll consider joining us the third Friday of next February for the 2016 Fur Rondy performance! While nothing is certain, it seems likely that Baby #3 may be making an appearance…

Taylor Turkey Day 2014

Last Thursday Dan’s family traveled to our home for our Thanksgiving celebration. I had been warned by many (including my doctor) not to do too much, so we had to be strategic in our planning. I started the meal preparation on Tuesday and did a little each day leading up to our feast.

Thursday morning we wanted to attend a local church service, so I planned accordingly. Dan and I love being efficient, and this day was definitely a success. By the time we left for the service we had the cranberry sauce and dessert made, potatoes in the crock pot, sweet potatoes ready to throw in the oven, and the turkey stuffed and roasting.

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We enjoyed a beautiful service and took our time visiting before heading home. Car troubles changed our plans slightly so we had extra time to get the meal together. After a small lunch, Dan carved the turkey (which was smelling delicious by that point), and I made my first ever successful batch of gravy. We scooped out the stuffing and mashed to potatoes and put those prepped sweet potatoes in the oven. Then I headed upstairs to nap until Dan’s family arrived.

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By the way, does our turkey look strange? A friend gave us this tip a while back: if you cook your turkey upside down, the white meat will be much juicier. We tried it once and it turned out great, so now we’re hooked. Although, this year my entire turkey was over cooked so the white meat was dry anyway. Good thing that gravy turned out!

Then the fun part, family arrived. We piled up our plates and enjoyed the food while we visited and were entertained by our food-loving Abigail and ever-social Lydia.

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After dessert, we spent the majority of our evening in the living room. Lydia made us laugh until we cried by dressing up and dancing all around the living room. Books were read and stories told. Everyone got the first glimpse of this year’s ornaments made for us by Dan’s Gramma.

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It was a wonderful day and a wonderful night. Dan’s parents spent the night (much to the girls’ delight when they woke up the nxt morning!) before making the long trek North.

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Our Thanksgiving weekend continued on over the next few days and we set up our Christmas decorations, did some Christmas shopping, and enjoyed having Dan home for four days in a row. It was a perfect weekend to celebrate God’s goodness to us and our many blessings.

Warmin’ Up for Ladder Golf

Dan’s grandparents have a dog named Lady. Lady is pretty cute, pretty well behaved, and pretty friendly. But she hates it when birds get into the pine tree outside. She hates it so much that she jumps and bites branches off of the bottom of the pine tree. Then she barks and runs in circles with her eyes fixed on whatever bird has invader “her” tree.

The Saturday morning of the Dexter Family Reunion was rainy. Lydia didn’t mind because when we got to Gramma and Grampa’s house she got to play in the puddles in their driveway. We took Abby inside and watched as Lydia splashed in puddles and Lady barked at the birds. Grampa got in some good time holding Abby, and everyone enjoyed an extravagant potluck lunch.

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Once all of that was over it was time for some serious competition. Lawn games were set up and everyone found a partner. Grampa kept score because Dexters are very competitive and there were prizes to be had. Uncle Gene and Gramma fought over who got to hold Abby.

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I especially like this picture because it captures the heat of the moment: ladder golf newbies, a devestating miss on the cornhole game, and Dan warming up on the stationary bike.

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At the end of the day Grampa rang the bell on his “train” (pulled behind a four wheeler and definitely not up to any safety codes) and the kids scrambled to get on. It was an intense ride but after the fact Lydia claimed to have enjoyed it, and no one was hurt (although we did blow a tire). Everyone was exhausted by the time we piled back into the car and it was a relatively quiet ride home.

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Guess that Taylor Answers

And the winner is…

Girlie! For getting five correct answers (ok so four correct and two partially correct). You get a half million points. Dad T and Gramma Dexter each get 10,000 points for being good sports and actually trying. Maybe next time we’ll offer a real prize.

Here are the answers:

1. “Let’s go outside.” – D

Around out home, this is no surprise. Dan says this daily. And we all agree happily! Except for Abby, maybe. She loves the shade.

2. “I want to go inside.” – L

Spoken not once, but twice during the day (if you don’t count that she says it about fifteen times to make sure we heard her). Once to go inside our friends house and sit in a particular “little chair” and once because there were dogs inside.

3. “This is messy. Clean it up.” – L

During breakfast Lydia spilled her oatmeal. She can’t stand messes.

4. “I don’t need a nap today.” – J

Yes, that was me, not the two-year-old. I normally need a nap every day. But when a day like this is so perfectly warm and sunny and full of friends, and Dan is home, I’ll give up my precious nap.

5. “I’m not tired.” – L

Yeah, that was Lydia. She never thinks she’s tired.

6. “Ah-buh-gah.” – A

Abby. Surprised?

7. “Hold me!” – L, J, D, and A

I gave partial credit on this one. Lydia asked first. Abby “asked” in her baby language and cries. And Mommy didn’t want to be left out. Dan just said it as he copied the rest of us, but it still counts. This one ended in a family group hug.

8. “It doesn’t get any better than this!” – D

Dan, enjoying the beautiful day.

9. “I’m scary!” – L

Lydia got bit by some mosquitoes and another bug. As everyone examined her bite to determine if it was dangerous, she got pretty scared. And when she’s scared she says, “I’m scary!” For the record, the bite did not appear to be dangerous and it’s healing just fine.

10. “I’m stinky.” – J

You don’t have to spend too many days with our family to hear Lydia say this. Actually, she’ll shout it if your not paying attention and she wants a diaper change. But this time it was me, and no, I didn’t have any accidents. We were walking in the hot, sunny weather and I was starting to sweat.

Guess that Taylor

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Yesterday was the perfect holiday. The sun was shining and it was wonderfully warm outside. We had a great day visiting friends, house-hunting, walking in the sunshine, taking naps in the cool basement, and getting some necessary chores accomplished. During our visit with friends, Lydia stayed busy watching ants, playing in a sandbox, and helping move some bricks (but not really). Like I said, it was a perfect holiday.

During breakfast before our busy day began, someone said something unexpected. And somehow that launched Dan and I into a discussion of the things we each say. That turned into this game, which has now been dubbed Guess that Taylor. I thought I would invite you all to join in the fun.

Below I’ll list ten quotes, spoken by someone in the family, at some point during Memorial Day. The first person to answer all ten correctly gets a million points. Or, if no one gets them all right, the first person who gets the most correct answers gets a half million points. I’ll try to post the answers tomorrow afternoon. All submissions are valid until the answers are posted. Your choices for answers are:

D – Dan
J – Justine
L – Lydia
A – Abigail

There is only one correct answer for each quote, except for one of them, which may have up to four correct answers.

1. “Let’s go outside.”
2. “I want to go inside.”
3. “This is messy. Clean it up.”
4. “I don’t need a nap today.”
5. “I’m not tired.”
6. “Ah-buh-gah.”
7. “Hold me!”
8. “It doesn’t get any better than this!”
9. “I’m scary.”
10. “I’m stinky.”

Ready? Go! Leave a comment with your guesses.

Easter According to Lydia

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We had a wonderful Easter spending time together as a family and with friends, celebrating the resurrection of our Savior. There were new and pretty dresses. There was a potluck breakfast. There was a joyous Easter service. There were lots and lots of pictures. It was, indeed, a celebration. And on Monday, when all the festivities were over, Lydia agreed to share with you all what she has learned about Easter.

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(A Little More Than) 30,000 Words

Our little Abby-girl is getting so big and chubby and strong.

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and cute.

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and smart.

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Oh and, don’t forget about this little munchkin!

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I recently promised her a tea party.

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Abby, can I get a smile out of you?

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Hey there!

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I think you are a…

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Pretty girl.

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Aren’t we charming?

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Abby too.

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Lydia is still bigger.

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Let’s hope she doesn’t take advantage of that.

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Abby, smile! Lydia, smile for real!

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Oh dear.

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A little better but we had to leave one out.

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Lydia sometimes asks to hold Abby.

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Ok girls, lets wrap this up with a picture of you both. Smile.

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Abby, you too.

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Now both…

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Close enough.

We’re Going to the Mountains

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A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to the mountains. It was inspired by a book of Lydia’s and by her incessant chanting of “We’re going to the mountains!”. We don’t always do everything our almost-three-year-old tells us to do, but in this case, we did.

We packed our bags. They included: a toy camera, sunflower seeds and raisins (trail-mix, of course), hats, scarves, and a baseball glove and ball. We loaded up the car and headed out.

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Little brother and Abigail had a few arguments during the drive and there were a few “Are we there yet?”s, but it wasn’t too bad in all. We listened to music, read a picture book, took turns driving, and avoided taking a single bathroom break. Abby slept almost the whole time and we managed to make it all the way to the Grand Himalayan Alps in what really felt like just a few minutes.

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Since Abby was still sleeping, we decided to just leave her in the car. Please don’t judge our parenting decisions. The parking lot was practically empty anyway.

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Then we headed out to climb the biggest mountain we could find. We took a break about halfway up on a nice grassy plateou, where Lydia took a short nap. Then we resumed our climbing.

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Near the top we had a close encounter with a bear. By ringing a bell and shouting at it, we managed to scare him away. Then we ascended the very highest peak. We stopped to munch on trail mix and enjoy the view.

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No one felt like playing ball just then, so I guess it was good that we had left our bag in the car with Abigail. Lydia didn’t take any pictures either, but I brought my camera along so that turned out ok too. After soaking in all the beauty surrounding us from that height, we made our way back down the mountain and back to the car. Abby was safe and sound and still sleeping. The drive home felt longer but was actually shorter. lydia made good time.

It was a great trip. I know not everyone has the time and resources to drop everything and drive to the Alps, but, for those who do, I highly recommend it.

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“The Story of Abigail” World Premiere

You are officially invited to the world premiere of…

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Friday, February 21, 2014
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Plymouth First United Methodist Church Building
45201 North Territorial, Plymouth, MI

That’s right. This Friday is our Church’s annual Fur Rendezvous Talent Show. There will be a whole host of skits, songs, and other acts that will be fun for the whole family. A light supper will be provided, starting at 6:00. Coffee and desserts to follow.

For those who remember, “The Story of Lydia” was a big hit two years ago. Now it’s Abby’s turn. We hope you can come.
For those aren’t aware, enjoy Lydia’s Movie now and come on Friday to watch an exciting sequel.