The weather started warming up and we spent lots more time playing in our front yard. Jackson FINALLY learned how to climb the Bradford Pear tree in front of our house. The rule has always been if you can’t climb up on your own (or get down on your own), then you aren’t allowed to climb it. He was ecstatic to accomplish this goal! (You can see in the photo that he lost a shoe while climbing. It’s hard work, y’all!)
The spring weather gave me and Jackson a chance to go to a nearby kite festival and make our own kites, then fly them too. It was a nice day out with my boy. He was really sweet and asked if he could make a kite to take home for Katie too. Awwwww…
While Jackson and I flew kites, Katie and Dan helped our church’s Outreach team at an urban site in downtown St. Louis. They helped clear debris and trash from a field that inner city youth will use to play sports – especially golf. I love this picture of the two of them sitting on top of the trash pile.
I spent an hour on Mother’s Day with a friend of mine after she hired me to take family photos of her very big extended family. Yes, there are TWENTY-SEVEN people in their family. It is extremely difficult to get 27 pairs of eyes open and looking in the same direction, especially with a close-knit group of cut-ups like this one!
In mid-May, Jackson had a Kindergarten graduation ceremony. I have to say this is NOT my favorite thing (why exactly are we giving our kids a big ceremony for simply finishing Kindergarten?), but I will not let Jackson be the only kid whose parents don’t show. So Dan and I were there for the “big” event. This photo is blurry, but it perfectly captures Jackson’s personality. He is a character! As he sat on stage, he saw me taking photos and I have a series of pictures with silly faces like this.
Dan and Katie went to the local plant nursery and picked out our garden, then spent an entire Saturday morning planting it together. Dan says Katie did most of the work, and I can’t believe what a hard worker she is!
For a long time (at least a year or more), Katie has been begging for a dog. I kept telling her no because it dogs are a lot of work. She vowed to take care of the dog no matter what. In order to give her full understanding of what a dog means, I asked around and found friends who were going on vacation and needed a dog sitter. We got to “borrow” this sweet Boxer named Loki. He is a really good dog, but very strong and energetic. I was proud of Katie, though: she picked up poop, tried to walk him (he was just WAY too strong for a kid to walk), and helped clean up after he puked (twice). She tried in vain to get him to sleep in her room, but he is attached to adults and wanted to sleep with me and Dan. It was a fun experiment for our family, though. And now Katie understands it takes a lot of work (including going home regularly to let him outside)… but she is still asking for a dog of her own. Ha!
While I worked on a Sunday morning, Dan took the kids to join the in-laws on a fishing excursion to celebrate Poppy’s 70th birthday. It was the first time the kids went fishing, and everyone caught (lots) of fish. Fun! I joined them later that afternoon for a party in Poppy’s honor.
Near the end of May, Jackson finally earned a special reward. Because he didn’t backtalk for six days, the whole family went to a nearby skate park and let him have a go. He tried his skateboard (very slowly) and his scooter and loved watching the “real” skaters show off. He got run over once, but that didn’t dampen the fun for him.
We would have stayed at the skate park longer, but some ominous clouds were forming in the distance. We packed up and headed out, just in time. As soon as we got home and the kids were getting pajamas on for bed, the rain started and tornado sirens went off. We headed to the basement, and hunkered down with Facebook and the local weatherman. (I learn more from Facebook than the local stations usually.) The weather whipped up, but didn’t seem especially horrible from our basement view. As it passed and news stories started rolling in, we found out an E-4 tornado touched down about a half mile from our house. Some houses were completely demolished and others were badly damaged. Our house was fine and there were no issues besides a small power outage the next morning. Friends of ours were out of power for two days. The night of the storm, I could hear chainsaws throughout the night and the next day. A few days after the storm, I drove near the area where the tornado touched down, and it was very bad. Trees were all over the place, roofs covered with tarps, garage doors blown in, and windows boarded up. That was in the good section too. It was definitely a scary way to end May!