Sunday, December 23, 2012


I don't know that this post needs a caption.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fall Evening

One of our favorite family moments is taking an evening walk after dinner in the fall.  Southwest Evansville has the most perfect fall seasons imaginable.

Jed rides his bike around and around.  His specialty is "offroading" and he's done some pretty shockingly gutsy stunts.  We went from "terrified whining" to "insanely unafraid" in the last six months.
 Zoe can ride, but she prefers to run.  And run and run and run.  I think this particular evening she must have run about a mile.
 I push the babe.

Smoothie Boys

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December Stats

Jed's been eating like a piggy the last few days, so we decided to do some measuring.


40" tall (86th percentile)
33 pounds (55th percentile)

48" tall (93rd percentile)
50 pounds (77th percentile)

32" tall (60th percentile)
24.5 pounds (40th percentile)

You can compare this with our most recent August statistics. And you will see that Zane has apparently shrunk?  No he is just the exact same size, just 95% toddler muscle now. I did just use my own adult scale, so it is possible it isn't quite as accurate in the lower numbers.

Then we attempted to take a December kids picture, which was... typical?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Put that baby to work!

Zane started walking, for reals, on Thanksgiving.  We didn't waste any time putting him to work around the house, as you can see below.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Refinishing the Kitchen Table

We received a beautiful little dining set from my Aunt Brenda for our wedding seven years ago.  We have used that table almost nonstop since then, and the finish was starting to show all the use. 
You could use a fingernail to scratch off the soft finish.  If you set down a newspaper for too long, you'd get a newspaper print left on the surface that wouldn't come off no matter how much elbow grease applies. It looked pretty bad and  I'm sure everyone who came to visit wondered why I never washed the table.

So this weekend Michael had a free hour or two and decided to refinish the top of the table. He had help:

The table top is now a much lighter shade and so beautiful.  I'll try and get a photo and update this page later so you can see how fantastic it turned out.  Now we all agree he's got to finish the rest of the table!  Maybe after all his big assignments are done for the semester.

Look who's homeschooling!

Zane kept throwing a fit this morning and I couldn't figure out what on earth he wanted.  Then I finally got it -- he wants to be a big kid!  So I set him up with a coloring page and a puzzle and he proceeded to wreak havoc on the other children's activities and look completely satisfied with himself.  It's so much better when everyone else is screaming in outrage. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quiet Time Buddies

Zoe and Zane have in the last few weeks discovered that they can play together, and they are mutually thrilled about it.  Lately Zane has been going into Quiet Time with Zoe and they play and play and play together the whole time. I love watching them get to know each other.
Just a few moments previous to this, Zane was laying down and Zoe was gently wrapping him up and cooing at her "baby."  He laid so still and smiled up at her, so happy to have his big sister's attention. In this photo she's holding up a little light globe toy for him to see, trying to make him laugh.  Zane's laugh is so infectious, Jed and Zoe are always trying to get a giggle out of him.
It worked!

Autumn Zoo

Today we went to the zoo with Grandma Jan and it was soooooo fun!  The weather could not have been more of autumn perfection, with sun glowing through the colored trees and just enough of a cool breeze remind us that it is fall.  Hard to argue with 70 degrees in November!
Today we met the world's cutest animal: a tiny golden baby monkey.  My world will never be the same, it was THAT cute!  It enchanted a whole class of like 20 kids who were all watching it, cooing and giggling.  When it ran outside, the thirty of them tromped outside the building, too, and stood there for another half hour marveling at its unbelievable cuteness.  Zoe has been talking about it all afternoon, and we have this little photo of her as a golden baby monkey so we never forget the unbearable adorbleness.

Kids riding on a fake giraffe.  They were, unsurprisingly, too afraid to feed the real giraffe, but we enjoyed watching it.  I looked down at one point and I could see the back of Zane's head, where his little gold curls where trembling in the sun.  His whole body was trembling, I realized, and for a moment I thought he was having a seizure or something.  His face was perfectly blank.  But then as soon as he saw us looking down at him, he looked up and started bawling.  He was terrified of the giraffe!  Funny boy.

The pink spoonbills and scarlet ibis came up to say hello to us!  Zane sang back to them in his bird chirp.  You can see my favorite animal at the zoo, the tapir, in the background.  What's not to love about a elephant/pig!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Halloween!

 Monday evening we had Jan and Steve over for a pumpkin enchilada dinner, pumpkin carving, and popcorn with candy corn, a Dowdle family tradition.
The boy pumpkin

The girl pumpkin
Halloween day the kids dressed up to go get a free spiderweb donut at Krispy Kreme.  Then off to Trick Or Treat at Grandpa's work.  Afterward we did a quick bout of shopping with Dad and then hit Grandma Jan's and our friend the Byers' house before heading home for a very special Halloween pizza dinner.  Then three happy, exhausted sugar-coma-d kids were put to bed.
My three trick-or-treaters

The little housefly

Baby Tiger

The Ballerina

Mini spider pizzas for Halloween dinner

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homeschool Morning

I thought I'd share a scene from our homeschool morning.

First, eggs and toast for breakfast.  Before breakfast, the kids have a small list of chores to complete.
While the kids are happily munching, we do our morning devotional and family study time.
First, song of the week (My Home is Montana)
Then, song of the month (It's Autumn Time, Zoe's current favorite)
Flag Ceremony, including patriotic song and Pledge of Allegiance
Calendaring, including numerous songs and counting at the calendar
Read from the Book of Mormon
Read a character-building story (the yellow book)
Geography with photo cards and the globe
Alphabet flash cards
Sight Word flash cards
Board time (phonics/reading at the white board)
Here is my morning routine tray:
Today, instead of math together at the whiteboard, Jed and I did a coin sorting activity. He's still learning which coins are called what and worth how much.
 Then he made a bar graph.
 Meanwhile, Zoe played a "Choose the Right" matching game.
 Then mom cleaned up the dishes and kitchen while Jed and Zoe took turns playing math and phonics games for 30 min.
Afterwards, the kids had to finish up their morning chores and then ran off to play.  

 Later in the day we will read books and cook together.  Often we play games or write in our journals later on.  Then books again before bed. I feel like this gives Jed a pretty well rounded learning experience while still having fun relaxed together as a family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sous Chef

 An important part of our kindergarten curriculum this year is cooking.  Every week Jed picks a new recipe to cook himself.  Last week it was "Frozen Bananoids", chocolate and coconut/nut covered frozen bananas. This week we have a few Halloween treats to make.

Here he is helping me chop sausage for one of our favorite soups.
And... cue the goofball.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Zoe and I were outside eating breakfast on a glorious late fall morning when guess who popped out of the house to say "Hello!"
  It's... Mini-Michael!
Here Jed has perfectly replicated his dad's work outfit: blue striped button-up shirt, khakis, leather shoes. 
Isn't he the very image of the budding internal auditor?

"Mom," he said, "I want to be JUST like dad today!  Look, I've even got my pen!"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cycling Dudes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One Evening With Zane

"Helping" mom clean the fridge.

He wants to ride bikes like the big kids SO BAD.  I keep telling him he has to walk first.

Maybe he can just go for a ride with sissy?

Yes, that is a piece of PB sandwich stuck to his cheek. Everyone thought that was hilarious.

He really wants to brush his teeth like the big kids! We caught him up on the stool sucking on Zoe's toothbrush.  Mmmmm, toothpaste.

Girl Fairy, With Babies

Jed's Baby Brother

Jed took these photos of his Little Zany. These boys sure love each other.

General Conference Treats

For General Conference a couple of weeks ago, we each chose a topic and a favorite treat.  Jed labeled the bowls for us (Popcorn=Jesus, M&Ms=Pray, Teddy Grahams=Temple, Scriptures=Frosted Animal Crackers) and each time the phrase was said, everyone got to pick one treat from that bowl.  Totally fun, and the kids listened to EVERY WORD!

Chef's Assistant

... and goofball...