Dearest friends and family,
Here’s to wrapping up 2011! What a wonderful year it has been for us. Our biggest news being we welcomed our little baby boy, Oliver Charles Phillips, on May 6th. That’s right. We had a baby! His first 7 months have been full of wonder and delight. He is the perfect addition to our little family. We are enjoying every moment. He loves to (in no particular order)
wave his arms in the air
roll across the floor
snuggle with his Mama
dance with his Daddy
pick at his new teeth
go on adventures in the woods
flirt with people at the grocery store (the old ladies are his favorite)
sit on his potty
John still teaches the pre-kinders at Twillman Elementary and is working with his awesome aide, Ms. Miller. They have a smaller class this year, which is good and bad. The good being each student gets more face time with a teacher. The down side is the lack of variety. This is the time of the year when you start to see how much progress the students are making. So far, this class is making excellent progress.
Polly Mae is enjoying her new role as a stay at home Mom. It pays well and has great benefits! There are perks for John too. Polly Mae has earned some bragging rights in the kitchen with all the scrumptious meals she whips up. One of her favorite things to do is find new recipes, especially Moosewood ones. She is also a big fan of the PBS cooking channel.
Polly Mae feels very lucky that John was on summer vacation to help the adjustment into parenthood. Polly Mae and Ollie miss Daddy during the day, but it goes by fast. Every day is an adventure and she is amazed at how much Oliver changes all the time. He’s a good napper, so she’s able to enjoy a few moments for herself, as well as catching up on chores. But if things get forgotten, oh well! It’s not nearly as fun as giggling with Oliver.
Our doggie, Shaka, is beautiful as ever and made a swift and glorious adjustment to big sisterhood. She and Oliver have formed quite the mutual admiration society. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to get her down to the dog park, but she still has a great time playing sticks in the park, running her head off at Jimmie and Cookie’s place, and licking everybody’s face.
This is our 4th year of living in St. Louis and although our lives have been completely taken over by our sweet boy, we’ve still enjoyed other things. The first part of the year John had lots of snow days so we enjoyed snow covered walks in Tower Grove Park and the Botanical Gardens. The winter went on forever! So when the days finally warmed up, we enjoyed visiting other surrounding parks. Truly, we have learned we are not really “big” city people and would very much like to find a little out-of-the-way place with some water and bunch of trees.
For Polly Mae’s birthday this year we rented a cabin in southern Missouri at the River of Life Farms. It was a fantastic little get away before the two of us turned to three in the spring. The North Fork River ran through there and it was beautiful. We took a nice canoe trip along the river... for five hours, which kicked PM’s pregnant butt! But it was full of rapids, fresh water springs, and bald eagle sightings.
Polly Mae’s sister, Kattie, threw a super fun baby shower at the library where she works. Somehow the tallest people won the pregnant limbo. It was full of amazing family and friends sharing their love for our baby. We were so lucky to get so many hand me downs and baby items! Setting up Oliver’s room was a blast.
We took in a few baseball games at Busch stadium. Polly Mae was ecstatic about those wild Cards making it to the World Series. What an AMAZING series! It was great to watch some baseball history take place. If there is one great positive about living in St. Louis, it's those Cardinals!
Of course we also went on the yearly Creek camping adventure. Ollie was only about 3 months old when we went, but he is quite the water baby and braved the freezing cold water for a few dips. He also liked napping naked and sitting around the campfire. Our niece Sydney is the perfect creek age and it made our hearts so happy to see her romping through the water. Ahhh, another creek generation!
Mostly we have been enjoying Oliver and all his visitors. Hanging out with friends and family is the most fulfilling activity. Thank you to everyone we saw this year. You have given us immense joy. We know you just came by to see the baby because you think babies are soooo cute, but he is even cooler now. He is learning new party tricks every day. So we hope to see you again in 2012. If we missed you this year, we are immensely sorry (babies are time vacuums). Let’s get together soon.
Peace and love,
John, Polly Mae, Oliver, and Shaka