Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Wrap Up 2014

The weather was breezy but bearable on Friday as we kicked off our first day of Spring Break. We teamed up with a bunch of friends to enjoy the morning at one of our favorite local attractions - The St. Louis Zoo.  One of the really great things about our zoo is how many of the exhibits are indoors - making the weather no big whoop. 


Herding cats is actually easier than getting nearly a dozen kids to all look at the camera at once.
On Saturday the sun came out and the temperatures soared to 70 degrees, but Natalie and I spent most of the afternoon under black lights as she had been invited to a classmate's cosmic roller skating party.  She had a blast being with her friends while skating to her favorite tunes like "What does the Fox say?" and Fharrell Williams'  "I Feel Happy".

Natalie with her friend, Ella
On Sunday, St. Louis lived up to it's fickle weather reputation and temperatures dropped to 34, but with the wind it felt like 19 degrees.  By 10 a.m. it was sleeting and I was forced to cancel our Daisy troop's fieldtrip to World Bird Sanctuary for World Eagle Day.  Instead we headed to the movies to see The Lego Movie.  Noah had been watching the trailers for months and reminded me daily how much he wanted to see it with his rendition of "Everything is Awesome!"...Though now that he's actually seen the movie, we mostly just hear, "Honey, where are my paannnnnnnnts?"

Monday was gray and cold and I had a killer headache.  I mostly caught up on laundry. In the evening Steve and I went to our swing dance class.  We aren't the best, but I'm fairly certain we have the most fun of anyone in the group.  If there were a prize for laughing...we'd certainly come in 1st place.   That night we learned a new move called the American spin.

On Tuesday the sun came back out to play and we met up with friends at our neighborhood park.  Natalie was thrilled to see so many of her school friends. 
  
"How many girls does it take to hula hoop?

Natalie and her friend Genevieve taught the other girls how to play
a favorite Daisy game called "the knot"

Proving you don't have to be in a troop to enjoy a friendship squeeze.

Noah's friend Ross joined us for the day.
I wasn't close enough to hear, but I'm fairly certain their topic of conversation
revolved around light sabers and what they were going to have for lunch
 On Wednesday we scurried out the door by 8 a.m. but not before loading up our car with a myriad of "must haves" including two scooters, three light sabers, both kids' Nintendo DS systems, 5 books, a foot bath and a dozen or more bottles of nail polish.  I considered the kitchen sink, but then thought better of it.  We were headed south to my folks' house who live about 30 minutes from us in Oakville.  Noah spent the day dividing his time between x-box and Legos.  Natalie set up a spa shop in Grandma's kitchen and went to town giving me a manicure and pedicure.  It was a relaxing day, but windy and cool which kept us indoors all afternoon.  

Natalie created a list of services for her spa.  In case you aren't well versed in 1st grade writing...
foot bath, massage, paint nails, chocolate mask, refreshments and filing.

That evening Natalie spied the calendar and noticed Thursday was the first day of spring.  She then decided to organize a "happy spring" party for us.  First, she made a list. Next, she holed herself up in her room for more than an hour.  When she emerged she showed me the flower cut-outs she had created. On the backs of each one she wrote a category -- music, decorations, crafts, food and games.  Then she put each flower into a box and had us take turns pulling one out. I drew decorations.  Natalie was thrilled when she pulled games because she already knew what she wanted us to play.  Noah got food -- which he pretty much took to mean that I would make something sweet and chocolatey and he would take responsibility for eating it.  Steve got music which was good because he's not all that crafty.  In the end, Natalie decided we didn't need crafts. 



Natalie later admitted that she had felt around for this particular flower
because "I really wanted to be the one to do the games!"
Spring into Fun!

Natalie awoke Thursday morning to find my attempt at decorations for her "Happy Spring" party.
She didn't think my sign was big enough so she made another.
After making her list. She sketched out her vision for the party.
I love how she adds lines to express movement in her drawings. 
Natalie's party notes continued "Tret Time!" a.k.a. Treat Time
She was ready for our party.
Love those little bees.
With a party to plan, we got a later start than usual.  By the time we left the house it was 11:30 and the kids were hungry. Saves-a-lot-Noah wanted to treat us to McDonald's and we spent the first day of spring outside enjoying Happy Meals and exploring the grounds of Laumeier Sculpture Park.
This stl250 cake has so much stuff going on with it.  I think it's my favorite one so far.
Laumeier Sculpture Park.
A closer look

A new find for us. Laumeier has many trails to explore and discover new installations.

A favorite attraction for both kids.


A set of sculptures meant to be enjoyed by dogs.
 After dinner, Natalie couldn't wait for us to get the party started.  Noah became a willing participant once he learned chocolate chip cookies were involved.

Noah takes a turn at Natalie's "Pin the Bee on the Flower" game.
Sometimes it takes so little to make 'em happy.
Steve won...but I'm pretty sure he cheated.
Natalie had envisioned flower cookies and I was happy to oblige, but simply ran out of time to make
any so it was Lubeley's Bakery to the rescue.  Through the week they remain open until 7 p.m. and allow
you to purchase as little as 2 oz. They offer a variety of miniature cookies - perfect for a little soiree.

On Friday Steve took the day off work and we headed to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House at Faust Park for March Morpho Madness -- a time when they release 10 times the number of these bright blue beauties.  Open since 1998, the 8,000 square foot glass conservatory is home to more than 60 species -- in total between 1,800 - 2,000 butterflies at any one time.  During our visit we also watched a short, 17 minute movie called "The Butterfly Effect" which explains the life cycle of butterflies as well as their impact on our environment.  Later, Natalie and I spent some time in the Lopata Learning Center which features a cute book nook filled with dozens of books on butterflies and other insects along with several areas for working various kid-friendly puzzles.  Afterwards we grabbed a picnic table to enjoy lunch in the sunshine.  Since the park was extremely crowded, we headed back towards home, but not before making a couple of stops.  I made sure to leave room for dessert so that we could visit St. Louis' favorite frozen custard since 1930 -- Ted Drewes!  Each of us has our favorites.  For Steve, it's always the "All Shook Up", for me either the "Dottie" or "Terramizzou", while Noah is old school with a Reese's cup concrete, but Natalie always keeps us guessing.  This time she chose a mint Oreo concrete. But, no matter what you choose, you are guaranteed to leave happy.

Noah and Natalie
Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
 

Getting up close and personal with some hissing cockroaches.  Feed them for $1
Natalie hanging out in the book nook.





The Blue Morphos move so quickly my camera could only capture flashes of blue in the photos.
Natalie takes the cake at Ted Drewes

Since the Shrewsbury Metrolink is less than a mile from our house - we decided to check another one off our list.
On Sunday "I can't believe Spring Break is over" day, we celebrated Natalie filling her sleep chart with a week's worth of sleeping through the night by taking the kids to see the movie, "Mr. Peabody and Sherman".  While we don't normally see movies more than a few times a year, I was happy to take her...as prior to that week, I had racked up quite a sleep debt.  The movie was really sweet and of course Natalie who claims, "my life would be perfect if I just had a dog" loved the movie especially the theme that every dog needs a boy.  And, it wasn't just our kids who enjoyed it.  As the movie ended, many in the theatre began clapping.  It's been a long time since I've witnessed that kind reaction from a movie. 

All in all it was a great week.  The kids and I really enjoyed the time off from rigid schedules and homework.  But, the teasing spring temps have left me impatient for more outdoor adventures...more cakes to find and places to visit. Only 58 days left til summer vacation! 


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