Sunday, June 1, 2014

Postcards from the Peanut Gallery Wk. 1

I feel as though I've finally hit the sweet spot of motherhood...the kids are old enough to hold a conversation with; yet young enough to believe everything I say is law.  May 23rd marked the last day of school and I found myself feeling energized about having more time with them.   We began by getting them signed up for the St. Louis County Library's reading program.  School may be out, but reading at our house is still in least 20 minutes a day. This year's theme is Fizz, Boom, Read and is focused on all things science.  With 20 libraries to choose from, kids may attend free shows put on by the St. Louis Science Center, The Magic House and professional entertainers including Nitro Joe, Juggling Jeff, Oh My Gosh Josh and many, many more!

5/24/14 The kids woke up early and excited to hang out at "the beautiful gardens"...aka MO Botanical Gardens.  St. Louis City and County residents enjoy free admission to the Gardens and the Doris I. Schnuck Children's Garden on Wednesdays and Saturdays before noon.  Check out their newest exhibit, Nature Connects - Art with LEGO bricks, now through September 7th. We spent the morning at the Children's playground and then walked over to the Japanese gardens to feed the carp.  It's best to purchase food at the gift shop located at the entrance, but if you forget (like me!) be sure to have quarters on hand to feed the fish food machines. It was a great morning, however, all fun eventually must come to an end and in our case that happened around 4 p.m. when a horrendous stomach bug made it's way into Noah's system.  
Noah and Natalie pose next to an orchid made from LEGOS.
LEGO lawnmower

5/25 - 5/27/14 While Noah lay like broccoli, Natalie kept me hopping...with her go-to friend under the weather, my biggest challenge (aside from doing umpteen loads of laundry and wiping down all surfaces with Lysol) was keeping her busy and out of Noah's air space.
Natalie made a treasure hunt game of sorts for Noah "for when he feels better"
"He has to cross the bridge...pass the upside-down forest, through the pink hotel, across the meadow and then..."

5/28/14 Noah woke with renewed energy and both kids begged me to take them to the zoo.  We left the house by 8 a.m. to take advantage of free street parking near the Living World and free admission to the Children's Zoo.
Otterly Silly Sibs
"I love this place"
5/29/14 We spent an hour exploring at Laumeier Sculpture Park.  We discovered a letterbox and a few new sculptures.
Noah and Natalie inside one of the newest installments at Laumeier
This one was created by students at South Tech High School.

5/30/14 Happy 11th Birthday Noah! 

Natalie created a Star Wars inspired scavenger hunt that led him to his gifts.
She used her own money to purchase him a DS game...just $5 bucks at Five Below.
We love that place.
Months ago we won a gift card to The Pancake House.
Celebrating with Noah was the perfect time to cash it in.

 "Mom, I drooled on my arm a bit when our waitress brought us our meal," confessed Natalie.
Pancake House Specials: Dutch baby pancake and blackberry French toast with lemon custard. Yum!
After breakfast we found a few cakes near the restaurant.
Brown Shoe Co. founded in 1875 is now a $2.5 billion dollar company.
Shaw Park, Clayton MO
Established in 1935 it is one of the city's oldest and largest parks
The Aquatic Center features a 50 m completion pool and Olympic regulation dive tower...
one of the last outdoor towers in the country

We left Clayton and headed toward Alton. The Clarks Bridge links West Alton MO to Alton IL
The kids were amazed that we could be in MO one minute and IL the next.

We spent nearly two hours exploring the museum's numerous hands-on exhibits
and ended our visit with a private tour of the Melvin Locks & Dam all at no cost.

Noah loved driving the ferry simulator
Steve and Noah checking out the prehistoric gars.

Locks & Dam in action.
We stopped in at the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower, but didn't have
time to take a trip to the time.
A sweet way to end the day.

5/31/14 We headed back to Alton to do a bit more sightseeing.  Our first stop was at the Audubon Center at Riverlands in West Alton, MO. The center offers a myriad of hands-on exhibits perfect for keeping my two monkeys occupied. And the best's all free.

Noah peers through one of several premium spotting scopes available to visitors.
Nests of hummingbirds,
  swallows, orioles and more

We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the wraparound deck.
Afterwards we headed to the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site.  The 14,000 square foot facility tells the Illinois story of the expedition through kid-friendly exhibits.  The Convergence Theater offers  a 12-minute, high-definition dramatic video experience that transports visitors back to the time of the Expedition.

A full-size keelboat. From one side visitors can see the exterior of the boat, but the other side is cut away to show the interior and how provisions for the Expedition were stored.

Replica settler's cabin
"I wish I could sleep here!"
Natalie inside the captain's quarters.
Outside the replica Camp River Dubois military camp.
Another cake! Alton Visitor Center
Lincoln Douglas Debate site located across from the Alton Visitor's Center
Piasa Bird on the Great River Road - Alton, IL
Natalie stands next to the Robert Wadlow statue...aka The Alton Giant
The World's Tallest Person - 8 ft. 11.1 inches

6/1/14 Natalie began vomiting at 1 a.m. Mothering is all fun n'games til someone loses their lunch and dinner and...Calgon, take me away...


  1. So much fun. I need a nap just reading this. Hope everyone is feeling better!

    1. ha! kids are doing much better - thanks for asking. hope to see you this summer.

  2. WOW!!! You have been a BUSY MAMA!!!! Love all the amazing experiences you are giving your kiddos! I agree with the 'sweet spot' of parenting... I'm there too!

    I hope poor Natalie is feeling better!!! Ah motherhood. It's all fun and games until someone pukes! lol

    1. Nat is feeling much better. Sometimes it seems like it's all going too fast. Of course it doesn't help when Natalie says things like, "only 10 more years and I'll be in college."