Archive for the ‘things to do in st. louis’ Category

I couldn’t wait to chaperone Owen’s first ever school field trip!  Being on the parent side rather than the teacher side of the field trip experience was a WHOLE lot more relaxing!  We went to Thies Farm which is a pumpkin patch about 10 minutes away from Owen’s school.  The weather had been awesome…70’s and sun…for a very long time.  It just so happened that on the day of the field trip it was rainy and chilly!  B0o! We were so thankful that the rain held off while we were at the pumpkin patch.

The pumpkin patch was basically a huge playground made of straw!  For an hour the kids got to run around and play with whatever they’d like.  Including this big spinning tire…

And this very cool rope bridge…

All the kids in Owen’s class were at school that day and we got a cute class picture on top of the hay bales.  Mrs. Dudley, the aide in his room, is on the left.  Mrs. Hauser, his teacher, is sitting right next to Owen on the right.

After playtime in the straw was over, the kids each got to take home a little pumpkin.  I got a quick picture of Owen with the 3 other boys in his classroom.

I loved my first field trip chaperoning experience.  Silly, I know, but this is one of the things I looked forward to the most when I knew I was going to stay home with my kids.  It did not disappoint!

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Lots has happened around here lately, and I’ve been a blogging slacker.  Rather than devoting a whole post to each…let’s play a little catch up.  Here are some things we’ve been up to.

1.  We went to Oklahoma to see my cousins.  We hadn’t seen them since my Grandma’s funeral two years ago.  It was great to see everyone again.

2.  I turned 31.  Yikes.

3.  We’ve been watching a lot of Cardinals baseball around here.  (And even more so now that we’re in the playoffs!)  We even took Molly to her first Cards game.  We lasted through 5 innings…with lots of help from popcorn and peanuts.

4.  We’ve been having fun with our playgroup friends.  First at Rombach’s pumpkin patch:

Then at the Science Center:

And at Chick-Fil-A:

I think that pretty much brings the old blog up to date!

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The day before Owen started school, Travis took a random day off to have one last day of family fun.  The weather took a break from being suffocatingly hot and we piled in the mini and headed to the zoo.  We got there just barely before 9am so we could get into the stingray and shark petting pool while it was still free.  The kids think this is really cool, and Owen was brave enough to put his hand in the water and touch one.  Molly wanted nothing to do with it.  The memorable moment came when the stingray chose to give Travis a little salt water shower!

The fantastic 70ish degree weather brought all the animals out to play.  I’ve never seen the chimps out like they were this day.   I counted 9 out at one time!  We even got to see them swinging on their ropes and having a snack.

The chimps weren’t the only ones having fun.  The orangutangs were hilarious.  One of them put on a show for us and got dressed in a poncho.  Another impressed us with his strength as he swung through the trees.  And a third just snuggled up close to the glass so we could get a look at his face.

Wild Cat Country didn’t disappoint either.  The leopards normally stay hidden but not on this day!  The leopard was pacing at the very edge of his cage about 3 feet from where we were standing.  We were able to see what an absolutely beautiful animal he is.

During a snack break, I snapped some pictures of my favorite people on earth.

Owen’s been obsessed with taking pictures lately.  Normally he gets very eraseable pictures of crotches or the floor, but I think this one’s a keeper.

Before we left the zoo we had to see the elephants.  They weren’t doing much but the hippos sure were!  I’ve never seen the hippos doing anything but laying in the water, but today one of them was swimming around.  It was so cool.  We were fascinated.

This was a perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

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A couple of weeks ago Tyler, Tessa, and Cooper came to visit.  We were super excited for these three to get to play together.

Owen and Cooper bonded over their mutual love of shooting things with nerf guns.  These tough guys had quite the shootout in our basement.

Trav had to work while they were here, but Tyler, Tessa and I took the kids to the Magic House.  Molly got a chance to demonstrate just how long and wispy her hair was before her very first haircut.  My hair, on the other hand, didn’t cooperate with the static ball.

While Tessa was here, I took advantage of the fact that she is a stylist.  Molly had been in need of a cut for a while but I didn’t really want to shell out $15 for someone to trim her wispy ends.  Tessa volunteered to give her a trim while she was here, so we popped in Finding Nemo and Tessa set to work.

Molly was a champ and sat still the entire time.  Tessa was awesome and even swept up the wispy ends so that I could save them in Molly’s baby book.  The first haircut was a success!

It made her hair look so much better!  It’s slowly but surely coming in on top, but the back is now filled with beautiful bouncing curls.  Did I mention that Moo is starting to get freckles across her nose?  How cute is she going to be with a full head of blonde curls and little freckles on her nose?  Adorable.

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Last night my parents, brother, and I took the kids to a local park to see a free concert.  Trav has been traveling a lot more lately and I’m always trying to think of ways to occupy our late afternoons and evenings.  But I would have gone to this concert even if Travis had been in town.  And he would have gone, too.  The Spectrum Band performed at our wedding almost 7 years ago and they are so good.  They put on a great show, and they really get the crowd up and moving. 

After eating dinner at Chickfila and getting these balloon characters made…

…pretty cool, huh?  I particularly love Arial’s bikini top.  Makes me giggle every time I look at it.  The balloon maker was a generous man.  And Spiderman’s web is pretty awesome, too.  Anyway, so after we ate dinner I was hoping that the kids would sit and chill out for a little bit so we could enjoy the music.  But when Molly tried to escape and I told her she needed to come back and sit down, this was the look I got:

I gave in, knowing it was a losing battle.  We spent the remainder of our time at the concert dancing on stage.  Owen was a dance machine!  He was nonstop motion and was dripping sweat in about 2 minutes. 

I caught his dance moves on video.  This is 35 seconds worth watching.  The kid has confidence, switches up his moves to keep it fresh, and has the ladies watching in awe (notice the little cheerleader who tries to imitate his moves). 

They didn’t stop dancing for long, but I caught them taking a short breather off stage.

Great music, great company, great way to wear out a couple energetic kids, and a perfect way to spend a summer evening.

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Our favorite activity of the summer so far has been frequent visits to the library.  Owen loves the big selection of DVDs he can check out.  (Today he picked up a documentary for kids about cowboys.)  I love that they have books on CD to keep Owen’s rest time/reading time new and different.  And Molly loves seeing how many bookends she can remove and the domino effect that ensues before I notice her destruction.  After our first visit to the library I discovered that we’d be bringing home quite a few books.  How can a kid choose when there are books about Star Wars, pirates, princesses, Curious George, Clifford, cowboys and Batman all in one room?  That’s the beauty of the library.  Let’s get them all and READ READ READ!!

One rainy day, we headed over to Hobby Lobby to buy some bags to decorate that would hold all our library books.  The kids could carry their bags around the library as they shopped for books, putting in the books as they decided which ones to check out.  You may recall from other posts that Owen isn’t one to love arts and crafts.  I was sure this project was going to occupy two minutes of his time before he got bored, but he loved it!  Getting to use special markers to draw on a fabric bag was so entertaining.  Molly loved it, too, although keeping her from drawing on her own clothes with the fabric markers was a bit of a challenge.

   Here’s Molly’s finished bag.  She was so proud.

And Owen’s bag.  He got very into drawing a picture on the bag.  If you look close you can see there’s a red house, a river with different colored fish swimming in it, grass, a moon, and there’s even a person in there.  On the other side he wrote his name all by himself.

The kids were really excited to join the summer reading club at our library.  They each had to read a number of books (Owen=12 and Molly=10).  After they’d read their books, they could bring their sheets back into the library and receive a prize.  After reading our first 12/10, we headed into the library. 

The kids were SO excited to see what their prizes would be.  Because Molly is 2, she still qualifies for the baby reading program while Owen qualifies for the grade school program.  The prizes were geared toward the specific age group.  Owen received a pile of coupons which greatly excited me (awesome stuff…one free ticket to the Magic House, free ticket to a Blue’s preseason game, free Slushie at Sonic, and a free bean burrito and taco at Taco Bell) and a big glittery bouncy ball that lit up which excited him.  Molly thought she was getting the same thing and kept saying, “I want a ball!!”.  After handing Owen all his goodies the librarian reached for Molly’s prize and gave her a plush truck with wheels that barely rolled.  Molly was less than enthused and we booked it out of the library before her screams of “No truck!  I want a ball!!!” got too loud.  I tried to get them to show me their prizes for a picture.  Owen was delighted to do this, but Molly refused to look at the camera and put on her best pout.  This picture gives you a pretty clear indication of how disappointed she was in her prize.

I’m hoping the prize she gets for her next 10 books will be a little more pleasing to both genders, but this hasn’t kept us from going to the library at least once a week.  I’m loving this time off with my kids to do whatever we want with no schedule whatsoever.  I love summer!

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Owen’s actual birthday fell on a Tuesday, and the Cardinals were at home.  We felt it was high time our boy went to his first Cards game.  To get him ready for the game, our birthday present to him was a Cardinals hat and shirt to wear to the game.  And he wore them proudly.

Despite the fact that we had an awesome view of the stadium (and these were the cheap seats!)…

Owen’s favorite part of the game BY FAR was the ballpark food.  He downed his hot dog and then we bought him his very own box of popcorn to keep him busy so Trav and I could enjoy more of the game.

He lasted until the top of the 8th and then we called it.  He probably could have stayed longer, but at that point the caffeine he’d ingested by drinking almost my whole diet coke had made him giddy and hyper (awesomely healthy birthday meal, huh?) and we decided to leave while everyone was happy.  The Cards were ahead when we left and held onto the lead to win against the Phillies.  Nice b-day present for Owen!

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St. Louis weather is totally crazy.  Today it’s been snowing like crazy all day long, but two days ago we were outside all day loving the beautiful (close to 70 degree) weather.  We took advantage of the gorgeous day and headed downtown for the St. Patrick’s Day parade with our friends Ben, Anna, Ella and Drew.  Here’s a shot of our group (well, some of us):

Downtown was packed.  It took patience, but we finally inched our way into a spot where the kids could see the action.

I love that we caught Owen and Ella in this moment!  (Have I mentioned that they think they’re engaged?  Last time we were at Ella’s house, she had her suitcase packed and waiting by the front door so she and Owen could leave for their honeymoon in Florida.  Hilarious!)

This moment was pretty cute, too!

And a rare shot of Anna and me…I used to have so many pictures of me with friends.  Now we take a zillion pictures of the kids and not many of the adults!

We had a great time with our friends, but the parade was quite entertaining, too!  I think my favorite part was when the “Lawn Rangers” marched by.  (I have NO idea who they are or what they do, but they were very interesting…) Each member of the “Lawn Rangers” pushed an old repurposed lawn mower.  The below picture shows how one festive Ranger repurposed his mower:

There were also a lot of Irish dance groups that participated in the parade.  Maybe this is an Irish tradition that I’m completely unaware of, but all the girls wore these extremely curly wigs.  Here’s a shot of my favorite dance group:  The Irish Idols (can you see all their curly wigs?).

It was a perfect parade day.  And the weather made us antsy for spring.  Go away snow…we want the warm weather back!!

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My favorite consignment shop, Once Upon a Child, has a One Day One Dollar sale twice a year to get rid of all their clearance merchandise.  This is my third time to go and it never disappoints. 

The first time I went I didn’t have any idea how many people show up for this thing.  The store opens early at 7am, but I didn’t really see the need to get there at 7.  I learned the hard way by waiting in line for an hour and half.  I now know to get there at 6:55 (which seems REALLY early on a Saturday) so I can reserve a laundry basket to carry all my finds.  I also know that if you bring cash they’ll get you through the line a WHOLE lot quicker.  And I also know to bring my mom.  We shop together for a few minutes and then she goes and holds a place in line while I continue shopping.

The way it works is that there is a section of clearance items in every size.  Any item marked with a red stamp is $1.  If you want to get any of the good stuff you have to get there first, which definitely brings out the worst in people.  I’ve actually been looking at a dress and had it grabbed away from me.  People, this sale is vicious!

But I love it.  I really do.  I look forward to it two times every year.  And because I’m so proud of my amazing finds, I’m going to show them to you.  Get ready to be impressed!!  First I’ll show the things I got for Owen.  Generally the boys’ stuff isn’t as good as the girls’ stuff.  I think boys wear their clothes out more often than girls.  This year I only got three things for Owen.  But spending $3 for an Old Navy hoodie, a Children’s Place sweater vest for church, and a flannel shirt from Target…not too shabby!

I did a little bit better for Molly:

A couple of things worth mentioning…the turquoise hoodie was new with tags from BabyGap (originally $25!!).  The little floral leggings and sweater are brand new from Gymboree ($1 total…they came as a set!).  And the little red shirt is a Gymboree shirt that will be just adorable next Christmas.  The floral shirt is from H&M.  The pink capris with little white flamingos on them are from Old Navy.  The green floral capris are Target.  The khaki capris are Children’s Place.  And the crocs…well, they weren’t on the clearance rack but they were just too cute.  I gave in and spent $6.50 on adorable lime green Mary Jane style crocs for this summer.  Pretty impressive finds, huh?

I also like to shop ahead.  These jammies are all size 4T but how do you pass them up when they’re a dollar for each set?  I know I’ll be so excited to pull them out in a couple of years and not have to spend money on jammies.

I know I got a little carried away and gave you WAY more info than you cared to know about my finds.  But I just love a good bargain and love that this sale has give me a head start on Molly’s spring wardrobe.

Anyone in the STL area ever interested in going…it’s SO worth it.

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After all the fun of my birthday getaway weekend, we decided to have a family day on my actual birthday.  We woke up that morning and went to a big yard sale…my request.  I made my entire family get up and get ready so we could be at the yard sale when it opened at 8am.  And they had to agree…it was my birthday, right?  I scored a Little People princess castle for Molly (early Christmas shopping) and Owen got some Power Rangers because, for some reason, he’s become obsessed with them. 

Next we headed to our favorite orchard in Belleville, IL called Braeutigam’s Orchard.  It’s a great family-owned orchard with a fun area for the kids to play where this picture of Molly on the tractor was taken.

When we were done in the kiddie area, we all loaded onto the tractor to head out to the orchards.   Here’s a shot of all the kids…Owen, Molly, Ella and Drew.

We had so much fun picking apples.  I gave Owen a bag so he could pick his own apples.  He only ended up with three because he ate so many of them.  He couldn’t even take a break from chowing down to give me a smile.

But his sister sure could.  The girl’s always ready to be a ham.

And one more of Molly eating her apple because I think it’s precious…

Owen got brave and let Travis put him on his shoulders so he could get the apples up high in the trees.  He’s so proud of his apple-picking skills!

Molly became very interested in the smashed and rotting apples on the ground.  Gross.  It was all we could do to keep her from putting them in her mouth. 

Before we left the orchard, we managed to snag a decent family picture.  I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a picture with all four of us looking at the camera and smiling.  In the kids’ defense, it was pretty bright.

Besides apple-picking, the orchard had a pumpkin patch where we could pick our pumpkins off the vine.  We each picked out a pumpkin and Travis got the job of snapping the vine.  Owen and Ella found a perfect pumpkin for sitting on.  I love their natural smiles in this picture.

We ended our morning at the orchard with a picnic lunch.  The orchard offered apple cidar slushies which were amazing.  I loved spending my birthday morning this way.

That evening we headed over to my parents’ house for dinner.  My mom made a delicious dinner followed by birthday cake.  Owen helped me blow out the candles while wearing his tiger mask (compliments of my mother who gave both him and Molly presents to open while I opened mine).  I love this picture…Owen, in his tiger mask, is giving me a big smooch and Molly just looks completely exhausted. 

One last picture…Owen thoroughly enjoyed helping me open all my presents.  He thought my boots were really cool and wanted to try them on.  Hilarious.

My 30th was great.  The birthday weekend was fantastic, but I loved spending my actual birthday with family and friends.  Definitely my favorite birthday so far.

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