Friday, August 16, 2013

St. Louis Summer

After a couple of weeks in Houston, Ken had to return to work in Doha, so the boys and I went to St. Louis to visit my family.  We stayed with my parents and the boys had a blast catching up with Dakota and checking out all the St. Louis attractions.  I was exhausted by all the plans my parents made for us - Magic House, Myseum, Science Center, Purina Farms, Grant's Farm, Zoo, Six Flags (4 times!), etc, etc, etc.  It was a very busy 3 weeks!!

On top of all of that, I got to leave the boys with my parents while I visited my girlfriend Kristina in Baltimore and spend an entire day with Maria - canoeing on the black river.  It was heavenly!!!

My dad found this little critter under the car our first day in St. Louis.  The boys thought it was so cool!  It reminded me of all the turtles my brother and I used to capture in our back yard as kids. 

The other thing I took for granted were fireflies...the boys had so much fun chasing the fireflies at night!  We never saw them in Texas or in Doha, so it was quite a thrill for them... the little things we take for granted ... turtles and fireflies!  :-)

First stop in St Louis was the Magic House - puts the Houston Children's Museum to shame!!!  I love it as much as the children! 

The Magic House is much bigger than when I was a kid, but the giant twisty slide still remains ... 

Fascinated by the bubble room ...
They made a good construction team

Nicholas had to get a picture with the American flag!

They played in this tiny little hockey area forever!


 Next day ... Purina Farms ... another one of my favorite places in St. Louis.  After wandering through the barn and petting the animals and milking the cow, I love to watch the daily dog shows!  Of course, no trip is complete without a wagon ride.  We've gone many many times over the years and we still love it.  Of course it doesn't hurt that it's super close to my parents house and it's completely free!  :-)
petting the bunny

petting the pigs

Still love to ride the tractors.  Jaden is officially too tall for this area, but it was a slow day and they were kind to let him in. 
Me and my boys at the coy pond at Purina Farms
My parents also live very close to Six Flags in St. Louis, so we bought season passes and went 4 or 5 times.  The boys love to ride roller coasters and play in the waterpark.  Jaden even rode on the Screamin' Eagle for the first time this year.  Sadly Nicholas is still too short for most rides, so he was a little frustrated.  I so clearly remember those years of wanting to ride, but not being tall enough ... I think I was in junior high before I could ride any of the "big" coasters.

Boys with Dakota, Zoey and Cassie on the train at Six Flags.

I loved getting away for a few days to visit Kristina in Baltimore.  We didn't do a whole lot, which was perfect - we had lots of time to visit and catch up.  Her expanding family and her new house were both amazing and beautiful! 

Most people assume we're sisters because we look so alike.  Happened again on this trip at one of the restaurants we visited.

Kristina's girls - Maggie and Sadie ... it was super hot and sweaty, but we still played in their amazing backyard for a bit.

Back to St. Louis ... we went to Grant's Farm for my cousin Melissa's son Spencer's birthday party.  I don't really remember going to Grant's Farm much as a kid and it was a first for the boys, but it's a great place to hang out and play on a beautiful day.  The weather was glorious!!

like being back in Doha - boys wanted to ride the camel
feeding the camels

bald eagles really are amazing creatures!
 We were pretty busy in St. Louis and always on the go, but we enjoyed some down time at my parents house too - searching for a neighbor's lost turtle (36" diameter and 100 pounds), chasing fireflies, playing on the slip n slide, making jet packs, and shooting off fireworks.  I forgot how much fun it is to set off fireworks!!!  Nicholas was too afraid, but Jaden loved to set them off.  And thanks to my Uncle Kenny, we had enough for 2 nights. 
Slip n Slide time!!!

Boys made jet packs out of materials from the recycling bin -
cereal boxes, milk jugs, and a whole lot of duct tape!!

Jaden started with bottle rockets before it got dark...
 My mom's work had a special event at the Cardinals game and we were able to partake in a parade around the ball field before the game started.  My first time to ever walk around the field at the Cardinals stadium ... pretty cool!

boys with Dakota parading around the field

take me out to the ball game

St. Louis Arch in the background

Me and Nicholas in our ball caps

Let's play ball!!
 Another adventure to the St. Louis Science Center this time ... we didn't stay for too long, but the boys enjoyed their candy sushi snack (fruit roll up wrapped around a rice crispy treat with bits of twizzlers in the middle).

Candy sushi

Me and Jaden

Me and Nicholas

ROAR!!!  With Uncle Tony and Dakota in front of the Science Center

You can barely see the boys in the shadow of the T-Rex
We checked out a new museum in St. Louis called Myseum.  It was considerably smaller than the Magic House or the Science Center, but we had the most relaxing day here.  Several great exhibits.  The boys loved the slide that times you - to see who goes the fastest. 

air cannon used to knock over the pyramid of cups

they built an arch!
 Jaden decided to dig out the dinosaur bones.  He is certainly persistent!!  Dakota had no interest and went to another area of the museum while Jaden spent over 45 minutes, yes over 45 minutes, sweeping away the mulch to uncover his find.  He was so excited when he was able to identify it as a T-Rex foot print (actual size).  I was beside myself that he never lost interest after so long.  And bless Nicholas' heart, he stayed beside his brother helping the whole time!

I have no idea who this girl is.  The boys worked forever to uncover the print all by themselves in the dinosaur dig area.  She showed up just in time to join the picture!  :-)
 We also spent a ton of time in the Pool Noodle Swamp.  It was so much fun!  I loved chasing the boys through the noodles and trying to scare them.  It was a riot!!!  Makes me want to rig this up in our spare bedroom ... just hang several hundred pool noodles from the ceiling and you're set!!  Hours of entertainment!!

Pool noodle swamp - SO MUCH FUN!!


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