Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wow. Thatsalottaphotos!

Okay, Okay, I get it, I know. It goes against some unspoken "good-blogging" guideline to post eleventy-trillion photos in one post. But I have a lot of photos from our vacation, and I don't want to break them up into two separate posts... and gosh-darnit, this is MY blog & I will do as I please.

So, for our vacation we spent four luxurious nights & nights in St. James, Missouri. We stayed at Maramec Spring Trout Park. Four days of camping & fishing in the Middle-of-Nowhere-Missouri. Aaahh... I can't think of a better way to spend our vacation.

Every morning started with a scene similar to this:
And every evening ended with a scene similar to this:
And in between, we did lots of things. We walked through the Agricultural Museum, which was much more interesting than it sounds.
There was a big, grassy field across the road from our campsite. Throughout our stay, they cut it down and made hay bales. I always wondered how that happened... it was interesting to watch.
The bales were huge...
... and the cut field provided a great place to find bugs & stuff. It also made it easier to see the herd of 11 deer who came through every morning & evening. I tried to get a photo, but couldn't get close enough.
We did lots of fishing (as one would expect at a trout park).
Tyson loves to fish. He's pretty good at casting, too.
Matt & Ty tried to catch the big one, but didn't have much luck.
Riley enjoyed hanging out on the bridge. We actually fished off the bridge, but didn't catch anything. It was more like feeding the fish; I think they were toying with us.
We fished here...
... and here...
...and here.
Tyson was always ready to scoop the fish out of the water.
And Riley was happy to keep track of the bobbers.
When we weren't fishing, Tyson kicked my butt at washers (seriously... it was painful)...
...and we had plenty of time to rest & relax.
It was a great week. It was quiet and peaceful, and wonderful.

The park is also the sight of the Maramec Old Iron Works. They made all kinds of things out of iron at this massive forge around the turn of the century. We walked around the area, and I snapped several photos, but this one was really strange:
I'm not sure I could have planned this any better. Honestly, I took this on my iPhone and I couldn't really see the screen on this sunny day. Doesn't it look like God is shining his light right down on Riley? If I had noticed it, I would have tried to get Ty in the same light, but I didn't see it until after we got home.

Check back again later this week, when I'll be unveiling my most recent BIG project.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Super Sunday

We had a wonderful day yesterday! Although Matt & I had many things to do around the house after our trip, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine & great weather.

We took the boys to Powder Valley Conservation Center. It has lots of educational activities & information. Ty enjoyed the Kids' Corner, where he made leaf rubbing, and felt the fur of several different kinds of local animals.

Riley really enjoyed watching the many birds and squirrels that were snacking at the feeders.

We took a 2/3 mile walk on one of the many trails. They are very nice, paved trails.
Along the way we spotted these two deer. It was a Doe and her fawn.

A few feet away we saw this little one; the doe had twins this year! They are somewhat used to people, and so we got to watch them for several minutes (despite Riley's constant chatter!).

I took this on one of the bridges.

After our walk we drove across the street to Laumeier Sculpture Park for a picnic.
Nothing fancy, just ham & cheese sandwiches, crackers & apples.
We ate under some lovely trees, and when we were all full, we decided to lie back & enjoy the view...

...well, some of us did, anyway. Riley only lies down voluntarily at nap time & bed time. Instead, he decided to sit on each of us as we tried to relax.
And then Ty decided to tickle him...
...and after that, it was time to pack up and go home.

It really was a lovely, relaxing afternoon. Be sure to check back tomorrow, when I will hopefully have the photos from our trip uploaded. Also, I've been working on a big project... that should be done by the end of the week, so stick around for the grand unveiling!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Going Back a Bit

Well, I said I was back to blogging, and then Hubby surprised me by taking us on a four day camping/fishing trip! Although I don't usually like surprises, this one was definitely wonderful! Unfortunately we rushed a bit to pack, and forgot the camera. We did get a few pictures on our phones, and I'll try to post those later this week.

For now, I thought I'd go back a bit and share a couple of fun events in our recent past.
We had a great Independence Day! We celebrated in a way we haven't before: We took the boys and met some friends at the St. Louis Tea Party. Believe it or not, the people who attend these protests are not radical freaks. We had a lot of fun.
It was held in Washington, MO. We were at a park between train tracks & a river; it was really lovely. The weather was great; a little soggy, but not too hot.
Riley rode around in his tricked out jog stroller. He's a very patriotic toddler, you know.
Tyson was also decked out in much red, white & blue. (I made matching shirts for me & the boys... Matt's not very into the matchy-matchy thing, so he just wore his American Flag T-shirt.)
Afterwards, we went back to our house, where our friends, family & neighbors joined us for our annual 4th of July BBQ! We had burgers & brats, fruit salad, corn on the cob... the works. The kids did sparklers while the dads set off a few small fireworks in the street. Later, my friend Steph, Matt & I settled in to watch a movie (while Steph & I knit, of course!). It was a long day, but very much fun.
This was also the day my mom flew into town from Phoenix. She comes for a visit once a year, and this visit is usually coordinated with the visits of my grandparents (mom's parents) and my big sister.

Here she is with Ty.
Mom's usually here for a week or so, and she has a lot of people to see & much to do. She usually manages to spend one day with each of her daughters. This year we got to spend a day at the art museum with her!

She snapped this picture of the boys and me under one of the All-Star Arches that were scattered around the city. (The MLB All-Star Game was scheduled for the following Tuesday.)
This was one of Tyson's favorite pieces. I think he likes the colors.
After we went through the museum, we walked a bit in Forest Park...
...and then ate a picnic lunch under the shade of some lovely trees.
And here is just one photo of my collection that proves that my mom eats her way through St. Louis every year. (Honestly, I'm not sure there's any other way to experience out fine city. Visitors are encouraged to eat Steak & Shake, White Castles (AKA "Whities" & "Belly-Bombers"), toasted ravioli's & Ted Drewes (frozen custard).
Now that we've gotten past funerals, reunions and fishing trips, I pledge to get back to blogging. I've got photos from camping, the garden, knitting. Yes! I've been knitting like a mad woman!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

...back to this regularly scheduled blog...

...already in progress.

I'm back. Hopefully we can get back to our routine this week, and get back to getting things done. I can feel this summer slipping through my fingers, like a clock that keeps tick-tick-ticking the seconds away.

It's been a while since I last posted. A little over two weeks ago my aunt passed away. She had an 11 month battle with cancer, and although we knew it could come to this, I think it still took us all by surprise. I am sad, but I have strong faith that is carrying me through this time.

A week later came Independence Day, and the arrival of my mom from Arizona. Since then, an astonishing amount of my time has been spent with my many family members who have converged on the St. Louis area. My mom, my newly married sister & brother-in-law and my grandparents have all been in town. They all begin leaving tomorrow, which means that things will begin to settle down again. Bummer. I love their annual visits. Although I guess it will be nice to get back to relaxing & having my boys all to myself...
I have been knitting throughout the last two weeks. I've been working on a blanket for my soon-to-be niece or nephew. My brother in law is an artist, so I thought he might appreciate this OpArt blanket.
Since my sister was in town a short time, I was very lucky to get to spend a whole day with her and her new Hubby. We did a little hanging out at my house, then went to White Castle for lunch. After lunch, we decided to go to the World Bird Sanctuary.

Tyson really enjoyed spending time with Aunt Heather & Uncle Miles. They talked...
...and looked at birds...
and provoked a huffy attitude from the cranky resident turkey.
Tyson was also really excited to see the bald eagles, which we recently studied in our National Treasures unit.

Riley enjoyed the noisy parakeets & parrots, and loved the opportunity to run & walk all over so much space. (I think he also enjoyed picking up rocks. What is it about kids & rocks?)
Here's my sis & her new hubby. Aren't they so cute together?
Everyone was very interested to see the different kinds of hawks they had.

After the sanctuary, we decided to take a drive through Lone Elk Park. It's a park that you drive through, and you get to see all kinds of animals: elk, deer, even bison. I took this photo while we were n the bison area... that's Heather & Miles in the rental Prius in the side mirror.

Unfortunately, that's about all we saw. It was a hot, muggy day and apparently all the animals were off keeping cool. Away from the road. Out of view.

It was a busy day, and Riley ended up taking his nap in the car. I was lucky to snap this picture of Tyson stroking Riley's hair to help him fall asleep. (Ty is not wearing his seat belt in this picture only because we were still driving through the park... at about 5 mph. He buckled up before we got back onto the real road!)
After our uneventful drive through the park, we all went back to my house where we were joined by my dad & stepmom for a BBQ.

It was a great day, and I am really happy we all got to spend that much time together!