Friday, July 29, 2011

New Glasses for the Girls

In the summer, a week is spent going to our annual doctor appointments. The girls had their eye appts. and it was time for new frames. Olivia has had her frames for 4 years and it was time to get new ones. It doesn't look like much has changed b/c once again they are rimless at the bottom, but the frame is a dark mocha and lime green designs on the sides. Clare has been wearing classes for a year now. Her purple frames were getting too small for her face and a bigger frame was in need. The color of her frames are pink/mauve color. Both girls are liking their new glasses and ready for school.

Sorry for the blurry pictures below.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Surprise Getaway

Phil and I had been wanting to take the kids somewhere this summer, but finding time was the difficult part. Andrew's baseball has been consuming our summer evenings and with him being selected on All-Stars, has made the season a little longer than usual. This year his team has advanced to the State level, only competing against 7 teams around the State.

Last week, there was small window of opportunity to sneak away before the State tournament started. We told the kids we were going to Grandma's for a few days. But what they didn't know was we were only going to Grandma's to drop off Ruth, and then we were heading to St. Louis with the older three. A big THANKS to my mom for watching Ruthie so we could enjoy our trip w/o scheduling naps and having a fussy toddler while visiting the sights in STL.

Once Ruth was all settled in at Grandma's, we told the kids to load back up in the van. They were confused BUT knew something was up.

Without telling them right away, I prepared slips of paper of the different things we planned to do and where we were going to keep in the suspense for our 4 hour drive. Four envelopes for them to open every hour. This was the BEST thing I could have done in planning our trip b/c the kids were soooo excited to get the 'next' envelope to find out more on what was planned on our trip.

DAY 1~
Envelope #1-St. Louis Zoo ~ Andrew said this was a dead give away to where we were headed and I should have left off 'St. Louis'.

#2 envelope- Touring the Gateway Arch-tram to the top, sightseeing cruise, and a movie on how the Arch was built. When the kids heard 'cruise', Phil quickly said this isn't like the cruise ship on the show Zack and Cody-Sweet Life.

#3-Visiting our friends Joe, Jayna and their girls

#4-Grant's Farm- no photo

It was lunch time, so we stopped in Hannibal, MO to eat and fuel up on gas. After we ate, we decided to tour Mark Twain's cave. Phil and I had never been there before, but I knew about the cave since my brother went there in 6th grade for his end of the year field trip. By the time, I was in 6th grade, the end of the year trip was moved to visiting the State Capital here in DM.

We could feel the 57 degree temperature upon entering in the cave. It felt awesome since the heat was well near 100 degrees.

Alligator Rock~rock shaped like an alligator

Clare sitting on the very long sofa bed made of limestone.

We had an AWESOME tour guide-Erin. She told the fabulous history of the cave and some interesting stories about the caves.

DAY 2~

The zoo in STL is free, what a deal!!!! We only had to pay for parking $12, and some shows, but our fantastic friends shared their zoo pass with us, and we used some passes to see the Sea Lion Show. Thanks Jayna!!!

To see and pet the sting rays, you do have to pay, but the exhibit is free if you come the first hour the zoo opens. The kids LOVED this exhibit and we probably were there about a half hour. They even wanted to go back later in the day. This was one of their favorite parts of the zoo. Before the first hour of the zoo was up, we headed to the Children's section of the zoo to take advantage of the free first hour.

Sea Lion Show
The sea lions performed many neat tricks, and Phil even caught a frisbee souvenir from the sea lion.

Clare loved the hippos- they were very LARGE and playful with each other.

The giraffes were so close to us to snap a photo of them.

The heat index was well above 100 the whole time we were there. The zoo was surprisingly very shady and there were a lot of misty fans on the paths.

I was asked to compare the Omaha's Zoo to the zoo in STL. Phil and I were totally impressed with the zoo in STL. I think it may be even better than Henry Doorly. This zoo had a great selection of animals just like the HD Zoo but what we liked was that the zoo was broken down into different areas or themes for the type of animals, and you would follow little trails, which were shady. There weren't long walks to the next group of animals either. The zoo is very thought out in its design. Since it was extremely hot, there were many places for drinking fountains, misty fans and lots of restrooms.

After the zoo, the we were wiped from the heat and all the walking. We stopped at a McDonald's in Glen Carbon to have a refreshing ice cream treat. Then we headed to Joe and Jayna's to cool down. The kids all played well together and Phil and I were able to visit with Jayna while Joe was at work. Later that night, Joe grilled burgers for us and we had a delicious meal prepared by Jayna.

After supper, Joe hooked up the slip and slide for the kids to play in.

Gwen-8 and Kate-5

We had great time staying with the Froehlich's. Their hospitality was outstanding!!! It has seem been more than 10 years for me and 5 years for Phil since we had seen them last. It doesn't seem like any of us has aged but Joe pointed out that now we have children and one is almost as tall as us, that makes us feel old.
Day 3~ Cahokia Mounds

We had a few hours in the morning before we were scheduled to tour the Arch. Joe suggested we stop at Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois before driving into STL. This is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico. The mound below is more than 100 feet high and king would live there. At once time the Mississippian culture began their community here.

View from the top of the mound. Phil took this picture of the skyline of STL.

I didn't walk up the mound since Clare wasn't up for it.

I was getting my camera ready to take a picture of the Arch just out my window when this motorcyclist slowed down at Phil's window. We weren't sure what he wanted, but he noticed I had a camera and then we figured it out. He wanted us to take a picture of HIM. He performed for us on the bridge, popping a huge wheely and doing other snazzy tricks.

Getting ready to head down the cruise boat on the Mississippi River. We had an hour sightseeing cruise planned.

Below the Arch is a Westward Expansion Museum, gift shops and this tram photo spot in the picture below.

Height of the Arch is 630 feet.

Width 630 feet

After the Arch, we checked in to our hotel. This picture is the view from our hotel.

Clare lost her front tooth the day we toured the Arch. This was a BIG moment for Clare b/c she didn't want her tooth to come out. She said she wasn't ready for it. For the majority of the day, she wasn't fond of her 'new' smile, hence in most of my pictures she isn't smiling at all. BUT
finally during supper at Hard Rock Cafe, she started to relax more and we'd see her smile.

Day 4~Grant's Farm

Pointing at some ostriches out in the distance.

Feeding the goats was another fav of the kids.

Clare like her carousel rides.

Animal show-parrots performing how smart they are.

African Elephant-Bud showing the audience how BIG he can blow up a balloon. He only used about a forth of his lung capacity.

Ulysses S. Grant's home- He and his wife Julia lived here before he was in office for President.

13 Years Together

Today we celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it has only been 13 years. It seems longer and the only way I know life. We celebrated actually on yesterday and my SIL Sara watched the kids while we went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We haven't been there since our honeymoon and cheesecake would be the perfect dessert. ***Thanks Sara!!!

I'm glad we celebrated yesterday since today I wasn't feeling the best. I had a headache all day in my eyes and sinus and it was also a busy day with sports. I wouldn't have been up for dinner tonight.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

District 3 Champions!!!

I came to game about a hour into it since Clare had a birthday party. That was ok since it was so HOT out!! When I arrived the score was 1-0, 3rd inning. It was a slow start and Johnston was behind. Johnston was home and at bat. In this inning, 3 runs were scored giving them the lead. In the 4th inning, Johnston held Ankeny but earning 5 more runs for themselves. Top of the 5th, no runs for Ankeny. Johnston needed 3 more runs to win by 10. And that is what they just did!!!

Catching a pop fly.

Movin' to 2nd base.

Rounding 3rd

Andrew's run home was the winning run to end the game in 5 innings, 10 run rule.

Andrew-end top right

**To be continued....State later this month!!!