Saint Louis Spontaneity

Well. I hadn’t left this city all summer. July was ending. We needed to do something outlandish… like get out of this land! So we did! Much to Logan’s dismay (my Mr. Homebody is a real travel-stick-in-the-mud whose favorite part of a vacation is getting home), we found ourselves mapping out a four day trip to STL! Not long, not far, not expensive. Just a change of scenery! Luckily, Logan’s Uncle Steve was a huge aid in our knowing whereabouts to go when we got there. All the places we went came highly recommended from him. Thanks for being our Trip Advisor, Steve! You were spot on!

Day 1: Travel. I must say, my kids travel well. Although they are terribly annoying at times and have way too many snacks along the way, they are great sports. Evie is really liking audiobooks, and so we completed the first Boxcar Children from Hoopla whilst wheeling down the way. (Side note: Boxcar Children. Classic, right? But kind of horrible, I must admit. Maybe it was the goofy reader? Gawsh, the voice she had for Benny was something I needed to strangle. Although, I am certain that Henry taught me how to use a spoon as a knife. Ha!) Anyway, we got to and fro without a single movie or “gimme-your-phone” incident. Success! We stopped at OP for some Dave and Buster’s (which I had no idea what this place was. It was actually fun, and the food was really great. Lucky for us, it was half-price game day too, yee haw!) We stayed with Logan’s Aunt Marty and Uncle Randy in Washington that night. It was lovely, as always! They cooked gigantico pork chops and sautéed green beans and cabbage and chocolate pie and pink lemonade. Topped the evening off with a lovely chat after bedtime, and off to bed we went.

Day 2: Blueberry pancakes. Maybe we should’ve just stayed with the Hoermans the whole time. For real! 🙂 Thank you so much for the hospitality! After saying good-bye to Marty and Randy, we made our way to St. Louis and stopped in at The Magic House (STL’s Children’s Museum). Fan-freakin’-tastic. Evie had the time of her life. Olan had things to do and places to go. It was a great stop. If you’ve been to the City Museum, this place is like that, only for kids. They had the whole “million-kids-everywhere-omg-what-if-I-lose-one” thing down to an art. I didn’t have a heart attack the whole time. After spending the whole morning and most of the afternoon at The Magic House, we checked in at Hotel Hampton (using up some HHonor points, ooh la la). After an unsuccessful attempt at nap time, we hit the pool, because pools are every kid’s dream come true, and every parent’s eye roll. When we finally pried our chillins away from the pool, we drove over to The Mellow Mushroom for some pizza. Calzones for dayz people. Top notch. At our hotel, they had a cookie party every night at 8pm. Thass what I’m talkin’ bout, folks.

Day 3: Free breakfast! Whoop! We went over to Flying Tiger Moto to check out some interesting bikes. Logan ended up getting a new motorcycle…. helmet. Har har! Definitely needed. Evie was asking to “do something fun” so we hopped over to a chocolate shop and watched them make some confections and then, of course, had to eat them too. Yum. Off to Southwest Diner where I had the best fried egg sandwich eva. Although I felt like a snood in a hipster joint and was definitely the one without a tattoo in the place, this was my favorite restaurant! Wow! Just so stinking good. We were worn out from the day already, but we went about an hour south of STL to Hawn State Park and did a >1 mile hike down Pickle Creek. Logan is a hater for hiking, but I ate it up! Evie liked it at first, but she was so worn out, she was a little downtrodden by the trail’s end. We got to wade in the creek, and Olan loved his Poco Plus ride! Thanks Logan for tugging 50 extra pounds on your back for me. I love hiking! I’m afraid I might be the lone Henry, however. Sad face. We had a picnic dinner, and then exhaustedly headed back for our hotel room. Thank the Lord we convinced Evie to give up her dream of swimming when we got back, and we watched TV and ate cookies instead. The last thing I wanted to do was slink into my swimsuit and go splash around. Whew! We all slept well that night.

Day 4: Heading west! We got in a quick swim (BTW the whirlpool with the jets was a Henry kid pleaser!) and free breakfast before we left the hotel, and then off we went, back to Kansas. Uneventful all the way back. We got back at around 5pm.

Glad we got to make a small trip work this summer. Thanks to Logan for putting up with my crazy hair-brained idea to get in the car and take little babies 7 hours away, and thanks to Uncle Steve for so many wonderful suggestions. Mission accomplished!

Dave and Buster’s was stimulation overload… but the kids had a great time! Olan did a lot of pretend playing. Ha ha!

Our little automobile junky.

Evie with her insanely expensive prizes. We earned 598 tickets with our arcade skills and got two finger puppets and a laser pop. Trip entertainment!

Having fun in mama’s arms.

Randy and Marty’s house! Thank you again!

The Magic House! Tons of “marble runs” with big wooden balls. A little guy’s delight.

The giant bubble maker. Oh Evie and her bubbles! We could’ve stayed in the bubble room for-ev-er.

The TapeScape… an obstacle course and slide made out of 300 rolls of packing tape.

The Beanstalk… Life size, three-story high “Jack and the Beanstalk” you can climb!

The sand tables… Olan’s jam.

Mellow Mushroom… wish we’d taken pictures of our enormous calzones!

The prettiest helmet ever! You can see in the background the wall of helmets. Evie brought over each and every one for me to feel how soft and smooth it was.

Here’s Logan’s new helmet!

Lookin’ good, girl.

Scoot dat boot!

Kakao Chocolate shop! Evie got a chocolate spoon, and we ate some toasted pistachio dark chocolate bark!

Olan loves chocolate too!

Southwest Diner!

Street corn… just like Nacho Libre! My face is nothing like Jack Black’s, but I tried. Ha ha. And for the record, it’s not mayo. It’s something else that is really good. I should’ve written it down. Cilantro aioli or something. Way good.

The start of our Pickle Creek adventure!

Olan stripped a few pieces of clothing by the end.

Evie and her hiking stick, which slowed her down and made her trip more than it helped her keep her balance. She’s got a little bit of Grandma Baldwin hiking (tripping lots) in her genes.

The trail ran right along the creek the whole time. Very rocky, but fun!

Little dipper!

For the Fourth

Oh say! The Fourth of July is always so nostalgic. I love it. This year proved to be filled with wonder for my kids, and we just had a dazzlingly good time.

We Henrys decided to host a funnel cake partay with our Grow Group on Tuesday night and shoot off some works in our finally-coming-together backyard. I fried up 20 cakes and we had some great toppings supplied and meaningful conversations throughout the evening. WOO! It was so fun! Thank you for appeasing my party planning brain and joining us, friends!

On the real holiday, we woke up and sped on out to the in-laws’ house to play with their new batch of seven kittens for the morning. That Evie is in love with those kittens. Olie even warmed up to them and was wanting to pick them up (and forcibly set them down too…). We had a great time! Annual kid photos too. Such a pretty, festive place y’all have, Janine!

We had a lazy afternoon waiting for the evening. Evie and I played Pictureka and giggled a lot. She learned that America is 242 years old, and I think it finally sank in that the Fourth of July is a birthday party for the whole country. I learned that she is quite partial to “Party in the U.S.A”. We listened to it on repeat for like two hours. It really just left me wondering what Britney song was on at the club that night.

After naps, we hit up a friend party for a teensy little bit, and then landed for dinner at my parents’ place. Too much food. Homemade ice cream. Lots of peeps. Lots of pops and bangs. Glow sticks were an amazing hit with little kids. Both of our tikes stayed up until 10:30 (a first for Olan!). Both of them also slept until 7:30, which may sound horrible to you pansies out there, but I was praisin’ the Laud.

Here’s to the land of the free!

O: 1.75 Years

Olan at his one and three quarters mark. He’s such a candy bar… meaning way too delicious for anyone to resist. Here’s Olie’s list of fun things he’s doing and preferring these days.

Although in the past he’s been slow to speak out, he has exploded with words in the last few weeks. He says: egg, hat, car, ball, big bite, blue, daddy, mama, Evie, moon, truck, mow, tree, done, water, snack, eat, God, uh huh, no, light, bay… Okay so he’s saying everything. Ha! He is trying many other words, but these are the ones that are most recognizable by Joe Schmoe.

The kid loves being outside and throws a fit when it’s time to come in. He has taken a liking to baseball, he’s fearless in the water, and enjoys swinging. I think he might stay in the swing for hours if that were not considered neglect. Blue car is his go-to toy, and I feel like we need some big boy toys pretty quick… he’s getting into dinos and trucks and farm equipment, big time.

Eating is a favorite pastime for the man. He’s into throwing his food at the table (which we are swiftly disciplining for outrageous behavior like that). Blueberries for the blueberry eyed baby boy and he’s content as can be. He also digs bananas, oatmeal, and pizza. Weighing in at 31 pounds, his appetite matches. And all he wants at mealtime is to watch mama cook his food in the kitchen.

Evie and Olan have a special relationship. Evie is very protective of her baby bro, and they love hugging and wrestling with each other. We’ve really seen Olan follow after Evie’s example in a lot of ways. Just this morning, Evie put on her shoes and was running through the house as fast as she could, and Olan brought me his shoes to put on and started running too. So cute. (And they look like they’re gonna be up to no good one of these days with their shifty eyes in the last picture!)

Biting, throwing screamy tantrums (wondering if the twos are coming soon…), pacifying at nighttime, and “tattling” on Evie are some of his bad habits. But all in all, dude’s a pretty docile creature. He is still a cuddly babe who loves to be carried around. He thinks brushing his teeth is the funniest thing, he reads “Down by the Bay” every night and never wanes in excitement, and snoozes from 8:00pm-6:30am.

Nearly two years with my babe and I haven’t gotten tired of him yet.

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