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Fun in Missouri

Living in the midwest strong, violent storms are pretty common place. Spring rolls around and brings with it the thunder, lightning, heavy down pours and sometimes even tornadoes. A late afternoon darkening of the sky with the rumble of thunder off in the distance is a fairly frequent occurrence once the daytime temperatures begin to rise. I’m used to it. My kids are used to it, and aren’t afraid of a little thunderstorm. We take weather warnings seriously, as tornadoes are scary, but we enjoy a good thunderstorm every now and then.

A few weeks ago Maya’s class learned all about weather, specifically spring weather. And, since we live in prime thunderstorm/tornado territory that meant a little discussion on those types of weather activities. They have fire drills and tornado drills at her school from time to time. She knows what the tornado sirens going off means. Up until recently the sounds of the thunder crashing, the trees blowing in the strong winds and the distant sound of the tornado siren didn’t cause any unrest. A few times we’ve found ourselves in the basement as a precaution but it didn’t bother her. Until this past weekend that is.

This past weekend saw some strong storms in our area. There was a lot of property damage and sadly someone lost their life as a result of the storms. We were lucky as the bulk of the violent weather was to our north and we didn’t get much more than some loud thunder and heavy rains. For the first time since Maya learned about tornadoes and has had tornado drills at school we heard the sound of the tornado sirens. She was in the bathtub at the time covered from head to toe in shampoo and soap. As the sounds began to register with her she quickly went from playing calmly in the bathtub to having a full on little panic attack. She was breathing funny, crying and shaking. I spoke calmly to her and quickly rinsed her off. After checking the weather on my phone I decided we’d better head downstairs for a bit. So down the stairs I went carrying a fussy baby who just wanted to go to bed already and holding the hand of a little girl in a panic. Fun times.

By the time we got downstairs the sirens were no longer sounding and after checking the local radar on my laptop I decided we were fine to head back upstairs. Maya had luckily calmed down and the weather outside was much calmer, just a few faint rumbles of thunder and some rain remained. I settled Maya on the couch with her blankie and a movie while I put Anna to bed (Lorne was out of town enjoying a boys weekend). Later we spent some time talking about storms and tornadoes and why we head downstairs when we hear the sirens. She was much calmer and seemed to understand, mostly anyway, she did ask several times if a twister would cause our house to be pulled of the ground and blown all the way to Oz!

Turns out if a child learns just a little about violent stormy weather and that knowledge is coupled with what she learned from watching the Wizard of Oz it can turn her into quite the chaotic, panicky mess when the tornado sirens go off! Who knew :/

Off to the library we go to learn a little bit more about storms and to hopefully calm her nerves a bit.

Fun in Missouri

Penguin Parade at the St. Louis Zoo.

Every Sunday afternoon during the months of January and February (weather permitting, of course) the penguins at the St. Louis Zoo take a little stroll. It is an enrichment activity for the penguins. A chance to see something different, stretch their legs and put on quite the show for those brave enough to hit up the zoo on a chilly winter day. The trainers and a few rangers, to help control the crowd, lead the penguins out of the exit of the penguin and puffin cove and take them on a short little walk along the pedestrian path back to the entrance to the penguin and puffin cove. Zoo visitors line the “parade” route and watch as the king and gentoo penguins enjoy their little stroll. It is an activity I’ve always wanted to do but just have never gotten around to.

This past weekend we finally made it to the zoo for the penguin parade. It was so fun to watch those little guys strolling along. They were so curious and interested in the people watching them. A few of the gentoo penguins were even curious enough to go right up to couple of people. Maya got a big kick out of it and can’t wait to share the experience with her classmates this week when they learn about penguins at school.

Since the penguins aren’t big fans of warm temperatures they only take their little stroll if the temperatures are below 50 degrees so it is a bit chilly. As long as you bundle up you should be good. They don’t stay out for long.  As I was watching all the people who had gathered for the parade I couldn’t decided who was enjoying the penguins more the grown ups or the kids :)

If you live in St. Louis or happen to be in our city on a Sunday during the months of January or February this is a great event you don’t want to miss. Remember to bundle up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Missouri Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places in St. Louis. The acres and acres of flowers, trees and vegetation right in the midst of the city are so peaceful, relaxing and inspiring. It just so happens that Maya adores going to the “Tanical Gardens” as she refers to them, so we find ourselves there quite often.

This Saturday we decided to take advantage of what promised to be a gorgeous, crisp morning and headed to the Gardens for a morning of stopping to smell the roses and running around the Children’s Garden.

The rose garden was beautiful with lots of wonderfully scented roses still in bloom. Maya had fun sniffing all the different colored roses and telling us what she thought they smelled like, things like strawberries, blueberries and cupcakes :)

After spending some time in the rose garden we slowly made our way to Maya’s favorite part of the Botanical Gardens, The Children’s Garden. We spent about an hour running around the children’s section watching her climb everything she could, put on a puppet show for us and spend some time in the pretend general store.

Anna spent the whole morning partaking in her favorite activity, sleeping soundly in the ERGO carrier with her face pressed firmly against me. I don’t know why she likes to sleep that way, but she does it whether I’m holding her and rocking her to sleep or she is sleeping in the carrier. The little imprints she gets on her nose and chin are too cute.

It was a gorgeous morning at the gardens spending time together as a family and making the most of a fabulous autumn morning here in St. Louis.

Fun in Missouri

The Balloon Glow is by far one of my favorite St. Louis area events. If you live in this area and haven’t been down to Forest Park to see the Balloon Glow, the open act of The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, you are definitely missing out.

The Great Forest Park Balloon Race is an event that takes place every year around this time. Hot air balloons gather in Forest Park for a weekend of activities that includes the big race and a balloon glow the evening before. The balloon glow is a very popular event here in St. Louis, it is always packed and parking is always a challenge.

The Balloon Glow takes place on the Friday evening before the big race.  Central Field within Forest Park fills up with hot air balloons, food and merchandise venders and lots and lots of spectators.  When dusk hits all the balloons fill up and spend the evening setting balloons aglow. It is a beautiful sight.

We’ve been to the glow a few times, but Maya didn’t remember her previous experiences and this year we brought a few friends along who had never been to the glow before. We all had so much fun. Maya really got a kick out of the huge balloons and the sights and sounds of the glow. She even managed to snag herself a flashing ring from one of the sponsors :)

It was pretty windy the evening of the glow this time and a couple of times we had to dodge falling hot air balloons! But, all in all it was a fabulous event yet again, with another huge turn out. Even though we had to walk about 2 miles to and from our car I sure am glad we didn’t have to battle the traffic inside Forest Park.

I missed the balloon race this year but in previous years I’ve really enjoyed seeing the balloons littered through the sky during the race. The Great Forest Park Balloon Race and all the corresponding activities is definitely a must see for St. Louis area residents.

The labor day long weekend has always sort of marked the unofficial end to summer. When I was growing up in Canada the weather was definitely cooler and more fall like starting in September so it really felt like summer was over. Here in St. Louis we’ll have summer like weather for a while longer so even though it doesn’t feel like summer is over this past weekend still feels like the unofficial end to me. We marked it by spending a lot of time out and about our neck of the woods.

Friday and Saturday were super hot here, like over 100 degrees, and Lorne was busy breaking up our pathway to nowhere in the backyard so we didn’t do much of anything. We woke Sunday to much cooler temperatures, it was in the upper 50s when we woke up, we haven’t seen temperatures like that since we left Australia! It was cloudy and threatening rain so we decided to hit up the local children’s museum, The Magic House. Unfortunately, half of St. Louis also decided to do the same thing so it was crazy busy. We didn’t let that stop us though, Maya still managed to have some fun.

After about an hour at the Magic House Lorne and I had had all the noise and chaos we could handle to we headed to downtown Kirkwood for ice cream, coffee and a little walk. Maya and Lorne decided they had to stop and play with the giant boulder fountain and try to make it move in a different direction. This really is a super cool fountain. The perfectly cylindrical boulder rolls on top of a water and you can make it move in every different direction fairly easily. Maya and Lorne had a lot of fun as you can see.

Monday was another gem of a day with temperatures in the upper 50s again in the morning, except this time we had sun. We headed down to Forest Park for a veteran’s memorial festival that was going on. They had great food, live music, rides and civil war and Lewis and Clark reenactment displays. It was fun. Maya especially loved the rides :)

And, of course, a trip to Forest Park wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the fountain and art hill. Maya found a stick and pretended to fish in the fountain :)

We had a great weekend. We are still enjoying absolutely gorgeous weather which has seen us outside and at the park a lot the last couple of days. I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of the 100 degree weather for this year. To me there is nothing better than a perfect 70-80 degree day. I need to find somewhere to live where I can have that everyday, or at least most days.

Hope you all enjoyed your farewell to summer weekend.