Well this is actually the 2nd day, but we got here around 2pm yesterday so this is our 1st full day.
Kids loved coming to St. Louis last year and so were almost assuming we were coming back for this year's spring break. Something totally "Midwest" about two kids loving going to another city, that doesn't have cabanas, beach, sand, and surf for "spring break" :).
So we traveled yesterday by car. Due to the "busy season" of all public accountants "the coach" did not travel with us. The kids were GREAT! No movies were watched, instead 2 hours of looking at books, and 2 1/2 hours of listening to Harry Potter, playing some "card car games" and eating lunch. Made it here and had a lovely evening including a long game of Monopoly with the oldest while dancing daughter was "getting her groove" on listening to Pandora Kids Bop Station on Iphone, followed by yummy pizza and bed. Followed by some catch up time with friend once kids fell asleep over some great Cab.
Today was even better- started the day at "The City Museum" in downtown St. Louis. If you haven't been there- go- go now! It is one of the most creative, eccentric, activity (physical that is) promoting places I've been with my kids. There is so much to describe- it is truly sensory overload! I think last year I was a little overwhelmed and over protective, but youngest daughter was only 4 and oldest was 7 so probably not o.k. to just say- go off for 20 minutes of exploring while I sit here reading a book, etc. Well this year that year difference and the "buddy system" they are good at, allowed me less worries, less climbing through all the "tight places" that little people have no problem climbing through. This year we also had the great luck of running into our old neighbors who lived three doors down from us and have two kids our kid's ages. It was great to have the kids "run" with each other and be able to divide up among "old kids" and "young kids". However, besides meeting up with our neighbors my favorite time was spent in the art area. Both kids received a "ball of clay" from the ADHD/ADD/"possible manic" clay artist (I mean that in all due respect, because she had a "well oiled machine" at her clay counter- no kids were given clay until they showed their "elbow muscles" aka- push your sleeves up and if you didn't listen she would just say it louder, and again not give you the coveted ball of clay. She also was big into saying, "When you are done, paws in the bucket and then in the sink"- she again had a "well oiled machine of cleanup". However, for some nicknamed "chattynatty" I couldn't keep up with her "conversation lines". She was all over the map. Youngest made this cool looking twirling clay/almost rose figure and oldest made clay bowl- unfortunately youngest' clay stature was so popular when we went back to pick both up her's was gone. She handled it like the trooper she is and way more mature than the 5 year old I ever was and shed no tears, but said something to the effect "someone else must have liked it"- how awesome is that coping :)- yep didn't teach her that one must have been "the coach".
Then after the Clay fun we moved onto oldest building his own bow/arrow set with paper, a green shamrock colored stretchy material clearly meant for St. Pat's day crafts, and another twisted piece of paper with cut out fins/feather region. Youngest made fabulous flower with the good old scrunched up colored tissue paper glued to construction paper to make a "flower" and I loved my "collage" of numbers/writings and art that I cut and glued to old file cabinet dividers- totally awesome recycled art products.
After we left our neighbors we went to the car and "had a picnic" due to the chilly weather, but then I bribed them with "no crying/whining and 1 mile walk to Arch will get you treat"- I know you aren't suppose to bribe with food, but it saved me reparking and it was great exercise and we got to see so much more of the city, and pet dogs, and see all the crazy St. Pat's day patrons, then if we would have driven to another parking garage. All in all my parking for the day cost me $5- yep you are reading that right $5.
We walked to the Arch and preceeded to enter the Museum of Westward Expansion where both kids exited with Junior Park Ranger Badges for answering the questions in "junior park ranger book". They have the gold badges to prove it. After the museum we took some great pictures and then walked to Starbucks and had our "treats". We then walked back to the car, but took a detour- the best detour ever! The St. Louis central public library. Seriously, I love libraries and this one is a good one. The kids remember going to it last year and so were all for it this year. One ended up sitting in the three story soft cushioned reading statue with her graphic novels and easy readers while the oldest was in the "teen room" also known as the "1912 children's library room" reading graphic novels for the "older child". I meanwhile found some new books to add to my "to read" list for myself and the kids. My favorite find of the day was the following book by Anita Silvey "100 Best Books for Children". In the introduction I was hooked...
"Nothing lasts longer in memory than childhood reading experiences. And nothing ensure the success of a child more in society than being read to from infancy through young adulthood. reading books to and with children is the single most important thing a parents, grandparent, or significant adult can do."
"I believe 3 stories exist for every book: the one the book tells, the one behind the book and the story of what happens when a child or family reads the book."
I'm pretty certain I will be purchasing this book soon. We headed to my friends house after the library to make a yummy dinner, followed by kids playing across the street at school playground- how awesome is that- my friend seriously has the kind of house/porch where the kids are a "shout away" and can play in fenced in protected black top/playground area. Now both kids are in bed, my friends have either gone back to work due to "being on call" or gone to "man cave" to watch "Futbo'l" and I get to sit with some Girl Scout Cookies and yummy Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin to end out my fabulous day.
So grateful! Such a lucky person/mom I am. Spring Break 2014- St. Louis- this may be an annual Spring break spot, in fact my oldest said "See you next year" when leaving the "city museum" and also "next year when we come we will do...". Lets hope Day 2 will be just as adventurous and great!