Friday, June 22, 2012

Looking for a Book to Read?

One of the most beautiful buildings in DC is the Library of Congress.  From the outside it's impressive--huge, gray stone, domed roof.  But inside, it's amazing.  Ornate, colorful, intricate....and filled with books!

There's a new exhibit opening at the LOC on Monday: Books that Shaped America.  According to the LOC,

"This list of ‘Books That Shaped America’ is a starting point. It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books--although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

It's an interesting list, filled with a variety of books (Where the Wild Things Are and The Joy of Cooking!)  I'm glad to see that I've read several, but not nearly enough to constitute a majority of the list.

You can see the entire list on the LOC website, here.

Now, to find some time to actually sit down and read an entire book again....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day on the Farm

Happy Father's Day!

Years ago, my Dad's first congregation started holding a chicken dinner in the park on Father's Day.  A week or so ago, Dad and I were talking and decided that it would be fun to go this year.  Darren and the boys have never been to Venedy.

(Sidebar...Darren has always tried to claim "small-town" status in our relationship.  His hometown has a population of a whopping 1800 and two blinking lights.  Venedy...population 138 according to the 2010 Census.  And, no blinking lights.)

So we went to the chicken dinner in the park.  I'm happy to report that Venedy is as timeless as ever.  It was fun to be back and to feel like I'd stepped back in time.  Even looking over at the Scanlan's house, I saw the same swingset and playhouse that I crossed the cemetery countless times to play in.  Such fun!

Mom has a nice recap of the dinner in the park here.

After Mom and Dad headed home, we stayed to take the boys for a visit at the farm with Roger and Joyce.

But before we left the park, the boys found some dirt to play in.

They're currently being hosed down with a power washer...but, Boys + dirt = happy kids.

Then it was past the church and down to the farm.

This was great!  For one, the boys have never had the chance to visit a real dairy farm.  Or any kind of farm for that matter.  Second, it was great to visit with Roger and Joyce. When we lived in Venedy, I spent every Saturday morning at their house.  We'd have pancakes and work around the house.  Then on Saturday evenings, I'd head across the street to the Sieving's house for dinner.

As a parent looking back, I see that Mom and Dad were rather clever with this arrangement.  Smart parents!

First, Roger showed us the baby calves.  The one the boys are looking at here was just born yesterday!  The calf was resting inside so the boys just peeked in.
Then it was onto the adult cows.

The boys came up close to some large hay bales.  Christian though this was fun...
While Connor tried to unravel one.
Then we saw some tractors.  Mommy had to climb up first.
Then, we went inside to see where the cows were milked.  Roger helped the boys climb up to peek inside the tank that holds all the milk while it waits to be transported off to fill up the jugs of milk we buy at the grocery store.

Joyce explained the process of how the milk gets from the cows to the tank to the truck to the store.  This tank holds 2700 gallons of milk.

Connor thinks, "Can I have a straw?"
On the way home, the boys both agreed that this was their favorite part of the farm.  They're both looking forward to another visit.

Thanks to Roger and Joyce for giving the boys a great experience today!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Water Play

The boys and I had a playdate at the Botanical Garden this morning.  The Children's Garden is such a great place for kids.  Even better, on Saturday mornings, admission to the Garden is free for STL city and county residents.

In addition to tree houses, slides, gardens, and other fun things to climb on, in, and under, the Children's Garden has a water play area.  Connor loved this.

It was a hot morning...this cooled the kids off in a flash. 

Best part about a morning spent at the Gardens?  According to Christian on the way home, "That was exhausting. Fun, but exhausting."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Catching Up

I was reminded today that I've been neglecting this space (thanks Mary!).  True, I've been absent.  Partly because the summer has gotten hectic, but also because I haven't felt the energy to be near the computer.  Must.find.motivation!!

Anyway, here's a peek into what we've been up to the last week or so.

The boys and I got to have a visit with my Gramma.  The boys love going to visit Great-Gramma.  Partly because she's Great-Gram, but she tends to spoil them (as is a Great-Gramma's privilege).  Case in point: When we arrived at 9:30 am, she greeted the boys with milk and cookies.

They were in heaven!

Great Gramma hugs are the best!

Darren's Dad and brother came to visit for the CCLS Golf Tournament.  The grown-up boys all had a great time golfing, despite the rainy weather.  The trio even place second in their flight.

The boys and I took Papaw and Uncle Doug sightseeing.

First a tour of Busch Stadium.

Then the Arch, the Seminary, and Ted Drewes, where I apparently didn't take a single photo.

The boys all played catch in the backyard.

Then sadly, Papaw and Uncle Doug had to head back to Texas.

So, I took the boys to the Botanical Garden.
 We weren't sure what Connor was doing.

If you get a chance to go see the Lantern Festival at the Garden, go.  It's beautiful.

Isn't he cute?

They potted an eggplant and a zucchini in the Children's Garden.
Christian started golf lessons. 

Darren and the boys just headed out to practice hitting golf balls.  It was awfully cute to see the three boys, clubs in hand, headed out.

Finally, Christian got his final kindergarten report card.  Yay!  To celebrate, we took a family trip up to Ted Drewes (it takes all of three minute to get there...what a burden!)

Roll On

I've been spending more time than usual lately traveling...and traveling by car vs. plane.  As I've been driving across Southern Illinois and Missouri I've been reminded of one big difference between life in the Mid-West and life inside the Beltway.


Where we lived and spent most of our time on the road (a lot of time on the road) in DC we rarely ever saw semi's.  They tended to route around the area, rather than cruising through the heart of the Beltway. 

Here, whether its on Highway 70 or 44, semi's are EVERYWHERE.  I know they serve a good purpose, but wow, I don't like being on the road near them.  I try to avoid getting sandwiched in by them, and hustle past them every chance I get.

On one drive last week I had one semi cut me off, forcing me to hit the brakes in a hurry.  There was another pair of semi's traveling side by side, ten miles below the speed limit--this went on for the better part of ten minutes, I assume the drivers were having a conversation.

The best was the car that had a little dog that clearly didn't like the trucks.  I watched this car as they passed half a dozen of these 18 wheelers.  Each time the car got up next to the truck, the little dog stuck it's head out the back window and barked like crazy.  When they passed the truck, the dog stopped.  Next comes the barking.  If I hadn't been behind the wheel, I probably would have pulled out my camera to video it, it was that funny.