Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Every summer, I like to take some time to do a staycation with the kids so we can do some new (and old) things around St. Louis. Last year we had our staycation in May, right after school was out... but, since we went camping at Trout Lodge over Memorial Day weekend and we also went to Disney... I decided to do a staycation a couple of weeks prior to school starting. We kicked it off with our yearly summer trip to Tower Grove Park for their Saturday market and they also have a splash and wade pool and two playgrounds. We bought THREE little crates of different varities cherry tomatoes, here is Autumn with our yellow cherries.
Nathan remembered the honey sticks we had gotten the year before, so of course we let the kids pick out 5 honey sticks each.
It was REALLY crowded in the market, so it was hard for me to get photos of the kids with all of the people milling around. Here is Nathan with our second crate of blackberries. Don't ask how much we spent on produce, we only do it once a summer so we went ALL out. I always love to buy my tomatoes from the Amish folks! They always have the best maters in my opinion! YUM!
After the market, we all got these delicious ice pops... the watermelon ones were just fresh watermelon, frozen... there was even a couple of seeds in Autumn's that I had to help her get rid of... then Brian, Nathan and I had a blueberries and cream one. So good! There were some huge blueberries in mine.
While we ate the ice pops, the kids played in a nearby tree and then Brian and I also got dessert crepes at a nearby food truck (this is the same crepe food truck that comes to my work sometimes- Holy Crepe). I got a nutella and banana crepe and Brian got a blueberry and orange crepe (he doesn't like bananas), we shared them with the kids, too.
We then proceded to the splash and wade pool, which was still really nice and warm even though we are having really low temps in St. Louis for the end of July, upper 70's and lower 80's. What a funky summer this has been in terms of weather.
Nathan running to get into the pool... this boy has GROWN at least a half inch and has gained 5 lbs in the last 6 months! Unreal! The only thing we have changed is we have started giving him vitamins and it seems sense then he has really started to eat a lot more. So excited that my picky boy is finally eating a lot more! :)
Both kids under the main fountain. Not too bad, figuring it is next to impossible to get them to pose together.
I just love these two photos I took of Nathan in the water. It seems I get a lot more photos of Autumn these days and I am trying to get more of Nathan.
Oh, and here is a silly one of him floating.
Here is one of me and the kids... ehhh, at least I am smiling at the camera. Still love any photo of me and the kids, though. :)
And my toes
Autumn just had a blast in the splash area, last year she was a little nervous of it. She brought her floaties, even though she didn't need them. But, the girl INSISTED we bring them Sigh. :)
I love how excited she looks in this first photo and in the second photo I love how the water looks falling around her.
A detail shot of her little curls floating in the water. So cute.
Her hair is getting SO long, I had her hair in piggy tails today and her hair up in piggies is just as long as my hair is down! I do want to get a trim in before school starts.
I usually buy Autumn's swimsuits (and sometimes Nathan's) a year ahead and I was just thinking it is probably time to buy her a couple of swimsuits from Gymboree since they usually mark them down right about now. I also want to start thinking about their special outfits for school photos. hmm.
A couple of playground pics... I LOVE this shot of Autumn on the swing, it looks like she is hanging upside down! Silly girl!
And, here I am having a slide race with Auttie.
Annnnd. Here are some photos of our produce that we took home. We enjoyed some of it on a wonderful picnic the next day at Elephant Rocks AND I hope to make a fresh batch of my favorite cold summer soup, gazpacho.
Blackberries and juicy peaches
We also got a HUGE watermelon that Brian cut up for the kids (and, well us!)
Then we went home and rested a bit... in the evening I got an itch to go for a walk with the kids. There is this trail RIGHT by our house along the Meramec river that Brian's friend Kevin told me about over a year ago. Its a perfect running trail as its 2 miles one way and back, mostly shaded and a beautiful view of the river. I had yet to check it out as a running trail, BUT I thought it'd be fun to check it out with the kids first. So, out we went to find this hidden trail.
If you follow me on Instagram, you saw this photo of the kids once we spotted the river on our walk. They LOVED it and we will definitely be walking this trail a lot more with them in the future!
They loved seeing boats and jetski's go by... the sounds and seeing the stir in the water/waves.
Not sure WHICH kid took this photo (we had to let them both take turns), but its not bad. :)
The kids loved playing by the river... such a good time. Can't wait to run this trail with Brian sometime soon!
Monday, July 29, 2013
Staycation Day 2 AND Trendy Tot Tuesday #24 - Gymbo Ice Cream Outfit and Neon Yellow at Elephant Rocks and Johnson Shut-Ins
It's Trendy Tot time once again with Mrs In Training, Lindsay and Megan! Today Autumn is wearing a lovely hand me down that I got from my friend Janna, who I met on the May 2006 Babycenter board and we have met twice in real life (once in Colorado in 2010 and just this summer in St. Louis). Autumn is wearing an ice cream tie back shirt with matching ice cream skirt from Gymboree.
Nathan is wearing a shirt I scored from Target before our Disney trip, I love the neon yellow and the combination of gray on this shirt. It also matches the neon yellow in his New Balance shoes. Nathan wears a uniform during the school year, so it seems every summer I need to go out and buy him some inexpensive summer shirts.
I took off a few days from work and I am enjoying a little staycation with the kids and my love Brian. We always do a staycation sometime during the summer and it is so fun to come up with new (and old) things nearby to have fun exploring. Awhile back, Brian and I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast so we could visit Elephant Rocks and we decided it would be fun to go back and take the kids (see my old blog post on that trip here). Well, I decided it would be fun to take them for their first time during our staycation and we could also explore the natural water park called Johnson Shut-Ins, which is only 15 miles or so from Elephant Rocks. Oh my, it was a wonderful day full of laughter, memories and FUN. Of course, I knew Trendy Tot was coming up, so I dressed my kids up as I knew Elephant Rocks is the perfect back drop for some lovely photographs.
Since I knew I wanted to get some keepsake photos of the kids at Elephant Rocks and I also knew we'd be swimming later at Johnson Shut-Ins, I decided to bring a change of clothes for the kids... I didn't want to photograph Nathan with his swimming trunks on against the lovely Elephant Rocks. I could have hid Autumn's swim suit under her outfit, but it is such a pain to use the potty in a one piece, so I changed her into her swimsuit as well once we got to Elephant Rocks. Of course, I decided to wear my swimsuit under a comfy tube top and some shorts. No stylish shoes for me, tennis shoes are the way to go at Elephant Rocks!
Upon arrival, the kids went off the track and started climbing the huge Elephant Rocks. Nathan even got a little 'mad' at me (which he felt bad about later) for taking so many photos, he wanted to climb, not pause for photos! Doesn't he know that is my motherly right? ha!
I thought this was a really cute one of Autumn climbing...
Of course, Nathan had to climb up this...
AND this. He had no problem with me taking his photo on top of the BIG rocks, he wanted to show off!
Of course, Autumn was more into crawling under the rocks...
And, pulling out
Just a silly photo pose with Brian and the kids.
Names on the rocks, the names were everywhere
A far away shot of the kids, just to show how large the rocks are
Just me. Sometimes it is nice to get a solo shot. :) The kids always fight over who gets to take it, though.
There was a trail that took us to the ruins of an engine house. Nathan LOVED this and wanted to follow the railroad tracks that ran out of the house into the woods.
I love these two photos of me and Autumn, especially the second one where I am holding her in my arms. This girl is growing up way too fast and it makes me so sad to think one day she won't be little anymore. I wish I could stretch out time and make it slow down... especially when she's my baby.
I LOVE this photo of Brian and the kids, too. I really don't know how I lucked out on so many good shots in one day!
Such a pretty face. Such pretty brown eyes.
More shots of Autumn... I had a lot of time to photograph her while the boys climbed rocks. I did our hair the same, a braid down the back... except she had a blue bow at the bottom of her braid. :)
Then, after all of that walking, climbing and crawling... we had a nice little picnic table lunch, which Brian threw together for us. What a man! It was delicious, too!
After lunch, we headed over to Johnson Shut-Ins, which was a first for me and the kids. Brian had been there for a boyscout camp when he was younger. Brian took us on a little adventure to get us there... instead of taking Highway N, like we should have... Brian listened to his silly Garmin which lead us on Highway O. Ohh, it got us there, but we were on gravel roads and this concrete bridge with no rails! I am such a city girl, so I was a little out of my comfort zone! I wanted to turn around, but Brian said we'd get there... I thought we'd land up in nowhere land! But, eventually the gravel road turned back into a paved road and we landed up at Johnson Shut-Ins! Brian was a nice and took Highway N on the way back home... It was 100% paved the entire way. :)
The kids, excited to get into the water
Some photos of the kids swimming. The bigger rocks were REALLY slippery under the water and Brian and I both fell a few times! My tush has a huge bruise on it that will remind me of this place for at least a week. Ha! I guess I better invest in some water shoes next time we go! I was wearing flip flops! There was a nice little current, too and Autumn lost one of her water shoes and we almost lost it, because the current was taking it and you have to be really careful (and slow) going over the rocks... luckily, some people further down grabbed it for us... Autumn did lose a little princess doll she brought along, though... she let go of it and I just couldn't get it. Poor thing misses it.
Some scenic shots... some parts of it you could walk through, other parts were to your waist... there was some areas where you had to climb over rather large rocks, too. We didn't go over to the deep area, but there were people jumping off cliffs into the water. Uh, no thanks!
What a wonderful day we had... Nathan told me it was ALMOST as fun as Disney, but not quite. Ha! Guess Disney beats them all! ;)