Did you ever wonder why Missouri is called the Show-Me State? I wondered it myself just a few moments ago. So I googled it. How did we ever know anything before Google? Anyway, what I discovered was some terribly boring sentence (yes, it only took one measly sentence to tell the tale) about a congressman and a speech he made and blah blah blah now MO is the Show-Me State. Yawn. I'm a little sad for MO now because I'm sure that somewhere somewhen something exciting must've happened that could've yielded a better story and nickname. Oh well. I did, however, learn that Missouri's state insect is the honeybee. Yes! You read that right! They have a state insect! "What a funny little state," I thought. Then it occurred to me that maybe every state has an official insect. So I looked up TX. Yep. Ours is the Monarch butterfly. And our state gemstone is the blue topaz! Who knew?! And WHO decided these things? The Governor? The Committee for Official State Nonsense? My tax dollars probably paid for that committee meeting.
SO, the fam and I have just returned from a week spent in the Honeybee State where we experienced as much as we could pack in to 6 days!
First we visited the boys' great-grandmother in OK.
The next day my in-laws took us down to float the Elk River in Noel, MO. Who knew you could have SO much fun in 7.5 inches of water?? Okay, so maybe it was a little deeper in some (most) places, but it was definitely low and we found our rears dragging the bottom as often as not! The boys were in heaven though. My MIL found some cheapie swim goggles for them and they both spent every moment they could face down in the water trying to catch minnows and searching for the perfect river rock to take home. I also made two important discoveries on this journey: One, when the river is low, don't choose the raft. The canoe is MUCH easier to handle when the water is dead calm. Second, Matt takes his river rafting veeeerrrry seriously. The first 5 minutes went something like this...
"Hey Ang, this'll go better if we work together."
"Uh, Ang, let's try to establish some sort of rhythm here."
"That's not a rhythm."
"Could you maybe do the same number of strokes on each side?"
"You're making us go in circles!"
**grumbling, a big sigh, and possibly a growl**
"Okay, just PUT the oar down. Put it DOWN!"
Note to Self: Ride in the in-laws boat next year.
During the few moments we were not out experiencing the wonders of MO, the boys were in the yard playing the sport of the moment. Baseball. Yes, G is hitting a miniature soccer ball. Little boys don't seem to care what you throw at them as long as they're allowed to swing at it w/ a bat.
And yes, behind the gate, that's a cow...AKA Dinner Next Year.
Now, as if cramming 6 of us + luggage into one vehicle and driving 10 hours to the southwestern corner of MO wasn't insane enough, we promptly crammed BACK into the vehicle, the boys' great-grandparents we were visiting crammed into another vehicle, and we all drove on up to St. Louis.
First stop, The Magic House! Think Science Spectrum but with working exhibits. And on steroids. Times 10!! It was phenomenal! And really crowded. I mean really crowded. But the boys didn't care. If you're ever in St. Louis, you MUST take your kids to see this place. And if you don't have kids, grab one on your way out of the restaurant and take HIM to see this place.
This one just speaks for itself:
Grandma and the boys (notice J's reflection in the glass) talking to the fish:
J tumbling down a slide that stretched from the top of the house to the bottom...3 stories tall!!
There was also a huge beanstalk that stretched up 3 stories that the kids could climb and about a bazillion other cool things to see and do. The boys are still asking to go back!
The next day was packed with a trip to Grant's Farm, a fabulous dinner on The Hill (if God were Italian, The Hill would be Heaven), and a Cardinals game.
Here's G brushing the baby goat at Grant's Farm. Notice the baby goat munching his shirt for lunch.
J on the carousel after convincing him that riding a dragon is NOT a baby thing to do...
Busch Stadium is most excellent...notice the arch mown into the field.
Here is Pujols...the boys' new idol. He hit 2 homeruns that night and G hasn't stopped jabbering about them since.
On our last day in St. Louis, Saturday, we went to the zoo. Well, we tried to go to the zoo. Apparently everybody else in the city thought that visiting a free zoo on a Saturday morning was a good idea too. So we ditched that idea and headed for the Gateway Arch. Great googly-moogly. Have you ever actually SEEN that thing in person? I had not prior to yesterday. And I am still stunned. I had no idea it was so enormous and quite frankly, so breathtaking. It's 630 feet tall! That's more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty! Taller even than the Washington Monument!!
So I'm sure you're now wondering if we went to the top! Well, we tried. We stood in a line that was about as long as the arch was tall. An hour later we finally get into the museum (under the arch) only to discover that we'll have to wait another few hours to get a ride to the top. Apparently the 148,792 people that ditched the zoo idea like we did also thought the arch would be a feasible alternative. Oh well. It was impressive enough just to see it up close!