Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spring Break: Week 2

Miriam actually had two weeks off for Spring Break, so we had a week to relax with her after running all around St. Louis. 

Easter morning, Sarah woke up feeling terrible. Sick and crampy, she thought she was having a miscarriage. This was a sad and scary time. Tim took care of Sarah and called her parents to see if they could come over and help entertain the girls and keep Sarah calm. After a few hours the cramps stopped, but our family missed Easter Mass. The girls still wanted to wear their Easter dresses. Tim's parents and Mema came over for brunch. Tim really wanted Easter to be wonderful for the girls no matter what else was going on.
When things seemed more settled down in the afternoon, he hid Easter eggs for them...twice. Such a good Daddy.
The Easter Bunny brought the girls "Garden Bunnies" to paint.
This occupied them for a good chunk of time one Spring Break morning and turned out just like each little girl. Felicity's had LOTS of "llellllow" - her favorite color. Vivian's was a masterpiece of every color in every direction of swirl and pattern. And Miriam's was more organized spring scene.
Later in the week Miriam worked on her first 4-H project. She's in her first year of Mini 4H and is taking Foods and Flowers and Gardening. The other two girls are already asking when they get to do projects "like Miriam."
AND the swingset went up! Sarah's parents gave this to the girls two Christmases ago when we were still building the house. They helped Tim put up the swingset during Spring Break week. Now we finally have a yard and a swingset and it really feels like we're living here!
A place a family belongs.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spring Break: St. Louis

Miriam had a two week Spring Break at the end of March. Being the travel lovers we are, it was off to St. Louis. When Tim suggested St. Louis for Spring Break, Sarah was on board, but maybe not very enthusiastic...she couldn't imagine what there was to be all the excited about. But she booked a hotel room and did some Trip Advisor research.

Turns out, Tim was very right. St. Louis is an awesome city especially when traveling with kids! If possible, we try to find a hotel with an indoor pool because that alone ensures hours of (wear-'em-out) entertainment.
Our first day in St. Louis, we went to the City Museum. And no matter how many words we try to use to describe this place, we're going to come up short. Unlike ANYTHING we have ever seen before. It's an old 10 story shoe factory that's been transformed by recycled materials meant for climbing, a one woman circus, a toddler area, delicious food, unlimited crafting, kiddie train rides, art everywhere, tiny rooms of taxidermy, a bank vault. Truly, there just are not enough words. It's a see-it-to-believe-it place. All of it was meant to be explored and every time we thought we had to have reached the limits or crawled through every tunnel and squeezed ourselves through every cranny, we'd make an unexpected turn and find ourselves on the backside of an oversized fish tank staring at these huge, ugly fish or at the top of another slide taking us to who knows where.
After something like eight hours inside, pregnant Mommy begged to be taken back to the hotel room for rest.

The next morning we were up bright and early - with the hour time difference, our family was one of the first to arrive at breakfast every morning at the hotel. This was not something Tim enjoyed... but it meant no waiting in line to use the waffle iron! We went to the zoo. And to be perfectly honest, this was our least favorite stop of the trip. Probably because we love our home zoo so much!
But it's a good thing we went because we bumped into one of Sarah's best college friends and her two adorable little girls who just HAPPENED to also be in St. Louis visiting the zoo! CRAZY.
So we made plans to have dinner with their family and got to tell them in-person that we're expecting Baby #4! The next day we all caught up again at The Magic House St. Louis Children's Museum. Yet another amazing attraction that's perfect for families. And getting the kids worn out enough to actually fall asleep in a hotel room.
Sarah can be a BIT of an introvert and days in crowded museums/zoo chasing children from one awesome exhibit to the next wore her out! So the next day she basically begged for a quiet something if they MUST leave the hotel. We popped into Union Station to check out it's magnificence...and then...
Thank you, Butterfly House, for being that wonderful something. Felicity actually fell asleep in the car on the way there, so it was just Mommy, Miriam, and Vivian taking in all the warmth, quiet, fresh air, butterflies, peace....
Felicity was pretty bummed when she woke up and realized she'd missed the WHOLE trip to the Butterfly House.
We made it up to her...big time...with a stop at Fitz's. ALL the food in St. Louis was great. Truly. So good. But Fitz's...as you can see there's just something EXTRA special about it.
What a treat.
On our last day in town, we went to the Arch. Of course.
All the way to the top to peek out the tiny windows at the Mississippi River and all St. Louis has to offer.
It was Good Friday, so we also made a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Another unbelievable place. The lights were all down, but here's glimpse at the inside when it's bright:
The thing is, we didn't even get to do half of the stuff we'd hoped to - never enough time for all the fun! Guess we'll have to go back!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lent (Late)

Not much really to say about Lent this year. Except it brought us another reason to love the little school Miriam attends. The kids held a food drive and far exceeded expectations! To the point the organizers had to make a second chart to graph the food they all brought in!
Mommy got to go to the school to help the kids bag up the donations and carry them over to the nearby food bank. First the kiddos got to decorate their bags with Easter messages. Which were the sweetest. 

We truly love that Miriam, and soon Vivian, get the messages we try to teach them about God, the sacraments, and loving others reinforced at school. It's worth the cost to our family in money and time and constant fundraising that they're surrounded by people who are dedicated to developing them into Christians who see the needs of others, who see Christ in the face of those needs, and give of themselves.