Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer Lovin'

Summer lovin had me a blast. Summer Lovin, happened so fast. I used to know every word to every song in the movie Grease. I bet I still do. We are loving summer for sure in our house. Last week, the temperatures hit 90 degrees and higher. All up and down the street everyone went into the air conditioned houses and shut their doors, but not at our house. We went straight outside and had a water fight. At the beginning of summer, I love the heat. I love soaking it up and playing in the water with the boys makes me feel like a kid again.

We have been happily busy so far this summer.

1.) One of the first things we did was visited Mizzou's Museum of Art and Archaeology. I've been wanting to go for a while since I saw it on Trip Advisor's Things to Do in Columbia List. 
It is really small (we were the only ones there) but it is interesting and has a pretty cool collection. The museum is split between 2 floors (statues on the first floor, everything else on the second floor) and also has a gift shop on the first floor. There seemed to be a lot of renovations going on when we were there so part of it was closed. The boys haven't been to a lot of museums so I gave them a challenge to find 10 things they thought were interesting. Lex ended up finding a lot more than that, but Eli was very thoughtful and serious about his selections. I think he actually only came up with 9, but they were 9 really good ones.

These casts were awesome. They were Lex's favorite part of the whole museum. They reminded me of the Louvre.

These masks were my favorite part. They of course remind me of the African masks that my grandma gave me from her time in Africa.

I would definitely recommend a trip to this museum since it's free and you can see everything in about an hour or less. I heard they do different kinds of events there so you  might want to look into that before setting a date.

2.) We had a BLAST spending a day at Art in the Park a few weeks ago. We have always wanted to go but always had other plans. The weather was gorgeous. Low 80's with a breeze. 

Eli did squirt gun painting.

Lex created a hat.

Lex practiced climbing up the climbing rock in the playground area.

And both boys were mesmerized at the puppet show. They ate shaved iced and watched intently for about half an hour.

Definitely a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

3.) We have enjoyed time outdoors at home too. 

Playing barefoot basketball in the driveway.

Riding bikes. This isn't the best quality picture, but I just love it.

So close to getting the training wheels off!

This tire swing has been the best addition to our back yard. The boys and their friends have fun on this every time we go in the backyard.

4.) Eli's preschool did the most adorable little graduation ceremony. He got to wear a cap with a tassel, and a sash. They gave each child a certificate and talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Eli said he wanted to be a space man because he "likes space." I told him he can be whatever he wants to be. 

After the very short ceremony, parents took groups pictures and then they had cupcakes and ice cream sundaes. They gave out little gift bags of summer goodies (bubbles, sidewalk chalk, etc.) and the book Kindergarten, Here I Come!, which we read that night. Everything was so nice and Eli felt so special.

 5.) And the next day, summer school started. Eli's first day in the big kids' school. Since he has watched Lex do this for a full year now, it actually seemed like a really natural transition for him.

I told them I wanted a picture of them on the stairs, and this is immediately what they did. They love their backpacks.

And then they let me get one with their faces.



 I wanted to get a picture of Eli in front of the school, but the sun was in his eyes, so I told him we would wait for his first day of actual kindergarten this fall.

And here he is getting easily settled into his classroom. Building blocks on the table means an easy transition for Eli and  mommy. Such a big kid now.

And summer school wore him out because he came home and slept almost every day that first week. 

6.) Both boys get to play tball this summer. I didn't request for them to be on the same team, but they ended up together anyway. I concluded that this was probably a good thing for this one year, because next year, Lex will move up to coach pitch and then we will be at the ball park 4 nights a week in the summer heat. Fun.

This is getting weird, because I've always known the boys have similar features, but it wasn't until they were wearing the exact same outfit with hats on that I actually had to look 2ce on some of these pictures to figure out which kid it was. Wow. 

This one is definitely Eli.

And Lex playing first base. His favorite.

 And of course the best part - after game snacks! This is so Eli.

 7.) Swimming! We have had tons of water play so far this summer and I am so happy that both boys are independent enough in the pool to not have to hang on me every second. Eli is still using water wings, but wants to "swim" on his own. They would stay in the pool all day if we let them. At one pool party we went to, they were the first ones in the pool, and easily the last ones out after all the other kids had moved onto something else. At least they were nice and exhausted afterward.


And Eli.

8. And we have definitely enjoyed some cool time in the house too. Painting and coloring of course.

 And just hanging out as boys do.

And there's our summer break down so far! Hope you're staying cool...or hot... whichever you prefer! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Eagle Bluff Conservation Area Day 3

During this past Memorial Day 3 day weekend, we could not get enough hiking. The times we were not on trails (or spending time with friends at cookouts), we were at home researching trails and finding places on the map to explore. This final day at Eagle Bluff Conservation Area was one of the BEST hiking days we have had in a while. We were searching for the ever elusive famous lookout. On day 3, we left with a plan (as opposed to the other days when one adventure just led to another). We started early on this last day because we knew we would be asking a lot out of Lex and Eli and their little legs. We wanted them to be well rested before this hike.

For those of you who have also been searching for this hike, you enter through the Providence Access to the Katy Trail, and head north on the trail.

The theme of this hike should have been "Turtles, Snakes, and Frogs." Because we saw them all. And lots of them. With the water levels up along the Missouri River and Perche Creek, the animals must have all come out to play.

 A little view of Perche Creek. There were quite a few boats out on this day.

This was our view from most of the Katy Trail part of the hike. Not too bad.

Not the typical old rickety bridge we usually see on trails.

The boys.

And a peek through the trees. It was so calm.

And then..... We finally found it! The sign pointing to the overlook. Yeah! This spot was about 1.3 miles from where we parked at the Providence Access.

Once you get to this spot, it's pretty well marked.

At this point, you are off the Katy Trail and into the woods. They do have a bike rack here, in case you biked the Katy Trail. You cannot bike this trail (you'll see why in a minute).

The sign says "Strenuous Climb, Beautiful View." Accurate on both accounts.

So you walk a little bit on the trail above, and then you get to this. A stairway to the sky.  They are steep and uneven. And I'll admit that even though I hike all the time, I did have to stop to rest a couple of times. The boys did great. And I mostly looked forward to how fun it would be to come back down.

Here we go!

There is a resting spot a little more than half way up so you get a peek of the view.

A look back down.

Once your past the stairs, there's just a little more of a hike (you can see the lookout from this point)

A very cool bridge in the middle of the forest.

And finally we arrived. I am so glad we did not have to share the lookout with anyone else on this day. We totally owned it.

And the view! Sigh! I love Missouri.

And something else really cool happened while we were up there. As soon as we walked on to the lookout, We saw these massive turkey vultures swarming from this dead tree.

They flew so close to the lookout (honestly, a little too close sometimes). The boys kept saying, "They're putting on a show for us!" and it honestly seemed just like that. There was probably a little bit of territorial showiness going on as well. It was so magnificent to see.

Another view!

And another. Honestly, you could see forever.

I want to go back.

 A family selfie. I mean, could those clouds be any more perfect?

 We stayed on the lookout and had a snack and water before we headed back.

So there appeared to be many more trails at the top of the bluff up here, but we were worried about how much longer the boys would last, so we just did a little loop around. We will be ready for those in another year or two, I imagine.

Check out the different view of the bridge we crossed.

The light is hitting it just perfectly. I might frame this one.

So on the way back down, I asked the boys to count the stairs for me. Lex counted 150 something stairs (he lost count somewhere in the 150's). Eli counted about 50, but mostly because every time he got to 59 he started back at 40. Jeremy also counted and counted 160. So we will go with that. If you decide to come hike this, plan on going up somewhere between 150 and 160 steps.

And going down WAS much more fun.

We rested again at the bottom of the stairs and then headed back for our 1.3 mile trek back to the car. Eli did get pretty tired on the way back and I actually carried him piggy back style for some of it. Poor kid. We wore him out. He slept in the car almost immediately.

 Another turtle. He was so cute. I did not get a picture of the 2 very large snakes that we saw right at the end of the trail. One of them was right beside me in the grass and I didn't see until it started moving. Scared me to death. Almost immediately, we saw another one just as big on the other side of the trail. I am so glad it was at the end of our hike, because if we had seen them at the beginning, I would have been paranoid the entire time.

Here are some stats brought to you by Geo Tracker.

An amazing hike! I highly recommend it!

Want to read more about Eagle Bluffs? Here's the link to our other 2 days of hiking.
Day 1
Day 2