Monday, August 13, 2018

Eagle Bluff Lookout

Goodbye lazy days. We (and I, especially) will miss you. The boys don't go back to school for a few weeks, but I'm back in the office already and slowly transitioning back to full time work. I'm not complaining, believe me. I don't take take my summers for granted for one second. I know how fortunate I am to spend 3 months out of the year with the boys. I also know how fortunate I am to have a job that I love in a district where my kids attend school. It's all about balance, amIright?

Every summer has its own unique personality. Some years, summer is all about the big vacation. Other years, it's about day trips and bucket lists. This summer has been all about full time lazy days and days at the pool. We've spent more time at the pool that any other year, and have also made two trips to a water park. This summer has been about lounging in the sun, catching up on Netflix, and checking out giant stacks of books at the library (mostly cookbooks, some memoirs for me, but lots of graphic novels for the boys). We have stayed up late, and slept in late. Nothing to complain about here as we switch gears and head back to school.

We did recently put our Netflix, reading, and swimming on hold for a day and went on a day excursion to one of our favorite places, Eagle Bluffs lookout. It's part bike trail, part stair climb, and part hike. A few years back, I wrote about it here after we searched for 3 days to find this spot. We weren't really sure what we were looking for, and weren't yet familiar with the area. On this trip though, we knew right where to go.

Last time we were here, we hiked the bike trail. But since then, both boys have started riding on 2 wheels, so were able to haul the bikes and bike the trail instead.

One and a half miles on this beautiful bike trail right along Perche Creek on one side and giant bluffs on the other side.

After a nice easy bike ride, we pulled off to the overlook trail head.

I love trail signs.

We locked up the bikes, drank some water and started this climb.

You guys. Seriously, I feel like I am generally in good shape. I mean we haven't hiked much this summer, but typically I can get on any trail, and not have a problem. We've done these stairs before, and I remember flying up them (although my memory may totally be wrong).

But this time... this time the struggle was real. I made it, but I had to stop twice on the way up for a breather. Ugh!

And of course this guy makes everything look like a breeze.

Looking back down the stairs literally gives me vertigo.

My memory must have failed me on this part too, because as I remembered it, it was just a tiny little trail connecting the stairs to the lookout, but actually it's an uphill climb! Huff and then puff and then huff...

But this magical bridge was exactly as I remembered it.

Everybody stopping for a breather.

And then finally we arrived at our destination. The lookout.

And it was just as amazing as we remembered it. Once again we had the whole place to ourselves.

We are so lucky we live here. Missouri is just full of these kinds of hidden treasures. 

We sat around and had a trail snack for a little bit (oatmeal peanut butter energy bites - recipe coming soon!) and then hiked on.

Sitting on the shady stair. 

This time we hiked a little further than we did last time. We crossed a different bridge and hiked on into the woods.

But we didn't stay long. We were tired. I didn't mention that the boys had both been at a sleepover the night before and were running on only a few hours of sleep. But Jeremy and I wanted to hike so badly that we pulled them along with us anyway. As always, there was barely a complaint once we got on the trail, but we can tell when they are wearing down.

So back down the trail we went.

Beside the magical bridge.

Downhill trail this time...

 And then down the billion stairs, which believe me, are actually fun when you're going down.

98, 99, 100, ...

 The enchanting stairs...

And finally, FINALLY, we made it back to our bikes.

Back on the trail, jello legs and all.

All in all, an amazing outdoor adventure!

Until next time, happy hiking!

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Number Nine

I did not see this one coming. Never has one of my children's birthdays hit me so square in the face and seriously knocked me off my emotional ladder. Okay, so maybe that's a little bit of hyperbole.

But 9!?!

Holy Moly. It hit me a couple of weeks ago that Lex was turning 9.
Halfway to 18.

I love the person he is becoming. He is so thoughtful and kind, smart and witty. He is quiet natured, but will speak his mind when he wants to. He is constantly observing, and I love how he notices the little things.

All of a sudden he seems all grown up - in how he talks and how he acts. I am loving this stage of his life.

This past year, Lex played soccer in fall and spring, and baseball this summer. He continued with piano and went to districts and then state competition. He earned the highest ranking in both of those competitions and also earned the highest ratings in his two spring competitions. He entered a writing contest at school, wrote about ziplining, and earned a blue ribbon. We are so, so incredibly proud of him. 

Here's a look back at some of his adventures as an 8 year old. 

First time at the rodeo. 

Tree climbing

First day of 2nd Grade

Bike Riding

Rock Climbing

His perfect "walking stick."

Reading up on chess so he can beat mommy (which he frequently does)

He loves, loves, loves the water

An armful of trophies at his piano award recital

His laugh and smile are contagious

He LOVES video games, but loves the outdoors too. 

Turns out he loves shooting - I didn't see that one coming

There were 2 goals he set for himself this baseball season: Catch a fly ball, and hit a fly ball over the outfielders' heads.
He did both!

I am so proud of the person you are becoming. You are growing into a remarkable young man and I can't wait to see what this year brings. 

Here are Lex's responses to his annual birthday interview (links to previous years below)
Me: What's your favorite food?
Lex: "unknown"

Me: What's your favorite snack?
Lex: peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Me: What's your favorite thing we did this summer?
Lex: Big Surf

Me: What's your favorite thing to do outside?
Lex: Play on the trampoline or play with Kylo

Me: What's your favorite thing to do inside?
Lex: Play on screens

Me: What is your favorite color?
Lex: Red

Me: What makes you happy?
Lex: My friends and family

Me: Where do you like to go?
Lex: Big Surf

Interviews from years past....
8 years old
7 years old
6 years old
5 years old

Here's to a rocking year!