Sunday, December 07, 2008

St. Louis

Over Thanksgiving break we decided to take the boys for a few days to St. Louis. We left Friday shortly after Jason got out of his last final. I apologize in advance for the mass amounts of pictures but we really had a blast.And I just have to mention what made this little trip possible.We got into town and ate dinner and bummed around the mall there. And of course Tab would find a train. That boy can find a train everywhere he goes.After dinner we checked into our hotel and let Tab watch a "show". He thought that getting to watch Mickey Mouse Club House was a treat in and of itself. Jason and Benny were even thrilled with having the TV.The boys, especially Benton, just loved checking out the view.The next day we took it very slow getting out of bed. We were originally planning on "taking it easy" in the morning but after an eventful evening we really took it easy. At 2:45 the hotel's alarm went off. There are loud speakers in every room. There was a voice on it that repeated over and over again something to the effect off, "Attention, an emergency has been triggered on our alarm panel. Please proceed to the nearest stairs and emergency exit." So we put the boys coats on as it was freezing outside and headed down 11 flights of stairs to come to a dead end at an emergency exit door. So we pushed the handle and it didn't open. So, I thought this must be one of those emergency exits that you have to hold for 15 seconds before it will open. So I tried that and nothing. The door wouldn't open. So we went back up one flight of stairs to try to go and find another set of stairs to see if we could get out that way. In our search, we ran into another guest who had been down to the front desk where they told him it was a false alarm and that we could take the elevators back to our room. So we did. The alarm continued to go off until about 3:45. We put the boys back to bed and fell immediately to sleep. 15 minutes later the alarm went off AGAIN. This time we called down to the front desk and they said another false alarm. The alarm continued to go off until about 4:30 at which point we went back to sleep. the alarm went off AGAIN at 6:00. You would think we had stayed in a Super 8 or something. But no...we were in the Hilton at the Ballpark. Grrrr... I would like to say that our hotel stay got better but alas on day two we had sewage back up into our bathtub and we couldn't take a shower. Lovely eh. I'd like to say they comped our room or something but we got a free breakfast...woohoo.

Anyway...on a brighter note, we did enjoy our trip. We headed to the Magic House/Children's Museum. The boys had an absolute blast there. We spent 4 hours there and could have easily spent more had we not been starving.

In one room they had several different sections such as Art, Kitchen, Science and Building. It was at this point that I realized my camera battery was dead and wanted to cry when Jason remembered the charger was in the car. So we found an inconspicuous outlet and plugged it in long enough to get us a few pictures. Tab loved playing with these magnetic balls and sticks. He and Jason had fun building all sorts of shapes with them.In the building workshop Tab and Benton both thoroughly enjoyed these pieces of PVC pipe and connectors. Sometimes we wonder why we don't have genius ideas to use things like this instead of buying expensive toys that work essentially the same way.In the art portion they had clay for the kids to mold and take home. Jason helped Tab make a train, of course.And Benton... well, we left his there for another kid to use. But he had fun with it until we wouldn't let him eat it.Also in the art part they had painting. Tab thought that this was pretty cool. He really like smearing the paint around with the feathers that they had.After we finally convinced the boys that there were other things to see, we went to the Lewis and Clark Discovery area that they had set up. They had dress up clothes that they could put on and all sorts of thing for them to handle. The boys really enjoyed their canteens that they got to carry around for a while. I think they mostly liked that they doubled as a drum.
Benton thought the plastic fruit was pretty awesome. But that is mostly because it looked like a ball that he repeated threw into the baskets.
And of course they had a log that was carved out like a canoe that Tab pretended he was going down stream in.Next was on to their Goodnight Moon display. The boys have recently fallen in love with this book and so this was surely a special treat. The had a leaver to rock the rocking chair. A switch to dim the lights and a leaver to move the moon up and down in the sky just as it changes with each page in the book.The rest of the Magic House was filled with all sorts of fun game, science and makebelieve.

Benton enjoyed swirling the sand over the lightbox.Both of the boys enjoyed building towers and playing with the color sticks on the other light box.Much to Jason's disappointment, I caught a picture of Tab playing with the dolls in the doll house. I tried to consol him by telling him that at least he was putting the girl on the toilet and not trying to do her hair or something.Jason helped Benton with his name on the peg board.They had a little house with tunnels that Tab enjoyed crawling through.Also in that house they had all different types of light switches. If you know Benton at all, you know that he was in heaven here.At this point my camera died again, but the remaining highlights were: "fishing" where they caught magnetic fish in a little pond and took them "upstream" or to the other side of the room where they put them in another pond and followed them through a glass sidewalk as they swam back down to the first pond! They also enjoyed the "pretend" library, the shadow room and the "magnetic room" where the walls were magnets and they had all sorts of stuff for them to build with. And of course I can't forget the 3 story corkscrew slide from the top floor of the magic house back down to the bottom.

After charging the camera overnight, we went to the Zoo before heading out of town.Tab really thought that the Zebras were neat until they brayed like donkeys, which took us all by surprise. We thought that the camels were pretty cool. It is gross how much the slobber. As we were leaving that area Tab said, "Goodbye, Sally and the Camel". I died laughing. He is too cute.
As we were walking on too something new, Tab kept getting mad at me and we couldn't figure out why until I finally stopped walking. He apparently had been trying to "step on my legs" or my shadow and it was too difficult when I was walking. So after letting him jump over my "legs" a few times he was content to move on.
The wallaby's were probably one of the coolest things we saw. We watched the baby crawl out of the pouch and poke around a bit and then went diving head first into the pouch as another older wallaby came out and the mom started "boxing" with the other older one all the time while the baby was trying to get the rest of its body in the pouch. It was amazing to see. All I got was this picture afterwords of the baby reaching out of the pouch to eat while the mom was doing the same.Tab spent quite a bit of time watching the various monkeys and such. I think Tab was secretly jealous that he couldn't have any of his peanut butter that was smeared on the papers.
Just Tab and I admiring some more of the monkeys.
It was about at this point that Benton decided that he needed his nap.
Heavens isn't that boy cute. He has to be just like his daddy.Jason treated Tab to a ride on the Carousel.There just happened to be a train that ran through the Zoo. Poor Tab wanted to ride it so badly but we just weren't willing to pay the $5/person to ride it. So instead Tab wanted to stop everytime we walked over the tracks and wait for the train to go by. We willingly obliged whenever the train was in sight.Then we walked past the penguins. I think this ended up being our favorite part, once I got over the very very strong fishy smell. For those of you who know me well, you know the smell of fish makes me gag. I had to really take my time getting used to the smell. GAG. Tab liked petting the fake ones that they had.
The coolest part was how incredibly close you were to them. This guy was swimming right in front of me. No zoom was used in this picture. It was so tempting to touch them as I easily could have. I was just to scared of losing a finger and of course setting a bad example for my kids.More cool penguins.
Again, more penguins.This was pretty cool to watch also.
Tab got a little nervous when I offered him up to "Bruce" for lunch. If you can't tell he was trying to slip down out of his coat so the shark wouldn't eat him. Yeah, I'm mean.Lastly we went to the bug and butterfly house. "Riding" this big bug was pretty fun.Jason wasn't opposed either.
And of course we couldn't leave the sleeping kid out of all of the fun.
The butterfly house was amazing. Tab and Jason were lucky enough to watch a butterfly exit it's cocoun. I couldn't get Tab or Jason to look at me for this picture.
There were so many different types of butterflies and they were gorgeous.We had such a fun trip. This picture pretty much sums it up.I don't think that Jason or the boys wanted to go home. They were both enamored with eachother and the opportunity to spend so much quality time together.


Alissa said...

looks like the most fun.

Jason said...

The best part of all was that we spent all of that time outside without any "potty" accidents!

Way to go Cheeser!

The Oscarsons said...

You guys look like you had a blast! I love all the pics. You guys are such a sweet family!

Katherine said...

What a fun trip!! But the hotel- man, that is awful! sewage, false alarms all night long.

I love St. Louis. So many fun things to do.