Cahokia Mounds Mini Vacation

At the beginning of May, we took a family mini vacation to the St. Louis area. We like to take family adventures each year, but with our current car-hating baby, options are limited. So, we decided to explore some things relatively nearby that were still new for us. We stayed at a Drury Inn in St. Louis (Drury Inns for mini-vacays are our family’s tradition. We like the free breakfast and dinner and the adults enjoy the free tequila sunrises and wine!). We picked a suite this time as a sort of “treat,” but we quickly realized that our family is actually big enough that we need a suite, it isn’t just a novelty indulgence! We stopped at Laumeier Sculpture Park on the way into the city. The kids were pretty whiny about the sculptures and Mark and I finally had to concede that we also have differing expectations of what counts as art (sticking a huge tire halfway in the ground is what we would call “playground equipment” and not “Earthmover,” an art installation of such delicacy as to not allow climbing on it, lest we disturb its majesty…). After a fairly short time at the park, we headed to a friend’s house where we had lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon. It was really great and relaxing to have a “base” to retreat to like this, rather than hustling and bustling and having to live out of our car. I lounged on her couch nursing Tanner while our boys played, Alaina visited the many pets, and our friends made a taco buffet for lunch. It was a perfect day!

The whole time were were gone the weather was absolutely perfect. The following morning we headed to Cahokia Mounds in nearby Illinois. Cahokia Mounds is the site of the largest earthwork in the Americas and the largest, most complex “prehistoric” native site north of Mexico (and larger than London at that time). I have always felt a connection between my own sculptures and those of ancient people and I enjoyed spotting some familiar figurines in the museum.

After climbing to the top of Monks Mound while babywearing and breastfeeding and enjoying the view, we were ready for lunch. (We had a short time in which we were the only people on top of the Mound and it was really cool!) The kids are obsessed with Golden Corral after going with their grandparents on our last visit to the Chicago area. So, we went to the Golden Corral in Collinsville (I had a strategically planned birthday coupon for a free buffet too!) We were there at that terrible time for buffets—not lunchtime and not dinnertime—and so most of the food was on the cold and dessicated side, which was disappointing. The kids ate too much cotton candy and I ate a pile of mini steakburgers (after forcing the attendant’s hand by taking the very last dehydrated sad burger and thus forcing him to put out the sizzling new ones I spotted him hoarding on the grill). By the time we got back to the hotel, the last thing we had room for was hot dogs and tequila, but we ate them anyway!

The next morning we decided to go to the zoo, which was Alaina’s special wish. Unfortunately, we had a very difficult time getting there and parking due to road closures and full parking lots. We managed eventually, but didn’t have very much fun. I don’t like zoos at all, the boys were bored, and Alaina threw a screaming fit about wanting a stuffed monkey. We hit some highlights of the zoo and then left for Jilly’s Cupcake Bar. I got it into my head somehow recently that I needed a cupcake bar experience for my birthday (and for my 100 Things list this year). I looked for cupcake bars in St. Louis and amazingly enough there was a two-times winner of Cupcake Wars right there! This was one of the most exciting parts of our trip. 😉

After cupcakes for lunch, we decided to go to the American Girl store. I’ve been to the big store in Chicago and the small store in Overland Park, KS, but never to the one in St. Louis, so also as part of my birthday, I wanted to check it out. I had my eye on one of the new mini dolls. Unfortunately, we hit terrible traffic (it was 2:30, so we’re not totally sure why) and had to slog around for extreme amounts of time, some of which with a screaming baby (and a mother scrambling over seats and trying to nurse him in the car seat). We got off on a random off ramp and wandered until we got to the mall, which was much better than continuing to sit on the interstate.

May 2015 152When we left the store, we hit more bad traffic on the way and were running out of gas (and I was being very critical of this fact). We were also starving and worried about missing our free dinner! However, Mark is a good, calm city driver and we made it back to the hotel with time to space and only a mildly further car-traumatized baby.

We all got into the hotel hot tub together every night which was fun (the boys also swam in both the indoor and outdoor pools) and binge-watched a Naked and Afraid marathon, which we’d never heard of before. The final morning of our trip we enjoyed the free breakfast one more time and then headed out of the city, stopping at a different friend’s house for a birthday lunch on our way home. Again, this was a nice, peaceful, relaxing way to travel–so nice to have a comfortable, welcoming space to visit in, rather than trying to coordinate going out to lunch or something (hard to have quality catching up time with a bunch of kids in a public place!).

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Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Our Mother’s Day celebration of motherhood continues with an awesome giveaway event! Four different goddess sculptures* and a copy of our Womanrunes book and card set. To win, simply leave a comment below (or on Facebook) letting us know which sculpture you’d like or if you’d like the book! For a bonus entry, subscribe to the Brigid’s Grove e-newsletter prior to Mother’s Day. Then, you’ll also get our Mother’s Day newsletter with free birth affirmation cards, centering handout, and several articles. 🙂

Still active is our coupon code MOTHER for $5 off a $15 purchase.

Giveaway will close on Mother’s Day evening and winners will be drawn by random selection on Monday.

(*giveaway contest sculptures are seconds with minor imperfections/flaws)

Happy Earth Day!

April 2015 019This morning Mark was having a Unity programming class with Lann, so I made angel food cupcakes with coconut oil buttercream frosting and took the other kids outside for Earth Day fun having a picnic and building troll houses like I used to do when I was a kid. The trolls had an unfortunate run in with moths recently and are sporting refreshed dos, courtesy of my mom (aka Barbara’s House of Beauty).IMG_4385It took me a while to soften into just sitting in the leaves with the kids, without bringing along a book or a notebook or some project to secretly plan to work on while they played. But, once I did soften into it, I didn’t want to leave. We laid on our backs on the earth and admired the way the tree branches make patterns against the sky. We delighted in tiny flowers, found a magical patch of moss, ate our cupcakes and a few pinches of oxalis, and had a picnic.

This morning I enjoyed reading a lovely post by Jodi Sky Rogers (I also borrowed my closing quote from her e-newsletter):

…mosses are a whole unknown world, in fact, a whole Universe of wisdom. They say that ‘rolling stones don’t gather moss.’ So to drink in great worlds of wisdom we must be still just like ancient rocks and boulders who rest in peaceful presence for eons and then allow the insights that rise from the Universe and from the quiet stirring within us so grow like moss on the moist edges of our consciousness.

via Dreamland and Drifting in Between | Jodi Sky Rogers.

I also enjoyed reading about this simple and powerful Earth Day Ritual from Peg Conway:

Let us bless the source of life that brings forth bread from the earth.

Let us bless the source of life that ripens fruit on the vine.

A beautiful sunset provided a perfect closing rite.


via Ritual for Earth Day | Sense of the Faithful.

Yesterday, we planted a buckeye tree and this afternoon we planted lavender, motherwort, white sage, calendula, and evening primrose. Life feels sweet and full of growth.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

~ John Muir


Kidbits and Cousin Power!

April 2015 097We just got home from a nice trip to Kansas for a Cousin Power top-off visit to see my brother, SIL, and nephew. This was the first time I’ve gone with all my kids (and Mark and my mom too!) and it was definitely a crowded car! We are also a high-impact collection of guests! We had a great time visiting, going out to a favorite Italian buffet, having an Easter egg hunt, watching movies, going for walks, and just hanging out. Mark and I both really needed some down time from our biz work and it was so nice not to have a to-do list for several days. They planned tasty and fun meals for us and it was really wonderful to hang out together with our babies (though my other kids made the hanging-out-with-babies a little more challenging and chaotic than I had envisioned!)

While there, Tanner used his Cousin Power boost to start sitting up for real! (just turned five months old!) And, Ronan (my nephew) used it to cut his first tooth!

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Sitting up like a big boy while sporting his Eat At Mom’s onesie.

He also discovered the fun of playing with a big pot.

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I haven’t made a Kidbits post in a long time, so in this post, I’m lumping in some miscellaneous Facebook status updates from the past couple of months. 🙂

The kids dyed eggs with Mark this year for Easter. Alaina said she loves them so much she is saving them for her birthday, upon which she will have an egg hunt (b-day is in Jan…)

IMG_3795Conversations with Alaina:

Alaina: “why is Tanner wearing tights today?”

Mark: “they’re not tights, they’re pants with feet attached.”

Alaina: “weird! I guess we should put a fake mustache on him too.”


Alaina randomly while walking through house: “Why didn’t you name me Scorpion Lady?”


Alaina while sitting at table and asked for help: “I can’t help you until I finish cutting out more paper dynamite.”


Alaina to Mark on computer: “Look up poop!”

[Mark says no]

“Toy poop?”


“Toy Justin Bieber poop?”


Me to Alaina: “we’ll play dolls tomorrow, I promise.”

Alaina: “there’s a catch. I don’t eat raisins. I only eat sunflower seeds.”

Okaaaaay. (We don’t have or usually eat either.)


Alaina: “I want to play hide and seek with the baby. He can be hiding somewhere on your body.”

Snapshot glimpse of life

Alaina wants to bring some of her own money to the bowling alley today. She brought it out in a carved wooden box and said that was what she was bringing. We said she needed to choose some money and carry it in a wallet or a purse and not a large wooden treasure box. She came back with a huge pink flowered Easter basket and said she would carry it in that. We said that didn’t make sense and to get a purse or a wallet (she has a large variety of these). She came back with a doll car seat and said she was going to use that. We said no and she came back out with a bug catcher with her money in it. Come ON!

Conversations with Zander:

Zander: what do you think Tanner will be like when he’s Alaina’s age?

Me: probably amazing!

Zander: Mom, none of our kids are amazing when they’re Alaina’s age.


Zander: “Hey, mom. This apple only has a little bit of my blood on it. You can eat the rest.”

(*loose tooth. But, geez, kid!)

April Fool’s Day

I dreamed we gave the kids turkey bacon for breakfast and told them it was placenta for an April Fool’s joke. But, in real life we have a tradition of making a “trick” breakfast for the kids on April Fool’s day. Marshmallow and peach half “eggs,” pound cake toast, and turkey bacon this year…

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Reality TV?

Mark and I have a joke about being in a reality tv show called The Joke Life of Mark and Molly. We say it when everything is crumbling around us–oven is smoking, oatmeal is spilling, we open the freezer and bread falls out on our heads, our legs get peed on, whatever. A couple of months ago we got an etsy convo from someone asking about casting us in a TV show. For real. She originally found me on my blog and then tracked us to etsy and said she was reading everything she could find about us. We cracked ourselves up imagining what a boring TV show it would be and what they could possibly be thinking?! I imagined writing back, make sure you get a slo-mo closeup as the bread hits my head! And, we laughed over how they’d have to weed through endless hours of pointless poop joke footage to get to the hilarious stuff. Also, intriguing close-ups of my fingers typing yet another blog post…and, inspiring 5:30, “what should we have for dinner?” conversations. Maybe an exciting episode of, “Molly cries because she feels like has too much to do,” or, “Mark cuts firewood at dusk in the freezing rain” or, “both parents yell about fun, enriching project while children long to play Minecraft and wish for the beeswax animal crafting to stop.”

Ooh! “Can they triumph over the laundry mountain!” And, “Watch as they race ahead of the falling tower of recycling attempting to crush them…”

Lann’s input: “Oh! We’d all have to talk fancy [begins vaguely British accent] and all stand in front of a red couch! Or something.” And then, “some people call me Lann. Others just call me The Frog Ninja.”

(I never emailed her back.)

Random word anecdote

My family uses a variety of made-up words based on old family stories. One is “banacheked” (used to mean a combo of abandoned and rejected, based on my grandma’s accidentally replacement of the word “abandoned” with the TV show Banacek). As in, “the baby is over there banacheked on the floor.” A few weeks ago, I accidentally said, “oh, my poor babychecked banny!” So, now there is a new made up version of a made up word. Up leveling.

Speaking of my baby, he gets very stressed by traveling and being out of the house. We’ve had a hard couple of days lately. This is how he really likes to be, the opposite of banacheked:
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Love his little tucked-up self!

A Rainbow Girl Turns Four!

IMG_1880Beginning at 4:00 this morning, Alaina started randomly exclaiming, “it’s my birthday!” and then conking back out. She didn’t actually get up until about 9:30 and we had an epic birthday day.

I don’t have time for a long birthday post and I almost decided not to make one at all, but I figured a couple of pictures can’t hurt (my weekly grades can wait just a little longer. It is still Monday, after all)!

We originally planned to have a tea party for her, but then I got out my American Girl Tiny Treasures book to give away a duplicate to a friend’s daughter and I fell in love with the tiny, tiny pies made in bottle caps (for dolls, not edible). So, I decided we’d make tiny foods and have a tea party. Then, we were at Wal-Mart getting groceries and I saw tiny pepperoni in the meat department. That was it. I suddenly became obsessed with also getting real tiny foods to eat at her party. I had to rein myself in when I was picking up fingerling potatoes to make tiny baked potatoes. We had (frozen) tiny waffles and pancakes for breakfast and we made tiny pizzas using english muffins and the tiny pepperoni for lunch. We also had tiny chicken noodle soup (lipton instant pack with those little noodles) in tiny bowls. I got petite baby carrots and tiny oranges (cuties) and mini candy bars and Ritz bits peanut butter crackers. Then, at the tea party we had mini cupcake strawberry shortcakes and ice cream cups and my mom made tiny whoopie pies with delicious nutella cream filling. It was really overplanning to try to make pretend tiny foods too, but we did it anyway and I still love the tiny pies. I want to start a new Facebook page called The Tiny Piemaker. 😉

Here’s the pictures I did get:

After guests left, we had tacos for dinner and watched Frozen. When her aunts called to tell her Happy Birthday she yelled, “it is still my birthday and we’re having birthday tacos!”

This four-year old girl is funny and smart-alecky, and tough and trying, and smart, and brave, and cute, and sometimes bratty, and sunshiney. She likes My Little Pony and princesses and Spiderman and super heroes and felt food and Ben 10 and playmobil. She drinks cow milk like it is going out of style and balks at eating almost everything else. She loves her brothers and sometimes torments them, especially Zander. She is very, very, exhaustingly particular about her clothes. She still snuggles to sleep on my arm (or as close to it as she can get) every night. She loves having books read to her and playing babies with her friends. Her goals for the new year were to play with Tom (my dad) and to have cotton candy.

Happy birthday to my wonderful treasure of a rainbow girl! Here’s the link to her birth story:

“She was pink and warm and slippery and crying instantly—quite a lot of crying, actually. I said, “you’re alive, you’re alive! I did it! There’s nothing wrong with me!” and I kissed her and cried and laughed and was amazed. I felt an intense feeling of relief. Of survival. I didn’t realize until some moments later than both Mark and Mom missed the actual moment of her birth. Mark because he was coming around from behind me to the front of me when I moved up to kneeling. My mom because she went to stop the phone from ringing. I had felt like the pushing went on for a “long” time, but Mark said that from hands and knees to kneeling with baby in my hands was about 12 seconds. I don’t know. Inner experience is different than outer observation. What I do know is that the moment of catching my own daughter in my hands and bringing her warm, fresh body up into my arms was the most powerful and potent moment of my life…”

Alaina’s Complete Birth Story | Talk Birth.

Newborn photo (c) Sincerely Yours Photography

IMG_1881Edited to add: of our tiny goods, Lann just exclaimed, “We love these! We’re going to keep them for a long time and our own kids can lose them later!” 😉 And, Alaina, “this is my first birthday in a year, so I’m so happy!”

Earlier in the day, I shared this bday anecdote on Facebook: Alaina and Zander clash kind of a lot lately. Just now after fighting over Alaina’s b-day playmobil castle: “Daddy! Come here. You need to blame Zander for something!”

Two Month Comparison

January 2015 079Ever since Tanner was born and I’ve heard from various people how he looks like one or another of my kids, I’ve wanted to do a side-by-side picture. When I was getting ready to do it, I said, “now people will see they’re not as identical as they think.” After I actually did it I said, “or, I will see they are more identical than I think!” The above collage is each of the kids at around two months old.

10896843_10155083292860442_6326661326801062206_nNot related to matching babies, but on another subject that I shared on Facebook recently and might as well tack on here, how a ten week old goes all night with a dry diaper is beyond me, especially since he nurses several times. However, this is why I can’t not do elimination communication! They so know how to do it. And, once you know they know, you can’t not know!

Past blog post: The Real EC

Goddess Cookies!


You know you have people in your life who really love you when they make cookies like this for your mother blessing ceremony and carry them to you all the way from California! What a beautiful surprise these were from my aunt for my mother blessing ceremony last week. My aunt is a true cookie artist. For these cookies, she did not have a goddess cookie cutter, she invented them herself using a Christmas ornament cutter and a circle cutter to put them together. (See more cookies by checking out her page on Facebook.)

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I couldn’t believe it! I felt like I wanted to keep one in a frame or something. Part of the zen of cookie art, as I understand it, is the impermanence, however, and so we ate them all up!

I have lots more to say about my ceremony as well as the many other lovely, thoughtful gifts I was honored with, but these were particularly special and so cool I wanted to share them in their own post before going on to other special things!

I took some pictures that night and put them on my Talk Birth page. I love Alaina’s winky face. 🙂

My aunt also made dragon cookies with the kids at Lann’s birthday party at the end of the week.

Thanks, Nancy!

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(*pro pictures taken by Karen of Portraits and Paws Photography. Non-pro, iphone pictures taken by me.)

Sacred Pregnancy Week 4: Honoring, Sealing, & Postpartum Care

“I am the strength of all women who have ever birthed a baby and I am ready to join that tribe.”

–Anni Daulter (Sacred Pregnancy)

August 2014 055Me to my husband last night: “so, I know I might look like I’m just dancing around with flowers in my hair, but I’m really getting certified.”

<Mark wisely refrains from wide-open joke opportunity>

Yesterday, I finished the last assignments for my Sacred Pregnancy class. While I primarily took this class for personal reasons and am glad I did because I truly think it was the absolute BEST thing I could have done for myself to get ready for Tanner, to spend some time focused on my pregnancy, and to get ready for another mindful birth and postpartum experience. I have also completed all the work needed to be a Certified Sacred Pregnancy Mini-Retreat Instructor. On October 1st, I start the Sacred Postpartum training program—again with a dual purpose of personal enrichment and professional development.

I completed some of the activities out-of-order and finished the silk painting and honoring crown from week 3 in conjunction with the postpartum and “sealing” work of week 4.

I chose to use my drumstick as my stick around which to wrap my silk, since the drum is one way I express myself. Bringing the words painted on the silk into my drumming seemed like a logical companion. My silk power was bold fearlessness! Zander and Alaina also worked on small pieces of silk with me.

I’d delayed making the flower crown I thought because I’d told myself that I’ve already had several flower crowns at different ceremonies and so making another one for “no reason” felt kind of redundant. However, after I finished my second silk painting, I looked behind me and saw some wildflowers and I realized I did want to make a crown and I wanted to be with real flowers and not artificial. I’d been going to do artificial since I have some and thought then I could at least check it off the list. I don’t like fake flowers though, I like real ones. As soon as I realized that there were enough wildflowers scattered around the yard that I could make a real one, I got excited about the idea. My daughter helped me find and cut the flowers and then we put it together. And, then took some picture with my new silk and the crown together.

“The first few months after a baby comes can be a lot like floating in a jar of honey—very sweet and golden, but very sticky too.” –American College of Nurse-Midwives

I love the idea of a post-birth sealing ceremony SO much. This is similar to a mother blessing, but it is held postpartum to help “seal” the birth experience and welcome the baby and the mother into motherhood (or mother of however-many-children-hood). Absolutely wonderful. I also love the song Standing on the Edge from the Sacred Pregnancy CD. I identify with it so much as I prepare for my next birth as well as to welcome a new baby who I wasn’t expecting to have. As I’ve noted often in recent blog posts, I’m working very hard to wrap up a variety of projects so that I can cocoon with my new baby and give him and me the time and space I know we will need after birth. I have gotten better and better at taking care of myself postpartum, in asking for what I need, and getting very, very clear with my support people about what is most important to me.

We actually made the flax pillows for the sealing ceremony at the beginning of the week and then used them on Sunday (Alaina and I made the PPD tincture together the same day as the pillows). My husband tucked me in with the flax pillows and scarf and draped the silk painting across me as well. I lit my pregnancy candles and listened to Standing at the Edge. I spoke aloud the things I celebrate myself for–all the projects and children I have given birth to.

As I was setting up my wrap and pillows, my almost-11-year-old son had said he’d like to do it too. So, after my own sealing experience, each of my kids in turn got sealed in the scarf with the flax pillows. And, then they went and got my husband and we sealed him too! For each, I offered a blessing: “I’m glad you were born. I’m glad you are my son/daughter/husband. I love you. Thank you.” I placed my hands on different parts of their bodies as I spoke and then ended with kiss on the forehead. They all loved it and were very calm and contemplative. I think it was good for all of us and was, in its way, a “sealing” of their births and our relationship.

While I always have had a mother blessing ceremony before the baby’s birth, this time I’m going to make sure to do a postpartum sealing ceremony as well. The birth I actually sealed most consciously was the second trimester birth-death of my third son. On my due date with him, which also happened to be my birthday, I did a ceremony outside by our little labyrinth and the tree where we buried him. I spoke aloud, “I am not pregnant anymore,” and took time to hold and honor the powerful, honorable, birth and release I’d given him.

I’ve written a lot about my own postpartum thoughts, experiences, and feelings and they are grouped under the appropriate category on my blog here.

I also want to share a picture of my new mother-of-four goddess pendant! This pendant, too, has been part of my personal emotional preparation to integrate the new baby into my maternal identity. It took a long time for us to get the cast right for this sculpt and I’m so happy to have it to wear now.

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 The Sacred Pregnancy online retreat training experience was a very positive one. Lots of personal benefit as well as professional development! I’m so glad I decided to go for it!
August 2014 070Past posts in this series:

Sacred Pregnancy Week 1, Part 1: Sacred Space

Sacred Pregnancy, Week 1, Part 2: Connecting

Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 1: Fears & Forgiveness

Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 2: Empowerment and Self-Care



Sacred Pregnancy Week 3, Part 2: Empowerment and Self-Care

I told you I had a Sacred Pregnancy weekend! On Saturday of last week, after my fears and forgiveness work, I moved on to some empowerment and self-care exercises.

I had been trying to find time to do the silk painting since Wednesday and kept feeling disappointed to not be able to make room for it. On Saturday it became Priority 1! I decided to modify the exercise for my whole family to do as a collaborative “welcome” wrap for baby Tanner, rather than tearing it up to wrap onto sticks as we were supposed to do. I’m going to do the tearing and sacred stick making on my own another day using a different piece of silk.

We listened to the Sacred Pregnancy CD and all worked together outside on a hot, hot August Saturday. It was a lovely, sacred, shared, collaborative project (with a touch of a chaos and a sprinkle of yelled, “don’t spill it!”). Very fulfilling and much fun.

Later in the day I also did my sacred bath and self-care day. My 3-year-old daughter and I made a special salt scrub for me to use using sunflower oil, sea salt, and gentle baby essential oil blend (made by my mom). After the empowerment silk painting (which was part of my self-care too), I set up a special altar in my bathroom, turned on Nina Lee, drew a Mother’s Wisdom card and meditated on it, and then did my salt scrub on my entire body, followed by a refreshing shower. I really took my time with the scrub and thought about how often I rush through or “don’t have time” for lotion or other personal care treatments after showering. I felt nice and “buffed off” afterward! (I tend to very dry skin.) I also had two cups of Caramel Bedtime Yogi tea that I’d made in a jar in the sun that morning. I “run out of time” for iced tea often too. So, this time I didn’t!

These next photos aren’t related to the class work, but they are very related to my own Sacred Pregnancy creative process! In addition to the Womanrunes book, we‘ve been working overtime lately to develop an improved production process for my birth goddess sculptures so that we can actually have them available on a regular basis. While still not perfect, we’ve gotten much closer during the last week and hope have four different designs ready to list in our Etsy shop over the next two weeks.

Magic House Day Trip

This is one of those posts that is in lieu of keeping a scrapbook!

As one of their prizes for the summer reading program at the library, the kids got free tickets to Magic House, a children’s museum in St. Louis,. In an unusual stroke of convenience, three of our St. Louis area friends (two of which have Magic House memberships already) were all available to meet us there on the same day at the same time (when does this ever happen without major machinations?!). And, the kids’ best friends from our own town were also able to go and met us there. It is a chaotic, loud, and crazy place to meet if you think you are going to get any quality friend visiting in, but it was a lot of fun for everyone and I’m still a little in shock that it worked out so well to meet everyone! I’ve never been there before (our kids went with Mark a couple of years ago), so I staggered around in kind of a sensory overload daze looking at everything. Thank goodness my friends were familiar with the place and could steer me around when I stood still for too long. I expected that our families would end up getting separated from each other at some points–too many people to coordinate all walking around together–but I didn’t expect to divide by age more than family. So, I ended up following Alaina around to the sections she wanted to go to with my two friends who also have little children and Mark ended up taking the boys around to the parts they wanted to go to with our two friends that have bigger children and sometimes we all overlapped!

Because I was mostly with Alaina, I don’t have many pictures of the boys doing cool stuff, but here is a gallery of the few pictures I did get from our expedition:

After using our free tickets for Magic House, we then took a quick trip to Hobby Lobby (despite wishing to boycott, they were right on our way and we had things we needed to get!) and unashamedly went through the line as five separate transactions thus getting five 40% off coupon purchases. The kids have never been to an IHOP and there was one right there, so we decided to go there for dinner before leaving the city. Handily, kids eat free at IHOP from 4-10. I had no idea, so that was a nice surprise! However, the power went out shortly after we placed our order and resultant delay in getting our food meant that we got five dinners, plus bonus plates of toast, happy face pancake, and lemonades for the road for $7 total. I think this was officially the cheapest little day trip we’ve ever been on! (The waitress said the lemonades were because we were the only people who were nice to her about the wait.)

Me to kids while waiting at IHOP as they were getting antsy and writhing around: “this is what is called a public place.”

Alaina, loudly: “no, this is called a BUTT place.”

Apparently, many of hours of fun at Magic House do not contribute to beautifully behaved three-year-olds, because after this incident, she also peeked over at other diners and stuck her tongue out at them when they waved nicely to her. At least she was useful in getting 40% off by going through the line with her little handful of money at Hobby Lobby. 😉