Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is how we party

Sometimes our days get pretty boring. To liven it up Joshua handed him a bowl of cereal. 

 Rethinking the whole "livening up life" thing, we took him to Purina Dog Farm instead.


Our friend Mike liked the tractors.

Joshua and Charles thought the rope swing was pretty swell.

 Charles playing the bean bag toss into the kitty's mouth.

To market to market to buy a fat hog.

Kissy kissy (I wanted to take the cow home with me. She was a pretty cream one!)

New friends.

Family (with two extra piggies and Bunnicula)

The dogs showed off with all their frisbee tricks. They were pretty good!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer is Fun

Staying cool in the shade, with a bucket of cold water

Staying cool at the local city picnic. We watched the band for a while until it got to be Charles' bedtime, then we could hear them playing all the way back to our house!  Now baby Charles wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.

Like Mother, like son

And just yesterday, Baby Charles "found his voice"

He still has some work to do on the whole crawling thing

But he manages to get into some tight spots

My New Cooking Blog

I am such a culinary artist, I decided to start a new cooking blog.

Not really. 

But here is a sample of my cooking (blending?) skills:



- Milk (2% 100% Lactose Free, Food Club Brand (which they don't have at Dierbergs, btw, so you might have to make an extra trip if you go there first))
- Strawberry jam that the former tenants left in their fridge
- A gallon of vanilla ice cream from Aldi
- Some strawberries you bought from the farmers market that you washed, chopped, and froze

Put a little bit of everything in the blender.
 On second thought, you should put the frozen strawberries on the bottom, then some milk, then the ice cream and jam. Otherwise the strawberries never get blended and you have to mix and mix and mix with a spoon and your have gets all sticky. 
 Eventually it will look beautiful like this and you will want to drink it right out of the blender:
 But you should be should be sanitary and sharing, so pour it into two glasses, all the way to the top. There will be some left in the blender - this is ok to pour directly in your mouth, just don't let your husband catch you.
 Husband tested, husband approved. "This is the best strawberry milkshake I have ever had in my whole entire life!" - Josh, MPA age 25 of St Louis, MO
 Then snuggle on the couch and watch The Muppets on YouTube. But make sure to put an ugly sheet on the couch because you might drool.

Everything I know I learned from the Swedish Chef:

Now watch it again with the captions on (you have to click on the YouTube link and watch it there). Quite hilarious.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

St. Louis Temple

We were reminded of the wonderful temple ceremony in which we were married a little over two years as we went to the temple here for the first time since our move to St. Louis.  So happy that by being married in the temple and keeping our promises we made to each other there, Erica and I will be together even after we leave this mortal life.  She'll still be my wife, and Charles will still be my son. That brings me a lot of peace and reminds me that the small cares of this life are not really all that important. 

It had been a long time since we had been able to go to the temple.  We are very grateful that Michelle Sweeny babysat Charles for us and even got him to go to sleep.  Otherwise he would have been playing in the fountains in front of the temple like the kids in all of the downtown fountains in St. Louis.  It is great having a temple so close to us this summer (15 minutes from our apartment, as opposed to the 2 hours between Bloomington and Louisville).

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience . . .

. . . this is the ideal life.”  ― Mark Twain

We had a lot of fun when the Sweeny's came to visit. We were sad when they left, and Joshua even commented how boring and empty our house would feel without 3 crazy kids running around wild. It reminded him of the fun family feeling of the Zion house, or of the Nelson house at Christmas time where the front door never closed. Fun to always have family and friends around. 
(We are even missing a few people in this picture.)

We ate tacos, shopped at Trader Joe's, saw the planet Venus, admired some Monet, swam a lot, saw an outdoor movie, and just hung out. One of my favorite parts was the Chesterfield city pool - more like Raging Waters than a community pool. There were multiple fast and scary water slides, a children's play area, and a lazy river (Charles and I had a good time with that one).  And all for only $6.

Come visit us in St Louis. Charles is happy to share his room.

Bison on a Coin

Caleb said to keep the bison coming, so we are.  The significance of this coin is that we now shop regularly at a grocery store called Aldi. It is a great Midwestern innovation.  Only one brand of everything.  So you don't have stand there comparing this brand and that brand.  You just buy the first one you see (and assume it's cheap, because at Aldi everything is dirt cheap).

In other news, Friday we went with the Sweenys and Co. to an outdoor movie at the public amphitheater in Chesterfield, MO, another suburb a few minutes to the west of us. It was the new Muppets film, which we had not seen and enjoyed.  If I ever work for a young growing city with lots of undeveloped land and families with little kids moving in all over the place, I'll look to Chesterfield for inspiration in planning an awesome park.  In addition to the amphitheater, they have some beautiful walking trails, a YMCA, a public library and who knows what else, all on the same grounds.    

We weren't expecting this statue when pulled into the parking lot!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Settle it . . . IN THE MUD!

He cried the first, he was mesmerized by the second, and he slept during the third round of his first-ever demolition derby. Next month we are going to a tractor derby. It is going to be awesome . . .

A demolition derby is like bumper cars in real cars. 

According to Wikipedia: 
"While rules vary from event to event, the typical demolition derby event consists of five or more drivers competing by deliberately ramming their vehicles into one another. The last driver whose vehicle is still operational is awarded the victory."

 Apparently the sport originated in the United States. It would . . .
 See, look - he really was happy to be there!

Find a demo derby near you:

So, 8 planets or 9?

I think officially/scientifically/astronomically there are only 8 planets these days. Today when my friend was telling her kids about the 8 planets my brain took a while to process eight . . . eight . . . something sounds wrong about that . . . eight . . . oh yeah, when I was in school, there were nine.

Poor Pluto.


Today Venus flew in front of the sun. So if you looked at the sun, you could see a little black dot where Venus was, if you didn't burn your eyes out first. Luckily the Science Center and their friends brought telescopes to Forest Park and set them up with special filters for all interested parties who wanted to see the planet without going blind.

Here we are looking through the telescopes. Baby C's eyes are so advanced he didn't need a telescope.

And here is the planet Venus in front of the sun. (Little black dot on the bottom of the sun light.) Seen through a sun spotter (like a folded-up telescope, says the man. Involved a lot of little mirrors). Cool, huh?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another new stage.

Yes, the little man is crawling. But only backwards. Hehe, ok, so he is not really crawling. But you can tell he is trying and when he does he just scoots backwards. Here is a little clip of his life these days:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our son, Saint Charles

On the banks of the Missouri River (we think) rests a quaint little town called St Charles, named after our son, who was recently sainted.

This town was the first state capital of Missouri, and also the first stop for Lewis and Clark as they embarked on their expedition. The town is quite proud of its heritage, and a few weeks ago we joined them in celebrating.

Parades, re-enactors, horses, art, food (chicken and dumplings just like grandmas, must have been authentic). Good times.

Charles enjoyed the parade of fifers, drummers, and bagpipers:
 When we grow up and get a job in St Charles our little Charles will join the  Lewis and Clark Drum and Fife Corps. They remind of us of Christina and her marching band. The corps is composed of kids 10-18 who march around the area dressed in heavy wool and playing their tunes.

Exploring the town:

Some of the shows and exhibits:
Local folk band and dancing tourist:


In one of the souvenier shops there was a pile of knitted scrap washcloths. Just like Grandma Nelson makes us for Christmas. She could be rich . . .

What's next mum and dad? 
How about a demolition derby!!!!! 
(Post coming soon . . .) 

And These Are Bison

The next day (Saturday) we visited Grant's Farm. We rode the tram through their wildlife park, watching bison and other curiosities while the driver told us an abbreviated story of the life of Ulysses S. Grant. It was wonderfully incongruous.  The happy music as we got on the tram reminded us both of Disneyland.
This one is for those of you who like cute little animals.
And this one is not.
Before going any further, I should inform you that Grant's Farm is presented by Budweiser. If any of you are offended, you can stop reading now. The Annheuiser-Busch family bought Grant's property back before there was a National Park Service, and they turned into a kind of theme park. It's mostly for kids (except for the free beer kiosks, which are for parents--don't worry we did not partake).
This is Erica, feeding the camels.

This is Charles, feeding the goats.

 We miss our chickens. Charles is looking forward to meet them in August.
Erica: wow, look at that elephant!
Charles: wow, look at my dad!
Babies find people more interesting than animals. And they find chewing on cell phones more interesting than people. This is what we've learned from taking him to zoo three times in three weeks.
A Budweiser Parrot...and one of the Budweiser Horses.  I was disappointed that the Budweiser Frogs were nowhere to be found.