Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Every day, after we read books and snuggle in bed together, I bring Jed a snack to munch on during his Quiet Time.

Jed: "Mom, today I need a big snack."

Me: "Oh, really?"

Jed: "Yes. I need oranges. And daffodils. And Kansas."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Visit to St. Louis

Michael's beloved sister, Emily, and her two men (husband Mike and baby Jude) have been visiting us for a 6 week internship. This is their last weekend here and we shall all go into withdrawal when they leave us. We've packed in the weeks with family fun, and to top it off this past weekend we all went on a family vacation to St. Louis (about 2 1/2 or 3 hours away.) All the men took a half day off and we left at 1 PM, which gave us plenty of time to check into our hotel and then head downtown to visit:
The St. Louis Gateway Arch
I have to say, I enjoyed visiting this arch a kind of embarrassing amount. This arch is BEAUTIFUL.
I mean GORGEOUS. I mean the kind of peaceful perfection that when viewed you can't help but feel serene and uplifted. Beneath the arch, along the riverfront, there are all sorts of cool walking paths, a beautiful park withed paths leading from beneath the arch up to the capitol lined with trees pruned into arches overhead, an old art deco boats restored, a really cool old utility building that's been left there to look at, helicopter rides, and dozens of horse-drawn carriages. We spent quite a lot of time there (and we didn't even go to the underground museum or up in the arch) and enjoyed every bit of it, even despite the heat. Turns out Missouri along the Mississippi is a lot like Indiana along the Ohio -- hot and muggy. I think all my time spent in the garden and our non-A/C house of late has really paid off, I felt quite comfortable despite the humidity.

Zoe and Jed thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as well. As you can see, when you're riding in a shaded carriage, fed with tasty treats, and smooched upon by lipstick bearing aunties, life is good.

After a bit of downtown wandering, we ended up eating at
-a downtown Peruvian restaurant. This may surprise you, but Evansville (despite its many pleasures) does not excel in the restauranting area. Hamburgers and steak only go so far. So eating out at a decent restuarant is a much-anticipated highlight of just about any trip for the Stanfills. This one didn't disappoint. The food was fabulous. I will say, Missouri is not Utah. Before we arrived, I ordered up two high chairs along with ou reservation. But then when we got there the upholstered seating looked dangerous for Jed, so we asked for another one. Much flustered, the waitresses eyes darted back and forth as she explained they didn't HAVE any more high chairs. Clearly, St. Louisans don't take their kids out for dinner much. Those poor waitresses were all in a flutter with our three kids there, darting back and forth nervously, replacing glasses with cellophane take-out cups, wincing at every cheerio that hit the floor... ha ha! Really, the kids were great considering the long day and I don't think the restaurant could really complain about a full table on an otherwise quiet evening. But it was funny to watch the girls twitch.

That night: swimming with Jed. The next morning: more swimming with Jed. We love to swim!

Saturday we visited the downtown
City Museum
You know, it was hard to find a good description of the museum before we went, and I find myself struggling now. The museum bills itself as "the museum bills itself as an "eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel." There is no place like it. Really. The whole place is 100% recycled. And bizarre. And crazy. And huge. And AWESOME.

I strapped Zoe on my back for the MonstroCity , an outdoor adult-sized chutes and ladders course, welded onto the building from thousands of collected bits of metal into the most wondrous tree house imaginable. Dozens of old slides, overhead catwalks, twisting tubes of welded medal and stairways connect old fire trucks, airplanes, school buses, and who knows what else. At the bottom there's an adult-sized ball pit and (of course) a pirate-town-like restaurant.
Emily and I wore our matching Ergo carriers. Love them! How do women survive without?
All the Stanfill Menfolk went nuts for the old airplanes.

Jed took this one for a spin.
Inside there are man-made caves, a huge walk-in whale, secret passageways underground and between all the walls, a 10 story slide, a circus that performs twice a day (I caught Jed day before yesterday taking all the pillows of the couch, carefully arranging them into stadium-style seating, and welcoming an imaginary crowd of children to his circus. Tah-dah!), a big art room where anything and everything goes, an old 1800s era shoelace factory, a collection of architectural decorations collected from old fancy buildings around the world, the world's biggest pencil, a hall of mirrors, an adult-sized hamster wheel, an old electron microscope, and so much more. It would take years to discover all its secrets.
If you have older kids, this place would be heaven on earth. You may never find them again. Even for an adult, it is amazing. With little ones it was a tad overstimulating, but we still had a fun time. You'll never see anywhere so unique, like out of your wildest imaginings!
That afternoon, before going home we ate at the Everest Cafe, a small Nepalese/Korean/Indian restaurant with a lunch buffet. We got there 10 minutes before the cafe closed so I had to rush through the buffet and get a heaping spoonful of each dish just in case it was my favorite. Plus bread. Plus fritters. Plus soup. Plus dessert. And then I ate it. All. I was in pain but ohhhhh what a pleasurable pain! Fabulous!
We all loved our trip to St. Louis. I hope we can go back soon. There's still so much to do!
We tried to visit the Zoo but it was the site of a humongous Boy Scout 100-year celebration so we nixed that when we saw the sea of tents and stinky man-children. The Zoo and Art Museum there at the park are free. Also, I'd really like to visit the temple someday. The science center has a pirate exhibit that looks fabulous. Yup, we'll be back, but we sure crammed a whole lot of fun into 29 hours this weekend!


Zoe has become our little climber. She isn't walking yet, but she won't let that stop her. A few days ago, I gave a brief piano lesson to a visiting friend. A few minutes after we left the piano, Zoe pushed her little ride-on toy over to the chair, climbed up on it, then clambered onto the chair and plunked away.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Zoe loves her Jed, and wherever he goes she goes, too. Her first stair climb a few weeks ago came from a desperate desire to follower her beloved Big Brother upstairs. When Jed and Dad go in the bedroom for bedtime, if I don't grab her she will follow them down the hall and tragically throw herself against the door, moaning at her lonely fate, banging for her beloved Jed.

Friday morning, as I prepared for our trip to St. Louis that afternoon, Jed told me he felt tired and wanted to have Quiet Time. Usually we do that after lunch, but since we had an unusual schedule that day I said, "Sure, why not?" and we all settled down into Jed's room to read books. I let Zoe scramble around on the floor while Jed and I read "Just One Woof" and "My Big Rig." Halfway through "Truckery Rhymes" something mostly naked toppled into our book and over onto my lap - Zoe Ann Girl! She tumbled over onto her back, half laying across both of our laps, giggling with a huge proud smile on her square face, as if to proclaim, "LOOK! I did it!" She had climbed onto Jed's bed all by herself and she wanted us to be impressed. We obligingly exclaimed our pride in her accomplishment, which she accepted in coos and gabbles.

After books, Jed looked up at me beseechingly. "Can she stay with me during Quiet Time, Mom? Pleeeeeease?" He gave me his biggest pleading cheesy grin. "Fine with me," I said, "but if she starts to get tired and cry, I will come get her." Jed jumped up in joy. "ALL RIGHT!" I left, somewhat uncertain as to how this would go, but all I heard from the bedroom were light thumps and giggles. About 15 minutes later, I peeked in the door. Zoe bounced on the bed, laughing as Jed capered around the door. They both looked at me. "MOM, she is HAPPY NOW so GO AWAY!" Alrighty then. About 20 minutes passed and I peeked my nose in again. They laid in a heap on the bed, jabbering away at each other. Jed looked up in annoyance. "See, Mom, she was crying a lot of times but I made her laugh again. Leave us alone now." They lasted about 45 minutes total before Zoe's naptime blues really set in and I took her to bed. I am impressed at how well Jed played with his little sister, and thrilled at how utterly taken they are with one another. Jed's been waiting for a (fun, not mom) Quiet Time buddy for a long, long time now, and Zoe laps up his attention like an adoring puppy.

Few things make me happier than seeing my children play happily together, to see them bonded together in mutual love and affection.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Do you enjoy your breakfast this much?

Because you should.