Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving Camp

I feel kind of sorry for all the people who don't have Thanksgiving camp. We wait for this all year. A few days full of family, food, puzzles, walks, fishing, horseshoes, washers, boules. And this year, a mouse in the bathhouse, for a little added excitement.

No catfish this year, just some little bream.

Still working on teaching the Americans to play boules.

Noah was over the moon to discover how the kitchen sign-up sheets worked. He told me, "I didn't know I could write my name there! Now I know I can write my name!" He signed up for meal preparation and clean up several times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Plain

After a quick overnight visit to our friends in Arkansas, we drove to Tulsa. We saw cows... and then cows and a city. That's Oklahoma, I guess.

We enjoyed visiting with my grandparents and my uncle, as well as my cousin's kids. Uncle Jim played camp counselor and engaged the kids in some kind of year-round Easter egg hunt game. They loved it! I don't know about you, but I think he could probably get a Santa gig going for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Logical Child

Noah made some cloth napkins.
I told him that maybe Grandma could teach him to sew them right side out next time.
He told me that he made them this way on purpose.
Oh? How's that?
This way, the pretty side won't get dirty.

Well. Hard to argue with that.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

My friend Emiley, whom I hadn't seen in three years (!) came up to St Louis for the weekend. Unfortunately, St Louis decided to not put its best foot forward for her visit, and we visited downtown in a downpour. This is what Union station looks like in the rain. We did get to see its St Louis birthday cake, though!  

The other thing is that all of the roads leading to the Arch or the riverfront were under construction. So you can see the Arch parking lot, but you can't get to it. And there are ZERO helpful signs for tourists (or former residents!) to help you figure out where to go. After about our third circle, including a quick hop over into Illinois, we finally found a parking garage... I think it was a hotel just taking advantage of the situation, but whatever.

This is what the Old Courthouse looks like in the rain.
This sign would have been more helpful had it been pointing towards a parking lot...

But finally, we made it inside. A park ranger showed the boys toys from pioneer days. They learned all about Lewis and Clark's expedition. Their great-great-grandmother came west in a wagon like the one pictured below!

French street signs! The boys were disappointed that we didn't go up in the Arch, but given the weather, and the fact that we couldn't see the top of the Arch, we didn't think it would be worth it. Maybe next year!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Settling Right In

Noah did not waste any time getting busy in the kitchen. And he even got Grandad in on the action!

They got to see their cousins the weekend after we arrived. Noah also convinced Grandma to let him sew, and he made these banners for his cousin Xenia's birthday party.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Longest Trip Ever

Well, maybe not... but it felt like it. Since the flights from Atlanta to St Louis looked full, we decided to not even take our chances this year, but book a hotel in Atlanta, and rent a car the next day to drive up to St Louis.

So we started our day around 5:30 am, getting up and ready to go.

At the airport, we took the train to our terminal.

We had reserved our seats, so we got on without any trouble. But we were glad to have reserved, because the flight was full!
Benjamin took this photo from his window seat.

This was Benjamin's "I'm patiently waiting for the video system to start working" face. He watched FOUR movies on the flight - that is how long it was.

After some confusion as to how to get to the hotel... the Atlanta Airport says to call your hotel, and there is a "shared shuttle service" at "Number 4" just outside the International Terminal to pick you up and take you there... the hotel says, "What?! None of us can pick up at International terminal, only domestic." (Which, by the way, is less than a mile away, according to Google Maps, but which felt like about 10 miles... perhaps we were taken by a ride in more than one way by our non-English speaking, non-road-sign obeying, non-worried-about-red-warning-lights [and why should he be? he covered them with electrical tape so he wouldn't have to see them]-in-his-car cab driver.)

The hotel was also not overly concerned about not being able to take incoming calls due to "work at the airport" having damaged their telephone lines.

Nonetheless, we finally made it to the hotel, and got them to reimburse us for the taxi. Frédéric took the boys for a swim, and then they went and got dinner and brought it back to our room - I wasn't sure I had enough energy to come back if I left the room.

And the next morning, since they were up bright and early, the boys started on their trip journals.

In the car, Benjamin was appalled that we wanted him to drink something this color. It does look a bit like blended up Smurfs, doesn't it?

We drove through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois before finally making it to Missouri. We saw road construction, mountains, fall colors.

Holey socks. And were relieved to see these in the rental car, and not in an airport security line where we had to take off our shoes. (Though kids under 12 don't have to take off their shoes anymore anyway, so I guess we would have been ok.)

And snow!!

And at last, the skyline we most wanted to see...

Then, finally, after the long, long, long two days of travel, we got to crash. This is what jet-lag sleep looks like.

But in true jet-lag fashion, we awoke in time to see the sunrise every day for a week.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Benjamin's Creation

Benjamin is becoming a real genius with his Legos. He made this spaceship out of a kit that is originally for a race car, and it's only one of his many imaginative creations.

He also took these pictures himself with his camera.