Meet Me In St. Louis Part 3 (and finally the LAST of Julia’s Birthday)

I’ll bet you all were hangin’ on the edge of your seats in anticipation of our last day in St. Louis, weren’t you?  So to recap – we had day #1 on the Delmar Loop and then day #2 on Laclede’s Landing.

So sad to leave our Hilton Hotel room!  We naturally, pushed it to the very last second and left a little AFTER check out time.  None of us wanted to get up and only ONE of us (guess who?) was responsible enough to pack.  Here’s a hint, it wasn’t ANY of the 15 year olds!  Oh and FORGET about the 28 year old.

Julia wanted to have a REAL tea party, just like in “Alice in Wonderland”!  lol  We reserved a table at the London Tea Room on Washington Ave. downtown.  It was strange to be on Washington Ave. because only a few years ago, when I was still working, this place was a slum!  Known for the prostitution and drugs.  BOY have they cleaned up!  Now, there’s a booming loft district and SO pretty.  Birthday Girl wants to live there one day.  I sincerely hope she makes enough money to live comfortably in a loft apartment 🙂

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(They decided on the “Cream Tea”, which I guess in London consists of a scone and a pot of tea?  That’s what a Cream Tea means at St. Louis’s London Tea Room, anyway)

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(Julia said she felt so sophisticated and grown up just like the REAL English people!  lol  She’d never had a scone before.  We ordered blueberry scones with “Devonshire Cream” which was TO DIE FOR!  Devonshire cream is like butter, only better.  I seriously need to figure out how to make this stuff!  Anyway, the scones were light and fluffy… NOT like the scones we’re used to.  I’d give this place 2 thumbs up for the tea and their scones 🙂

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(Julia feeling all grown up and elegant drinking her Chai Latte.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they didn’t drink Chai Latte’s in London.  She liked the idea of the foamy milk.)

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(So Katie tells me AFTER ordering that the taste of tea makes her sick.  Here she is looking DEEP into her tea cup.  I’m not sure what she thinks is going to jump out and hurt her.  For my friends in the UK…  in our defense,  we’re REAL bonafide rednecks AND we’re coffee drinkers.  We really had no business in a London Tea Room.  lol)

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(In keeping with tradition, Hannah wouldn’t be Hannah if not causing trouble somehow!  lol  All through our little tea party, the girls spoke in their very best British accents.  Yeah, it was annoying so I kept my head down so as to not make eye contact with any of the other patrons.  When I looked up, this is what I saw staring back at me (Hannah with a fake “stache”).

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(I’m LOVING this pic of the girls walking down Washington Ave.!  They look like models to me 🙂

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(and so when it came time for the girls to take MY picture, I didn’t notice Julia walking like Derek Zoolander)

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(This is Windows On Washington, where the presidents always come to hold their campaign fundraisers while in St. Louis.  I used to deliver specialty foods here when I was working.  How’s THAT for a fun fact?)

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(The Loft Apartments where Julia swears she’ll live one day)

From Washington Ave., we drove around, stopping to take pictures of the awesome old city architecture.

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(I literally parked in the middle of the street to get this one!  lol  This is a view of the city from Market Street.  It’s a good thing it was Sunday and everyone who WAS out in the city happened to be at the Cardinals game!  Go CARDS!)

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(I’m not sure what this building is but it’s old and it’s beautiful!)

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(Just more lovely buildings 🙂

We ended up at Kiener Plaza where all St. Louisans gather before a Cardinal’s game.  Here’s where it got weird.  I began taking pictures of the girls and a lady walks up to me and asks if I want to be in the picture.  She offered to take my picture and being me, and being naive and being from the “country”, I said, “Sure!”.  Well, I discovered this woman was homeless.  Now, I love all people and the girls and I work hard to help stamp out hunger and homelessness.  We hold fundraisers and work with area churches to help these people.  BUT… I wouldn’t want one of them to hold my fancy new expensive camera!  She could have run with it.  Thank GOD she didn’t.  The girls and I took this opportunity to talk with her and learn about what’s going on in St. Louis with the homeless.  This opened the door for other homeless people to come up to us and tell their story.  It broke my heart, really.  However, it was good for the girls to learn what it was like to be homeless, straight from the horses mouth, so to speak.  I’ll tell you their stories in another blog.

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(Here’s the pic that the homeless woman took.  Notice the Gateway Arch behind the old Old Courthouse?  I love this scenery.)

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(And here’s the homeless woman who DIDN’T run off with my camera.  God Bless her!  Do you know that NONE of them asked for money?  They only wanted to tell their story to someone who would listen.  She asked me to tell her story to whoever would listen… so I certainly will do that!)

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(Homeless men sleeping in Kiener Plaza.  They weren’t bothering anyone.  They just needed a place to sleep and the shelters were completely full.  This breaks my heart but it was an opportunity to show the girls how very blessed we really are.)

Next stop:  City Garden!  Guess what?  It’s another FREE experience!  I’m so proud of the way they’re beautifying our city!  There was a time that I was ashamed to say I was from St. Louis.  NOW is not that time 🙂

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(Hannah the Ham inside the eyeball of the creepy head sculpture)

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(Julia BEFORE she fell)

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(volunteers take care of this garden)

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 The girls and Pinoccio.

(The girls and Pinocchio)

City and gardenGirls and the bunny rabbitsJulia the Birthday Girl Me at the city Garden

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And this will conclude our tour of the beautiful metropolis of St. Louis Mo 🙂  We truly had a blast.  Lot’s of bonding, fighting, posing and eating…  Ah but it’s good to be home!

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Meet Me In St. Louis Part 2 (still Julia’s 15th bday)

Our first night in St. Louis was SO fun, so now how do we top that?  I left it up to Julia since it was HER birthday.  My intention was to try and take it easy on the money situation but I NEVER ever succeed.  Julia and her buddies didn’t create their itinerary based off of the FREE “things to do” in the city.  Too bad for Hubby.  He never likes to let me lose with the pocketbook.  I’m beginning to understand why!  lol

We woke up late and didn’t get out of the hotel until after noon.  BTW…  should you ever decide to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport in St. Louis, you should know that just because you spend a million $ on the hotel room, you will NOT be receiving a complimentary breakfast.  Nope.  Not even a stale donut or a box of cereal.  However they DO invite you to partake in their $12 PLUS per person breakfast!  By this time, my oldest daughter joined us so we were now a party of 5.  I couldn’t justify spending $65 a day on breakfast food when we still had cupcakes.  Granted, by this time the cupcakes were fairly hard, but they were still good enough for a bunch of teenagers.  SO, because we were STARVING, we began our very rainy day at “Hodaks” (another St. Louis tradition) for all the fried chicken we could eat!  Hodaks has been around forever and some people would say they have the best fried chicken and frog legs in the world!  It was good but I wouldn’t say it was the best.  The girls DID say it was the best and that made it all worth getting lost in the city 🙂  Have you ever been lost in a big city where it seems like every driver on the road wants to be in YOUR lane at the same time you are?  Oh and let’s not forget all that AND screaming teenage girls who are literally punching each other in the back seat like a bunch of wild boys!  I told them that THIS was the reason I chose NOT to have boys….

(We finally found Hodaks.  Literally, people who move away from St. Louis and come back for a visit… HAVE to come back to Hodaks for the fried chicken.  I know people who visit this place every time they’re in town)

(Not very fancy but tasty!  I didn’t like the slaw at all and I thought it was funny that the chicken was served on top of a piece of white bread in order to soak up the grease!  lol  But despite the not-so-fancy plastic plates and such, the chicken was SO juicy and seasoned just right!  And by juicy, I don’t mean greasy)

After stuffing ourselves with as much fried chicken as we could all eat, Julia wanted to go to Laclede’s Landing on the riverfront.  No matter that a monsoon decided to visit us on this day.  Anything for MY princess!  lol  If she wants to walk around WITHOUT umbrellas in the pouring down rain, then BY GOD, that’s what we’re going to do!  Just as soon as we found a parking spot and stepped out into the rain, my oldest daughter flagged down a horse drawn carriage driver.  If you’re ever in St. Louis and you want to take a carriage ride, you should know that you CAN negotiate a price with the drivers.  They usually charge around $40 for as many people as we had with us.  My daughter got them down to $25!  Which is good because I hadn’t planned on spending ANYTHING on carriage rides!  We did that LAST year!  ARGH!  It wasn’t HER money, it was just Mom’s, so who care’s right?  lol  Oh and don’t forget that your carriage driver works for tips.  I didn’t realize that (even though there’s a big sign inside the carriage) so I walked off to hear our driver talking to another driver about how PISSED she was to have gone down on the price, yet she STILL wasn’t tipped!  lol  Ooops.  Don’t worry!  I made my oldest daughter tip her!  It was only fair since it was oldest daughter’s idea 🙂

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(Here’s our carriage driver trying to rustle us up some more blankets so my precious angels wouldn’t be so cold in the St. Louis rain!  She really was nice to us even if she DID get a little perturbed that we didn’t know to tip her)

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(The angels all snuggly and warm with their blankies)

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(Mama Bear and her Birthday Princess)

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(The Martin Luther King Bridge over the Mississippi River… a view from our carriage ride through the Landing)

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(And because I love bridges…  The Eads Bridge…  BTW… check out that cobble stone road!)

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(This is my favorite of the MLK Bridge)

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(Laclede’s Landing)

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(And because I love old clocks too 🙂

So the reason we were on The Landing in the first place was so that Birthday Girl could experience the creepy St. Louis Wax Museum.  I HATE wax museum because they scare the crap out of me but that was the exact reason birthday girl wanted to go!  I found a good deal on Groupon so it ended up being inexpensive.  Thank JESUS something was a good deal!  lol  The people who ran the Wax Museum were SO nice too.  They’re updating the place so some of the displays were in disrepair.  Apparently, they’re in the process of getting all new wax creatures.

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(Here’s oldest daughter with her idol, Michael Jordan.  She LOVES basketball and still plays every chance she gets 🙂

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(I had to get this one of “little bit” with Mark McGwire because it WAS here birthday and all about the year 1998, when a few months after she was born, Mark McGwire broke the home run record in St. Louis – I know… it was all too controversial… but STILL cool cause it happened right here in St. Louis AND in the year 1998!)

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(Okay… so this may be in bad taste but it looks like they have Patrick Swayze embalmed here!  We all LOVE Patrick Swayze but this was way too creepy and helped set the mood.  We were beginning to be VERY afraid.  We had to walk through 3 floors of dark and very scary hallways)

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(I’m not sure who this one’s supposed to be.  Possibly Tina Turner?  She was from St. Louis so maybe?  Whoever it is, she sure is CREEPY… Again there’s THAT word!  lol)

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(Again in bad taste… the kids said this one reminded them of me and all my stomach surgeries.  They have NO sympathy for me!)

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(Thank GOD my oldest found herself a man!  I was beginning to worry because she’ll be 29 this summer!  I wonder if Obama knows his image is being tossed around this way?  lol)

So the Wax Museum was Birthday Girl’s favorite thing to do all weekend!  Who would have figured?  I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough!  I couldn’t wait to get back outside in the monsoon to visit Gibbol’s Magic Store (Gibbol’s Novelty & Costumes)!  Carriage Ride lady told us there was a Magic Man there who would do magic tricks for us FREE!  Well, by God, if it’s FREE, we’re going!  Magic Man goes by the name of Andy G and has a separate business where he puts on private magic shows with a partner.  It’s called Shift Reality.  You can reach Andy G at #415-952-6394 or 415-95ANDYG…  clever, huh?  lol  He’s pretty good and kept ALL of us fascinated and entertained with his free magic tricks!  I’m pretty sure the owner of Gibbol’s couldn’t WAIT for me to get my destructive girls the heck OUT OF THERE though.  Who knew girls could be into so much trouble?  I only turned my back for a minute!  lol

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(Here’s Andy G doing a card trick for Birthday Girl)

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(Hannah was SO mad when Andy G wouldn’t tell her how he did a trick.  It drove her CRAZY trying to figure out what he’d done LONG after we left this place!  lol  He explained that, as a magician, he had to purchase magic trick secrets.  He just couldn’t go giving his secretes away.  He’d be glad to SELL us a secret though!  lol)

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(And of COURSE the biggest instigator of trouble was the 28 year old daughter!  She can’t help herself from trying on every pretty little thing!  lol)

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(I never laughed so hard in my life!  BIG TROUBLE daughter helped herself to the theatrical makeup and talked with Andy G as if this were her normal face!  She didn’t even crack a smile so I’m thinking he really thought she wore her make up like this!  He was having a lot of trouble looking her in the eye but SHE had no problem looking Andy G in the eye!  lmbo  Later the owner told us that they SOLD that make up and it cost money for them to apply it to our faces.  So, in other words, my daughter helped herself to some free make up…  I was laughing too hard to be embarrassed!  No wonder I have trouble keeping the younger one’s in line!  We’re not good at setting proper examples!  lol)

Good day but SO long and cold and rainy!  I couldn’t WAIT to get back to the hotel and read in my warm bed.  THAT didn’t get to happen though!  The girls wanted to go swimming.  Oldest daughter and I took them for a little bit and left them at the pool.  At 15, they’re old enough.  PLUS the pool was only 4 ft deep.  How was I to know that when I left they’d set off the alarm at the pool, use the handy cap chair lift and then set off more alarms on the elevator?  I was notified BY SECURITY that my girls needed to be accompanied by an adult at ALL times!  ROFLMAO  Which translates to NO reading in my warm snuggly bed.

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(Because I’m pretty sure Hannah was behind us getting into trouble with the hotel management, I’m going to show you all some lovely pics of her mascara lineds face in the hot tub 😉

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(Looks like they’re plotting trouble to me!)

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(Okay… so I MIGHT have known about them using the handicap chair lift.  Shhhh….)

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(And you thought your BOYS were messy?  Honestly, I didn’t know girls could be such nasty slobs!  How did toilet paper get ON the floor by my side of the bed????  But this is what I had to contend with after I left the pool BEFORE security notified me! lol)

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(Don’t feel sorry for them!  They TOTALLY deserve my invasion of their privacy!  FINALLY, we got them to go to sleep.  And then we picked at them until we disturbed their slumber.  Check out Julia’s extreme annoyance in the black and white 😉

So all’s well that ends well!  2 days down and 1 day to go!  This old mama’s getting too old for so much activity!  At this point, the nursing home is beginning to sound like a vacation 🙂

Ideas Please?

I’m panicking!  Help please???  My youngest princess is turning 15 tomorrow and I need to come up with something to make this year special.  Here’s why…  From experience with all my other girls, I’ve learned that this, year 15, is really the last year she’ll be mine 😦  *cue tears*.  Everyone knows that Sweet 16 is something very special for a girl.  15 is very special for Mommy!  

I’ve always made birthdays for my girls special and we’ve tried to do parties or weekend trips.  We’ve pretty much done anything the girls wanted to do within the limits of our financial situation.  SO… Julia’s the baby.  I’m struggling with  empty nest syndrome and I think sometimes, I’m not the one winning.  I’m trying to be graceful about losing my mind to the “empty nest”.  After all, FINALLY, after FOUR kids, I’ve realized that these girls were not born FOR ME!  They are little beings so separate from me and I have so very little to do with their lives  – except to give birth and pay for them.  They don’t need me after a certain age.  My job was to shape and mold them and HELP them to be the decent human beings that they were born to be.  Now, I want to celebrate Julia. 

So here’s the dilemma.  I’ve done a lot of cool things to celebrate her birthday already.  Last year, we had a bunch of friends over (her friends) and they spent the night.  We spent one day in downtown St. Louis and packed a picnic lunch.  We spread a blanket out on the ground at a park and looked up at the Arch.  We fed the ducks and geese at the pond we sat near.  Image

~Here’s everyone eating by the pond under the Arch.  It was a pretty cool idea and inexpensive to pack our own lunch.  The girls had a blast even though we didn’t spend a bunch of money on dinner reservations~

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~Here’s the view of the downtown buildings from our little picnic spot~

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~Here they are walking in the rain.  They did their best to ditch the parents (Ben and I) but I managed to catch up with them AT LEAST to get this shot.  lol~

After eating, feeding the mean geese who took our food and then attacked us, walking around under the Arch and people watching, we took a horse drawn carriage ride all along the riverfront.

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~Here’s the whole group of us!  The girls had the choice between going up IN the Arch or doing something else.  They chose the carriage ride and were SO giddy at being able to wave to the tourists.  We laughed so hard and just enjoyed the moment.~

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~Here’s the St. Louis Riverfront… view from the carriage ride~

We were done kind of early with the Riverfront and the girls weren’t ready to leave yet.  They’d decided to spend the rest of the day at the City Museum on Washington Ave.  This was a tough decision because it wasn’t in the budget BUT how could we say no?  The cost is $12 a person and $20 a person if you want to go to the Aquarium, which we did NOT.  It was particularly scary that day because a tornado went through the city of St. Louis and there were even fatalities right down the road.  Thank God the girls were all safe and it missed us.  They had a BLAST (despite the crazy howling winds outside) and they closed down the place 🙂

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~All the materials used to make everything in the City Museum came from recycled garbage!  Basically anything you’d throw away NOT food or sewage related.  lol  Here’s one of the ceilings.  I’m loving the mosaics on the column.  Not sure what the ceiling material is made of.~

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~This isn’t a good picture but I put it here to show you that there are other aquariums that are free to see.  There are fish and turtles everywhere.~

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~Here’s my oldest daughter Sumo wrestling a statue at the City Museum.  So you see, there something fun for ALL age children.  lol~

After the museum, the girls came back here and made their own pizzas.  They stayed up all night and left late the next day.  We got a LOT of birthday celebrating in that weekend and Julia and her friends are STILL talking about it.  So how do I top that?

One year, we took a FEW of her friends to the St. Louis Magic House.  We were supposed to go to SixFlags but as luck would have it, and as it seems to do EVERY birthday for Julia, it stormed so they couldn’t ride the rides at Sixflags while there’s lightening happening 😦  

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~here she is pretending to be a judge.  They learned all about the judicial system… among so many other things.  Again, having WAY too much fun pretending~

Looking back on it, we’ve done so many things for her birthday.  I’m running out of ideas and here’s where YOU come in handy 🙂  I need some ideas!  Keeping in mind that we’re only going to have 1 maybe 2 friends this time AND that Julia loves the city.  I would absolutely LOVE to get on a train, just Julia and I and go to Chicago for a few days.  We won’t be able to do that, most likely, because we just bought her first car.  I realize a car should be enough but she’s going to be paying us back for that and to me, it’s all about the experiences we share.  Memories need to made AND, like I said before, this is probably the last year that I’ll have her to myself.  I fully expect that NEXT year, when she’s 16, I won’t get to be even a little part of her party… well except to pay for it.  lol

I’d really love to hear from you guys on this because I’m at a loss.

On a Sunday Drive and in appreciation of “Earth Day”!

I realize “Earth Day” was actually yesterday BUT, as usual, I’m a little late.  It took me FOREVER to go through over 200 photos that I’d taken on Sunday!  I absolutely LOVE going on little adventures with my only real goal is attaining peace, spending time with a good friend, listening to music (mostly BAD music), laughing AND (here’s the biggest goal) looking through the lens of a camera to appreciate the beauty around me.

It’s no secret that I’m not the best photographer in the world.  I just only love it.  I don’t seem to ever find the time to REALLY practice or read manuals or even go to the classes that Hubby pre purchased for me to fine tune my skills. I just want to have fun!

Here’s some of the beauty I found through the lens of my camera.  I think it’s pretty appropriate for “earth day” because, mostly, it’s all nature.  Remember when I talked about appreciating your everyday surroundings?  Like what makes America great to you?  Sunday was one of those days where I found ALL kinds of average things that I see on a regular basis but it’s also representative of what makes America special to me.

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Americana – this is a lot of what you’ll see everywhere in our Midwestern town.  We live in the country so this is normal and I LOVE it 🙂

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Just another red bud tree – When Spring begins, I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors of nature.  Soon the red bud tree buds will turn into green leaves and we won’t see the purple.

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Like I said, bff and I drove around looking for things to photograph.  This is a picture of her – I made her go “fix” the American flag so that it would look better so I could shoot  it. lol We didn’t know the people who owned this property… we just made our selves at home and did what we wanted!  lol

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As you can see, bff failed at her task of “fixing” the American flag.  Don’t worry, I fired her!  Buwahahahaha!  But here’s the little outhouse anyway.  I loved how it turned out 🙂  Another shot of Americana!

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Bff, Beth aka Flashychick, looking for a crawdad (or crawfish for the Yankees reading this).  This is her favorite thing to do when we walk along a creek.  She always finds them too!

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And like I said, she found one.  It can barely qualify as one but I’ll go ahead and give it to her THIS time.  Next time, I want to see a crawdad in a non embryotic  stage.  lmbo

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Not sure why I love this pic so much?  Beth and I just found a spot on the bank of a creek where we could sit and talk with only the sounds of nature to interrupt us.  I guess this pic makes me feel the peace that I felt that day 🙂  Our chairs were just waiting for us to sit and relax.

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The creek bed rock was solid granite.  In the Ozark Mountain area of Missouri, we have tons of granite!  I just think it’s so beautiful.

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Me and my chair again 🙂  This is actually funny because I was trying to practice “positive visualization” here by writing down how I was definitely going to win a lot of money on the scratch off lottery tickets that I saved to scratch off at “just the right time”.  Did it work, all that positive visualization?  Nope.  It did not.  Maybe I was supposed to write my positive affirmation BEFORE I purchased those lottery tickets and not after they were already bought and paid for?  IDK.  What I DO know is that I’m still poor.  lol

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Time to leave our peaceful little creek and go find MORE beauty!

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LOVE this one… NOT because my photography was so wonderful cause yeah, it’s not.  lol  But check out those little baby lambs running and jumping and playing!  I took about a hundred pictures of these little guys but this one the best.  This was part of a “hippie farm”.  Some old lady who I KNOW was a Hippie, back in the day, grew her own food (plus who knows WHAT else) and looked completely self sustaining.  Kind of cool!

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Here are the Hippie guard dogs.

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And here’s the Hippie bus (the same kind of bus I’m positive the Charles Manson hippies lived in) and the Hippie llamas and the Hippie chickens.  Pretty cool, eh?

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Traveling down the road, away from the Hippie farm, to an area called Charter Church Road.  This is a road rumored to be haunted and to have a devil worshiping church located somewhere that I didn’t want to find.  It’s kind of cool, really.  One day I’ll find the church and tell you some of the local folklore that goes with it.  Halloween sounds like a good time to do that!  lol

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Just a beautiful field on Charter Church.

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Reminds me of Little House on the Prairie where Laura and Mary Ingals are running through the prairie?

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Confessions of a bored housewife…  you KNOW I’m bored when a picture of wheat fascinates me!  lol  But I really did love the way this turned out 🙂

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Practicing shooting in macro here.  This is the prettiest to me.  It reminds me of  a Victorian garden or wedding.

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More Americana.  Even in Missouri, we don’t see very many old churches like this left.  Especially a church with a cemetery attached.

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Here’s one of my favorite barns in Jefferson County.  I could live inside that barn.  lol

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Bff hiding in my favorite tree in Jefferson County.  This tree is at one of my most peaceful places.  A place we call “The Slab”.  As a teenager, I used to bring my lawn chair and hang out on the bank just to listen to the water run.

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Here I am sitting on “the slab”.  I used to bring my baby daughter here when I was 19.  This is where I taught her to swim on some of my rare days off of work.  It feels like a thousand years ago… but then it feels just like yesterday.

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More of the slab.  I can’t wait until it gets warm enough for me to get into the water 🙂

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They try to discourage traffic at the slab now because the kids trash up the place.  It’s a shame how some people who don’t respect nature have ruined it for the rest of us.  Pick up your trash people and we can ALL enjoy the beauty again!  Even as teenagers, we knew to pick up our beer bottles… I have very little patience for people who don’t pick up their trash now.

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Here’s BFF looking pretty but the MAIN reason I wanted to show you this one is to show you the trash by the tree behind her.  I’ve always taught my kids to leave nature better than when you arrived there.  So, if you see trash, pick it up even if it’s not yours.  I’m proud to say that they live by this even now that they’ve left my house and live on their own.  It’s become second nature for them to keep the trash picked up 🙂

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Whirlpool on the way out of the slab.

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Goodbye slab!  I’ll see you soon 🙂

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I have to close down the day with yet another picture of yet another barn!  lol

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It’s been an awesome day!  The best I’ve had in a very long time so to celebrate, BFF and I wrapped it up with our favorite local Mexican Restaurant.  BFF won’t admit it but she lives to text 😉  So while I sit, all alone, waiting for my food, with nobody to talk to… Beth is being entertained by her phone!  Yeah, that’s just how she is!  lol  She’ll probably kill me for this but you only live once, right?

So how did YOU spend Earth Day?  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Up

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

~Les Brown~

Here’s a pic taken when Julia turned 13. She’s using the pulley’s at the Magic House in St. Louis, to pull up the construction buckets. She’s with her friends Shelby and Leah.

Coming to you LIVE from St. Francois County Missouri…

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BFF and I didn’t know we’d end up being amateur reporters today!  We only wanted to see PRETTY things!

Have you ever just wanted to get away from everything so that you can regroup or decompress your busy brain?  Yesterday was one of those days for me!  My bff, Beth or “Flashychick”, as you will come to know her on her new blog, decided to go for a Sunday drive and just take the day to look at the beauty that surrounds us.  We were noticing that this year, the Spring colors seem to be brighter than they’ve been in more recent years.  Why not take my fancy schmancy new camera out and learn to use it!  lol  We also wanted to unclutter our minds because we’ve been discombobulated with all this badness that’s going on in the world.

Well… where ever we are and no matter what good intentions we have, we seem to always find trouble.  In yesterday’s case, we found tragedy before we found beauty.

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I’ve never seen a house on fire in REAL life.  Not like this, anyway.  On our way to “somewhere”, we saw this tragic sight, directly on the highway!  Leave it to me to pull over and run through the field to get some shots, right?  I was like the Pied Piper because after I pulled over, other ambulance chasers (people like me) pulled over and before long, we had a whole slew of amateur reporters getting their cell phones out to take pictures.  I could tell that people WANTED to pull over but they only got the courage to actually DO it once they saw me running through the field.  lol  When I got home last night, I saw that MANY of my Facebook “friends” had seen the same thing and posted their pictures of this fire.  It’s strange to me how whenever I see something that gets my adrenaline pumping, I lose all sense of “self preservation”.  I got pretty dang close to this and now that I’m looking at the pictures, I’m realizing that there COULD have been an explosion from propane and I COULD have been blown up with the house.

Before you judge me for talking about myself…  There was nobody in the house, THANK GOD, and I did send quite a few prayers up to heaven for the owners of this house.  This truly was a sight that made me so sad.  I couldn’t help but notice the little kids playground and tree house in the back yard.  By the time the Fire Department got there, even the playground burned.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors houses caught on fire too because the houses were so close together and this fire was MASSIVE.  I’m still shocked at how long it took for the fire department to get there.

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Can you see the little swing set?  Also notice how close together the houses are.  See THIS is why I want to live far away from other houses!  I never did like the idea of a subdivision and this is why.

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Finally, the fire department showed up.  You can see the little white fire truck to the left of the RV.  They had to call for back up from neighboring towns because this little fire truck couldn’t get control of this angry fire.  On our way back through, we noticed that the other houses didn’t burn.  Again, Thank God.

It amazes me how when I begin to think I have it so bad, I’m always reminded that it could be worse.  Count your blessings, friends!  We really have SO much to be thankful for.  Knock on wood or fingers crossed, I’ve never experienced a house fire.  I couldn’t imagine losing all my memories.  Forever gone.

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And to conclude our Sunday devastation report… we bring you more flood damage!  This is the main road, in and out of, Lake Timberline – where my brother and Dad live.  The road complete washed away.  It SHOULDN’T have happened.  The “Board of Trustee’s” won’t upkeep the roads.  They keep raising assessments (money residents have to pay in order to have the “privilege” of living here) but they won’t fix the roads!  They take the money they collect from the residents and apply it to their own special interests.  Like dams for the lakes.  It seems to me that basic road upkeep is a necessity and not a “want”.  If the residents can’t get into their homes, safely, without fear of their vehicle being eaten by a huge hole in the road or without fear of the road literally washing away, I wouldn’t think it matters much about beautifying the beaches or the dams.  The board of Trustee’s say they’re going to fix this though… just as soon as they raise the assessments again.  ARGH!  And this is why I would never live inside Lake Timberline!

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But HEY!  The “Timberline Falls” are nice, right?  lol  It’s always good to end bad reporting with a pretty picture 🙂

A look at Americana

Like I mentioned in my last post, there’s a lot of devastation in America right now.  I don’t like a lot of what’s going on here politically but I do LOVE my country.  Sometimes, I think it’s good for all of us to remember what we love about living here.  When you think of America, what do you see in your mind?  What does it mean to you?

Here’s what it means to me.  This is America where I live and I’d protect her any way I was able 🙂

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Isn’t this beautiful?  It’s just a little farm I drive by all the time and most days take it for granted.  Love the plainness of the bars against the brilliant green of April!

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Sandy Creek Covered Bridge.  She needs some work, eh?  This is actually a National Park that we visit and it’s only a mile or two from our back door.

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(Entrance into our covered bridge.  It was closed to the public for repairs.  I’ve never been much for rule following so I didn’t give much thought to jumping the gate.  Obviously, neither did my girls.  lol  It was worth it to get these shots though)

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This is just a little farm getting ready to be flooded out.  I’m just loving the April colors again, even in the rain 🙂

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Just another farmer’s field.

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Just another house I drive by all the time.  My daughter tells me this is a “foster kid” house.  Kind of like an orphanage.  They just take care of a lot of homeless children who the courts have ordered into the “foster” system, for one reason or another.

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Sometimes even weeds can be pretty, right?

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I see this almost every day but have never stopped to take a picture.  Can you see the eagles nests in the trees?  They nest right by the flooded creek that I posted about in my last post.  Pretty dang cool!

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The farm below my house.  Right now it’s flooded.

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Here’s the reason I love to drive home!  This is probably the coolest barn I’ve seen ANYWHERE in the USA and it lives right below me.

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Some more weeds with muddy flood waters.

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Okay, this is another favorite of mine.  The 6 silo barn that used to be the old Pevely Dairy. People actually have transformed the ENORMOUS barn into living quarters.  A wedding was recently held there and it was beautiful!

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Really I have no words for how this one grabs my heart!  I might even have it framed.  It’s the front of the 6 silo barn.  Americana at it’s best!