Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grant’s Farm with Grammy and Grampy

As usual, I am way behind in my blogging, so I am going to backdate this a little.

On our drive from my parents house in MO to the Chicago area, we decided to spend the night near St. Louis so we could take the kids to Grant’s Farm for a few hours before we drove the rest of the way.  I knew we didn’t have much time, only about 3 hours, but I figured it would be good to let them burn some energy before we stuck them in the car for another 4.5ish hours.

Grant’s Farm is owned by the Anheuser-Busch family, so it is home to quite a few of the Budweiser Clydesdales.  I love seeing those horses.  They are just so huge and majestic and I still remember my first encounter with Scotty, one of the Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm.  Abbie wanted to pet them, until one of them in the pasture showed a huge interest in her, and then she wasn’t too sure.  I think that picture of my dad holding Abbie up to the horse is my favorite one of the trip!



And for all of my “horsey friends”, you should have SEEN the mound of shavings in these stalls.  This picture doesn’t do it justice – that large pile in the middle was probably 3 feet higher than the rest of the sawdust in the stall!  Crazy!


Ben was completely fascinated with the school bus and had to go over and check it out and say “WOW!!!” a few times.  He’s such a boy.


After checking out the horses, we took a tram ride through the farm.  This is where president, Ulysses S Grant lived for a while and the cabin pictured below is the only remaining structure in the US that was built by a president prior to assuming office.  The whole farm is 281 acres and there are over 900 animals on it.  It was originally owned by Grant’s wife’s father, who gifted them a portion of the farm upon their marriage.



After the tram ride, we went to the “zoo” type area of the farm.  There is LOTS to do at Grant’s Farm, especially for the little ones.  Abbie and Ben both LOVED it and I wish we could have stayed longer, but I also wish Mark had been there to enjoy it with us.  We’ll have to go back with him some day.


My favorite part of the farm, and Abbie’s too, as the goats.  You could buy little bottles and feed all the goats in this little yard they had them in.  I thought Abbie might be afraid of them, but she wasn’t at all, and neither was Ben.  He just wandered around in there looking at all of them while Abbie had to go hug and kiss every single one of them.  I think she would have spent about 4 hours in there if we’d had the time.




In the black and white picture below, the goat was chewing on Abbie’s shorts, which she thought was pretty funny.


After seeing the horses, the tram ride, and spending a good 30 mins in with the goats, we didn’t have much time left so we quickly toured the old stables while my dad tried the free beer samples they give you in the courtyard.





Grant’s Farm was a lot of fun.  If you’re ever in the St. Louis area, I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you have little ones!  And the best part, it’s free!  There’s a $12 parking charge, but other than that, it’s free!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fish Hatchery Fun, part II

While we were visiting my parents, we took the kids to the fish hatchery again.  The first time I was here was before Ben was born in 2011.  Abbie’s favorite part of that visit, which she still talks about today, was feeding the geese.  Now there are signs all over the place to not feed the geese, but there weren’t any geese there to feed this time anyway.


Abbie had fun picking up the fish food off the ground to throw to the fish and Ben was fascinated by the fish too.  Ben’s “independent nature” was coming out while we were there though, and he was not wanting to go along with the plan at all.  I just love the “two’s”…


They have a little museum area with lots of info on animals in the area.  The kids both loved the big fish tank and the huge turtle, and Ben loved all the stuffed birds.  He’s so interested in anything that flies.


It was fun to watch the kids run around and look at everything, although it was a little nerve-wracking having Ben around those tanks.  Looking back at the pictures from 2011, I can’t believe how much Abbie has grown in the past 2 years.  I wish she’d listen to us and stopping getting bigger, like we ask her to do all the time.  =)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Boating on Table Rock Lake


My parents neighborhood is pretty much surrounded by Table Rock Lake.  They live on a little peninsula on the lake and their neighborhood has 2 private boat docks.  They take their Gator down to the boat dock, as does everyone else in their neighborhood apparently since there are usually a bunch of ATV’s parked down by the docks.  At first Ben was TERRIFIED of the Gator.  They started it for the first time, and he screamed bloody murder.  But by the end of our time he would run over to the Gator and get up on it himself and was always excited to take another ride.  Same thing went for the boat.  Granted, the boat is pretty loud, but he flipped out when my dad was raising the engine compartment lid and then REALLY flipped out when he started the boat.  The first boat ride with him wasn’t pretty, but the second one he fell asleep pretty much the entire ride.  I think the wind in his face, the vibration of the boat and the rocking on the water (and the lack of a nap) helped quite a bit.  Abbie, on the other hand, LOVES the boat, loves the noise, loves going fast.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, that’s for sure.


This ended up being a rather short ride. 

Once it started lightening the distance we turned around and headed home.




Abbie and my mom have a pretty special connection, and I think Abbie gets a lot of her spunk and talkativeness from my mom.  Mark and I definitely see a lot of similarities in their personalities.  Abbie loves it when my mom tells her stories when she’s on the potty.  (I remember liking it too when I was little.)  Abbie is just captivated by what my mom is telling her in this photo, and I love it.  I’m sure Abbie will love this picture being on the blog too when she’s in high school.  =)