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Blooms and Bridges

2017 April 10
by Becky

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We’ve been so busy that last few weeks with vacation and work and volunteering and birthday parties that last weekend’s empty schedule was a welcome respite. The rain clouds parted, enticing us to plant and mow and prune…it was like the brown and grey of the yard, with which we’ve been avoiding eye-contact for five or so months, just melted away to reveal the tiny haven we call our outdoor living room. The porch was scrubbed, plants were potted, and we made a long overdue porch couch upgrade.

The best part of good weather is I can’t get the kids in the house for anything but sleep and meals (and barely at that!), they just want to collect bugs and climb trees, the later is something in which Ethan has suddenly taken great interest. Good thing our neighbors are rarely outside because he’s usually there, looking over the fence from the nearest dogwood.

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Sunday morning was devoted to the MOBOT children’s garden opening, something we’ve patiently awaited during our frequent winter visits. The tulips were just getting ready to open and be their most brilliant selves, it was almost impossible not to touch them, grab armfuls to take home. Finn’s grabby hands had to be kept at bay, which was accomplished by telling him to use his nose instead.

I even attempted our yearly brother-hug-tulip photo…

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It didn’t turn out.
We’ll have to go back this week for a better one. Like this one. And this one.

But hey look who made it into a picture!! Me! And it’s a great one!

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I usually end up going home with a hundred pictures and not one with me in it, but Stu commandeered the camera to make sure this day included my face. And those are some big smiles from the boys, especially due to the fact we’d been tulip gazing and had yet to make it to the children’s garden. They were antsy. But agreeable.

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The boys tore through the children’s garden gates like they were returning home from a long journey, straight down the wood plank bridge to the little boats where Stu intervened and urged them along with the promise of face painting—if you’ve been here you know a day can be dimmed by a dip in the boat lock, especially if it’s not warm enough for water play.

Finn braved his first solo trip across the rope bridge. I think his shirt says it all.

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We were there right at opening time with the place almost to ourselves, so the face painters were ready and waiting. Ethan opted for a snake with Finn watching with great interest. Never thinking he’d actually sit still for this, I promised the nice lady that we had no expectations, anything that happened would be fine.

But with big brother’s help, Finn sat still and got his matching ink, complete with sparkles.

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He was SO proud.

Sure they fight (constantly), but it’s time like these I can see they get a lot from each other. Ethan is proud when Finn shares interests and emulates his big bro. Finn worships every move Ethan makes and is thrilled when his brother allows him to join in.

Today they were two peas in a pod.

It’s one of the reasons we love visiting the gardens. It’s five minutes from our house and it has something for everyone, plus room to run, climb, jump, get dirty, ride, splash, bang, and sometimes even plant.

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We are so so very lucky to have this place. Right here, always showing us something beautiful. Our city is amazing.

Five Favs: March

2017 March 22
by Becky

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I’ve got an eclectic fav five for you this month—there’s something here for everyone. AND a few things you need to try even if they seem crazy. One involves someone who wears tiny shorts for a living.

Enjoy.

1. Funny I’ve had the Sky Guide app on this list for a few weeks and just tonight Ethan showed my dad how to use it, blowing his mind with this amazingness. The app is very cheap, I think $2.99, and at any time of the day will show you the night sky to help you identify planets, stars, constellations, and whatever else is up there. Ethan’s a space kid so he and Stu frequently pop outside in the evenings to check out the sky through this app. Point it anywhere and you’ve got the galaxy at your fingertips, ready to explore. It’s fun for adults and kids.

2. I’ve received so many compliments on my lovely laptop case that I must share the deets. This iCasso hard shell case comes in several Mac sizes and a few more designs and I’ve never loved a tech accessory so much. Plus it protects my poor laptop that gets lugged all over the house/city/country from scratches and dents. I’ve had it for about four months and it’s held up beautifully, no cracking or fitting issues. At $19.99, it’s a small price to pay to show my pricey toy some love. My laptop has never looked so pretty!

3. Not too long ago I received an unexpected package in the mail containing the GORGEOUS Goodnight St. Louis coloring book. I almost hid it for myself—though I’ve never dabbled in adult coloring—after deciding it was too pretty and perfect to hand over to the boys. I of course reconsidered and am so glad I did because Ethan LOVES this book. We’ve been big fans of Julie Dubray and June Herman’s original book Goodnight St. Louis with it’s fabulous illustrations of our city, still reading it on a regular rotation, so the coloring book has been a fantastic extension. We’re tickled when Ethan races to the book after we’ve visited a St. Louis landmark. The other day after stopping at the World Chess Hall of Fame, he sought out the book and turned to the page depicting this attraction and it’s famous giant chess piece to start coloring. I thought it would be too difficult for him, but his skills have actually improved with practice coloring the intricate drawings. This is a perfect gift for kids and adults—just FYI, your kid should expect one if we’re invited to their birthday party. Get one on their website or check out these local retailers.

4. Around the holidays I was introduced to the lovely voice of Laura Mvula and have since added quite a few of her songs to my “Chill” playlist. I am drawn to her totally unique sound…every song is like a work of art, a complete production. Just try listening to Like the Morning Dew without feeling inspired. Green Garden makes me happy with it’s intoxicating beat and steady progression, reminding me so much of Nina Simone. Other favorites include She and Show Me Love. She is also achingly beautiful, her videos totally captivating. I love creating Apple Music stations based on her songs…it’s a great way to discover some amazing artists.

5. And here’s where you’ll think I’m nuts. As you probably know, I’m a podcast lover, always searching for something interesting to listen to in the shower, car, or on the treadmill, but this one is a stretch even for me. Missing Richard Simmons is dedicated to exactly what it’s name says, the people missing the man in tank tops who sweats to the oldies. Unless you are a fan (which I am not…or at least wasn’t), you probably don’t know Richard Simmons disappeared in 2014 and hasn’t spoken to anyone but his manager and family members since then. The man who taught aerobics lessons at his LA gym, Slimmons (now closed), for 40 years just stopped showing up about 3 years ago and never said why. Quit calling people to help them with their weight-loss, quit doing interviews, quit hanging out with some of his best friends, and just dropped off the face of the earth. Filmmaker Dan Taberski was a fan who decided to do some investigating to see what happened, to make sure Richard was ok. Funny how a topic you never thought you’d care about, like Richard Simmons, can be riveting when presented by the right voice. It’s just six episodes, extremely well edited, and plays out like a mystery and life story all in one.

What’s your fav this month? Please share!