Friday, August 24, 2012

California folks living the St. Louis life

I'm so behind on posts, but I didn't want to just skip over stuff, so let's see if we can't catch up a bit.

Several weeks ago, Matt's parents came for a visit and brought our niece Jesselyn. Unfortunately, we don't get to make it out to California as often as we'd like, so we only get to see her a few times a year. It was also her first time coming to visit us, and she was so excited!
After a brief crawling lesson from Grandpa, we started the weekend off with a trip to the zoo. Jesselyn just loves animals, so we couldn't have picked a better place to get the ball rolling. Beckett was ready for safari, as always.
The St. Louis Zoo, which is free (as so many wonderful things in STL are), is really wonderful. They've been doing a lot of renovations lately, and it really shows. We started in the "river walk" area, where Jesselyn was entranced by (and a little afraid of) the rhino.
Matt and the kiddos
 Hyenas (as we told Jesselyn, like in The Lion King)
It was SO hot that day, and we all began to wilt pretty quickly. Beckett was baking in his stroller, so we tried to camp out in the buildings for as long as possible to cool down.
 Checking out the alligators
 Family shot!
 Crocodile (or alligator, I forget which) skull inside the reptile house.
 Trying to cool off
The newest exhibit is a vastly improved sea lion habitat, which includes an underwater tunnel. It was so fun to see the very friendly and interactive sea lions swim all around us.
 Playing tricks
 Sea lion fur
Jesselyn and Beckett had a great time playing together all week, and I'm pretty sure she showed him a few new tricks.
Plotting their next move
 Learning to share
Aside from the zoo, Jesselyn's favorite spot was at the pool. She's been taking swim lessons lately, and she was excited to show off her skills. She couldn't get enough of the lazy river and water slide, too.
 Showing off the stuffed animals
 More deep discussions
On Sunday, we'd planned to go to Grant's Farm, but the rain steered us toward The Magic House, St. Louis's children's museum, instead. We were not alone. Despite being super loud and crowded, we had a fun time, Jesselyn most of all. Beckett was, well, overwhelmed.
Driving the horse cart and making dinner in the children's literature exhibit
Matt, his mom, and Beckett taking a break from the chaos
Bubble girl
Exhausted after the Magic House
The best way to recover from exhaustion? A big cup of Ted Drewe's. No trip to the Lou would be complete without it (heck, no week is complete without it), and Jesselyn loved every bite.
Beckett celebrated the weekend by feasting on my mother-in-law's favorite breakfast treat: bagels.
And we took advantage of the cooler evening temperatures by trying out Matt's new toy. Sorry, charcoal grill; gas is so much faster!
After realizing Grant's Farm is closed on Mondays, Jesselyn was more than happy to make a second trip to the zoo (did I mention it's FREE??). This time, we managed to catch one of the sea lion feeding shows.
And the monkeys (both real and bronzed)
All in all, it was a wonderful family weekend and a great reminder of how blessed we are to have such a great family.

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