"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Max loves pirates! He loves to tell you about Blackbeard & Henry Morgan, Ann Bonny & Mary Read. He even thinks privateers like Sir Francis Drake are pretty neat. (Can you tell Mommy's a history nerd?) So when I noticed a poster in the grocery store describing the STL Pirate Festival I knew we'd have to go. And Ian was home, so he got to go too!
Right off the bat, we had to stop & dig for buried treasure! Ian got to do most of the digging since Max was distracted by all the pirates roaming around. Next stop, the belly dancers! I don't have to tell you why he liked them.
After lunch, we headed to the Sword & Roses show which consisted of singing, sword fighting sisters who were followed by a sword swallower/fire eater. Max thought they were great. At one point, we could see the sword moving in time to her heartbeat. He kept asking how they did it & why the sword swallower had so many tattoos & why didn't I have more.

And so our next stop was the face painting booth, to get Max a tattoo, just like a proper pirate. I think that was the longest I've ever seen him sit still.

We roamed all over the fair, meeting a few of his favorite pirates. Some of them even gave him gold doubloons which he promptly pocketed. We evn saw some pirates who had been thown in jail for being wild & crazy! We listened to a harpist who played a Scottish tune for us then a pirate drinking song which Max thought was really nifty. We peeked into shops along the way to see what they had to offer. There were costumes & jewelry, knives & swords, lots of arts & crafts. Max decided on a wooden toy boat since everyone knows all pirates have to have their own boat and a wooden sword. Max tested out quite a few swords before he found one just his size. I think he may have been a pirate in another life since he tested the weight, length & how well it moved before he decided on the perfect one. After he asked the lady pirate how much it cost, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a couple of the gold doubloons & tried to pay with those. When that didn't work, I handed him the money. Then it was time to go.

As we started down the highway, Max chattered about how neat it was to meet all the pirates & how "(big yawn) I'm not tired, Mom. (bigger yawn)" About 5 minutes later, I looked back & saw him sleeping peacfully, sword in hand & pirates sailing through his dreams.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

What do you do in St. Louis when the temp drops to the mid 80s & the humidity is virtually non existent? What if all the schools in the area are in session while your child's has a professional development day? You go to the Zoo! Not only do the kids have a great time looking at all the animals, but the mommies get to chat & have a little exercise at the same time.

Max peeking at the elephant peeking at Max

We started our trip in the River's Edge part of the zoo which is home to the elephants, hippos, cheetahs and hyenas among others. Max always likes to visit the new baby elephant but alas, he was nowhere to be seen. Most of the elephants were playing hide 'n seek but a few of them just couldn't resist a peek at us.

Connor & Kristi looking at the elephant.

The Hippo habitat is really cool. The viewing area is a cross section of the pool so you can see the entire animal as its lounging in the water, not just its snout. But since the hippos decided to take their rest in a corner with their backs to the crowd, people felt the need to jam the available viewing space to watch them do nothing. Max found a nifty spot that had no hippos but lots of fish to watch.

Max in front of the Hippo habitat.

The River's Edge is set up to look more like the animals natural habitat than traditional zoos so around every corner is an exhibit worked into the surrounding foliage like a nest of newly hatched snakes in a hollow log or giant nest in the trees. The kids really like the log because it just big enough for them to run through but Max's favorite is the female cobra with her eggs.

Next it was off to the Big cats where everyone was asleep except for the jaguar. He must have been having an awful bout of insomnia since he was pacing furiously. I couldn't get a decent picture of him & the kids (they're kind of wiggly too) so I settled for getting both kids in the shot.

Max & Connor watching the jaguar pace.

We saw quite a few more animals but there was no way to get more pictures. Kristi was pushing Connor in Max's stroller, I was pushing Chase in her stroller with Max riding on my shoulders. (I told you I got some exercise!) The we passed the mist fan. The zoo has big fans that blow a nice cool mist set up at various points to combat the nasty St. Louis summers. The boys had a great time running back and forth in front of it. By the time they were done, their hair was soaked.How cool is that fan!
Did I mention that the zoo is free? Yup!
Bring a picnic lunch (and park at the Art Museum) & you don't have to spend a dime. Unless, of course, you get sucked into one of the many gift shops scattered around.