Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Operation "Meet Me in St. Louis"

After months of planning, and anticipation, "Operation Meet Me in St. Louis" has been successfully executed.

I was raised in the great Mitten state. (the original one, not the wanna-be interloper of a couple years ago) By my parents, actually.

Who abandoned me about 8-1/2 years ago, to take up residence in the state where everything is bigger. Not only did they up and move, but they took 5 of my siblings with them. And joined a sixth sibling who was already down there.

Which means that the only family I have anywhere near me, is my older brother and his family-who live really near. Like down the block near. To be fair, they were here first. And I love living near them.

Anyway...rabbit trailing again...

The Barefoot Hippies usually make an annual sojourn to TX around Thanksgiving. But it just is not going to happen this year. What with our month long trip to the Far East, its not feasible to miss more time from work and school. Even if we do home school, and run our own business and are our own principal and boss.

Instead, we hatched a plan to all meet up with the entire fam in St. Louis in October-after school was well started, but before the holiday rush. While it is still warm, and neither hot nor cold.

St. Louis is about as central as you are going to get for this crowd. It took the mitten people about 8 hours, the TX people about 10, and the Okie-dokies about 8. Springfield, MO would have been really central, but what's there to do in Springfield? Not an Arch, that's for sure.

It ended up that only most of us could make it. When you are talking 8 siblings, 4 spouses, 2 parents, and 9 grandkids-schedules and scheduling gets kind of harried. A total of 5 sibs, 3 spouses, 8 grandkids, and 2 parentals descended on St. Louis this past weekend.

We had beautiful weather. It was warm enough. And dry.

We stayed at a Drury Inn. I really like Drury Inns. It is the Barefoot Hippie preferred hotel chain-that and Embassy Suites. The staff was friendly, the rooms were comfortable (and our suite was huge), and the pool and hot tub were perfect. We spent hours talking and eating and swimming and eating. It was great to see everyone and catch up. And I love having the nieces and nephews together. I never hung much with my cousins, and I am so very thankful that my kids can hang with theirs.

We spent Saturday at the St. Louis Zoo. Folks, this is probably the best zoo I have ever visited. There are tons of animals. And it is free. FREE!!! There are several cool historic buildings from the World's Fair. There is tons to see and do. I got to see my favorite animals-the cats, and the elephants (there were almost 10 elephants there) and the hippos. Hippos are ugly-but graceful. As I watched them swim around, I am amazed and entertained.

We headed down to the Gateway Arch on Sunday afternoon. Some of the group went up the arch. Some of us meandered through the museum and shops, and then soaked up sunshine outside. Another great experience.

Anyway...enjoy the pics.

Meres loves Starbucks cups.

the drawers were the perfect size for her

some of the cousins


the other set of twins...they spent the day walking around holding hands and reading their map

There are many pics of the two of them...not so many of me with anyone

see the hands?=)


tons of elephants-including this baby


more butterflies. This kind was pretty friendly.

the penguin and Meres were equally enthralled

balancing a ball like a sea lion

I love the big cats.

this area reminded me of Madagascar-the movie

a drinking fountain with a spout for everyone

the "twins" checking out the monkeys. 

World Fair Pavilion

Love fountains!

Me and my sister. Well, one of my sisters. Bek is expecting twins!

the hippie offspring getting ready to explore the arch

The arch...kind of looks like the Washington Monument here

that's better

an amazing feat of fairly modern engineering

And this is what happen when I ask Mr. Hippie to take a pic of me...

The Barefoot Hippies taking the Gateway Arch by a storm

Pretty impressive grizzly in the museum

I love timelines...

Pretty impressed that the settlers packed up their entire lives into these small wagons.

Sucking on a leaf stem...because she can

I loved this. Uncle Nate is taking pictures lying on the of course she has to join him.

It was great to hang with Nate too.
For much more artistic pictures from our trip, check out his blog (here)

I love them. All three. So much it makes my heart feel like it could burst.

My nephew Jay. Adorable.

So glad we could go. I miss my family and wish we didn't live so far apart. Now, we got to get stewing about "Operation Meet Me in Florida!"

I have been highlighted as the "Happy Hump Day" blog hop spotlighted blog. Join us by linking up your blog url. And have a wonderful Wednesday!