Friday, April 29, 2011

Museum and Arch and Tornado oh my!

When I took Hannah to St. Louis on her coming of age trip, this is what we saw from the top of the arch.

And this is what Hannah looked like.

It was May 2001. She was 10. I wasn't quite 40. I turned that momentous age on a day many of you may remember - September 11, 2001.  When I took Faith, the view had changed, as had the security measures we endured to enjoy that view.

It was April 2006. Faith looked a little different 5 years ago also.

And one year later, I turned around and took Elizabeth.

At The Magic House

When I first made that drive with my oldest, Mary Grace's trip seemed unimaginably far in the distance. She was 2 1/2. She's 12 now - will be 13 in September. And she has taken her trip.

 When the kids were young, Lou and I became aware of the tapes pictured below. A parent was encouraged to listen to these with their preteen as you drive to somewhere the two of you can just have fun together. On the way you talk about all the changes that were coming.

I used the word "tapes" on purpose. That's what they are because that's how old they are. As I listened to them again with Mary Grace, I was pleasantly surprised at how relevant they still were. Of course, texting, facebook and the like weren't even mentioned because they were non-existent. But the basic challenges we all face were covered, from the physical changes we all have to go through, to the emotional upheavals that come - in large part because of a lot of those physical changes. This format of listening to Dr. Dobson introduce these topics, and then discussing them has worked well for our family.

We spend the majority of the drive time with Dr. Dobson, and the rest of the time (2-3 days-ish) having fun. We've done different things with different kids. Obviously, Lou took the boys and they did boy stuff. The girls and I have done a variety of things:

Gateway Arch
Cardinal ballgame
Magic House
City Museum
Watching movies in the hotel

It's really not so much what you do. It's just hanging out together. Mary Grace and I will forever talk about the hour we spent in the food court of the Galleria Mall with 50 bajillion other shoppers during the tornado warning the Friday night that the tornado hit the airport. We'll talk about the arch, and how I'm glad I don't ever have to ride up in those little cars again. And we'll talk about the City Museum. It has more tunnels and passageways and slides than you can imagine. I'm ending this post with some pictures from our time there.

It's really not so much what you do. It's who you're with. And I had the privilege of being with each of my 4 daughters on a special trip at a special time of their life. What gifts from God they are. I am thankful.

Yes, I was crawling through these with her.

You had to crawl up this to get to the long slide

Next week: Back to normal Follow Through mode. We are going to Hawaii at the end of May. I want to get some materials together to present to the family - both for educational purposes and to build excitement. (nerd alert lights are flashing)

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