September 20, 2012

A Break and a Long Weekend

 I've been away from this space for a number of months now. I was having such a fun time with this blog, then something changed. Not that it wasn't fun anymore. What it is was isn't very clear to me. I had this moment, more like days, weeks, months that I wondered what it was exactly I was doing this for. For others? For us? That coupled with thoughts of how much of our personal life to share online - not knowing who is actually looking at it. I kept seeing the number of views increasing and not knowing who it is actually. I had a moment of, is this creepy? I went into this blog with my eyes wide open, knowing that anything you put online is open to be seen by anyone. I guess I just figured who'd really be interested in little old us. Then there came a point where it was just easy not to post because it had been so long and my laptop crashed and I couldn't get pictures to load onto the tablet I was using. So I'm still not sure where I'm at with it all, or what this is for me, for us. But I know that I do enjoy doing it, from time to time anyway.

Thinking our recent trip would be a good ice breaker, a week behind us already. Piper and I took our first educational trip {and it was on many levels} to Missouri; St Louis, Jefferson City and Mansfield.

{the view that greeted us from our hotel window}

{same view in the morning light}

We went by train. Piper was so very excited, and to be honest, so was I. I had not been on a train since I was a teenager in Europe.  It worked out well for us. Enjoyed it so much more than flying. It was sort of quaint and slow in a comforting way. We sat when we wanted, walked around, used the restroom when we wanted. Had dinner in the dining car!

Piper took full advantage of this rare occasion and watched three movies on and off throughout the trip. I also enjoyed the rarity of being able to sit with a book, read the whole thing and make a sizable dent in a fresh knitting project.

We spent nearly the whole day in St Louis before catching an afternoon train to Jefferson City. Our day was mostly consumed with a trip to the Gateway Arch.

{Piper's joy to waking up to St Louis out the window}

We bought tickets for the ride to the top. Rode that teeny, tiny elevator car {see that itty bitty door a few pictures up - that's small} for four minutes with two other adults in our car up. Piper was completely unaffected by the jerky ride up or down and was amazed at how high we were. 

She said that she felt as if she could see the whole world from up there. We then spent hours in the gift shop looking for the perfect thing to bring home for Calder, and in the museum that's there. While up in the arch we spied a building that resembled our capital building here in Madison but smaller. St Louis is not the capital of MO, I learned - see educational I tell you. The building was an old courthouse. It was very ornate and beautifully painted. Piper wowed the seniors touring with her excitement for the 'old, old, old things!'

We were met in Jefferson City by Zac's parents and their friends. They treated us wonderfully and we're so grateful for allowing us to visit. 

Saturday was really the purpose of the trip. Wilder Days at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield! Together Piper and I have read all the books. Some more than once. Piper's uncanny way of remembering all sorts of information from the books won her a rag doll. We even learned a bunch of new facts while making our way slowly through the museum. It was just surreal to be in Laura's real house, a midst her actual belongings. 

 {Pa's fiddle! I can't explain the flutter I get still when I think of seeing it in person.}

Not unlike other monuments, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside any of the buildings on the property. So all that is tucked away in the memories of Piper and I. It poured rain the entirety of our visit there. A few of the activities were canceled because of that. I supposed that just means we'll have to make another trip in a few years in hopes of catching it all.