Jack and Tom have really grown over the past eight months since we last saw them. They are "blowin' and goin'" action guys who don't stop until they absolutely crater. What fun they are!
Three cheers for FaceTime, that magical thing that allows folks to have long-distance face-to-face conversations. When we last saw the twins they were less than 18 months old. Yet with the FaceTime visits we had throughout the year, they recognized us immediately when we arrived at the house. Wow! How great is that?
Of course one of the first orders of business was to don a new pair of Aggie tee-shirts of a size appropriate for a two-year old. Tom – Mr. Cool – goes nowhere without his shades.
This birthday photo was taken Thursday, May 3 at the daycare center the boys attend. The crowns stayed on their heads all day, and on through dinner with MeeMaw and Pop-Pop. And Tom was still wearing his two days later.
Two is an important age for these guys. This is when they have their car seats turned around to face forward. No more looking where they have been. No more looking at the seat back. No more cramped legs. So, new tees and looking out the front of the car. Life is surely good.
On Saturday there was a little birthday party at the house with a wonderful cake, MeeMaw and Pop-Pop, visitors, a friend, and bubbles – lots of bubbles. It was a fine day.
Jeremy and April treated Linda to a day at the Missouri Botanical Garden for Mother's Day. And the twins did the same for April. The six of us had a wonderful time at these beautiful grounds which rank at the top of anybody's list of America's great gardens.
Walking all over a big old garden takes a bit out of you, especially when you are carrying your new big guy water bottle. So once in a while it feels good to take a quick respite on a bench. Walking or sitting, the twins were looking good with their hats and shades. Many thanks to Adolph Williams and his family for providing us with a bench just where we needed one.
Our day ended not too long after our rest at the bench. The plan was to have lunch at the cafe on the grounds, but it was Mother's Day and it seems most of St. Louis' mothers were visiting the garden and having lunch there. So we decided to head back to the house and enjoy some tasty sandwiches from Jimmy John's. It had been a busy morning and the boys were asleep almost immediately after getting in the car – even with their new forward-facing car seats.
Linda and I took a day to go down town. Linda had a few things to check on, and she thought it would be fun to try the public transportation to go into the city – do not ask me why. So off we went to the nearest station to hop aboard the MetroLink.
Remember the old trolleys and commuter trains? When I grew up the trolleys had big old leather seats and the trainman would flip the backs when the trolley reversed direction so you would always ride facing forward. Commuter trains were much the same except I remember them with fuzzy upholstery that was always full of dust. Dusty, but comfortable.
On the MetroLink you sit on molded fiberglass seats. Each seat has a 1/4 inch thick fabric pad – definitely a flat pad, not a cushion. And the seat backs do not flip. You ride facing forward going into the city and facing backward returning from the city. And coming or going, the seats are anything but comfortable. Modern transportation.
Anyway, after our downtown stop, we decided to take the train all the way to the Laclede's Landing Station at the Mississippi River. The station is inside the brick approach of the Eads Bridge. This is one of the earliest long bridges across the Mississippi and is a national landmark. While there I looked out through one of the brick arches and found I was looking right at the Gateway Arch.
The brick arch framing the monument made for a really neat photo-op, but I didn't have my camera. Linda reminded me I had my iPhone. Duh! So I took this shot with the iPhone and then did all the processing in the phone as well. Amazing. Who cares if no one ever calls me?
It was a great day for a drive, and so we headed off to Hermann, Missouri, a German town dating back to the 1830's. Hermann was started by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia. The group wanted to find a place where they could live in a self-sustaining community without their culture being absorbed. They chose 11,000 acres along the Missouri River.
I was hoping the photo would show the town, but the trees are in full foliage, so you mostly see a lot of green. The steeple in the distance is a large United Church of Christ, and the gold dome is the top of the Gasconade County Courthouse. Beyond them is the Missouri River.
The Missouri River Runner is an Amtrak passenger train that runs between St. Louis and Kansas City with two round trips daily. The train makes a eight stops between the two cities, including Hermann. The River Runner happened to come into Hermann while we were down by the riverfront near the station. I managed to catch this shot as it pulled in.