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My Last Year with a Kid

Brynne turned 12 years old a week ago Tuesday, so I have now started my last year with a kid in the house. Next year, she will be a teenager. And we all know that is no longer a kid. In fact, that pretty much means she'll be out of the house in the blink of an eye.

Her birthday happened to fall on the day Eli and I were hoping to go to Mastadon State Historic Site for a fossil activity and hike to the Kimmswick Bone Bed. Brynne is a trooper and said that was fine if we did that, so we decided to make a real trip of it and spend the night in St. Louis that night. I let her pick where we went out to dinner and then choose our activities for the following day.

Brynne's real family. We adopted her.

The kids felt a little dorky at the fossil presentation at Mastadon because it was mostly for little kids. But it was an absolutely beautiful day, they participated, and we actually learned a couple of things.

We toured the exhibition building and learned about the Clovis people who were to have lived in that area during the time of the Mastadon. Inside the actual museum was a large Mastadon exhibit. We also learned about other prehistoric animals from that area, including the ground sloth. The sloth is my favorite animal, but this one stood about 14 feet to its shoulders when on all fours and then stood up on its hind legs to eat out of trees. Not so cute and cuddly.

We watched an excellent video and then hiked down to the Kimmswick Bone Bed where the Mastadon bones were found. It is a less-than-exciting site as it is closed off for future archaeological explorations. But, to know that dinosaur bones were found there made the hike through the woods a lot of fun.

This is an actual Mastadon tooth!

We checked into our hotel Tuesday evening and then immediately made our way to our favorite place to eat in St. Louis ... Fitz's. This restaurant has excellent pub style food and is home to the famous Fitz's Root Beer Float (or one of about 25 other float options). They bottle their own sodas there at the restaurant and sometimes you can witness the bottling while you eat. Think Laverne and Shirley. This visit we opted for the Smore's Float. Oh my goodness. It was a yummy way to end a special girl's birthday! The kids finished their night with a swim at the hotel.

On Wednesday morning we ate breakfast and then headed to the St. Louis Zoo, Brynne's pick of activity. It is also one of our favorite places to go in St. Louis. And it didn't disappoint. We always have such a great time there. The weather was, again, perfect for outside activities and we had a wonderful morning.

The kids had been talking about wanting to see a cave so we stopped at Graham's Cave State Park on the way home. We had learned about this cave in Missouri History so it was fun to see it. It was also a little underwhelming in that they had it gated off for future archaeological explorations. But, again, it was so cool to imagine Native Americans residing in that very cave. It was the first officially designated Missouri Historic Site.

I think Brynne had a great birthday. She received her first cell phone (because she is going back to school, will be traveling to events on school buses, etc.), a t-shirt that says "I'm Silently Correcting your Grammar", a couple of Friends sitcom t-shirts, and a vintage velvet couch that she will be putting in her Friends themed bedroom when our renovations are complete.

She can FINALLY play Pokemon Go!


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