Monday, July 14, 2014

A great weekend

We had a really great weekend, but it wore me out and thus, I didn't blog at all!  Saturday was just the day I needed; it was probably one of the best days I've had in a long time.  Nick absolutely loves trains and has since he was about a year and a half when he started watching Thomas the Tank Engine.  Whenever we visit the Zoo, we, of course, ride the train several times.  I noticed a few years ago that they have an Engineer for a Day program and the age requirements said "ages 7 - 97" so I planned to look into it when Nick got to be that age if he was still into trains.  He still loves trains just as much, if not more, so for the past year or so, he has been asking when he will be old enough to be the Engineer and drive the train.  So his big present for his 7th birthday was a date to be the Engineer for the day this past Saturday.

We went to the main train station at the Zoo at 9 a.m. and he was outfitted with his official Engineer hat, bandanna, and name tag.  We met several of the Engineers and got a special tour of the train shed, which I actually quite enjoyed.  Then, he got to take a few pictures with his train for the day (Engine #48) before he headed out for the morning.  We were able to ride with him or get off as needed, so Matt, Jack, and I rode in the front of the train for a few times around the Zoo and got to watch him collect tickets, count open seats, and sit up front and blow the whistle of the train.  He was a little bashful at first, but by the end of the morning, he was waving to all of the people at each of the railroad crossings in the Zoo.

Inspecting the trains in the train yard

Nick and his train for the day
After a few times around the Zoo, we got off the train and took Jack exploring for a bit while Nick continued to enjoy his day on the train.  We went to visit my favorite animal at the Zoo, the Red Panda, who was rather photogenic that day.  We also went to see the Sea Lions and tried to find Nick as the trains went by.  Jack was very anxious to see his brother and every time he would hear the train whistle, he would shout Bro? Bro?  He was very excited when Nick's train finally drove by us!

Around noon, Nick and his Engineer buddy, Ron, pulled up to the main station and Nick was treated to lunch with his new Engineer friend.  We were able to join them and it was nice to get to know Ron, who was formerly a police officer for the city of St. Louis.  

After lunch, Nick got to take one more trip around the Zoo and so we joined him on the train for his last hurrah.  He had a wonderful day and it was such a lovely day with the family!  I loved seeing the pure joy on his face while he was doing something he loved and I loved that Matt and I spent some quality, one on one time with Jack, too.  I also loved that all of the Engineers at the Zoo treated Nick like one of them; every time he pulled into the main station where the other Engineers were congregating, they would wave to him and say Hi Nick!  The Conductor on the train made sure to announce that Engineer Nick was conducting the safety stop before one of the stations; they really went out of their way to make him feel special.  The last sweet moment came at the end of his day, when the head Engineer presented him with a special certificate marking the occasion.  Such a great day! 

We finished off the day with some swimming at my Mom's house and needless to say, we all slept well that night!

Yesterday, we had a relaxing morning and then went to Mom's for more swimming!  Have I mentioned that we love swimming and summer?  I think we all would be content to spend all day at the pool, enjoying the warm weather and the sun.  

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too!  

"Family is not an important thing, it's everything."