Saturday, September 3, 2011

Field Trip, Allowance Rules, and a Duck

When I was a kid, it became somewhat of a tradition in our family to take our out-of-state guests down to St. Augustine to see the sights.  The fort, the Fountain of Youth, the Cathedral Basilica... these were frequent sight-seeing destinations for our family.  My mom also just loved going down there by ourselves, so you can imagine how well we got to know the city.  Eventually, us kids would sigh heavily at yet another trip.  However, the idea of taking visitors there was so thoroughly ingrained that I find myself doing the same thing whenever we have guests.  So, with Matt's brother in town, down to St. Augustine we went!

We mainly just strolled up and down St. George Street, ate lunch, and ducked inside the Cathedral.  I had to chuckle over this sign affixed to the side of the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse.  With the way the university system is heading, I thought it was quite apropos.

As the temperature rose, we abandoned the street and headed over to the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of la Leche.  This is the spot where the first Mass was celebrated way back in 1565.  The grounds are beautiful with huge live oaks shading the area and a wide view of the bay.


The pond above and to the right is salt-water and connects to the bay.  As we entered the grounds, we saw this egret stalking small fish in the tall grasses along the bank.

Here, Henry is standing on a platform underneath a campanile.  There's a real bell in it, but it's no longer rung.  Instead, there are speakers that play different chimes.  He was trying to figure out how the bell was ringing without moving.

There are many birds and squirrels on the grounds.  We heard this woodpecker pounding away and spotted it easily with it's bright-red head.  This is the second pileated woodpecker we've seen.  The other was in the backyard a few months ago.

This is the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.  It's a beautiful little building.  The sign next to it says:
The present chapel is the fourth building on this foundation.  Erected first by 1615, this shrine of Our Lady fell victim three times - to war, pirates, and storms.  The last reconstruction began in 1918.
The devotion to Our Lady of La Leche honors the divine motherhood of Mary.  The Spanish designation is Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery).
This devotion to Mary as patroness of mothers and mothers-to-be was brought to Nombre de Dios from Spain in 1603.

All in all, it was a nice trip.  Henry got a small lesson on the rules of his allowance on the way there.  When he turned four, we began giving him an allowance.  He gets a dollar per week automatically, plus he can earn an additional dollar per week by doing chores like straightening his bed, helping with the dusting, vacuuming the couch cushions, and emptying the wastebaskets in the bathrooms.  We keep track of his chores with First Kid Bank.  It's been working really well and he had a little saved up in his spending jar that he decided to bring with him (he's got a saving jar and a giving jar, too).

On the way down, Henry spotted a McDonald's and wanted us to stop there for lunch.  When we told him no, he cheerfully said, "I'll buy it myself with my own money!"  Matt advised him that even though he had his own money, Mom and Dad still get final say over his purchases.  He then used the following not-quite-age-appropriate example of "we're not going to let you buy $4 worth of crack just because you've got your own money, son."  To which Henry replied brightly, "We're not going to the crack store, Daddy!"


Ultimately, he only spent 25 cents on our trip.  And it was not on illegal drugs.  He bought a gumball and was very happy.

And he drew this duck:


  1. The grounds of the Shrine is one of my favorite things about living in NE Florida! I love it there! I used to take my kids there at least once a month when they were smaller. Now, I'm lucky if I get there once or twice a year! I think we need a field trip soon!

  2. We'll be heading there more frequently as the weather improves. I was pretty bummed that we got there too late to check out the new museum. Next time!