Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet Me in St. Louie

Sidenote #1:  On the way home from our trip, I wrote this post from my phone, uploaded it and when I went to look at it...it didn't exist.  Talk about a wasted hour and a sad blogger.  It took me a few days to get out of the tragic blog funk but now I'm ready to write it again.

Sidenote #2:  This is a lengthy post, for a couple of reasons but mainly because as my friends are having their blogs made into books, I am truly realizing this is the best way to document all of our pictures with the stories to go with them.  I will not be offended if you don't have the strength to read all the way through.

Here we go!

Andrew is a really hard worker and spends lots of extra time in his office.  He rarely takes anytime off so when he mentioned he might take the Thursday and Friday off after 4th of July I jumped at the chance to get out of town with my boys.  We would have been fine with a staycation but there is so much to do around the house I knew we would end up just working around the house so I quickly enticed Andrew with the idea of taking Miller to his first MLB game and vegging out with some room service. He took the bait and I booked the trip.

We got on the road Friday and headed north.  I had never been to St. Louis, Andrew had only been for work, so we were excited. And can I get a little amen for the ISnugg that holds our IPad and entertains my anti-roadtrip child!

 I envisioned when we arrived we would check in then stroll around downtown and eat at a cute little restaurant...

Problem #1:  I forgot to pack the stroller...I can't even talk about it.

Problem #2: Our room, as well as over half of the rooms at the hotel, were not ready.  If you ever want to see anything like a real riot, watch 75 Cardinals fans being told they don't have a room 5 minutes before game time...I was afraid someone was going to get eaten.

We were three hours past check-in time and had no room, a hungry child who had been in the car 5 hours, no stroller and two sad parents.

 We were ushered upstairs to the hotel "restaurant".  I put this in parenthesis because it can't really be considered a restaurant when there is one waitress, one chef and decor from 1984.  When we ordered I asked the waitress if we could have some crackers, she brought us ONE cracker.  Have you ever just seen ONE cracker?!  While we waited for our food, Andrew went back down to check on our room and I listened to other tables talk about the hotel... "we don't even have a shower curtain", "our air conditioning doesn't work and our room smells terrible", "we have been waiting 4 hours and they lost our luggage".  As I listened to this and watched from the window, cute little families having a great time walking around downtown, I could feel our perfect little mini vaca going to hell in a handbasket.

The room still wasn't ready, the food was sub-par and Miller had had enough. Miller screaming bloody murder in the lobby while me on the verge of a meltdown was probably what finally got us in a room, thank you sweet boy!

That was the worst of it...because 15 minutes later we sat on the hotel patio and watched this:

It just doesn't get more American than watching fireworks at the Gateway Arch while Third Eye Blind plays live.  What a blessing it is to be a part of this country!  The rest of the mini vaca was absolutely perfect!

Oh, I forgot!  When we finally had gotten a room, Andrew went to go find our bags and while he did that, Miller and I hung a birthday banner for him as it was his birthday weekend (thanks for helping me make it Brooke)!

After the fireworks, we took Miller back to the room and taught him that hotel beds are made for jumping!  We realized that this really was our first little vaca as a family, just us, no other family or friends.  Miller jumped and played way way past his bedtime and we were very grateful for that as he slept in the next morning.  Again, thank you sweet boy!

The next morning we lazily got up and ordered room service. Miller got a kick out of sitting on the coffee table while he ate.

He didn't so much love the furniture... no no, that chair just isn't right...

We wanted to take him to the children's museum and par for the course with the hotel... when we asked for directions...they sent us to the wrong museum.  Ha!  It ended up being a really awesome mistake though, because although Miller was too young to enjoy most of it, Andrew and I both decided it was the coolest place we had ever been.  If you are ever in St. Louis, City Museum is a must!!! I would be terrified to dive into the brain of the creator of this place, but he/she is the definition of creative.  There were mazes, caves, tunnels, 20 story slides, an aquarium, a bus hanging off the roof, planes, cars, etc.  It is wild and kids and adults are climbing everywhere.  We will definitely go back when M is bigger but he still had a great time.  I even ventured onto some of the crazy slides, underwater tunnels, etc. with Miller because one of my goals is to become a brave boy mom.  If you know me, you know I am crazy cautious and a huge worrier so I would say I'm taking baby steps but at least I am taking them:)

 On the roof, I think at this point, the temp had hit a record high of 105.  Don't we look sweaty, disgusting lovely!
 Part of the interior, none of my pictures can do it justice.

 I will always be kissing on this sweet boy!!
Chilling inside the underwater tunnel with Daddy
 Crawling down to me.
 This was one of my brave boy mom moves... in the underwater tunnel with sharks and enormous turtles swimming around us.
 More of the interior
 Heading into one of the mazes
 You can see the school bus on top...I will never be brave enough to climb in that!
 This is all part of the outdoor maze, including the plane!
He had a blast!
 Crazy slide!

Schafly Bottlework was a recommended brewery we hit up for lunch.  Andrew is obsessed with brewing lately so this was perfect for him!  Great food and even better beer!

Have I ever said how much I love this kid?!

We went back to our hotel and got ready for the baseball game.  The Cards beat the Marlins and I have to say there is something magical about watching a father take his son to his first MLB game.  It's something I will never forget.  I know Miller has many more baseball games with his daddy to look forward too.

Oh that foot...so funny, just making himself at home.

As we walked back to our hotel, Miller started pointing up to the sky and we realized we were walking under this

The flag was bigger than the Landers flag and was being held up by two firetrucks and their ladders.  So beautiful!

When we got back to our room we put on our swimsuits and went to the roof to take a swim in the "amazingly beautiful rooftop pool overlooking downtown St. Louis and the Arch", I even saw the "amazing beautiful rooftop pool" on the hotel website and it looked like it would put any boutique hotel to shame.  The only thing it put to shame were the 60 people in the pool that had to be touching each other because it was so small.  Not only was it small but it looked like they had bought it at the Dollar General and put it in a hole on the roof then put Brady Bunch backyard grass around it (you know that grass I am talking about, kind of like astroturf).  Andrew and I were so horrified by the sight and the lack of standards of all the people in it that we quickly went back to our room, called Priceline, got a refund on part of our total fee and then continued to jump and dance on the bed with M.

The next morning Miller and I sang Happy Birthday to my super adorable, fabulously wonderful 31 year old husband.  We celebrated with brunch cocktails at Roosters and had a delicious meal before we headed home. (I do need to give credit to the hotel for the good advice on brunch, they almost redeemed themselves...almost).  Andrew and I have still had cravings for Roosters!  Hands down the best brunch ever!!

 My birthday boy!
This little guy ate everything on his plate and a little bit on Mommy and Daddy's!

We had a wonderful mini-vaca and it was so nice to have Andrew away from the office for a little while.  I selfishly wanted to keep him for a few more days:)  We can't wait to go back and see more of the sights.  However, we will be looking for a different hotel... people, if you are ever in St. Louis, avoid the Crowne Plaza Downtown... although Miller will tell you the escalators there are awesome!

 Can you tell Andrew is enthused?!  This might have been the 6th time they rode the escalator while waiting on the valet.
Lesson of the mini vaca:  Don't take a kid away from his escalator!

Thanks for a great trip St. Louie!  Catch you on the flip side!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Lovin'

I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that I had more energy to blog during the school year than I have had this summer.  When I say I am trying to enjoy every moment with Miller, I mean it (that also includes his nap time when I scramble to run around the house and take care of laundry, organizing, etc.)!! I have never slept better in my entire life!!

It's been so nice staying on top of laundry, grocery shopping and just hugging on my little man all day that I told Andrew he may have to drag me back to work in August.  He said we may have to have someone else do it because he has enjoyed it just as much.  So as of now, I have Elizabeth scheduled to pick me up on August 14th, ha!! As much as I love it though, I'm sure I will be excited to get my next batch of Bulldogs when summer is over!

 I am convinced I am going to live this summer to the fullest and so far so good.  M and I have spent lots of time at the pool with friends, swim lessons, meeting new buddies, eating popsicles, going to the Splash Park, etc. 
 Always fun when Daddy gets to join us!
 First day at the pool this summer.  He HATED the water...summer could have been a bust, I was envisioning a very dull, water free summer and it just made me sad, but luckily he has become a little fish!!
 My friend Candice became a momma!! Bryson is absolutely adorable! We are so happy for her and Denny and I am always anxious to get my hands on him!
 Welcome to the world sweet Bryson!

 Loving life at Nonnie and Grumpy's house!
 My friend Lauren, aka the badass pregnant workout buddy from this winter and spring, welcomed her second little one into the world.  Spencer Kate looks just like her brother.  They are a beautiful family of four!
 SK's big brother, Lawson, invited us to celebrate his new title at a Big Bro party at Chuck E. Cheese.  I truly love that place, embarrassing but true!
 Have I only said a million times how much I love living in Fayetteville?!  The Gulley Park Concert series has been a great reason to get together with friends and let all the babies loose i.e. Knox and Miller in the beer cooler.
 We can never have too many wagon wheel rides!
 If you are what you eat...
 Jumping in with Gammie
 We've been taking swim lessons with our bestie Bennett.  This is my favorite picture from the week.  They look like they have just partaken in the Olympic Trials (speaking of...CANNOT WAIT!).
More besties at the Splash Park.  Lawrence Plaza is hands down one of my fav summer locations and its a perfect place to meet Andrew for lunch!

I am going to try to do some catch up posts soon (three month belated birthday, Summer Academy (as Michelle has appropriately named our summer outings), C25K craze and other exciting subjects(may only be exciting in my world))

Sidenote: MILLER IS WALKING!!! Will try to post about that too!