Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet Me in [Lake] St. Louis!

Gosh, it feels like I haven't written a blog post for a zillion years.  And somewhere, in that zillion years, a bunch of my summer has already slipped away! Augh!  So I'll try to recap some of what we've been up to in the next few posts, but this one is reserved for the recap of our recent little get away to St. Louis.  Or more specifically, a little St. Louis suburb called, "Lake St. Louis".

You may remember this post that I wrote last year, detailing my college roomie and what an amazing person and mom she is.  And honestly folks, nothing has changed!  She's still just as amazing. And we had an amazing time visiting her and her (adorable) 3 kiddos.  Here's the recap:

C and I woke up, took our "good girl" to the vet (find that exciting story in yet another future blog post!) and then headed out of town.  C was an amazing little traveler and slept a bit as we made our way South.  Our hunger pains were setting in as we neared the tiny town of Donnelson, IA.  Mindy had informed me of this little gem of a town when we took our little road trip last year.    I'm kicking myself because I didn't take a picture of it last year, and made the same mistake this year.  I think I need a picture because stopping at this park is becoming a "tradition".  Anyway, we ate a healthy picnic Lunchables lunch (eww, I cannot believe I stooped to that level to feed my kid-- all for the sake of convenience.  And it was pretty awesomely convenient.) and then played on the playground equipment for quite awhile.  We had about a 2 1/2 hour trip left, so we loaded up and rolled into Mindy's house late that afternoon.  It worked out well because her girls (ages 6 and 4) were playing down the street when we arrived, so C had a moment to get his bearings, check out their toys, and ask for a snack.  Once the girls arrived at home, it was pure "GO" for the next three days.

Our plan was to go to the St. Louis Zoo and arrive within the first hour of opening (9:00am) when some of the attractions were free.  But, silly moms, we failed to check the opening time and missed it (8:00am).   All was well--we still petted the stingrays, rode the carousel, and rode on the train (the MOST exciting thing EVER for C!)

Checking out all the fish in the hippo aquarium. 
Probably C's favorite thing of the whole trip--the TRAIN RIDE
We thought we'd last about 90 minutes at the zoo, but our little troopers exceeded our expectations and we didn't waltz out the gates until close to 1:00.  (By that time, the moms in charge were getting hungry so things were suddenly more urgent than they were before) We had a picnic outside the zoo (a bird pooped on Min's foot---which all the kids thought was hilarious.  Since I am a kid at heart, I also thought it was freaking hilarious.) and we headed home.  I'm pretty sure we had not even reached the Interstate when all four kids were zonked.  Pretty darn cute (and quiet!) if you ask me.

Sleeping children; A beautiful sight.  
That afternoon, the kids played really well, we ate a yummy taco salad supper, went out for ice cream, and then played outside more.  
The whole gang out for ice cream!

Not to shabby for hitting off the tee for the first time. 

(Can you tell someone smudged ice cream on my phone?  
Sounds like I'm blaming it on C.... it was probably me though) 

I love Min's cultesac-- it's filled with friendly neighbors and tons of kids to play with  (and their toys!).  Of course, I also admitted that being the semi-bitchy and non-people person that I am after 5:00 pm, I'm sure if I lived with all these friendly people on my street, I'd be hiding in my back yard most days and nights.

We woke up and headed to the park for at least an hour of fun.  It's fun that the kids are at a pretty independent age (aside from Harry-- and kinda Charlie) so we can stand and visit and watch them.  (Not that there's anything wrong with babies who can't walk, it's just so much more awesome when they can walk and you don't have to hold them all the time!!)  After the park, we picked up some groceries (yes, with all 4 kids in tow--how do people with multiples do this!?  Are they just plain CRAZY!? ) and were definitely "those people" that you look at when you're shopping alone with the little sympathy smile where you're secretly telling yourself, "I'm so happy to be alone right now".  We toted our groceries home and then played on the giant waterslide in their backyard.  The afternoon was spent playing at home, playing outside, and C becoming more and more fatigued.

Making pancakes with Mindy--one of C's favorite things to do.

Bedtime snack of popcorn with M&M's.  Things are awesome on vacation. 
By Thursday morning, I think C was just completely worn out.  He was happy then sad.  He cried about everything.   My last straw was when he was sobbing over hurting his foot..... on a cracker crumb.  It drove me nuts bat shit crazy. I'm still a little embarrassed that Mindy's girls had to see me toss C in the corner five hundred times.  (But I think they've been in that corner before so it's okay.)  We headed out of town pretty early and stopped again at the little Donnelson park.  Our ride home was pretty uneventful and I'm still eagerly waiting for the day when DVD's hold my son's attention for more than twelve minutes.  (But hey, it was a nice 12 minutes!)  

It is always nice to be home, but we missed our hosts right away.  Having friends that you can hang out with for three days and never feel judged, never have to look right, and never run out of things to say is one of the best gifts in the world.  It's even better when your friend has kids the same age, has awesome toys, lives in an awesome neighborhood, and agrees to drive everywhere!  I wish the summer were a million times longer-- I would already be planning our next visit.  

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