Looking for a weekend out of Chicago (of course I love my city, but that doesn’t mean every once in awhile it’s nice to get out of it for a bit) and for some concentrated family time, we decided to head to Saint Louis for Labor Day Weekend.
Oh…didn’t the remnants of hurricane Issac come through there around Labor Day weekend you ask. Why yes, yes it did. We went back and forth, should we go shouldn’t we go, should we go, shouldn’t we go. We finally decided that we would make it a family adventure and go anyways. We were still hemming and hawing at a diner about 90 minutes from Chicago as we were worried about driving through the bad weather with the children in the back. But back and forth we went again and still decided to plow forward.
We hit some pretty bad weather patches along I-55. But eventually we came out the other end and made it to Saint Louis at 11:30 on Friday night. Well all went to bed, Lucy in her own very big bed in the hotel room, The Calvin Kid in the pack and play between us (as per Lucy’s request) and we were out. We got up fairly early (for having gone to bed so late), got the free hot breakfast in the hotel and made a plan for the day.
We decided that the weather was looking OK for the morning so we decided to head to the zoo. Lucy wanted to see the monkeys (as always), but they came pretty close to her and she decided that she in fact did not want to see them.
On to the merry-go-round.
Had to make a seating change (while the ride was in motion! shame shame.) from the moving animal to the bench as she didn’t quite like the up and down of the animals. She found the bench going round and round fun enough and requested that we go again. As the zoo was empty the ride operator didn’t mind. I thought she might like to ride the animal on the second go around, but no dice. She sat on it for a bit and then said, no, no thank you.
From the merry go round it was on to some penguins, butterflies and then some ice cream and a Rocky feeding. And a huge huge cloud came and dumped all over us, requiring us to RUN into the gift shop. My brilliant daughter picked out the 4 dollar chomping monkey instead of some super over priced stuffed animal. Nice choosing Lucille!
From the zoo we walked over the Art museum which was only like two blocks away. Forest park, where both the zoo and the art museum were located, was a great stop. If the weather was nicer it would have been nice to walk around a bit more. Free parking on the street and free zoo and free art museum made a nice cheap outing.
Lucy was starting to get a little antsy and so we left after some quick looks at art. On to lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (I know I know. But it was right next to our hotel). Outside the restaurant was a koi pond where you could buy fish food and feed them. I thought it was really creepy what with all the fish rolling over themselves. Lucy on the other hand found it quite delightful.
From lunch it was back to the room for much needed naps. Then a swim in the pool and free drinks in the lobby. Then back to the room for pizza and as luck would have it, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was on. When I said, “Oh this is the one with the wookies” Jason looked at me in a judging manner and said, “Ewoks Leah. Ewoks” I said, “Well, they are just like little wookies,” (joking of course, I know the difference between a wookie and an ewok). At which point Jason’s head exploded as he said, “THEY AREN’T EVEN RELATED.” He claims to have raised his voice for comedic effect. I’m not sure that’s true.
Lucy fell asleep in our bed (she has never done this) and we found it pretty damn cute. She kept saying, “Um I don’t have any room. Can you move please.” But eventually she fell asleep, Rock was asleep and I was looking forward to a nice sleep in the hotel room with more St. Louis Adventures to follow the next days.
Lucy was a little bit sick and passed that loveliness onto her brother. Who hasn’t been sick yet. Who couldn’t breath AND suck on the pacifier. And so there was screaming. And snotting. And sadness.
I fed him around 10:30. Then again at 2 because I didn’t know what else to do. I nursed in bed on my side (never had gotten that to work, glad I thought of it!), and he and I fell asleep. But he would shuffle and snuffle and cry All. Night. Long.
In the morning, through blearly tired eyes Jason and I decided another night like that was not a good idea (there is just no where to escape to with a screaming child…at home at least one of us could have gotten some sleep while the other one dealt with baby downstairs) and decided to go home a day early. We were able to cancel our room for that night. So we had some fun in our hotel room doing puzzles, jumping on the bed, putting underwear on our heads…you know the usual, before going to the children’s museum. A friend of mine gave us her pass so we got in free which was nice. The place was a mad house but Lucy had a great time, especially in the sand table. We weighed Calvin on a scale they had there…holy crap 18lbs! Lucy weighed 20 at a year. Love that chunky baby!
The ride home was uneventful for the most part. Then when we got home, high drama.
We walked in our back door, noted that the freezer had been left open a crack (because someone (me) had to have ice in her water bottle). Realizing that my entire stash of frozen breast milk was ruined sent me into an adult temper tantrum, which in turn sent Lucille into a crying rage (as she was freaked out by mom having a breakdown), and Calvin started in just so he didn’t get left out. When I finally calmed down enough to make a plan, “Ok the frozen stuff is ruined, but I still have three bottles in the fridge to use when I go to work and I could slowly build the stash back up,” I realized that the freezer being open, turned the fridge off and the fridge was at 65 degrees. Meaning every ounce of breast milk had to be tossed. I was unhappy to say the least. Add in to that that I hadn’t slept at all the night before, I had about 5 emails from my boss asking questions about things I didn’t know how to answer and two children tired and ready for bed and mom was All. Done.
We put the kids to bed. Watched some bad TV and went to bed.
Before we had kids, Jason and I loved to travel. We went all over the place and I don’t want to lose that part of myself because we have kids. Obviously it’s harder, and the trips won’t be exactly how you plan them. But I want them to get into the mode of going on trips with mom and dad so that as they get older travel is just a thing that we do as a family. I want them to want to see new places and experience new things. Yes, for now we aren’t taking them to Rome or Paris. But to Lucy, jumping on a hotel bed might as well have been the Eiffel Tower.
Highly recommend Saint Louis as a nice weekend trip from Chicago. The Drury Inn we stayed in was great. Free drinks, dinner, parking and wifi.
Here are some pictures from our trip, starting with Calvin looking worried as usual, wondering what mom and dad were thinking driving 6 hours just to hang out in a rainy city. Or maybe he’s thinking, you dumbasses aren’t even remotely ready for what I’m bringing you tonight.
Lucy, very much loved the butterfly exhibit. Although was getting a little sleepy by this point in the day.
If she could just sit in a big pile of rocks, she would think that she’s gone to some kind of heaven. I mean, rocks for her are everything ranging from pizza to now yogurt (chocolate yogurt at that) to lines to counting to you name it. On our stoop at home, she makes us all little cups full of rocks that are some kind of food event. With sticks as spoons.
Morning after a night with no sleep. Coffee. More of it.
We wrap up Calvin when he sleeps at night, and Lucy likes to do the same with her baby. She also likes to feed the baby. When you ask her what her baby eats she says, “Lucy’s milk” (Calvin eats Mommy’s milk).
Note the baby is on the other bed. When she started her jumping shenanigans he was on the bed with her which we decided might not have been the best idea.