Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Great American Road Trip Part III:
St. Louis, MO

 A little "Daddy-daughter" time

 My sweet little gal

 Aiden showing his Army guy the view from atop the Arch.

 Even Aubrey enjoyed sitting on the ledge and looking out the windows.

 Aiden giving me attitude. Typical...

 The Arch, as seen from on the river boat.

 Such a handsome, silly little boy.

 Daddy's favorite pair.

Our St. Louis adventure started off well enough. We woke up bright and early and enjoyed a yummy breakfast, compliments of our hotel, then headed off to the Arch for our 8:20 tram ride to the top. The entire ride over, Aiden kept telling us that he wasn't going to ride, he was too scared. But after some coaxing and dragging him into the line, he finally relented and agreed to go.

The trams that you ride to the top of the arch are tiny little round bubbles that hold 5 people seated in a semi-circle, knee-to-knee.  Just a tip: when riding the arch, make sure you wear deodorant and pop a breath mint out of respect for your fellow passengers--we're talking close quarters!  The ride to the top is about 4 or 5 minutes long, with lots of jerks and bumps as the car rocks and re-levels itself as it ascends to the top.  Our family rode up with a young couple who were visiting, and Aiden latched on to the young woman, flirting with her all the way to the top and seeking out comfort from her.

Once you arrive up top, the view is amazing!  There are tiny windows that you can lay out and peer through, offering a spectacular view of the city.  Aiden enjoyed looking out over the Cardinals' stadium and watching the tiny cars go by below us.  Aubrey was oblivious to the view, but she enjoyed running through the center of the arch and trying to kill herself on the rounded floor.

We stayed for about 5 minutes, then headed back down to ground level.  We had some time to kill before our riverboat cruise, so we decided to go back through the Museum of Westward Expansion. Aiden loved the animatronic people that spoke about the relations between Native Americans and the American government. Aubrey enjoyed pushing her stroller and generally wreaking havoc everywhere we went.

At 10:30, we went for our riverboat cruise. When I booked the cruise, I envisioned a pleasant time, Aiden watching the barges and big cranes and Brad and I enjoying the sights. HA! What I got was an hour of screaming by Aubrey and whining by Aiden--two very tired, cranky kids on a riverboat is a recipe for disaster! After surviving (barely) the cruise, we piled into the van and decided to forgo the nice lunch we had planned in favor of a quick burger and fries on the road--there was no way we were going to survive a meal with the two cranky beasts! Onward to Campbellsville, KY, to visit our dear friends, the Foxes!

Our drive to Campbellsville was fairly uneventful. Aiden and Aubrey slept quite a bit of the trip. We stopped along the road for peach milkshakes and some play time at Chick-fil-a. Aiden positively lit up when we crossed the Kentucky state line--he couldn't wait to see Stella. Aubrey started screaming somewhere along the way and after handing her every toy in the van, I finally pulled out my secret weapon--the bag of lollipops. I handed her an orange one, and within about 5 minutes, she was covered with orange sticky goo.  The child looked as if she had been given a really bad spray tan, she was so orange. I even caught her eating the lollipop using her toes--it was hilarious. And although it took giving her a bath in the sink at a restaurant, it was worth it for the hour and a half of blissful silence it bought Brad and I.

We arrived in Campbellsville just after dinner, and Aiden and Stella were ecstatic to see one another. They have been apart since November, when we all visited Disney World together, but they picked up right where they left off. Those two gave each other huge hugs, then set off playing and chasing one another and having a blast. And Brad and I were so happy to see Emily and Jason. We spent the next few hours catching up, reveling in the opportunity to visit with our wonderful friends. Then we headed to bed, ready to begin our week of fun with at the Fox Den!

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Check out A Belly in Bloom, a page devoted to Angela's pregnancy with Aubrey. You can see belly pics, sonograms, and learn more about how Aubrey (formerly known as "The Bean") came to be the lovely little girl she is! You can also find Angela's favorite recipes and newest food experiments at Cooking with the Parker Pack.