Better Late Than Never

So even though Labor Day was last week, how about I share some pics from our long weekend with you? Yes? Okay. We decided to go to St. Louis for the holiday weekend as a kind of mini getaway before we have kids and it’s a lot more difficult to get away together. Much thanks to Stephen’s parents for watching Bailey while we were gone. Fortunately she is loved greatly by both my and Stephen’s parents, and if they love our dog, we have no doubt they’ll love our baby even more. 🙂

Stephen scored a pretty good deal on a hotel for us on Priceline, and we stayed at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch.

We could see the arch from our room!

We ended up having TWO rooms at the hotel due to some unfortunate circumstances I won’t get into here, but our second room was a junior suite and super nice, so it worked out okay.

Before we checked into our hotel, we stopped by the St. Louis Zoo. Even though it took over an HOUR just to get to a place where we could park our car, we enjoyed our time there. We saw a very cute sea lion show:

We attempted to take a picture of ourselves without cutting out some portion of one of our heads. As always, we were somewhat successful.

We also saw these Wild Somali A*ses (I promise that really is their name, but I’m throwing in the asterisk so as not to steer perverts here), who were posed so oddly that we couldn’t resist taking a picture.

Saturday night we walked down to the nearest MetroLink station and went to Union Station, which just so happens to house the hotel where we stayed on our last trip in May 2008. I was also delighted to find that the Hogwarts Express sign was still there, so of course I had to take a picture. Check out the difference between me now and me then!

Erin circa May 2008

Erin circa Sept. 2010 (and pregnant, too!)

Our hotel had a Starbucks in it, so Stephen had his first taste of Starbucks! Neither of us drinks coffee, but I used to frequent Starbucks quite a bit for the white chocolate mochas and the frappuccinos. Stephen had decided before our trip that it was time he sampled something, so he tried the vanilla latte and thought it was okay but not great. I got a decaf nonfat Java Chip Frappuccino, which is delicious and which I used to have FAR too often in grad school (and you better believe I got the full fat variety back then), but he didn’t love that either. We went back on Monday morning, and he thoroughly enjoyed his hot chocolate (no coffee in that, haha) while I had my white chocolate mocha. Yum!

Sunday was the big event of our trip–seeing a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium! But before that, we had to make a stop by THE St. Louis landmark-the Arch. Stephen is quite dwarfed by it in this picture.

After some sightseeing in the wonderfully cool, breezy air, it was off to the Stadium, which was also within walking distance. I had been to the old stadium once before many years ago but didn’t care a lick about baseball at that time. I still don’t care a ton about baseball, but I love the way my husband loves the Cardinals, and I was excited to experience a live game with him. Plus, ballparks have great food! 🙂 We had seats behind third base, and we had a really good view of the whole field!

Fortunately for us, the Cardinals actually managed to win a game, which is a rarity these days. It was a really fun game, and I’m so glad we got to go.

For our last outing, we took the MetroLink once again out to the Delmar Loop area and had dinner at Pi Pizzeria. We ordered the thin crust with pepperoni and extra fresh mozzarella, and it was very different from other pizzas I’ve had but completely delicious. (Sorry, I didn’t take a picture!)

Monday we stopped by Stephen’s parents for a quick visit and lunch at Subway, and after a very brief visit with Stephen’s grandma, it was back to Jackson for us. It was a very quick trip, but I’m glad we were able to get away and spend some time together.

Now, I must know: what is the best trip you’ve ever been on?

Weekend Recap

I don’t normally write weekend recaps because honestly, writing about the shows I watched on HGTV and Food Network and the workouts I did does not seem like the most exciting recap, but this weekend was different. Stephen and I decided to make an impromptu trip to southern Illinois to visit his parents, and so after he got off work, we left on Thursday around 6:30 p.m. We made it to his parents’ house by 11 p.m., and after visiting for a bit, went to bed. The next day we made a trip to the local recreation center, where Stephen and I swam, Stephen’s mom walked 3 miles (how awesome is she??), and Stephen’s dad read. I tried to stay moving the entire time we were in the pool, and I even did some pull-ups using the handles of the ladder that gets one in and out of the pool. After about an hour, we both felt like we’d gotten a good workout. This visit to the rec center in Illinois was much better than the last time when my knee was all messed up. I am so glad to have that pain behind me!

The best day was on Saturday. I got in a good 30 minutes of running and then we drove about an hour away to visit Stephen’s grandmother. We had lunch with her and his aunt and uncle and his uncle’s dad at Golden Corral. Yes, it’s a buffet, and yes I ate too much, but it was tasty (it’s a really good thing we don’t have one near us)! And I tried a new way of eating a cupcake that I’d seen on the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. This one chef talked about how she liked to take off the bottoms of cupcakes and put them on the top, so the frosting is in the middle, like a sandwich. I tried this method, and I’m definitely a fan.

After lunch, we got to go out on a boat! Stephen’s aunt and uncle were kind enough to take us out on their boat, so we spent a several hours cruising around the lake. We took our dog Bailey with us, and while she had an accidental encounter in the water, overall I think she really enjoyed the experience, as did we. Witness the photographic proof:

It was such a fun day! I’ve only been on a boat a few times in my life, and that was a long time ago, so I loved every minute we spent on the water. The day ended with a trip to Dairy Queen and some time relaxing at Stephen’s parents’ house.

Sunday we had to leave bright and early so Stephen could get back in time to work that afternoon. It was a quick trip, but a great one. I’m thankful to have married into such a welcoming family!

How was your weekend?

Friday Five: Dream Vacations

Places I would love to visit at least once in my lifetime. Choosing only five was quite the challenge.

1. Italy. Ideally, I’d go on a month-long tour of the whole country, but as my millions haven’t started rolling in yet, I would settle for going to Rome and Venice. And Florence. And Milan. 🙂

2. New York City. Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, all kinds of shops with clothes I can’t afford. What more could I want? It would be especially amazing to go during Christmas season.

3. Prince Edward Island. I blame my desire to visit this little country on Anne of Green Gables. Plus, it’s gorgeous.

4. Queensland, Australia. I have wanted to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef for years. I hope it happens someday.

5. Chiang Mai and Phuket, Thailand. I loved Thailand when I visited Bangkok six years ago, and I think it would be fun to see northern Thailand and also one of the islands.

Honorable mentions:
Hawaii, Paris, San Diego, and London.

What are your dream destinations?

Back Home

I’m home. I have to say, I’m rather glad to be out of the car for a while. The trip was fun (a LOT of fun, actually), but it was getting old toward the end, probably because the last two days of the trip (yesterday and this morning, actually) were really boring. Not a lot to see in Oklahoma and Arkansas, plus none of the landscapes are as pretty as what we saw in California and Oregon. I really want to go back and spend some real time in Oregon because I just couldn’t get over how beautiful and serene and poetic and mystical it is.

As soon as I upload my 160 pictures and select the best ones, I’ll share them with you all. It will be hard to pick my favorites, though. So much beautiful scenery was captured.

A little overview of the trip:
10 states visited(WA, OR, CA, NV, AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR, TN)
3000 miles driven (more or less)
$300 of gas purchased (Emily’s car gets amazing mileage, and we ended up only spending half of that total because people gave her gift cards. Hooray for generosity!)
2 books read (DaVinci Code and Dive From Clausen’s Pier)
800 songs listened to (It was probably more than that, but I’m just giving a rough estimate.)
$16 gambled (of which $1 was out of pocket)
1 movie seen (The Lake House, which I loved and which caused me to cry like a baby)
5 hotels slept in (McBee Cottage in Cannon Beach, OR; guest housing at Golden Gate Seminary; The Luxor in Vegas; the LaQuinta in Albuquerque; the Motel 6 in Ft. Smith, AR)
lots of fast food consumed (I’ve definitely had enough of that for a looooong time)

Basically, it was great! The only thing that would have made it better was getting to spend more time in each place, since we hardly got to see anything in San Francisco or Albuquerque. I definitely recommend a road trip like this, and take lots of time so you can stop and enjoy everything. I hope to make a trip along the Eastern coast next. That would be fabulous!