Friday, August 15, 2014

Eldredge Family Vacay (Part 1)

You may have noticed the crickets that have taken over my blog for the past week. Sorry for the lack of notice, but I didn't want anyone breaking into our house while we were gone and stealing the few nice things that we have accrued. I joke. I love our home. And I'd like to keep our belongings (as well as my peace of mind) intact for as long as possible. We have enough bad luck without advertising our absences to the masses.

Yes, you read that right. Our little family of three was finally able to get away for a few days and enjoy a much-needed break from the real world. For those of you who may not know, my husband was born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho. And, with the sole exception of his brother who lives in Tennessee, the majority of his family still resides there. So we were over-the-moon excited when his oldest sister and nephew began planning a trip to the Midwest this past spring. Our plan was to pick them up at the airport in St. Louis, spend a few days toiling around the city, then head south to spend the remainder of the week with their brother and his family just outside of Nashville. Tickets were booked, bags were packed, and we were all so excited to see each other again!

Last Thursday morning brought a leisurely start at our house. Mindy and Will weren't scheduled to land until early afternoon, so we didn't see the need to hurry. We arrived it St. Louis shortly after noon in eager anticipation of their arrival. A quick feeding and a few stroller rides up and down the baggage claim terminal, and our long-lost relatives had arrived! My husband scored suite tickets to the Cardinals/Red Sox baseball game that evening, so we were off to the hotel to settle in and hopefully get in a quick nap for the babe. We checked in, unpacked, and quickly realized that the last thing Tay wanted to do was nap, so we decided to get ready and head to the stadium early. As luck would have it, a torrential downpour came just as we were leaving the hotel. Even though we were only a mile from the stadium, we knew better than to chance our luck. I was not about to walk into the suite drenched with a screaming baby. So, we broke out the umbrellas, strapped the tot into the Baby Bjorn, and lugged the stroller on the trolley.

Not long after we arrived at the stadium, the rain let up and the game was able to commence. The excitement that accompanies attending a major league baseball game flooded us all (pun intended), and we ended up having a great time. Unfortunately, due to an hour rain delay, we were only able to stay until the bottom of the 4th inning, but we were able to make a quick trip to Build-A-Bear before heading back to the hotel. Will opted for a camouflage bear while Taylor chose the traditional stadium bear (we needed to commemorate her first trip to Busch Stadium somehow). Let me tell you, girlfriend was SO excited for this bear! She laughed and gave it kisses the entire time we were in the store. I would've paid three times the price just to witness her reaction alone. It was pretty clear that she was in need of this vacation just as much as we were.

After a sleepless night (let's just say that cramming 3 adults, one child, and a baby into one tiny hotel room was not the best idea), we headed out Friday morning in search of coffee and the zoo. For those of you that have never been, the St. Louis Zoo is free and - in my opinion - one of the best in the country. Due to the mild weather, all of the animals were out and about which made it the perfect day! We managed to catch the end of the sea lion show, saw two turtles mating (and had my nephew ask why the big one was climbing on top of the little one), and watched an ape regurgitate his food and then eat it...three times. Never a dull moment!

And, of course, we had to squeeze in a ride on the carousel.

That evening, we had planned to meet up with some friends for dinner. Upon leaving the hotel, we decided we had had enough walking for one day, so Jake was off to hail a cab. Instead, we somehow ended up in a limo (which just happened to be unoccupied and sitting outside of our hotel). Tay was completely overwhelmed facing forward in a car for the first time. Her reaction was priceless (too bad we didn't get a better photo)! Now, I know some of you will probably scowl at me for this, but I sat her on my lap, buckled us both in, and we only went a few blocks in slow-moving traffic. Had we thought she were in any real danger, there's no way we would've done it.

Dinner with these kids at Baileys' Range was phenomenal. Although it had been a long day and Tay was completely worn out, she still did pretty well with the hour-long wait and crowded restaurant. If you're in the downtown St. Louis area, I highly recommend this place. It's kid-friendly and the burgers are amazing!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. Night #2 was definitely smoother than the first, but it still contained little sleep for most of us. Regardless, we were Nashville bound the next morning, and the excitement (and ample amounts of caffeine) was enough to keep us going.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our vacation - Tennessee style!