Sunday, July 5, 2009

Home SWeeT Home!

Monday, June 29
Our last day. How did the month go so fast. For me it literally feels like I was making my lists and checking them and packing and running to Meijers 10 times a day making sure we had every last thing we might possibly need like there isnt another store in the country. Which there is not another store in the country, that we found anyway, that compares with Meijers. Maybe its just the familiar, who knows. But it is clean, reasonably priced and you can find EVERYTHING there. Okay enough about Meijers.
We got up, and left our last comfy hotel room. The kids wanted to go up in the St Louis Arch, and Cece needed to get her passport book (for national monuments and parks) stamped. So we headed down that way, but because there is another home baseball series in town the downtown was busy and lots of people were also wanting to ride to the top of St Loiy! And there were no parking spots to be had. After we paid $4 for a parking spot in a full lot, Ken was getting edgy. So Ken sent us in and he was going to find a parking spot. I really knowing all along he was ditching us to read the paper. Gotta love him:D! So he found a nice shady spot to read the paper, and I headed into the maximum security under ground with our kiddos. We had to wait 1 hour to get our pod ride to the top. We were psyched. They asked several times along the path before actually getting into the "elevator". "Are you claustrophobic" I was like jeese, its just an elevator. Well no its a tight little pod thing that is completely closed in and you sit in a circle with your knees all touching. Then you get out into a triangle shaped room about 25 feet long with oh 100 other people. Uh yeah if you didn't know you where claustrophobic you would find out reeeeeeeeeal fast on that trip. The views where amazing, however. The kids loved it and said it was worth the wait. Noah decided that you could actually jump off the top of the arch into the river like the character did in the book he is reading, but we decided that you most likely would die. After 10 minutes of pictures and peeking out tiny windows and trying to spot Daddy from the top of the Arch we headed down, our last hurrah, the last big sight of our trip. My hear sank a bit. It was all so much fun, every bit of it, the good and the bad. Family time is the Berries, the longer you hang together the sweeter it gets!
We had to split up to get down or wait 10 more minutes, so we split up. Luke, Ainslie and I went with strangers and Noah and Cece went together with strangers. I got off first and watched nervously for my kids to find me, like someone is going to abduct them from the pod of the St Lois arch, crazy tired mom thoughts, anyway here comes Cece with crumbs all over her face and a big smile. "I got a snack from a lady" she says. "The mom lady says that when shes bored or nervous she eats so she pulled out a bag of mini cookies and asked me if I wanted one" she continues. I look at Noah, he shrugs. I'm like you let your little sister eat food from a complete stranger coming down on the pod??? And of course he said no, cause you know you should never take food from a complete stranger on a pod! Right?! Oh we got a good laugh off that one anyway. Cece always bags a snack somehow, I cant believe she didn't ask her for a drink and then a piece of gum. To be 6 again.
So once we are out from under the ground we call our chauffeur who has been waiting patiently for us. Off we go to find lunch. The funny thing is we eat lunch at a Cracker Barrel the same place we started our culinary adventure. At the beginning we made bets on how many times we would eat at the "Crack" Someone said eleven, but now I cant find my note I made with all our guesses. I said 4, so I won. Thankfully. From there it was put the pedal to the metal. We stopped once to go potty and get a caffeine/treat fix at Mc'y D's.
10pm we pulled in the drive way. Stacy our house sitter greeted us,as did our much missed hairball Jack. I am not sure who was more excited us or him. Lots of barking and squeals.
Home sweet home.........

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Six Flags/Hurricane Harbor St Louis

Sunday June 28
Wooo Hoo Six Flags! The kids were sooo excited. We arrived at Tweety 11 and parked. Why I remember our parking spot I am not sure. Maybe cause we used to call my sister tweety and Ainslie is going to be eleven. My brain is amazing, let me tell you.....
The weather was perfect, not to hot and it was not jam packed. In fact, we hardly had to wait on any rides, or should I say the kids hardly had to wait, Ken and I waited all day as our kids flew by us, on and off rides and on to the next. We did go on a few that weren't too twisty turny. What happened to me??? I used to go on any and all rides (except for the ones that bring you up and then drop you, no thank you those rides are just weird and wrong) but now if it jerks my neck too much I cant go or or if it spins around in circles it makes me nauseous and gives me a head ache. Ken has always been a wimp with the rides.
So, Ken and I sat with our 12.99 endless refill cup and waited for our kids and did some SERIOUS people watching. Okay please don't judge me for judging others, but there are some very interesting peoples and I have nothing against tattoos I have actually considered getting one more than once in my lifetime and may still go down that path. But, whoa mama........ do we really need Aunt Agnes tattooed on our lower left thigh????? Sorry, enough said. And we also got held up once on a ride because someone was too large to unstuck themselves from their seat. People, this is sad, that's what this is.
Okay on to happier thoughts, the kids had a blast. They are all lovers of fast crazy rides, and Cece was almost big enough to go on every ride, so a good time was had by all. We ended our time by letting the kids get charactures of themselves as a souvenir.
We left the park thinking we would eat somewhere on our way back into town, but forgetting it was almost 10pm and a Sunday night. Everything was closed. And we were starving cause we really didn't eat much of anything in the park, we just drank alot of pop. Nice healthy day for the kiddos. Luckily we made it to Houlihans in the hotel complex just as they were about to close and they very graciously offered to keep there kitchen open to serve us. We got great food, good service, and the restaurant practically to ourselves. Once again God is so good....

St Louis

Saturday June 27.
We arrived at our hotel by Six Flags, just outside of St Louis. And promptly canceled our reservation! YIKES. Our routine is for me to go in, check out the lobby, if it looks nice then I ask if they have a room available, if so then I go check it out and make sure its goooood. Before we haul all our stuff in. Only once on the trip did I have to say, um no thank you. (in Flagstaff) So anyway, we were sceptical as we pulled in but then the lobby check failed miserably. So we took a minute on their lobby computer and found ourselves a room at the Marriott-Union Station downtown St Louis. It was the best! We just had to drive back to Six Flags (26miles) but it was worth it. It had a great pool, which we went right down too and swam until the Cardinals game got out and all the fans came streaming in hot and sunburned and took over the pool area. We were directed to a place called Smokin Joes for dinner. We wanted some good Bar-b-Q and that's what we got! It was fabulous. Ribs, chicken wings, pulled pork, sweet potato fries, Delicious! Then we walked in the 98degree heat 12 blocks to the Arch. Cece wondered why we would want to go see an arch that wasnt natural?.....well.......cause man made arches are cool too, I guess. And cool it was. We walked all around the Arch and then went into the Millennium Hotel and sat at the bar area with a great air conditioned view and got ourselves some ice cold pops! Then we made our way back to our hotel, to once again turn on the boob tube and watch yet more coverage of Michael Jackson.

Branson or not to Branson...that is the question!

Not to Branson. We thought we might take in the tourist trap of shopping and washed up country stars. But then we decided not to when we saw that it was kinda off the beaten path from home. Instead we decided to take in the sights of Carthage Missouri. So we left Ok City and headed north, east. In record time I might add, we got up and out of a hotel in less than one hour!
The land is starting to look more like Michigan, more jungley and green and rolling hills. Just outside of Tulsa we ran into only our second major traffic jam. We have been so blessed with not getting into any bad traffic. So we got off the main highway and took a lesser road and kept rollin.
So, why Carthage? Carthage is the home town of my grandfather on my mothers side. And I heard my whole life stories of Carthage. (or Carnage as one of my kids flubbed it) So we thought it would be fun to go check out the ol stompin grounds of my gramps! The town square looks like the town in Back to the Future, it was like frozen in time. But sadly we were the only people besides the two people working in the malt shop we stopped into, that were in Carthage. It was fun to think of grandpa maybe sitting at the same booth possibly and gettin a soda pop with his buddies after a big basketball game or after he was done life guarding at the city times.
After a trip down memory lane we found a hotel in Springfield Mo(Pastor Stevens old Evangel stompin grounds) with an outside pool and extra added bonus of a basketball court for Noah! After we expended some energy swimming we turned on the boob-tube and watched the endless of coverage of Michael Jackson.
Tomorrow we are shooting to get to St Louis and spend the last of our amazing adventure there. Man the drive to Portage Lake in August is gonna be like a trip to the corner, let me tell ya! Almost 7000miles and 15 states now that we have reached Missouri.