We left last Monday to head to Columbia, MO for my husband to attend a two day conference. It's about 7.5 hours away. We traveled with him to make it our vacation. So on Monday we left Arkansas and headed to Missouri. After about 5 minutes on the road, Brailyn, my four year old, asked if we were almost there. Oy! This was going to be a long trip. We had to turn around about 20 minutes down the road because I had forgotten the pack and play for Lainee, the 22 month old. And the "Almost there" question continued. They did fairly well, it took us 9 hours to get there with stops and everything and Lainee was quite grumpy this day, but we had lots of laughs! Brailyn was so excited to see the mountains in Northern Arkansas, not sure she has ever seen any before. I mean she was SUPER excited!
|Mountains! "Wow! Mommy take a picture! Quick!"|
|Here we go!|
We woke up on Tuesday and the girls and I just spent the day at the hotel. We went swimming that morning. Then took nice long naps! The hotel we stayed in was Stoney Creek Inn and it was great! We had one of two rooms that had a patio. It was a pet friendly room, and the back door went out to a big grassy field, so we got to go and play outside. It was really neat. The swimming pool area was really neat too because the pool was inside and outside, you could swim through a little curtain to go to the outside pool. The girls loved it! That night we just ordered pizza in the hotel then went swimming all together!
|Lainee's first hotel stay! She did awesome and loved every minute of it!|
|Silliness! Couldn't wait to go swimming!|
|Sweet girls just relaxing after swimming!|
|Our view from the back patio!|
|That night I went to bring our swimming things in and I spotted this deer and another one. We were still in the city, but they obviously made their home in the small patch of woods behind the Inn.|
|This is Chloe. Brailyn named it, and they both treated it like it was real! Lainee is feeding it lunch. Brailyn still talks about missing Chloe! Ha!|
|Sweet morning snuggles!|
|Hotel life! A little Mickey Mouse in the mornings!|
|She's all ready to go swimming with Daddy! She's got her shoes and her "pre-sun."|
On Wednesday, we checked out, and waited on Jody to get done that day. His meeting wasn't over till 2:00, but we couldn't get a later checkout than1:00. So I checked us out and we got the car all straightened up then just hung out in the car. I was hoping Lainee would stay awake till we picked up Jody, but I looked back to check on her, and she had fallen asleep as we were just sitting there. I drove to pick up Jody at the Mizzou campus, and we headed out. Both girls slept for a good hour and a half. We were headed to St. Louis! We got there and couldn't find our hotel. The GPS had us at some dead end road at the airport. We called the hotel and got the actual address for it. The one on the Internet was not it! We got to drive through a tunnel though and both girls just sat there saying "Whoa!" It was so funny! We also got to see lots of airplanes take off because we were right at the airport. We got to the hotel, and lets just say it wasn't the best. That's another story for another time. It was clean just very outdated. We freshened up then headed to the mall to go to Build-A-Bear! It was so neat and so much fun! Brailyn had a blast. Lainee was running everywhere, I think she was in overload! We took them to Build-A-Bear because Brailyn had seen a commercial for it and they had Disney Palace Pets. She was so excited and wanted one. We get there, and she goes right to them! Then when we told her to pick out something to build, she picked out a rainbow striped zebra. We asked her a million times if she was sure, because she had wanted a Disney Palace Pet, but she insisted. The Palace pets already had names and she wanted to name her own. :) Lainee got a rainbow spotted Bunny. So we have ZOE the Zebra and Bunny Girl the Bunny! It was a really neat place and we had fun!
|Filling up her Zoe Zebra's heart at Build-A-Bear.|
|Listening to Bunny Girl's voice.|
|Fillin' her up!|
|Lainee liked it too!|
|Getting Zoe all clean.|
|Now it's Bunny Girl's turn.|
|All done! Ready to go and get her birth certificate!|
|This was her sentiment by the end! Mommy had to put her back in the stroller because she was all over the place. :)|
Thursday morning we got up and headed to the St. Louis Zoo! It has free admission! Woohoo! We love the zoo, and this one was huge! We hit the reptile house first. Not Jody's favorite! He stays in the middle of the room as far away from the cages as possible. The girls were pressing their noses against them! HA! They had some really neat things. They had an anaconda and it was amazing! It had a red head and it was huge! The head was right against the glass. Cool to me, creepy to Jody! We finally got to see a tiger, and the Lions we got to see close for once. We circled and circled the area where all these animals were trying to find the giraffes. We were looking at our map and knew we had to be walking right past them, but how can you miss a giraffe?!? We finally asked someone, and they were in a house area closed in and eating. We did get to go in and see them, which is wonderful because they are Braiyln's favorites! We walked through the gorillas and monkeys, and had a blast! One gorilla was putting on a show! We headed to see the elephants and Rhinos, and got all the way to their area only to find that it was closed for the day. Bummer! Brailyn was a little upset, so we opted to go to the Children's Zoo. It was a neat place, it had an indoor place where the kids could play and explore, kind of like a discovery center. We spent about 5 hours at the zoo and didn't see probably half of it. HUGE! We left the zoo and headed to see the Gateway Arch! Lainee fell asleep about 30 seconds after we got on the road. Brailyn finally fell asleep, and they both missed seeing the Arch up close. We just drove around. There was lots of construction, nowhere to park, and the girls were asleep. We got to see the Cardinals stadium which was really cool and the Rams' Edward Jones Dome. And we saw lots and lots of downtown St. Louis. Don't really want to do that again. It was to cold to swim that night and we had one upset little girl! Broke our hearts to have to break hers.
|Brailyn loved the snakes, but not the lizards! She acted terrified of them! HA! Lainee loved them all!|
|This was a Bungo I think. Interesting.|
|This one had a baby in her pouch but wouldn't let us see it.|
|They were inside which wasn't that much fun but at least we got to see them! They are majestic!|
|Enjoying her corn dog!|
|These gorillas were hilarious!|
|It flipped over, propped it's feet up and just started enjoying an afternoon snack! Too Funny!|
|Sweet baby foxes.|
|These are naked mole rats! Very weird.|
|Waiting her turn.|
|She wanted to take a picture in the Sea Lions.|
|Edward Jones Dome.|
|This is what the zoo does to you.|
|Raising her right! No vacation is complete without eating at Cracker Barrel!|
|Not a great picture, but she was a total mess! She has become independent and only wants to feed herself. And she has to give herself knuckles nearly every time I take a picture! :)|
On Friday, we headed out to go to Alabama to see my cousin get married. We planned on making a stop in Nashville to see a friend from college. When we left Missouri, we knew we would go through Tennessee, Kentucky and obviously Alabama, what we didn't realize was that we would go through Illinois too! We found this out after our GPS took us 5 miles off the interstate to a gas station we thought was right on the interstate. When we left the gas station, we had figured out that we were in Illinois, and the GPS, we call her Sally, took us on some back roads before getting back on the interstate. It took a little longer but it was really neat. We were able to stop in Nashville around 3:00ish and eat lunch and meet our friend, Josh. We didn't get to meet his wife, but hopefully we will get to some other time. We were supposed to be there at 1:30, but back road riding and Nashville traffic delayed us quite a bit! We finally made it to Alabama and crashed the rehearsal dinner at my Aunt's house. About 9 hours in the car again. It was storming on the way there too, Alabama had so much rain that they couldn't rehearse that night because the spot they were having the ceremony at was flooded. Talk about stress on your wedding day! We headed to our hotel with my parents. We shared a room and Brailyn was so excited to stay in a hotel with Gramma and Pop-up. I think it was the highlight of her trip.
|I think this was crossing the Ohio River.|
|It was huge!|
|Shenanigans in the car!|
|Jimmy and Avery!|
|It's not all that pretty, but it is really neat!|
|She slept for 2.5 hours.|
|The aftermath of a seven day vacation!|
We had a blast! We were tired, but we had a blast! The girls were good travelers thank goodness, because we did a lot of it! Brailyn kept us laughing with her jokes, and we had fun playing the license plate game. We ended up with 38, even had Hawaii and Alaska! World travelers we are! We made some awesome memories, and that was the best part!