Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easter Weekend

Still playing catch up here...

The weather for Easter weekend was SO perfect!  Nothing makes me happier than warm, sunny days.  And the weather for Easter was both warm and sunny and absolutely perfect.

On Saturday, we walked down to a church down the street for an Easter Egg hunt.  The girls took their super fancy Easter baskets that Aunt Nancy sent them.

Easter Sunday was a bit hectic, as is usual when Daniel and I are both involved in ministries for church.  I had to be at church super early to play piano for the sunrise service (remind me not to volunteer to do that next year!!).  Then I taught my Sunday School class during first service.  Daniel did a super job getting the girls ready for Easter Sunday all by himself and getting them to church on time, so he could help out with all of his responsibilities in making sure everything ran smoothly for Easter services.

In the past, I have taken pictures of the girls in their Easter dresses BEFORE Easter.  And I really should have done that this year.  It is so stressful to try to get pictures taken in the midst of all the Easter morning craziness.   We did manage to get pictures of each of the girls, our family and the girls together at different points in time throughout the morning...but it wasn't always pretty.  Here are the pretty pictures, where we look like everything is just lovely and perfect and not stressful at all.

And, inspired by my friend Lizzie, who posted a  more realistic and not so flattering Easter picture on Facebook:   here are the "blooper reel" pictures where you can better see what reality is like!
 (I have many more bloopers, but I'll spare you all of them!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Break Trip

Ugh, I'm so far behind on blogging!!!!

Last week was spring break for Audrey and my piano teaching schedule, so we decided to take a little one night, two day trip to St. Louis.  The weather wasn't too warm, which was disappointing.  But we still had a good time!  This post is going to be really long, just warning you now.


If you know me at all, you know I'm always on the lookout for a good hotel deal.  And that I like to do a lot of research before choosing that hotel deal.  And that I like to talk about finding good hotel deals (so get ready for more details than you probably want to know!).  I really think Priceline is usually the cheapest place to find a hotel, but it is also a little scary because you don't know what you are getting!  For this trip, I knew I wanted a hotel with an indoor pool and free breakfast.  So I decided to go with a Priceline Express Deal.  While not as cheap as the Name Your Own Price deals, Express Deals tell you upfront what amenities and rating the hotel has.  So it is a much safer bet!

I did some research following the advice in this post and using some help from, I was about 99% sure that the Express Deal I was looking at was the Hyatt Place in Chesterfield, a brand new hotel that just opened in December.  I loved that it was brand new, and I also loved that all of their rooms come with a sitting area and pull out sofa bed, which is nice when traveling with kids.  So, crossing my fingers and hoping to get the Hyatt Place, I booked the Express deal...and I was right!  I got the room for $84, and the cheapest listed price I could find was $132.  Maybe not my best deal ever, but for what we got, I was pleased.

It really was a nice hotel.  Everything was so clean and new.  The rooms were big, and we loved the sitting area!  The free breakfast was pretty good, and the girls had fun swimming in the pool (even though the water was freezing!!). 


Once I knew we were staying in Chesterfield, I started looking for things to do in that area.  We decided to give Faust Park a try.  The Missouri Botanical Gardens Butterfly House is located there.  We contemplated taking the girls there, but then weren't sure it would be worth the cost of admission.  I could see my girls screaming as soon as a butterfly started to get close to them!  Instead, we rode the St. Louis Carousel.  I do not love carousels, as my motion sickness issues makes going around and around and around in circles not very fun.  But I took one for the team, and we rode together as a family.  Not sure it was really worth it, as no one seemed super excited about our ride.



Our hotel was right across the street from the American Girl Place store in the Chesterfield Mall.  While I have no intentions of buying dolls for my girls at this age, I thought they might enjoy looking around the store.  We decided to eat dinner at the Bistro in the store.  I was surprised by how small the bistro was, only about five tables.  The food was mediocre at best, nothing special at all and overpriced.  But the girls got to eat with their dolls (Isla brought her hand me down American Girl doll, and Audrey borrowed one from the store).  Each doll had their own chair and their own cup and plate.  It was fun for the girls, and I think it was worth the experience.  But we probably wouldn't eat there again.  The girls had the most fun just playing in the store.  It wasn't busy, so they had free reign of the place.  We didn't really tell them that the stuff in the store was for sale, and they treated the store more like a play museum , which was fine with me.  (As a kid, I always wanted an American Girl doll.  I had all the books but never got a doll.  Now I know why!  They are so expensive!!!!)


Our plan was to spend Day 2 at the zoo.  But it was really windy and a little chilly.  If I'm going to enjoy the zoo, it needs to be warm!  So we decided to go to The Magic House instead.  We have visited The Magic House one other time, when Audrey was about 18 months.

The girls had so much fun!  Isla, especially, loved it.  We know she loved it because she kept running around  and yelling, "Me love this place!"  I was worried that Isla would hate it because she usually doesn't like people and crowds.  But she had no problems at all.  We even lost her a few times, because she would wander off, through crowds of people, and start playing in a different area without us!  Most parents would probably be upset by this, but I was just totally amazed at her willingness to leave our side and mingle with other people!

Here is Audrey on the small slide at age 18 months and age 5 1/2 years.  She's grown up just a little bit in the past four years!

And while we are comparing, our most favorite picture from that 2010 trip was one of Audrey crying while holding a fake ice cream cone.  She was so excited about it, until she licked it and then realized it was fake and started screaming.  And being the good mom that I am, I took her picture instead of consoling her.  I showed Audrey that picture before we left, and she thought it was hilarious!  We decided to try to recreate it on this trip.

And here's another comparison.  On the left is Audrey, playing with these doors at the age of 18 months.  On the right is Isla, playing with the same doors at the age of almost 3.  I wish I would have taken this picture from the same angle.  Isla is definitely taller, but they don't look that much different in size to me.  And they are wearing the exact same shoes!  Which have been about worn to death by both girls, but Isla may never grow out of them.  

Before leaving St. Louis, we stopped at Fitz's restaurant for dinner and a HUGE rootbeer float!