St. Louis was another unexpected pleasant stop. We had great accommodations, ate good food, and had nice outdoor time at Forest Park.
Water Fountain Fun in Central West End
C trying to go in to the fountain
C + pine cone
A + sticks
Picnic lunch at Forest Park - C feeding A
After eating Pappy’s for lunch at Forest Park, we drove about 2 hours west to Columbia, MO.
For this road trip, one of the things I was most looking forward to was visiting my sister and her fiancé in their new home. It had been several months since we last saw each other. To get a taste of their life in Columbia was a treat. My sister is an elementary school teacher with a kindergarten & 1st grade mixed class. I had a chance to visit her classroom, meet her students, and watch her teach. I was such a proud big sister!
My sister in her classroom
Another benefit of staying with family in a new city is having a local suggest food recommendations. We had our best breakfasts, so far, at crepes: etc and Cafe Berlin:
crepes, etc: French Toast
Cafe Berlin: The Starving Artist
Cafe Berlin: Chilaquiles
It was so nice to stay with family, in a comfortable home, for more than one night. Our visit was much too short, but luckily we’ll be seeing them in California soon.
L + A + Cali
Bowl of rocks - kids' favorite thing to play with at Auntie's L & Uncle D's house
Auntie L + the girls
We were also able to re-pack up the van during this stop, so that we could have a view through the rear window.
Ready to go, we headed for our next stop: Fairfield, IA.
Here are some on-the-road shots:
…and some state Welcome signs we saw during this leg of the trip:
Welcome to Indiana
Welcome to Illinois
Welcome to Missouri
We were so excited to see the Gateway Arch come into view!
When we arrived to our hotel, the kids did their usual run around the room ritual and proceeded to their favorite activities. After looking out the window, Kid C finds the hotel paper and pen and starts drawing. (I have yet to get a photo of this, but eventually will.) Her latest favorite doodles to make are balloons.
Kid A also looks out the window, then wraps herself in the curtains to play peekaboo:
One of A's favorite activities in the hotel rooms - playing peekaboo in the curtains!
Another one of Kid C’s methods of entertainment (thanks to our friend, C. Jamm.), is to put stickers on her face. This kept her occupied for over 20 minutes during dinner. If you’re a parent of a toddler, you know that 20 minutes of concentrated occupied toddler time (COTT) means that you can eat half or all of your meal, while its still relatively warm, and finish half of an adult beverage! Sweet.
C entertained herself during dinner by putting stickers on her face
The next day we planned to eat breakfast at crepes: etc. which was right around the corner from our hotel, then walk around Forest Park.