Sunday, July 31, 2016


After the arch, we drove until dinner time, ate quickly, and drove till almost midnight because I had reserved a room for us in Lexington, KY. We didn't reserve many rooms ahead of time because we didn't want to feel like we had to get to any certain place, just in case something happened or we saw something cool on the way.

Well on the night that I watched Frankie swim (when lanes had an accident) I had mapped our route a little, and since our last hotel night was a Friday, I looked to see if there was anything inexpensive that I could book early. I found a Clarion that had an almost 50% military discount (LOVE when that happens) and since I thought Clarion was the more upscale of the Choice Hotels, I quickly booked it after confirming with Matt.

The Clarion wasn't bad, per se, but it is actually not one of the more upscale choices, and when you are banking on a really nice hotel for your last night, and you tell your kids, that just makes it all the more disappointing. Oh well!

We got in and got girls to bed super late, which made our early morning fire alarm that much more annoying. 

Just after 6:00 the fire alarm sounded. Matt and I were super disoriented, but groggily woke up and he checked the front door while I checked the back sliding glass door. There were people evacuating through the front door, and I swear I smelled a faint smell of smoke out the back, though I didn't see any. we decided we should probably wake girls and head out, just to be safe. 

There were probably only 1/3 of the hotel guests that actually came out. But really, unless you were under 10 I don't think anyone could sleep through that alarm,  so what's the point.
Matt had grabbed our bed roll, so after a few minutes we took the girls over by our truck and let them lay down. Since Laney didn't want the roll, Addie happily took it.
Frank's didn't want to lay down.
And lanes just hung out in the jolly green.
We were all so tired, that after we got the all clear, we all went back to sleep. And you know kids have to be pooped to be able to do that. 

That caused our normal late start to be even later, and after the worst breakfast ever (in a weird conference room by the pool), and swimming in the "3" pools, (indoor pool and hot tub, and outdoor pool) we didn't roll out until noon. #sobright
One notable thing did happen there tbough! Laney, our almost 4 1/2 year old, discovered that she really can poo on the potty. I don't know what happened that she felt she couldn't, but it has been a long and hard fought battle wherein I tried every mothering trick I have learned in my 20 years of motherhood, asked advice of countless professionals, not to mention friends, and prayed my heart out. 

She just had to decide she could do it, which she did, and after forgetting just once, has been happily toilet pooing since. She kept saying "mommy, are you so proud of me? Are you so happy? I didn't even know I could poo on the potty!" I have a sinking suspicion this having to do everything on her own timeframe is going to continue through her lifetime. Oh help me!

We stopped at the world's nicest McDonald's for lunch in the beautiful hills of Kentucky that afternoon. We asked if the had a military discount, and he ended up giving Matt his meal for free. Super sweet. We'd have loved to have stopped and eaten fun local food, it was even on our road trip bucket list, but time, money, and picky kids did not really permit that. I kept saying though, this won't be our last road trip, there's always next time!
I would have loved to have stopped and done fun things in Kentucky, but we left so late and Matt was anxious to get home. As it was we arrived around 10 pm, so not too early anyway. Chris and Brian had made us this cute Welcome Home sign.
I didn't notice Frankies glove till later. 

We unloaded the car in 90 plus degrees, threw everything in our room and the front room, and slept in our own beds. Jiggety jig. 

St. Louis Arch

We parked downtown St. Louis and headed to the arch. But first, a pic of our big daddy with his sign.
Two southern belles walking on the cobblestone streets.
We followed the Lewis and Clark trail from Oregon to St. Louis.
We did it backwards. 
Sadly, they are working on the arch, so the nice route i wanted to walk didn't really work.
We had to walk all the way around because they had the steps blocked off.
So we walked along the river and enjoyed the sweltering day.
We got our tickets and walked around till it was our time.
Addie was nervous, but excited to go up!
It was middle of the day and the lighting was terrible. 
But we tried anyway.
We played and ran around. Daddy and daughters.
And took lots of pictures.
They've torn the whole yard apart. The whole place was a mess.
The girls finished wearing their hats and Delaney thought Matt should wear them. #dadlife
Precious baby of the family.
Finally it was time to go inside.
We perused the bookstore and watched the actually very interesting movie.
Then we got in line to wait for our tram to the top.
We waited and waited. It was a busy summer day.
We made friends in line, and then one of the workers told us all about the arch and asked questions and everything.
Waiting for our tram!
It takes 4 minutes to get to the top and they constantly go up and back down.
Everyone was a little nervous.
Matt found his birthday on our door! We had a lot of wait time.
And finally our pod came. #stillnervous
Frankie is pretty brave. Heights don't bother her.
Everyone else though...
Ready to roll!
It's not too bad. Lots of noises and jolts and adjustments. I was anxious too.
And finally, at the top!
The air conditioning at the top wasn't working, so that, coupled with the crowds and the slant of the floor was super disconcerting. 
But we were good. I immediately got back in line for the tram to go down because it was so crowded, I knew we wouldn't get on right away. 
Then Matt and I took turns taking them around.
They were super brave looking out the windows!
They took lots of pictures.
It's a very cool monument!
We got back in a pod about 15 minutes later. Lanes does this cute thing with her hand on head and stomach still
Everyone was more relaxed on the way down.
More pictures! And Laney actually smiled!
Love this one.
It was hard to get good pictures because of all the construction.
We'll just have to come back. We brought the big kids here back in '09 on our way to Chicago.
The clouds were amazing. 
We thought about doing a riverboat cruise.
But the times didn't work, and we wanted to make tracks. 
So we followed the water back to our jolly green. 
And grabbed some snacks before we headed out.
Fun stickers from nanny kept the girls busy this afternoon.
That evening we got gas in Illinois, and it was just gorgeous.
I wanted to take some fun pictures of the girls, and I have a thing about roads.
There was one car several miles away, but they were so worried!
They bolted as soon as I gave the green light.
Silly gooses.
I love America. So much beauty!