My parents and Grandma set out on the 800+ mile drive on that Friday morning. The original plan was to stay the night along the way and arrive Saturday afternoon. I called it though, I told Michael the night before to expect a phone call saying that they were just going to tough it out and drive straight through on Friday. And the phone call came, happily, meaning one more day with the crew all here.
As you can see, Pep warmed up to the visitors quickly.
I'm not sure what we did on Saturday...I think we were a bit lazy, which was understandable for those who had spent 12.5 hours in the truck on the previous day. We did however manage to get out of the house and to the grocery store to pick up dinner supplies and tulips to adorn the table for our first meal at it.
Everyone is smiling in this picture but really, they are probably cringing from the pain of sitting on seatless chairs since up until this point, we still only had one solid chair that included a seat (Grandma is sitting on that one).
Sunday morning we hopped in the car and headed out MO rt100 towards the wine region. Grandma claims she was falling over from exhaustion in this picture but I think she was just being camera-shy.
Here's the group taking a tour of the wine cellars at Stone Hill Winery in Branson, MO.
And here we are during the post-tour wine-tasting. We cut Grandma off at this point (kidding...kidding).
I don't know what we did up until the afternoon on Monday but when Michael got off of work we met at an unfinished furniture store to fill out our dining room set with some chairs (with seats). We bought four for now and plan to get two more in the near future (although, since our TV just crapped out, I don't know when we'll be able to afford two more chairs).
I'll post more on the finishing process in another post.
Anyway, on Tuesday, we realized that our hometown Pirates were in town playing the Cardinals and get this: the Pirates had won the previous night's game against the Cards!
Sadly, the Cardinals won this game (but lost the next night's), but we did have a great time with a great view. I am anxious to go to another game to cheer for the Cards. I really tried at this game, but I just couldn't bring myself to root against the Pirates.
On Wednesday we loaded up into the truck and drove across the Mississippi river into Illinois to visit the Cahokia Indian Mounds.
Here we are at the top (Grandma didn't bother, there were lots of steps up). Dad and I may look a little tired. This was taken seconds after we raced up the stairs. Unfortunately Michael wasn't able to come along on this trip since he had to work. (boo.)
We may have been miles away but from the (relatively) high viewpoint on top of the mound, we were able to pick out the arch in the distance.
On our way back from the Mounds we stopped off at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
The walls, ceilings, floors, everything is covered with 41.5 million mosaic pieces.
Coincidentially, after posting these photos to facebook I was told by Michael's Aunt Susie that "Many of these were done by the Frei Studio or Ravena (sp) Mosiacs...Joe's (Michael's Uncle Joe, that is) grandfather's/great-grandf
We have an exciting familial St. Louis claim to fame.
I particularly loved the red on the ceiling in this chapel, made to symbolize the blood of Christ.
And in this chapel we have the Cardinal hats, left to hang until they turn to dust. Literally.
After the day's excitement, Mom and I did more work on the chair we had been caning all week while Pep drank our cane soaking water.
On Thursday, while dad whipped up a balcony planter box for us, Mom, Grandma and I hit up the botanical gardens. There was much more color on this visit.
It looked as if an Easter basket had exploded.
I love tulips.
We visited the local gardening center at the Botanical gardens so I could drool over the raised bed gardens,
And the cold boxes.
And on Friday we hit up the free (with the exception of the 12.50 parking pass, unless you want to walk 1 mile for free parking, which is what we did) Zoo where we had the pleasure of seeing some incredible birds,
A tiger losing his lunch,
This rather large giraffe,
Pairs of penguins,
And an elephant coating himself in mud to stay cool. (I missed this one, I was busy fetching the truck from a mile away.)
And after the swealtering heat (something like 85°) at the Zoo, we were in need of some lunch and cold beer, so we headed off to Schlafly Bottleworks. After an excellent lunch we took the tour and...
(You guessed it!)...tasted!
And on their last night here we ordered take out BBQ from one of the highest rated St Louis BBQ joints and spent the evening finishing up the chair.
And we moved this beautiful family piece to it's final placement and filled it with all of our (mostly wonderful hand-me-down) china. I forgot to mention earlier that this China cabinet, my Grandparents' (first belonging to my Grandpa's parents) China cabinet, came with my family in the truck so that we wouldn't have to keep all of our special dishes in boxes in the corner of the dining room. Thanks again Grandma!
And thanks to all three of you for the visit, we had a wonderful time!