st louis family vacation, day 2

The night we arrived we stayed up late with Uncle Mark and Aunt Jane talking at their kitchen table. And when we woke up in the morning (quite early for me, thanks to Hattie and Alden) we met up at the table again. Good stuff happens around that table. Rory and Uncle Mark sat and drank their coffee there for hours each morning, basically until lunch each day.
And I had the kids outside soaking up the sunshine. It just felt so good to be warm and outside! At one point Elsie and I were standing in the driveway and the neighbors tree was snowing white flower petals all around us in the wind. Elsie kept saying, "it's snowing! it's snowing!" And I knew that in that moment there really was a blizzard in Minnesota, but here in Missouri we were in a blizzard of good smelling tree blossoms. That moment sort of sums up my joyful and glad attitude on this trip. I was just so happy to be out of winter! My mood was as bright as the sunshine, so grateful to be dropped into peak spring!
Before lunch we went for a walk up and down their street. Uncle Mark and Aunt Jane live in a really stunning neighborhood, with houses built right before the Worlds Fair in 1904. Uncle Mark explained a bit to me how St. Louis was one of the major cities of the world at that time, with the second largest and busiest rail yard in the world. In 1904, St. Louis was very much an epicenter of our country. It would quickly be passed by Chicago, but at this time the city was bustling with industry and business. And doing quite well, as you can see by these lovely houses! Many of the houses have a matching small house behind them that served as the carriage house for horses.
Then we came in for lunch and Aunt Jane had chicken salad on croissants with kettle chips. At the end of the trip we asked the kids what their favorite parts were and Elsie said, "Aunt Jane's cooking!" Everything was so good.
Then Hattie went down for her nap and we all had quiet time. The pace of this first day was so wonderful. I thought many times, "this really does feel like a true vacation." In the late afternoon we drove to Forest Park to find the playground. This next picture is a new favorite. Ivar jumped off a little too quickly, it seems.
And then we flew a kite. I always have these romantic images in my mind of flying a kite with the family. But to be 100% truthful, all of our kids took a turn crying in frustration while trying to get this dollar tree kite up in the air!

Finally we went out to supper at Lulu's, a favorite Chinese restaurant where we ordered very authentic things for our kids like pot stickers and orange chicken with fried rice. Last time we were here without kids and Aunt Jane ordered an incredible spread of food she loves from China. But this time with the kids we ordered everything that was familiar. Uncle Mark and our cousins came to join us this night, but the camera battery died, so you'll have to wait until day 3 to see pics of the rest of the family. :)
Special thanks to Ivar for taking this awesome picture. We'll get Hattie's chin next time. :)

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