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Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis’

  1. A Day on the Farm

    November 25, 2013 by frecklesandsunshine

    I’ve always loved to travel. Whether it is a short day trip or a long backpack through Europe, I’m thrilled to explore new places. The opportunity to explore and discover new things is one of the advantages to having lived in three different states in three years. 

    Living here in St. Louis, I can make these discoveries almost daily without even leaving the city or county limits. I had been to St. Louis before we moved here but really only as an airport stop before driving on to Champaign where Tim’s family lives. Now that we have two beautiful girls our travels aren’t as exotic as they used to be, but witnessing the joy of discovery through their eyes is totally worth it. 

    A couple weeks ago, Olivia, Kate, and I ventured out to Purina Farms. Nestle Purina is headquartered here in St. Louis and they have a “farm” on the outskirts of town. Since we had been reading and studying about farms with a preschool learning kit from our local library, Purina Farms seemed like a good place to expose her to some farm animals even though this isn’t a real working farm. Add in the free factor and we were sold. 

    Purina Farms is about a 30 minute drive from our home, but it is just far away enough to feel like a “trip” and to lend it a more rural feel. 

    Purina Farms

    Keep reading…

  2. Saint Louis

    November 12, 2013 by frecklesandsunshine

    We are coming up on our first full year here in St. Louis. It is hard to believe that we are already at that milestone. At this time last year, we knew we were moving. The wheels were in motion and, in all honesty, I think I was just trying to keep up with everything that was happening. A move, a new baby, sell the house, buy a house, and on and on.


    Just a few months earlier, under the bluebird skies of Colorado, I would have laughed in your face if you had told me that we would be living in St. Louis by Christmas. Yet that is exactly where our life took us. You really just never know, I guess.

    It has taken me a while to get adjusted to our new home. Our new city. Our new state. I still miss Colorado. Things are different here. Some things are better, some are worse, some are just…different.

    The things that I have found that I like? Well, they are just downright awesome. Here are my current top 5, in no particular order:

    photo (4)

    1. There’s a ton of free stuff.

    Seriously, who doesn’t love free stuff?? Plus, most of the free stuff is kid and family friendly. Visiting Gateway Arch? Free. The St. Louis Zoo? Free. The St. Louis Art Museum? Free. The St. Louis Science Center? Free. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There can be some hidden costs like paid parking, but the small fee you might have to pay to park is still much less than what you would pay in other cities to visit similar sights.

    photo 2 (4)

    2. The St. Louis Cardinals

    When we lived in Colorado, we became Denver Broncos fans, or at least I did. Why? Because Denver is a football town. Yes, they have the Nuggets and the Rockies and the Avalanche, but above all else Coloradans love their Denver Broncos. The same concept applies to St. Louis and its dedication to its baseball team. During the World Series, you felt out of place if your weren’t wearing your Cardinal red, whether you were going to the game or not. We were lucky enough to go to a few games this season and Tim was even luckier to be able to attend three World Series games. Even though we didn’t win the series, the energy that surrounds this team and its dedicated fan base is enough to make a baseball fan out of me. (Sidenote: One of Olivia’s many goals for when she “gets bigger” is to go down on the field and “play with the boys.” She loves going to the games.)

    3. A sense of community

    So, I have to admit, it has always made me crazy when people from the Midwest go on and on about how awesome the Midwest is. Its so family friendly! Everyone is so nice! People are more down to earth! And on and on. Ugh. As someone who is from Phoenix, I would look around at all the Midwestern transplants and wonder, “Well, if the Midwest is so fabulous, why did you move here??” It pains me to admit, they may have been right. At least in part. I think any place you live is what you make of it. If you want it to be family friendly, it can be. You can be down to earth in Des Moines just as easily as you can in Phoenix. However, people here are nice. Within our first week in our new house each of our neighbors came by to introduce themselves and give us a small welcoming gift. At our first neighborhood gathering, people were warm and enthusiastic about our little family joining the community. People here smile and say hello. They hold doors for each other. They offer to help you out with your groceries when it is raining and you have your infant in the shopping cart. People here care about their neighborhoods, towns, and cities. It’s a nice place to live.

    ted drewes

    4. Food

    What I’m NOT talking about: Provel, Gooey Butter Cake, and Toasted Ravioli. I realize these are St. Louis institutions in terms of food, but…just…no. What I AM talking about: Italian from The Hill, BBQ, and beer. Yes, I realize we left what is arguably the capital of the craft beer industry, but St. Louis has some quality beer as well. Although Anheuser Busch is the big dog in town, we prefer Schlafly and Urban Chestnut. There is also quite a bit that I am interested in trying, but haven’t gotten to yet. The list includes Ted Drewes, Bosnian food, and a St. Paul Sandwich. St. Louis is also a big enough city for us to have found our spots for various types of cuisine that we enjoy. We found our Chinese, pizza (without Provel!), and Indian places that we frequent regularly and that has made all the difference in a place feeling like home.


    5. A Sense of History

    To say that the city of St. Louis is significant in the history of the United States is a bit of an understatement. In fact, this area was significant in Native American culture prior to European exploration. It was the jumping off point for the Lewis and Clark expedition and the gateway to the west during Westward Expansion. St.  Louis’ proximity to the Mississippi River means that it was an important port town as well. There is so much to see and learn here about our nation’s history and I find it to be rather awe inspiring to stand on the banks of the river and think about Lewis and Clark pushing off to head out on such an significant journey.

    As we continue to get to know St. Louis and explore all it has to offer, I’ll share about our adventures in more depth. We have no idea how long we will call this place home, but we are making a home here. And you know what they say…

    Home is where the heart is.



    Pssst St. Louis! What are we missing? What’s on the must-do list?

  3. Leaving Colorado

    October 16, 2013 by frecklesandsunshine

    One of the major events in our family in the last year was our move from Colorado. Although I knew Tim’s job could involve some mobility on his part, I did not expect to be moving from Colorado anytime soon. I genuinely thought that we would be raising our family in Colorado and maybe ten years down the road we might move somewhere new. I’m pretty sure Tim felt the same way.

    At Caribou Ranch

    At Caribou Ranch

    We love Colorado. We loved living there. It felt like home very quickly. Living near Boulder was especially comfortable for us and our interests. Liberal? Check. Foodies? Check. Outdoor activities? Supercheck. Add to all of that some great friends, new and old, and we really felt like we had found our place. You know, the place, sort of like Cheers except we didn’t actually live in a bar.

    In October of 2012, I had been visiting my family in Phoenix with Olivia. On a Saturday, I came home from the trip feeling a bit…off. And a bit hungry. It occurred to me that I might be pregnant. The next morning after a dollar store pregnancy test (I spare no expense when it comes to my kids, people), I knew that the next nine months were going to be a bit more exciting. So, the next day when I got a call about a job interview, I was a little nervous. I really wanted the job. I had been looking for a while and the school year had already started, but the job was super close to home and in my dream district. Did I have to share this news with them? Would they hire me if I did? Was I up for the challenge of being a working pregnant mother and wife?

    I called Tim to tell him about the interview. His response was something along the lines of, “Well, I hope the interview is for a job in St. Louis.”

    Um. What??

    “The VP  at corporate just called. There is a job in St. Louis they want me to apply for. It would be a big promotion, but it would be in St. Louis,” he said.

    “So what do I do about my interview?” I asked. After talking about all of the possibilities we decided it would be best for me to go ahead with the interview. In the event that his opportunity didn’t work out, I wouldn’t have missed out on my own.

    Are you keeping count? That’s one pregnancy, two job interviews and a possible move two states away. It was a busy week.

    To make things more complicated, both interviews went well. However, before I could progress very far in my interview process, Tim had his answer. They wanted him in St. Louis. Everything about the opportunity was a positive save two things. First, the opportunity would take us away from Colorado. Second, it would also take us further away from my family in Arizona.

    We had a number of conversations around the pros and cons of this move. What was best for him careerwise? What was best for our kids? What was best for us as a family?

    Ultimately, the answer to all of those questions was St. Louis and before Christmas arrived, we were there.

    For the last two months before we moved, we made our best attempt at soaking in everything we loved about Colorado. We spent time with friends, headed out on our favorite trails, ate at our favorite restaurants, and made a point to gaze at the Rockies as much as possible.

    We still miss it. We miss the mountains and the people and just…all of it. We are growing to love St. Louis, but I don’t know if it will ever be our place.


  4. St. Charles, Missouri. It’s better than Bass Pro Shops.

    April 26, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    Last week, Tim, Olivia, and I traveled to the St. Louis area for a work conference Tim was invited to speak at. It was a treat to be able to travel with him. Tim and I have been to St. Louis before. When we go to his hometown of Champaign, IL, St. Louis is the nearest major airport. Also, his Uncle John and Aunt Kathie live in St. Louis, which always gives us an excuse to stay a day or two in St. Louis before heading to Chambana. The first time Tim and I went to St. Louis was also my first time visiting the area and we did some of the touristy stuff. We walked around downtown, visited the Gateway Arch, and grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant in Laclede’s Landing.

    This time we stayed in St. Charles, Missouri at the Ameristar Hotel and Casino where the conference was being held. St. Charles is just north of St. Louis and the hotel is right on the Missouri River. We were lucky enough to have a room with a river view. Every morning Olivia would look out the window to check for birds and barges.

    The Missouri isn’t quite as grand as the Mississippi, which also runs through St. Louis, but for a girl from Phoenix, it is still an impressive river.

    The day of Tim’s presentation, Olivia and I didn’t really have much to do. A casino hotel, as you can probably guess, isn’t really set up to entertain children. Any time we were walking around the lobby and casino areas, the line from Sweet Home Alabama kept running through my head. “You have a baby. In a bar.” By about 11am, I was getting a bit claustrophobic, so I decided to take O for a walk. I thought I had seen a path that ran along the river and figured that would be an ideal spot. As we walked out of the hotel, I started to look for a pathway that connected the hotel to the river path, but there didn’t seem to be any easy access that was stroller friendly. Why would a casino want its patrons to leave the casino to enjoy a city’s sights? Duh.

    Instead of cutting across busy streets, pushing Olivia’s stroller against traffic in the gutter, and down an embankment to the path, we just continued along the sidewalk until we got to the nearest strip mall. As opposed to a scenic river view, we saw this.

    I had never actually been in a Bass Pro Shops, so we went in and walked around. There was a lot of camouflage print everywhere and there were a lot of dead animals. Not really my kind of place. I’m an outdoorsy girl, but more along the lines of REI than Bass Pro Shops. To each his own. We walked around the rest of the strip mall and then back to the hotel. I was glad to have gotten outside a bit, but was left feeling a bit uninspired by our adventure.

    Later that evening, we were to meet up with family to celebrate Tim’s birthday at a nearby brewhouse. We drove less than five minutes to get there from the hotel. Easy walking distance. When we got out of the car, we saw this.

    It was about this time that Tim started pointing and laughing and I started cursing under my breath. Instead of walking through this historic district from which Lewis and Clark launched their great exploration, I went to Bass Freaking Pro Shops. Talk about an epic fail. We went into the brewhouse and had dinner and celebrated Tim’s birthday, but I basically made him promise to come back the next day before our flight left so we could explore some more.

    The next morning we had breakfast and loaded Olivia into her stroller. We checked out of the hotel and drove back down to Historic Downtown St. Charles.

    The street is tree lined with gas lamps and cobblestone pavers. In short, it puts the Charm in Charming.

    We stopped for coffee.

    Then we started to meander down the street. Maybe we moseyed. I’m not quite sure. It was lovely either way.

    There are a lot of very old buildings that line this street. Like this.

    Or this.

    Or this.

    This area is now dedicated to mostly shopping and restaurants. I loved that we didn’t see one franchised business. Everything appeared to be independently owned. After we had our fill of cute shops and charming buildings, we crossed the street and took the pedestrian path down to the river.

    It was a lovely walk. Much nicer than Bass Pro Shops. If you are in the St. Louis area and have a morning or afternoon free, get up to St. Charles and wander this lovely area. You won’t be sorry, I promise.

    To see all of our pictures from St. Charles and St. Louis, click HERE.

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