In light of our visit to St. Louis, I am going to tell about some of our favorite things to do in St. Louis. If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, you may find this to be repetitive. We normally visit my home town twice a year, and there are several things that we always try to do. Here they are in maybe a particular order:
1. St. Louis Cardinals Baseball: We cannot do this when we visit at Christmas time, but we definitely can in the summer. In fact, I often choose travel dates around home stands so that we can get to a game. In the past we have taken the kids with us, but the past two years M and I have made a date of it since free grandparent babysitting is hard to come by most of the time. I recapped this year’s game yesterday.
2. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard: Even people from Canada and New Hampshire come to Ted Drewes. It is the best frozen custard you will ever eat, and if you want the best of the best, you have to head over to the original location. I grew up on this stuff and I will never find a better frozen custard, ever. We go about every other day when we are visiting. So, that balances out to less than once a month. I am pretty sure that is not gluttonous. 3. Amighetti’s Specials: Amighetti’s is an Italian sandwich shop on The Hill. My parents have been getting the Special for as long as I can remember. Taking a bite out of a special brings back every memory of eating them on special outings and picnics growing up. They are nostalgic and good. 4. Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza: This is a St. Louis style pizza which uses the yummy cheese blend of cheddar, swiss, and provolone called Provel. St. Louis style pizza has a cracker thin crust with a delicious sauce and the yummy cheese. We always, always order when we visit. We almost did not get it in January after the blizzard that hit St. Louis, but thankfully they ordered for pickup only and M braved the winter roads to get it. And we were like, blizzard, shimizzard, no blizzard is going to keep us from our pizza! After living in Buffalo, NY and St. Paul, MN we will not be stopped by snow…
5. Toasted Ravioli: Yummy! This is another St. Louis Italian thing. We have no Italian in us, but we sure love the Italian foods. Take ravioli pasta, bread it, and fry it. Top it off with a meat sauce and Parmesan. Yum, yum! I was so excited when I found frozen toasted ravioli at Aldi this winter in St. Paul, but it was not the same as the authentic St. Louis recipe.
6. And now that we are stuffed from eating amazing food, I will tell you about the places we like to do walking: We like to go to the Science Center, the Botanical Garden’s, the free Zoo, the Art Museum, and this summer we went out to the Arboretum (now called Shaw’s Nature Reserve). These are all impossible to do every visit, but we like to do a couple per visit.
7. Best of all is St. Francis de Sales Oratory: We absolutely love the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priests. One of our dear friends was ordained a deacon for the order this year, and we hope to see him ordained next summer if they do them in St. Louis instead of Italy. Getting to a couple of the daily Low Masses they have there is awesome and beautiful, if not a little nerve wracking with three little ones. If they ever open an oratory in St. Paul we are going to have to be torn between them and our beloved St. Agnes.
1. It is Spring in St. Louis, where we are visiting my family. Everyday has gotten above 40, and the daffodils are beginning to bloom. There is absolutely no snow on the ground, and it is just lovely. We even had a thunder storm last night! I know that it is wishful thinking for me to hope for Spring in St. Paul when we get back, but next week there does not look sooo bad:
At least it is not single digits with a negative windchill. I could go for a little more sunshine, but then it is almost Spring there so precipitation is to be expected.
2. Dad Update: Our main reason for coming to St. Louis for Spring Break was because my parents could not make their annual March visit to us. Dad is still recovering from his emergency surgery which repaired an aortic dissection. He has some nerve damage, which they think was caused by the dissection itself, which is affecting his ability to use his hands, specifically his left hand. He is still experiencing a lot of pain, which really affects his ability to function. The thing about his surgery is that there is not a lot of precedence of people who have had the exact surgery and recovered from it, so it is all very open-ended as to when he is going to feel all the way healed, or if it will ever be complete. We can only pray, wait, and be thankful that my dad is still with us. He is having good days and worse days. Sometimes, all he is able to do is sleep for a whole day, and other days he goes for long walks. I am convinced more and more that being around happy little kids is the best medicine for him. 🙂 Please continue to keep him and our family in your prayers.
3. We had dinner guests yesterday, and after dessert we started talking about music. Then my parents started singing songs from their charismatic community days, and then Dad got up went to the piano and played a whole concert for us of all the songs he had written, many of them based on scripture. I suggested to him that he make a video that could go viral, and then he could become a famous musician. Who knows? But it was a lot of fun to hear all the songs he played when I was a child growing up.
Photo by yours truly.
4. We have been going all over St. Louis this visit, and it has been fun to see all the sites. We went to Mass near my elementary school, and showed the kids my school on the way home. We went down to the Arch, parked along the river front, and climbed the stairs. The kids were a little afraid that the Arch would fall over on them because the moving clouds in the sky made it look as if the Arch were moving. We did not go up in the Arch, because F is at that age where she does not last anywhere for very long. Instead we went into the Museum of Westward Expansion. The older two loved it, especially when they got to see the covered wagon “like Laura and Mary” rode in from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. M took the kids to the free St. Louis Zoo alone, while my dad and I went to get haircuts. I think they had a lot of fun together, and everyone survived.
5. Today we went to the Art Museum and saw the Impressionist France exhibit. It was good, except I really wanted it to be all huge colorful paintings, and those were about a third of the exhibit. It is free on Fridays, so we only paid to reserve our tickets in advance. That turned out to be a good idea, since we would have had to wait an hour to get in if we had not done so. Our older kids really liked the paintings, but F fussed the whole time because she wanted to be let loose out of the sling. Though one man told M that he enjoyed looking at him and the girls more than he enjoyed the art! They also had some early French photography taken on negatives of glass, paper, and waxed paper. It is pretty cool how they were able to take the earliest images. Tonight we are going to get our last Ted Drewes frozen custard until our next visit. I am pretty sure they do not open early enough for us to get some on our way out of town.
6. It is fortunate that the Cardinals are opening the season Monday in Cincinnati and not at home. If they were, it would be a huge sacrifice for me to leave so close to opening day. As it is, I will be able to tear myself away, and M will not have to cancel class next week for my love of baseball. Dad and I once went to a home opener when I was in high school. It was on Easter Monday that year, and we had a lot of fun. St. Louis has such a rich baseball tradition, that I am glad I was raised in. It is almost as cool as being raised Catholic. 😉 I got a chance to see the new “Ballpark Village” when we were leaving downtown after visiting the Arch. It looks pretty nice, I wonder how it will help downtown in the off season.
7. And last of all, we had another basement water issue a couple of weeks ago when the snow started to melt. Then we realized that there is a drainage system in place on our back patio to prevent such a problem which was covered in snow still. We spent a whole day fixing the problem, and knew exactly what to do to get the basement dry quickly. A friend mentioned something that their realtor told them: “There are two kinds of basements: those that leak and those that will.” Oh, home ownership…