Sunday, August 24, 2008

meet me in st. louis

the spicy girls and their mommys. together again :)

Giggly Girls! Evie and Sage.

Sage and Evie check out a picture of themselves at 9 months

Ian, enjoying the hula-hooping at the Reunion Picnic.

Gabby having her face painted.

Evie gets her face painted, also. (she actually sat still!)

Beautiful Princess!

Evie inspects Sage's face painting.

Malaine quickly became one of Evie's favorite people.

Evie and Malaine peek out of the play structure at the picnic.

So here it long last...the first of the vacation posts!

Of course, it has now been over a month since we traveled, but better late then never, right?!...

Ever since the Children's Hope Int. (our adoption agency) Reunion Picnic last year, we have been planning to attend the one this summer. It was just not feasible last year, and we figured that Evie might remember it/appreciate it more this year anyway. We flew into Nashville, TN because I looked at the "distance" on the map and decided it was not very far from St. Louis, MO and since we have friends in the Nashville area--we could fit a visit with them in as well!--so we rented a van and drove the 5 hours (oops!) to St. Louis. travel agent I am not. As it turned out, we were the only family from our China travel group that traveled to the picnic this year. Fortunately, our closest friends from the group, Mark and Shannon Laxton, live just outside of St. Louis and do not need to travel to attend--so they were there! (they were actually our main reason for attending the picnic, as Evie and Sage were roommates and we have tried to keep the girls updated on each other with pictures)

And, while we certainly would have LOVED to see all of the others from our travel group (not so subtle hint, hint!) our time with the Laxtons was amazing! Evie and Sage were so precious together, and all of the rest of the kiddos (theirs and ours) blended so well. We were treated to a home-cooked meal at their house--oh my! Shannon is an awesome cook! I still have to get the recipe for those delicious ham and cheese melty thingys...:)

We were able to do some sightseeing with them, as well...traveling up to the top of the St. Louis Arch. oh my, what a trip! (best said by Khalil, the caterpillar/worm from Veggie Tales' Jonah) The "pods" that you cram into (and, as a family of 5 --we were minus Shell this vacation--I mean CRAM into) are small, futuristic-if-we-were-living-in-the-60's, egg-shaped, creaking, swaying, elevator cars.

(that smile on my face is to hide the fear.)

the look on Ian's face stayed the whole ride to the top. he was as excited as mommy to ride.

Let's see...cramped? check, creaky? check, elevator? check, heights? check OH MY! four of my least favorite things all in one ride!! yay! and yet, it was--surprisingly--well worth it! an, undeniably, iconic piece of American sighseeing history. very cool. and, knowing that all those creaks and bumps were just part of the charm, the ride down was much more enjoyable.

some 'bums' enjoying the view (couldn't resist!)

the view from the top.

Ah! some of the kiddos from the front.

(l-r) Evie, Malaine, Gabby, Sawyer, Ian, Makenna, Sage.

ride down--much happier!

yes, even a happier mommy.

seriously? you are looking for a caption here? well, it's the arch...

We also ate at a really fun diner that had the largest root beer floats I had ever seen--let alone eaten! But eat (and drink) I did! The whole thing! and so did all of the kids...yes, we actually wasted money on meals for them, as well. silly parents.

and, as I am less than half way through our vacation photos and adventures, I shall have to make this a two (or three) part blog...(hopefully I will be back soon--or at least sooner than last time!)


Mer said...

I love the pic of Evie with her face painted. :0)

annaliese said...

it's my favorite, too!

Daniel said...

I like the shot of the arch from below. The travel mags don't give you that extreme angle. Your public anxiously awaits the next installment!

annaliese said...

why thank you very much! I took that! always trying to be a bit artsy :)

Dana said...

First, I have to point out that the pic of Ian with the hula hoop looks like he only has one arm. =) I just thought that was funny.

I love that you use so many pictures in your blog - I think I use too many words! That might change now, thanks for the inspiration. ♥

annaliese said...

ha ha! that is a strange illusion in that photo! my one armed boy!

and, no, I don't think you use too many words. I have an excessive amount of photos in these posts because I take waaaay too many when on vacation.