Monday, July 1, 2013

St. Louis, Part 4: Busch Stadium

After leaving Memphis on Thursday (6/6), we drove back to St. Louis once again. You see, we wanted to be sure to catch a Cardinals game while we were in St. Louis, but naturally, the Cardinals were not home at all during our first weekend in town. So, we had to stop by once again.

We drove through Arkansas on our way, yet another state! However, I failed to get a picture of the Welcome to Missouri sign...for now. There will be another opportunity, just you wait!

We arrived back in St. Louis with time to spare before the game, so we stopped by Gooey Louie to pick up some butter cake to take with us. We had wanted to grab some during our first stint in town, but they were closed when we were able to get out there. This time we had success and left with both an Original with chocolate chips and a double chocolate butter cake. I am pleased to report that both were quite delicious, although very rich.

Ellie hanging out in Gooey Louie

We let Ellie do a little walking around before leaving Gooey Louie, then made our way downtown once again. We parked and headed to the stadium, which was our fourth and final stadium of the trip. This brings the MLB Stadiums Visited Count to: 20 for Eric, 15 for me and 5 for Ellie. Not too shabby.

Busch Stadium

The inside of the stadium was really nice. It didn't hurt that it was an absolutely gorgeous night for baseball, but the views of downtown (meaning primarily, the Arch) were lovely.

View from the stadium

Stadium seats facing the Arch

Cardinals fans arriving in droves!

The scoreboard

Ellie and Eric at the game

The requisite family photo

We spent a good bit of time in the concourse, where we particularly liked the old-fashioned scoreboards. We also were able to track down a bratzel (and a pretzel dog), so yay for yummy dinner wrapped in pretzel!

Scoreboard for the game in the concourse

Old-fashioned scoreboard

Pretzel dog, bratzel, cheese dipping sauce and souvenir cup!


While we hunted bratzels, Ellie hunted a nap.

After we ate we did a little more walking around and ran into Fredbird, as well as an adorable couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! They were too much, all holding hands and stuff. Somehow, I won't be surprised if Eric and I spend our golden anniversary (coming August 2057! Start the countdown!) holding hands at a baseball game!


Us with Fredbird

Having watched a little of the game, met Fredbird, eaten bratzels and endured an already rather long day, we decided to head on out reasonably quickly. We were driving to my cousin Molly's house in Bloomington, IL that night and wanted to get on the road ASAP. We hoped Ellie would sleep in the car, but just in case she didn't, we were anxious to make the 2.5 drive and get her to bed at Molly's. So, we bid farewell to St. Louis, although we would be back (again) to fly out the following Monday.

The drive itself was gorgeous, treating us to a lovely midwestern sunset, and it all started out well enough. Despite being clearly exhausted, Ellie was in pretty good spirits and was having fun with her new pal Peabody (I'll have to properly introduce you to Peabody in a later post).

Ellie and Peabody on the way to Bloomington

Sunset along our drive

But soon, things took a turn for the awful. Poor Ellie was just done with the day. (I know this for a fact because while at the stadium, she looked up at me and signed "all done" before nestling her head back into my shoulder. All done, Mom. Let's go home.) She desperately wanted to sleep but just couldn't get there. She spent the rest of the trip (the vast majority) closing her eyes and sucking her thumb, trying so hard to sleep, then failing and crying (with eyes still closed). I was in the backseat with her, trying so hard to help her - windows down for white noise, singing, gentle touches, soothing words, everything. But nothing worked. She just couldn't do it.

Trying so hard to sleep, the poor love.

By the time we reached Bloomington, she was losing it and so was I. I was hating myself as a mother and was so angry at myself for allowing us to follow through with this plan for such a long day. I had thought we would leave St. Louis around 7:00, which we did, meaning we would reach Bloomington around 9:30, which we did. When I agreed to this plan, I was thinking that 9:30 is a really pretty late bedtime for Ellie, but we could make do. What I failed to take into consideration was the time change. By the time Ellie actually got to bed, it was 10:00 p.m. Central time, which is 11:00 p.m. Eastern time. Ellie was still on Eastern time and it was just too much for her. I was so mad at myself for not insisting we just find a hotel outside of St. Louis and finish our drive in the morning. It was a rough drive for all of us.

But, we made it. Molly and Arturo met us outside when we arrived to help us bring in all of Ellie's essentials, so we could get her set up and into bed immediately. She slept well that night, much to our relief, and seemed no worse for the wear the next morning. Someday maybe I'll be able to say the same about myself, but for now, I still feel awfully guilty.

But, Molly and Arturo were excellent hosts, right down to the delicious chocolate waiting for us on our pillows. I can't wait to share more about our visit with them, including Santiago's awesome birthday party! Stay tuned!

Coming up tomorrow: Santiago's monster of a first birthday party!

To see more pictures from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, click here.

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