Biking the Katy: Katy Trail State Park

Becoming a Mommy hasn’t been an easy task for me. I envy the women who have a baby and enjoy every second of every day and are just natural born Mommies.

I blame most of it on Olivia’s colic. The child screamed. Every day. Every minute of every day. For 3 solid months. It was terrible. I think that started me off on the wrong foot.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I love her with all my heart and soul. She’s truly the sunshine in my world and has been the biggest blessing to me. But there has been so much that I’ve had to change in myself. Letting go of my selfish ways to make room for all her needs first. Putting all my desires on hold so that my time can be spent with her.

I’ve had a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I can’t pick up and go at the drop of a hat. I can’t “plan” at the spur of the moment and take off to go shopping or go have a girls night out. Everything has to be thought out and decided.

“Ok, we’re going to be gone for 3 hours. Let me check the diaper bag for diapers, diaper wipes, items of entertainment, medicine, an extra change of clothes, and a sippy cup. How is the weather? Do I need to bring her big jacket or light jacket? Will we need her stroller, food, or booster seat?”

It’s been hard enough in my life trying to keep track of myself and now there are two of me to keep track of! I always tell Robby, I married him so I could have a keeper. Someone’s gotta keep my head attached after all.

I’m so pleasantly surprised that today, albeit getting a late start to the day, but today, we took a bicycle ride on the Katy Trail as a family!

I feel like I’ve conquered the Mommy-dom. We successfully took an adventure with the baby (I use that term loosely. She is definitely not my little baby anymore) and we all enjoyed ourselves. It was great.

The beautiful weather was just what the Winter Blues Doctor ordered for us. Nothing like getting rid of (or biding more time from) the dreary February blahs than by getting out to soak up those sun rays and getting fresh, Missouri air.

The trail is nothing but raw nature waiting to encloak you as you travel down the gravel. Bluff on one side. River on the other. Peace and quiet (except for that lady behind us yelling “Coming on the left!”).

 

Cedar Creek leading to the Mighty Missouri

 

Olivia got to ride in her new WeeRide bicycle attachment with Daddy. Unfortunately, my torso was much too short and I wasn’t able to support the both of us.

 

Except for the time I jumped on scrictly for the photo ops

 

Thank God for Daddies. Especially Daddies who are willing to ride a terribly uncomfortable bicycle bowlegged for miles on end just so his little girl can enjoy!

There were lots of people with the same idea. I think it’s just what all of Missouri needs at this time; a chance to recharge our solar panels to get us through the last of winter.

I couldn’t have asked for more. We got exercise. We had Olivia. We had each other. Robby and I actually had a chance to talk. And listen. To each other. About things we’ve been needing to discuss. But in our crazy, hectic, insane lives we’ve been leading, we haven’t had time to do. We fall asleep on the couch early, we have separate work schedules, and we have a demanding toddler. Once we had found ourselves actually getting to have a great conversation for about an hour, we realized we had really been needing that bonding time.

The Katy Trail runs along the Missouri River through Jefferson City. If you visit the Missouri State Parks website, you can find detailed information including park maps, accessibility sites, and the like. Hopefully, the sun will find it’s way back to us again soon!

Amtrak through Missouri

Last year, shortly after I had Olivia, Robby surprised me with a train ride for the weekend to St Louis. I hadn’t been on the train since I was a kid and even then, I can’t even hardly remember that trip. The train definitely isn’t luxury at it’s finest but man, did it work out well!

 

Photo stealing via Google

We boarded at the station in Jeff City and traveled along the Missouri River passing through this town and that town. We enjoyed taking in the sights that a person never gets to see using our normal methods of travel. The river seems even more majestic up close and personal. Each river town is lined with what looks like centuries-old buildings. Each one with more character than the last.
It’s a good thing I’m not scared of certain people in the world though. At the train station, before loading, I noticed there were quite a few corrections officers. Then I started noticing all the men with their single, paper bag. You know what that means, right? A little creepy? Yes.

The train stopped near downtown St Louis so it’s just a short taxi ride to wherever you want to go. We enjoyed our weekend, took a taxi ride back to the train station and we were back home in Jeff City in just a couple hours (if even).

So, when we were invited on another train trip last October for Oktoberfest in Hermann, of course we jumped on the opportunity…. and train! My favorite time of year of course. The ride from Jeff City to Hermann is a short 45 minutes. There were people packed like sushi on this train; everyone wanting to get their wine buzz on without having the responsibility of designating a driver. This train ride was fun.

Everyone was playful and ready to party, people anticipating the atmosphere that awaits in Hermann on any crisp, October day.

We took advantage of the food and beverage car. Our first trip (to St Louis), I didn’t even know that they sold alcohol on this train. But alas, they do!

We enjoyed the day in Hermann. Venturing from Hermannhoff to the brewery and back. Hermann does have a trolley for $15 per day had we wanted to get to any of the other wineries (definitely missed Oak Glenn and Adam Puchta that day) but we saved our money and enjoyed the day anyway.

 

Oh yes. We enjoyed the day.

This is a trip I look forward to taking again in the future. Maybe next time we’ll spend the night in one of the little cabins offered at Hermannhoff!

Check out the Amtrak website. There are stops all along Missouri from Kansas City to St Louis. Take a trip. You’ll be glad you did.

Festival Friday 5-11-12

Terrible blogger? Lack of dedication? Lazy? I promise I’m not trying to be a single one of these things. I know I’ve disappointed all one and a half of my readers by not presenting many posts lately. I do apologize. Fact of the matter is, I’ve spent my last several days off soaking up Mommyhood. Olivia and I have spent some much needed together-time on the floor learning how to crawl (well almost, she’s soooo close!). Anyways, I really don’t have a lot for you to do this weekend but that’s okay. We should be spending time celebrating Mom’s everywhere anyway! For the ones that still have time otherwise, below is a list of some things around Missouri to entertain you. Hope you enjoy!

Springfield:

Last week I introduced you to the C-Street Market. Don’t forget that it’s every Saturday at the Footbridge Pavilion on Commercial Street. Lots of vendors. Free event!

Stomp the Blues out of Homelessness Blues Festival will be going on at 1315 E Trafficway ($15-$18 per ticket) on Saturday between 2 & 11pm. Not only will you be helping raise money to benefit local homelessness needs, you also get to do some relaxing while listening to some easy listening tunes. Enjoy!

Head to the Remington’s Event Center on Republic tomorrow from 8-5 for the Springfield Indian Artifact Show. Close to 200 tables will be on display showcasing ancient pottery and arrowheads, along with other indian relics. There will be display-only tables and people will also be on hand to purchase your indian artifacts!

Rolla:

Downtown Rolla is playing host of “Downtown Days” tomorrow from 10am-4pm. Head downtown for wine tastings, art exhibits, and special sales from local businesses and discover all Rolla has to offer!

Branson:

Calling all bluegrass fans! For more than an entire month, Silver Dollar City invites you for their Bluegrass & BBQ Festival. The fest runs from May 10 until June 12 with tons of different bluegass artists. Visit the website for more detailed info and dates.

Farmington:

Get to the Farmington Industrial Parks with the kiddos so they can participate in the Wiggle & Giggle fishing competition. Children must be accompanied by an adult with a valid fishing license and supply all their own equipment. Be there early as the event goes from 8am-11am. 756.2215 for more info.

As always, contact me with your upcoming event so we can feature it on Festival Friday! Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Pan

The Famous Leaning Tower of Osage City

Being a new parent is hard. Hard for many reasons but one of those being the lifestyle adjustment you must make for the little one. Robby and I have found that to be one of our toughest battles. Parenthood means not being able to go and do what you please and when you please.

Thankfully, we have parents that love spending time with Olivia, which occasionally allows us to have some Mommy-Daddy time.

Which is just what we did yesterday. Enjoyed a much-needed, long-0verdue river day, out on the Osage. And geez, what a beautiful one at that. We got our solar power recharged (we also got sunburned), as we spent the entire afternoon soaking up those powerful sunrays.

We had to take a jaunt towards Osage City since I learned last week that they’re tearing the famous Leaning Tower down. I’m not from Osage City, I have no ties to Osage City (except the partying I’ve done along the riverbanks there), and I generally don’t care what happens in Osage City.

 

The Famous Leaning Tower of Osage City: early demolition has already destroyed the top right section of the tower.

 

Except for the fact that they’re tearing down the famous Leaning Tower (I know I said this already but I wanted to be sure you heard me).

If you don’t know what the Leaning Tower is, you should take a quick trip down to Osage City. It’s quite the sight to see. This 5 story tall tower is an old grain mill that sits just beside the railroad track and right along the Osage riverbank.

 

Just as I turned back to snap one last shot of the Leaning Tower, a train came rolling by. How picturesque…..

 

Last night, I did some quick internet searching and found where a railroad worker had mentioned that the Leaning Tower was leaning as far back as 1974, when he first started working on the railroad. How the tower could have stayed standing after leaning for so many years blows my mind.

With the construction of an additional railroad bridge, crossing the Osage River at Osage City, the crew has begun the destruction of this landmark, with the completion estimated to be within the next 2 weeks.

 

The existing railroad bridge. The new railroad bridge will be placed in the foreground of this one.

 

Yesterday, I pleaded with Robby to please drive (I guess the proper wording would be steer, since we were on the boat) me by the famous tower for one last look of admiration (and a couple pictures) to hold with me in memory.

If you want to see the Leaning Tower firsthand, be sure to get down to Osage City quick, as of a couple weeks, it will be leaning no more.

Pan, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru

Arrow Rock

When I was little, I remember taking a daytrip to Arrow Rock with my mom and my sister. The Arrow Rock I remembered from so long ago was a cobblestone street lined with vintage shops and boutiques, people jaunting in and out with their bags, a whole day full of purusing.

At the end of the summer last year, I was fat. And by fat, I mean I was 8 months pregnant. Robby wanted to do a quick one-night getaway, just as something to do before baby came and our social lives as we knew it was over.

See? Fat.

 

After a little online searching, we came up with taking a drive up to Arrow Rock to cozy in at Bunny’s Bed and Breakfast and stroll through the town, later hitting up some sort of ice cream festival (with live folk music!) at the old schoolhouse downtown.

We packed our bags and headed that way about noon time on a Saturday. When we arrived, first thing we did was make a quick drive through the town. At first glance, it didn’t look like there was a whole heck of a lot to do but we figured we had just missed part of town.

We found Bunny’s, located at the end of a dead end street, and followed the directions (given to Robby over the phone by the husband of Bunny) to just make ourselves at home. We entered the home around back where we found our room just off the main living area. Now, Bunny’s wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill B&B. Bunny’s was also Bunny’s house. She uses the refurbished basement as her rented rooms. We easily found our room and left our stuff inside. Bunny’s room’s are also so cleverly decorated in bunnies……

photo of Bunny's Bed and Breakfast, Arrow Rock, Missouri
Here it is. Bunny’s.

The room was of a decent size for our one night stay, the bathroom, however, was nothing to write home to mom about. A little small, a little old fashioned, a little rundown.

(Please keep in mind that I really don’t like giving bad reviews, I just want to give it to ya straight. That’s what I’m here for after all, right?)

Once we took a quick bathroom break, we set off in the car for some afternoon wasting of time. We headed downtown so Robby could appease me with window shopping (and possibly buying!). Once we parked, we began walking along the streets of olden days (or what looked like) until we got to our first shop.

I can’t remember the name of the first store, probably because it was fairly forgettable. They did have local, hand-crafted items, which is totally my thing. However, they didn’t have anything that was my thing.

The next shop we found did have some neat things but nothing to set the store apart from the next. Also, there were only about 18 neat things, as there was hardly anything stocked in the store.

We kept walking in hopes of finding a shop that intrigued me, but when we got to the end of the street, we realized that was it. Except the ice cream shop. Literally, that was it. There were several stores that looked recently closed and the ice cream shop. And seriously, that was it. We had drove 2 hours for this?!?!

Well, since it didn’t look like there was much else to shop for, we thought we’d at least go to the tavern for an appetizer (and of course Robby was lucky enough to indulge in a much needed brewsky to cool off from the stickiness of the day). There were few people in the tavern and no appetizers on the menu. Luckily, they came up with a grape, cracker, and cheese tray. Hey, at that point, we would’ve taken anything.

This is the tavern. It was just ok.

This part of the day, I remember well, as I busted into a fit of laughter at the sight of my cankles, which were so swollen from the pregnancy and the walking that they looked like water balloons on the verge of busting open. I laughed for 23 minutes, atleast.

I still laugh out loud looking at these things. This picture was taken early on in my pregancy, so you can imagine how huge they were at 8 months pregnant. I’m not proud, just thought you could use a chuckle. I’m ok that it’s at my expense.

 

We did make a point to head down to the schoolhouse for the ice cream festival since that was kind of the reason we had chosen Arrow Rock in the first place. Once again, it left a lot to be desired. Although, I’m pretty sure the whole town did come down for the occasion (probably because there was nothing else to do).

So, after we built up our excitement of getting away for one last small hoorah, it’s safe to tell you that we left Arrow Rock with nothing but disappointment. I was saddened to crush my memory of that quaint town with the cobblestone streets. My only hope is that I have saved you.

(If you’re wondering, we did NOT stay at Bunny’s that night. On our way out of town, I called to tell her such, but had to leave a message, as I’m sure she was at the ice cream festival.)

You’re not from Missouri if you don’t like Bass Pro

As a kid, I remember roaming the grounds of the Bass Pro Headquarters in Springfield as we were on our way to or from summer vacation. It became almost a tradition to hit Bass Pro. 5 year old little girl that I was, I remember being so full of anticipation to go to Bass Pro.

I’ll admit, being an adult doesn’t give you quite the excitment of visiting Bass Pro as that young child had, but we enjoyed our Sunday afternoon there anyway.

Robby designated yesterday as Family Fun Day, which I shortened to FFD. I frequently give people, places, and things (“Vanna, I’d like to buy an A”) abbreviated names. I think we’ll try to do more FFD’s in the future.

Now, Olivia is just 6 months old and I know she’ll never remember it and I know she really probably didn’t enjoy herself anymore than she does scooting across our living room floor playing with her rattlers.

But, here’s the thing. Robby and I have a bad habit of working our weekends away. Okay, he does more of the work but all his work really wears me out! We are on the go most of the days, feeling like staying home is wasting time. Robby has this thing about him. He has to do something productive literally all the time, or his increasing anxiety and jitteriness (if that’s even a word), gets the best of me him. And that’s about the point that I wanna lock him in the coat closet.

What was great about our impromtu trip to Bass Pro (mind you, we only went as far as Columbia. The one is Springfield kicks Columbia’s butt anyday), was that we left all our worries of the world at home. We just went, without purpose, and enjoyed ourselves!

We looked at boats we knew we didn’t need.

 

We have the mind to sell our Bass Tracker and upgrade to this sweet ride (or a much cheaper version, anyway)

We looked at kayaks that we also don’t need. And camping supplies we don’t need although we wish we did but we don’t make near enough time for camping. We sat in UTV’s we have no place to ride.

If you missed my last Festival Friday (first of all shame on you!) I mentioned that Bass Pro was hosting a Kids Challenge Weekend. One of the events was casting, which I’m sure they used their beautiful lake for. We weren’t there in time to watch the festivities, however.

The fish tank houses a record-setting crappie, caught by a man from my hometown of Fulton. Nothing exciting ever happens in Fulton, so I’m kinda stoked by this.

Robby and Olivia checked out things from the other side. Although she didn’t know quite what was going on, she enjoyed watching the fish anyway.

What I took away from our FFD, was simply this. It’s ok to not be productive, as long as you’re not being productive as a family.

Happy Travels (even if they’re small time travels)! Pan, The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru

Prison Brews

Happy Monday (evening) all! It’s so strange for me to be sitting here, feet up, pjs on, wine in hand on a Monday evening. Usually this time on Monday, I’ve already been hard at it saving lives (or something like it) at work for 3 hours. Gotta admit, I like it. I could get used to it as a matter of fact.

Due to the holiday of bunnies and peeps (Yuck-o), we really didn’t get to do much this weekend. However, after countless (and pointless) hours we spent Saturday afternoon driving all over tim-buck-to looking for our future homestead (well, Hubby drove and I napped a little), we came back to Jefferson City to have a breather at our local microbrewery.

Prison Brews. I love it. This name is so stinkin’ clever. Let me tell you why (if you don’t already know). So there’s a small spot (sarcasm!) overlooking the Missouri here in Jefferson City called the Missouri State Penitentiary. Which is another whole blog story in and of itself. The facility is no longer used (except for prison tours which I’m so gonna take) but still stands, very eerily, along Capital Ave. Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road and to the left (or right) sits Prison Brews.

Playing off their super-close locale to the prison, Prison Brews is a microbrewery that offers live music, brick-baked pizzas, a large patio for the warm weather days, and a feeling that you should be wearing all orange. The brewery is located at 305 Ash St and has additional parking in back (trust me, you needed to know this ’cause the street is usually parked all up). Prison Brews features a number of beers on tap, made in-house, and of course a full bar. The brew names also tie into the prison theme, Prison Town Brown, Go To Jail Ale, I Ain’t Your Honey Wheat (my fav!), just to name a few.

So, while I wouldn’t make a long trip to JC just to stop into Prison Brews, if you’re in the area and have a bit to relax, you should definitely check it out. I’ll admit that I’m a super bad parent and we did take in Baby Girl but it was daylight and more of a family atmosphere so don’t judge me! If you’re in the mood for live music, visit them most weekend evenings.

Wishing ya’ll a wonderful week! The Gravel-Roadin’ Guru, Pan