Kids, travel, Weekends

2:1 Weekend in St. Louis

This past weekend we had a rare weekend away: I’ll call it a “2:1” weekend. 2 parents, 1 child.

I don’t think we’d ever really done this before! (the 2:1 thing). But it just so happened that Ethan had a soccer tournament in St. Louis, and Asher had a packed weekend himself at home- a total of 4 volleyball games and 2 soccer games.

We debated how to handle it. St. Louis is great little “getaway” destination, so our original plan/ Option A (months ago) was that we figured we’d all go. But then when we realized it was opening weekend for Asher’s soccer and VB league games, I asked him what he wanted to do. He REALLY wanted to stay home and attend his games. (I get it! I mean, we’d have fun in St. Louis, but he’d have to skip 6 of his own games to essentially just watch his brother play??)

Option B was for Ivan to go to St. Louis with Ethan, and I’d stay home with Asher. But I kind of wanted to go to St. Louis, too! This could potentially be Ethan’s last year of club soccer, depending on if he ends up playing tennis in high school next year (spring sport –> would get in the way of spring club soccer). These tournament weekends are usually pretty special and fun.

Option C was to see if my parents would come and stay with Asher and shuttle him around to his games. They said yes, so that’s what we did!

Hence, a 2:1 parenting weekend for us. 🙂

St. Louis Weekend


We left Friday after school/ work. I picked up Ethan early, around 1:30, because we wanted to leave by 2:00ish. Ivan was supposed to get done early, and I had said I’d be out early on Friday, too. Well, that didn’t work exactly, because Ivan got tied up at work and didn’t get home until closer to 3! I think we didn’t hit the road until 3:30.

It was about a 5 1/2 hour drive to St. Louis…. I would have really preferred to take the whole day off and go early, to have a leisurely evening there, dinner out, etc. But we just couldn’t swing it this time, and besides, Ethan just missed a bunch of school for Costa Rica.

Drive was fine- no issues! Listened to some music + a podcast and then I drove the last couple hours into St. Louis to give Ivan a break. He took some good pics of the Gateway Arch as we drove by, but of course, he never sent them to my phone….

We didn’t get in until close to 10 p.m. We were hungry- never stopped for dinner as we just wanted to get there, so we stopped at a Buffalo Wild Wings pretty near the hotel for a late night bite.

Back to check in at the hotel, then bed. Ethan had an 8 a.m. game the next morning!

At our Hilton Garden Inn… He was excited to have the whole bed to himself- no brother along!


I was up bright and early on Saturday at 6 a.m. Showered, ready and then we were out the door by around 7:00. The fields were ~20 minutes away.

It was a beautiful morning! Weather forecasts were looking fickle for the weekend- potential rain, storms and then a big cold front. But Saturday morning was fantastic.

Heading out- I couldn’t believe how SPRING-like St. Louis was, just 5.5 hours south! Trees all in bloom.
Look at the leaves! We just have baby buds forming at home so far, barely…

While he warmed up, Ivan and I went for a little walk to this pond by the field. It was nice, until Ethan texted us that he left his black shorts at the hotel, and apparently they were going to wear the black uniform shorts instead of the yellow ones. 🙄 So Ivan went racing back (the 20 minute drive!) to get his other shorts (that should have already been in his backpack)! ughhh….

I sat on a log and enjoyed my hotel tea and sunshine. 🙂

It was really a beautiful morning for a soccer game! Some of those early spring games can be BRUTAL in WI… cold/ windy/ etc. But this was great.

Ethan on the right hand side there

It was an evenly matched game, and they tied, 0-0.

After the game, we headed toward downtown St. Louis. I had pre-booked tickets to go up in the famous Gateway Arch. Online it said that tickets really sell out in the spring season (it’s a popular spring break destination!). So I reserved these a week or more ago.

Once downtown, we stopped for an early lunch. We hadn’t had breakfast, and time might be tight in between the Arch tour + his next game at 2 pm.

Not a lot of things open at ~10:15 a.m yet, but we found a nice little sandwich shop. We got subs and E opted for a grilled cheese.

The Arch!

Drove a few blocks and parked near the Arch, then walked through a park/ riverfront area to the entrance.

The weather was starting to look iffy… but it was holding.

Some kind of odd angles, from up pretty close:

We went through security (airport style!) to get in, and then went directly to the tram entrance. There’s a lot you can see and do at the Arch- it’s a National Park, actually. There’s a museum, a movie, and more, but we had timed tickets for 11:10 for the tram.

riding up in VERY cramped quarters in our little tram.

The guide described it like a combination of an “elevator, escalator and Ferris wheel, all in one”.

It takes 4 minutes to get up, and 3 minutes to come back down. You really only get maybe 10-15 minutes to walk around up at the top until the next group comes and you have to go.

We lucked out- the weather held just long enough for us to peek out the windows and take some pictures, and then it started storming!! (The windows got all covered with rain drops. Luckily I got these pictures first.)

We were just, you know, WAY up in the sky, in a metal arch, in a lightning storm…no big deal…. lol! (They assured us there were lightning rods on the top, so apparently, we were totally safe.)

It’s really neat! We had actually been up in the Arch when the boys were maybe 3 and 4 years old, but it was a long time ago and Ethan’s memories were very, very fuzzy.

After our tram tour, we bought tickets for the 12:00 movie- one of those National Park films. It lasted about 35 minutes, and covered all the history about how the Arch was built! It was very interesting, and kind of mind blowing how they built it back in the 1960’s! It’s 630 feet tall/ 192 meters.

We sort of breezed through some of the museum exhibits after that, which all looked so great, but we were sadly short on time. It doesn’t just cover the Arch; the museum is quite large and covers the entire history of the Westward Expansion in the U.S.

We had to be out of there by about 1:00 to make it back to the soccer park by 1:30 for warm-ups for Game #2.

Some pics in front of the Arch!

And downtown St. Louis:

I really like this one of me and Ethan! ♥

Walking back to the car, fortunately the storm had passed over. Perfect timing! Wasn’t raining before our visit, and then only rained while we were inside. By now the sun was coming back out.

This is a good one!

The trees in the adjacent park were so pretty!!! I might like spring if we actually got NICE springs in Wisconsin…

Ethan checking out the Mississippi River:

Then, time for more soccer!!

The 2:00 game was actually delayed by probably at least 45 minutes. Weather was clear for us, but the previous games had been delayed with the storm, so that pushed his back, too. It was pleasant to sit outside and wait, though.

They won that one, 2-1 in a pretty exciting game. I think. It’s all starting to run together.

After the game, we stopped by a Culver’s to get some custard, and we ran into a store nearby to poke around a little, too.

Back at the hotel, we freshened up and Ethan showered. We had plans to go to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for dinner. They live just 15 minutes from our hotel. However, big storms moved back in, and there were even tornado sirens going off and 1-2 inch hail!! We waited that out, and then finally went, arriving at 7:30 p.m. instead of our planned 7 p.m.

We had THE BEST time visiting my aunt and uncle! It’s my dad’s brother and his wife, who we hadn’t seen in quite a few years now. They ordered pizza and had salad and brownies and local beer, and it was just so nice to catch up! I don’t really have a super close relationship with my extended family where we talk all the time, etc., but it was so great to see them. We left at 10:30 p.m. but I honestly could have stayed and continued chatting for several more hours!


Sunday the 3rd soccer game was at 11. We slept in some, showered, and packed up. After breakfast we made our way to the field.

The weather had TURNED for the worse, and it was now cold and windy and spitting rain. Yuck. I waited in the car, and in fact, we found a front row parking spot for the game so I didn’t even have to leave the car for the game!! We were right near the goal box on the side where Ethan scored a beautiful goal! And, I was warm and dry!! hahaha!! Triple win.

They won I think 3-1 in that game, and with 2 wins and a tie, they sealed their spot in the Championship game! This was good news, but also, complicated news, because the Championship game wouldn’t start until 3:30 p.m. And we still had the 5.5 hour drive home after…. (Not gonna lie, for some reason I kind of assumed they wouldn’t make the final! So I had figured we’d be heading home after the 11 a.m game, but… nope! It was great, of course, but made for a late evening.)

In between, we went for lunch at a local place with a bunch of his teammates and families. He had fun with that.

The championship game started a little late, too… and the weather continued to be very crummy. Brrr!!! We wrapped up in blankets in the bleachers for the first half, but for the second half we slipped into a bar/grill overlooking the field and watched from there! What can I say, I am a fair- weather fan. 😉

At least it was dry!!! But brr, it really was cold and windy…

They won the Championship game 4-1!! Ethan had a really good game, too. I think it’s been quite a while since he’s won a tournament championship. They got super cool medals and a big team trophy.

Immediately post-game, a little congratulatory players-only huddle. 🙂

The parents all took team photos, etc… it was cute. I won’t share the full team photo here, but here’s Ethan:

Love this pic!

And his #1 fans:

Then we hit the road!! We were heading back into a Winter Weather Advisory, for snow and sleet… ugh. Fortunately, the roads were mostly okay until we got about an hour from home. Then the sleet started, but with the recent warm temps, we didn’t run into much accumulation. I was still really glad to get home (which was after 11 p.m.!), because driving through “rain” and/or sleet at ~32 degrees just made me edgy. (Even though I didn’t actually drive this time.)

It was a long and full feeling weekend! It’s crazy how much longer the days feel when you do lots of different things. I feel like on a normal work day, I blink and it’s 6 p.m. These days felt streeeeeeetched out! But in a good way. 🙂

It was fun to have this special time with Ethan, too! My big guy, almost done with 8th grade…. gotta hold onto these moments!! ♥

5 thoughts on “2:1 Weekend in St. Louis”

  1. Wow! After your Costa Rica trip, I can’t believe you were up for more traveling!

    St. Louis is such a fun city. I used to go there for work and there was a little breakfast place with the best sweet potato pancakes I’ve ever had. I was surprised at how many great food places there were near St. Louis University!


  2. What a fun 2-on-1 weekend for you all. Through blogging I met a friend that lives in STL so I have been there several times so this post brings back memories from my visits to her. I have seen the arch and the museum but did not go up in the arch for some reason. On my last visit to STL, I was pregnant w/ Paul so I bought a “Good Night St. Louis” book. He still loves reading it. I need to be better about going good night books when I’m visiting other cities. I have one for Asheville, too, which I also bought when I was pregnant as we went there for our babymoon.

    Congrats to Asher’s team on winning the tournament!

    Those flowering trees are so pretty! We are at about the same point of spring as you are – trees are just starting to bud. I did see some daffodils on Sunday, too. Hopefully the snow/cold weather we had over the weekend doesn’t impact the flowers!


  3. Congrats to Ethan and glad y’all made it back safely. I’m originally from the midwest but have been in Houston, TX for over a decade. One thing I under appreciated when I lived up north is being able to easily drive between states. When we drive 5-6 hours here most of the time we’re still in Texas. It’s fun to see/hear about your travels to places in the Midwest!


  4. what a great 2:1 trip, you are inspiring me to do one too. I find sometimes it’s so different traveling with one kid vs. two. we pay more attention to the kid, things slow down, no fight to deal with. and congrats on winning the championship!


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