The Gateway Arch!
Nate and I made our annual trip to St. Louis this past weekend. Hopefully we'll make it more often than once a year, but it had been 11 months since we visited Nate's sister and bro-in-law. Nate's parents made the trip from Wichita. It was a quick weekend, but a lot of fun.

Sweet rain cloud we passed on the way to St. Louis

We Nashville left mid-afternoon on Friday and made it to St. Louis around 7:30. It's about a 5-hour drive, depending how fast you drive and how much road construction is in Illinois (a lot this time) and how often you stop for gas or bathrooms. On our trip there, we noticed our Versa was making a lot of noise, especially at low speeds. There was clearly something wrong with the muffler. We parked it for the weekend and resolved to address the issue when we got back to Nashville.

Nate and Andy lighting fireworks in the parking lot

Friday evening we went to Andy's parents place to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Andy had recorded it so we could skip through commercials but mostly we watched a video of a Google+ Hangout planning session Nate and his friends Ryan and Sean had to do a video for their youth pastor's birthday. It's hilarious. If you have an hour to kill, watch it here. Here is a link to the finished "music video" that includes a recorder, chugging Ranch dressing, and Nate dancing in his underwear.

Saturday we woke up early and went to the St. Louis Zoo. The zoo is free, and right now they have a sting ray exhibit that is normally $3, but you can get in free the first hour. So we made it for the free time and petted some sting rays. These rays were much friendlier than the ones at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. They almost jumped out of the water to get your hand on their backs. The weather in St. Louis all weekend was wonderful! Mostly 80s and some rain Sunday morning. We checked out a few other exhibits at the zoo (penguins, monkeys, hippos, elephants, river otters) before heading out.

Nate's mom, me, and Caitlin with our new bags

We all took naps and then Nate, Andy and some of Andy's friends went to see The Dark Knight Rises. Nate's parents, Caitlin, and I went to see Moonrise Kingdom at the Tivoli Theatre. After the movie we wandered around The Loop and found some really awesome purses at this eclectic gifts store called Phoenix Rising. The bags, from Baggallini, won our hearts and Nate's mom, sister, and I each bought one. I've had the same purse for three or four years so it was time to upgrade.

For dinner we met back up with the boys and went to Pi Pizzeria in Central West End. Then we went to Ted Drewes for frozen custard. That place was packed! Sunday after church we met up with some of Nate's and Caitlin and Andy's friends at an Indian restaurant. I've never really had Indian food; the curry taste was familiar but some of it was too spicy for me. They had good pita-type bread and some kind of chicken in red sauce that I liked.

Thomas Jefferson at Missouri History Museum

After lunch we went to the park where the Missouri History Museum is. The museum was free, but I didn't spend long inside. There was a cool statue of Thomas Jefferson right when you walk in. It was getting late in the afternoon so Nate and I needed to start driving back to Nashville soon.

Nate's dad wiring up the muffler on our Versa

We packed up and got in our car, and it sounded worse than ever! Nate's dad took a look at it and figured out what was wrong. The pipe going into the muffler was disconnected. It was rattling really bad so Nate's dad got under the car and tied it up with a wire hanger. It still sounded pretty bad/noisy though.

We made it back to Nashville around 10:30 p.m. and I went straight to bed. Nate dropped me off at work to see if he could get the muffler fixed. The shop didn't have the Nissan part, but they said they could get it fixed tomorrow.

Our neighbor across the street has at least FIVE kittens hanging out in their driveway. I like cats, but that is just irresponsible. Kittens need attention. I tried to approach them but they are really scared. All we need in our neighborhood is more roaming cats. Not. Sheesh.

Hard to believe that July is basically over. Where did our summer go? I'm definitely ready for cooler temps, even though I know I'll complain in the winter when I'm freezing. :)

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