Sunday, March 13, 2016

Making Memories in St. Louis

While I've never liked the term "bucket list," Kyle and I do hope to provide a wide variety of experiences for Grace, and we know that we may have a limited chance to do that.

This week, we got to combine a special date night for us, with a fabulous zoo trip for Grace, and it was a win-win for everyone!

Date night at the Fox!
It started with a date night to the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis to see The Piano Guys on Thursday night.  Last summer, Kyle's cousin, Dana, introduced us to The Piano Guys, with a beautiful mash-up of one of our favorite hymns," Amazing Grace" with Rachel Platten's "Fight Song." It almost seemed as it f was written just for our Grace.

So, when Kyle found out they were playing the Fox in March, we got tickets to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, which was Feb. 28.  Although we didn't know much of the music they played, we knew they were talented, and we were anxious to see them in person.

Quincy and Grace playing with Grandma Kim.
As we started to talk about babysitting options, Kyle suggested we ask his sister to watch Grace at her house in Arnold (just south of St. Louis), and then spend the night at their house after our date. We hadn't seen Scott, Mikaela and Quincy for awhile, and it would be fun to hang out.  Mikaela quickly said she would love to watch Grace that night, and everything was set in motion.  We even started hoping for some nice spring weather on Friday to take the kids to the zoo, which is one of our favorite places!

Grace and Quincy hanging out!
Grace loves her new Gryffindor shirt from Universal Studios!
We left on Thursday afternoon, and Grace enjoyed watching Frozen in the car on the drive.  She even fell asleep for part of the trip. When we arrived in Arnold, Grandma Kim was there playing with Quincy, and Grace was excited to see them both.  After feeding Grace, Kyle and I headed out for the show. We grabbed a bite to eat on the way. It wasn't exactly gourmet dining, but we just enjoyed the chance to be together.

Heavy traffic and trouble finding a place to park made us about 15 or 20 minutes late to the show, but we were already caught up in the music moments after we walked in.  While one played a grand piano, another played a cello (one of 24 he owns).  And the music was fantastic, but their stories were even better.  They shared that The Piano Guys got started when their now producer owned a piano shop and wanted to explore using videos on social media to boost his business. Although they never sold any pianos, The Piano Guys has taken off to international success.

One of their goals is to play their music at each of the seven wonders of the modern world, and they showed videos of playing at both the Great Wall of China and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. They often blend classical music or familiar hymns with modern day music, like Adele.  

At intermission, we were so excited to see one of Grace's physical therapists from Springfield, who was also at the show.  She came over to see us, and we talked about how great the music was.  

The show was nearing its end, and we still hadn't gotten to hear Amazing Grace/Fight Song.  Kyle was afraid that maybe we missed it when we were late to the show. But, we were in luck, as they began to introduce the last song, we kind of guessed that was it. They talked about they were big fans of superheroes, but not in the Superman sense. Rather, they thought superheroes were those fighting cancer and other battles so bravely all the time. They talked about grace and hope, and it seemed like it they were talking exactly about our Grace.  I felt the tears roll down my cheeks as they played their mash-up of songs and thought about just how brave and courageous that our Grace really is.

We had hoped for a chance to meet The Piano Guys in person after the show, but it didn't work out. We wanted to share Grace's story with them, but it wasn't meant to be. We will hope to see them again and have another chance to tell them about Grace.

It was nice after the concert to only have the short drive to Arnold, where Grace was sound asleep. She put up a pretty good fight for Aunt Mikaela, but fell asleep anyway. And we were asleep shortly thereafter as well.

Just hanging out with the penguins.
The next morning, we awoke very excited to see at least a partly sunny sky, which meant a trip to the zoo.  Uncle Scott had to work, but the rest of us enjoyed our morning and lunch at McAllister's before heading to the zoo.

Hanging out with daddy and Kali the polar bear.
Grace LOVED when Kali swam by her stroller.
The weather was just perfect as we arrived at the zoo, and we headed straight to meet the new polar bear.  Kyle has wanted to see him ever since they finished the new habitat last summer. Kali was busy playing with a large plastic barrel in the water, and Grace giggled and giggled every time he swam past her.  

Oh, you know . . . just monkeying around.
Another of her favorite parts was a trip on the zoo train, and she laughed every time the wind caught her breath. We also checked out the penguins, the big cats, the monkeys and just had so much fun walking around the zoo on a pretty spring day and visiting with each other.

All smiles waiting for the train!
Family photo op on the train!
Everyone loved the train ride!
All too soon, Grace was getting awfully tired, and we decided we should probably head for home. Tired though she was, she managed to keep herself up the entire ride home, watching Frozen.  All in all, it was just another great couple of days on this Grace-Filled Journey.


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