Today was day two of the Lego Store Grand Opening celebration at West County Center in Des Peres, MO. If you’ve ever wondered what such an event is like, you’re in luck, because I took lots of pictures! It was quite an experience!
We got there shortly before the Lego Store was scheduled to open at 10, and the line was already incredibly long. I was worried that we’d be waiting for two-plus hours, and even briefly considered leaving, but in the end the wait was really just over an hour. No small feat with five children, but they were all extraordinarily patient, and Grandma came along to help out. Here’s part two of the line we waited in (part one, which was behind us, was about as long, but much more twisty):
Part three of the line was in the mall itself…it was a relief to get out of that darkish, stuffy corridor!
Part four of the line was immediately outside the store, and it was the fun part of the line. The employees were having a good time keeping the spirits of the crowd up, and being that close to the store made you feel like your wait was almost over…and really, it was! I was impressed with how efficiently they kept things moving.
The children each had a “Lego Store allowance” that they received, plus a little extra money from Grandpa. They had a fun time choosing what they were going to buy. We entered another line to check out, and it, too, moved pretty quickly.
We were lucky to be among the first 300 customers (which surprised me, based on the length of the line), and received this free limited-edition Lego Store set, as well. That one is for me!
After making our purchases, we went down to the other end of the mall for the building event.
Our store was building an eight-foot high Incredible Hulk (they have different builds at different stores)!
It was cool how they were handling the building…there were tables set up with bins of Lego bricks, and cards showing how to make a large brick. The instructions were simple enough for even small children to participate.
The children had fun making their bricks, which were later placed on The Hulk.
After we finished there, we went back to the store (but not the line, thankfully!), so the children could get certificates showing they participated.
We had to walk past the building event again on the way out of the mall. I thought we were just going to leave, but the Master Builder was doing some giveaways, so we stood around a bit, to see what that was all about.
It’s a good thing we stayed, because Bunny answered one of the questions correctly, and won a Lego Friends set! It was something she had been wanting, but didn’t have enough money for, because it cost $40! She was so surprised that she won, she could hardly tell the Master Builder her name!
When we got home, we checked out our haul (even with all this stuff, we managed to stay within our budget!):
And then the children immediately got to work on their new sets.
It was a long, exhausting morning, but it was also more fun than I had imagined. The children are looking forward to going back next May for the one-year anniversary celebration!
Volpi Rotola (a St. Louis specialty), on crostini, sprinkled with basil. Much better than the frozen pizza the children are enjoying!
We finally have a Lego Store in our area!
Even though it hasn’t “officially” opened yet, it sure is a busy place!
The “Build-your-own-Minifig” display was especially popular:
As was the “Pick-a-Brick” wall:
There are Lego scenes throughout the store, visible through porthole-like windows:
Turkey is over the moon…I’m sure we’ll be going back soon!
Last weekend, we went to the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis to take a tour. I love touring the brewery, because no matter now many times we’ve been there, I always see something new in that “beer city” (Did you know that there used to be a school on the brewery grounds, for the children of the employees? It truly was its own town!). I especially love it at Christmastime, because of all of the beautiful decorations that are everywhere!
We drove into the city today, so we could tour the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. It’s an amazing church!
I was very interested in the coat of arms over the door. I can’t quite identify it…I think it’s the diocesan coat of arms, impaled with the Cardinal’s personal coat of arms, and possibly something else as well, in addition to the papal regalia.
The children were amazed by the size and height of the pulpit…it’s pretty incredible!
There are several chapels in the Cathedral Basilica, which completely mystify the children:
There is also a crypt, which is the final resting place for Cardinals Glennon and Ritter, among others:
The real beauty of the Cathedral Basilica is the mosaics that grace nearly every surface. The mosaics cover 83,000 square feet, and have more than 8,000 shades of color in them (I didn’t know there were that many colors!). It took twenty artists 75 years to complete them all. They depict scenes from the Bible as well as church history, in addition to the many different crosses and patterns that are to be found. Photos really don’t capture how intricate and beautiful they are, as well as how much they gleam, even in a fairly darkened church.
The baptismal font was also ornate and beautiful:
After we toured the inside of the church, Turkey, Bunny, and I walked around the outside.
It was Turkey who noticed that they wings of this angel are made of wind chimes (I was too busy being scared to death by a nun to notice it myself…you can imagine how bad I felt!):
Even the back of the building is lovely:
It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon right before Christmas, and reflect on the true Reason for the season!
It’s hard to believe that Christmas on The Hill has already come and gone, but as always, it was fun!
The Nativity Walk is my favorite part of Christmastime on The Hill.
This was my favorite Nativity scene.
The detail on the pieces was amazing!
The buildings all look so festive at this time of year!
And I’ve never seen such a festive horse…it didn’t just have bells and bows, it had antlers and a red nose!
Even its feet were decorated!
Of course, we listened to La Befana tell her story.
We also stumbled across some sort of flash mob…it was very entertaining!
I love the Italian pride that is everywhere!
And the fact that the center of it all is St. Ambrose Catholic Church.
I have a favorite house on The Hill.
I love that space under the stairs that’s just perfect for a Nativity scene!
It’s nice to see local businesses get such good support from the crowds.
Quite a few of the buildings on The Hill have these green bricks…I wonder if there’s some kind of story behind them?
No trip to The Hill would be complete without a stop at Amighetti’s!
Another fun (and windy!), day in December on The Hill!
About a decade ago, you wouldn’t have been able to convince me that this would be home. Now I can’t really imagine wanting to live anywhere else.
Last night, Ryan and I, (and one seven-week-old hitchhiker), went to the Cardinals game. When we ordered our (free!) tickets, we knew that they were giving away a Tony La Russa figurine, but it wasn’t until we got our tickets that they announced that they would be retiring La Russa’s #10 that night, as well.
I thought it was very cool how they combed his number into the grass of the outfield.
There were many baseball dignitaries in attendance–past and present Cardinals, as well as players and front-office people from La Russa’s other teams, and, of course, his family. Mike Shannon, the voice of the Cardinals, was the emcee of the ceremony.
Mayor Francis Slay gave him a key to the city of St. Louis
He also received a gold-dipped bat, with a list of his achievements as manager.
And a framed jersey.
Tony gave a nice speech, which was very focused on the organization, and not on himself.
The big moment came when they unveiled his picture and number on the left center field wall, just down the way from the other Cardinals greats who have already had their numbers retired.
The give-away was cool, too, as evidenced by the fact that some idiot was trying to buy them off of people, just to turn around and sell them on Ebay.
It was quite a night–I’ve never been to anything like that before, and I may never see such a thing again!
My personal favorite is number 26…sage advice for anyone attempting to drive in the St. Louis Metro area!
Driving in St. Louis
If you’ve ever lived in St. Louis, you’ll enjoy this. If you’ve never been to St. Louis, consider this your “Visitor’s Guide.”
- There are 75 “official neighborhoods” in the City of St. Louis. St. Louisans commonly give directions based on these neighborhoods. No neighborhood is on any map not from the tourist board, the AAA or even MapQuest.
- There are 54 school districts on the Missouri side alone, each of which has its own school bus system and scheduled times to block traffic.
- There are 91 official municipalities in St. Louis County. Each Municipality has its own rules, regulations, and police department.
- Each municipality has its own snow removal contracts. It’s not uncommon to drive down a road in winter and have one block plowed, the next block salted, the next block piled with snow and the next block partially cleared by residents trying desperately to get out of their own driveway.
- Snow plowing is never a problem in the City of St. Louis because they plow nothing. If the forecast calls for snow, they just close everything, except on “The Hill” (see #1 above) where each homeowner goes out to the street and shovels out one car-sized rectangle and then stands guard over it.
- Any car parked longer than 4 hours in the city is considered a parts store.
- The City of Ballwin actually proposed that drivers use connecting strip mall parking lots to get from place to place instead of driving on Manchester Road to reduce traffic.
- Laclede Station Road mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections, as do McCausland, Lindbergh, Watson, Reavis Barracks, Fee Fee Road, McKnight, Airport Road, Midland, Olive and Clarkson. Gravois Road, Spoede, and Chouteau can only be pronounced by a native.
- Many St. Louisans from South County have never been to North County, and visa versa. West Countians have everything delivered.
- No native St. Louisan knows that Lindbergh Blvd. runs from South County to North County! And, if you tell them, they will not believe you.
- Lindbergh Blvd. belongs to every neighborhood except Kirkwood, who had the nerve to change its name to “Kirkwood Road.”
- Two interchanges exit Highway 40 onto Clayton Road and two more onto Big Bend.
- If you need directions to O’Fallon, you must specify Illinois or Missouri. This is also true for Troy, Maryville, St. Charles, Springfield, Columbia, etc., etc.
- The Page Avenue extension and airport expansion projects took over twenty years to get approved and St. Louisans lost track of how many political figures claimed them as their own ideas.
- St. Louisans were aghast when the federal government required them to redo the highway signs to indicate that the Federal highways went to cities in other states instead of local municipalities.
- Drivers now make their own license plates rather than go through the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also purchase tags behind most QuiK Shops. They’re cheaper, the clerks nicer, and the service faster.
- Lambert Field and St. Louis International Airport are the same place. The East Terminal, however, is a different place.
- Highway 270 goes all four directions: North and South in West County, East and West in South County, and East and West in North County. Confused? So is everyone else!
- The outer belt is Highway 270 which turns into Highway 255 in South County. The inner belt is Highway 170. Highway 370 is an outer-outer belt. Highway 40 is the same as Interstate 64 (but only through the middle part of St. Louis).
- The morning rush hour is from 6-10 AM. The evening rush hour is from 3-7 PM. The Friday rush hour starts Thursday morning. Never cross a bridge during rush hour without a sack lunch and a port-a-potty.
- Yield signs are merely for decoration. No native St. Louisan grasps the concept.
- If someone uses a turn signal, it’s probably a factory defect. Or else it’s been on for the past 17 miles.
- Construction on Highways 40, 64, 70, 255, 270, 44, 55 and 170 is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment.
- All blue-haired old ladies in Cadillacs, driving on Olive west of 270, have the right of way.
- Most St. Louisans don’t know that you can enter Illinois without a passport.
- If it snows or rains, stay home.
via Driving in St. Louis.