I haven't seem most of my extended family in eight years or more...so I really wanted to prioritize this little weekend adventure. The kids and I drove the roughly six hours to Chicago, where we picked up Hubby from the airport, as he had been traveling for work that week. From there we drove another hour to Rockford, IL and stayed in a hotel for the night, where we jumped on the beds, swam in the pool, and ate pizza. The next day we got ready and drove another two hours to just past Wisconsin Dells, where my extended family reunion was being held. It started at 11am so we just barely made it. We caught up, took family photos, laughed, chased the tiny kiddos who were dead-set on running off, ate delicious food during a potluck for lunch (hello, we are Minnesotans!) and then a catered dinner later. We played lots of games (the family is very competitive) and even had a worship service together. It was pretty cool to hear our voices praying and singing "How Great Thou Art" together, the sound wafting through the atmosphere.
The whole event was a lovely reminder of where and who I come from : an organist who met a pastor in Minnesota and fell in love...creating a large family of people that love Jesus.
I will say that this was the first road trip with the kiddos where I have felt, well, relaxed. I didn't really worry whether they would sleep well in the hotel the first night, or how we would feed them, or if it would truly be any fun at all. ("Will mama get any breaks from this vacay?!?!?")
Things are just easier now that they are two and four. (Seriously. I'm not joking.)
I feel like we get to experience things together, rather than them being too tiny to enjoy/remember our travel experience, or us being too tired/stressed to pay attention to it.
A person should really always should keep a journal while traveling. I usually do, but somehow it got away from me. There were all these really cute little things I meant to remember. Then when we got home I was so exhausted I couldn't remember anything. The struggle is real.
Thankfully, I tried to snap a ton of photos throughout the weekend...
|why walk when you can be carried?|
|we found plenty to do at rest areas during our drive. Nola playing hide and seek solo while cormac slays me with an impressive stick.|
|my favorite travel companion|
|the kids refused to enjoy any water fun at the indoor water park...but they loooooved the blue Icees.|
|"Sand angels, Mama!" Fin always finds a way to be one with nature.|
|napping with dada.|
|there were various terrible two diva tantrums|
|walking through the trailer park with dada.|
|Auntie Anne's pretzel stop at an Oasis near Chicago. We are regulars at these places, I feel.|
|The blondies loving on their uncle Spence during our breakfast out!|
|my mama, fin and me|
|taking a break at an Oasis|
|being a bear|
|jumping and "surfing" on the hotel bed|
|cormac has mastered the "stop taking my photo" scowl.|
|meanwhile, finola will always give me a good "cheese!"|
|we visited the really lovely cabins where the rest of the fam stayed. we, however, were in the Jellystone trailer park due to my late booking. I thought "trailer...hmmm...could be fun and kitschy!" lol.|
|I like watching kids do really tactile things that adults never seem to do. Don't you want to dump sand on yourself? Think of the exfoliation!|
|those that could make it from our branch of the "tree"|
|my little guy loves the fire!|
|preeeetty sure she shouldn't be trusted with a sharp stick.|
|our classy 1980's trailer was not furnished with anything like a wine glass...so this had to do.|
|she was so tired that night she requested to be put to bed.|
|this is his preferred method of keeping smoke out of his eyes.|
|wrangled the two for a photo with mama. man I look good. just keeping it real, folks.|
|cormac was in rare form that night, and told many ghost stories. well, he told the same one about 500 times.|
|By their expressions I feel the marshmallow roasting part was more fun than the s'more eating part of our campfire experience. I guess it is an acquired taste.|
|at our final rest stop. seriously the worst one in IN and I always vow to never stop here. yet, here we are.|
This trip was short and sweet and oddly relaxing.
We look forward to doing it again in two years!
Where have you adventured to this summer?