We had three weeks of vacation/family visiting. The first three days we spent in Chicago just the Adams Family (Duh, duh, duh, dum). Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and The Chicago Art Institute Musuem as well as Chinatown were amazing. The food at Double Li's in Chinatown was soooo good. Sophia's best comment of the Chicago trip though was while looking at Alaskan King Crab, "Whoa, Look! There's lunch for a month!" We enjoyed Chicago style hot dogs instead but I'm still laughing at that. OH, and I forgot, we stopped at the Christkindle Market as well. Brrrr!
I think we brought the cold and snow with us. Chicago gave us a cold blustery, snowy time but it sure was pretty. Our hotel was pretty neat too. And taxi's are cheap!! Toronto should take note.
We stayed a night with my cousin Angela and her husband Jesse. Unfortunately we didn't break out Settlers at that time. We'll be back though! Jesse made this really cool board for his game. I was drooling. Ephraim, their little guy is just smart as a whip and so cute. He liked the girls and kept running up to them giving them hugs.
On Wednesday we decided to head to Manito. The trip is a blur to me so I must've slept, well between phone calls. Having a cell phone was fun even if it did ring a lot sometimes. Tim started laughing after the third call, I think from my sister. We don't get that many calls at home! We stopped in Tremont to say Hi to my mom at work. She was thrilled to see the girls and the feeling was mutual. She shared dum dum's and stickers with them so the spoiling officially began!
Once in Manito it seemed the weather decided to be nasty again. That whole ice storm hit hard. Mom & Dad's yard and drive turned into a skating rink. It was great to be with Melissa, Brice and kids as well as mom & dad.
Dad wanted Tim to go to work with him and Tim wanted to go so Tim put on his long underwear (such a nice wife I am to pack them for him!) and met dad at 5:30 to go to work. ICK. I slept until 8. The girls played with the cats at Grandpa and Grandma's and didn't mind that I was asleep for a while after they were. Grandpa makes pancakes and bacon and eggs and other delicious breakfasts.
All three girls got to go on special on their own trips with Gpa and Gma Q. They loved it. They didn't want to leave when it was time to move on. But the fun didn't stop there. We stayed a couple of nights with my brother, his wife and their 4 kids. Cousins galore! They had way too much fun.
Of course, there was a catch. On Tuesday before Christmas our littlest started puking. While we were with my extended family (about 30 of us). Right on the carpet! Tim says that it's amazing how quickly you're kicked out of a party when you're kid throws up. *Grin*. He was a sweetheart and took great care of G while she was sick. I'm such a suck about those things! He even stayed home from Christmas eve with her and let me stay and play.
Christmas day G was feeling better so we let her come out and play. She didn't do much more than flop around. Poor kidlet. She did like her gifts though and had enough energy to paint pictures with her new paints.
On Boxing Day (the 26th) I was sick. Oh joy. I haven't been that sick in a long time and I hope I'm never that sick again. Did I ever mention how much I loathe throwing up?? We were supposed to leave for SC. The weather was conspiring against us. It was wet and cold and foggy. But I was willing and Tim packed the van so, puke bucket at my feet we left around 1.
We made it as far as Lexington KY. Stepping out of the van and into warm air was bliss. The Best Western in Lexington was lovely, the pool is huge, the hot tube was perfect and breakfast had my whole family drooling. Who doesn't love fresh biscuits??
Hannah called at 7:30 to see if we'd left yet. Uh no. We were sleeping. But we did get moving and finally left Lexington around 10. Driving through KY and into SC was gorgeous. It would be even more so when things are green, but we weren't complaining warm weather? We're fine. :D We made it to Hannahs before bedtime and she had homemade Vegetable soup waitingfor us. YUM.
One more time though, sickness hit. Rebecca lost her supper, lunch and breakfast. Poor kid. It was HOT. 75, and lovely. She slept fitfully and slept all Monday when the weather was so amazing. But Tuesday she was feeling better. Monday the other two girls played outside with Hannah's 3 dogs and fished in her pond. Oh and I fished too. :)
Monday, we went to the Ocean. The sun was setting when we started back to Hannah's and it was breathtaking. I would move there in a heart beat. We had a fantastic time at the beach. We found shells, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, one crab and 4 shark teeth! The water was freezing cold but it was so pretty.
I think the girls and I liked the palm trees all over the best. That and the, don't need a jacket, air. :)
On Tuesday Mom and Dad flew in from IL. So all of us plus Hannah headed to Charleston to pick them up. There's an outlet mall with Bath & Body Works and Coach in Charleston. Can you see me grinning? They also have a Chucky Cheese. I don't believe that 4 hours at Chucky Cheese will ever be topped in my girls memories. Caleb and Hannah are some serious gamers there. :) They put their tickets in with ours and each of our girls ended up with a t-shirt. Sophia won 4 icecreams, Becca and Gabi both won Cotton Candy. The evening ended by picking up mom and dad and it was great.
We enjoyed Wed. together. Hannah, Becca, Mom and I went to downtown Beaufort and went shopping. What a neat town. I loved all the galleries. I also fell in love with an antique and furniture store tucked in the back of an alley. I found Christmas gifts for Tim's boss's and a family friend. I would happily have filled my house with their furniture though! OH, and I found a really cool deal on a print of a watercolor of the lighthouse from the State Park we'd visited the day before! How cool is that?
Thursday we went to an amazing Wings and Rib place for lunch. Tim just kept eating! Their bbq sauce was sooo good. We missed the all you can eat ribs by an hour. Tim now has a reason to go back. :D That night we had a roast for dinner and did Christmas. Hannah had brought home some really neat things as gifts from Iraq. I have the goblets and Tim's carving on our piano now sitting beside the camels. They are pretty!
Then Friday it was time to head home. We decided to take our time driving home and I'm so glad we did. We chose to drive through the mountains. They were so pretty! We took 77 & 79 & 90 and had perfect weather the whole way. I tell ya the hardest part of this trip was driving home! It was painful having to put on coats again in Virginia.
We stayed overnight Friday and Saturday and on Sunday planned as top at Niagara Falls. BRRRR! It was pretty but we could only take about five minutes outside. The wind was blowing so the icy spray quickly made being outside miserable.
The girls had spending money burning a hole in their daddy's pocket so they were happy to spend it at the gift store at Niagara. We go to SC and my girls spend their money in Canada. Oh well. :)
Three hours later give or take a bit we made it back home. The worst roads were as usual the ones right before home. Freezing rain started just north of Toronto. We made it home safe and sound because of our new tires, dh being a great driver and God protecting us. Sleeping in our own beds was NICE.
It's Tuesday and we're just working on getting back into routine. The trip overall was a success. We'll probably do more trips in the future. I'm hoping for warm weather trips once a year. That's not asking so much, is it??? :D