Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Here We Come Peoria!

Since I haven't been to Peoria since my last high school reunion (summer of 2010), the kids and I definitely needed to return. Sadly our visit was initiated because of the death of Mike McCord last month. I really wanted to attend the funeral, but couldn't make it since Steve was out of town himself. So I decided to go back another time and have a better opportunity to visit with Katie, and meet her darling son, Mac.

With the kids off school the whole week of Thanksgiving, it was a perfect time to drive back.  Rather than listen to the kids ask "how much longer until we go to Illinois?" a hundred times, I decided to surprise them.  So I packed their suitcases while they slept and packed the car while Bennett was at school.  Since she had been sick all week, I told her that I would check her out early (she wanted to go for Grandpal's Day which was held right at the beginning of the day).

Last minute, Steve decided to come too, so we packed the car up and went to her school at 9:30am.  After we got her buckled in, we told them where we were going...and they were so excited!  After the first hour, they only asked a couple of times..."how much longer."  We told them to settle in for the long haul and that we wouldn't get there until dark.  They watched a movie, ate lunch, took a nap, listened to music, and Bennett practiced spelling words.  All and all, a smooth 9.5 hour ride up.
We met my folks for dinner at a local Mexican place, and then came back to their house to get settled. The kids found a few toys to play with, and then we convinced them to hit the hay. Saturday morning, my father took the kids to get donuts, and then we ventured out to the new Caterpillar museum. We learned about all of the large machinery and got to see up close many of their pieces of equipment. Preston was in heaven sitting in each of them!

Pres loves his Poppy!

When we got home, then my mother helped the kids decorate a gingerbread house (with a little candy sampling).  I must say it turned out pretty cute too!  I guess all of the practice over the years has helped (even though I forgot to take a picture of the finished product to prove it).
That night I went out to meet Tiffany Meier for dinner and drinks so we could catch up.  Steve and the kids dined on pizza with my folks, and then stayed up late watching football!  Sunday morning definitely came too soon, so we lounged around some and then feasted on eggs and bacon for breakfast.  The new Riverfront Museum opened at noon, so Steve and my parents took the kids there for the afternoon (I ran errands instead).  They had a ball exploring, and playing in the different areas.  Even though they were there for several hours, they still didn't see it all.
Building race cars

Built race cars, then raced them
The kids really had fun doing so many new things like building little wooden cars, and then racing them, testing eye-hand coordination, seeing how fast you can throw a baseball and much more!

Our little engineers

Having fun in a block house!
Pres throws at 17 mph

In fact, Preston had so much fun, he insisted on returning the following day!  Bennett elected to go bowling.  So my mother and Preston spent several more hours at the museum, while my father and I took Bennett bowling and out to lunch.  She held her own during the first game, which was quite embarrassing since the bumpers were left up for us adults!!  Even though I didn't think Bennett would last for another game, my father couldn't end on that note, so he challenged us to another game.  He certainly redeemed himself, bowling 151.  I stayed about the same, but Bennett slipped into the upper 40s.

An embarrassing moment for my father & me
So though it was a short visit, it was an action packed visit!  The kids thoroughly enjoyed being spoiled by their Nene & Poppy, and it was great for me to get to see a couple friends and hang with my parents too.  We had beautiful weather while we were there, and ate a lot of good food!  The kids made it even better by traveling so well both directions (all 9+ hours of it)!  Maybe a trip back won't take us this long next time....

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