We got going bright and early, stopped for Starbucks, then ran back for forgotten things. Shortly before noon we were going for real. West through Illinois, I would move there. I couldn’t handle any closer to Chicago but north western Illinois and most of Wisconsin I’d take in a heart beat, humidity mosquitoes and all.
In high school my brother had a friend, farmer Bob, who’s family had farm ground out that way, they spent a few wild weekends four wheeling the old Toyota, climbing grain bins and filming cows at night with the night vision. Much funnier than it sounds. We spent time out there with the horses. My old boy Nate went over backwards with me at an endurance ride with a very large audience. Before the ride of course, it made for a long ride. My family still hauls out to Lake Le-Aqua-Na to camp and ride. Galena, of course, is a stunning little town. It rained off and on and mist was rising from the hills. Beautiful drive.
Iowa is far prettier than it’s reputation would have one believe. Of course so is Nebraska. All these supposedly flat ugly states, glad people think that hope it keeps them out. Other than lots of rain the drive was uneventful. Except for grouchy children who refused to sleep. Then got woke up shortly after they finally cried themselves to sleep. I might have been a little grouchy.
We stayed overnight in Sioux City And finished the trip the next day. There were lots of bikers everywhere heading home from Sturgis. I may have spent some time laughing at the big, bad, dirty, scruffy looking bikers checking facebook on their phones and discussing their businesses back home. It was the living version of Wild Hogs.
We were all very glad to get home the kids missed their Lala, I may have missed him a little too. My parents wussed out on sleeping in their pickup and got a room in Chadron for the night. The Goblin Child went with them for her last night with her beloved Grammy and Different Papa. We went home and slept.
They came back the next day and we rode, the girls, and worked on a lawn mower, the boys. We also took a fourwheeler for a spin around the block. It was very exciting. The kids fell asleep. We were sad to see them go that evening but they had big plans and lots of miles ahead so it was with some excitement for the trip that we said good bye.
It was a great trip, so glad we got to go. We came back exhausted and happy to have seen everyone. Now it’s their turn to come see us!
She wanted to write this for them because she loves them
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My brother and sister-in-law spent every day we were there taking us out to show us all the fun things to do. We couldn’t have asked for better tour guides, they were great. The Goblin Child had been wanting to go to a water park the whole trip. We stopped in Nebraska for gas next to one and she had a melt down when we wouldn’t take her. Finally we got to go, there was the one in Missouri of course but you can never have too many. We loaded into two cars, with car seats there is never enough room. The girls and smallest children in their big clunky old suburban and my brother with his adoring fan club in the car. We let him go first, said we’d follow, then left him to get Starbucks.
When we got to the pool it was still closed, fall hours, all the life guards were back to school. So we went and got food, came back later. The let you have life vests in exchange for some sort of collateral. I watched my brother give up his license and was worried. All my stuff was in the car. When it was our turn they happily accepted a dollar. It was my brothers turn to be horrified.
The kids loved the pool. The Goblin Child did at least but she was happy to be anywhere my brother was. 8 cried most of the time I think. The pool was surrounded by grass and across the grass were sand pits. One for volley ball and one with toys for kids to play on and a shower to rinse off before going back to the big pool. The kids liked that part best I think. It was fenced with one gate so I was able to sit for a bit and let 8 roam by himself. They could have stayed there all day but, I heard someone say something about bees. Looking around to see what they were talking about I saw one of the bouncy toys covered in a swarm of bees, wasps, it didn’t matter what someone was going to get stung. They would go back inside and then the next kid would come along and jiggle it. Out they would come again in swarms. We took our kids and went back to the other pool.
We stayed until 8 wouldn’t stop crying anymore. The Goblin Child was sad that she couldn’t go down the big water slides. Nobody had cared that she was a smidge too short but they wouldn’t let her wear a life vest and no one was allowed to catch her at the bottom. It’s difficult being little.
I don’t remember the afternoon. Naps probably and I have pictures of the kids playing so apparently some of that. That night dad wanted curtains sewn for the topper on his shiny new pickup. They were off on their own adventure after dropping us off. We stayed up late visiting and hating to say good bye.
While putting the curtains in the back of the pickup we stood and watched bats flying over head
The morning was great my brother took us to another cool park. The kids played, it got hot. Then we walked down yet another bike trail that led right into a lake. According to my brother they built the trail, and a nice little bench to sit on and look at the water, during a drought. Then it rained. He took the kids to see the bench. I didn’t go in that deep.
We did lunch, admired the garden some more, got naps for the kids and, after leaving the kids with my brother and sister-in-law, we took off for my riding lesson! My mom has a really nice friend who boards at the same barn as her who loves dressage too. She very kindly arranged a lesson for me with a trainer friend of hers. He was entirely too cool. He rides with trainers from Medieval Times and Temple Lipizzans. When we arrived we got a tour of his barn full of gorgeous Andalusian studs. Then he tacked up one of them and let me ride him.
My brother and sister-in-law were up bright and early to get started showing us the sights. And to collect their child. My brother always does the funnest stuff with his kids and wanted to share it with our kids. We paused on the way out to admire the garden. My parents garden is stunning. And to let the kids play more because they hadn’t been doing that all morning already and all night the night before.
Then we had breakfast at a great little restaurant. The Goblin Child disappeared with her aunt and uncle before I knew she was leaving and didn’t have any shoes on. Her cousin stayed and rode with us but didn’t have any shoes on. We were lucky the restaurant didn’t kick us out when we showed up with a barefoot child after beating them there. fortunately they showed up with my child and shoes for theirs and the food was delicious.
After filling our bellies it was off to the library in Barrington. Barrington is so beautiful in and of itself of course it’s library would be cool too. They talk about libraries becoming obsolete. This one has risen to the challenge and is in no danger of that. I wish we had one like it near by for those cold winter days.
Then we hiked to the nearby park for more playing and snacks in the tree house.
We went home and played around a bit. Each child fell madly in love with a vehicle. We found a cicada and it’s skin! The 8 and I, The Goblin Child chose to stay and play with her cousin and uncle, went to mom’s barn. This was my barn way back when and I still love it. I got to take a quick spin on mom’s horse Indy, then take the kids around. We cleaned up poop, got to talk to Richard a little then off again for food. The days went to fast and the first one was gone already.