Friday, July 27, 2007

Longest July Vacation Ever ... that began in June

Originally planning to leave on July 5th, Reagan and I headed to Illinois a week sooner to attend Matthew's visitation/memorial service. I was so glad I could be there for Rikki and Chris, who are so amazing, they consoled me when I arrived. They had the most wonderful pictures of Matthew displayed. Here's one I love ...

We spent the rest of our additional week in Peoria after staying a couple nights at Morgan and Bobby's (which was all it took for Cameron (aka Beans) to teach Reagan how fun it is to jump on beds). In Peoria, we mostly relaxed with all gazillion of Reagan's grand and great grandparents ... unfortunately, we had to miss seeing Grandma Connie though, who was in Wisconsin caring for Great Grandma and Grandpa Kirchhoff. Otherwise, we went out a couple nights to my brother's company's bar while Grandpa Martin and Grandma Laurie stayed home with a sleeping Reagan ... except one night when "Grandma" came out with us to "pop into the bar and go out for dinner" ... well, we all had such a great time, it turned into "go out for drinks and pop into a restaurant" ... at midnight ... after I had 2 and 1/2 "Killer Kool-Aids" ... on the house ... how can you pass that up? Well, Steven informs me afterward that those were equivalent to about 8 drinks ... that explained things! Either I found the best burger in the midwest ... or it was midnight and I had 8 drinks on an empty stomach! Some warning about the Killer Kool-Aid woulda been gr-reat! I wasn't nearly as bad as I'm making it sound, don't worry.
Most Eventful Day: Friday, Jul 6th ... Reagan's 103.2 fever was diagnosed as a result of 2 inner ear infections AND she fell down 6 stairs and got a huge purple bruiser on her forehead. This was all happening as I frantically packed up to head to Springfield to visit Doug and Dave, where Erin also joined us with a 5 hr drive from Ohio and Heidi and Little Miss Hanna Banana, who Reagan loved and vice versa, drove from Peoria too.

She seemed to enjoy herself despite the fever still spiking a little, but the antibiotics were starting to kick in. The crazy part was that the 10 days of antibiotics she needed were still going to be done 7 days before the vacation was over AND we had already been on vacation for 7 days... "bejeesus, this is a long vacation"! Anyway, we had a great weekend eating way too much and swimming/sliding/diving/and lounging in their backyard pool!

Monday, July 9th, Doug dropped Reagan and I on the Amtrak to Chicago, where Rikki and Chris unfortunately waited an hour in the parking lot for our late train. After some lunch, Rikki, Reagan, and I headed to Morgan 's in Indiana where we spent 3 relaxing days on their 4 acre property in the country. Reagan continued to have a blast with little Cameron (Beans) and David (her birth buddy). We walked to "Narnia", went to a little petting zoo,

and Reagan and David had their first Dairy Queen cones all to themselves!

Thursday, July 12th, we headed back to Rikki and Chris's in Chicago to get Cam (big Cameron), who flew in late that night. Next morning, along with the rest of my family, we drove to Port Huron, MI to meet up with my brother Danny, sister-in-law Bethany, and Reagan's new cousin, Faire!

Cam and I had great workouts the next morning at the unusually nice gym for a hotel (1 of 4 workouts for me the entire 3 weeks! Yikes!). Later, we did some consignment shopping and ice cream eating and that night, went to a great restaurant with a view of the Huron River. Reagan enjoyed the dance floor and the teal suited keyboardist. Here we are before heading to dinner (minus Monica who took the shot):

"Holy crap, that flash is bright!"
Sunday, July 15th, we headed back in the direction of Chicago with 2 detours. One in Grosse Pointe, for a visit with my other grandparents, yet another set of Reagan's great grandparents, Grandpa Andrew & Shirley, who fed us all a great steak on the grill lunch. Here's Cam and Reagan sharing some corn on the cob :-)
After lunch, we headed to the Worthenbury Country House that I found on the internet and rented for 2 nights. It was a great place near Warren Dunes State Park, which is what we were looking. It wasn't step out your door onto the beach great, but it did have a hot tub in the backyard and couches and chairs with ottomans so big, we easily slept all 16 of us with only one floor air bed! The next day, after climbing the ~250 ft sand dunes, Cam admitted that he was impressed and that I was in fact correct that the place was "cool". He refused to believe that much "unflatness" existed in the midwest until he saw it. Someday, I have to take him to northern Michigan wher the "unflatness" is twice that size! He even jokingly admitted he'd like to live in Michigan ... don't get your hopes up or down about that. :-)

Morgan, Rikki, Beans, and I reaching the top of the dune.

Tuesday, July 17th, we headed back to Rikki and Chris's, where Morgan, Beans, and David joined us, and Bobby later in the week. We took the kids to the Brookfield Zoo, which they loved.

Who'da thought a 2-humped Camel would walk by right then! :-)

The final hoorah was buying the last Harry Potter book the second it was released at midnight on Saturday, the 21st (except Cam and Chris, who refuse to read the series. Whatever! Oh, and Rikki who drove us but was already having it delivered to her later that day). We somehow managed to still hang out and talk while sneaking in 5 chapters (ok, well, Bobby and Rikki did. Morgan and I were then instructed to catch up so they could talk about it with us and we had to go off in quiet rooms to manage that (some of us aren't as talented as others). We all went out to the Cheesecake Factory for one last glutenous vacation dinner that night and then our flight departed at 6:40 the next morning. Good thing they live 5 minutes from the airport!

Oh, and we were gone so long, Reagan had time to learn some geography:
Where are we now, Reagan?

... and where will we be when we get back home?

Excellent Job! A+

Thanks to all who hosted us, fed us, chauffeured/loaned their car to us, and entertained us. We had a great trip!