Many of you don't realize that this born-n-bred Texas gal has not lived here all her life.
Yes, I know, I can hardly believe it myself. In fact, I am very well traveled, living in 4 different states, 13 different homes and attending 9 different schools all before I graduated from high school (but that's a story for another time). Back to Illinois.....
From 1995 to 1998, my hubby whisked me away to the great state of Illinois, where I attended the University of Illinois Springfield, eventually graduating from there May of '98. My very dear in-laws (and family) live there and we have great memories of living in Springfield. Now, each summer, my 2 older kiddos go to visit their grandparents for a week or two. This summer, we decided to drive up to meet them with the baby and stay for a while.
My kids were already sufficiently spoiled by the time we got there, but we had so much more still to do......
Like eating traditional Illinois foods such as thin crust pizza, Mellow Creme Donuts, and horseshoes. Huh?
A Horseshoe is a plate that originates in Springfield, IL and everyone from here loves these "heart-attacks-on-a-plate". Matt & I tend to like them, so we thought it would be great to introduce Sis to her first. So what is it? 2 slices of texas toast (ironic, isn't it?) piled high with your choice of meat (I like ham, Matt likes corned beef). Cover that with crinkle-cut french fries and smother it with a white-cheddar cheese sauce. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. You can't even imagine how delicious this is. I even had a taste of a gourmet one as well with cornbread, pulled-pork BBQ, sweet potato fries and pepper jack sauce. Ummmmmmm.
And did she like it?
what do you think?
All of the brothers & sisters were home for the fourth and it was great to see everyone! We had so much fun over the 4th, celebrating the nation's birthday along with a certain sister's birthday. We may have even gotten to go out as adults one evening. It was a very eventful night complete with a donkey, 2 am Steak n Shake, and tons of laughter. I felt like a kid again. Just sayin' Bradley.
With everyone home, we were able to really get to know our sweet niece & nephew:
And sweet Bubba really learned how to walk while we were in Illinois. By the end of the trip, he was toddling around everywhere.
And we did plently of touristy things too, like spending the day in St. Louis and an overnight trip to Chicago (posts coming soon). And visiting New Salem, where President Lincoln spent his young adult years.
While here, we introduced PaPa to geo-cacheing and had so much fun. Turns out, he was better at it then we were. I'll tell ya'll about that soon too.
We crammed so much into our 2 1/2 weeks there, that is has taken me a week to recover to finally get this post up. It was one of the best times I have ever spent with my kids. So incredibly relaxing, yet we were on the go every minute! It was great quality time spent with our extended family and that was the best part about it. No matter where you live, you always feel at home when you are with family.