2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Home sweet home! We're here for a week to catch up on laundry and go to my OB appointment to check on baby Jack. I am now 29 weeks along! After that we'll be off to tour several of the Southern states!

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 28

Thursday, June 24, 2010
We headed into the home stretch today, but not before seeing some pretty cool things along the way! Before we left Effingham we stopped to drop off a travel bug in a local geocache and picked up a new one to move on it's way. We also found a little matchbox car van with "Stinky's Diaper Service" written on the side. We traded for it, since Reese's nickname is Stinky. I thought it was cute!

We also stopped at the The Cross in Effingham, Illinois. This is what Roadside America has to say about the cross:

" 'Cross at the Crossroads' was built for broadly noble religious reasons -- and to out-size every other big cross out there, especially the giant cross in Groom, Texas, which was both its inspiration and its toughest competition.

198 feet tall and 113 feet wide, forged out of over 180 tons of steel anchored in untold fathoms of cement, the cross can withstand winds hurled by evilest of forces at up to 145 mph. Its stark, slab-sided design conveys the corporate utility of a logo -- no distracting crucifixion blandishments, just the plainest symbol of Christianity."

We took several photos of the kids at the cross. It was amazing just how big that thing was!

After leaving the Cross, we hit the road in earnest on our way home. After crossing the Missouri state line we started to get HUNGRY!

We stopped for dinner at Lambert's Cafe, The Only Home of Throwed Rolls, in Sikeston, Missouri. Lambert's Cafe is such a fun place to eat. The atmosphere is all about fun. There are license plates, pictures, and business cards attached all over the walls. They are most famously known for their "throwed rolls". The waiters and waitresses will walk up and down the aisles with a cart of rolls that they will throw across the restaurant at you. The food is outstanding. A lot of the food is family style. The wait staff will walk by with tomatoes and macaroni, fried potatoes and fried okra and scoop some on your plates. If you run out of something you ordered whether it be shrimp, pork chops, or something else they will get you more. They are also known for their delicious hubcaps, which are large cinnamon rolls. Dinner was fabulous, and the girls thought it was hilarious to get food thrown at them! We would definitely stop again! There were also several great photo ops out in front of the restaurant. Check out some of these pics:

We started the rest of the trek home after dinner and ran into a little more rain. It was late when we got in, but we were home! It was good to be home to sleep in my own bed for a few nights!

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 27

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We started on our way home from Ohio today for a short break from the road. We were all sad to say goodbye to GranMary and Papa Les, but I think we were all itching to get back on the pavement, too! David went back to work in Albany, so it was just us girls on the road this time!

When we hit the Indiana border it was raining like CRAZY! In fact, we saw quite a bit of rain on our travels today.

It's obvious that we are now experienced (and messy!) roadtrippers! Look at my car!!!

It didn't take long for Reese to crash out once we got rolling. She did a lot of playing at GranMary's house, and it wore her out! She fell asleep with her Twinkie in her hand! Haha!

Katie just acted like her goofy, funny self on the trip, of course...

We were all glad to see the Illinois state line. We knew the end of our long day of road tripping was close to an end.

We stayed in Effingham, Illinois, for the night. We were all pretty tired, so Nana decided to spring for dinner in the hotel. It was really good! We had steaks and baked potatoes, and the kids had some macaroni and cheese. It was a pretty quiet night.

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 26

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We spent today just exploring the Sauder Village with GranMary and Nana. Katie went swimming with her cousin, Richelle, so Reese was the only kid who went along. We had a great time looking at all of the old things in the village, but I think our trip to the ice cream shop was the best part! It was so hot outside! Reese really enjoyed riding in the horse drawn buggy and on the train, too.

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 25

Monday, June 21, 2010

Since Reese wasn't at home for her birthday GranMary threw her an awesome party! All of the cousins who could be there came to celebrate with us. We had cake, an indestructible pinata and lots of fun!

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 24

Sunday, June 20, 2010
Today is my baby girl's 4th birthday! I can't believe she's grown up so fast! It never fails that we are vacationing when her birthday rolls around, so this year I decided to do something better than just a cupcake in a hotel room. Last night on our way home from dinner we stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up one of those helium tanks for birthday balloons. I got up earlier than the kids and sat in the hotel room bathroom to blow up the balloons. I was terrified that I would wake them up before I was ready, especially after I popped a few balloons while blowing them up, but thankfully my kids are extra heavy sleepers.

The first thing Reese said when she woke up and saw all of the balloons was, "Mama, can I have a balloon?". When I told her they were all for her because it was her birthday she was so excited! She just kept saying, "Thank you Mama! Thank you for my balloons!". It was so sweet! We also had some Hostess cupcakes, but since we didn't have a lighter or a match to light the birthday candles it was kind of a let down.

Since we had to leave Niagara Falls today, and there was NO way we could get 30 balloons into the car, the girls went down to the hotel lobby and handed the balloons out to everyone they saw. People seemed hesitant to take the balloons at first, but when they realized the kids weren't SELLING them they didn't have any trouble getting rid of them.

Our car was packed to the top for our ride to Ohio. Reese was literally jammed into the third row with all of the luggage and stuff, but she didn't seem to mind.

It seemed to take forever, but we did finally make it to Detroit and the United States border. We were not prepared for the line at the border crossing, but it did move fairly fast.

The view of Detroit from the bridge.

I have never been so glad to see a sign for Ohio!

It took us all day, but we did make it to GranMary's house safe and sound. Now it's time to rest up for Reese's birthday party tomorrow!

2010 Summer Road Trip - Day 23

Saturday, June 19, 2010
Today was the day we got to see Niagara Falls! Mary purchased a guided trip for our whole family, which was awesome! We rode an air conditioned bus all over the place and saw several of the best attractions without having to worry about tickets, parking or any other decisions. I loved it! The kids were excited to get on the bus and get gone!

Our first stop on the tour was the Skylon Tower. We were able to get some great views of the falls from there!

After leaving the Skylon Tower we headed over to The Journey Behind the Falls exhibit and the Fury of the Falls 3D ride. Reese was not impressed with either one... She was afraid of the noise of the falls, and when the floor started shaking and the water started spraying on the Fury ride she was terrified! If I had known how the ride would be I never would have taken her on it. It was kind of scary! The Journey Behind the Falls was neat to see, but I wasn't all that impressed, either.

The area around these two attractions was very impressive, though. I loved the idea of a 'People Mover' and I got some good pictures of the girls in front of the falls.

Reese kept running around saying "Take my picture with this sign!".

We had lunch at a visitor's center type place and then went to the Floral Clock. The Floral Clock is 40 feet wide, with a planted area 38 feet wide, making it one of the largest such clocks in the world. Each year, the face of the clock is filled with 15,000 to 20,000 carpet plants and colorful annuals, planted in unique, intricate designs. It was pretty and I was glad we got to see it. It's funny, I actually took more pictures at the visitor's center than I did at the clock!

We headed downstream to see the Niagara Whirlpool. Reese was more interested in playing with the chains on the trash cans than she was with looking at the water.

Our last tour attraction of the day was a ride on the Maid of the Mist. It was amazing! The boat actually went right up to the falls. It was hard to see anything because of the water blowing around, but it was powerful, to say the least. We all loved it!

Our tour bus dropped us off back at our hotel around 2pm. We received a free ticket to the Niagara Falls movie at the IMAX theater just down from our hotel. We went to the movie. It was OK, but a little cheesy!

David, Mom and I really wanted to take the girls to the Butterfly Conservatory, so we headed towards Niagara on the Lake. Mary and Les decided to skip that attraction and go have some coffee. We got to the conservatory just as it was about to close. They gave us about twenty minutes to explore, and the girls both loved it.

After the Butterfly Conservatory kicked us out we drove up to Niagara on the Lake to look around. It was a beautiful little place and the lake was amazing! We looked around for something to eat, but couldn't make a decision. We ended up meeting David's parents at Jack Astor's for some bar & grill type food then went to Wal Mart for a birthday surprise for Reese. Her 4th birthday is tomorrow!