Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cross country trip- part 11

Our final destination for this trip was Chicago.  We have two friends that live out there, one of my best friends from high school and one of my best friends from college.  And the coolest part of it is that now they are friends.  We split our time, staying with each, and really fell in love with their families and the city.  I had been twice before but this time was different.  I feel that way about all of stops on this trip.

We took an architectural boat tour of Chicago, which I have to say impressed not only me but Max too.  He was awesome, sitting there, looking at all of the buildings, asking questions as we went.  We ate at some great restaurants, grilled out with friends, and played, played, played.  Max made a new little buddy and I got to catch up with my old ones.

One of the biggest highlights of this stop and of the entire trip in general was getting to see my dearest friend, my best woman, play and win her Superbowl football game.  It's one of those things that every time I think about the fact that we got to see the game, I smile.  It was completely serendipitous.  Right before leaving for the trip, I ran into her mom and found out that if they won their playoff games, that they would be heading to the Superbowl, to be held in Chicago the first weekend in August.  We were also going to be in Chicago the first weekend in August.  It meant spending one extra night than originally planned but none of us needed convincing of that.

The game was a blast and as it ended and we walked out onto to the field, I started crying, completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the trip and the perfect way it was ending.  I couldn't have picked a better way to conclude a month on the road with my family.

Of course, we went for ice cream afterwards, then it was off to sleep.  The next morning, we ate breakfast and then it was on the road for the 16 hour trip back to Massachusetts.  We did that in 2 days, non-stop driving on Sunday and arriving home Monday, late afternoon.

And just like that, we were back.  But we are all forever changed. And along with the love we have for each other and all of the amazing people we saw along the way, we have reaffirmed our love of travel, our sense of adventure and our need to see the world.
Thanks for following along with us.  

with the Messingers

Chicago architectural tour

Boston Militia Superbowl game

Tastee Freez

Welcome to Massachusetts!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The final day of summer

I know, I know, summer doesn't end until mid-September but for as long as I can remember, summer has ended with the start of the school year.  And the school year starts tomorrow.  So today was all about savoring those last few hours of carefree days and stress-free nights that are met with more carefree days.  And that's just what we did.

Last week Max asked if we could have a lemonade stand at his friend Zooey's house.  They just moved down the street from us and we have been spending (and eating) a lot of time there.  We spent the early afternoon making posters (or truth be told, Damien and I made them and turned them into a bit of a competition) and then we walked down the street to set up our first lemonade stand.  The kids mixed the lemonade and then paraded around the front porch, eagerly trying to get some customers.  Unfortunately, not many people came by but they each made $1.75.  More importantly, we spent today as a family, with our dear friends who are like family, enjoying the last few hours of our summer, together.  A summer that none of us will soon forget.

(I am working on the last part of the cross-country trip photos and should have them up this week... )

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cross country road trip- part 10

One of the places that I both looked forward to the most and also got the biggest reaction from people when we told them we would be going there, was Omaha, Nebraska.  It's funny because even though I looked at a map about 100 times while planning this trip, I still had such a hard time placing exactly where Nebraska is in the country.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I know it's in the middle of the country but just exactly where escaped me from time to time.  Then I was told, while in Nebraska, that all you need to do to picture where Nebraska is located is imagine that you are punching the United States in the gut.  Now I will never forget.

So, why Nebraska?

I grew up lucky enough to have a female cousin the same age as me.  And although she lived in New York, 2.5 hours away, we tried to spend every moment possible together.  That meant week long sleepovers at our grandparents' house whenever school vacations would allow it.  It meant trips to the "junk shop" for 25 cent nail polish and lee press-on nails and the most hideous shades of lipstick you can imagine.  It meant late night talks and movies and treats.  There was nothing better than when Lauren came to town.  

When we were planning out where we wanted to go on this trip, Omaha was at the top of my list.  My cousin and her husband and children are living out there now.  I wanted to see that part of the country.  I wanted to see my cousin and her family and pass down to Max the excitement of school vacations and sleepovers and late night talks and movies and treats.  And boy it did.

We loved our time there and we loved the people there.  It was truly a highlight of the trip.

We camped our first night in Nebraska and then spent two nights with my cousin and her family.  

From Omaha, we were traveling to Chicago.  A friend was living in Dubuque, IA and so we ended up staying there for the night.  One of the best things about this trip has been everyone's hospitality.  We had a wonderful time with our friend's husband, who feels like an old friend himself.  

driving to Omaha, NE

camping, North Platte, NE

lunch in Lincoln, NE

 science experiments in the backyard

playing in the backyard and movie night

the zoo

around the house

the park

driving to Dubuque, IA

hanging out in Dubuque

downtown Dubuque

cable car

candy store