I think that's how many times we heard "Are we there yet?" last weekend. Seriously. Map-quest said the trip could be done in 8 hrs 39 mins. I've done it in 8 hrs flat when traveling alone. Of course, I drive a little faster than Map-quest probably suggests. Shhhhh....our little secret. But it took us about 11 hrs. And it was a very long 11 hrs.
And speaking of the kids, I finally asked them why they kept repeating "How much longer?" when they're all too young to have any concept of time. My sis agreed and said "We could tell you it'd be 10 more minutes or 10 more hours and you still wouldn't know how much longer that is." They didn't seem to get it. And they kept asking....
Part of the long travel time can be blamed on my new GPS unit. We plugged the hotel address in and just trusted it would get us there. See... it's supposed to choose the fastest route. But it doesn't use common sense. So when my sister and I noticed the Chicago skyline looming in the distance we started to get nervous. Because neither one of us have ever taken this route to Wisconsin before. And there's a reason for that.
We were in bumper to bumper traffic for over an hour just trying to get thru the windy city. We won't do that again. Our only saving grace was that no one screamed out "I have to pee" from the backseat in that hour. Otherwise we woulda been in big trouble. Cuz there was nowhere to stop unless we got off downtown. Uhhh ...no thank you.
Whoever invented the portable DVD player with multiple screens was a genius. Or a mom. Probably both. It saved our lives. Over and over again. There were several funny moments along the way (and several not so funny ones but we won't go there).
One was when we were inching along in Chicago traffic. The kids are watching Gold-member in the back seat. Yeah... the Aust*in Power*s movie. From the dialogue we're hearing it becomes apparent that this is a totally inappropriate movie. Sis asks Tanner if he picked the movie. He said, "No. Dad did." Yeah figures.
There's a part where Fat Bast-ard (yep that's really the characters name) is describing the fart he just let loose. OMG! I can only say that the scene is absolutely hilarious. My sister and I were crying we were laughing so hard. All I can say is if you like raunchy humor, rent the movie. It's funny. Or maybe we were just really slap happy by then.
So we finally make it to our destination. Now when I tell you the town my grandparents live in is small... I'm not joking. There are no fast food restaurants. At all. And anywhere you want to go seems to be at least a half hour drive. There's nothing there. We stayed in the only hotel around. It was even in the next town over. But it had a pool so the kids were in heaven.
The first day with the grandparents was spent going to lunch (about a half hour away), then several hours at the Children's Museum (uhmmm... about an hour there), and finally dinner (back an hour). It seems that Friday night is fish fry night in Wisconsin. And every one goes out for fish. So that's what we did.
After the grandparents had reached their daily limit of kid fun, we left and took the kids to the movies. Only the theater was about ...you guessed it.... a half hour away. We saw Kung-Fu-Panda. Very cute movie. I recommend it. The kids loved it.
The next day we went to a small town festival called the Chicken Chew. Why that name, you ask? Well, no one knows. We saw no chickens. In fact, I think the one concession serving food didn't even have chicken to eat. When we asked my grandma what type of things were at this festival she said she'd never been. But she'd read they had a tractor pull. We thought the kids might like that.
We didn't expect what we got. The tractor pull was actually a contest where the little kids pulled weight by pedaling a toy tractor. Uhhh.... yeah. Not kidding. Travis and Tatum both entered. And surprise... Tatum got 2nd place in her weight class and Travis got 1st!! We didn't have the heart to tell these folks that some Ohio kids won their tractor pull. LOL! Both kids got a nifty little trophy with a picture of a tractor on top. Ahhh the memories they'll have....
Sunday was spent hanging out with the grandparents at their place. My Uncle Mike joined us with his wife, Deb, and son, Jesse. The kids all played. The grown ups talked.
Another funny story. My grandparents have several clocks. One is a cuckoo clock that Teagan was fascinated with. He quickly learned that as soon as the clock in the living room chimed then about a minute later the cuckoo clock would go. No matter what he was doing, he'd jump up as soon as he heard that chime, run to the cuckoo clock and stare at it waiting for the little birdy to come out. It was hysterical. Guess you had to be there....
Anyway... all too soon it was time to say our good-byes. We spent the last evening in the hotel pool and then packed for home. Monday was the long drive. On the way over, we gained an hour cuz they're an hour behind us. On the way back that lost hour caught up with us. It sucked.
Not sure when my next road trip with the T's will happen. It was a long and exhausting one. This girl is used to peace and quiet. Yes... I know that'll all end with the arrival of Miss Mia. But for now, I'm not used to 24/7 with constant chatter, constant movement, sometimes unrelenting whining, and the sibling smackdowns. I was happy to come home. But I must admit, after a couple of hours of quiet..... I started to miss those little buggers.
Somehow, I didn't take nearly as many pics as I thought I did. Maybe it was all the time spent chasing small children and making sure they weren't breaking all the knicks knacks in my grandparents not child proofed house. But here are a few.....
** Hey did you see the big rock the kids were on? Those are in my grandparents front yard. My brother, sis and I had our pics taken on them when we were their age, too. But there were no trees back then. Just a big open field. Things sure have changed over the years. What a cool keepsake all of those pics are gonna be someday.