Back in January we picked a week in October to go and let the rest of our families know in case they wanted to join us. Both sets of parents agreed to come and it was a date!
The week quickly approached and we prepared and prepared. We woke up Saturday morning and headed for the airport. My mom flew with us which was beyond helpful! Because we have an obscene number of children, we had two whole rows to ourselves- which made it SO nice! Plus, we had 3 adults to 4 kids, so the numbers were in our favor!
The flight into Chicago went smoothly and the kids were great all morning. We got our rental car (an HOUR later) and headed to see Chicago! We drove around a bit and headed downtown. We stopped at Gino's for deep dish pizza and Anthony and Jay walked down to Wrigley to see it in person! For a day full of travel with no naps and little food, the kids were rockstars. I was truly amazed!
Kelsey's first flight
(she was SO much better than her big sister Molly on her first flight!)
"Hey Molly, take a selfie with me!"
This is what we got. Sigh.
Charley Kate LOVED sitting by the window!
Getting through the airport there was never a dull moment!
Our Texas girls were a little chilly!
After a long afternoon, we hopped in the car and headed to Wisconsin. We had a three hour drive ahead of us, and we left Chicago around 6 pm. So yeah, it was a long day. Oh, did I mention that our Suburban STUNK like smoke?! Agh! But it was a nice car plus it had DVD players so we were pumped!
We got to Wisconsin around 9ish and the kids were nuts. Over tired, plus Molly had a two hour nap in the car (except it was more like bedtime) so they ran around like crazy people! Dad, Uncle Bruce, Aunt Jacque, and all three of their boys were there! It was so fun to visit with everyone!
The next morning we all woke up bright and early (because of course!) and had yummy breakfast and got ready to watch the PACKERS play! Dad, Anthony, Jay, and Pierce went to the game. It was Jay and Anthony and Pierce's first game! Apparently the boys had a blast and this momma was pretty jealous! Sweet little Kelsey was so worth it- and I know one day I'll get my turn!
Grammy's first time meeting Kelsey!
Love this picture!
This is her 16th great grandchild!
The big boy cousins were so sweet to our kids!
Molly was SUPER protective of her big brother!
"That's MY Jaybird! Put him down!!!!!"
Packers gear and matching Uggs with my girl!
Some of our group!
The girls loved playing with Grammy!
Kelsey and me enjoying the FALL!
Pretty awesome TICKETS!
This boy talked his dad into a new sweatshirt at the game!
I'd say she's an old pro at this! Kelsey was SO relaxed!
The next day was just a day spent around Appleton with the fam. Breakfast at Grammy's, playing at her awesome park, lunch and an Appleton tour, and then hanging out with the fam and a big family dinner that night! Exactly what we wanted- just a time hanging out with everyone!
One of my favorite parts was getting to go through a box of Paw's old stuff.
He's been gone almost 25 years now, and going through some of his special memories was priceless.
We called it a night and and got ready to head out the next day. Tuesday morning we hung out with Grammy a little more, packed up, and headed out... but not before we hit up the CHEESE store! We bought a LOT of cheese y'all. So much glorious, delicious cheese. It was so sad saying goodbye to Grammy. She was genuinely so happy to have us there and we know our visits with her are getting more and more precious. I hope we get 20 more! But realistically, we treasured our time with her. Watching her interact and play with our kids was priceless. They loved her so much and acted like they saw her every day! She had their letters and drawings up all over her house. It was so sweet!
And Uncle Bruce and Aunt Jacque were AMAZING for having us stay with them! They were the epitome of perfect hosts! They had us set up so well, were totally laid back with all of our chaos, stuff, and shenanigans, and took really really great care of us. It was such a special time with them!
That day, we started our road trip to Iowa. We didn't want to try to cram the 6+ hours in one day, so we broke it in half. I am the type of road tripper who likes to get from point A to point B with no stops. It's like a race against the clock for me. After our cheese stop, I was getting anxious to get going and not stop. Anthony reminded me we had NOTHING but time on this trip- nowhere to go and nothing else to do. God gave me someone who can calm me down- and I'm so thankful for that! When I accepted that fact, it made the day so much more enjoyable! It turned out to be such a lovely day together! Everyone was relaxed and happy and we stopped at some great places! I'm so proud of me for being able to do this- it was definitely a first! We actually stopped and smelled the roses! Ha!
We had lunch at a midwest chain with DELICIOUS custard, made a stop in Madison and looked around the UW campus and the city (it is beyond gorgeous by the way!) and trekked it all the way to Dubuque, IA! Let me just tell you that I had no clue how absolutely stunningly gorgeous southwest Wisconsin is! Wow! I know it's the beautiful time of year, but the rolling hills and fall foliage was perfection. So thankful we got to see it!
It was bright... and Molly was there somewhere! Ha!
Girlfriend loved her custard!
At University of Wisconsin!
Not only did we survive the road trip, but we actually had a blast! We made it to Dubuque and checked into our hotel room. You would have thought we were staying at the Ritz the way the kids loved it (it was the Hampton Inn!)! They were OBSESSED! It was so so cute!
Kelsey was SO glad to not only be out of the car, but be able to roll around and stretch out!
Chick fil A was across the street so we had dinner there.
The kids played on the playground, Kelsey slept, and we talked!
I made sure to book a hotel with an indoor pool!
They burned out so much energy!
The first half of our trip was so amazing! I laughed because at the beginning of this post I talked about how we decided to forgo our "fun" family vacation this year and go hang out with our family. I would definitely say, this was much more fun than any of us could have expected!