As you know, Allie and I headed to Chicago in early July while Tim and Nicky stayed home to work. (Okay, Nicky continued to enjoy the dog-days of summer, but Tim slaved like a dog so to speak). Allie and I headed up I65 in my beloved car and we sang songs (thank goodness none of you could hear my lovely singing voice), Allie watched her videos, played with her toys and napped. If you recall from recent posts by the time we got to Chicago, "Mama" was frazzled. Oh... I did wonderful the first 13 hours of the trip (yes, I did recall past trips where I made it in 12 hours flat. - I'm kind of like a "guy" when I travel - try to make the best time, stop only to refuel, etc.) Anyway, we did take some leisurely meal breaks and met many people along the way (which is a given when Allie is with me). We also met a heck of a lot of Illinois folks as we sat next to them in traffic. Okay, I wasn't so pleasant, but I promise no one felt threatened by me. I'm told I really don't have the "evil" look, but I beg to differ when I'm stuck in Chicagoland traffic after 13 hours in the car. Anyway, we got there and I called sweet hubby and told him I'd be glad to come back if he could find a way for me to come home and not go through Chicago traffic. (Not really an option).
We then continued to have a wonderful vacation, we did the hoopla birthday party for Grandpa, we were all in a 4th of July parade, we visited my family on my Mom's side, met new cousins and my new niece and nephews finally, played games, gave up on being the favorite Aunt (just really don't have time for the competition at this stage - but, watch out Aunt Maureen... the future is MINE!). :-) Hung out with my fabulous nieces and nephews and reconnected with my awesome niece Erin, who doted on Allie (which, you know gets you points in my book). Let's see... what else did we do... visited my old house (okay, I didn't stalk the current residents, just looked from the outside and criticized -how dare they change my HOME?!). We went to the beach, ate junk food (one of my fave things to do), visited Grandpa at work, visited Aunt Maureen's work and was introduced to bubble wrap(!), introduced Allie to the big Woodfield Mall - okay, really only the Rainforest Cafe, but that seemed to impress her enough. Note to the wise... after several attempts, my angel does not like to sit on or near big fake animals including turtles, monkeys and cows (the cow was not at the Cafe, but at an ice cream place and the picture is not pretty). Also got Allie her first official hair cut (cute!) from a dear friend of her Grandparents.
Then, after the long week and even staying an extra day to hang out with the Grandparents and their dog, Shadow, we headed back home to Alabama. We attempted to go around Chicago - a better route, but there was some confusion and after about 3 hours in the car, we hit the Indiana border. Yes, "Mommy-Dearest" was a bit frazzled again. We really expected to be there after about an hour in the car - say, by 6am not after 8am. So, the trip home didn't start as smoothly as expected. However, we hit 65 South and we chilled for hours until...... Nashville. We had just decided to stop for the night at a good friends house when the car stopped moving forward. Oh yes, major traffic - rush hour (again!) - entering into Nashville, no acceleration. I knew right away... my beloved car's transmission was done. Just what you want 3 hours from home, right? So, thank the Lord we weren't more hours away and that we have good friends to save our behinds when this stuff happens. So, I get in touch with Randy & Sharon Mize. Randy, who as you probably all know is one of those friends that knows all about cars and can help you out in nearly any situation. Sure enough, Sharon's sister, Felicia, came and picked up Allie and I up and took us to our friend's - Leah and Sheila's house for the night. In fact, we could have stayed with Felicia, but as you recall we had already started our overnight plans - Leah and Sheila despite their being out of town had offered up their house to us, At this point, Allie and I needed to go into a Mommy-Daughter cocoon and we grabbed the lovely house and treated it as a mini getaway. The next day, Leah saved us again with lent us her extra car and we headed home with some of the things from our cram-packed car. I tell you what, I have the BEST friends (thanks everyone!!). I got to use Leah's car while mine got repaired - which was such a major help. And the following Monday we were more than happy to get back to our routine of school and work. But, now in August, that is all behind us. The car is repaired and is back to its status of being my beloved car. Everyone in the family has wonderful memories of a great trip and Allie learned and performed many new signs and tricks for everyone while we visited. So, it was a fantastic trip and yes, we will do it again. No, still probably won't fly. I'm not sure if I have a new-found fear of flying (I've flown multiple times) or a more realistic fear - how will I get all that I want to take on the flight without basically buying the plane?). I will, however, strongly consider renting a car and attempting to find a way without going through Chicago or driving up all of Illinois (a dreaded long drive with minimal scenery!)
It was a great reunion.
As you can tell, when we got home, Allie was a bit exhausted but so happy to have her Daddy back. She basically didn't let him leave her sight the rest of the weekend, nor did he let her leave his sight.
It was a great reunion.
Have a wonderful day - I'm sure you can sleep better knowing our trip is over and we are home safe and happy with Tim and Nicky (woof !) in Alabama. (and we will post about something else soon! whoo hoo!)