I feel like so much has happened in the past couple of weeks and I'm just now getting a chance to stop and catch my breath:). Two trips = 12 states and 4300 miles and our little Saturn held up to the beating! We saw so much in two weeks, ranging from the flat cornfields of Iowa to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Nat and I travel a lot, but many of our trips are ministry-related. This trip out West was no exception, although we did turn it into a mini-vacation too:).
We started out the trip with a stop in Cleveland, Ohio to check out the USS Cod, a submarine that was in use during World War II. The cool thing about the submarine is that it is 75% operable. It hasn't been turned into a "user-friendly" museum like most others are, so we actually climbed down into the sub and saw what it was like when it was in use.
We did spend the weekend with my brother and his family, which included helping with a birthday party for my nephew. 3 hour birthday party + 18 active boys = 4 very tired adults. We were exhausted after the party and Nat, my brother, sister-in-law, and I just crashed when we got to my brother's house. I made lots of mental notes about boys and birthday parties:).
We left Monday morning to head out for the great state of South Dakota and chose the flat plains of Iowa as our choice state to drive through. Every now and then a little hill would pop up, but I'm from a state that has actual mountains, so Iowa was pretty flat to us:).
The second we entered South Dakota, we began seeing signs for Wall Drug which made us laugh! Never mind the fact that Wall Drug is 7+ hours from the southeastern tip of South Dakota. You really need to take a moment and go to the website just to, um, take it all in... :).
We spent three days in South Dakota (for my husband's graduation ~ our whole reason for the trip!) and met up with a friend from our church who was also graduating. Nat and I spent Tuesday morning wandering in and out of an old courthouse-turned-museum and found an interesting group of displays: hot air balloons, the history of under garments, and Vietnam. We were scratching our heads over how those three got grouped together:).
In the afternoon, we had a fun time riding go-karts and playing mini-golf. We really wanted to play laser tag, but apparently our group of 3 was not large enough:). The next two days were filled with graduation things and then we started the long drive back to Indiana. This time we chose to go through Minnesota and Wisconsin, but don't ask me what Minnesota was like since I slept the first three hours of our trip:). Waking up at 4 AM will do that to you! We were very motivated to get past Chicago before rush hour traffic hit and our plan worked, which made waking up that early worthwhile:).
I forget to bring my camera with me on our trip out West, but Nat's iPhone takes really nice pictures, so that's what we used:).
Nat and I at the falls in Sioux Falls, SD
The falls... obviously
We made a second trip down to North Carolina for my uncle's funeral. It was a quick 3-day trip, 9 hours each way, but it was good to see family.
Friday afternoon I knocked on my sister's hotel door to ask her something and when she opened the door, I couldn't believe we were matching. Then I saw my brother-in-law and noticed he chose the same colors my husband was wearing:).
I flew down to Florida in January hoping for this little guy to arrive while I was there, but he waited until I was in Thailand to be born... so I finally met my latest nephew ~ 3.5 months later! He's such a chunky monkey and looks exactly like his older brother:).
It's pretty rare to get all my siblings in one place at the same time and we're still missing one sibling here! My older sister is 9 months pregnant and her doctor wouldn't let her make the trip from Philadelphia to Charlotte. 6 out of 7 is still pretty good!