|We thought our before-daybreak start would let the girls sleep the first few hours of the drive. That didn't exactly happen. Here the girls are scribbling away in notebooks as the sun comes up.|
|Amber at work on a marker masterpiece.|
|When you get up at 4:30 am, you look like this around 2:30 pm.|
Actually, the two-day drive (it's roughly 1100 miles from here to my parents' house) ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. We especially enjoyed checking out a couple of unusual sights along the way, like the Albanese Candy Factory Outlet in Indiana.
Bryan was pretty sure when I told him the name of this place it was going to be some sketchy little hole-in-the-wall cover for a money-laundering organization or something, but it was actually pretty fun. Most of the windows that look in on the factory were closed the day we went, but we could see a little bit of how the candies were made and there was a store that seemed like something right out of Willy Wonka. Plus the gummy bears we bought were unreal. Grapefruit gummy bear? Check. Granny apple gummy bear? Check. Mango gummy bear? Check. They looked like these shiny little rubbery gems and tasted really incredible.
And then of course the kids loved getting to stay in a hotel.
|Hanging out on the "magic couch" that turned into a bed for Robyn and Amber.|
I almost named this post "Things that Happen in Hotel Rooms," but thought that might imply more than I intended...
|Matthew all snuggled in a towel after his first trip to the swimming pool.|
But funny things do seem to happen when we're in hotel rooms. Like the GPS on my tablet that was "searching for satellite" for the last half an horu of our drive suddenly finding the signal at 2:00 in the morning and screaming "Turn right in a quarter of a mile!" in its nasally computer voice loudly enough to wake us all up. Or the microwave in our room that thought it was an alarm clock and suddenly started beeping after 5 am, refusing to stop until Bryan pulled it away from the wall and unplugged it. Add in a baby that slept a lot in the car the day before and "sleeping" suddenly becomes something that does NOT happen very much in hotel rooms with our family. Oh well.
|Pinkalicious apparently gets more of the bed space than either Amber or Robyn.|
|And this is why the smallest little girl got the most bed space. Katie was literally spinning circles in her bed all night long.|
Before getting to Chanhassen we also drove past the St. Paul temple where Bryan and I were married seven years ago. Since the Palmyra temple near us looks a lot like the St. Paul temple this caused some confusion for Amber. She was sure we'd been there before and couldn't figure out why it had taken sooooo long to drive there this time. :)
|Family picture with the temple in the background.|
|The girls touching the temple.|
|We met someone outside the temple with an 8-week old absolutely adorable puppy.|
And then there's the drive home.
Driving home never seems like quite as much fun as the original drive out. The vacation is almost over. Everyone is tired. There isn't something super exciting waiting at the other end of the drive. You've already seen the same stretch of interstate. To try and liven things up a little on the way home we decided to check out Northern Indiana's Amish presence, making our overnight stay in Shipshewana. (That's just a fun name to say: Shipshewana, Shipshewana, Shipshewana!)
|Apparently there is "neat stuff" in Shipshewana...|
|So much pretty fabric; so little time!|
|Cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes.|
|A very nice gentleman offered to take our picture at the store, and since family pictures are kind of rare for us we went ahead and let him.|
Robyn discovered an old sewing card at my parents house and really enjoyed stitching it over and over with a shoelace all week. When we discovered this cute set of old-fashioned-looking sewing cards at Yoders we decided to make them our official souvenirs from the stop. They ended up being a great distraction for our last day of driving.
|The sewing cards we got at Yoders.|
The hotel we stayed at on the way home was an independent hotel rather than part of a chain and had a few nice features. Most notably, our room had a small "nursery" complete with crib, rocker, and changing table. The nursery portion of the room was on the end of the building and hung out over the stairwell. As the mother of a very noisy baby, I call that brilliant. (The free cookies in the lobby and hot breakfast bar complete with a warm pot of oatmeal were also pretty brilliant.)
|Checking out the nursery part of the hotel room.|
Our last diversion for the drive home was a quick detour to drive past the Kirtland temple. We keep wondering how long we'll get to live in our current location and on the off-chance that this ends up being the last time we drive to Minnesota along I-90 we thought we better at least drive through Kirtland while we could.
And then finally we were home again. We had a great time while we were actually in Minnesota, but looking back I have to admit that an awful lot of our fun was just in the journey itself.
|Home again, home again, hippity hop!|