Ages ago...as in back in October...
which seems more like 6 months ago instead of one month ago...
our family of 7 went on a road trip,
and as a testament to just HOW MUCH we LOVE him,
we were willing to take an already maxed out suburban,
and add one more person.
Our nephew Gus came along!
It was a bit crowded,
but Gus's sense of humor was enough to carry us through!
Plus nobody except Lily was willing to have a meltdown with Gus in the car.
Tim and I also had to forego our traditional "road trip meltdown" in which
we spend the first ten minutes addressing all the "getting on the road" shortcomings of our crew
and the next ten minutes apologizing for being such frustrated and crabby parents!
Tim and I typically scrape it together by the time we get to
the St. Croix River at the Wisconsin border.
What stress-outs happen in Minnesota
stay in Minnesota!
But it didn't happen this time!
Gus....are you available in December?
We have an 11 hour drive ahead of us in December and....
we NEED YOU!
Because we had Gus along, and needed to establish ourselves as "fun"...
we agreed to stop for pie at "The Norse Nook"
...about an hour and a half into the 6 hour trip.
Nobody will ever understand what this mentally cost my dear husband.
But it was good for him.
Adjustments were made by all!
Have I mentioned that it was a bit tight in the suburban?
All these folks, plus me.
And their luggage.
After some pie (TO GO)...
Come on....Tim is still....Tim.
...and four or so more hours of driving.....
It was Dinna Time.....
And after some good-natured wrangling
(thank you again Gus for your mediating presence in our vehicle)
...we decided FINALLY on Red Robin.
(no explanation available at this time)
BUT...as we were following the Garmin's pink path
to the Red Robin,
we came across THIS:
THE TEXAS ROADHOUSE
In the end....Texas won.
Being that it was Halloween, there were some unappetizing
decorations which I question...
...Wisconsin humor in a Texas Roadhouse....in Wisconsin...
must be different than Minnesota humor.
We doubted our choice for a minute.
But the AMAZING dinner rolls and peanuts made everything better.
When you are the youngest child...
you approach all food with caution I guess.
"What is this? This looks like a roll...but what I just saw in the
entryway has made me nervous!"
No caution here!
The battered onion was just fine!
But the mosts memorable part of the dinner was...
Timmy and the Chicken Fried Steak....
(This sounds like the title to a children's story book....hmmm)
It was the size of frisbee....
a large frisbee....
...and fried all over....
This wasn't the chicken fried steak that his mama makes...
but he didn't complain.
He just ate.
Katie's triumph was this....I so regretted my low carb choices
when I saw this.
Then she was too full to eat it!!!
So while everybody else headed to the car because Tim was cracking
the whip....I hurriedly filled styrofoam boxes with Timmy's
remaining acre of steak and Katie's sweet potato.
Suddenly I looked up and they were all gone...
They had left the parking space and were poised on the edge
of the parking lot.
I was a little miffed that they make me walk FURTHER
just because I was gathering THEIR leftovers but...
Gus was in the car.
So I didn't say anything.
I just quietly ate the topping off
Katie's sweet potato.
....and felt that justice had been served.
Nonetheless, we were late and needed to hurry.
And hurry we did because we had family waiting!
Cousins seeing each other again is always fun!
It was a hug fest!
I wish these moments could be bottled!
Alas...they can only be blogged.
Everyone was excited to see each other again, hang out and...
Oldest cousin with youngest cousin.
Who could pass up these delicious pumpkin cookies!
"Please can we have some more?"
Continuing with the eating theme....we had lunch the next day
in Wheaton College's amazing cafeteria.
Katie looked like just another college student!
Well, except that two elementary kids kept trailing her.
She enjoyed hanging out and observing all the fun.
Lily on the other hand was bored....
she didn't find the collegiate scene to her liking...
Hey Lily! Timmy can be fun too.
We lost him for awhile.
Then we found him in the student center basement
playing a ping pong
tournament with a bunch of unknown college guys.
"Stranger? What's a stranger? We were just playing ping pong, Mom....and I was winning!"
We tore him away mid-victory and finished a lovely
visit with games in the park.
That's Zach and Katie on the right.
When did they get so grownup?
It was a great family visit, college visit, dining adventure
and overall fun road trip.
Gus, you are welcome to join us any ol' time!
We'll even give you the middle seat!
Coming tomorrow: top quotes from our time together in the car.
You won't want to miss that!