Cross-Country Club

Once in awhile, I look over at Reid, and I’m like…

… DANG, kid, with the growing! Always with the growing. He is RELENTLESS.

He and his brother both, actually. In light of this, we decided it was high time we get Boy 1 and Boy 2 up to see our Illinois family. And so, a trip was planned.

Now… when it comes to travel, Andy and I don’t really like to behave as if we lived in the 21st century. No. We decided at some point in our Texas existence that driving to central Illinois was “do-able”. On the upper limit of do-able, but do-able all the same.

When it was just Andy and I, we could make the trip in 12 hours – given we planned our stops right and ate in the car. When we added Graham last year, he added a couple of hours. Mostly this was because we then had to stop for meals. (No eating in carseats, folks. Choking hazard. It’s one of two things I am always on the lookout for. Throwing up is the other one. Hee.) 12 hours became 14 with Graham in tow and… well ugh. But you know what? G handled it AMAZINGLY well, so we persevered. Sure, driving 14 hours is a major bummer, but there are a lot of upsides. Cost, packing convenience, less hassle in majorly crowded places, less chance of a kid running off… I know. I’m grasping at straws.

But seriously:

Graham is an absolutely amazing traveler. Just give him a DVD player and an entire wallet of enticing DVDs to shun in lieu of one single movie to be played on repeat no less than 8 times, and he is golden.

This time, when we added Baby Reid to the mix, he also added an hour.

Pay no mind to the hastily snapped romper…

Even when we tried making diaper changes super quick! That every-3-hour bottle schedule is a killer. Because we’d stop for a meal, Reid would eat, it’d be an hour before we got back on the road, thanks to Graham’s leisurely dining tendencies and potty stops for all, then we’d have to stop another two hours later. Yikes.

A bottle-stop at a rest area, while brother and Daddy played on the playground

Sidenote: Reid likes his bottles warmer than room temp. This, at first, stumped me. How does one handle this on the road? A Thermos, that’s how! Put some pretty warm water in the Thermos in the morning, and that bottle was the perfect temp all the way to the Heartland. Just make sure the Thermos is big enough to carry 30-40 oz of water!

Back to the story…

Baby Reid, too, handled the trip amazingly well. We got up and on the road by 6:30 a.m. Graham was so good about asking about Grandma’s house without whining about it. Especially since, thanks to the Fusion hybrid, we only had to stop for gas once, at about Rolla, MO. Graham burned off a little energy here by dancing around. Unfortunately, both boys like to shut off the megawatt charm when the camera comes out, but this is as close as we could capture.

And guess what? He didn’t nap. NOPE. NOT EVEN ONCE. He was that excited to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Didn’t want to risk missing it. So we told him that it had to get dark before we got there. He hung in the entire way.

And we eventually made it! Yayayayay! Around 9:30 that night.

The next day, Grandpa and Grandma took off with Graham for some errands around downtown. They took him to Del’s Popcorn Shop on Merchant Street. Such a favorite. He chose some yummy Swedish Fish to take home (pictured below, in hand).

Later that day, Erin dropped by so we could meet our sweet new niece, McKenna. So nice to hold an itty bitty baby. Seems like Reid hardly spent any time in that itty-bitty stage. ::sigh::

I told Andy that he looked so good holding a girl. He looked back, point blank and said, “Don’t get any ideas.” Hahaha. Too soon, too soon. I get it. I have 6-month-old euphoria.

Carsten and I caught up – getting particularly enthralled by the use of my front-facing phone camera.

Amazing fun!

 Isn’t he the cutest? I have sworn since he was about a year old that he should be recorded for some cute baby/young child Foley sound effects.

Aaaaanyway. We planned the trip back with good timing, because it just so happened that my big bro’s birthday was that Sunday! (Which was also the day planned for McKenna’s baptism, so being the quick thinkers that we are – we celebrated Michael’s birthday on Saturday.)

With food! Because we, as a family, are at our best when we are fed.

There is no arguing this point.

Boom: empirical evidence of happiness. (Aren’t we a good-looking bunch too?!)

And seeing as how a Memorial Day, burger cook-out, birthday mash-up theme was in order, we took the hybrid approach to the cake as well.

Haha – awesome, no? I amused myself and the 7-and-under set by pretending I didn’t know that this was cake. I had boys yelling at me that “NO. Aunt Debbie/Mom… it’s CAKE! NOT A CHEESEBURGER!” I, of course, countered that I was “pret-ty sure [Anthony Crispino-style] it was a cheeseburger.”

Pretty fun to have those boys standing at the table, laughing so hard, pointing their fingers at me and yelling that it was CAKE!

And golly – how cute is this boys table anyway? (This, the calm before the feeding frenzy!)

And of course, our queen who will one day rule them all!

Of course, Graham can’t seem to handle getting together with family without coming down with some sort of illness. This time was no different. He caught some sort of stomach bug that was minor in nature, but enough of a thing to keep him home from the baptism on Sunday morning. That meant lots of hanging out in PJ’s with Daddy.

Reid, meanwhile, spiffed up with Mommy and headed out to the baptism with the rest of the family!

I love seersucker on a good Southern boy.

Tony’s church is about 10-15 minutes away from Mom and Dad’s house. I would so love to be that close and not be 10-15 HOURS away.

Michael, Rose & crew. Guess what?? Another one on the way! :::squeeeeeeeee:::

Baby girl was baptized in a wonderful ceremony. Soon after, we all gathered in Mt. Zion for lunch!

Baby Reid and Michael getting acquainted again. Michael had the priviledge of feeding Reid his first ever bottle back in January. It was a very crazy morning when they were visiting us in Texas, and Graham managed to come down with a wicked case of strep. (I know! G is very rarely sick. Only for major family gatherings, I guess!)

The guest of honor! She is the sweetest baby girl ever.

So sad that the next day, Monday, we had to leave it all behind and drive back home. The first part of the drive was overcast, kinda like my mood always is when we leave.

The boys were less than thrilled to be going back home. On a number of occasions, Graham asked if we could please just go back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. In fact, so little was there to look forward to on Monday, that there were actually naps to be had in the backseat.

A little bit of a mood-brightener for a final story:

On one of our stops at an Oklahoma welcome center/rest stop, Graham insisted on picking up some glossy cards from one of, I’d say, a hundred stacks of brochures. I took the cards from him, handed him one back, then put the rest on the table. He said, “NOO. I want one for me, one for you and one for Daddy.” Then he looked at the card in his hand, looked at the stack and said, “So I need TWO more cards.”

… WHAT?! When exactly did he start doing math?!?

(Folks who don’t have children in daycare through early childhood. These are discoveries that you make on a fairly regular basis. Like realizing that Graham could count all the way to 15 one day. Those kinds of things.)

I was so proud I let him have the three cards.

Plus now, should we ever find an Eskimo Joe’s or their world famous T-shirts, we will know its complete history.

So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.


  1. Michelle says:

    Awesome post! So many comments I can relate to (6m baby euphoria: been there, daycare knowledge: um, Charlie knows the months of the year and days of the week!?!). Best part? So happy to hear that Rose and Michael are blessed with another baby :) that is outstanding news! Looks like such a fun trip; thanks for sharing.

    • Haha – I know!! Graham started singing the days of the week in Spanish one night during bathtime. ?! Hahaha. Oookay!

      • Michelle says:

        Um, I don’t even know what the days of the week are in Spanish so I would think he was talking gibberish :)

  2. Great post–great weekend!! So glad you all made the long trip.

  3. Cute post.  Can’t wait to get your other side of the family together so we can have a (almost) three year old dance-off.  Probably turn into a scream-off.  Whatever.  They deserve it.

    • Great thing is that Reid will probably join in too. With the screaming at least. And smiling and flapping his arms is as close as he can join in the dancing, but he’s a TOTALLY willing participant. I can’t wait to see how these three boys are together. It’s gonna be awesome. :)

  4. Great, great article !  I didn’t want it to end!!  Love , Dad

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