Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 6: LaPorte, IN to Chicago, IL

So, I asked the kids what they liked about visiting Chicago and they pretty much listed everything we did.

Here's Jonah's list:
1. Visiting the Field Museum (the special Pirates exhibit was his favorite--I agree that it was cool).
2. Eating deep dish pizza at the original Pizzeria Uno.
3. Visiting our friend Harris and his family.

Here's Elli's list:
1. Visiting the Field Museum (she says she liked everything she saw--I think she especially enjoyed all the wildlife dioramas).
2. Going to a playground near Grant Park and checking out Millenium Park.
3. She just liked everything (her words).

Other highlights include our view of the Chicago buildings and River from our 30th floor room in the Hyatt Regency and the kids taking their first ever taxi ride (Elli mostly slept through that, though). I think we're all disappointed that we're leaving so soon!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Waiting for dinner at the original Uno.

Day 5: PW to LaPorte, IN

Ron and I got up nice and early today since we had about 800 miles to drive. I was feeling a little rough since I only had about 4 hours of sleep, but adrenaline was keeping me going, I think.

We were lucky to have no traffic leaving NY and made good time into PA. On a whim, we decided to stop at the Little League Headquarters in Williamsport, PA around lunchtime. It took us a little out of the way, but it was totally worth it! The size of the Little League World Series stadium was impressive and all the fields were impeccable. Jonah is now dying to go to baseball camp there and of course, would love to play in the Little League World Series there. We'll see...

We picked up sandwich supplies at a grocery store in Williamsport and got back on the road. The kids entertained themselves incredibly well and we continued to make good time. My plan to avoid all fast food and chain restaurants hit a speed bump, though, at dinner time. We had some trouble finding an open restaurant on Sunday night, so we had to settle for Olive Garden. At least it's a chain restaurant that we don't have in the Berkshires.

After driving a few more hours, we stopped for the night about 60 miles from Chicago. The only complaining we had from the kids was at about 10 pm when they were trying to fall asleep. Since we'd been traveling about 14 hours by that point, I think they were entitled to a little whining. A successful first day!

Days 3 and 4: PW

Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of activity with my 20th high school reunion. My niece and I went on a shopping expedition for a dress on Friday afternoon. I'm usually an efficient shopper, so spending 3 hours looking for one dress was uncharacteristic. I found one in time, though, to have dinner with some close friends from high school to kick off the reunion activities. Saturday was dedicated to laundry, re-packing, and two reunion events. We went to a family picnic in the afternoon, had a break for a few hours, and then had a cocktail party in the evening. It was fantastic getting together with old friends and re-connecting. I hope that we'll all keep in better touch and see each other at least a few times before the next reunion in 2014!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 2: PW

Today turned out a little differently than I planned. My plan was to take the kids to a Mets game at the new Citifield, but I hesitated in buying tickets Wednesday night. Once I'd committed this morning, the tickets were gone and I had at least one disappointed kid on my hands (I don't think Elli really cared one way or the other). To make up for it, my mom suggested going to Adventureland, "Long Island's Amusement Park". The recent movie, Adventureland, is based on this amusement park, in case you were interested. It's not a very big park-- couple of small roller coasters, a flume ride, and assorted spin-until-you-puke rides--but it's a fun way to spend the afternoon and the kids had a great time. You know what they say about best laid plans...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 1: Clarksburg, MA to Port Washington, NY

We didn't get as early a start as I hoped today because loading the car was more challenging than we anticipated. When I was packing our suitcases, I thought I was completely underestimating how much we'd need for 10 weeks. Once we piled everything in the driveway, I changed my tune. After a couple of different configurations, but only unpacking the beach towels, we finally fit the puzzle pieces of our belongings into the back of the car and on top of the roof (we took pictures of it so we'll remember how to re-pack the car on Sunday!). Ron drove his car down separately to be "babysat" by my parents, so just the kids and I loaded into the car to officially begin our journey.

Pulling out of the driveway was more emotional than I was expecting as was the early part of the drive leaving the Berkshires. I'd seen this scenery countless times before, but the beauty of the green hills struck a deeper chord than usual. I know that I will be seeing far more impressive landscapes in the coming weeks, but I'm going to miss these hills that we so generously call mountains.

The blissful calm I felt at the beginning of the drive was not meant to last, though. The 5 hour trip reminded me why I'm thankful to be traveling with 2 adults in the car this summer. Driving down the curvy and narrow Taconic Parkway in a rainstorm while loudly explaining how to view a movie in full screen mode on a Mac to one kid and performing muscle straining contortions to grab the DVD case from the other kid constitutes neither safe driving nor good parenting. Let's hope I can avoid that kind of multi-tasking for the rest of the summer (or ever again).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Packing Kicks into High Gear

Busy, busy day today. Finished folding what seemed like our 100th load of laundry this morning while the housekeeper cleaned around me. Then we ran a bunch of errands: banks, library, and toy store to buy a new sketchpad for Elli and a journal for Jonah. The kids want to get in the trip documentation action, too.

Now I'm taking a little break after lunch to plan my next move. Clean the fridge, pay bills, or pack clothes. All such enticing options. At least Ron is going to take care of mowing the lawn when he gets home in a little while. I better stop writing and tackle at least one of those tasks or we'll never be ready to leave tomorrow morning!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Packing Begins

So, our ten week odyssey is rapidly approaching. In just a couple of days we'll be leaving our house until September to travel around the country. Our first stop is my parents' house on Long Island for a short visit before my high school reunion. In exactly one week, we'll be pulling out of their driveway and heading west.

Our job for today is a packing trial run. We bought a Thule box for the roof of our Passat wagon and need to decide what goes on the roof and what goes in the car. I've started piling all our gear in the living room and it's a frighteningly large pile. Maybe I should be re-thinking my firmly anti-minivan stance...