After our run down of Chicago, we loaded up the chicklets and our multiple suitcases, backpacks, snacks, stuffed animals, drinks, and anything else we could shove in the back seat!!! We were St. Louis bound and ready to start the next chapter in the 'Team Lewis, 'Mother Of All Family' Vacations' travel journal!!! Although we were parting from family and loved ones, our hearts were quickly saved by the thought of all the fun times that lye ahead with dear friends, who pretty much fall into the family category because we have known them for so long! That's just they way it is with friends who love you thru thick and thin, never failing to be present in your daily lives, even tho they live 2 states away!!
No questions asked, we were headed for more good times!!!
The boys were awesome, for the first hundred or so miles... I'd like to think that is because their mom rocks in the department of planning and packing 'cool car activities'?!?! Either way, they stayed hooked up with drawing, writing in their travel journals (yes, I made travel journals... dorky and awesome all at same time)!! We had fun at the rest stops... and yes I mean that in the plural form... rest stops, like 5 within the first 2 hours!! Ha!!! I guess when your mom rocks in the kid's activities department, she also may over feed/water those same kiddos for the sake of her sanity...
Can you blame a girl??
<a little over excited about a bathroom key>
<taught boys the 'I am squishing your head" trick>
<in car bubble time>
<aaaand boredom has set in... candy in the nose, funny yet dangerous?>
I love the drive from Chicago to St. Louis... tons of trees, lots to look at... old barns, farmhouses, factories, miles of planted fields! Great, as far as eye candy goes, for a long drive!! I used to make this drive quite often on my own when I was going to see this 1st year law student I liked a lot... he was well worth the long drive. I mean, in the end I think the trips paid off because he asked me to marry him! Not too shabby of a reward for a girl who braved a couple solo road trips...
<see... eye candy!>
I have a thing for bridges... covered or not, I think they are cool!!! I would yell out 'BRIDGE"... point until I knew all the boys had properly looked to pay homage! I think I like them because they are massive structures daring you to travel past them... daring you in a fun, beautiful way that is both welcoming and unnerving! Plus it's like a right of passage... you make it across and you know you are one step closer to where you want to go! Just like anything in life, you have to cross over the hard, scary stuff to see the beauty life holds for you... if you don't, you miss half the journey!
<hey, looks who's doing the driving now... that cute law student!!>
After about 4 hours of driving and multiple 'are we there yet' cries... the boys crashed! It was a welcomed quiet peace for me and my handsome driver! We turned on the tunes and enjoyed the tail end of our trek with wide smiles and no words! Don't you love that quiet, unstated peace you can have with someone... you don't have to talk but you know you both are solemnly enjoying the very same thing and savoring it together in silence!?
It's a special kinda connection, I tell ya...
I didn't have the heart to wake the boys up at the Missouri state line... they were out and the rest was much needed! I did think for a millisecond that a picture of us all doing that car commercial leap into the air would have been awesome to have in front of the 'welcome to Missouri' sign... but I resisted that urge and let them rest! It was hard... but well worth it when we rolled onto our college campus and I woke the boys up saying... 'look guys, this is where Mommy and Daddy met and fell in love!! That was a much sweeter moment then a leaping pic on the side of the road!!
We showed the boys where we met, the classrooms were we 'tried' to listen to lectures, tried being the operative word!! We were too busy whispering, laughing, and trying to distract one another to listen to any professor talking about economic debates! I guess that's what happens when two young kids, that are beginning to dig each other, take a History and Literature class together! The boys were a little groggy from the cricked neck sleeping they did in the car... so needless to say, they weren't as in awe as I thought they would be of all the sights! But, sharing this place with them is what mattered most to me, regardless of their initial reaction! Giving them a concrete starting place for them to know where our life as a team of 4 began was my ultimate goal for bring them here. If it weren't for this little (well, not so little anymore) university, and all it's quirky rules, unairconditioned dorms, bad cafe food, and parties that weren't supposed to happen on campus... we would have never met, fell in love, and started a family!!! And in the end, I think they both caught on to that point...
<the switchboard room where we first met...
he was a lifeguard, ditching hours, and
I was a smitten girl willing to sign
off on this 'supposed' hours worked>
<the history classroom,
and me demonstrating how this cute guy
would try to look at my paper>
<campus buccaneers, where we'd swing for hours>
<mom and dad trying to be cool...
if you notice big boy's face,
we weren't that cool obviously!>
I'd say, overall, the trip achieved the status I was looking for... it was a pretty awesome family field trip... if not right up there with 'the Mother of all' family vacation moments!! We arrived in the Lou safe and sound, and began the rest of our trip with a little stroll down memory lane!
I can't think of a better way to take a road trip... filled with good times and sharing amazing memories!!
Stay tuned... More from the St.L coming right up!!
Always - Abbey