Worth the eight hour drive

I can't claim that many trips are worth an eight hour, mind-numbingly boring drive---but our trip home definitely qualifies as well worth the torture. Are you ready for photographic evidence?

First, there was Henry throwing a hissy fit in the back seat on the ride down. He simply cannot get comfortable and pants the entire time. In this picture I think he looks like a lamb:

This is the old "I'm going to hide behind Dad's shirts because I'm mad at you" trick:

And now, "I'm just going to stare blankly out the window, with my back to you."

Although the drive from Milwaukee to Jefferson City, Missouri is painfully boring we did manage to see a glorious sunset over the Illinois cornfields:

Upon arrival at 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, look what greeted us [my Mom lives for this stuff]:
Walking by my parents' dining room made me do a double take:
This is called a Wedding Tree. Do not call it a Christmas Tree or you will be banished by my mother. There are little ornaments with wedding pictures on them hiding amidst the aisle decor from our wedding. Is there a support group for recovering Mother of the Bride addicts?
Since my mom just got my dress dry cleaned, she decided to make it a shrine and hang it in the 'wedding room.' I'm pretty sure that doesn't do much for preserving the gown but whatev. We'll just hope this little mid-life crisis passes soon, right mom?

But the woman can grow some mean pink flowers!
Then a grotesque tree frog adhered itself to our kitchen window and stared into our souls. Great time for a photo!

And this next series I call: The Reason Why We Run

1. Homemade cookies from scratch2. The best old school ice cream parlor in the world. Yes, the world. Bring it on!
I tried to snap a pic of the various flavors but I felt like a creep in there. This is Central Dairy: a real ice cream shop from the 1950s. It hasn't been redecorated and their prices are unbeatable.
Sure, it's no Wisconsin custard but it's real ice cream and the bomb.

I'm the creepy lady with a camera today, but I love this shot:
3. And yet another gem of Jeff City: Sno Biz. Hawaiian shaved ice with sugary, yummy goodness.

Instead of the standard fruity syrup flavored treat, Nate opts for the Mounds Bar variety: which is coconut flavored ice with Hershey's syrup on top. Can you tell he is quite fond of his pick?
Okay, onto the doggie/family/friend pictures!!

Memaw and Pepaw made the trip up to visit their favorite grandchild [ahem]. And Henry likes to give hugs.

And now I present to you Dog With A Hat. He is so incredibly ticked here, I love it!!
Two for the price of one!
Also, Henry enjoys gorging himself on many bones while being spoiled by his Missouri grandparents. I love that his mouth is open while chewing here:

My mom took the opportunity to celebrate Nate's birthday a little early. He's nearing 27 just like his haggard wife, and Memaw made the most fabulous birthday dessert ever. Please note the banner behind us [I helped make it on the computer, but it ran out of blue ink.] And also note Nate's hat has bobbles on it that say 'happy' and 'birthday'. Too fun!
The original foursome:

With our new additions to the family:)

The newlyweds with a handsome couple married 56+ years. Note that they started the freakishly tall legacy in our family: 77 years old and still 6 feet tall. Love you, Memaw and Pepaw!

I call this my happy face. Embrace it:

Then I got to visit my hometown girls: Milldogg and Ariana. Look at their cute faces!

I got a little carried away here and split my lip. Did I ever tell you that I am this child's godmother? And did I mention that she is 3 years old and 50 pounds?

And then there is Ethan---my friend Laura's little man. He's 1.5 years old and a hoot. Those eyes kill me. Watch out ladies, he's single!
When we visited Laura, Adam and Ethan we had to break out the guitar video games. I had no clue what I was doing but it was fun!
Did I mention that Laura is pregnant with her second [due next month!], a resident doctor working 80 hour weeks, and freaking insane? Truly superwoman, that one.

So that is it. A fabulously fun vacation 'down south.' Except for the stupid run on Saturday, I wouldn't have done anything differently. It's always sad to leave, but as mom said, you have to focus on the fun you have while visiting. Plus I might have convinced my parents to come up and visit during the marathon weekend. Not sure if that is a good time for them to see us in action....we might be out of commission all of Sunday after the race but at least they will be there to witness the feat!

Does anyone else live REALLY far away from their family? Do you get to see them more often than me?


  1. Road trip pictures are the BEST! Your captions aren't half bad either.

    I live really, REALLY far away from my family. Like, 24 hours driving far. It's tough. I try to get back there regularly and they come visit here occasionally. We talk (almost) every day on the phone. We make it work. It does help that my husband's family is so close--though not as close as your in-laws--yet, not quite the same either. It just makes our visits and time together that much better.

  2. That first picture of Henry in the car is the best!

    We live 2000 miles away from our families in the Lou. I used to go once every 3 months to visit. I haven't been back since April (our wedding). I'm so sad. I miss everyone terribly. At least I get to go for a visit next month.

    We're thinking of moving to southern Missouri when we move back. At least then we'll be at a driveable distance.

  3. I love your dress - so cute!

    Your mom's wedding tree is quite interesting. I don't think I've seen anything like that before!

  4. it sounds like it was an amazing trip! so glad you enjoyed it.

    i love the pictures of henry and the commentary. they made me laugh out loud.

    i live 17 hours from my family. i fly to see them as often as i can-- every two months or so. i'm not able to take my dogs and my hubby rarely is able to go with me. he makes it for the holidays. like your in laws, his parents live in the same town with us, so we see them a lot.

    visits to see my parents are so much fun, though, because we have so much time to catch up!

  5. I think my mom could be VP of your mom's club. She hasn't stopped making Shutterfly albums yet :). Oh, and you look fab! All the running, a little tanning, and maybe a little something different with the makeup?

  6. You ladies definitely have me beat in distance. But it sounds like you make it a point to visit more often. Shame on me! I guess I just need to suck it up and sacrifice the budget sometimes.

    And Kate~thank you! No...just running a lot, and hence getting some rays [hideous runners tan and all]. I'm really not ghostly pale all of the time---it's just this cursed state! It's made me an albino since last year!

    Maybe the makeup looks better because I'm actually wearing it in most of these pictures:) Sometimes when on vacation I actually put forth the effort:)

  7. Great pictures, I love your dress! And Nate's dessert looked amazing!

    I live about 7 hours from my family, but they are quite a bit more dysfunctional than yours seems to be, so I don't try to visit too often. :)

  8. Your mom's wedding tree is priceless. I've never seen/heard of such a thing!

  9. Reading your blog makes me miss blogging a little bit. :)

    Looks like your trip home was such fun!! The wedding tree is a little out there ... but hey, that's ok! And 56+ years of marriage, that's awesome.

  10. Yeah, and where'd you get that adorable dress?

  11. I live 22 driving hours from my family. It sucks, becuase we see our parents about twice/year, and our extended family usually once. I'm really close to my fam, so it can be torture, but we get through it somehow!

  12. I have no doubt that my mom would have loved to have a wedding tree if my dad would let her!

    Your trip looked fun! We only live about two miles from my parents - which has both its pros and cons :)

  13. I have a few comments:

    I love all the Henry pictures, especially the one of you and him and his hat. His expression is truely priceless!

    I love your dress! It's super cute.

    I'm jealous of your tan!

    Our parents live pretty close to us, so we see them pretty often.

    Thanks for sharing your pics from the trip. It looks like you all had a great time. :-)

  14. I live 1200 miles from my family in AR, and J lives about 1400 miles away from his family in WI. We are lucky to get to see them once a year... and that usually involves someone's wedding! My trip home last week made it very hard for me to leave. I always get super sad when it's time to go back to "my" home. I think it does make you appreciate your trips that much more, though.

  15. I absolutely love that dress. Where's it from? Maybe my Mom and your Mom could join the recovering mother of the bride group. She has a wedding shrine of us in her house. Uh, I have a brother...don't forget about the poor guy! :)

  16. Don't laugh but ... get that dog of yours a car seat.

    Seriously, it helps them feel more secure -- and elevates them enough so they can see out the window. Check out the "Snoozer Lookout Dog Car Seats" -- they have a bunch of different sizes. They're often on ebay for super-cheap.

    We have two, because we are idiots. Generally, for short trips, our dogs share one car seat -- but for longer hauls, we'd probably opt for each to have his own. As soon as they get in their car seat they pass out -- no more whining and being uncomfortable and moving from one side of the car to the other. Plus, you can put them in a harness and secure it to the seatbelt, that way they're extra secure.

    I think there's a picture on my blog of Norman in his ... oh, yup. Here's the pic: Norm Chillin'

    And yes, your family WILL mock you incessantly for having one. But then you'll be sitting in the car one day, turn around and see your furball sacked out in bed and you'll be glad you bought one, LOL.

    You can thank me later ;o)

  17. Ahhh, there's too many beautiful pictures, filled with handsome dogs, good looking families and cute kids!

    I'm glad you had such a great time! I love your haircut btw and you and your mom are too cute!

  18. Julia, I love your posts! And i live way far away from my parents. I'm in DC and they are in Florida! I miss them terribly and dream of living minutes away instead of hours one day! It sounds like the trip was good for your soul. I'm glad!

  19. Great recap!

    Both Jim's and my family live in town so we can see them anytime we want. That was a pre-requisite for my future hubby - had to live near family!

    Looks like you had a fabulous time. I'm glad the 8 hours were worth it.

  20. ah, yes....the dress. Milwaukee girls are in luck because it's a local boutique called Fred down in the Third Ward. I am completely obsessed with that store b/c it's basically an Anthropologie but at a fraction of the cost. That particular dress was only about $50:)

    And Ellen~That pic of Norm made me LOL. I am all about a car seat, no shame here. I'm going to investigate further!

  21. Fred is the best.

    My mom totally does the same kind of stuff yours does too. When I woke up on my wedding day, I got out of bed, went to the bathroom and when I got back, there was a present and a card waiting for me...in coordinating wedding colors of course and embellishments up the wazoo. love moms!

    btw, your blog is like the most popular thing ever...the comments are out of control!

  22. love the pictures! i am glad you had such a fun time!

    that welcome picture is too cute! and the huge pudding/cake/sundae thing for nates bday is too cute! what a great mom you have!

    i have never seen a wedding tree dress, very interesting....

    and those pics of henry are too cute!

  23. i live 7 hours and 500 miles from my parents. they are just as crazy as your mom when we come to visit.

    sometimes i feel we're there all the time and others we'll go for months without being home.

    i'm glad you had a great time with your southern vacation!!!

    i also heart Central Diary. :)

  24. Sounds like you had a great time! I live on the opposite coast of my family, I'm lucky to see them twice a year. It's tough, but unfortunately I've gotten used it it.

    I'm glad you got to spend time with your family.

  25. That wedding tree is so funny! What a hoot!!


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