st louis family vacation, days 4 and 5

These are the last two days of our family vacation. My Uncle Mark emailed after seeing my first posts and said, "I saw your make-my-friends-jealous-blog posts..." I thought that was so funny, because it is true, these are the very best pictures of the SEVEN HUNDRED AND FORTY TWO that we took! Ivar and Elsie are really into taking pictures so I literally had 300 pictures from the zoo to weed through! Naturally, there are some great pics to choose from! Plus, it was that great of a time. :)
Our final morning began with Aunt Jane's oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries on top. And Aunt Jemima, which we would find out soon would turn our children into crazy-people. We packed up the car (our stuff was everywhere in the house...I worked hard this morning!) and set out for Waterloo, Iowa. We decided to make the trip home in two days. That was a great decision as Alden make his frustration known about the car ride the last hour to Waterloo. But then we got to the hotel! And we stayed put from 3pm until 10am the next morning.
We went for luggage cart rides, went swimming...
And ate a really great dinner of roast chicken, bagels and cream cheese, cuties and bananas while watching two solid hours of Diners, Drive-In's and Dives (always a hotel favorite in our family).
Oh, and Rory bought a red gatorade for Ivar when he went out to Hy-Vee. That was a goal of Ivar's for this trip: to get to taste red gatorade. :)
The next morning we ate a great breakfast at the hotel, the big kids went swimming one more time, the little kids helped me pack up all of our stuff while watching Pioneer Woman and then we loaded back up. And before we left, Rory turned Alden's carseat to forward facing! What a big day! And a big boy! And a happy boy!
On the way home, we drove through Waverly, Iowa. My Grandma and Grandpa Harrington lived in Waverly my whole life...and this town and Bartels Lutheran Home were a HUGE part of my first 25 years of life. We drove to Waverly many times each year for every major holiday and a few summer trips too...but it had been a decade since I'd been back...since Grandma died. I was filled with emotion. It is strange to see a chapter of your life so vividly and just to know that the chapter is passed. I was so glad we stopped and drove around a bit. It also meant I got to tell my kids a few stories that I want them to know.
And then we high-tailed it home. We pulled up our lane at 2pm on Saturday and that is a very nice time to get home. The little ones went down for naps, I unpacked and started laundry and then I took a two hour nap myself. I like a Saturday arrival home though. It made for a really gentle re-entry to our everyday.
So that was our trip! Family vacations are so important! I thought of this many times. Memory making is a really important part of family-togetherness, and we made a lot of great memories on this trip. I also was reminded that you don't have to fly or go very far or go away for very long. It all counts. So we decided to be more intentional about day trips (leaving a farm full of animals is no small thing...), even if it requires a few hours of driving. It's fun to get off the farm. And it's wonderful to come back home!

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