Whew! We’re back. Three weeks on the road! Amazing trip. We started the trip by stopping for an hour or so in Rochester, IN to see Grandma T. Actually, our first stop was to pick up Giordanno’s pizza to-go outside of Chicago. We do that frequently on these trips – and then the fun part is trying to eat a slice of Chicago-style stuffed pizza while driving in Chicago traffic! Whil we were with Grandma T we went through pictures that we brought and then I tried to turn on the auto-photo frame on her desk. It wasn’t going through pictures so after pushing lots of buttons it started showing pictures. And of course it started with pictures of Katherine mixed in with our family. The pictures were great, just sometimes I’m caught off guard seeing Katherine. A month or two ago Eric posted pictures on Facebook that had come from Katherine’s phone. The pictures were great and the kids were always laughing and smiling, but then all of a sudden a picture popped up with Katherine in it – totally caught me off guard. Starting in northern Indiana there was no power to the traffic lights (I would argue that there shouldn’t be traffic lights on a HIGHWAY anyway but Indiana doesn’t quite understand that yet). As we pulled into Rochester we noticed huge trees down or uprooted and branches & leaves everywhere. Found out we just missed a huge storm. The plan was to stay the night in Fort Wayne…we got there a few hours later and our hotel there didn’t have power (so we found a hotel that did!). From Rochester all the way into Ohio as we drove through small towns there were huge trees down everywhere and no Burger King or McDonald with power (amazing we survived). I’ve always loved driving through small town Indiana while listening to John Cougar Mellencamp…seeing everyone out and working on cleaning up their small towns while JC was playing added to that ambiance.

Next stop on the way to MA was Howe Caverns. We did Mammoth Cave in KY the year before and the kids really liked it. These caves were cool too for a quick stop – neat that first you take an elevator way down into the ground. A stream follows you throughout the path and you even take a boat ride 200’ underground. In KY the year before they were very concerned about bats dying from white nose syndrome (you had to walk through this soapy mixture before/after going into the caves). At Howe Caverns they said all the bats were already dead and they weren’t taking any precautions anymore – bummer.

So…next stop was Eric’s place. We stayed there a few nights and got to play with Sara and Rose and hang out with Eric. It was a great stop and was nice to catch up on stuff. The girls are awesome and fun and full of energy and never stop and are chatty and creative and we enjoyed mini-golfing and hippo-tubbing and zip-lining (now my kids really want one!) and bouncy-castling and fort making and arting it up and playing all sorts of games and toys. At the same time it was tough being there – memories everywhere…pictures, her car in the drive, picturing her looking out the window in their kitchen, the memory box on the wall, etc – good memories but that’s the most time we’ve spent in their house and like I said – it was tough at times. But good. So glad we went there and spent time there with Eric and the girls and getting to know the area better and talk. And maybe next trip we’ll even figure out ways to capture Sara in pictures too (she runs as soon as that camera comes up – grrrrrr! 🙂 ).

And the next stop was NH. We spent a few days there with just my parent’s and then a few days later Sara and Rose joined us. We sure kept busy…ice cream and bumper boats and ice cream and Rockport, MA and ice cream and a clam bake with one of Beth’s high school friends and ice cream and blue berry picking and ice cream and moving mulch in the yard and building a wall and edging and ice cream and playing badminton and ice cream and a Revolution game and ice cream and bopping each other with the inflatable hammer and ice cream and candlepin bowling and ice cream and King Kone and ice cream and riding in the cougar and ice cream and celebrated birthdays and ice cream and pie and veggie lasagna and found the secret room and ice cream and played ping pong and ice cream and raced cars in basement and ice cream and watched tv and watched tv and watched tv and ice cream. It was a great trip – lots of fun with the kids and seeing mom & dad, and Dan & Jackie with the kids (and congratulations again!!!), and lots of time to talk and catch up on things. Very glad we came out and saw everybody and could stay a bit longer. It wasn’t always easy but we’re doing ok. Things seemed to work out great and fall into place right when we needed them too. Great weather and an amazing trip. It’s so hard to sum up all our feelings and emotions in a mini blog post (so I didn’t really try ) – love you all and always thinking of you.

After NH we headed to St. Louis with a quick detour in NYC. I hadn’t been there since before 9-11 so it had been a LONG time. I love the city – and the people and the sites and the energy and the pace. We only spent 1 night there but somehow the stars aligned and we saw everything (and more) than we had planned – everything was fantastic about the trip – Empire State Building, FAO (kids loved the candy section of the store), M&M store, Times Square, just walking around, seeing street performers doing music and also street dancing, subway singers got on our subway car, 9-11 memorial, pretzels from street vendors, Sony store (kids had a blast playing and experimenting (amazing that this was free!),great food everywhere we stopped, riding a train, the Statue of Liberty and ferry ride, and of course zooming through Beautiful Bayonne and seeing what’s left of the old army base and eating a real Italian ice. We stayed at a friend/coworker’s house the night before NYC and the night after NYC (and then got up at 5:00 a.m. and hit the road early the next morning and drove 16 hours straight to St. Louis. It was also great to see them and just hang out a bit and unwind. A whirlwind of a trip but it worked out perfectly. We are blessed to have such a strong family and support network. We are getting through all this – still have our days and will for a long time but it’s so important to have each other and keep talking and sharing.

2 Responses to “INMANHNYCMO (IN-MA-NH-NYC-MO)”

  1. Brooks Thompson says:

    We’re home in NH again after our fun visit to Indiana and MN. We had such a great time seeing all of you and trying to help wherever and whenever we could. I guess I never looked at this entry before we left on our trip. You did a great job telling about your two plus weeks away from MN on this trip. As I sit here looking at all the pictures, with tears coming down my cheeks, I think of what a beautiful family we have and that there will never be any more pictures that include Katherine. It make me very sad!! And, yet, seeing all our beautiful grandchildren – it makes me happy and thankful for the time we had together this summer. Thanks for all the time you spend on this blog. I really enjoy reading about all your escapades. Love, Mom

  2. Dad and Grandpa T says:

    Ditto for me. Thanks for help making this a great summer. Although we all struggle at times as we think back to how things used to be and still should be, it is comforting to recall fond memories and the new ones we are making. Glad you were able to fit so much into your summer. We enjoyed our visit in MN with your family and glad we got to spend so much time with Colleen, Christopher and Megan. Every now and then I look at the You Tube clips of the wave at the Vikings game. I still laugh when I see it. It felt good to laugh that hard that night. Over the next few weeks you will all be settling into new routines as the kids and Beth go back to school and you find other ways to fill the time you spent with the fire dept. I’m sure you will all make the adjustments quite nicely. Thanks again for the updates and helping us all enjoy this summer so much.

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