Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ClaireAnna and Mom's Big Adventure

Our Big Adventure started on Thursday, June 25th. Claire and I were headed up north so she could attend camp and I could visit with Jes and see old friends. I was also transporting 8 ducks we had raised and sold over the Internet to a man in Bloomington, IL. We left Dover at 8:15 in the morning. What should have been a 12 hour trip, turned into a 17 hour nightmare! Just before Springfield, MO, I had a blowout on my left rear tire. We were stranded in the median in the blazing sun and temps of 97 degrees. Would you believe a friend from Russellville was also traveling to IL that same day at the same time and stopped to help me?! What a "coincidence!" We were able to keep the ducks cool in her car until a tow truck could come and change my tire. ( We were unable to loosen the lug nuts.) I then drove to Springfield and had to buy a new tire. Back on the road and now 3 hours behind schedule, my air conditioning died completely in the middle of a traffic jam in the middle of St. Louis. The temperature is still 97 and I've got ducks overheating in a cardboard box. So once we were through the city, we stopped at a DQ and took the box of ducks inside to cool off. ( I can't believe they didn't notice!) An hour later as the sun started to go down and the temperatures cooled a bit, we headed back out, still very nervous for the duck's well being. We met our duck buyer near Bloomington at 9:30 pm. ( We were scheduled to meet him at 4:30). Once the ducks were handed off, I was relieved but quite exhausted. I realized the best thing to do would be to continue driving since it was night and the heat wasn't so bad. I made it to Jes's apartment at 1:15 am Friday morning.

Friday morning we slept in and then took my car in to get fixed. Happily, it was a minor problem.

Saturday morning we headed to Camp Awana. ClaireAnna had been excited about camp for weeks. Here are some pictures we took upon arrival.
Jes and I helped ClaireAnna set up her bunk and introduced her to her cabin leader. We walked the whole camp grounds and showed her where everything was. Then we hugged and kissed goodbye.
Sunday Jes and I were able to attend my old church and see lots of wonderful old friends. It was a very special morning! Then we had lunch at The Cheesecake factory. Later, Camp called me and said that ClaireAnna was homesick. I talked to her and she was teary but seemed alright.
Monday, when I got ahold of the camp leader, she told me Claire had been crying a lot and probably should go home. I headed back up to camp to pick her up. :( Turns out, ClaireAnna was overwhelmed with the idea that she wasn't going to see me for a whole week. She liked camp, her leader and all her new friends, but could not stop crying whenever there was a break in activities. We decided to go home and relax and come back for a day at camp on Thursday. I was very disappointed since I had put so much effort in to getting Claire to camp, but.... I guess she just wasn't ready.
On Tuesday, Claire and I spent the morning getting new shocks put on my car. Then we went to Judy Love's house and had a wonderful visit which included lunch from China House, one of my favorite placed to eat.
Wednesday the weather was cooler with a bit of rain expected. The PERFECT kind of day to hit Six Flags since the crowds would be smaller. We also found out it was buy one - get one free tickets! So we had a perfect and wonderful day at Great America - Claire's first time at an amusement park. She loved all the mid-sized rides and the Whizzer, but did NOT like the Demon. We stayed off the other big roller coasters. Thursday, we headed back up to camp. My plan was to let Claire spend the day with her cabin mates and leader while I helped out in the hand crafts. That way, she could have a wonderful Camp Awana experience without having to worry about not seeing mom for a week. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. For some reason, ClaireAnna was still teary eyed and cried anytime she was not with me. We ended up leaving after lunch. We don't really understand this, since Claire is a very confident and non-clingy child. I plan to try again next year, but I will volunteer at camp and stay the whole week with her. Hopefully, with year of maturing, she'll be ready!
On Friday, ClaireAnna was determined to find a place to swim since the 3 days she was at camp were all too cold. We headed out to Illinois Beach State Park on Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, it was also a pretty cool day and the water was like ICE! We tried, but could NOT get used to it. Then I remembered the cool public pool in Zion and convinced Claire that we would have more fun there. And boy did we! They have 2 water slides and Claire loved them! She also got to use her new mask and snorkel. For dinner, we met my sister Laura, and her kids Rachel and Nathan, at Fazoli's. Then we headed up to my brother's house in Milwaukee for a visit and some Copp's Frozen Custard. Yum!
Saturday was the 4Th and we spent it at the lake front in Kenosha with my family. We cooked out burgers and brats and joined in the fun with half the city I think. The fireworks were AWESOME!
My mom and her "baby", Sonny. My sister, Laura, with her step-grand daughter, Maiella.
ClaireAnna and Maielle.
My niece, Rachel, and her boyfriend, Mike! Baby is due in Sept. It's a boy!
ClaireAnna had fun climbing on the rocks at the marina, just like her brother and sister's did for many years every 4th.
On Sunday, Jes, ClaireAnna and I took the train into the city for a Cub's Game. It was a fantastic time and a great game! Cubbies won 9 to 2 against the Brewers! Sweet!
Read the words as they change on the bottom of the score board! We didn't get home from Chicago till after 8:00 pm. We were all just exhausted and hit the sack early. Monday morning, we said goodbye to Jes when she left for work and then packed up and headed out about 9:00 am. I could have made it home, but fatigue set in and we stopped in Ozark and stayed the night. Of course ClaireAnna wouldn't let me rest! We hit the pool, which we had all to ourselves, and swam till 10:30 pm! Claire just LOVES her new snorkel gear!
We got home today about noon and were SO happy to see Dad and Kate! Well, this year's Big Adventure is over. Hopefully, next year's won't be so Big! I'd like to have time to relax and visit more with friends! But my time with ClaireAnna and Jes was precious and special and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you guys had so much fun here, even with the little "problem" at camp. You'll still be remembering the road trip the two of you took for many years. I'm sorry we didn't get to connect; sounds like you were awfully busy. That's OK. I'm glad you got to connect with friends and lots of family. Hopefully next time you're up this way, we'll get to say hey! And tell Ted Jim says hey!


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