So, just as promised, the girls and I were up and at 'em Saturday morning, ready for our long drive to Chicago. We said good-bye to Ty and tip-toes out the door at around 10 after 5, so as not to wake any sleeping soccer coaches (how's that for a good-bye?)
The ride to Chicago wasn't bad, really. Who can remember all the details, but we made a lengthy stop for lunch at the Super Target in West Des Moines and another lengthy stop to do a bit of shopping at the outlets in Williamsburg, IA. I think we stopped again at the DeKalb oasis to go potty, and that might've been it for stops. It took us about 14 hours and 15 minutes including our stops, so all in all, not too bad.
Saturday night, we had some chicken nuggets and mac'n'cheese out on the deck by Aunt Kathy's and drank a Bud Lite or two. The girls helped put together a new water table for the party Sunday, and of course, everyone was just all over Tucker.
By the time we got to Kelli's place, dragged all of our stuff inside, and settled in, we were exhausted.
Sunday morning, Kelli & I took the kids grocery shopping for a few things for the week and supplies for the salad I made for the party. As a last minute decision, Ashley drive from Vermont to Toledo, and her and her Mama made the drive from Toledo to Chicago just for the party Sunday, which was amazing! The girls (and I) were over-the-moon to see Auntie Ashley!
We arrived to the party at around 1:00 PM, and had a great time. I will say that things were a bit more low-key this year than others, but it was so relaxing and enjoyable. All the kids played wonderfully together, and a huge shout out to my girl Gabbie who allowed me to have a break from my kiddos to catch-up with Ash and Miranda- what a blessing!
So, as soon as we got there, I spent a few moments playing Nazi-camera-mom and forcing the girls to sit still while I got a picture of them in their 4th of July outfits and hair pretties. Not a moment too soon, either, as seconds later Tink was immersed in the kiddie pool fully clothed. I won't even say I told you so...
Sassy and Mama J showed off their att-i-tude quite nicely...
And, it was into the pool. For the rest of the day. No joke. These kids are like FISH! I managed (miraculously) to avoid having to go in all day thanks to countless other adults who took turns manning the pool and monitoring the kiddos. Also, thank the lord for puddle jumpers. Go buy some. Run, don't walk, mmm-kay?
Love this picture of... wish I could tell you. What a terrible auntie I am. I think it's Miss L, NOT in puddle jumpers. Tsk tsk.
There was food. Chatting. Lots of laughs. Lots of gushing over beautiful girls and adorably squishy babies. Good, good stuff.
And, of course, there was BAGS. Wouldn't be a party without BAGS.
Kait's roomie, the lovely Miss Emily, made her hit dessert again this year- hamburger cookies. Tell me these are not the cutest.things.EVER.
Auntie Ashley got her baby fill. Isn't this just about the most darling toothless baby smile you've ever seen? Me, too!
The big kids played in the pool. We ate some more. Laughed until our face hurt. Caught up. Reminisced. All the things I ♥ about the annual 4th of July party. Tink literally fell asleep in Gabbie's arms and stayed asleep when I carried her inside. She slept until we left, over three hours later!
Tucker was a star!
...and you can see better why I have a hard time with identification. Again, i believe it's Miss A on the left and Miss L on the right??? I'll let Auntie MiMi and Uncle Jay chime in and correct me if necessary...
Before we knew it, night fell. We heard some fireworks, said our long, hard good-byes, and sent Ashley and her Mama back to Toledo.
After a while, Kelli and I took the kids back to her place, put them to bed, and spent a good deal of time sitting out int he (nice, cool, breezy) backyard where we finally had the chance to exhale, enjoy a beer, and catch up. Divine.
It's easy to see why I love our visits to Chicago, and why (to me) it's worth every minute and every mile of the drive. ♥