A few weeks ago we took a big vacation with my family (12 people total). The best way to sum it up would be 11 days, 8 states (including three I had never set foot in before), 3700 miles, 6 hotel stays, 1 family reunion, 1 amusement park, 1 national park, 1 flat tire, 1 tornado warning and lots of family. It was so much fun!
Now for the details! Our trip took us to Iowa for a family reunion. We also some sites along the way - I went to Mount Rushmore for the first time. The first two days and most of the third were all traveling. We took it slow with lots of breaks since we had five kids under the age of ten with us, stopping in Pueblo the first night and Grand Island, NE the next.
A bit of rain greeted us in New Mexico but we got a beautiful double rainbow out of it.
We played Simon Says before leaving the second day so we could get the sillies out (we also did the hokey pokey at one stop).
This sign was hilarious since we were going to our family reunion.
My first new state. We used to always take the south route when driving but this time we went north.
The third day we reached Iowa (that's what the sign says). Unfortunately about two hours from our destination we had a flat tire - while it was raining and we were about 20 miles from an actual city. So after rearranging kids, luggage, putting a donut on, and stopping at Costco for a new tire we were back on the road, arriving at my Grandma's house two hours after we expected to.
This was breakfast the next morning, which was the day of the reunion.
E and I at the reunion. The reunion was great! It was for the descendants of my great grandparents (so my grandma, her siblings, their kids, etc). We had about 55 people there, with 27 of us belonging to my Grandma's branch of the family tree. It was the first time my cousins and I had all been in the same room since 1996 and my grandma had all her kids, grandkids and great grandkids in one place. The trip was worth it for that alone.
It was a potluck with lots of socializing and games for the kids. (This was the rubber chicken relay.)
This is Flip the Rock. Years ago (I have no idea how many but at least 20) my cousins and I signed this rock. Every time we go back we have to check that it's still there. It's a bit (okay a lot) faded but it was still there!
The day after the reunion we went to Adventureland, an amusement park outside of Des Moines. Think Disneyland but smaller with shorter lines.
This is J, E and me on the train. J was absolutely fearless, wanting to go on any ride he could. Luckily his dad and aunts were more than happy to take him since I hate roller coasters and spinning rides. C and I were much more content to do the tamer rides. The nice thing about having so much family there is we could split up and go on the rides we wanted even if it meant I had my one year old nephew on a baby ride while my sister took my fearless three year old on a much more dramatic ride.
So that's the first half of the vacation!