Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chapter 2: Rock Island

After we left Chicago we drove a few hours down to Rock Island. It was my first time going back to Rock Island to see where Todd was born and raised. It gives you a lot of insight into a persons life to see where they started out. And it was a lot of fun to be there with him, reliving childhood memories. It was also so great to be able to stay with his parents and get to know them more and spend a lot of time with them. It means a lot to us that our children have a good relationship with them, even if we are a ways away. And both of the kids bonded so well with Grandma and Grandpa. It is neat to stand back and watch memories being made that you know you will cherish always.
So here is how we spent most of our time...
Todd pushing the kids on the swings at the park he played little league at as a boy.
What a good Daddy...obviously uncomfortable but being a good sport and playing with his little girl :)
Grandma and Makenna really became good buddies on this trip. They had so much fun together.
Grandpa and big boy Kellen!
One night afternoon Todd and I left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa to take some time to ourselves. We decided to drive out to Tampico, Reagan's birthplace. It is the tiniest little hick town I have seen (if you can even call it a town). But wow, the people there are proud to call it home and are very, very proud and honored to call it Reagan's home. Or at least the 80 year old man who gave us the tour was. It was really cute and actually quite interesting. But I did have to hold back a few laughs.
Here is Todd standing in the room Reagan was born in.
Here I am outside the Reagan's's above the bank.

Mommy and Makenna playing at the park. This park was had all the toys that I had at parks when I was a kid. I felt like I was 7 years old again...I had So much fun playing with her here...I could have stayed all day. And I think Makenna was in shock seeing her mommy run all around the toys like a giddy little girl.
Since I have known Todd he has ranted and raved about a place back home called Happy Joe's. Seriously, the man has made it out to seem AMAZING! So it's time to go to Happy Joe's and we pull up and walk in....not another soul was in there eating. (I should have known at that moment that this was a bad sign)
Grandma and Grandpa at Happy Joe's (It was actually a blast being the only ones in there!)
Feast your eyes upon this...Happy Joe's Specialty pizza....Canadian bacon and Sauerkraut (yes, I too am needing to run to the restroom to vomit...go ahead...I'll wait until you get back).
I promised Todd I would try at least one bite (this alone goes to show how much I love the man, because under any other circumstances this pizza would go nowhere near my sophisticated palate)
Needless to say I had one bite, and one bite only. You McKamey's are crazy! ;)
But the other half of the pizza was good and Makenna loved her clown sundae at the end of the night, so all in all it was worth it!

Whitey's Ice Cream. Probably some of the best ice cream I have ever had. And Makenna was in heaven. Whenever I ask her what her favorite ice cream flavor is she always says "Pink!" But she had never had pink ice cream...until Whitey's. They had pink bubble gum flavored ice cream. It was a dream come true for the little girl!

This is at the John Deere 'Museum'. It was really neat to see all the tractor and equipment that they had there. Makenna loved it in her Tom Boy way.
Daddy and Makenna in a $500,000 John Deere Tractor. Todd is really all John Deere fired up since we have been cracks me up. But hey, good to be proud of where you came from.

This is at the arsenal on Rock Island. It was really neat to see the arsenal where Ed (Todd's dad) worked and all the old building were very neat. At this park they had tanks and different weapons on display that you could check out and Makenna was able to climb all over.
Kellen was a trooper the whole trip, but boy was he just pooped. The poor kid passed out on the way to dinner and slept on the bench in my lap through the whole thing.

Here we are on the plane ride home. It feels good to finally get on the plane. After a 3 hour drive back to Chicago, returning the rental car, checking luggage, making it through security, it is just nice to know that from that point on, no matter what happens, when you land you'll be home.
It really was a great trip and there are more stories to tell, but I don't want to bore you too much. All in all we had a great time. But it will be awhile before we go on any more 'Trips'. I need a vacation now to recover from this one!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chapter 1: Airport and Wedding

Well we made it! We all survived our first trip as a family. I had been calling it a vacation, but have since learned that traveling with children does not qualify as a vacation, but a trip. All in all, it was a great trip though. We were all a bit worn out upon arriving home, but it was a good worn out. We had a ton of fun and made a lot of great memories.
So much happened and I have so many pictures to post that I thought this would be best to do in a few installments. So we'll begin with the first 3 days.
After lots of planning, a ton of lists and way too much packing, we have everything ready for the trip.
(This is how I looked/felt after making sure I had everything we needed to bring...and then some.)
Friday morning we finish the last few things that have to be done and got ready to take off. We load up the kids and the car and head for the airport. When we get to the airport my mom helps unload the kids and Todd and I grab the bags. Right when we are about to say bye togrammy and go check our bags I turn to Todd and ask "Do you have Makenna's backpack?" (mind you, this backpack has ALL of the entertainment and bribes I have packed for Makennain order to survive the 4 hour flight). He turns to me and says "No" I say "You put it in the car, right?" He looks at me..."No". I try my best to not panic at that moment and my mom, the saint that she is, rushes back home to grab the backpack and get it back to us before our flight takes off. So we spend the next 40 minutes pacing the airport, let Makenna burn some energy and pray she makes it in time...which she does. So we let out a big sigh of relief and learn a valuable lesson...count all the bags to make sure you have everything before leaving. But this moment sort of sets the stage for the rest of the day....
Our flight out is about 20 minutes delayed, which is a bit frustrating since we are standing in a crowded terminal that is under construction. Take that and add an anxious, excited, energetic 2 1/2 year bouncing around wanting to get on the plane and a very loud 8 1/2 month old yelling and squawking every time someone makes an announcement over the speakers and it all equals one hectic, stressful moment. However, we make it on the plane and the flight goes very well...better than I could have hoped for. Makenna loved it and was such a good girl! It was fairly easy to keep her entertained and when we landed she was sad and announced that she wanted us to go back up in the air way up high. Kellen did a good job as well. He was his usual happy, loud self and only got fussy for a bit. He eventually slept for awhile which was a relief to us all.
Our excited, first time fliers!
Todd being a trooper and taking Makenna up and down the escalator to keep her entertained. He did such an amazing job at keeping his cool and staying calm during all the madness!
When we get in to Chicago it is about 10pm Chicago time. The kids are tired, Todd and I are worn out and hungry (they didn't feed us dinner on the flight) and we still need to get our bags, our rental car and drive the 40 minutes to the hotel.
So we head down to the baggage area and Todd loads up our 5 suitcases on a cart while I keep the kids in line. He then leaves the baggage with me while he stands in line to check in for our rental car. While waiting with the luggage Makenna announces she has to go potty. So I yell over to Todd that I am running to the bathroom for a moment and leave the luggage there. We rush over to the potty, take care of business and rush out, since I am nervous to have our baggage unattended. After that we head to the parking garage to get the rental car. After a little more hassle our mini van finally pulls up. Todd gets the car seats installed while I continue to try and keep the kids happy and entertained and out of the parking lot. Finally, we are ready to load the car and get underway. We load everything and everyone up and are about to get in ourselves when I look over at Todd and say "Have you seen my purse?" (Sound a bit familiar?) He says "No. Where did you put it?" I thought I had set it in the car, so Todd unloads all the baggage again to check and see if it is there...and it's not. We look under seats, under the car, everywhere around the area. Todd runs downstairs and retraces our steps through baggage claim....nothing. No sign of the purse at all. By now it is after 11:00 and the kids (and parents) are getting quite tired and cranky. We decide it would be wise to cancel the credit cards, since at this point we believe the purse was stolen. Todd takes care of that while I keep the ranks in line. Once that is done Todd decides we should file a police report, just in case. A very kind retired Chicago police officer says he has some contacts he could call for us. While he is on the phone Todd's cell starts to ring. He looks at it and, to his shock and surprise, the caller is Amanda McKamey. He answers and a man named Ozzy is on the other end. His wife had found a purse in the bathroom at the Chicago airport. (Whoopsie). They had figured out that Todd was my husband since his name was on my checks with me, so they called and gave us directions to a place we could meet them to pick up the purse. So we drive about 15-20 minutes to a marina in downtown Chicago and wonderful, amazing Ozzy and his wife show up with the purse. Todd gives the woman a hug and thanks them profusely.
Not many people are as lucky and blessed as we were to run into such kind people through this crazy adventure. It was truly an answer to silent prayers!!
So finally, at about 12:45 we start heading to the hotel. We hit some traffic due to an overturned semi on the freeway, enjoy a pop tart and some candy for dinner, and make it to the hotel at about 2 am. When we get there the kids wake up in their car seats exhausted and confused. They both scream their heads off the entire way up to the room and cry as we struggle to get our luggage unloaded and the beds set up for them. But eventually around 2:30 am they both pass out.
At this point I think both Todd and I are so exhausted and worn out physically, emotionally and mentally that we are just numb. I figure at that point that this is either foreshadowing as to how the entire trip is going to be, or we are getting all the bad stuff out of the way and the rest of the trip will be a breeze. Stay tuned to fine out...
Hotels with kids...aahhhh...
On Sunday we were able to attend Todd's younger brothers wedding. Bob and April were a gorgeous bride and groom and the ceremony and reception were great and a ton of fun. Todd was a groomsman and Makenna was the flower girl. I made April no promises as to how well Makenna could do...she is an unpredictable little toddler. She looked absolutely adorable in her dress and with her basket of flowers. I didn't want to make anything a big deal to her because I was afraid it would put too much pressure on her and make her get nervous and shy. So we just told her that she would walk up after Daddy did and would walk to mommy and sit by her. I was going to be on an isle seat in the second row. However, when I went in to take my seat Right before the ceremony began, there was no isle seat available. Everyone began walking up. It wasMakenna's turn. I told Grandpa McKamey to wave to her and coax her our way. But I think she didn't see him since she was supposed to be looking for me. So when she was about 1/4 of the way there she burst into tears. She kept going and got about half way and then turned around and started running away yelling "Mama, mama!" I jumped up and everyone pointed her my way and she turned around and ran, crying, up the isle to me. At least she made it all the way up the isle, right? I felt a bit bad for Makenna, but thought it was all quite cute and funny. Hopefully the bride agreed :)
The handsome groomsman
My little flower girl in her princess dress.

My bald little stud muffin!
The wedding party.
Grandma and Grandpa with the big boy

Makenna tore up the dance floor! The girl is a dancing fool!

Gotta love those special Daddy/Daughter moments!
All in all it was a crazy, but fun time in Chicago! And this was only the first 2 days! Thankfully, the rest was not quite as a very good way. It was certainly a trip to remember.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yes, we are alive...

We have just been really busy getting ready for our trip to Illinois. We leave on Friday and will be there for a week. Todd's parents, Ed and Loretta, live in Rock Island and we are going to see them, as well as see Todd's brother Bob get married. So we will be in Chicago for the wedding for two days and then in Rock Island for 5 more days. I know for many of you traveling with kids is a common event. But I am new at this. I have never flown with a child and now I will be flying with two. And I have never stayed in a hotel with a child and will be staying in one with two. I was a bit nervous at first about how everything would go. But I have decided that there is nothing to worry about too much. No matter how the kids behave on the plane, we will eventually make it there. And we will make it through the hotel and the week. I may be sleep deprived and exhausted, but we will survive :) And I am really, very excited to see Todd's family and see them with the kids. Makenna is thrilled about the trip and can't wait to "fly in an airplane way up in the sky!" She has been saying "We go on a big airplane really really soon" for about a month now, so she is really worked up over it and can't wait. And she is excited to see Grandma and Grandpa McKamey and spend time with them. So anyone that has traveling advice to share, feel free to impart of your knowledge and wisdom.
But before we take off I wanted to give you a few pictures to look at while we are gone. I know you all need your McKamey fix, right?

Makenna is really into taking silly pictures right now.

She thought she was being funny by not smiling for the camera. The more I asked her to smile the more she tried not to. Very typical Makenna. :)
But when I threatened to put the camera away I got this...
I always win in the end :)

Putting her shoes on all by herself...she is very proud of this!
Don't ask...I don't know....
She wanted me to take a picture of her "grumpy face'...pretty good one, huh?

My favorite little man!
Today Kellen pulled himself up to standing all by himself 3 times! What a big boy!

Such a big boy! He was having a blast in these tunnels and was laughing so much!
Learning what happens when you bang a metal bowl on the ground...very exciting for an 8 month old!