So we left Nebraska on Thursday night with plans to drive through the night and most of the next day to get to Indiana in time to spend some time with my youngest brother, his wife, and their new little addition. The drive through the night was successful - if you count hitting a raccoon successful. At least we were able to avoid all the deer, and apparently in that part of the country, they are everywhere! It must be a fun deer game to run across the road randomly in the middle of the night.
We reached little brother's house around 4:00 pm the next day. The kids were suitably impressed to see a police car parked in the driveway. (no worries, Uncle Matt was not in trouble - he is a policeman). We spent the evening enjoying grilled burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob while the kids tormented the two dogs. I got several chances to love on my newest chunky little nephew and chat it up with my sister-in-law. Although we were all tired, we wanted to spend as much time with family as possible before we had to leave for Ohio in the morning. We hit up the local mall for some play time and went to the Albanese Candy Factory, where the kids oohed and aahed over the chocolate fountain coming down from the ceiling and were thrilled to choose their own special gummy candy to take home.
The next morning, Matt took us to the Jelly Pancake House for a hearty breakfast before we continued our journey to Ohio. Can I just say YUM?! This place had the most amazing breakfast food - I loved my Mediterranean Frittata and my sister-in-law's Captain Crunch encrusted french toast looked divine! I had to get a couple of family pics after breakfast:
So from Indiana we journeyed on to Ohio, a much shorter trip in comparison to all the road time we had clocked already.
We spent the next week at the Nerd's brother's house, playing games and going shopping and running around outside with their newest addition, a tiny puppy named Nora.
We also got what we like to call our "bonus relative" - my older brother was in Columbus for a board game convention so we got to meet up for dinner and chatter. I forgot my camera for that unfortunately and am bummed that I didn't get any pictures of the kids with their Uncle Tom. Next time. . .
My sister-in-law Paula and I logged in a lot of hours shopping and walking around showing off the adorable puppy. On one particular hot day, we took the kids to the local outdoor mall so they could run through the fountains and cool off.
The kids especially enjoyed a Subway picnic at the park too. Our time in Ohio was relaxing and fun, and we got to spend it with the people we love.
All too soon, it was time to leave. Our vacation was over - well, except the fact that we now had to drive all the way back to Oregon! We left Ohio at night and drove over 1200 miles to get back to Nebraska to spend the night with Mom and Dad before finishing our journey. Poor Nerd was completely wiped out at this point and went right to sleep. The kids, Grammy and Pop, and I walked down the street to enjoy some fireworks with friends. Apparently in Nebraska anything and everything is legal when it comes to fireworks; so we saw quite the show. A couple of times I did fear for our lives, but it was fun all the same. We then used the next two days to drive back to Oregon, stopping at a hotel in Idaho for the night and fueling up our bodies and spirits at IHop. We came home to a clean house and a yummy spaghetti dinner, courtesy of my sweet in-laws.
And then we died of exhaustion. No, not really, but let's just say the 4th of July was a big "recovery" day for us. . .