Road Trip 2014-Day 12 (July 13, 2014)

Visiting Holland...Michigan!
(click here for today's pictures)
We slept until 9 this morning and that was wonderful.  Campbell was fine through the night but did have one little episode this morning.  She did perk up very well after that though.  The kids started racing putting on their clothes this morning.  I wondered aloud what they were in a hurry for.  Robby is the one who had to break the news to them that we had already missed breakfast since breakfast was over at 9.  

Last night, we folded the laundry but I didn’t put it up so I did have that to do this morning.  As soon as I was ready, I took Whitman and a big bag of stuff to go and work on the car.  My first order of business was moving Campbell to the front so she would be closer to me just in case.  Then I had to put all of the newly cleaned towels back in the car along with all of our odds and ends that don’t really have a home.  The amount of things that don’t have a home in the car is growing rapidly-and I just don’t like that.  It is actually about time for us to take everything out of the car and vacuum it out.  The last time we didn’t take out car seats so the car was still pretty crumby.  

Our first stop this morning was for ice, granola bars, sprite (for Campbell) and cheese sticks (but Robby forgot those but they weren’t necessary though).  Some days you get an early start and some days you just don’t-actually, it is nice to not really be in a hurry some times.  We then drove the the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  I ran into the visitor’s center to find out the scoop.  

The National park area has one really large dune but iis is closed because the dune is moving-which creates large holes occasionally.  And not long ago, one of those holes swallowed up a young child (he was rescued).  And since we don’t have a 5 year old boy to spare, we went to the state park.  The dunes at the state park are living so they do not move (I think that is what was said to me.)

At the State Park, we all walked through the nature center and even sat through the slide show.  Robby called it a slide show when he said we might watch it-I snickered thinking about the old slide shows.  I even thought it was silly that he even thought of the word slide show.  But I guess the joke was on me-it really was a slide show.  The kids still watched it and maybe they learned something.

The ranger had told me about one hike to take if we wanted to see the dunes.  He was well aware that I had 6 kids and he even knew their ages.  But he still recommended a hike that was rated “rugged.”  That was fine though since we just needed to stretch our legs.  So we walked a bit up the sand dunes-it was not what I think of as sand dunes.  This was just hilly sandy ground with trees and plants growing along it.  It was like hiking in a hilly forest on sand.  The kids loved this (though the floor of my car did not love all of this sand) and it was just the perfect break we needed.  

Then after our walk, we stopped at a little playground for the kids to play out while we fixed lunch.  Our food supply seems to continue to grow but our picnics are diminishing.  We will have to eat hard on our food for the next few days since we are now well over half way in our trip mark.  This makes me incredibly sad but I guess 6 (I think) more nights is still pretty good.  From here on out in our vacation, Robby will try to figure out a way for him work while still traveling full time.  So far, he has been unable to figure that out!

Since we had a bit of a late start this morning and lost an hour, we didn’t make it to Holland, Michigan until 4.  To us it was just 3 but the sun just stays up so late and we have been eating lunch late as well and all of this has combined to make us thoroughly confused about what time it is.  We went to Nelis’ Dutch Village (second excellent recommendation by Cissy) for the afternoon.  

It was a perfectly quaint Dutch village and just the right size for our crew.  There were ducks and goats all around.  We saw a demonstration on how cheese was made and we saw a traditional Dutch dance.  At the end, they asked the kids if they wanted to come and learn a dance, so my crew all jumped up and went to dance in the front.  Reagan held Keaton’s hand for most of the dance and my girls were by far the cutest little dancers up there.

A big highlight was the pumper cars that the 5 big kids were able to do around the track multiple times.  It was pretty hard but even Keaton did it well-she was slow but she was steady.  They also had a carousel and swings for the kids to ride in.  I was pretty hesitant of Campbell riding the swings due to her tummy troubles but she did fine and wanted to go again-I said no!  

There was a rope maze along with a zip line.  The kids did the zip line over and over again.  I tried but could hardly hold on to it but Robby did it a few times himself.  I think he was busy taking measurements so he could get one in our yard.  Anderson’s favorite part of the place was 3 water pumps that pumped water into a small canal.  They had ducks that you could put in the canals and race.  We did this over and over again.

There was also a ferris wheel that I had the fortune on riding on with Campbell and Keaton.  And it went fast-yikes!  I tried to play it up, like I was having a good time but I was not.  I wanted on the safe ground-oh, it was so windy up there!  I survived-barely!  We didn’t have time to take the goats on a walk but we did have time for one last pumper train ride followed by some goofing off in the gift shop.  The kids (and us) all tried on wooden shoes-let me tell you I am glad I don’t live in the Netherlands.  

We closed the park down at 6 and then we closed the gift shop down at 6:30.  Once we were back at the car, we straightened as best we could and then set off for our almost 3 hour drive to our hotel.  We turned on a Little House, passed out drinks and snacks and hit the road.
I have seen so many neat places to stop here in Michigan-a corn maze being the one that interests me the most.  It has 3 miles of trails.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be like that family that called 911 from the corn maze because they couldn’t find their way out.  But being trapped in a corn maze with 6 kids would probably be a valid reason to call emergency services.  So I wouldn’t have to do that, this corn maze did have exits every 15 minutes.  

But I guess if I could go anywhere in Michigan, it would be Mackinac island.  We are no where near there on this trip so that will have to wait for another time.  And I can already tell that Robby will enjoy the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village that he will want to come back for another visit.  It looks like it is going to be so educational that we should come back each year for a field trip-I probably could convince Robby of that!

We stopped for supper at Zeus’ Coney Island-it was a Greek/breakfast/hot dog place.  Robby had a gyro which he greatly liked and I had hummus and lemon rice soup.  I had no idea what the soup was going to be like-just think hot lemon and rice.  I really liked it-not that I will be making it at home or anything.  Reagan had spaghetti and the boys and Keaton had chocolate chip pancakes.  They were really, really good.  I gave Whitman some of the pancakes but he really just prefers to eat french fries when we are eating out.  And if that keeps him from climbing on the table (what happened when I was turned playing tic-tac-toe with Campbell) then he can eat anything that he wants.  Campbell said she didn’t want any supper so she just ate 4 of my crackers.  

Poor Campbell.  I really do think that she is feeling better.  She is such a different child when she doesn't feel great-she even says things like “Ma’am, can you let me have a sip of my drink?” and other polite things like that.  When she is sickly, she just loses some of her spunk.  I ask her continually if she is okay and she nods her head yes and then I asked if she was tired of me asking her that and she nodded her head again!

When we are in the car, I usually work on my blog whenever I have a chance.  It just helps-especially when we have late nights like last night.  I can type it out pretty quickly but I do probably write more when things are fresh on my mind-that is why I write so much more when we are on a trip.  Anyway, Graham said “Momma, what are you typing?”  I replied “I am working on our blog so Nonna, Pops, Grannymom and Grandpa can know what we did today.”  And Campbell added “and Ms. Diane.”

We had about an hour and a half before we made it to our hotel tonight.  At one exit, Graham looked at the buildings and said “I see a Comfort Suites” but unfortunately it was not ours.  When you stay at the same hotel chain the kids get really adept at finding them. It would have been after 10 if we wouldn't have had to stop for potty stops 2 times on the way to the hotel.  This possibly could have been due to the kids each drinking their full glass of coke with their meal.  Robby said that we were never going to sit down in a restaurant again!  

When we were almost to our hotel, we passed my Ikea.  That was probably my last chance to go to one on the trip-maybe tomorrow night that can be our supper.  But tonight it was just torturous to not be able to stop and spend lots of money.

Getting in at the hotel tonight was much less exciting than last night. I told Robby before he checked in was that all I wanted tonight was a sink in the room so I didn't have to brush my teeth in secret. Each night, after Whitman is good and asleep I have to sneak in the bathroom to quietly brush my teeth. I turn the water on to a drip so I can rinse my brush and then barely tap, tap, tap my brush so I don't wake up Whitman who is snoozing inches nearby in his pack n play.

The kids have their routine now when we enter a hotel room-someone usually has to help us put stuff in the fridge but the others all take off their shoes and put them all together in a spot somewhere. And then Anderson finds the remote control and Reagan finds the channel guide and they hunt for the Disney channel. Tonight they did find Duck Dynasty and watched that as they changed into their pajamas and brushed their teeth.

Tomorrow will be a big and busy day. Hopefully, we can see everything we plan on (including riding on a Model T)...and maybe go to Ikea!

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