And thus we begin our big roadtrip of the summer. 10 days of driving and exploring, visiting family and making memories. We started by heading up to Herbert Hoover's Presidential Library. This is the 4th library Craig and I have visited together (Bush, Clinton and Truman being the others) but the first for the kids.
On the way, we actually made a quick stop in to visit some Mark Twain stuff. That was more because we needed a bathroom break right then but it ended up being a bit of a bust. I had a pretty bad cold at the beginning of the trip and when we got here I felt really awful and was having a hard time even thinking so we walked around a bit aimlessly before Craig went back for the car. The kids and I stopped by the Missouri River cruise and watched the trains/boats. Sometimes you take a chance and it ends up being neat, sometimes it doesn't. Oh well. I do think it would be a fun day trip for us if we planned it out a bit more.
By time we got to the Presidential stuff, I had been able to nap in the car a bit and felt a little more alive.
We saw the tiny house Hoover grew up in and the blacksmith shop his dad owned, visited and learned about the quaker church he attended and then headed into the library. We also watched a video about his life (and nursed a baby - traveling mom tip, the little videos at stops like this make great nursing spots. It's a dark and not very distracting place to nurse and they are often just entertaining enough that I don't have to worry about the other kids wandering off on me)
I never realized what a world traveler Hoover was before he was a president. Overall, a very kid friendly stop. The temporary exhibit which was about prohibition was a little iffy. The speakeasy was fun to walk through and the kids liked the jail and fingerprint part but Jonah has a fit when he didn't think my explanation of gambling and prostitution was sufficient. If you plan to visit, it really wasn't a big thing part of the exhibit at all so Lucy was perfectly happy with my explanation of the pictures of the horse races and when I saw the "back room" part I just said, "Oh, more people were breaking the law" but Jonah overheard me warn Craig and happened to cling to the idea that he missed something fascinating. Just imagine a screaming three year old "I DON"T UNDERSTAND! SAY IT AGAIN! I DON"T UNDERSTAND! while the other adults smiled at me. Fun times.
The second day we continued on to Minnesota. We toured the sod house near Maple Grove. There were several buildings here. A freestanding soddie and dugout so we were able to compare the two plus a litte barn and a outhouse which Jonah found fascinating.
We were supposed to continue on to the original site of Laura Ingall's dugout on plum creek but unfortunately it had rained a lot the weekend before and it was flooded so all we got to see was the sign.
We did drive over plum creek though. And the kids (especially Lucy) took it well when we explained that we'll have to try again another year. I had already sorta planned to come back because there was another museum in the town but it focused mostly on the television show which Lucy doesn't even know about yet. Perhaps once we have watched it, we'll try this stop again (it's on the way to Craig's parents home). I'm sure it helped that we were able to tell the kids the next big stop was Grandma and Grandpa's house. Of course, that was still several hours more driving ahead of us but we knew by cutting out the dugout site stop that we would make it by dinner and the idea of getting there sounded good to everyone by then.
And that's how we added four more state's for Norah (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota) to give her a grand total of 12 states before the age of 10 months. Lucy and Jonah added Iowa and Minnesota. They are all pretty well traveled by now! And we've only just gotten to G&G's! Stay tuned for more.