Family Date!

Lucy: I can't wait until we see the White House tomorrow!

MacKenzie: Uhm. We aren't going to the White House.
Lucy: But you said we are going to see Abraham Lincoln's house. And Abraham Lincoln is a president. And presidents live in the White House!
MacKenzie: Well, yes, but this is the house he lived in before he was president.
Lucy: Is it white?
This past weekend we finally got around to visiting Springfield, IL. I say finally because Craig has been wanting to go for quite a while. It's only a couple hours away but we just couldn't seem to make it happen until now.

The nice thing about a vacation only two hours away is that you don't feel a lot of pressure. We had a list of things we wanted to do and we were even able to add a musuem mid-way but Friday we woke up at a regular time and got the kids ready and packed without my feeling like a chicken without her head. This is not the way our trips normally start.

First stop, the capital. Both days were bitterly cold and windy which meant that we ran into the museums and stops a lot but the benefit was that we didn't have to do a lot of waiting. Capital tours run every 30 minutes but since nobody else were there, our guide offered us a private tour as soon as we walked up! I didn't get a single picture but I will say that the Illinois' capital is much fancier than Missouri's.

Then we bundled back up to go to Lincoln's house. This time we weren't completely alone on our tour, we had another couple join us. I know summers are very crowded there so this was really great although I think the tour guide might need to learn how to improvise. He kept giving directions like there was a big crown - "Let's form a double line before we move into the next room, small children in front so they can see" and we'd look around and see that even if we all stood a foot apart, we'd fit and be able to see so the line probably wasn't necessary.

Lucy didn't seem to mind that the house was green and yellow instead of white but she was a bit perplexed by the bathroom situation. The guide pointed that out and asked her to look for under the bed for the chamber pot. She saw it but when he explained what it was for she just stood there looking at him like he was crazy. It's not really that different from a potty chair so I'm not sure why this was a big thing to her but it was. She had a similar reaction when she was the outhouse. The other couple with us even noticed her reaction and laughed and commented on it. Craig and I really enjoyed the house tour but about midway through I could tell we were losing the kids.

 Seeing as they had been doing somewhat "boring" stuff all day AND had skipped their naps, this was understandable. They held it together just long enough for us to get to the hotel (yay for early check-in!) were the were able to relax a bit, have a snack, play with "Mr. Clementine" that Craig made, and most importantly for Lucy - go swimming! I'm pretty sure this was her favorite hour of the whole trip.

At this point we were ahead of schedule which was good but also meant we ended up eating dinner at 3:30. We had planned Scheels for the next day but went ahead and did it. This is the flagship store and it is huge.

 Craig and Lucy did the ferris wheel. We both thought she would chicken out at the last minute but we had coupons for a free trip so gave it a try anyway and she loved it. Everytime it went around she would wave and yell "I'm having fun Mom!"

To continue with the theme of the weekend, we were the only ones in line for the ferris wheel so I think they let it go around a couple extra times before we explored the rest of the store including watching the divers clean the giant fish tank, stopping by the fudge counter,seeing a couple animatronic presidents and a whole mountain stuffed animals plus these few photo op ones.

 I guess I don't take Lucy out shopping that much because she was also fascinated by the manikins and wanted Craig to take her picture next to one. I wasn't really planning on buying anything but I have had a heck of a time finding snow boots in Lucy's size (she can't be the only 3 year old who wants to play in the snow so why does it seem most boots start at size 12!) so when I spied a pair of Northface boots for $20 we had to try them on and they fit! I also got a pair of Smartwool socks which I have been wanting to try for a long time but I'm a bit embarrassed to say how much I spent on a single pair of socks but I will say I am wearing them right now and I think they are going to be worth it. 

A full day but we still managed to get everyone back and in bed early.
Tucking Lucy into bed..."I had such I great time today on our family date."
The next day we explored the Lincoln Presidential Museum. This was quite visual with lots of life sized models so good for the kids too. It really only hit the big points including Ford's theatre and a large room for his state showing. I thought Lucy might get upset at that point and she did - she cried. But not because Lincoln was shot but because we had to leave the Ford Theatre room which had a pretty red spotlight and the black room was boring and not colorful :-)

They had a great little kid's area so the kids could get some energy out and touch things to their hearts contents before we headed to our next stop -

 Lincoln's tomb. It was closed so we could only take pictures from the outside and it was so cold and windy that it was a really quick stop.

After lunch was when we had originally planned to go to Scheels but since we had already done that, we stopped by the Illinois State Museum. The regular portion was nothing special but their children's zone was just what we needed before the car ride home. Lucy loved the fossil area and apparently has been bitten by the bone bug which has lead to some very interesting drawings.

MacKenzie: What was your favorite part of the trip?
Craig: I liked seeing Lincoln's House
MacKenzie: I liked the museum and playing with you in the toy room there.
Lucy: Uhm...
MacKenzie: Do you remember everything we saw. The capital with the fancy rooms? The store with the ferris wheel and fudge? The museum with the fossils you dug up?
Lucy: I liked the hotel. It was cozy and fun to climb on (referring to the sofa bed) and I liked the breakfast and the pool. 

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