Last weekend, we went to Peoria to visit my family. This was kind of a red-letter event, as it was actually our first trip to Peoria since Liam was born.... 7 months ago. It's not that we're squeamish about traveling with a baby; Bryn traveled for her first Thanksgiving when she was 3 weeks old. It's more that the mechanics of travel have gotten much harder now that the kids outnumber the parents in our family. Furthermore, Shay stopped sleeping in a crib around the same time that Liam was born, and unlike Bryn, Shay is a bit of a nighttime wanderer. Basically, Shay needs constant supervision while traveling, and the lucky parent who supervises her doesn't end up getting much sleep. Then we also need someone who can get up with Liam in the night, since he still does that occassionally. And ideally, those two someones should not be the same parent, so Shay and Liam don't wake each other. And most places that we would travel to don't have enough space for us to spread out enough to separate each kid into a different room to allow them all to sleep, thus our utter lack of overnight travel over the last seven months.
But I digress. The point is, we finally made a trip to Peoria, and it went just fine. We isolated Shay in my sister Kristin's old room, and while she did utterly trash the room (sorry, Sissy) and I did have one panicked moment where the video monitor revealed that she was attempting to climb out the window (which was thankfully closed and locked, so she failed), everyone else got good sleep. We also had a great visit with my mom, as well as short side visits with my dad and stepmom, two sets of my aunts and uncles, and some old friends from my church growing up.
The absolute greatest thing to do in Peoria in the fall is to go to Tanner's Orchard. I'm sure that everyone else who grew up in Peoria will back me up on this.... after Tanner's, pretty much every other apple orchard in the world is a huge letdown. So I was especially excited that even though we haven't been to Peoria in a while, we were able to work a visit to Tanner's into this trip. Oh, and did I mention that it was 85 degrees and sunny? Here's some of our highlight reel:
Bryn and Shay driving their tractors -
Froggie teeter-totter... so handy to have a sister as a built-in partner! -
Grammy Tina watched Liam while the rest of us checked out the "dirt bikes"..... don't worry, it's all pedal power -
Shay and Bryn both found their way out of the corn maze all on their own -
Tanner's actually has dozens of gourd-headed scarecrows done up in the guises of all kinds of famous characters, but the girls liked Minnie and Mickey the best -
My favorite part was coming home with a trunk full of apple cider, apple fritters, carmel apple pie sprinkled with nuts, apple cider doughnuts, and apple butter, not to mention the apple cider slushie I got to sip on the way home. YUM!! Apparently my family agrees, because Ben has already demolished the entire carton of apple fritters (I didn't get to eat a single one!), and Bryn liked the apple cider doughnuts so much that when we ran out (in record time!), she insisted that I call Grammy (while she was listening) and ask her to bring more the next time she comes to visit. Yep, Tanner's is always a hit!