(This is the hiking trail we took in Indiana Dunes State Park. It's a sand dune that is so old that a forest grew on it!)
(Indiana Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan)
M.G. was our junior navigator. My mom had given her a road atlas with games and puzzles. M.G. checked it often over the vacation - looking for our route and giving us facts about the states we traveled through. She liked knowing where we were, where we were going, and when we'd get there. We purchased a GPS for this trip and she enjoyed the "estimated arrival time" feature. It eliminated a lot of the "are we there yet?"
The reason Friendly's is such a great memory? An ice cream sundae with every kid's meal!
M.G. remembered bits and pieces of the things we saw in Troy and Albany. In some ways less than I expected, but she'd remember little details, like the hill we walked down at the old apartment complex.
I've mentioned before that M.G. always says she'll ride on a carousel horse (like in my post about a different vacation) but then she gets scared and balks at the last minute. So, we smiled and nodded as we approached the State Museum carousel and she said, "Today I'm going to ride a horse!" She did grab a horse and climbed right up! She was a little nervous at first, but by the end was having a lot of fun!
M.G. spent a lot of time on a boogie board on the beach of Newport, RI. She enjoyed splashing and running in the water.
M.G. was given several chapter books that Ella had enjoyed as a 6 year old and suddenly we lost her for the car ride portion of the next two days as she read them and read them again! She was so focused that she perfected answering us with vague one word responses said with pretend emotion without looking up.
Me: Beck, are you cold with this vent pointed at you?
Me: We're going over a really neat bridge. You might want to look out the window.
We saw a glimmer of an older M.G. on the Staten Island Ferry. She was interested in the boat ride until she found out we were getting off on Staten Island, because they make you re-board, and then getting directly on to a boat going back to where we started. She found this to be a really silly idea and it showed!
So the start of M.G.'s day in NYC was off to kind of a rough start. She was hungry and had to take an unnecessary ride on a boat. We left the Ferry terminal and it was drizzling slightly. We expected rain and had carried our umbrellas with us. Suddenly M.G.'s day turned around - she got to use her umbrella that Grandma had given her! She's only gotten to use it a few times and so it really did make her day.
This was M.G.'s 3rd trip to NYC. The first photo is from 2 years ago when she was 4. One thing she looked forward to was getting another photo with a fake Statue of Liberty.
She also enjoys wandering through Central Park. The first photo below was also taken 2 years ago and I wanted to have a comparison photo because she just looks so much older now!
On this trip we ended up walking through Central Park really fast so that we could get to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. M.G. really enjoyed trying to rush through the park and crowds. She had been complaining a bit about being tired, but suddenly she was animated and pointing out all the sights along the way. After Mass she was also much more interested in what we were seeing. We passed through Times Square and all the people and lights had her looking around in wonder.
We stopped to look at the library lions and
M.G. spent nearly all of Sunday reading in the car as we headed West.
Once we got home, M.G. told us that stopping in Champaign to see where she first lived was one of her favorite parts of the trip. We enjoyed showing her the important places from when she was a baby. Seeing her running around campus brought back memories of a toddler monkey on the go!
Madison, WI was around the point where M.G. was ready to get home. But, she was still happy to pose by one more Statue of Liberty!