This past weekend we headed to the midwest for my sister's wedding. Our little girls are such "jet setters". Clara wanted her dolls to be safe too so she buckled them in her seatbelt.
Flying into Chicago...
We rented a car and drove to the Quad Cities to stay for a couple of days before the wedding festivities began. The girls went swimming in the hotel pool the next morning.
A very kind and gracious photographer, out of the Quad City area, agreed to take our pictures. I will be photographing her family the next time I am back visiting. Thank you Lisa from Lisa Campbell Photography!
Before we got ready for family pictures, we drove around and scoped out some spots in downtown Davenport. I came across this old building. I remember seeing it when I lived in the QC. Only one letter off from my maiden name... Wonder if we are related?
Then we let the girls play at a park in Bettendorf. This park is close to were I use to live and close to the bike path that I use to run on.
I hope to share some of our family pictures on my blog next week.
After our photo session we headed to Happy Joes to meet some of my "fattoskinnybyspring" friends. A LONG time ago, my friend Tabby started a yahoo email group for all of the girls in her wedding. I think the main purpose of the group was to help each other get in shape for the wedding, but the group grew into something much more meaningful than that. We have been emailing each other for years. It's crazy all of the life changes that we have gone through while being a part of this group. We have practically gone through most of our adult lives together.
Pictured Below... L to R:
Tabby has been my friend since 6th grade! Tabby and I sang in choir, played in band, ran track and cheer leaded together. After high school we got an apartment together and spent our first year (while in college) learning how to become adults. I'm pretty sure we failed miserably that first year ha, ha. We've laughed, fought and cried together. Tab's an amazing friend who has seen me through so much of my life, giving me advice and sticking by me at even my ugliest moments. Thanks Tab!
Amy has also been my friend since 6th grade. Amy lived just a few miles down the gravel road from me growing up. Although we were not super close friends in school, our friendship has grown through the years and I cherish the bond that has developed. Amy had a baby boy just a few months ago so she is a brand new momma. Her son is uber adorable and she is an amazing mommy.
Karri is my friend through Tabby. Believe it or not... five of the six "fattoskinny" girls are Neurodiagnostic Technologists. Karri went through the END program with Tabby a few years after I graduated. I actually taught at the school while they were students. It was tough playing the teacher role when I was practically the same age as all of them. It was especially hard when we all attended a meeting in New Orleans. How can you act like an adult there? Anyway, I truly enjoy Karri's friendship.
Jana is Tabby's cousin and she was in my sister's class in school so I have also known Jana since 6th grade. Jana is the most kind hearted person I know. I remember my sister saying how sweet she was in school. She's expecting baby number three! They were not planning on a third so this baby is a big surprise. She's such a good momma and she's very blessed with sweet and beautiful kids.
Missing is Shaunet. She's the fifth Neurodiagnostic Technologist of the group. I also met Shaunet when she was in the END program. Shaunet is an amazing friend who I have enjoyed getting to know over the years.
Here's our offspring...
Hard to believe we have developed into this and there will be more to come as Shaunet just got married and will be having some of her own.
After Happy Joes we headed to Whitey's Ice Cream because I cannot go to the Quad Cities without a Whitey's shake... they are the best shakes ever! I got a vanilla shake with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
"Remember... You never see a sad person with an ice cream cone" ~ Robert Tunberg
The next day we went for a drive and we passed my old church so I stepped out to take a photo of it. Other than an electronic sign out on the lawn... It hasn't changed at all from when I went to church there.
Next we headed out to Walcott to my Nana's grave. I actually don't feel Nana's presence there, I feel her all around me. I feel her in Arizona, though her strongest presence is always felt around the places that she loved to be. The girls were at her funeral, which was less than a year ago, so I knew that they would remember the cemetery. Nana is buried at the site of her brother and her mom and dad's grave (Bob, Louis and Berdie Shaeffer). Much of the family visits her grave regularly so her headstone was adorned in flowers.
Before we headed back to Chicago, we made one last stop (as promised) at McManus park. The girls LOVE that park just as much as I did when I was little. Of course the playground equipment has all changed, but it still has the rocket theme going on. In fact, it's known as Rocket Ship Park to most of the locals.
Dana and Aiyana on the swings...
The girls going down the spiral slide...
This zipline thing is always a hit with the girls...
It was only appropriate, on a wedding trip, that we stop by our old wedding venue. Dana and I got married in this chapel on February 9th, 2008. The ground was covered in snow then. In fact, there was so much snow that I didn't notice the pond on the left side of the building.