Friday, July 10, 2009

Come on feel the Illi-NOISE.

I spent the beginning of this week in my home state of Illinois. All of my family from Florida was visiting and so I felt it was a good opportunity to see as much family as possible in one visit. My cousins are a bit older than me and all have children and it's fun to see them all growing up. When I was younger I LOVED spending time with my cousins. I absolutely adored them and clung onto them every time we were together. I looked up to them like they hung the moon. Of course I still love spending time with them...I'm just not as clingy I suppose. However, I feel like now the roles are reversed with their kids. Now I'm the big cool cousin to them. My cousin Rob lives in Naples, FL with his wife Terry and their 4 kids (Brett, Kacie, Brian, and Courtney) and my cousin Ellen also lives in Naples with her son Bobby. You can see them all (minus Courtney) in the picture below posing with Abe Lincoln's family.

We all spent Monday in the state capital, Springfield and toured the new-ish Lincoln museum. It is very cool if you ever get a chance to visit. We saw his tomb as well. That night I drove back with them to Pittsfield and and after winning a game of dominoes (family tradition) I spent the night with my grandma at her farm.

On Tuesday, my grandma's best friend's husband, Don took me and a few others on a backroad tour of Pike County in his big truck. It was so fun to see all the land our family and Don's family owns. It is so lush and filled with green trees and crops and creeks. Something I've always loved about Illinois is seeing the lush green grass juxtaposed to the striking blue sky and cotton ball white clouds. The land there is SO beautiful. We also drove through the villages of Pearl and Nebo where my family originated, however the population there is dwindling so much and hardly anyone lives there now. It's really crazy to see an empty town. That evening we drove up to Mt. Sterling to visit some more cousins that I don't see that often either. My cousin Joanna and her husband Toby live there with their 2 sons, Jesse and Tanner (wild boys, but they don't make kids any cuter than them!). Jo and Toby own a hunting outfitters there. If you don't know, this area is world renowned for the massive amounts of deer. Toby is an entrepreneur with many enterprises. He does all kind of hunting/fishing and his newest endeavor is Aerial Bowfishing. Look it up's the craziest thing I've ever seen. I also got to see Jo's brother, Cole and their parents, John and Cookie.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I love spending time with my family. They are awesome.

In the foyer of the Lincoln Museum. (Bobby, Brian, Kacie, and Brett)
Bobby rubbing Abe's nose for luck.
Bobby and Courtney-little angels born only 8 days apart.
My grandma's barn overlooking the farm. This is the most beautful land you'll ever see.
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