We decided to drive this time, since four plane tickets can get spendy. And since we had expected to live there by this time, we weren't able to buy plane tickets in advance, which makes them even more expensive.
So we drove.
The boys watched DVDs (this was only our third time using the DVD player since buying our van a year ago). This was how they looked through the snow monster scene in Frozen.
Once we got to my hometown, we took pictures with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Classic.
Russell picked Babe's nose while simultaneously picking his own nose. Also classic.
My little lumberjack and my little ox.
Nana's farm is the best.
Granddad's farm is also the best. This is my favorite view!
We did some exploring.
Some tree climbing.
And some feet-kicking in the lake.
We went to the county fair, which was the reason for our visit (all of my siblings came home for the fair this year, so we certainly couldn't miss it!).
Russ was sick the whole time with a fever up to 103 and a horrible cough. He didn't eat or drink well and lost over a pound. Other than lamenting "I don't like to be sick" when he would have a coughing fit, and needing lots of snuggles from Mommy, he was still a happy boy and a great sport.
The highlight of the trip for me was when Caleb rode my horse Hank in the Judy Pittman Memorial Tiny Tots Show. Judy was a great mentor to me in my 4-H days and I miss her dearly. It was so special to me to see my son riding the horse that I showed so competitively in my youth at a show devoted to her memory at our old stomping grounds. Once upon a time, Hank and I owned this place. I miss those days!
And Caleb and Hank did so well! They got 1st place in horsemanship and key race, 2nd place in trail, 3rd in pole weaving, and 6th in barrels. They were just one or two points away from winning a giant trophy!
We took family pictures. These are all of the cousins!
This was them the last time they were all together!!
And we took pictures of all of my siblings, their spouses, their children, and my parents. (This picture has my dad missing, but believe me, we got some with him, too!) The only one missing is my Grandma, and she lives in Missouri. Seriously, can you believe we got a shot like this with everyone looking? It was a miracle.
And in Minnesota, you drive tractors.
I can honestly say that every minute of this trip was enjoyable. You wouldn't think that a 20-hour car ride with a 2- and 4-year-old could go smoothly, but it truly did! The whole trip was blissful. We made so many great memories. I love my family!