Friday, June 10, 2011

Where the Green Grass Grows

Day 12: Wednesday, June 8, 2011/Day 13: Thursday, June 9, 2011/Day 14: Friday, June 10, 2011

Where the Green Grass Grows

On Wednesday, we picked up our Winnie from the repair shop in Michigan and pointed her West toward April’s hometown of Seneca, IL.

As always, we stopped to stuff our faces at Ottawa, Illinois’ best Chinese place, New Chiam. Sticky from sweet and sour sauce and ready to run, Andrew announced “I’m all done.” Accordingly, we headed to April’s parents’ house to let the little man run in the soft grass and climb some trees.

As the weather turned toward a storm, we were forced to come inside and find some of April and her sister’s old toys to entertain our toddler. Here, Andrew felt up a headless Barbie…

And then questioned a one-legged Ken…

April was certain that she was scarring her child for life and wondered why her parents had failed to buy her any toys with all their parts. In an effort to salvage Andrew's developing psyche, April insisted we pack up the toys and head to Bianchis for dinner. Mark and April’s dad, Jerry, competed to see who could pack away the most of the world famous pizza and beer.

Overnight, storms brought much cooler temperatures to the Midwest and sent Mama and Little Man Royan scurrying inside to avoid the terror that is high winds + sleeping in an RV. Mark, convinced that this "little squall" was nothing compared to Florida hurricanes, refused to leave his bed and rode out the storm until Thursday morning. He admitted that Midwest storms don't get the credit or publicity that they deserve.

We headed toward Carthage, Illinois – home of April’s grandparents. On the way we made a lunch stop at the super cool Goods Rathskeller Wine Cellar Restaurant – a German-themed restaurant in the basement of a furniture store… and stuffed our faces again. For those of you who may be in the market for a good place to let your two-year-old burn off some energy while simultaneously avoiding the rain, furniture stores with wine cellars are the bomb.

Just down the road, we played tourist in Bishop Hill, Illinois.

Running from the rain, we hopped back in the RV. A very bumpy railroad track dislodged our vacuum, knocked it to the floor, and turned it on. Mark’s head snapped back to toward April and shouted “Are you ok? I heard the sound of cleaning and figured something must be wrong?”

Once at the Steinhour family farm, we were greeted with homemade delights and a display of lightning and fireflies all around us. Another storm rolled in, and we hunkered down in RV for another night of gale force winds and thunderstorms.

Friday morning brought beautiful sixty degree temperatures once again, and we did what anybody would do on a farm in great weather, headed on down to the fishing hole. Mark hooked some nightcrawlers on a fishing pole and ponied up at the pond while Andrew helped feed the farm cats and walked the gardens and fields looking for treasures (rocks, in particular). After another homemade lunch, we walked across the street to the equipment barns and Farmer Mark got to take the tractor for a ride, dig up some dirt, and then learn how hard it was to put that dirt right back where you found it.

Friday night brought another big meal made by April's Grandma, conversation about the weather, and the giggles of pure joy from a little boy running through wet grass to catch fireflies.

Andrew said it best, "Goodnight fireflies, goodnight farm."

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