In typical fashion, we were off just slightly in getting going. This time around, we had trouble with the food packing and just generally getting up early enough. After a bit of a slow start and one turnaround, we dropped the dogs off at the kennel. From there we took the southerly route via LaCrosse and through Wisconsin. This time we went a different way through Chicago, based on our ultimate destination which was the western suburbs to visit my sister and her family. We took I-39 South until we got to I-88. From there it was an easy drive (although still toll, it's Illinois it must be a toll) past DeKalb into the western suburbs..
We arrived in the late afternoon and everyone was happy to get out of the car after a long journey. It was great to see my sister and her family. It had been a very long time since we had seen them in person. This was also the first time we had seen our niece Hadley and the first time that they had a chance to see Gabriel in person. We checked into our room and had a quick dip in the pool. It felt pretty good and the kids really enjoyed it.
Later that evening we packed up the kids and headed down the road for a very nice dinner at Magiano's. The food was great and the portions were obscenely large. In fact they were running a buy one get one to go offer. Very crazy. The kids all got along famously. It was a real treat to see them together and watch them interact. Gabe and Maddy love it. Uncle Dave was a hit and took to the name of Shu Shu quite well (Chinese for Uncle). Gabe pretty much inhaled his spaghetti and rather large sized meatball..
We got back to their hotel, as they were still in transition from moving from the greater-Philadelphia area. The kids played and Maddy got a chance to have a sleep-over with the older kids..