Thanksgiving Holiday

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and warm Thanksgiving holiday!

We left Ohio Thursday morning around 5am and made our way to western Iowa. In Cleveland it was pouring rain and 51 degrees. By the time we reached Indiana the temperature had dropped 20 degrees and it was starting to snow. Luckily there was only about 10 minutes of that, though it was enough to take out several SUVs who had spun off into the ditches - it was probably not the way they envisioned their Thanksgiving! Once we got past the snow it was windy, cold and dry.

By noon (Central time) we crossed the Illinois/Iowa border and hit the Quad Cities. We were hoping we'd find a restaurant open, but no luck. Since we were right on Kimberly Road we took a small detour to my Grandpa S.'s grave site. Spent a few minutes there and then got back on the road. It was not long before we found a truck stop with a restaurant, where they had an $8.99 Thanksgiving buffet. Figuring the food would be better than the junk we had in the car we decided to stop. It wasn't bad; we had ham, turkey, and lots of vegetables. We were in and out in about 45 minutes, if that.

Once we were back on the road it took us a little over two hours to hit West Des Moines, where we stopped at the Marriott and checked in for the night. We had Pricelined the room for $50, and it was a great deal. Got the car unpacked and then drove the final 45 minutes to B's mom's house, where we arrived at 4:30pm. Not bad!

B's mom was sick with a head cold but had still managed to put together a great Thanksgiving feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls and cranberry sauce. We had brought a bunch of stuff thinking she would only prepare the turkey, so we were surprised. In the end we only used the rolls we brought and took the rest back to Ohio with us. It was a great meal with great company. B and I did the dishes, sat around the living room and chatted a bit and then headed back to the hotel around 8pm so my mother-in-law could get some much needed rest.

Friday morning we slept in a bit and made it to the house about 10am. I immediately headed off into a spare bedroom to do an hour-long conference call with my current employer where I went through each client and marketing project I've been working on, giving them status, what needs to be done once I leave, etc. I had already put it all in writing but I know they appreciated me taking an hour of my day off to still walk them through it. At 11am I was officially done with my work and could just enjoy my day off.

For lunch we went to Atlantic, a small city of 8,000 people, which is a larger city in that area. Having lived in a town of 15,000 people for seven years of my life, it felt comfortable. We went to Hy-Vee and had a good lunch, then drove around town and ran some errands. On the way back I was driving and all of a sudden on one of the country roads I saw this beautiful bird fly down and land on the pavement. It was a bald eagle! I can't remember the last time I saw one of those; I think it was in Wisconsin during one of my drive-thrus between Chicago and Minneapolis. It was awesome!

Friday afternoon we just sat around the house and talked. B and his mom swapped story after story about various people in the area who I had no clue who they were, so after awhile it was a little hard to keep focused. We went to Happy Chef for dinner, where for the first time since I've know B he sent his meal back. I didn't blame him! Afterwards we headed to K.C. and Lisa's house; K.C. has been a friend of B's for a long time, and was the best man in our wedding. They have a 7-year old and 3-year old and just moved into a new house in town about three weeks ago. Even at 7pm the kids were wired and couldn't show us around the house and impress us with their toys fast enough! We had brought Cheryl & Co. cookies (an Ohio great) with us, which the kids loved. We had a great time sitting around and catching up, with us girls drinking wine and the boys drinking a vodka and minute maid lemonade combo. Around 10pm we called it a day and headed back to the hotel.

Saturday morning we had to be at my mother-in-law's early as she had an 8am hair appointment. For a small town, this place was really cool. I told B next time we're there I'll probably get my hair cut/styled. They had some great products, and though a little pricey I got a few new things to take back with me. Around 11am we decided it was probably time to head over to eastern Iowa to visit my side of the family.

We stopped at one of my aunt and uncle's house, about 15 minutes from the farm. They had taken my grandma over there for the afternoon since my cousin (and her husband and 9-month old son) were in town. I had not met the 9-month old, so that was cool; he was already so big! We took grandma back to the farm around 5pm and stayed another 2 hours just catching up on things. Despite her major heart surgery in September she seemed to be in good spirits and looked quite well.

We headed to Joliet, Illinois Saturday evening where we have Pricelined a 3-star hotel for $40. Though I've never had a bad experience with a 3-star, this one was dreadful. It should have been 2-stars, max. It was an old, rundown, dirty Holiday Inn. I'm not a fan of Joliet anyway, but it definitely solidified my need to not ever stay in that city again. We were disappointed but were too tired to care. Went to sleep and took off for home at 11am Sunday morning. B drove the whole way in solid traffic, but we still made it home by 6:40pm. It was nice to be home early enough to unpack and unwind before starting the work week.

Overall it was a great trip - we covered a lot of ground by car yet still managed to have a lot of time with our families.

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