Week 1 was a busy week as we journeyed through NY, NJ, PA, OH, MI and IN…We left Indianapolis and began our journey to Illinois!
Most of the driving we do is under 3 hours so it’s very doable with the kids. ✔️We decided to head to the land of Lincoln first- Springfield, Illinois. Obviously you have to pay your respects to Abe! 🎩🇺🇸
If you didn’t know who she is: “Duckworth was the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to Congress, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand. An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war.”
I wanted to my girls to hear about her story and we were so lucky that her commander was there and came out to tell us the story of the day she was shot down. Basically she was the pilot of the Black Hawk helicopter and she was flying in Iraq doing a mission. A rocket was shot at their helicopter and a one in a million Chance flew right inside their helicopter and landed on her lap and exploded. “She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawkhelicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.” He told the story with tears in his eyes and it was really incredible to listen to. The other pilot was able to land the helicopter in enemy territory, even though they thought she might have been dead they continued on to save her. There was another helicopter flying with them who landed with them. They transferred her and the crew into the other helicopter and headed for safety. She was put into a medical coma and then eventually transferred to Walter Reed where she stayed almost a year. She eventually ran for Congress and won and then in 2016 she was elected as the junior Senator in Illinois!
Then we headed to the Old Capitol to see where President Lincoln used to hear cases.
It was the first time I really felt out of my element, when we visited the livestock area. I found out that a lot of farmers show their animals and then oftentimes the animals are sent to be slaughtered after this. That was really sad, but we admired all the cute animals.
I gotta say my kids actually really enjoyed it. We always play a game in art museums where we start at the gift shop and the kids each pick out a set amount of their favorite paintings. Then we race around the museum seeing who can find all their painting first. Their instinct is just to run and run but I remind them that part of playing the game is to 1. Make sure they look at every painting because they may miss theirs 2. Stop and admire a painting of they like it 3. Notice the techniques, colors and themes 4. Try to read their artists names as they whiz by. I was shocked to see how much Shane enjoyed the game even at 4 years old! 👏🏽 We saw some Picassos, Monets, Van Goghs, Pollacks, Manets and more…
Now THIS was a museum! 🙌🏽Probably the best science museum I’ve ever been to! The kind where you need a few days to cover it all. But we focused on Space🌝🌛, Farming🚜, Coal Mining ⚫️(compliments of Trump) and the exploration section.
I loved loved Chicago and we probably could have explored around for at least another day and did the museums at Navy Pier. Before we left Illinois we mad a pitstop at the most amazing doll store ever.
Whereas the Doll Outlet had hundreds of brand new dolls and babies, Gigi’s Dolls and Sherry’s Teddy Bears was a used doll, stuffed animal and dollhouse miniatures museum! What should have been a quick stop turned into an almost 2 hour ordeal. They had dolls spanning from the late 1800s to current day with American Girl and Adora Dolls.
It was only a hour and a half drive to Milwaukee which was nice! Since there was no campgrounds nearby we chose to stay at our first hotel Knickerbocker on the Lake. We started our day at the Harley Davidson Museum which was really cool! 🏍🛵
Since we were in the dairy heartland of America I decided that it would be a good idea to teach us city folk a thing or two about farming. 🚜We had an incredible experience at Hinchley’s Dairy Farm. 🐮🐷🐔The highlight was milking a cow and bottle feeding a 12 hour old new calf. 🍼🥛
We learned so much and gained such appreciation for farmers and what it takes for us to get our food that we take for granted. 🥚🍳🥛🧀We ended the day by driving through the University of Wisconsin and eating in their college town. 📚