Round The World TripUnited States

United States: Springfield, Illinois

The big plans for the day was the lake house.  My Aunt Ann (Dad’s sister) and Uncle Roy have a lake house about an hour south of St Louis.  The entire family was converging on this little town in Missouri for a day of fun in the sun, skiing, and swimming.

Jon and I packed up the car and followed Aunt Chris, Uncle Walter, Grandma and Grandpa as they led the way.  Today was a beautiful day to be outside, and the lake house was perfect for it.  We sat in the screened-in porch and enjoyed the scenery as we waited for the rest of the family.  The house isn’t immediately on the lake, but Ann and Roy have a friend down the lake with a lovely dock.  As Roy, Walter, and Jon loaded the “toys” (boat and jet ski) into the water, we greeted the rest of the Marstall Clan.

Marci and Jeff showed up, and Jeff shocked the family with his set of nipple rings.  Then my cousin Sara, her husband Brent, and their adorable daughter Makenna.  Makenna is about a year and a half old, and is the apple of everyone’s eyes.  Not to mention constant entertainment!  What a cutie she is.  Not long later, Bridget and Terry showed up with their dogs Riley and Murphy.  Then we all made our way down the street to Ann and Roy’s friends’ house, which they had graciously offered to us for the day.

Makenna, Aunt Chris, Marci and Sara

For some crazy reason, Roy gave Jon the keys to the Suburban to run an errand.  While he was gone, Walter decided it was time to get some water skiing in.  So Marci, Brent, Walter and I went out on the speed boat and hit the waves.  Marci went skiing first and, of course, looked great.  Then it was my turn.  I haven’t been skiing in about 10 years, so it took me three tries to get up on the skis.  But with everyone on the boat cheering me on and Walter’s coaching, it wasn’t very hard.  The hard part was staying up!

Heidi Water Skiing

It’s a lot more work than I remembered!  After just a few minutes, I could feel the strain in the my arms and legs.  I finally went down, and got such a painful wedgie that I swear I couldn’t breathe for a few minutes.  A pontoon passed me and the guy said, “I’ll bet that didn’t feel good.”  Yeah.  No kidding.  But I got back up again when they brought the boat around.  This time when I went down, I had a much softer landing.  I was completely exhausted by this point, so I took off my skis and turned them over to Brent.

Jeff came by on the jet ski and he wanted to ski, so Marci and I climbed on the jet ski and off we went.  I drove, because Marci’s done this “tons of times”.  And the funny thing was that she was barely holding on for the entire ride!  The speed limit on the lake is 45 mph, and I was barely going 40 but that was fast!  But Marci was chattering and hanging out like she was on the back of a tricycle instead of a jet ski.

Then I dropped Marci off at the speedboat and I went back to the dock to pick up Jon.  He and I rode around the lake quite a few times, with him egging me on to fly over the wakes.  Subconsciously I would slow down whenever we hit a wake, and Jon would tease me about being scared.  But we were definitely airborne a few times.  Then he drove and I held on.  For dear life, I held on!  It’s different when you’re no longer in control of this kind of toy.  Even though Jon was driving safely, I felt like I was going to fly off.  The jet ski “corners like it’s on rails”, but I don’t.  So whenever he took a corner, I would feel myself sliding off the back and would have to hold on with my arms and my knees.  This makes me wonder, yet again, how Marci road behind me without holding on. 

Jon on The Jet Ski

Back at the dock, the girls had broken out the hors d’oevres.  So Jon took off on the jet ski again, and the rest of us got in some quality dock time.  Terry and Bridget’s dogs were taking full advantage of the water, and Riley didn’t look like he was letting up any time soon.  Every time Riley doggie-paddled back into shore, Terry would through his float toy back out in the water and Riley would jump in to get it.

As the afternoon faded away, we slowly trickled back to Ann and Roy’s house for dinner.  Roy was grilling like crazy, and the rest of us put out our various dishes of salad, potatoes, broccoli, cake, etc.  Dinner was delicious.  We passed most of the time watching Makenna and laughing at her silly antics.

Makenna Chasing Bubbles

Dinner was delicious and incredibly filling.  So we all sat around and moaned for a while before it was time to leave.  But before we all departed, we stopped to pose for a family portrait.  The people who let us hang out on their dock all day came to dinner and have three young children.  One of the kids – Brian – asked Jon if we were all related.  He thought about it and said, “Well, all the girls are related.  The boys just married in.”  And the funniest thing is that it’s completely true!  The blood-related male in our party was Grandpa.

The Marstall Clan

Back Row: (Left to Right): Jon, Uncle Roy, Heidi, Aunt Chris, Uncle Walter, Marci, Bridget, Terry, McKenna, Brent, Sara

Front Row: (L to R): Aunt Ann, Grandpa, Grandma

Soon after, Jon and I said our good-byes and followed Marci and Jeff out the lake complex and onto 44 toward Illinois.  We knew we couldn’t make it to Chicago tonight, but we wanted to drive as far as we could.  We were both exhausted from the long and active day, but Jon was determined.  After about three hours on the road, we neared Springfield, Illinois.  We decided we’d go one hour further north and crash there.  So I made some phone calls to the hotels in the area and found that they were all booked.  Booked!  What in the world is there to do in central Illinois on a Saturday night that all the hotels are booked?!?!  The only place we could find to stay was in Springfield at the Super 8 Motel.  Not a problem, but we were bummed that we had to stop an hour earlier than we’d planned.