On June 16, 2010 the Pierce Family of 3 bravely embarked on a 10 day journey we like to call "The Great Grandparents Tour 2010." On Wednesday, we boarded a plane along with Corey and Stacy to head to Sioux City, IA. Seeing that it was Will's first time flying, and of course our first time flying with a child, we started off a little nervous as we did not know what to expect. However, our fears were quickly eased as soon as we took off and realized that Will was completely fine and quite content as long as he had an endless supply of goldfish and water. We flew on 3 planes that day to get into Sioux City, and after each flight we had people telling us how awesome Will was and what an amazing traveler he was. We were so proud.
After a long day, we got into Sioux City and got to our hotel around midnight, and yes Will was still up and happy as a clam. While there, we celebrated my Grandma Holles' 90th birthday. It was quite a monumental event as all of her children, grandchildren, and great grand children were there (with the understandable exception of a new baby and his daddy) which totaled 58 people. Our few days in Iowa were action packed with a birthday party, park day, and a special mass in rememberance of Grandpa which we all attended, which thrilled Grandma and made her feel extremely special. And of course the best part of the whole trip was watching Will meet his Great Grandma for the first time. Even though she has trouble with her sight, Grandma was still able to pinpoint Will's very active nature. It was a special moment. And, as always it was great taking over the hotel lobby, pool, outdoor area as all 58 of us woke up early and stayed up late to talk, goof off, and of course EAT! (We all know the Holles events are not complete without a plethora of good food available at all times :)
As the first leg of our trip to Sioux City came to a close, a new one began on Sunday as we boarded 2 more planes to get to Muskegon, MI to meet Great Grandma Dee (Ben's Grandma.) Will flew well once again choosing to sleep on the longer of the two flights. PERFECT! When we arrived in Muskegon, Great Grandma Dee was so excited and couldn't believe how much Will was able to do. She too noted his active nature. Will also got to meet both of his Great Uncles on this trip which was an added bonus. He especially enjoyed rolling the police car back and forth with Great Uncle Dave. He felt right at home in Grandma Dee's house because she had all kinds of cool knick knacks lying around for him to play with. From little cars that rumbled and beeped to wooden cats that sat upon the window sill, to old family rocking horses, there was plenty for Will to play with (both kid friendly and breakable).
While in Muskegon, we took Will to his first beach. He absolutely fell in love with the sand and even got into that cold Lake Michigan water up to his armpits. Another thing he fell in love with was getting chocolate ice cream every night :) We all had a great time in Muskegon with Grandma Dee!
After 3 days in Muskegon, we began yet the third leg of our trip, and drove North to the quaint little town of Pentwater, MI to meet Great Grandpa Ed (Ben's Grandpa on his dad's side). Now Grandpa Ed has been lucky enough to have seen Will three times before this trip, and when we got there we were greeted with the words "I'm glad you're here. I've been chasing a chipmunk around the cottage." For a while there, I had visions of this so called chipmunk sneaking in our room at night, flying into Will's crib, and eating his face. (Now I know that is a tad dramatic, but that's honestly what was going through my mind) Luckily, there was no chipmunk in sight and Will's face was not nibbled on...hehe. The days consisted of good food, conversation, beach time, and of course playing the bones. Will's favorite part of the beach in Pentwater was Plank Henge. As an added bonus, Will got to meet his Great Aunt Peg and Great Uncle Dave and we enjoyed Thursday night band with each other. Will also enjoyed eating ice cream in Pentwater as well :)
While in Pentwater, Grandpa Ed took us on a special trip to see Grandma Jo's gravesite, which was the first time we had seen it, as we had not been back to Pentwater since her Memorial service in 2008. Of course, it was a tearful occasion, but also very endearing as Will placed his hands upon and kissed her gravestone. It was a beautiful Pentwater day, and I know Grandma Jo was watching over Will as he experienced his first time in Pentwater, a special place to Ben's family.
Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back home. After 10 days, 7 planes, 2 rental cars, 58 Holles' in Sioux City, IA, 7 Bernath's in Muskegon, MI, and 3 Pierce's in Pentwater, MI, the "Great Grandparents Tour of 2010" came to a close and we arrived safely back at home. All I can say is WOW...what a great trip, and what a blessing it is to have all of these amazing people in our lives...
First flight...sleeping like an angel.
Taking a break after chasing him around the airport.
Floyd Monument in Sioux City, IA
Picture time at Grandma's 90th Birthday Party
The Goofy Great Grandchildren
Some of the grandchildren. I don't know where the rest of them were at this point.
The ones who started it all.
Having fun playing with Uncle Dave.
Picture time with Grandma Dee!
Sweet snuggles with Great Grandma Dee
Play time in Muskegon
We walked the pier.
Loving the rocking horse. I think Ben's mom had this when she was a child.
What is the first thing you do once you arrive in Pentwater? Play the bones of course :)
Fine looking men :)
Special moment at Grandma Jo's gravesite.
"Give me your hat too Aunt Peg!"
Just chillin with my Great Grandpa (or as we like to call him, Santa...)