Search This Blog

Friday, July 13, 2012

1940 Census

I just received another update from Ancestry about the indexing of the 1940 census. They now have 25 states indexed. Unfortunately Illinois isn't one of them. I've found some of my family already because they hadn't moved or hadn't moved far from their 1930 residence but there are some missing yet.
Family search looks to have 27 states up and running. Illinois is 72% complete!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friday July 6th

Last day!
After a lazy morning we headed to Lincoln’s home to see if there were any tours available. It’s a free ticket but it is timed. We were in luck and there was one available about an hour and a half after we got there. We watched one of the movies at the visitor center that lasted about a half hour and let D run around the visitor center with the other kids (there were even some her age.) They were all fascinated by the map of 1860 Springfield that lit up in different spots depending on the color button you pressed. We happened to be there when the second movie was preempted by a live performance of “Mary Lincoln’s Springfield.” I saw the woman in the lobby and D was very attracted to her purple dress but we did not see the show. No telling how a 2 year old will act in a live performance!
The Lincoln home tour was nice. There was a different ranger in each room throughout the house instead of one tour guide. It certainly seemed to give different perspectives of the life of the Lincoln family. We wished it had been cooler so we could investigate the rest of the block. I know at least one other house is open to view. There is an audio tour that you can call from a cell phone as you walk the block. I may still call that number even if I didn’t get a close look at all the houses.
We took the advice of a friend and had lunch at Maid Rite Sandwiches. They claim this is the oldest drive thru window in the US. The sandwiches are a crumbled ground beef instead of a patty. It was a pretty good sandwich. They are also known for their home made root beer. I don’t think I’ve ever liked root beer but Kevin gave it a try. He said it was really good so I had to take a sip. I almost liked it! Really that’s a ringing endorsement :-)
Given the heat that was pretty much our day. We did venture out for dinner at Saputo's Italian Restaurant. Despite having a reservation we had to wait 10 minutes for a table in a half empty restaurant. That was odd. Other than that the service was good. The food was also good, though it didn’t pass the toddler test. Apparently she was not in the mood for pasta.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thursday, July 5th
The big destination! The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum was the main reason for this trip. It's one of those things that's been on the list since it opened and one thing led to another and we still hadn't seen it years after the opening. I found out after our visit that they are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land Grant Act and are offering a $5 discount to graduates of all US colleges and universities. Check the web site for details. Also note that while the web site says lockers are available for free, they are now 25 cents. The Museum was worth the trip. The 2 presentations were both very well done. While D didn't want to sit through the Ghosts of the Library presentation, I was able to catch it and Kevin caught a later showing. I'm a history geek and I love to research. This show was the first time I've heard put in to words the feeling I have while doing research. The Holavision is an amazing tool for a live performance! I won't spoil it by describing it here. Just go see it!  
The "Lincoln's Eyes" show comes with a warning that some loud noises may not be for all viewers. Wouldn't you know, this is the one D sat through. The first loud rumble got her attention and she sat still for the rest of the show! It uses 3 screens and is another well done show. 
The exhibits at the museum are also well done. The obvious highlights are the two "Journeys." Journey One has a facade of a log cabin and follows Abe's trip from boyhood to the White House. Journey Two is the White House years.
And of course I can't forget Mrs. Lincoln's Attic. D went straight for the Lincoln Logs but there were many other "Lincoln era" toys. There was also a dress up area and a play kitchen. We could easily have spent the day here.
Lunch at Garden of Eat'n I had a really yummy BLT half wrap that was actually plenty for me for lunch. I ended up saving the half Greek salad for later in the afternoon. Delicious dressing. They had a a grilled cheese sandwich for D and her daddy was very happy with his big ol' salad as well. We didn't get back for dinner but apparently the menu changes to kabobs and Persian inspired food. If it's as good as lunch was I'm sorry we missed it.
Dinner at Obed and Isaac's. This microbrewery & restaurant has only been open since February but had a decent crowd for a steamy week night. The turkey burger with goat cheese was amazing. Even better was the side of potato salad that I asked for in place of fries. It's definitely home made. The only one I've ever had better is my mom's! The building has a great history too! It was originally a house built in the early 1800's and has been a judges quarters and a funeral home/crematorium.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy 4th of July Springfield style!

We started the morning off with the complimentary breakfast at the Statehouse Inn. I love the fact that more and more hotels are going to this hot breakfast offering. This was an excellent variety of eggs, potatoes, biscuits & Gravy as well as make your own waffles. There were plenty of other breakfast options available. And once I found hot tea I was happy! So what to do on this Independence Day... The Illinois State Museum was open for regular weekday hours (8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M!) FYI the children's play museum closes an hour earlier. This whole museum is very hands on (except the art gallery) and took less than 2 hours (with a 2 year old tour guide.) The play museum on the lower level was where we spent the rest of the afternoon. The volunteer on duty was excellent with the kids and very nice to us adults too! There were lots of things for D to investigate. Including this cave...
The museum supplied small flashlights and hard hats. Very cute! From a microscope with bugs and stuff in "glass" to view, to a bone excavation site complete with shovels. There was so much there that I don't think we played with everything, but she tried! She could have easily spent hours more there but nap time got in the way. Did I mention this was FREE? Not a bad way to spend a steamy 4th of July.
 Not much open food-wise because of the holiday so we ended up Hardees for lunch. For the record, this does not break the rules because while it is a chain, we can't get it at home.
We attended the Capitol Celebration of the fourth in time to catch the bands. D was more interested in the marching band and naming all the instruments so we didn't hear the country band. The Springfield Municipal band was very good. As we were pointing out instruments between songs, a very nice woman held up her french horn for D to see. Dinner was a corn dog from a street vendor. Not to healthy but yummy! We watched the fireworks from the van in the hotel parking lot because there was nowhere to park to go in to our room. D thought they were pretty :-)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is it still a Staycation if it's more than 3 hours from home?

Tuesday July 2, 2012
For the record, I hate the "word" staycation. Springfield here we come! Yes this years vacation is to Springfield, Illinois so I can finally see the not so new anymore Lincoln library and museum. Using a free awards program we were able to get a suite at The Statehouse Inn for the price the regular room would have cost. Due to track work (meaning no trains running right now from Chicago to Springfield) we opted for the drive. So D's first road trip! Conveniently we just bought a new mini van and D was thrilled to be riding in the new car!
The benefit to making your own schedule is you can plan around nap time. On a good day D will nap up to 3 hours and the drive is 3 1/2 so we thought we were in good shape. HA! Anyone with a toddler knows what's coming next. The first half hour was good as she was occupied with looking out the window and all the new stuff in the van. Then she fell asleep. Hurrah! Oops, celebrated to soon. After an hour guess whose eyes pop open like she's the most well rested person in the universe. After pointing out lots of corn and singing along to show tunes, D was saying "all done" to the car ride. Fortunately there was a rest stop near by. We stretched out legs a bit and played on the springy boards in the play area. The swings were to hot as the outside temp was 102. Back in the car for the last leg of the trip.
This might be my favorite lamp
If I had been quick enough on the video camera, the Statehouse Inn would have had a ready made commercial. D got into our room and was rolling on the floor and jumping around exclaiming "I'm so happy here!" I was to busy laughing to get any video. The suite is a good size for the 3 of us and everything that comes with a toddler (including the big stroller.) Housekeeping did a good job of cleaning the room but apparently doesn't employ 2 year olds. Under/behind the bed headboard D found an empty water bottle and a bear bottle cap. Honestly, if not for traveling with a toddler we never would have seen this. The decor amused Kevin and I, it's retro 60's and pretty authentic. I keep hearing the Brady Bunch theme. LOL More on the stay as the trip goes on. The front desk was very helpful with helping us find dinner. The only place D is not allowed is the lounge. You wouldn't think that would be hard but it turns out said lounge has a piano at the entrance and D hasn't met a musical instrument she doesn't like. Oops.
Dinner was at Ginger Asian Bistro. Not the most original idea but the food was excellent as was the plum wine. Not a bad price either. With the alcohol and extra rice for Miss Picky we came in under $50. I don't see a web site for them but apparently they have a Facebook page.