Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snail Mail

Email is great and texting is fun, but I for one enjoy using the United States Postal Service. So if anyone cares to send me a note or if you want to send Roman a care package (homemade cookies maybe) here is our addresses. 
Pvt. Mallery, RomanPaul
A Co 244th QM BN
820 11th St. 
Ft. Lee VA 23801

Caitlin and kids: 
15540 Carl's Farm Place
Hughesville MD 20637

If you want me to write to you, just send a note. I will answer it. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Staying in Chicago was the part of the trip I was most nervous about. It was not a place I have ever even considered visiting, so I had no idea about what there was to do. Also taking on the big city with 3 little ones in tow was rather intimidating. However the experience was rather enjoyable, if a bit daunting. 
We stayed at The Hotel Lincoln, which was quite roomy after our train quarters. It also had a very pleasant view. 

We spent Wednesday morning getting some air, sunshine, and excercise. There was a pleasant park where Ethan and Saoirse chased squirrels and geese and collected sticks. Ethan found a memorial for the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party. 

The skyline of Chicago. 

A little walk led us to the Chicago Zoo, which was free. Most of the animals were inside due to the cold, but we saw zebras and kangaroos which made us happy. 

A taxi took us downtown for the afternoon. We visited The American Girl Place. I had a Kirsten doll, which they no longer carry. 

Saoirse was ready to take home every doll in the store. 

The Lego store was more along Ethans line of interest. 

Our final venture took us to the top of the John Hancock building, one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. We had a view of Lake Michigan. 
While Saoirse disliked the elevator, the view was quite spectaculor. 

After this we took a taxi to the train station. The kids really enjoyed the taxi rides, mostly because they did not have car seats. Exiting the taxi was like jumping into a river. People flowing into the train station, commuters. It was insane. My brave mother-in-law took all the luggage down escalators while I clung to Ethan and Saoirse. Carsten was secure in a carrier and I had on a rather heavy backpack. We looked quite the desperate group and some gentlemen kindly took pity on us and got us to the Amtrack waiting room. Thus ended our Chicago venture!

I definitely felt like the country mouse in the city, but I did it. And someday I would enjoy visiting the city again, but when my kids are a bit older. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Our Train Ride

Well, now that we are settling into something of a routine I thought I might share some of the travel adventures that we have had over the past couple of weeks. After all we have done some rather major traveling lately, going over the mountains, across the prairies, through big cities and forests and farmland. We have reunited with Roman and are settling into our temporary home in Maryland.
We left Whitefish Montana at 6 am on Monday November 3rd. We had a family sleeping room on the train, two child-size bunks and two adult ones. It did not take long for us to spread ourselves all over that tiny little room.

The movement of the train was very soothing to Carsten, though taking a shower on a moving train is one of the strangest experiences I have had.

The last we saw of the mountains! November may not be the prettiest month for traveling, but there was still much to marvel at in the passing country.

Dollies made it much easier to endure the cramped quarters.

It took a full day just to cross Montana, and all night to pass through North Dakota. We had a stop in the middle of the night in Minot, ND where I had a chance to visit with a friend of mine who is studying to be a doctor.

Watching movies to pass the time!

Caught my foot!

Ethan really liked his upper bunk, and spent a lot of time playing there, but he did get tired of the train. He was glad to have any chance to step off the train.

Doing exercises' on the stairs. He got the hang of walking on the moving train and crossing between cars very quickly.

The sunset behind us.

Playing games with Nana. I am so grateful that my mother-in-law could travel with us. She was able to see Roman graduate, and it was a huge help to me. While traveling by train was definitely a smart choice with small children, it was made much easier by Rhonda's aid.

Getting a breath of fresh air in St. Paul. States went by much quicker on our second day of travel.

The mighty Mississippi River.

Ethan was paid by a fellow passenger to search under the seat for a bottle cap. The older gentlemen also enjoyed visiting with Ethan and Saoirse.
We spent Tuesday night in Chicago, and all day Wednesday and left for DC late Wednesday evening.

The dining car offered a nice selection of meals, very café like. Prices were high, but meals are included in the price of a sleeper ticket. It was nice not to have to think about meals. Our dining car attendant would bring us milk and hot water for tea as soon as we sat down. All the attendants were very friendly. We saw many other passengers in the dining car. It was fun to hear where they were from and where they were going to.

The passing countryside of Pennsylvania.

Our final meal before pulling into Union Station in Washington DC on Thursday November 6th.
I have no pictures of the train stations themselves. Suffice it to say it was a madhouse whenever we stepped off the train. Between babies, backpacks, and luggage maneuvering the crowds was overwhelming. Still, it was a lot of fun to travel by train, and my kids did really well. More posts coming on our day in Chicago, our crazy car buying frenzy, and the trip to South Carolina.