Get Lost Travel |Wanderlust| Road Trip |Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress

Across Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity Part III


Not All Who Wander Are Lost| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress

Welcome to Part 3 of my crazy road trip across America! If you’re just popping in, what the heck?!? I’m just kidding, it’s cool, you can catch up here: Part 1 < You may need Kleenex or Xanax and Part 2< It gets better but still… vodka. 🙂

So, where were we… ah yes, jamming to Kanye’s Homecoming while entering Chicagoland. We made it to our old home of 8+ years. We lost a day because by the time we got there it was late, we were tired, and hungry. Before we set off for our hotel we drove passed our old house.

Our House in Aurora

                 (If you have been following me over the last few years, you may remember these pictures. 🙂  This is when I was trying to get this house on the market in a down market. :-/  We got an offer in less than a week! But we didn’t finish paperwork until months later.)


That house was too small for our growing family, but it held a copious amount of memories. My husband and I were two young kiddos when we purchased this home, we had two little girls and a furry one too. We had no idea we would one day bring a little boy home there too.

Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress: Me and my girls 3

This old house Our Road Trip back to IL

Anyway, we drove by the house, and I wanted to jump out of the truck and ring everyone’s doorbell to announce we had arrived, but we were dirty, hungry, and we all looked like… what’s that word… BUSTED! We would come back, so I thought…

We made it to our hotel, not the one in Chicago, because we decided to drop Chicago from our trip (because of the whole accident and losing a day thing). We had to cancel plans with my husband’s friends. We ended up staying in Naperville, which is where we lived. We’ll to be honest, our house was in the township of Naperville, which was not technically in Naperville.  We were so happy to show up in a real hotel, one that was not appointed to us because there was only one to choose from. This hotel was gorgeous  there was a fireplace, pool tables, snacks, friendly faces!!  And there we were, the hot mess squad.

The computer at the front desk was acting up, so we had to wait a little bit to finally make it to our room, but oh when we did…


We thought we would clean up and go out, but that didn’t happen. We had beds calling us and room service… 😉 and mama and papa had rum and ginger ales too 🙂 My husband and I didn’t have to share a bed with a kid! It was nice, real nice. 😉 It must have been nice for everyone, because we all slept in! Those hotel blackout curtains are no joke!!!

Apparently while we were deep in our merry slumber it sprinkled over night, and when your tarp is a blanket, things get damp. :O  BOO! We decided to eat at one of our favorite places for brunch and then head to Lowe’s to purchase a real tarp and heavy duty ratchet straps. The day just kind of flew by. We went to the mall because we lost Homie. I was determined to get a new homie for my son. 🙂


Build -A-Bear Aurora IlMy eldest daughter went to visit her best friend, which made me insanely happy. I sadly didn’t get to see any of my friends, I want a redo. Again, the day got away from us and the traffic there is INSANE. (We also had to go shopping for “going out” clothes, because someone only brought travel clothes, even though he said he could finish packing. His nice clothes were in the boxes in transit to WA. Whoops!)

Reunited And It Feels So Gooood

When we all reunited we ended up going to Downtown Naperville. Downtown Naperville is special to me. It’s the place two broke kids would go to with their baby girl and walk around and look at all the shops and maybe, just maybe, if they had enough money they would buy a coffee and read a few books at the huge Barnes & Noble. Their life would change, he would join the ARMY (again), they would move back to Texas, he would go to war, and she would say no more. Those kids were happy to come back to their stomping ground with one more kid years later (and make another).

Babe and I (Naperville IL)Harry Potter Day

WeekendCollageMy Halloween {Family}

The Kiddos & I



We’re not kids anymore, but we have a gaggle of them.  🙂 When you have a gaggle of kids of course you go fill them up with sugar!  #SayWhat

Le Chocolat was a favorite celebration spot for: birthdays, good report cards, the holiday light ceremony, Saturdays, and guests.

Le Chocolat Road trip Illinois

Cookie! Le Chocolat

I mean really, can you get enough cookie shots? I think not. Right, Tamara?

Baby Girl Le Chocolat

Excuse the picture quality…

Across the Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our SanityNaperville

Naperville Road trip across America


I love this city and I LOVE this boy!!!!! Always dancing 🙂  (Sorry this video is sideways.)


My loves Road Trip Naperville Il

So, Downtown Naperville puts up different sculptures every year. The kids can get maps and find them all. The last time I was there, over the holidays, they had gingerbread men and women. 🙂       You can see all of the car sculptures here.

Naperville Car Sculpture

This candy store is the best!! They have a vent that pumps out the heavenly aroma of popcorn and candy, and that’s it, you have to go in! We stocked up on candy for the road. Again, what were we thinking with all that sugar: Ummm… a) we needed it b) we deserved it c) we were happy and alive. I could keep going… let’s go with d) all of the above 🙂

Naper Nuts & Sweets Naperville Road TripBefore we could walk somewhere for dinner, it started to rain. We didn’t park in the garage parking. Therefore, we decided it was best if we left, which made me a bit sad. It didn’t just rain, it poured! We picked up some Italian beef sandwiches and called it a night.

Get Lost Travel |Wanderlust| Road Trip |Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress


We got back on the road rather reluctantly in the morning. We were all sad to go, we didn’t get to do all things we had on our list, we didn’t get to see all the people on our list, and for a day we had all the bliss that we didn’t have the past few days before. We set off with Chicagoland in our review mirror and the storm ahead…

Have you been to Chicagoland? What’s your favorite thing to eat when you visit your hometown?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Thanks for following along!! XOXO



© 2015 – 2016, Dean @Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress. All rights reserved.

33 thoughts on “Across Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity Part III”

  1. That is so wonderful that you got to spend time in your old city. The Build A Bear pictures made me smile because my daughter is obsessed with that store. Le Chocolat looks like a place that I would love. Those cookies!!! I have never been to Chicago but I would love to go. My daughter has never been to a big city yet and I really want to take her. I always chicken out about taking her to NYC myself but now that she’s a little older (potty trained, barely uses a stroller) we need to do it!

    1. I hope you get to go to Chicago, I love it! There’s so much to do there, even with kiddos. During Christmas Chicago has a Christkindlmarket that comes pretty darn close to Germany’s. 🙂 You honestly could gaze all day at the buildings downtown, I’m always in awe of the masonry work.
      You should definitely take your daughter to NYC! Make a family day of it 🙂 NYC during the holidays has to be AHHMAZING. I want to go!!!

  2. So much goodness here. First of all, my cookie shoutout! I was having a bit of a crummy day because a stranger overheard me say she was being a moron (she was). But I’m not like that! I’m all peace and sunshine and rainbows and I totally ruined today.. and.. Bah!
    You made it better.
    The heavenly pumped aroma of popcorn and candy, huh? That sounds.. like my fantasy.
    Also, poor Homie! It looks like your son took it in stride. Bless his heart.
    I’ve been to Chicago twice and had a BLAST both times.

    1. I’m sorry you had crummy day, Tamara. I’m sure that lady was acting like a major moron for you to voice your opinion- maybe she needed a reminder that people were watching. You’re human, we’re human, it happens. Don’t beat yourself up. We all know you have a heart of gold. Cookies, cookies, cookies!! All better? 🙂
      That aroma is quite majestical!

      My heart was broken for my son, he cried when we realized we lost Homie. I asked the tow truck men if they found Homie the next day and they said no, my son was sad all over again. Thankfully, Chewbacca put a smile back on his handsome face and the rest is history! You’ll see in the coming pictures 🙂
      Chicago is a blast, I love it so!

  3. Oh my goodness, so close and yet so far!!!! What wonderful, amazing memories!!!! How the heck do you find time to blog and go across America girl?????

    Are you to your new home as of YET????


    1. I honestly did not blog much while I was on the road. I kind of used my Instagram as a microblog during our road trip. I finally got back to blogging at the end of last month, because everything was so crazy.
      Yes, we found a place, that didn’t come to easy for us either, but we did it.
      It was nice to back in IL, I wish we could’ve met up while I was there. 🙂

  4. I’m going to have to check out your Chocolate restaurant! We’re going to Downer’s Grove this weekend! The trip is getting much better!! I hope it continues to! X

    1. Yes, you’ll have to swing by Le Chocolat, they have two sides one has the chocolate & the other has the French pastries.
      I have some wonderful memories in Downer’s Grove. Have fun!
      Wisconsin gets a touch tricky for us. :-/

    1. Thank you, it was so nice, but too fast.
      They have the best huge cookies, the chocolates on the cookie are big too. 🙂

  5. Those cookies are MASSIVE! Even though things didn’t go quite as planned, it sounds like you enjoyed this leg of the trip. It must have been nice to return to your own stomping ground! When I’m in my hometown, I like to go to this ice cream place that is only open during the warmer months and is super popular in the evenings. Sadly there was a fire there at the beginning of the summer (I believe no one got hurt) and it was closed for most of the summer, but when I was home last month it had just reopened, so I was happy to go there with Eve, Sam and my parents 🙂

    1. I’m sorry there was a fire at your favorite ice cream shop. I’m thankful nobody was hurt and that you and your family were able to enjoy it again.
      It was so nice to be back, just waaaaaay too short. 🙁

  6. Great pictures! That’s so fun to go back to your “old” stomping grounds and it’s nice to see the old pictures and the new pictures. I love the sculptures in downtown. Found you on SITS Sharefest!

  7. Oh how exciting a road trip!! It must be interesting to go back to your old home. Did you get snow there? Crazy. You look like you are having a grand time. I work in a demanding field and feel like I am chained to a desk. I would love to do a road trip.

    Allie of ALLIE NYC

    1. I wish I could tell you we were on a road trip for pleasure, but we were moving across country. Illinois was a much needed pitstop along the way, considering two days prior we totaled our truck. 🙁
      We had such a great time in IL.- no snow. 🙂

  8. That is great you guys got to visit your old home! How fun! I’m in NWI (not technically Chicagoland) but I’m about 30 minutes away from Chicago! There is a lot to do here which I love! I’m going to be sad when we PCS because I’m going to miss all of the activities. I won’t miss the weather though! LOL. Safe travels!.

    1. We’re are you PCS’ing to?
      I don’t miss the bitter cold winters of Illinois, at all. When I moved to South Carolina, however, I did miss IL. fall. Now, that we’re here in the Washington state, I’m happy to have fall back. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad we were able to make a pitstop in Illinois, it was much needed after the two days we had before. The treats, were icing on the cake. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad he’s happy with his new homie, too. 😉
      The cookies are HUGE.
      Yum, dim sum would be great right about… NOW! 🙂
      I still need to go see Philly.

  9. Oh my gosh, how exciting! To go back and see your old home is sure to bring back memories. I love that you are taking your children across country and making these stops. And Harry Potter Day! That would have been the highlight of the trip for our little boy, ha! Thanks so much for keeping us posted on your journey! #MMBH

    1. We’re done with the trip. Thankfully, we made it to our destination, minus a truck. The Harry Potter Day was years ago, but I would totally love to do that day over, this time with our surprise baby boy. 🙂

  10. Hello, and how are you? This is my first visit to your blog but I am so happy I visited. and I enjoyed this pot and can not wait to read 1 and 2. But I am so sorry his list his Pet but I am happy you found a new one. As for Build A Bear I need to take my son before he gets to old. And the Chocolate store I could live in.

    1. Welcome, Glenda! I’m so happy you stopped by for a visit, I hope you’ll visit more. 🙂
      Did you get a chance to read part 1 and 2? I just posted FOUR 🙂
      I’m so glad there was a Build A Bear available for my little guy to make a new friend, and yes, I could totally live in the Le Chocolat. 🙂 We use to tell the kids when they were younger Oompa Loompas lived there.

  11. Sounds like an amazing and crazy road trip. Thank heavens you are all OK. It’s nice to go back home, but too bad you missed so many of the people you wanted to see. It’s tough when you only get to see friends once in a while.

    1. CRAZY… crazy fits the description well 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll get another visit to IL in sometime, but this time, we’ll fly.

  12. I love your writing 🙂 And it’s so fun to look at your family photographs!! I must also thank you again for your neighborhood tips…we are so close to officially selling our old home and I know our apt lease will be up in the blink of an eye. Btw, we’re supposed to get a good amount of snow here this weekend! Anyway, I think my favorite part of this post was the video of him dancing LMAO I look forward to my boy acting a goofball like that in public ;P Thanks for sharing, off to read more!

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