Explore IL {Springfield, walking where Lincoln walked}

On our journey home from Kentucky, we stopped by Chris’ brother’s house in Illinois. The kids were beyond excited to see their cousins. We don’t get nearly enough time with them due to distance, but we are so grateful when we do get to see them. My oldest daughter has been talking about the visit for months…it is not everyday she gets to spend time with teenage girls. She loves it.

While in Illinois we visited several historical sites marking the life of Abraham Lincoln. History has always captivated me – I’m a big fan of stories. It was incredibly moving and surreal to visit his tomb, to walk in his home, to see papers with his handwriting. History moves me. I know Lincoln was not a perfect man. Regardless, his life made a profound impact on the course of my country, and on my life.  Seeing pieces of his life firsthand was an incredible experience.

Tomb of Abraham Lincoln


Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois home.

Inside his home, we saw the desk where he wrote several historically famous speeches. We ran our hands on the handrail of his staircase. We saw in real life things we had seen only in history books. We stood in the parlor where the Republican National Convention officially asked him to run for the presidency.  I tried to soak it all in as much as one can with little kids in tow. 4.14IL-4

Gazing out a window that Lincoln once looked out too.4.14IL-5

After visiting a few other historical sites, the girls headed back to their cousins. Chris and I took the boys to the Lincoln Museum. My camera was tucked away for most of the visit – I was busy reading and learning. At the end of the visit we stopped by an interactive room for kids. The boys had a little too much fun in the dress-up section and posing with wax figures of the Lincoln family.4.14IL-64.14IL-7

We learned all kinds of stories about the Lincoln boys….rumor has it that they got away with quite a bit of mischievous antics.4.14IL-10

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to visit all the Lincoln sites was for my oldest son. If given the choice between a biography or a fiction book, he will always choose a biography. He devours books about great men and women in history. Stories of Abraham Lincoln have especially stood out. It was such a gift to learn alongside him. Together we experienced history coming alive. It was awesome.

“I will prepare and someday my time will come.” ~ Abraham Lincoln4.14IL-11

I can’t wait to take him to Washington D.C. one day!

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  • Michelle Hill - Your kids are a riot! The photos with the dress ups and wax figures are hysterical! Your family is beautiful.
    I hope I am blessed to have children who love to learn and read, just like yours 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  • Cassi - I am with you history is amazing. We have a DC trip planned for our daughter when she gets to Jr High. So excited to take her. Right now we hit all off the re-enactment sites we can. Next year we are doing the fur trade route from MN to Canada in the camper.

  • danielle - I need to stop there! My sons love Lincoln! What a great way to learn.

  • Rachel - We have lived in DC for 5 years now, and it is an amazing place to raise kids. The hotels are expensive, but most of the museums and monuments are free! The children’s section at the American Indian Museum, the Natural History Museum, and picnicing on the National Mall are family favorites. Feel free to email for hints when you are ready to plan your trip!

  • Birdy and Bambi - Did you ever went to Williamsburg? I lived for a while in Virginia and visited Williamsburg… it was an amazing experience for me! I guess, your kids would love it, even it is a little far away from your home…

    Love from sunny Germany
    Bird and the -fatcatconnection-
    and here a little about Bordeaux: http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/04/bordeaux.html

  • Debbie C - I’ve lived in IL all my life and still have not gone to the Lincoln sites! Maybe when the kids are older we will all go and learn together. I love that quote you picked.

  • Stoich91 - Wow! These picture are so powerful…what a great experience!

  • Necole@seriouslysassymama - I do not know what it is about that man, but I have always been fascinated with him, and the Civil War. I love reading about both. I would love to go there.

  • Emily Barnett - I can barely handle that Charles is related to you, and I didn’t get to meet you. 😉 Hope you had a fun Springfield experience- and I hope you went to Wm. Vans coffee shop across the street from Lincoln’s home!

  • Taylor - I’ve been dying to go here with my sister, who is IN LOVE with Lincoln! It would be such a fun trip!


  • Hailey - I had fun spending time with you guys. We all miss already! See you soon!

  • Madeline - I loved spending time with you guys and had so much fun hanging out with the little girls and with the boys! Can’t wait to see you later this summer! Love you!

  • kate - Make sure that someday you make time to read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. An amazing book that ignited an interest that I never would have dreamt I would have had for this time period. He was truly a remarkable human being.

  • Diana - I was there with my family awhile ago and was amazed to be in the same spaces as Abe! Crazy!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh that is so fascinating! Nate is that same way – always a biography. Hmmm…

  • Catherine - I absolutely love history too and would love to visit here! That last photo is magic.

  • Katie - Ooooh, LOVE that last picture!! The painting itself is amazing and then I scroll scroll scrolled and there was your son in it too!

  • Allison - I, too, love learning/reading with my 8 year old. It is so fun to see their passions unfold especially when it is between the pages of a book. I am soaking up these young reader years and have high hopes for the years to come. Washington DC will be epic, for sure!

  • tasha roe - that is such a great trip! we’ve been there a few times and have really enjoyed it! they did a great job on the museum and movies. loved that you rubbed his nose too. 😀

  • Teresa - Just popped on to catch up on my favorite blog tonight. This place in Illinois sounds Amazing. My senior daughter is on her way back home to MN from a class trip to D.C. right now. As I type this their traveling thru Ohio. They visited the Wall of Fallen Soldiers, Capital, Gettysburg, New York City, Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, etc. I’m just wondering why they don’t stop in llinois to see this. My daughter is an American History buff also. She even memorized the whole Gettysburg Address by Lincoln (four scores and seven years ago speech)for xtra credit once. I’ll have to show her this when she returns and I do hope you get the chance to take your kids to see all of that stuff out east when their older. We have been looking at her pics she posts on FB and it does look pretty amazing. I really thought about chaperoning but I’m not sure I would have survived the bus trip with the wild boys in her class, and it’s time for my hubs to plant 6500 acres of crops and her grad party is only 5 weeks away so I’m busy making cute stuff to decorate(It’s kind of junk gypsy vintage with a she’s gonna spread her wings and fly theme and a little cowgirl thrown in with lots of shades of mint, green, aqua, gold, pink & yellow) I’m sorting photos and trying not to panic or cry, taking care of her horses, cats and dogs and seriousy trying not to think about the the fact she’ll be heading to South Dakota to college in just a few short months. Your posts are always beautifully written Ashley and whenever you write a little story as your children turn another year older it makes me think about how fast mine keep growing. Abe’s right when he says someday my time will come. It waits for no one. Although I can’t wait til tomorrow to hear more abut her trip and kudos to moms who love the history of this nation and teach it to their kids!

  • Erica Baker - Such a cool experience. I was like that when I was his age – always reading about history and loving museums…and now I live in DC 🙂 When you guys decide to plan a trip please feel free to let me know! I would love to make suggestions and help in any way I can!

  • Sandy - Love that last one of your son and Lincoln’s picture. If you do come to DC, I would strongly suggest making time to go to Mount Vernon. It is a little off the beaten path around the downtown area, but it is awesome to get a sense of what used to really be here. I have lived here most of my life, and I definitely need to do more soaking in the history of this area.