Archive for the 'Travel – Midwest' Category

John Wayne and the Covered Bridge

What do John Wayne and the Covered Bridges have to do with each other? Well, that’s simple: Madison County, Iowa!

Yes! John Wayne’s birthplace is in Winterset, which is a tiny town nestled in Madison County, the home of the famous Covered Bridges.

The reason for our impromptu trip to Iowa was one of great sadness, so we decided to lighten the mood and stop to see some attractions on our trek back to Colorado.

Claire is a HUGE fan of John Wayne. He’s her favorite actor. Yes, really. She’s loved him for at least a couple of years now. I know this isn’t the first person you think a 10-year old would admire, but there you have it!

John Wayne’s Birthplace and Museum aren’t too far off our path home, and on the way there, we decided to stop off at one of the famous covered bridges. One right along our route was the Hogback Bridge.

Madison County Bridge

Two bridges

As you can see in one of the photos, we are no longer allowed to drive across the bridge. It was completely safe to explore on foot, so we did just that!

After the bridge, we made our way to Winterset to John Wayne’s Birthplace and Museum. She loved it!

JW statue outside

JW statue inside

We’re baaaack! (And a birthday of sorts!!)

Well, we made it back Monday night!  Now, I just need to sort the receipts and the laundry and we’ll be able to decompress.  Although the reason for our trip was a sad one, we had an awesome time!  It was great to see everyone, some of whom we hadn’t seen in years!!

As always, I have so many adventures to share, so I’ll be doing that over the next few days.

We’d taken this same roadtrip in June so as to avoid the hot and humid weather of the Midwest in July…and a lot of good that did!!  Ah well…some things are unavoidable.  The bonus part of this was how much we appreciate the dryness of our heat here at home.  🙂

Yes, hot is hot, but a dry heat beats a muggy heat any day in my book…unless there is a breezy beach, a hammock in the shade, and a frosty drink involved.  😉

OH!  And!!  Today marks the true birthday of The Casual Perfectionist!!  Yes, my archives tell a different story, but that’s because I started writing offline before posting to the blog online.  I post-dated those entries for clarity’s sake…but this blog was actually born on July 22, 2007.

Happy Birthday, The Casual Perfectionist!!  And, here’s to many more.  😉

Behold the power of chicken

While on our Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta: Spring 2008 Version, we went to a family reunion. This reunion was for my husband’s side of the family, specifically his paternal grandmother’s side. If I’m not mistaken, when Ma and Pa came over from Denmark, they homesteaded in the area and had seven children. One of those sons was Claire’s Great-Grandma’s father.

When we arrived, we were requested to wear name tags, and the hosts this year decided to color-code things. Each of the siblings were designated a color, and if you were a descendant of that sibling, you wrote your name in that color. It was a really cool idea, and was really neat to look around the room and see the different family lines being represented.

Maybe they’ve done this the years past? We don’t know. The last time my hubby went was 15 years ago (or so), and I’ve never been, and we’ve been together for over 11 years. We live a couple states away, so it’s hard to make a special trip just for this. But this year, our trip to the Midwest was going to coincide with the reunion, so we went.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but having been fully immersed in my Travel Zen Mentality, I knew we would have a good time. And, we did! I met some really cool people!

The one challenging part was the fact that my normally outgoing and spirited little girl was at the end of her very long rope. She’d spent almost a week of being trapped in a car seat for hours and hours and being completely overwhelmed by tons of people she barely remembered. And, if she did remember them, that was fine, but why is everyone touching me? Is there no such thing as personal space? Nope. Sorry. You’re cute. You’re two, and no one gets to see you often. That’s what happens.

So, we walk into the venue, and Claire clings to me. She begs to be picked up. She snuggles her face into my neck, sucking her thumb and holding Puppy tightly with the same hand while slowly twisting her hair with her other hand. All of these are sure signs that she’s reached her limit.

Unlike what usually happens, she didn’t unclench after a few minutes. She still clung to me and was very whiny. This is something I’ve been seeing more of since she turned the Proverbial Two, but still…she normally warms up pretty quickly. The time zones are off, and we’ve been eating at various times, and the thought crossed my mind that she could be hungry.

I asked her if she was hungry, and of course, she said she wanted milk. I didn’t think to bring any. And, there wasn’t any provided. Water would have to do, but she wanted nothing to do with it. We’re trying to get our covered dishes organized (it was a pot luck) and our places set, and of course, we’re being bombarded by people we haven’t seen in forever, if ever at all. It was all very exciting and overwhelming.

She almost suffered a complete meltdown. As soon as introductions were made, and we were free to fill our plates, Daddy and Daey helped me fill my plate and Claire’s. More than one family had brought fried chicken. I know that Claire loves chicken, so we put a chicken leg on her plate. I put some other things on there, and although all the food was to-die-for, from an adult’s perspective, I just wasn’t sure what she would eat. But, chicken she likes. We’ll start there.

So, we get back to the table, and I’m strapping her into the travel booster we brought. I turn my attention to my chair and sit down and turn to look at Claire. In the 7.8 seconds it took to do that, I watched her grab the drumstick and take a big ol’ chomp out of it. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, but 1) She’s never ever eaten chicken off the bone. I’m paranoid and tear off pieces for her. 2) She happened to take a big bite out of the very end of the leg, right at the end of the big fat part…you know, where that weird bone is!? She had that piece of bone in her mouth!

So, I tried not to panic, and I tried to get that piece out of her mouth without causing a scene. So much for that. She was NOT pleased and let me (and everyone else) hear it. I tried to explain that I wasn’t taking away the chicken! I was taking the hard boney part out of her mouth so she wouldn’t choke. As soon as I got it out, she continued chomping on the chicken leg.

When she was done, the bones on her plate looked like they’d been unearthed and carefully brushed off as part of an archaeological dig. (Grandpa would be so proud! Sorry…inside story.)

And, then she asked for another one.

That opened the floodgates, and she tried some other things and completely forgot about demanding milk. The water was just fine. So, apparently she was hungry. You solve that piece of the puzzle and the others fall into place.

After the meal, she warmed up some more and started playing with the other kids. She was still a lot more hesitant than she normally is, but at least she wasn’t clinging to my neck like a little monkey.

And, now I know. If I think she’s hungry, she is. And, she can tackle a drumstick like the best of them…as long as you get her started in the right spot. 😉

What did they sound like before there were freight trains?

It was around 10pm, on June 5th, and Claire had been in bed for an hour or so. My hubby and I were exhausted from spending another day playing with my nephews, and we had settled into the comfiness of our friends’ entertainment room.

The local weather had taken over the airwaves, and a fierce rain storm was howling outside, the sky alive with dramatic displays of lightening.

Things were getting rather heated outside, and the weather department was hopping. There had been tornadoes spotted, and every show was being interrupted with continuous updates.

When we moved in 1999, I was happy to leave the tornadoes behind. In our Mountain Time Zone home, tornadoes are rare. Yes, they have been known to appear in this state, but if they do, it’s usually out on the plains and not near the foothills that we call home.

This is not the case in my childhood home.

I’ve lived through a tornado, and it pretty much scarred me for life. That sounds so dramatic, and maybe I’ll forget that night….eventually…but I doubt it. It was the year before I went into Kindergarten (1978 for those of you playing along at home), and it’s all as clear as though it happened yesterday.

Anytime I see Tornado Watches and Tornado Warnings flash on the screen, I feel a tightening in my chest. I find it hard to breathe.

I am one of the few people I know who can describe to you, in great detail the difference between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning. They are not the same. One means that conditions are right for one to appear, and the other means one has been spotted. They are both serious, but the warnings make me tense.

I grew up on a farm, miles and miles away from any type of warning system. Our chimney would whistle, and if that happened, it was time to go the basement. Now.

So, the weather guy is blabbering on and on about these storms, and I’m creating an escape plan in my head. Claire is in the pack-n-play. Her sandals are clasped on the handles of my bag.

Sandals? Why sandals? After the tornado in 1978, there was so much broken glass throughout our house that my parents sat me and my two year old sister on kitchen chairs with the instructions of not to move. My sister remembers that vividly. You can imagine the severity if someone who was just two years old at the time still remembers it.

Anyway, back to the plan. I could put my purse in that bag, grab her and the bags and get to the safe room in a matter of seconds. I could put her sandals on in there. We’re already on the basement level, so that’s one less step. How much time will we have?

I’m probably being silly.
We probably won’t need an escape plan.
Maybe they’ll miss us.

10:29pm Central Time
The tornado siren starts blaring.

Tornado!

My worst fears are coming true. My hubby and I bolt for the guest room, and I grab Claire and my bags and head to the room, as planned. Our friends join us with their two sleepy girls and their dog.

In my head, it was 30 years ago, and I was the scared 4-yr old huddled in the basement fruit cellar.

The shaking of foot-thick concrete walls.
The clanking of my mom’s canning jars.
So worried about our dog Susie, an outside dog.
Would she be okay? Where would she go?

There had been no warning, the weather radio crackling “partly cloudy skies.”
My dad had heard the chimney whistling and determined that something wasn’t right, and we’d fled to the basement.

His instincts were correct and saved our lives.

The electricity goes out and we’re left in the dank fruit cellar in the dark. I can smell the dirt on the potatoes. This room has always kinda scared me, and now it’s the only safe place in the house.

Glass breaking.

Then I hear that sound.
That deafening, horrible, powerful sound.
Raw fury.

From that day forward, I’ve always wondered what tornadoes sounded like before there were freight trains.

Years later, I sobbed through the movie Twister, my friends not sure I should see it in the theater. “I need to see it,” I told them. “I want to get rid of this fear.” It helped a little to cry. A little…but my fear is still here.

They got the sound in that movie dead on.

I will never forget it.

Susie was fine. Some of our neighbors weren’t. Their home was destroyed. Two of them lost their lives that day…a dad and his daughter. She was my age. My dad had been part of the National Guard, so he was one of the first people on the scene and helped with the bodies. I can’t even imagine. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how hard that must have been for him. A little girl my age. A father like him. Not spared. The mother survived but spent her remaining years in a wheelchair.

Lives ripped apart in an instant.

Flash forward to now…

I’m the mother. I’m clutching my little girl as if her life depends on it, as if my life depends on it.

This room is too big. Something smaller would be safer. Right? Would it matter?

We haven’t lost power, so that’s good. Right? If the walls start shaking, where will I go? Where will I huddle with Claire? What’s on these huge shelves that could come crashing down on us if they give way. Nothing dangerous or heavy. I’m going under there. If the walls start shaking, I’m going under there. I don’t care if there are spiders.

We’re listening to the weather radio. They are taking calls from outside callers. Things are sounding pretty hairy out there. “And, now we go to Ed. Ed? You’re on the air. [dead silence] Well, folks, it seems as though we’ve lost Ed. Next caller…”

“Oh no!” I try to joke. “They’ve lost Ed! It must be serious!” I try to say with a laugh. Maybe levity will belie the fact that I’m crying inside. And that I can’t stop shaking.

Please let this be over soon. Let it hit so I can react, or let it pass so that I can breathe again.

Then…
The sirens stop.
The weather announcer gives the all-clear.

There was no shaking of walls or clanking of jars.
This time.
Here.

That storm system that chased us to the safe room traveled almost 60-miles north and east toward the farm where I grew up, and where we’d been the last two days. My sister and her husband heard the freight train around 1am and were able to get their four boys to the basement before the brunt of the storm hit.

A huge old tree having landed on the lilac bush, two uprooted apple trees, and a bent basketball hoop later, the storm had passed. The house and garage were still standing and didn’t sustain damage. The dog was covered in mud but happy to see everyone. The family members were safe.

You really can’t ask for more than that when you live in a Tornado Alley.

In the phone call that next morning with my sister, I asked her if we should reconfigure our trip and try to come up to help them clean up. She declined, saying she understood how hectic our trip already was. Plus, with four boys, they had a lot of helpers. So, we traveled on as planned, and they started the process of cleaning up the debris.

My little childhood state and other areas of the Midwest are taking a beating right now. If people aren’t being blown away by tornadoes, they’re being flooded out of their homes.

And, my heart goes out to all of them.

When dirty is a good thing

Claire had so much fun playing with her cousins, my four nephews. (One, Two, Three and Four) The youngest one wasn’t able to truly join in the melee, but the other three more than made up for it.

Claire got to ride a tricycle, and she could pedal if she wanted to, but it was much more fun if one of the boys pushed her. They also taught her how to ride a scooter-thing. It’s plastic. You stand with one foot on the skate-board part of it and push with your other foot, while steering with the handlebars.

Claire called it her “escaping board,” and I couldn’t agree more with that description! It was quite the accurate Claire-ism!

My sister told me that she had sat the boys down and threatened them within an inch of their lives. They knew that they were to be nice. They knew they were to play what Claire wanted to play. If they didn’t? Life as they knew it would be over.

They were the perfect hosts.
Claire had a blast.

Two was the one who really took to guiding Claire around the farm and showing her all kinds of wonderful things — how to throw a ball with one of their catcher-dealies and how to pick clover. I was able to get a lot of good shots of them. As you can see, they are all the way out there, and as it turns out, the zoom on my camera works pretty well. 😉

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

See them way out there?

Two is showing Claire where the bunny nest is…

Two was SO GOOD with Claire…

He’s showing her what to do

He showed her how to pick a clover…

…and bring it to me!

My hubby was exhausted at the end of the day. The poor guy was pulled in three directions all at once and ended up riding bikes, running, and playing basketball the entire day. He barely got a break!

One, Two and Three were constantly trying to get his attention though and would try to work side deals that would leave out the other two. “Come on! It’s your turn to play over here doing this…with just me!” Somehow, he was able to keep them all happy and include everyone.

And, for both meals we shared with them, on both days, my hubby didn’t have to fight for a seat. A seat was already “being saved” for him…usually by One. Two and Three thought this was horribly unfair, so they tried their best to sit as close as possible.

When things had settled down to a dull roar, Claire realized she was sharing her daddy, and she wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. At one point in the evening, on one of the days, Three is sitting on Daddy’s lap. Claire practically bursts into tears, runs up to him and yells, “He’s MY DADDY, THREE! THREE!!! He’s NOT your daddy!!” Three, of course, loved this reaction. I tried to explain that of course he was her daddy, but Three could sit on his lap.

It was right about that time that Four decided that he wanted the tricycle and took off walking across the deck! Previous to that, he’d walk while holding onto your finger or gently touching his fingers along the sides of chairs and other furniture. They knew he could walk; he just didn’t know it…yet.

And, now he’d done it! And the day before his First Birthday, no less! This served as a pretty good distraction for Claire, and eventually Daddy went off to play with the three boys, so all was calm(er) again. At the end of the evening, I realized that I should have just brought her jammies and given her a bath at my sister’s. (The next night, we did just that.)

Claire was so dirty…and so exhausted…and it was so awesome.

The Cast of Characters

As you may know, we just returned from our most recent trip, The Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta: The Spring 2008 Version.

Over the next few days, I’m going to be sharing stories and fun things about this trip, and I thought I’d take the time to explain the ever-growing cast of characters here at The Casual Perfectionist.

If you’ve read the About Page, you’ll know that I go by Momma and my hubby goes by Daddy. You’ve met Claire and Merlin and Jasper.

Last year, we took a Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta in July, and I introduced my four nephews. At the time, I was calling them by their ages, but I wasn’t thinking ahead. This will be confusing going forward, so I’ve decided to recast their parts. The same actors will be playing them, and their roles are the same, but their names have been altered.

So, without further ado, here we go!

Momma: Me
Daddy: My hubby
Claire: As herself

Daddy’s family:

  • PaPa: His father, Claire’s grandfather. She named him PaPa.
  • Daey: His mother, Claire’s grandmother. Daey wanted to be called Granny and when Claire started speaking, she pronounced that as “Day.” Granny altered the spelling to be unique, and Daey has stuck ever since.
  • Uncle Wah: His brother, Claire’s uncle. This is what she called him when she first started speaking. She calls him by his real name now (with the title of Uncle, of course), but for the purposes of the blog, he’ll be known as Uncle Wah.
  • Auntie M: She isn’t really an aunt; she’s PaPa’s cousin. It’s long and complicated and involves grandparents that were siblings…or something like that. 😉

Momma’s family:

  • Grandpa: My father, Claire’s grandfather. We actually call him Grandpa Momma’sMaidenName, at times, but for the purposes of the blog, he’ll be known as Grandpa.
  • Grandma: My mother, Claire’s grandmother. Again, we use a longer version of this for clarification purposes at times, but we won’t for the blog.

Before I go on, I need to explain something. I’m the oldest of four children. I have two younger sisters and a younger brother. One of my sisters has four boys. This is how the following numbers come into play.

  • Aunt Two: I was the firstborn in the family, and she is the next child in line. She and Uncle Two are the parents of my four nephews. My nephews are One (the one who is 8), Two (the one who is 6), Three (the one who is 4) and Four (the one who just turned 1.) Claire, of course, says all of their names…this is just for clarity and privacy sake. I mean, Google is a powerful force and I’m careful not to doubt its abilities. Unique names when used together can be very searchable…and I’m trying to keep this all on the down-low. Who knows, one of my nephews may want to be a Senator someday. 🙂
  • Uncle Four: This is my baby brother. He lives in the same state as Aunt Two, but he lives in a different town, which happens to be pretty much in between where they live and where my in-laws live. He is married to Aunt Four.

Confused yet? It will all make sense when used in context. And, if not, I wouldn’t consider it rude to just smile and nod. 😉 And, to be honest, if I used our real names, you’d probably be even more confused. We may or may not be named practically the same thing. My mom swears they didn’t do that on purpose. 😉

If you were reading Jasper’s posts, you know the basic breakdown of the trip. We were gone June 2nd thru June 9th (Monday to Monday). We took the same pattern as the July 2007 version of the trip, so not much has changed.

With one exception:

For years, whenever we’d make this trek, we’d stay with some friends of ours, who we will call Drew and Dani. Their house was in a town about an hour away from the farm where I grew up. Then, about a year and a half ago, they went and had another baby, and we were booted from their guest room when it became a nursery. (The nerve! Just kidding!!) 😉

So, this year, when we were planning our trip, I made hotel reservations again. Because a major event was going to be in the area the same week, all of the hotels were full, so I had to make reservations in a different town. This was a hassle, but not a deal-breaker. Dani emailed me about three weeks before the trip saying that they were going to put their house on the market and see what happened. She wasn’t anticipating anything actually happening, but she wanted me to know that they were looking for a larger abode. I jokingly said that if they were moved into their new house by the time we left, to let us know. We’d gladly cancel the reservations at the Podunk Inn to stay at Chez Freeloader.

(Sidenote: Our house is known as The Hotel OurLastName, and we’ve always called their house Chez TheirLastName. I think the Podunk Inn is pretty self-explanatory, and I’ve replaced TheirLastName with a good description of how we like to travel.) 😉

Long story short, they found a new house, sold their old house, closed on the 29th and then got everything moved before we arrived. I couldn’t believe it! They told us to cancel our reservations and stay with them! The amazing part about all this (besides the way things worked out on their end, and the fact that the new house is located really close to their old one) is that it looks like they’ve lived in the house for years. There wasn’t a moving box in sight. It’s completely decorated. Everything is in its place. It has to have been the fastest move in the history of moves. I’m so impressed. Plus, the accommodations at Chez Freeloader were awesome.

They’d been there FOUR DAYS and they look a little more settled than we do, and we’ve been here SEVEN YEARS. I’m still in awe.

Speaking of settled, I’ve had something happen that I’m almost afraid to admit out loud. I actually have my bags (Claire and I share a bag and a small tote) totally unpacked, clothes laundered, and items put away. The bags are back where they belong in my closet. The fact that this is done is not the amazing part. The fact that we got back Monday night and this was done by Tuesday afternoon is the shocking part.

This has never happened.
I’m still amazed.
Luckily, my hubby didn’t hit his head when he fell over.

Anyway, I’ll be blabbering on and on all week about how much fun we had on our trip. Hopefully, with this cast of characters, you’ll be able to follow along like a pro. 😉

Our Most Recent Adventure

Well, it’s about time I shared some about the recent trip we took to the Midwest, before we leave again! 🙂

To make this easier to read, I’ll split it into parts. I’ve post-dated them to stick with the chronological nature of the blog, but here’s a quick reference guide :

Click here for Part 1.
Click here for Part 2.
Click here for Part 3.
Click here for Part 4.

Go check them out!

Edited to add:  I revisited these posts and included pictures!  Check the first one here (and then click through to the others…). 

The Question

The reason for our trip to the Midwest was to meet my newest nephew in person.  We were all having a great time laughing and joking when it happened…  The question I’d been waiting for…

“Ohhhh, look how good Claire is with the baby!  She really lovvvvvvves holding him and hugging him.   She’s sooooooo gentle with him!  You know, you’d better start thinking about giving her a baby brother or sister of her own!  Claire would love to have a sibling!” my sister with four boys said. 

I knew we would have this conversation.  Claire will be two at the end of November, and I’m 33 years old, and I’m from the Midwest.  Did you know I’m the oldest of four children?  Did I mention my sister just had her fourth baby?  It doesn’t take a genius to see where this was headed.

So, how should I respond? 

After much internal debate that miraculously seemed to only take a blink of an eye (to those on the outside of my brain) I said, “Well, Claire wants a real live monkey, too…and that’s not going to happen any time soon either.  😉

 

Claire and Monkey.  Which is which?

 

 

Our Trip to the Midwest – Part 4 of 4

You can read about Part 3 of 4 here.

Originally, we weren’t sure if we’d drive back home on Friday or wait until Saturday. On one hand, we didn’t want to deal with the weekend traffic, but during the summer, it’s always weekend traffic. On the other, my hubby’s brother has Fridays off, so we decided to stay the extra day and spend some quality time with Uncle Wah.

What follows is absolutely hilarious. It’s really hard to explain without some back-story, but let me boil it down to this. Uncle Wah was 7 when my hubby was born, and he’s never quite gotten over having a baby brother swoop in and steal all the attention, and not to mention, break all his toys. He is now 41, and I really think he’s a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body. It doesn’t make any logical sense, but he’s extremely jealous of Claire. He often refers to himself as a “second class citizen,” and actually pouts about things. If you were to see him in real life, you’d think I was lying. He’s a big man. He’s a welder-dude. He’s 41. He is single and doesn’t have any kids of his own, so he adores Claire, but he’s really jealous of the relationship Granny and PaPa have with her.

Anyway…Uncle Wah called the house Friday morning to see what the plan for the day was. My hubby told him to come over. He hemmed and hawed and said he was going to be working on his yard. (What? This is the last day we’re here, and we stayed an extra day so we could hang out with you…and you won’t see us for months…and you want to work on your yard??) So, my hubby says, “Uh, okay…but we were going to go take Claire to see the trains.” You see, there is an intricate train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, and Granny and PaPa thought it would be a fun outing for all of us.

So, what does Uncle Wah say? Picture the most whiney, sing-songy voice possible, “But I want to see the trains!” Ha! So, my hubby told him to get a move on and get over here, and we’d all go see the trains.

Needless to say, Uncle Wah thoroughly enjoyed himself at the train exhibit. Claire thought they were cool, but she’s not a 12-yr old boy trapped in a man’s body.

After the trains, PaPa took us on another spontaneous tour of the city. Oh! Speaking of this, I have to interject with another funny thing that happened. As we’re driving around, Claire begged to see my purse. So, I handed her my purse and then focused on what the Tour Leader was saying from the driver’s seat. All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I notice Claire is chewing on something. She’s making a funny face. She’s sitting in the car seat, which is between Granny and me, but neither of us saw what she put in her mouth. So, I said, “Claire! What’s in your mouth?! Give it to me!” So, she politely took it out of her mouth and handed it to me. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was a lump of something. Was it glue? Was it plastic? Did she get it off my purse? Did she get it off of something in my purse? She didn’t have my purse open, and I couldn’t tell what it was. As I was rolling the sticky mess around on my finger, I said, “Claire? Where did you get this?”

“Outta my nose,” she said, matter-of-factly.

Awesome. Thanks for sharing.

Anyway…as the tour went on, Claire finally fell asleep. I’ve never been able to transport her from the car to the house without waking her up in the process. She hadn’t been asleep long, and she was in desperate need of a nap, so I carefully unbuckled her and hoped for the best. This time, I was successful! I was able to get her downstairs and into the pack-n-play without waking her! Uncle Wah, Daddy and I had planned on going out on Friday night to dinner and a movie, so I quietly and quickly went upstairs and told them we had to go! Right now! As much as I hate to ditch my child and run, we’d better go while the gettin’s good!

So, we left Claire with Granny and PaPa and we escaped.

The three of us when to a really nice BBQ place and then we went to see Transformers. We actually loved the movie. It was action-packed and not too cheesy and the effects were awesome. Both my hubby and I grew up around the Transformers, and I think they did a good job of telling the story.

So, we get back to the house around 10:30, almost 11pm (Central Time, which is an hour off from our normal time…). I had told Granny not to even bother trying to put her to bed, because of the time-difference and not being able to see me when waking up from her nap. I see Claire through the window, and she’s fresh out of her bath. She’s all happy and waving and greets us at the door. So, I ask Granny how it went. “Oh, when she woke up, she just cried her little heart out. She was so upset and kept asking where you were,” Granny said with a completely straight face. My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. “What??” I gasped, actually clutching my chest.

“NO!” she said, beaming, having pulled off the joke. “She was totally fine, and she slept for THREE HOURS. I had to wake her up for dinner! And, she was all cheery and happy when she woke up, like she normally is. She asked about you a couple of times, but I told her, ‘Momma and Daddy went bye-bye, but they’ll be back later.’ And she would just say, ‘Okay!’ and keep playing. She’s such a good girl. And, then, we played in the bath until her little toes turned into prunes.”

Granny thought it was pretty funny that she’d nearly given Momma a heart attack. My mother-in-law is a sneaky one. Ya gotta watch her like a hawk. 😉

So, that’s pretty much it. The only thing missing from our saga is a re-cap of Saturday, and that day was a complete blur. We spent another 8 hours in the car, every hour getting us closer and closer to our own beds. This time, we went directly out to eat, because we knew the fridge was practically empty and the thought of unloading the car on an empty stomach was daunting. So, we had a leisurely meal and then drove home from the restaurant. The house was still standing. The kitties were happy to see us. The trip was a success. A good time was had by all.

Alternate Sleeping Option – Success!

Note: Maybe I’m the only one who cares about this (please see the title of my blog) 😉 but I’m not sure where to post the re-caps of our trip! The trip was from Saturday, July 14, 2007 to Saturday, July 21, 2007. For posts that refer to a specific date, I’ll post them there. For posts regarding general things, I’ll post them on the 21st, the date of our return and the day before this online blog existed, and I’ll tag them with the ‘from the offline blog’ category. There, I decided. Executive decision executed. Carry on…

In preparation for our Tour of the Midwestern Trifecta, I’d been trying and trying to get Claire to sleep in the pack-n-play. All attempts on the home front were unsuccessful. So, we decided to take it with us anyway, set it up in the hotel and hope for the best.

The first night was basically a stop-over in one state while on our way to another. We stayed with my hubby’s family, and because we were leaving early the next morning, we didn’t even take the pack-n-play out of the trunk of the car. Granny had the 41-yr old crib (Yes, it’s really that old, and I’m sure it was a great crib, and maybe it still is?) all set up in the nicely finished basement guest quarters, and we figured that if Claire wouldn’t sleep in the 41-yr old crib, she could sleep with us for one night. We would adjust our plan accordingly on our way back. (This was just a layover, with a longer visit scheduled at the end of our trip. This is purely a logistical detail that happens when you travel from west to east and back, and it by no means indicates that one side of the family tree is more important than the other.) 😉

Sure enough, Claire cried and cried while in the 41-yr old crib, so she ended up sleeping with us. The guest bed is maybe the size of a double, maybe. Needless to say, we were one cozy family that night. Claire slept great! (And, really…when traveling with a toddler, isn’t that the most important part??) I slept with one eye open for fear of falling off of my 4.5 inches of mattress, and my poor hubby got kicked all night. I’ll let you imagine just where he got kicked. Poor guy!

So, I wasn’t sure what to expect for the next night in the hotel. Luckily, we had a room with a Queen bed (the size we have at home), so we had a little more real estate to deal with if she had to sleep with us.

After our day’s adventures, we got back to the hotel. Claire snuggled with us (and Puppy, of course) for a total of three minutes and fell fast asleep. I transferred her to the pack-n-play, and SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Success!!

The rest of the trip went just as fabulously. When we got back to Granny and Grandpa’s house, we lugged that pack-n-play down to the basement and set it up next to the 41-yr old crib. The Travel Gods of Sleeping Toddlers smiled upon us! And there was much rejoicing. 😉