Andrew discovered a regional conference this year in the quad cities. The campus is about 15 minutes away from my family’s home, so when he found out that his presentation was accepted, we decided to make this trip a family affair.
Andrew finished on campus at 1pm on Thursday, so I spent the morning packing and cleaning so that Emily, Nathan, and I could pick up Andrew and head straight to my family’s home from there. Nathan took a fantastic morning nap and Emily went to a neighbors so I had the house to myself and could think and run around trying to get all the last minute things done. We arrived Thursday evening and left Sunday morning, so it was a quick trip but we made the most of every minute.
Emily LOVED spending time with Aunt Christine and my mom. Christine had gymnastics on Saturday for a couple of hours and school on Friday, but pretty much every other second was spent with Emily. Christine taught Emily how to walk on the balance beam, do backward somersaults (but I’m pretty sure she used a different term) and flips, played horse with Christine as the patient horse and Emily as the determined rider, painted Emily’s toe nails, and did homework together.
Emily also got in some grandma time. She insisted they clean Grandma Moose’s room together but it took awhile to actually start that task because she would get distracted immediately by something she found there. She found Grandma Moose at the end of reading scriptures and snuggled up in her bed so they could watch a movie together on the ipad, something they started doing together when I was in the hospital. My favorite moment was seeing them dance together to Mary Poppins.
I brought some sourdough starter and we made sourdough bread in my mom’s dutch oven which turned out to be amazing. Andrew and I also tried our hand at making sweet potato and butternut squash chips using their nifty food slicer and dehydrator. My mom finished sewing an incredible dress with Christine for her English project and it was super cool to be there for the unveiling. I worked with Christine on memorizing lines from Romeo and Juliet for another English project. My mom helped me figure out the pattern and we started cutting and sewing the beginnings of a skirt for me. I started going through some incredible family heirlooms, photographs, letters, and other items that my parents picked up from my uncle in florida a few weeks ago. I practiced the piano on the baby grand because I can’t miss a chance to play that beauty.
Andrew’s presentation went well and the conference was a little bit shorter than we had expected so he got to spend more time with us on Saturday! This worked out well because he jumped in and helped with the other major event of the weekend: celebrating my mom’s birthday! My dad grilled flank steak for dinner and Andrew and I made a salad together (which included a short date to Hyvee to buy red leaf lettuce). We opened presents with Derick via google hangouts, and then had ice cream cake for dessert. Emily went to bed after dinner and Nathan refused to stay asleep so he joined in on the festivities. One of mom’s friends gave her a balloon that we were supposed to just wack the package and it would blow up. It took us forever to figure out how to make it work, and once it did it was a little anticlimactic because we were all expecting something much bigger. Made for some good laughs.
On Friday Emily joined my mom to pick up Christine from school. I put Nathan in the middle of the room and went out to help get Emily buckled. When I came back he had rolled himself to the couch and was intent on chewing. I thought it was hilarious, but even funnier is that he repeated the event. He has become an expert roller in the last few days and is very good at getting to corner on the furniture.
The drive home on Sunday was great. The kids slept for the first half and were really good the second half, so we essentially had a four hour date. I love long, uninterrupted chats with Andrew.