With Andrew in Las Vegas last week for a conference, Emily and I planned to head to Iowa to hang out with my family. We were thinking we would head out on Sunday or Monday, but at 10:30 Friday night we glanced at the weather and realized the good weather was only going to be around on Saturday. At 6:30 we got up, packed like crazy, jumped our car that wouldn’t start, dropped Andrew off on campus for his volunteer teaching at 8:45, and then Emily and I continued on to Iowa.
She played in the backseat like a champ for the first three hours, listening to music the whole way. We then stopped at a gas station to stretch our legs, use the sketchy bathroom, try on sunglasses, and eat some food. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way to Grandma’s House, thanks to the fact I could keep reminding her we were going to grandma’s house and she was super excited about that.
We squeezed a lot into one week and had a blast. We mostly hung out and recovered from our trip and a very full Sunday on Monday. Emily fell in love with a hat my mom made for Christine. She tried on a sweater that my great-grandma Kenyon gave my mom when she was a baby. Brian and I made homemade pizza for dinner while listening to his favorite music. Emily danced and ate the fixings. We were pretty creative trying to switch dough in and out of the oven. At one point it looked like Brian was going to try and dump a pizza with all its toppings back into the oven by shaking it. When I questioned him (Are you going to just dump it?!?!) he replied emphatically, “No, you’re going to motivate it with the spatula!”. This was the moment I added “pizza motivator” to my official job description.
Tuesday we woke up to a world of ice. Christine had a two hour delay and played with us in the morning. Brian still had to go to work so I went out to move my car so he could take the van. Unfortunately it was encased in 1/2 inch of ice and it wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it! Later in the day it warmed up enough that I was able to break the ice off around the door and windows. We also made a family project out of scraping ice off the driveway.
Tuesday evening we made a trip to the fabric store to load up on supplies for projects. I got yarn to start a new afghan (the last one took me six years so it won’t take much to beat my record!), knit material to make a dress to test the pattern we made for Emily, and a small remnant of yellow bird fleece that Emily fell in love with and keeps it wrapped around her most of the time. It also makes for convenient game of peek-a-boo. Most importantly, we made pancakes for dinner to celebrate national pancake day. Emily was up a bit later than usual with all of the activities so she got some play time in with grandpa.
Wednesday we went over to a neighbor’s home to meet their bunny, Ollie. He is a house trained rabbit that spends his days outside the cage. Emily sat right down and began petting him without any hesitation. When he hopped away she said, “Uh-oh”, and followed him. She would also tickle his back and say, “tuck-a-tuck-a-tuck-a”. Brian met the bearded dragon and we all pet him a little. I liked the rabbit better.
After a trip to the grocery store, we spend the rest of the day at home resting, playing with my old doll house, working on Emily’s dress pattern, and making homemade fruit snacks. Christine and I have been interested individually on trying a fruit snack recipe out; unfortunately they made better bouncy balls than they did food.
After dinner, Christine walked around on top of the foot of snow and ice layer in our backyard.
Thursday Emily started to get the hang of playing with the dolls. She would watch me while I played with the people and every time I stopped, she signed more, watching intently like it was a play. I looked over a little while later and she was talking and moving the dolls around herself. Hopefully this is the beginning of lots of imaginative play by herself! She also tested out Christine’s flute and had a marvelous time passing it around so we could all play it. My mom and I (but mostly my mom) finished sewing Emily’s test dress. I also had to work quite a bit with students; in addition to teaching my own class I’m subbing for another teacher who is on maternity leave. I really enjoy her classes (web design!, keyboarding, and study skills) but it does take more time.
Friday morning I packed our car up and we said our good-byes. Brian played with Emily and helped her eat her green smoothie while I ran around. We had to try the final dress on her (this pattern is supposed to fit her in a few months) before pulling out. She wasn’t thrilled.
A note about music. Emily was in heaven. She sat on my mom’s lap during every piano lesson (she canceled most of them but still had 5 or 6 that had a competition on Saturday and needed a lesson). When Brian played she would lean against the music door until it opened and then sneak in and watch. She spent a lot of time sitting on the floor listening to duets. She loved sitting at the piano and playing too with everyone. She also discovered a small figurine of a girl playing the piano and asked many times a day (by signing piano near the china cabinet) to be lifted up so she could look at it. It was so fun to watch her soak it all in.
At 9:20am we headed on our way to Indianapolis to pick Andrew up from the airport. Emily slept for the first 1.5 hours, which made the next 4.5 kind of long for both of us. We got to Indy about an hour before Andrew’s plane landed so we decided to check out the Children’s Museum. It did not disappoint and we only spent a tiny fraction of the time that we wanted to there. We are going back soon for sure!
We picked Andrew up around 6, got stuck in traffic, stopped for some dinner, and made it home just before eight. It was a long day, but Emily was a great road trip buddy.
****Thank you Mom for taking 90% of these pictures!