Over the holidays, we made the somewhat crazy decision to drive to Indiana in the minivan to visit family. The drive itself was not as horrible as it could have been. The baby is shockingly docile about sitting in a rear-facing car seat all day. He made up for it, however, by being a holy terror in other people’s non-child proofed houses. He also didn’t sleep. I was up at midnight on New Year’s Eve, but not on purpose! Add in the old-fashioned family fun of coordinating activities for 16 people, a circulating band of illnesses (including a lovely bronchiolitis bout for the baby — the coughing is so pathetic and sad), and crayons melting onto the floor of the car and you have a rather potent holiday punch.
That said, there were some good moments. For instance, I ran with one of my sisters-in-law three times. They were all great runs, even the one that we did in the driving snow. That just made us feel tough. She gave me a tasty chili recipe that became my first make-a-big-batch-on-the-weekend dish of the new year. When we ate it at her house, we used her husband’s preserved jalapenos. He also made his own toffee candy, which was awesome.
I managed to read all of The Little Beach Street Bakery while on vacation. It was not a particularly challenging read, and it required me to suspend disbelief that there were somehow so many hunky men on this no-where Cornish coast, but it was good for what it was. I am now reading The Wedding Bees, which is even more frothy. I need frothy, as I am often reading it while waiting for my baby to stop coughing and fall asleep. I stopped reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things since it seemed more demanding.
I wrote an essay and my newsletter. I managed to keep going with my time log. We went to the Indianapolis Zoo one night and had fun seeing the animals amid the holiday lights. There were just enough indoor exhibits that we didn’t freeze. While in Cincinnati, we went to the museum complex and saw an IMAX film on the Rocky Mountain Express train in Canada. I quite enjoyed learning about the engineering feats required to lay tracks through snowy mountains. It also helped that my husband held the baby during this movie, and was seated several rows away, so I could actually relax and watch it! My 4-year-old niece sat next to me, and got so relaxed she fell asleep.
Then — in contention for the high point of the trip! — on the drive home, we decided to make a motivational stop at a Dairy Queen near snowy Johnstown PA. It turned out to be the most amazing DQ I’ve ever been in. The DQ had a (contained and cozy) fireplace, and the nice lady who brought us our food took the kids to see various stories about the place on the wall. And, since my daughter took about 15 minutes in the bathroom, I can attest that the ladies room was lovely as well.
Now we are home, and while the baby is still sick and not sleeping well, I feel more relaxed about the crying and fussing and coughing when no one but me is being woken up by it. I cleaned out the minivan and was amazed, again, by how much stuff can wind up on the floor in the course of a single road trip.