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.
15 thoughts on “Home after the holidays”
Oh, Laura, I am laughing at the DQ highlight! DQ was always our go-to-place for celebrations, maybe more for your younger brother than for you. Another thought–you know we have had far too many hours sitting in airports or on runways lately. But seeing all of you before Christmas was still all worth it–and so is seeing the sun shining on the Gulf of Mexico right now!
@mom- yes, I think Steve’s ice cream in Raleigh was more of the place for me growing up. I’m not particularly into DQ except they’ve started serving these fudge-filled cookies a la mode. A nice mix of hot and cold. Mmm…
I have never been to a Dairy Queen (that sounds like the start of a children’s poem!), but you are making me want to.
@Claire – they aren’t all as nice as that one. The fireplace was just this superfluously lovely element. Unexpected, but wonderful on a snowy trip!
I think its been 20 years since I’ve been to a DQ! As kids, we loved those frozen popsicle star treats, and then I progressed to the blizzards. Mmmm, toffee bar heath whatever. not what i need to be thinking of on day 1 of low carb eating…
@Ana- so my one complaint with the blizzards is things are blended up so much the chunks are small. And I really prefer my chunks large in ice cream – more of a Cold Stone Creamery style.
When, thanks to traffic, our 6-hour road trip started looking like 8 hours, we too had a “motivational stop” – only we called ours desperation! Ice cream can cure so many wrongs.
I hope your baby is better soon.
@Jessica – motivation/desperation, it’s all the same thing! He is better today – thank goodness. I think we’re over the worst of it.
I remember only one trip ever to DQ, many years ago, and I got some kind of banana pudding blizzard with nilla wafers in it. Honestly it was pretty memorable!
Your trip sounds . . ambitious! OMG about the baby sleep though 🙁 And the bronchiolitis! C did that last year AND this year so I absolutely feel your pain.
@SHU – I hope Mr. C improves! We are doing better, and last night was so much better than it could have been. He woke up once between 10:45-7:10 (around 4 I think), and went right back to sleep after a few oz of milk and some snuggling. The night before I was up from 4-6:45 a.m. with him, so that was a definite improvement.
we are visiting family in Germany and I am trying not to think about the flight home tomorrow. It’s only an hour. Travelling with kids is teaching me a lot about life. I can only plan so much and the rest requires going with the flow. The stress is worth it for the memories created.
Glad you are in the comfort of your home now. Will be interested to know how the chilli recipe goes. It sounds yummy
@Nadia- it’s only an hour! Even if they scream the whole time, it’s only an hour!
We made a rushed holiday trip with small children as well, although we postponed a second trip until next weekend due to a similar barrage of illnesses. Even on the last leg home I maintained that 9 hours in a car with a whiny baby (plus packing, no one sleeping away from home, etc.) is easier than cleaning, preparing and hosting for everyone to come here.
Funny about the DQ, we made a stop at a McDonalds with a lovely stone fireplace. I joked that if the kids were in a better mood, I could have taken a Christmas card photo in front of it!
I also read Little Beach Street Bakery over the holidays. It did require quite a bit of suspension of disbelief, but I found it an enjoyable and very easy read.
I have greatly appreciated your writing. Back when I was working lots of hours as a consultant, you helped me see how much I could still do during my non-working hours. Life changing!
@Eliza – enjoyable and easy describes it, and that’s what I needed at the moment.
Thanks for your kind comments. I’m glad you were able to do a lot in your non-working hours. And perhaps now (reading into your comment) you have a few more of them? Hope you’re enjoying it!