Here's the recap:
Since my sister and I live about 4.5 hours apart from each other, we thought it would be fun to meet halfway for a little overnight get-away. So we packed up our essentials for the night, threw the tots in the car, and met in Iowa City. (A little under half-way for me, I'm lucky!) We met at the mall and played at the Iowa Children's Museum for a good two hours. If you've never been there and have young kids, you should check it out! I'm pretty sure C's favorite exhibit was the train room-- he excitedly chased the electric trains around the track and attempted to put together a few tracks of his own. He and his little cousin loved the grocery store and played "grocery shopping" forever. C liked to put things in his cart. N liked to put things in her mouth.
|At the grocery store, C was an excellent cashier. Even gave me back a little extra play money to do more shopping with. :)|
|Nora loved the "tots" room and eagerly drove this tractor while C planted and tended his garden (below)|
Although the kids could have played at the grocery store much longer (and C was quite verbal about not wanting to leave), our tummies were growling and we had yet to check in to the hotel. So we headed to our hotel, checked in & tried to get situated, and then headed out to eat. [At this point, I would like to brag that our little toddlers did an amazing job at the restaurant--yay!]
After returning to our hotel, we gave the tots a quick bath (note: paper cups from the hotel sink don't hold up well as bath toys. duh.), dressed for bed, and read books. The two smalls were both exhausted, rubbing their eyes, and soooo ready for bed. Liz & I layed them down around 8:45 and eager looked forward to our little sisterly conversation in the "living room" part of our suite.
Unfortunately, our tots had other plans. First it was Nora-- standing up in her pack & play. Then Charlie calling "Mama!". Then Nora wimpering. Then Charlie incessantly humming. Then Liz lying Nora down again. Then Charlie calling "Mama!" (This time "Bunny" had 'jumped out of my bed!" And Bunny was lying halfway across the room. I'm pretty sure Bunny didn't jump out of C's bed. But that's just my own detective work--no hard evidence.) Then C sat with Liz & me while we let Nora "go down". But then Nora cried. She hadn't gone down. Then I put C down. Again. He wanted to sleep in Mama's bed. By this point, the whole shebang was passing comical and getting down right hysterical. There was a moment when Liz & I were lying on the plush King Sized bed, with our smalls squished between us--them literally rolling around on top of each other--giggling, when I burst out laughing and said, "Liz, What's Plan B?!" Her response was something to the effect of "What Plan B!?"
In the end, C & I set up camp in the "living room" with me sleeping on the hide-a-bed & him in his little bed. He instantly calmed down as Nora & Liz cuddled up in their room. So there, in adjoining rooms, probably 30 feet away from each other, Liz & I finally had a chance to catch up---via texting, while we hid from our tots under the covers.
We all made it through the night! Yay! It probably wasn't the best night's sleep the four of us have had, but we woke up with enough energy to head down to eat breakfast and take a quick dip in the pool. C & N LOVED the pool-- and especially loved jumping in and racing each other. (We moms liked it the first five hundred times but we tired of that "game" quicker than the kids)
After drying off and packing up, we headed to the mall for a carousel ride and some lunch before hitting the road. Nora had never ridden a carousel before so we were excited to see her reaction.
(I think she liked it!)
We couldn't make it the 20 feet to Panera without Charlie noticing these.....
|Right now, he just loves to play in them. We haven't let him know that for $.75 they move and beep! Shhhhh!!|
After we finished all of our "rides", we grabbed lunch and then had to say goodbye. :( But wait, what is a trip to the mall with your sister without mall photos!? The kids LOVED this part! (Looks like we were kind of having fun too) Then we said goodbye.
So you think that's it? The end of our weekend? Oh no folks, we were just getting started. After saying goodbye, C & I headed up to Holiday Lake to meet some friends (and Daddy!) C has never been on a boat or swimming in a lake (unless he has gone with his grandparents?) so he was super excited. He eagerly boarded the boat and LOVED going "really fast!"
After our boat ride, we played on the beach and in the water for quite awhile. C found clam shells and loved scooping sand from the beach into the water. When it was time to eat, he happily gobbled up his hot dog and bunches of "lake food" (chips, fruit, and cupcakes!) It was nearing bedtime when we got settled into the car and I'm pretty sure his seatbelt hadn't even been buckled before he was fast asleep.
On Sunday, we didn't have "plans" but we had been invited to a vaulting show in Cedar Falls. When you hear "vault" don't you think of Olympic Gymnastics? I did. But this was at the Cedar Falls Equestrian Center. "Vaulting" turns out to be gymnastics on a horse! Since C is currently obsessed with horses, he was excited to see horses (and I was so impressed that he actually petted one this time!). Throw in some music and girls in pretty outfits and the whole experience was a hit.
|Look at this! I can barely get on a horse, let alone do cheerleading moves on one that is moving!|
|C was mesmerized by the whole thing. He just sat and took it all in. (Super cute)|
After the horse show, we headed home and enjoyed our afternoon around our house. It was great to just lounge around, play with toys, and take naps. In the evening, M grilled brats before we all headed outside to play some baseball (with C's new baseball & glove!). Although we didn't stay out long enough to see any fireflies, we were up past bedtime and C was definitely ready to hit the hay.
I loved that we filled our weekend with activities and downtime. It was filled with special treats and special thrills. It was filled with smiles and laughter. But most of all, it was filled with time spent with special people-- and isn't that what it's all about?