Our visit had been planned months ago, since my bff was home for her sister's wedding. Initially, we weren't going to stay the entire week, but after the miscarriage, I desperately wanted to be taken care of by those who know me best. And although our reason for sticking around all week was/is really sucky, it ended up being a great little getaway. I loved seeing my friend, and watching the boys play together is always so much fun. C was a crazy wild man because he was so excited to be at his grandparents, and he couldn't contain one morsel of his energy. He did eventually settle down-- just about the time we headed back home on Friday. Of course, it may have been due to the fact that he was exhausted after we crammed a million things into one week. Here's a glimpse:
A good omen: One of the first things we saw in Spencer: a street being torn up by a big digger and a little skid loader. C & I got out of the van and watched the workers for about 10 minutes before I literally had to carry him away from the scene.
Papa surprised C with two new golf clubs!! How did that grandpa know that someone would be thrilled about clubs with an orange shaft? Lucky guess?
That night, we had a mini reunion with both Josh and Kelly in Spencer for a few days. I logged a million teenage hours in the presence of these two people-- they saw me through the good-bad-and ugly parts of high school. I love love love both of them so much!
|Class of '96 rocks!!|
That night, we grilled and ate dinner together at my parent's house. After the Pearsons left, Josh hung out on our porch, talking with my parents and me until close to midnight. We were exhausted, but going to bed early is not an option when you have the opportunity to catch up with old friends.
The next day, we took the little boys up to Arnold's Park. I think they loved it.
Riding the big train-- always a hit!
The dragons were fun too.
And so were the boats...
But the little train was just the best. Especially when someone got to be the conductor. Again. And again.
And then he wanted to hang out in the caboose for awhile so he rode it one more time.
And just one more time for good measure. Chillin' in the caboose is a good thing.
Oh wait a minute, maybe the roller coaster was the best. Hmmm... that was pretty fun too.
Or maybe the chocolate ice cream cone with the teddy graham was the best.
Or perhaps just hanging out with best friends was the best? (That was my favorite part)
That evening, the public library had guests from the Sioux Falls zoo visit with four little critters. C was entralled with the presentation and listened intently to the little lecture from the zookeeper. He raised his hand and asked a question about whether or not the box turtle could swim. I was impressed when he told me later that the lady said the turtle could swim in shallow water but not deep water because his shell was too heavy and not made for swimming. Maybe he will do okay in school afterall.
On Wednesday morning, Dad and I took C up to Treasure Village to watch the children's theater. If you've never been up to Okoboji in the summer, there are millions of things for families to do, and the Treasure Village Theater is always fun to watch. I have to admit that it hasn't changed a bit from when I was a kid.
"What!? Dirt floors!? THATS wee-oyd."
We saw Peter Pan and C loved it. He played Peter Pan for days after that, standing with his hands on his hips and exclaiming that he was Peter Pan, fighting the bad guy, Captain Hook.
After the show, we played some mini golf. There are 27 holes to play but C insisted on only playing the ones that looked like fun. He especially liked the castle and "the big mountain".
Eventually, we had to tear him away from mini golf long enough to enjoy our picnic lunch and head back home. That night, we spent time with Grandma Viv, eating pizza at her house and then swimming in "her pool". Ama surprised us by taking us out for Dairy Queen after swimming, which is always super cool. Nothing says summer like clean jammies and a 9:00 trip to Dairy Queen on a muggy midwestern evening.
THURSDAY, JULY 4TH!
In the morning, Dad and I headed up to do some flea market shopping at the lakes. We both found some treasures and promised Charlie and Ama that we'd bring something special back for them. What were the treasures, you ask? Well, I found a 1940's wooden train in excellent condition. I purchased it with the intention of using it for decoration if/when we redo Charlie's bedroom. However, he LOVED it, and has been playing with it ever since. Not sure it will make it to a decorative shelf in the future. However, the super awesome red antique railroad lantern definitely will make it to a shelf someday! I also picked up a (FREE) little dye-cast airplane and Dad found an orange softball (big hit!). Mom's treasures were a tablecloth with chickens on it (don't even ask) and an antique book for her to craft with.
That evening, the serious festivities began. C experienced sparklers and S'mores for the first time and loved them both. Although, after eating the S'more, he looked at me and said, "Mommy, my tummy hurts." When I asked him why it hurt, he told me, "Maybe I ate too much of dis yummy yummy stuff and it made it bad." Hmmm... smart kid.
After our snacks, we packed up the sparklers and lawn chairs and headed up to the North Mall to watch the fireworks. C was thrilled with them and ooohed and aaahed for every single one. His face was as bright as the fireworks and his eyes glittered with excitement. The firework show was pretty short but as I've said before, everything is different--fun and new and exciting-- when you experience it through your child's eyes.
The next day, I had a chance to spend a few hours with Grandma Viv before leaving. We chatted about the big stuff going on in my life right now and the little stuff. We talked about books and cousins and Grundy county (a favorite subject for her). I always love when time is on our side and gives us a chance to actually visit for awhile- it's one of my favorite parts of returning home. After saying goodbye to Grandma, I headed back to load up the van and get on the road. Charlie was asleep within five minutes (a week without naps will do that to a busy 3 year old) and slept almost the entire way home.
Our drive was uneventful-- sunny skies and light traffic. As I drove, I reflected on the previous days and how far my emotions had come over the past week. I arrived at my parents' house feeling sad and confused and scared and angry. And then, all these people tucked me under their wings and I left feeling comforted and grateful. (Still sad, but grateful) Grateful for being my parents, for them taking care of me, for having such amazing friends, for the opportunities in our lives, for Charlie. And each little word of comfort, little hug, little text, little distraction, is helping day by day.