The minivan. The symbol of lame adulthood. Most of the kids that grew up with at some point mentioned that there would be “NO WAY” they’d ever own, lease, drive or acknowledge the existence of one. If you had a minivan, it was like screaming “Look! I’ve given up on being cool and caring about style or appearance.” I was there. Now? God I wish I had a minivan.
We made plans to head back to Iowa to see the family the first week of July. One of Steph’s cousins was getting married that Friday, so it was a good way to introduce Eva and Eli to the extended family we rarely have time to see.
Our last trip back was for Christmas, but back then we just a one child family. Man, we had it easy! We made the decision this time around to leave Quinton behind because space would be tight in the CR-V. So we sit down and calculate how much it will cost. After we total everything together we then realize that there will be a puppy dog coming back with us.
Somehow we manage to fit everything we need in the back of the CRV. I’d like to say it was because of masterful tetris skills by my wife, but that was only part of the reason. The grandparents provided a place to sleep for the kids, a stroller for use around town, and purchased diapers so we’d only need to cover the travel. It was summer, so our clothes fit into one suitcase. And since this wasn’t Christmas, there would be no presents to bring.
We hit the road after work on that Friday. The trip would take 9.5 hours without kids, but will end up taking us 12. We stop a number of times for slow traffic (we had some heavy rains through Indiana), pee breaks, dinner breaks, and gas breaks. The kids were fussy at time, but overall did about the best they could.
Elmo needs a pacifier
Day one (Sat) was just survival mode for Steph and I. We arrived at 2 in the morning, and Eva played with the grandparents for a half hour as we unloaded. We pawned the grand kids off to them a few times that day as we just tried to catch up on sleep.
Eva’s trip can be defined in four words: family, play, food and rocks.
She played with my family, got spoiled by the grandparents, and met a big chuck of family at the wedding we went to at the end of the week. This is our family on the 4th.
The end of the week was the wedding. Eva danced the night away (video). Here we are leaving Des Moines the next day. She danced herself out.
Play time was from the second she woke up until the time she went to sleep. Luckily we hit a perfect weather week (it rained the entire week back in Ohio), so we had lots of outside play time. One night we headed out to the park. Eva was excited.
The happy again
The plan went perfectly, as the kids were worn out for bed that night.
We visit my folks and they have some toys for Eva to play with. Three favorites emerge from the group. One is a Sesame Street toy where you have to open doors to see the characters. “Hi Ya!” Cookie Monster will say when you open, while Big Bird says “Toodle Loo” as you close the door. The other toy is a caterpillar. Guess my story about the caterpillar really hit home with her.
The third toy is the simplest. Tubs that stack. Tubs that fall.
Back in Ohio my folks brought an attachment for the hose that would spray water into the air. The water sprayed about a foot in the air. We have crummy water pressure. So we brought it back to Iowa.
Oh give me a home
Where the water pressure soars
And the skys are not cloudly all day.
Grandpa took Eva to try it out.
She got to play with bubbles.
We met my folks at Applebees for lunch and Eva thought it to be a good time to show everyone where to put the food.
If you go back to Iowa in the summer, there is one thing you have to eat. Corn on the cob.
At the hotel for the wedding, Eva makes a call.
The next morning for breakfast, she discovers what a buffet is. Think she likes it?
Anywhere she could find rocks, she would grab rocks. The first thing she would do when going outside is find a rock (most often the same special rock she had earlier selected) and would hold it the entire time outside until someone took it away.
Even when playing with the worm sprinkler, she’s still have a rock in hand.
Eli is still in blob status. As I was going through pictures for this post, a bunch of Eva picks stood out. Eli’s tended to all look the same. Either being held by someone or laying down.
He enjoyed watching the construction workers outside.
But he did spend alot of the trip doing this.
Quinton, the forgotten child, did come along, but we didn’t take that many pictures of him. He did get to drive home though.