Photos courtesy of Ryan Prouty

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The girls take a road trip

Alayna and I headed to Iowa this week. She enjoyed her 2nd flight of her life…really enjoyed. On the first flight, she was enthralled with the bathroom and visited no less than 3 times. The young man seated on the aisle seat of our row was THRILLED each time she needed to get out!! I tried to limit her fluids on the next flight and she only went once…until the plane was about to land, then she announced she had to go again…right now. I told her to smile pretty and say, “Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.” And I sent her to the front by herself. Everyone was kind and let her through. I wasn’t sure they would let her use the bathroom at the gate, but she managed. She finished just as I was going by with all of our things. She chatted almost nonstop with anyone who would listen. She had an elderly man seated behind her pointing out all the landmarks and she even learned where the Mississippi River was by the time we landed in Moline.
Marcie and her girls Victoria and Cristina picked us up at the Moline airport when we arrived on Tuesday. I just cried to see her girls go running to Alayna with their arms outstretched to welcome her back to Iowa!

It was precious! They were so excited to see each other they were bouncing off the walls and started to channel their energy into push ups as we were waiting for our bags!
We chatted the entire way to Swisher and Alayna was very disappointed that we were not going to go to Mrs. Ciha’s house to play, but instead were going straight to Grammy’s house (sorry Grammy) and gave me this pouty look:

The girls did get to play at Grammy's house and quickly found the jewelry designated for play:
Next, Alayna got her 3rd haircut of her life from my mom's friend Sharon who was visiting and was also the friend who gave her the very 1st haircut of her life. She just got the ends trimmed. Here she is in Grammy's living room before:


and after!
Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning brought snow and ice.
Alayna posed for a picture for one of the two seconds she was playing in the snow. We had no boots or mittens, so she was ready to come back in quickly! Her brothers are still jealous of both of those seconds!! Mom had 2 friends visiting from Missouri, so we had a house full of ladies and had a great time. We hung out Wednesday waiting for the snow to stop, then headed into town for a movie and dinner and a little needed shopping. I have had a terrible time finding full length pants in Florida at the SA boutique (my new favorite place to shop), so we checked out the sales at Younkers and found her 2 pairs of jeans and a couple long sleeve shirts on super sale (I really miss Younkers’ sales). Next we went to see “The Secret Life of Bees” (neither Alayna or I recommend that one) at the cheap theater. They even have cheap popcorn and self serve butter!! Have you heard of this?? I hadn’t! Well, the movie wasn’t so great, and Alayna complained about having to sit through it, saying it made her stomach hurt. We rolled our eyes and went on our way. Then she started throwing up in the car…the car packed with six people; three in the front: (try not to notice my second chin in this photo!!)
Three in the back:
We were so glad for the shopping spree and the snow. We had pulled over quickly in an apartment building driveway and used a snowbank for a makeshift washbasin, using the snow to wash Alayna’s hands. Unbelievably, Grammy’s car came away unscathed! We grabbed a new outfit from the trunk and tried to decide if we were going to proceed to dinner at Thai Moon (my favorite restaurant). We all wanted to go, so we decided it was just the popcorn and we would go ahead to the restaurant. It was suspicious when Alayna decided she would put her head in Grammy’s lap at the restaurant: (note: outfit #2)But apparently we wanted to eat and just shrugged it off…until she threw up again. Now, I was mortified! I cannot imagine what the other people in the restaurant thought about a kid doing that there while they were trying to eat…but it couldn’t be good. I took her to the bathroom and my saintly sister ran to the car for the other change of clothing AND cleaned up the mess at the table/floor. Now that is LOVE! Here is outfit #3: (note: still smiling!) We immediately asked for our food to go! It couldn’t get ready fast enough, but fortunately, no more incidents and we were out the door with an extra Styrofoam cup “just in case”. She needed the cup on the way home, and also fell asleep holding it and it spilled…on the third outfit of the day! We got back to Mom’s, took a long bath and settled in with the family puke pan…which really got a work out. I took her to bed with me and she finally was better after 2 am. But it was a sleepless night, freaking out every time she moved!
Thursday she woke at 7am sharp and declared herself “All better.” She ate breakfast and acted normally. After lunch, she wanted to go with me to run an errand, (see she looked fine)but it was too much and she was sick again in Grammy’ s car. I have not done so many loads of laundry in one day in my life! I washed all of Grammy’s bedding, all the outfits from Wed, plus her coat and scarf, and then did all those items again plus her blankie after the road trip. It was so fun trying to clean her up in the two degree weather!! We lost the booster seat cover after the second time. I feel sorry for whoever finds it. I think it blew under the car and I didn’t notice it was missing until I got home and was loading up the washing machine with the pukey stuff. OOPS. Fortunately she was fine the rest of the day. Sarah Williams came for a sleep over and they had a great time! This was the night before Sarah's 13th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!! Sarah read to Alayna and they watched a movie together and even shared a bed. Alayna was in heaven!

Sarah and Alayna took a break from reading to pose for a picture

Friday was a fun day. Alayna got to go to Preschool at Heritage! I had a dentist appointment and running around to do, so Jo pulled some strings for me and Mr. Annis and the preK teacher were so kind to let her sit in on the day. She had a blast!

"Napping" with class during rest time

and getting reacquainted with friends over lunch!
My friend Kim lives close to my mom and she opened her lovely new home for a play date for Alayna and several friends. The (mostly) girls played like they had never been apart and had fun. It was precious to see them enjoying each other’s company and to see her friends excited to see her. Her preschool pals from last year were all there plus a few other friends. The moms got to hang out and chat (my favorite part) too.
Shelley and her Alayna and Alyson and me and my Alayna
Abby, Alayna, Alayna, Jaclyn and Amanda

My friend and Riley’s teacher last year Nichole was so kind to host girl’s game night while I was in town! We had so much fun playing Spoons for the first time together and then the usual game of Apples to Apples. We had great food and so many laughs that I was in pain when we left! The game got vicious several times, and I admit that I wrestled the spoon from Dawn and Marcie's hands (they were sitting on either side of me) several times, but Marcie was victorious more than I was. I wish I had photos or video of the game…but you probably had to be there! Thanks ladies for the fun night, DELICIOUS food (man, we can cook), and giggles. Natasha left early and didn’t get in the picture (that I will be posting when Nichole sends it...hint, hint) but she is 37 ½ weeks pregnant, so we gave her some slack. The biggest shocker of the evening was Jeanie’s success in Apples to Apples! She and Athena killed us and Nichole did really well too. We had to document Jeanie’s success!
Saturday, I got up early, when Alayna did (after all, she didn't stay out until nearly 2 am), and we headed to Grace to decorate for Christmas. I have been doing that for the past 4 or 5 years, so it was fun to get to take part in it, but not be in charge! My pictures didn't really turn out except this one...besides, most of you have already seen it in person!
Marcie brought the girls to the church for one last play time with the dress up box. These girls would play dress up EVERY time they got together, without fail. They had a great time as we decorated!
We finished up around noon and I raced back to mom's to pack and head to the airport. We got lost and had to harass JoDee for directions and she had to figure out where we were in a split second and direct us. She did great and we made it just a few minutes later than I would have liked, but with plenty of time. I was rushed and forgot to give my mom her coat back and ended up dragging it back home to Florida. I'm sure it will come in handy...or not! But it reminded me of this:

Top 5 Things I have missed about Iowa winter:
5) Wearing my winter wardrobe (significantly larger than my summer one consisting of 3 pairs of shorts!) and using my razor only when the mood strikes me.
4) All the snow/ice/sand/slush mess from shoes provides adequate motivation to sweep and mop floors daily (often on hands and knees=aerobic exercise too). No surprise guests shocked at the state of your dirty floor!
3) Bottled water remains cold and refreshing when left in the car.
2) When shopping for perishables, no need to worry about not going back by home for hours! Just leave perishable items in the trunk and they will arrive home hours later in perfect condition…even ice cream! Forgot about those gallons of milk you bought yesterday in the trunk?? Not a problem! Right Jeanie???
1) Driving on snow and ice=aerobic workout. I felt my heart rate racing the entire time. To add to the potential fat burning routine, the wind is a fabulous motivator to keep that heart rate up by running from the car to the intended destination and back to the car when necessary. Slippery sidewalks boost the heart rate as well!

Oh, it was good to be back in Iowa, but it is good to be home too! I am so thankful for the time spent there and visiting with each of you! I'll let you know when I am back again!!


Marcie Ciha said...

Goodness! Was that only a few days? That is more activity than I do in a few weeks. I'm thrilled I got to be a part of it. Call me the next time you fly into Cedar Rapids....uh I mean Moline! hehehehe

The Gradys said...

It was so good to see you!! Looking forward to the next time!!

MillerFam said...

It was so good to see you. It seems so normal for you to be here with us. Thanks for forgiving me for leaving early. I hated to, but I felt much better on Saturday because I had actually gotten some sleep!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you were in a whirlwind during your time in Iowa. What fun for you and Alayna, your family, and precious friends. Alayna looked so happy to be with her friends and playing just like always. So sorry to hear that she was puky sick, however, the kids sure do bounce back quickly. PTL!!!! Thank God you are back home safe and sound, we are getting freezing rain and snow now and all of the area schools are closed, including Heritage. Snow most of the day before stopping. What a blessing that you were here last week and not this week.
Love to all of you with hugs and kisses.

G. and P. P.