So last week, Jason and I packed Audra up and drove to Illinois for a brief vacation.
- We had to really cut things short so that Jason could be back at work Monday. Since we had an infant in tow, it didn't make sense for us to try and pull off the drive-it-all-in-one-day plan, so we did half on Tuesday night after Jason got out of work and the other half the next morning, staying at a hotel in Kentucky overnight.
- I was running on ten hours of sleep in two days thanks to Tooth #7 and a bad hotel sleep. Audra wasn't sure what to do with the big hotel bed and tossed and turned through most of the night.
- We tried to stop for lunch halfway at a Steak n Shake, only to find out that Indiana thinks "take exit 39 to eat here!" meant "take exit 39 and then drive six miles through winding small-town roads to eventually discover it after losing twenty-three minutes of your life!"
- My parents just bought a new house for the first time in thirty years and it was amazing to walk around and look at the new place coming together. Audra was able to play on the floor with new and interesting toys and see her cousin D again (who she just completely adores and is head-over-heels in love with).
- Thursday, after yet another night of bad sleep (that's 15 hours of sleep in three days if you're counting), we rolled out of bed and drove up to Iowa to see my friend Sarah's baby Henry, who you may remember from my Mother's Day post this year. Baby Henry is home, and I just couldn't get within four hours of Iowa and not get all the way up there to meet him! He was a lovely little thing, still hooked up to supplementary oxygen (but even that should hopefully come off very soon) and very much the newborn five-week-old he should be... all sleeping and eating and mama-snuggling. Audra stayed home with my sister and D (who no longer wants a baby sister after watching Audra all day, so I like to think we're a learning experience), so we could at least spare her that much car time.
- Friday, we had Audra's Illinois-family birthday party. She was overwhelmed by the people and the presents and all the fun, and did lots of snuggling in peoples' arms. I got to see family I hadn't seen, in some cases, in a year. I wasn't sure where to turn or who to speak to next. It was absolutely wonderful, and my parents' new house was the perfect place for it.
- Somewhere in there, I lost my wedding ring in the bedroom we were sleeping in at Mom and Dad's old house. I have no idea how, or why. I have a very clear memory of taking it off before sleep, and I haven't seen it since. All I can do is shrug. It's there somewhere.
- Friday night there were fireworks.
- I had been certain Audra would be terrified of the loud noises; she startles easily and lives in a pretty quiet house, since it's just her parents, her, and the pets. Instead, she was in love. She watched with fascination, smiling, occasionally cooing softly to herself. She played with glow sticks and stayed up way past her bedtime, was able to play with my cousin Beth's daughter S and then was sort of overwhelmed by a cadre of three random older children who regaled her with glow sticks and chatter and then were gone just as quickly as they had come. Altogether, she enjoyed herself thoroughly.
- Saturday, we went out to see my grandpa at the farm. He'd gotten to see Audra a little bit, but not really without it being crowded and with other people sort snagging her attention. Audra is named after my late grandmother, and so there's definitely a little bit of a connection there. She loves my grandpa, for all that she hadn't met him before. She held her arms right out and was all smiles for him. A cardinal flew around us at one point, so I like to believe Grandma was there to be amused.
- After that, it was a super quick two-hour visit to a Fourth of July party that is sort of a tradition in our family. We were able to see my brother-in-law for the only time of the visit. We wibbled and wobbled over having Jason call in for Monday so we could stay another day and actually relax for fifteen minutes, but Jason felt like that wouldn't be fair to the other employees who needed time off that week.
- We got back in the car.
- Dinner that night and lunch the next day were both spent at a Cracker Barrel, that reliable bastion of southern food, friendly servers, and whole families full of babies all around us. We finally made it home just before dinnertime to meet our friend Liz who was bringing back our dog from his weekend stay at her home.
- Bedtime was rough for Audra, who had not had to fall asleep by herself for nearly six days at that point. Eventually, though, she went down.
- Jason and I woke up today and I had to take him in (he'd left his truck at work so I could pick him up before we made the trip in the first place). Since we were running so early, we had bagels at our favorite bagel place, chatted a bit and enjoyed each other's company, and I dropped him off at 7:46 with nearly fifteen minutes to spare before he had to be clocked in.
- At 7:53, he called me. "So, we really should have stayed the extra day," he said.
"Because I don't have a job anymore."