Here we go. Okay, so I have some catching up to do, and a big long trip to blog about. I am going to attempt to squeeze everything into this post, so plan for a doozie (go to the bathroom now, and make sure you have comfy seating before tackling this sucker).
Let’s start things off with a random zombie sighting. Pete watched a cartoon with carrot zombies and has perfected his zombie walk from said cartoon. He will zombie-walk to you all zombie-groaning-menacing-like, then hugs you when he gets to you. Because that’s what zombies are doing, just looking for hugs. According to Pete. Dudes: if your kid isn’t 3 years old yet just wait, because this sort of hilarity is coming your way very soon.
Okay back to the update. We drove over 1800 miles in 8 days, contracted 3 cases of stomach flu and 2 hacking colds, and dropped a gallon of paint down a stairway. But more on all that later. We headed out early on Saturday morning (last week Saturday) and drove to KC that day. It was foggy as can be when we left, and there was a very… strange statue at the first convenience store we stopped at for a potty break (when you have a 3 year old, you stop to use the facilities a lot. Iowa has the cleanest, prettiest, nicest rest stops I’ve ever encountered. Free WiFi, even! Just FYI).
We hit KC in about 9 hours, not too shabby. We are always so excited to cross that bridge into the city :)
We stopped at the hotel first to drop our bags and freshen up, then headed to Waldo Pizza for dinner. If you haven’t been, this place not only has great pizza but a rockin’ beer list. And hipster cred, if that sort of thing matters to you. What matters to us is the Galaga game they have there; Scott and Pete both drool over that thing.
That pizza was super good. Too bad I will never be able to stomach the meat-pizza special ever again in this lifetime.
So after dinner, we drove around the area a little bit, then stopped for provisions for our hotel room. Most importantly, some Shatto milk. Now: we currently live in the dairy state, it’s true. But I can’t find root beer milk there to save my life, and besides Shatto’s root beer milk is the best root-beer related product I have ever tasted ever. EVAR. So we made sure to buy some while we had the chance.
Then we retired to our hotel. Where our dear son proceeded to spend the entire rest of the evening, nay – the entire night, including straight from midnight to 3:30am – vomiting. Yaaaaay, stomach flu. He’d beg to be put in bed, where he’d thrash about and tell me he hurt, so we’d pad back to the bathroom, to vomit/dry heave/lay on the tile. Poor darling. I probably would have been up too, anyway, considering I was rockin’ a wicked cough from my latest cold. Although I won’t lie, I had a moment where I felt like Ashley Judd in that Ya-ya sisterhood movie when her kids all have the flu and she starts losing her ever loving sh*t and screaming and stuff. I didn’t scream, though, because I’m not an alcoholic spoiled brat. ANYWAY. The next day he was vaguely better and a wee bit less green and just laid on the carpet surrounded by pillows, drifting in and out of consciousness. I called some girlfriends to save me from the vomitorium that was our hotel room (sorry darling husband, for abandoning you, at least I came back yo). We had lunch and caught a matinee of the only movie available, where one of the leads vomited no less than 6 times over the course of the movie. At the last vomit scene, a girl even made a snow-angel in the vomit puddle. OMG, this is my life, for real.
We were only going to stay a night in KC, but got our room for one more night to make sure Pete was over the flu before continuing on to my parents’ house.
I was never so happy to leave a La Quinta, no lie. SO YEAH. Before heading to Pitt, we ran over to Lawrence to check on our former home (still the same, yup), downtown, watch a few trains, and grab some lunch at Free State.
Also a quick stop at Java Break to use the facilities and grab a coffee. Pete did ask to stop in his favorite room and watch a few old B&W cartoons before we left. Well okay fine, he was still a wee bit under the weather and basically collapsed on his favorite old couch. Still. It was a nice little moment.
We headed to the southeast corner of Kansas, to visit my parents and sisters. It was a nice visit, if a bit short. My sisters were busy a lot so I got to spend a lot of quality time with my mom, even though Scott and I both came down with the stomach flu while there (shocking, yes? No? No.). Anyway, while I shook like a ghost under a heavy blanket, my mom and I hung out in the den and watched a Terrence Malick movie and crime shows and talked about movies and Carole Lombard and Ernest Hemingway and all sorts of other fun things. I love my mommy.
Tinnie and Pete had a love-fest throughout her time with us. Poor Momo also got his fair share of Pete Love while we were there.
Wednesday we were all feeling well enough to drive along to my in-laws’ place, so we packed up. As I packed, I could hear Pete in my parents’ bedroom, banging on a paint can like it was drums and singing along (my parents had all their plumbing redone and also remodeled the bathrooms at the same time, hence the paint can in their bedroom). I continued to pack, mind wandering. The next thing I remember is hearing Pete crying, so I rushed out to the stairway – ummmm so apparently he decided he would paint downstairs, and tried to carry a full gallon can of white paint down the stairs. Then took a tumble down the stairs. With the paint can. And it opened… Needless to say it was a terrible mess, it took me over an hour of scraping/washing to get it even to a semi-okay state for my dad to handle when he got home, and Pete’s and my clothes were permanently stained with paint. Gah. GAH. What a preciously horrific memory we will have for the years to come.
Then it was off to visit Kris and Alf. It is so interesting to me when you get just out of the eastern end of Kansas, how much the landscape changes. Very few trees and flatter grasslands abound. Anyway, we got there late afternoon and visited for awhile. I discovered some paint after settling in and taking off my socks, too. Lovely reminder of a lovely ending to our stay with my parents.
Pete tied on an apron and jumped right into helping with the cooking for Thanksgiving. I was still a little queasy, so felt it was best to not handle any food prep.
The next morning, we rose bright and early and Pete and I ran amok on the property. It was beeeee-oootiful in Kansas that day, while a little windy and cool in the morning, the high in the high ended in the 70s and it was sunny as could be. After a chilly Wisconsin fall, it was a welcome break.
Later we headed over to Aunt Arnita and Uncle Bus’s for Thanksgiving. Lots of good food and conversation. Her cherry pie is the best cherry pie I’ve ever had in my life, like packed with cherries, very little ‘filler’ gunk, and tart yet sweet and just OMG. I am already looking forward to having another slice next year.
We played around outside a lot. Bus has an area where he has a bunch of junked cars just slowly rusting away, total car graveyard. It was super cool so Pete and I spent some time exploring before the bonfire was fired up.
Every year, part of the Thanksgiving tradition is to have a huge bonfire and wienie roast in the evening. Awesome. It got chilly quick, so we all bundled up and roasted hotdogs/marshmallows and enjoyed the fire.
Pete also finally got the courage to pet Lucy. This was a Big Deal, believe me (the kid is rather skiddish around dogs, to put it lightly).
Not long after that, Pete wiped out on some gravel on the walk back up to the house to use the bathroom, scraping his hands and OMG IT IS ALL OVER NOW, WE HAVE TO GO HOME NOW, no, not to Grandma’s, I SAID HOME, GET ME OUT OF HERE HALP HALP HAAAAAAALP MEEEEEE! I think he finally was Over all the traveling and visiting and was nap-less, so yeah you get the picture. We headed back to Kris and Alfie’s and called it a night. For Pete, anyway – we ran over and visited Tim for a few hours, then hit the hay ourselves. Mommy had an early morning ahead of her.
Black Friday! As usual, Nikki ran over to kidnap me early in the wee hours of the morning (ummm, it was pitch black and I went out in the freezing, biting cold to huddle in the middle of the dirt road, looking for her headlights to make sure she turned off on the right dirt road, and MY GAWD YOU GUYS IT IS SCARY DARK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRYSIDE AT 6AM). We headed right to a cozy little donut shop in Wichita, drank giant coffees, and munched on salted caramel donuts while we caught up on all manner of things. Lovely.
Then we hit the stores. First the Nifty Nuthouse (they don’t allow cameras in there?? WEIRD. Trust, this place is fantastic and if you are ever in the area please stop for nuts and chocolates and all sorts of goodies).
Next we hit Target, as is our usual Black Friday route. Ummmm Target was dead. I think the Thanksgiving-day Super Shoppers helped to keep the place absolutely empty. Come to think of it, the shopping center we hit up was also pretty manageable. Thank you, crazy ridiculous Thanksgiving-day shoppers, for running around like crazy folk on Thanksgiving day and leaving us normal people alone on Black Friday to enjoy the decorations, shopping, and piped in Christmas music.
At Target Nikki and I both found new wallets (yay for the pretty yellow LV Epi-esque wallet for meeeeeee!). We also found a lot to laugh at, like the women’s boxer briefs (is this a thing now??) and adult sock monkey footie PJs.
After a full day of shopping, we met up with the boys at Ziggy’s for pizza and beers and a lot more chatter. Wichita gets a bad rap, for sure, but there are awesome little neighborhoods to be found there for sure, and I’m glad I have Matty and Nikki to show them to me :)
After lunch Scott and I said our good-byes, and then went to a liquor store to grab some KS/MO-centric brews to take home. We stocked up on Free State, Boulevard, Shlafly, and some Modus Operandi (not available in WI, alas). And I saw the most disgusting sounding beer ever. Maple bacon, really? Has that trend really come this far?
We headed to the Kris and Alfie’s to retrieve our 3-year-old and say our good-byes and hit the road. We drove about 6 hours that day, ending up in Omaha for the night. Our Microtel could have used a good renovation, but it was super-clean and had free WiFi and breakfast, so no complaints here. We all slept like the dead (I finally admitted my hacking cough, exhaustion, and stuffed nose was probably from yet another cold OMG SOMEONE HATES ME FOR REAL WHY AM I SICK AGAIN). Then we spent a good 7-ish hours on Saturday finishing our drive, through the wind farms of Iowa and finally back, blessedly, into Wisconsin.
I was going to take photos of us decorating the house on Sunday, but frankly: after all that traveling, we were exhausted. We caught up on laundry and dragged out decorations but didn’t exactly get them up, what with all the other errands to tend to. I did, however, discover that Cardstore was doing a 75% off BF sale on all card orders, ending TODAY, so I hustled and got Pete out of PJs/hair combed, prepped some dough, and took some cookie-baking photos for cards. I was able to edit a bunch and order several different card options, all cards ordered for $25 (that’s saving $75, SCORE). So holiday cards are done at least! What follows are a few outtakes from the ‘shoot’ (if you want to call it that), so I’ll end on a high note with that.
This upcoming week is full to the brim with obligations/meetings/school conferences/hair appts., so not sure when we’ll finally get the darn house decorated. Meh. It’ll happen eventually, I imagine. In the meantime: have a great week everyone! See you again in a week! Yay for the holidays!!