My cousin got married near Peoria the Saturday before last, and while we first considered flying, we ultimately decided that spending $300 in gas was much more appealing than the idea of spending $1600 on three plane tickets. Although that meant that we would have to make a fourteen hour road trip instead of hopping a plane and getting there in a few hours. We decided that, as long as we were driving that far, we might as well make it worth our while and plan a week long excursion instead of just a weekend trip.
So...we piled all of our earthly possessions into the van on Thursday morning and headed north, stopping in NWA for the night to break up the trip. We had planned on a Community Group reunion at the new Chuck E. Cheese in Rogers, so all of the kids could run around and the parents could try to catch up.
A loved all of the games, and of course, Chuck E. Cheese. We all know how Alex feels about giant, humanlike creatures in weird, fuzzy, animal costumes with big, bobbly-heads that sing and dance and walk around on two feet. I am ashamed to admit that, more than once, Timothy and I looked at each other and said, "Where is Alex?" followed by, "I thought you had him", followed by, "No, I thought you had him", followed by a frantic search through the arcade to find our little runaway. Luckily, they brand all of the kids and parents with matching tattoos so neither can escape, and we soon found Alex across the room, trying to play a game without any tokens.
When Alex wasn't m.i.a., he was playing air hockey with his friends or stalking Chuck E. Cheese or hugging his birthday buddy. I wish we had had more time to visit with our NWA friends, but after a fun slumber party with the Primms, we had to hit the road for the second leg of our trip.
Alex happens to be a great traveler, thanks in (large) part to the built-in brain-numbing device...er, um...I mean, DVD player that came with our van. I bought two new DVD's for the trip - Finding Nemo and a Thomas the Tank Engine movie starring Alec Baldwin that must have gotten some award, like maybe the Worst Kid's Movie Ever Filmed Award. Naw, it really wasn't that bad. It was much worse. I mean, bleeecccchhhhhh. And of course, Alex preferred that putrid film to Finding Nemo, which actually did win an award for being good. The second that the closing credits started to roll on that stupid "train wreck" of a movie, Alex would start chanting, "Mo' Coo-Coo!! Mo' Coo-coo!!" at which point I had to decide which was more annoying - the mega-lame soundtrack and senseless dialogue of the train movie or Alex screaming, "Coo-Coo!!!!" in my ear.
When we finally decided to cut him off, he read some books and played with the bunny that his Mamaw Meador sent him for Easter. Specifically, he kept holding the bunny by its feet and saying, "bunny upside-down!" I'm thinking Alex won't be getting a pet rabbit anytime soon...
Eight hours later, we got to my parents' house in Peoria. We arrived just in time for Alex's "un-birthday party", complete with banners and balloons and gifts. B went all out and even got A another set of foam letters, which the two of them assembled into boxes on the kitchen floor. He also got a Cubs hat from his Uncle Nick, who lives in Chicago. Apparently it was my un-birthday too, because I went home with a brand new photo printer from my dad, which I am SOOO excited about.
After a delicious dinner of tortellini soup prepared by my dad, aka our resident gourmet chef, we all hit the sack to rest up for the next day's events. We had planned on visiting one of my dad's jobsites in the morning, where he is building a...I don't think "huge" would adequately describe this house. It's a gigantic freakin' beast of a house. Turns out, Alex was privy to the dress code for such an occasion because after we got up, we went downstairs to discover that he and Grampa T were dressed exactly the same.
After the twins shared a breakfast of strawberries and Pop Tarts, we went to see the house, which was in the process of being drywalled, meaning that the structure (and my dad's handiwork) was mostly exposed. And man, it just reminds you how much work goes into building something like that. I realized that most people whose dad's are not builders don't appreciate the effort and skill and craftsmanship that goes into a house like that. Pretty awesome.
Like his Grampa, Alex was a natural on the job site. He tried to scale the sand piles and collected rocks and LOVED to walk up and down the 2 x 12 that was serving as a ramp into the garage. He kept brushing off his dad's helping hand so that he could do it himself, and once he got to the bottom, he turned right back around and headed back up. Finally, it was time to go home and think about getting ready for the wedding that afternoon.
The wedding ceremony started at 2 o'clock, smack in the middle of Alex's naptime, so Tim drew the short straw and stayed at home with him during his nap so he'd be rested up for a late evening. Not that I would have taken my rambuctious almost-two-year-old to a wedding ceremony anyway. So when the ceremony was over, I went home to get my boys dressed and we all headed to the reception. Alex was his usual outgoing self and said hi to all the relatives, ate chicken fingers and mashed potatoes, and danced the night away with whomever was willing to tote him around. I was hoping that he would tear up the dance floor and shake his groove thing as he is apt to do at home, but there were a lot of people on the floor, most of whom were quite a bit taller than he is, and I think he was weary of getting stepped on. So he spent the whole night dancing in someone's arms and loving every second of it.
So A pooped out around 9pm, and once again, Timothy sacrificed himself and took A home to bed so I could stay and dance and chat with my kinfolk. What a good dad and hubby, no?
Mom and I took Alex to an art fair on Sunday, and despite the drizzling rain and foot-deep puddles, we got to see some really cool stuff and meet a lot of mom's artsy-fartsy friends.
The next morning, we packed our stuff up and had an early lunch with mom and dad before heading back home. We had originally planned on staying until Tuesday morning and then making the whole fourteen hour trip in on day, then we realized that that was a really stupid idea. We decided, instead, to leave after lunch on Monday and crashed at the Primms again when we made it to NWA late that night. it worked out really well, actually, because we had time to hang with the Primms some more and have a leisurely breakfast before heading the rest of the way home.
It was an exhausting trip, but fun enough that we have already planned a trip back to NWA next weekend. This time, I think I will leave the "Coo-coo" movie at home...