Ok, so I know it's almost Christmas and I'm just now writing about our Thanksgiving Trip back to the Midwest, but we've been busy and December just kinda got away from me. The trip out was awful .We had rain and fog the whole way and Hannah barely slept at all. We had a HUGE meltdown at a gas station in the middle of the night that lasted almost a half hour which seemed like an eternity closed up in the van. Once arriving at our first destination, Pap and Mindy's house, things got much better. Kyle and I slept and Hannah hung out with Pap playing, raking leaves, and carrying pumpkins all over the yard. Can you say heavy work!?! Hannah did well the whole time we were in Ohio although she was definitely overtired most of the time because of bedtimes stretched hours past normal. Our next stop was Mamaw and Papaw's house. Hannah was in heaven. She got to feed the horses, play with our dog Ella, climb on the swing set Papaw made, and get spoiled rotten with candy by Mamaw. While in Indiana we also visited with Hannah's birthmother, Tiffany, and her twins. We spent the day with them at the Children's Museum and had a blast. Hannah loved hanging out with her sister Kayla and Kayla and Chase really got into their roles as a big sister and brother. Hannah also finally warmed up to Donna, Tiffany's mom, and that was awesome to see. Up until now, Hannah has refused to really go near Donna for some reason. I think it broke Donna's heart although she'd never say that. This visit was different for some reason. When we prompted Hannah to give Grandma Donna a hug she practically threw herself onto her lap. The look of shock on Donna's face was priceless. After staying at Mamaw and Papaw's house, we headed back to West Lafayette to visit with friends. We stayed with Hannah's bestest friend Evelyn. The two of them were so cute together. It was so awesome to see Hannah finally playing independently with her and returning some of the affection Evelyn has always lavished on her. Those two still really know how to push each other's buttons. Even after not seeing each other for 6 months they were still able to do it instantly and push away they did! It was just like they were sisters! After Evelyn's house we headed to my sister's for a few days before starting the drive back to Rhode Island. We got to hang out and meet her new (to us) boyfriend, have dinner with Grandpa, and pick up Abby our other dog. We left bright and early Saturday morning and planned on driving straight through, but the weather again had it in for us and we ran into a snowstorm in the mountains of Pennsylvania and we decided to stop for the night after seeing several cars off in the ditch. It was an ordeal to find a hotel with rooms available that was also willing to take in a geriatric beagle pup. We eventually found a place to stay after I gave my sob story and a hotel that doesn't allow pets decided to make an exception for us. We got a good night's sleep and made it home in one piece the next day. How's that for the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of our two week trip?
Approximately 40+ hours in the car during our trip did have one perk. We were able to hear some awfully funny things come out of Hannah's mouth, all totally unexpected and unprompted. Here they are for your reading pleasure.
On the way out we stopped at a McDonalds for breakfast very early in the morning in the heart of Amish Country in PA. Though I grew up in a community known for a fairly large Amish population, Hannah had never met or even seen someone dressed in traditional Amish attire. Throughout the month of November Hannah and I had been reading books about the first Thanksgiving and been looking at pictures of Pilgrims and Native Americans. When Hannah caught sight of the large group of Amish in the restaurant (the only other customers in the restaurant besides us mind you) she pointed straight at the nearest group of young women in bonnets and shouted, "Mom! Look! Native Americans!" She was so proud of herself and I about died. I immediately knew what she meant and that fact didn't make me any less embarrassed. Poor Hannah had confused Pilgrims and Native Americans and she was quite certain that she was staring at a real live Pilgrim even if she had her terms incorrect! I quietly tried to shush her and explain that no, they weren't Native Americans, that she meant Pilgrims, but they weren't Pilgrims either, they were Amish and they were dressed that way because of the church they belonged to. UGH! I never saw that coming and had no prepared answer for reminding my daughter not to shout "Look Ma! Indians!" at poor unsuspecting Amish just out enjoying their Micky D's! I guess 3 year olds don't care much about political correctness!
A second McDonald's story occurred somewhere in CT. Because Rhode Island seems to have something against the indoor playplace in fast food restaurants, we happen to know the location of every one of them within a 30 minute drive from our house. Through trial and error (and a badly in need of updating McDonald's website) Hannah has learned how to tell if a McDonald's once had an outdoor playground that has now been converted into an outdoor dining area. The reason for getting rid of the playground we've explained to Hannah is that it was old and unsafe and they had to take it out. When pulling into the above mentioned McDonald's in CT Hannah immediately spotted the tell-tale "astro turf" and fence around the front of the restaurant and matter-of-factly informed me, "That playplace was old so they took it out just like Grandpa's teeth." I about peed my pants I laughed so hard. Someone's gotta teach that girl not to do that to a person badly in need of a bathroom break after many hours on the road!
Now for 3 completely random statements that we heard from the backseat of the van, in no particular order.
"Mom! When I grow up I'm going to be a truck driver." Do truck drivers wear tutus? What do you think?
"Don't call me baby (Kyle had just referred to her as baby). I don't like it. (at least she can use her words to tell us what she does and doesn't like!) Call me walnut. Mommy, you can call me acorn. Wait! I'll give you choices. You can pick acorn, apple, or pear." Seriously, where DOES she come up with these things? At least I got choices. Did you notice how Kyle didn't even get choices!?!
"When I grow up, I hope I get a baby in my tummy." How's that for a line that's sure to give a daddy a heart attack?
And then later the same day, "When I grow up I want to be a mommy and have six babies in my tummy and have a husband." Not an impossible goal I suppose in this day and age with reproductive technology and all, but I would have liked for the statement about a husband to come BEFORE the proclamation about the babies in her tummy!