Sunday, August 23, 2009

Becky and Cam's Visit

Because of the busy week last week, with the car accident and Zach being sick, I got a little delayed on my blogging. It's hard to believe it's been almost two weeks now since my sister Becky and nephew Cam got here. They flew out from Denver on Wednesday the 12th, and Zach and I drove to Omaha to pick them up. We got them at the airport and headed over to Omaha's amazing Henry Doorly Zoo. Becky and I thought it would be good for the boys to run around and let off some steam before getting in the car for a couple of hours. It was very hot, but we had a great time. We saw a lot of beautiful animals. Omaha's zoo has lots of tigers, which are my favorite, including 2 white tigers. One of our favorite things was watching two big gorillas play with each other. We stayed for a couple of hours and then headed home, and amazingly, neither of the boys fell asleep on the way home. Just as amazing was the fact that Becky didn't fall asleep either, as she is notorious for falling asleep in the car. Cam and Zach were just so excited to see each other- they could not even contain their giddiness. Because of said giddiness, we decided they probably weren't going to fall asleep, so we let them watch a movie instead. The drive home was very uneventful, aside from Zach telling me as we passed the last rest area for miles that he had to go potty and could I please hurry to find a place. Of course, there was nothing around, and Zach's kicking legs didn't help calm my nerves about him pottying in his car seat. After a couple of minutes and him asking me to please find a place quickly, he said, "Mom, I'm going to try really hard to not potty in my seat for you." Great, Zach. Thanks. Anyway, we ended up having to get off I-80 and stop on the side of a small highway so the boys could pee on the side of the road. Not ideal, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Zach wasn't thrilled when he dripped on his flipflops and toes, but I think he was so relieved to have an empty bladder that he didn't let it bother him too much.

The next day we took the boys to the aquatic center, which was a lot of fun. I've been too chicken to take Zach and Drew there by myself this summer, because I'm just afraid I won't be able to keep an eye on both of them. After this, though, I think I can handle it. The trick is just making sure Zach stays near Drew and me, because Drew is as adventurous as Zach is, if not more. Just like every time we go to the pool, I had to talk Zach into going down the slide, and once he finally did it (about 20 minutes before we left), he loved it and wanted to keep doing it. Typical. He gets himself so psyched out and worried, and then he has a blast.

Thursday night we went down to Raccoon River Park to go to a Wartburg alumni picnic. Becky, Mike, and I all went to Wartburg, so we were all hoping to see some old friends. No such luck, though, which was a bummer. It seemed it was mostly people a lot older than us or very recent grads. Zach and Cam got free frisbees and we all got a nice orange canvas grocery bag, so that was cool. There was lots of good food, too. Zach and Cam did lots of running races, so they got themselves adequately worn out. We had to sneak out during the new president's speech, which we felt bad about, but it seemed like he was never going to stop talking.

Friday we went up to an indoor play place that has a lot of inflatables and other climbing equipment. All three boys ran around like crazy and had such a good time. Zach and Cam played a game of air hockey, too. Zach loves that game. Cam wasn't as into it. I'm wondering if that's not where Zach picked up Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (see previous post).

Friday night we decided to take Becky, Cam, and Drew to their first Iowa State Fair. The Iowa State Fair is said to be "internationally acclaimed," and it is a very big deal here. Growing up in Colorado, we never went to the state fair, but here- you're crazy if you miss it! It was hot and somewhat humid Friday night, though not as hot and humid as it usually is the second week of August. We got decent parking and decided to go straight to "Little Hands on the Farm," a place where kids go through all the steps of being a farmer.

Here's Zach planting his pepper seeds. After planting the seeds they harvest their vegetables.

In this picture, Zach and Cam are harvesting eggs from the hen house.

Though they don't look particularly thrilled, they were having fun.

After collecting corn kernels and soybeans, we headed to the tractors, where they turned their soybeans into soy diesel. This is Cam driving his tractor.

Then we moved onto the dairy barn, where they boys fed their corn kernels to the cow and milked her.

After the milking of the cow, the boys sold their vegetables and eggs at the farmer's market, and then used the money they earned from that to go to the grocery store. It's great because the kids get to pick out something to buy- our 3 boys each picked out a popsicle. It was about 5:00 and we hadn't eaten dinner yet, but we didn't care.

We went next to see the baby animals. Becky and Cam got in line to see the baby pigs, who were just a few hours old. After that we headed down to get some dinner. Part of the draw of the fair is the food. Mike has certain things that he absolutely loves, like the Ribbon Taters, the corn dogs, the lemonade, and the Junior Donuts. I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of greasy food, so I struggle a little bit. I could eat dessert all day long at the fair (Cup of Cookies, Monkey Tails (frozen chocolate covered bananas), cotton candy, etc.), but I have a hard time finding anything meal-worthy. I do like the corn on the cob there, but it's pretty out of the way, so if we're strapped for time, I don't usually get over to that stand. Anyway, after Mike got his Ribbon Taters, he and everybody else (except me) had corn dogs. I tried a Gyro, but didn't love the meat, so I ate about a quarter of it and threw the rest away. Becky and I shared a sugar-free root beer that was pretty darn delicious.

Then we headed down to see the animals. I thought Drew would really like to see the horses, but they were pretty much all either out of their stalls or their stall areas were all roped off, because they were getting ready for a horse show. We got to see some of them walking around, which was neat, but it would have been cooler to have had a chance to touch them.

We did go in the hog barn, and Zach got a kick out of talking to one of the pigs who actually talked back to him. We also saw the boar below, Buddy, who won the "Big Boar" contest, weighing in at 1,117 pounds. Whoa. That's a lot of bacon.

Then we went to the Avenue of the Breeds building, where we got to see all kinds of animals, including an ostrich, lots of different kinds of cows and horses, bunnies, goats, etc. We also saw this elk in there. I think elk are kind of weird-looking.

I liked seeing all of the different chickens. The feathers on this rooster and chicken (right? I think one is a rooster and one is a chicken) cracked me up.

Same thing with this funny-looking duck.

Then we moved down to the cow barn, and we saw the big bull. This is Big Black, an Angus bull from Eastern Iowa. He set a new state fair record, weighing in at 3,404 pounds. You can see a better picture of him here .

We decided we didn't really need to look at the other cows or bulls after that. So we went up to get some Monkey Tails, which are my new favorite treat at the fair. Zach and I got our bananas dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, and I got one for Drew just dipped in chocolate. They are so delicious, but the problem is that a frozen banana is kind of hard for a little kid to eat, especially a kid with only 6 teeth. So Drew mostly ended up eating just the chocolate, and Zach ate the banana and chocolate, but also got chocolate all over. I know Becky and Cam got theirs without sprinkles, but I don't remember if Cam had trouble eating his or not.

Next we went over to the giant slide that you go down on potato sacks. Mike and Zach rode together and Cam and I rode together, while Becky and Drew watched. What a thrill!! It was a blast!

It was getting close to 8:00, so we decided we'd better start to head back to the car. Drew was tired and crabby by this point, and Zach was sort of being crabby, too. Zach and Cam had been asking to ride on the huge ferris wheel, so we decided that we would do that before leaving the fairgrounds. Becky, Cam, Drew, and I headed that way while Mike and Zach went to get their mini donuts and some lemonade. I think Mike got all the goodies he had wanted by that point. As we approached the ferris wheel, this is how Drew was feeling/acting.

The ride was fun, though EXPENSIVE! It was $5 per person to ride, even for Drew! I couldn't believe a one year-old would cost $5 for a ride. We had a great view of the entire fairgrounds, and it was a great way to finish off the night. As we left, Becky commented on how she couldn't believe how much money she spent, and how she had nothing to really show for it! It is amazing how expensive a night at the fair can be, that's for sure.

The car ride home was uneventful, and thankfully Becky was able to keep Drew happy in the way back of the van.

Though we got home late, the boys were filthy and all needed baths, so by the time we were all done, everybody was late for bed and exhausted. What a busy day.

Saturday Mike was at a golf tournament all day, so Becky and the boys came to see some of my kickboxing work-out, and then a little while later Becky and I dropped all three boys off at Mike's parents' house so she and I could do a little shopping kid-free. They all had fun with Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt, and Becky and I enjoyed the time off. Saturday afternoon we just hung out at home and got the kids in bed a little early to make up for the few late nights they'd had. Saturday night at dinner Zach and Cam were already talking about how they didn't want Cam and Becky to have to leave the next day. And that night before bed, as we were praying, Zach said, "Please, God, help me to not miss Aunt Becky and Cam too much."

We spent Sunday morning packing and getting Becky and Cam ready to go. Overall, the visit was great. Cam and Zach got along very well, with only a few little tiffs, but even those were few and far between.

This is the only non-fair picture I have from when Cam and Becky were here. This was right before Zach, Becky, Cam, and I left for Omaha to get Cam and Becky on their airplane home to Denver.

The drive to Omaha was a little long, as there was a big traffic jam where we sat still for quite some time, and then went just a few miles per hour for some time after that. The original plan was to drive to Omaha, have a picnic at the park that's right by the airport, and then drop Cam and Becky off. However, because of the traffic, we didn't get them dropped at the door until 2:25, and their plane was scheduled to leave right around 3:00, so we were cutting things pretty close. So instead we ate lunch in the car on the way. I bribed the boys by telling them that once their carrots were all gone, we could put a DVD in. I had no idea it'd be the last DVD ever watched by my family in that van (see previous post). Because we got to the airport so late, I didn't get Zach out of his seat to say goodbye. Instead Cam and Becky gave Zach hugs while he was strapped in. I got the luggage out while Becky got her backpack together and we exchanged quick hugs and they were off. After they got out and I got into the car, Zach said to me, "Mom, I'm gonna miss them a lot." I turned around and said, "I know, Bud. I will, too. It's hard to say goodbye, isn't it?" And at that point Zach just couldn't hold it anymore, and he cried big crocodile tears. I got out of the car and gave him a big hug with tears of my own in my eyes. I've always wished at least one of my sisters lived nearby, and seeing Zach so sad to say goodbye to his cousin and aunt was heartbreaking. At the same time, it was heartwarming, because it showed me how much he loves them. After a few minutes of hugging I figured we'd better get out of the way, so we started the trek home. We got a phone call shortly thereafter from Becky, saying that they had successfully checked in and boarded the plane. Phew! Just in time! Of course, Zach asked me on the way home, "When can we go to Colorado?"


Wehrenberg Family Blog said...

Awww, Zach is such a sweetheart! Glad you guys had a good visit!!

Laura said...

Sounds like a super fun visit. I must say, being from Iowa, I have NEVER attended the Iowa State Fair. It's not that I never wanted to, just never did...sounds like fun. (I have been the MN state fair, guessing it's comparable.)