Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To Iowa and Back Again...

We left town on Thursday afternoon and headed out for Nebraska. We were lucky enough to have good weather - never a guarantee in January! We drove long into the night and finally stopped at a hotel at 2:00 a.m. (after jumping ahead 1 hour). The kids had been sleeping in the car, of course, so they were wired and ready to go when we got to the room. They had seen the indoor pool and really thought we should go down right then and get in some pool time. Luckily we were able to find all night cartoons on the Disney channel and persuaded them to lay down and watch those while Aaron and I got some sleep.

Friday we got up bright and early - really just a few hours after going to bed - so we could get a good start on our drive for the day. We went down for the hotel breakfast. This is the kids' favorite thing about staying in hotels... the hotel always has more and better breakfast options than home! When we got back to the room to gather our things, Preston laid down on the bed. Then he announced that he didn't feel good and might throw up. As I'm sprinting across the room to him and telling him to run to the bathroom, he proceeded to lay there and throw up all over himself and the bed. So we spent a good amount of time cleaning Preston, the sheets, etc. I tried to find a maid to warn them in advance and offer to bag the sheets myself. But in spite of several cleaning carts in the halls, there was no made to be found. So we ended up carefully bundling the soiled sheets together and leaving a note explaining and apologizing... along with a really big tip to make up for it. I felt bad leaving that for the poor maid, but what else could I do?

By the way, as soon as Preston was cleaned up and changed, he felt fine. He never complained about a sick stomach or threw up again for the rest of the trip.

We spent the rest of the day driving across Nebraska, where we learned that Nebraska has towns with the fun names of Worms and Bogus. We made it into Iowa City for the night and briefly saw Rachael and Ts`ooane before going to bed.

Saturday was the funeral. It was both beautiful and awful. It was a lovely service and possibly the saddest thing I've ever seen. I helped Rachael put together a slide show of pictures of Isaac to play during the viewing, and couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face as Rachael picked the photos of her beautiful little boy. I sobbed when I looked at that sweet baby lying in a casket clutching his teddy bear. I'm crying again now just remembering it all. I hope that I never have to see something like that again. Rachael and Ts`ooane seem to be bearing up very well considering the circumstances. As Aaron said - They are two of the strongest, most faithful people he knows. If anyone is going to be able to make it through something like this, it will be them.

After the funeral and spending a bit more time with Rachael and Ts`ooane, we were on the road again. We headed to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to meet up with some friends of Aaron's from his days in grad school. The timing just happened to have worked out that there was a conference going on this weekend so several of Aaron's friends were all there in Cedar Falls to attend. We stayed in the same hotel they were at and Aaron got to spend some time catching up with them all. That was a nice high point for the trip!

We headed home on Sunday with the ambitious plan of making the entire drive in one day. It's a 12-13 hour drive, so technically it can be done in one day. Of course, by the time you add in breaks to stop and eat, to let the kids run around, to use the bathroom, etc., it adds on quite a bit of time. We did make it home by about 2:30 on Monday morning (after a break of about 2 hours to take a nap at a rest area). So we kind of made the drive in one day, but it was a LONG day.

Luckily Monday was a holiday at my office and Aaron had taken the day off. We were already being charged for daycare for all the kids (and Haley had a field trip she'd been looking forward to), so we got up long enough to get them ready and off to daycare. Then we got to take the day to get caught up on our rest and ready to go back to work.

The high point of this trip for me? You may recall that we just seriously started potty training Preston back on Monday. So I was quite worried about taking him on this 3-state road trip... I thought it might spell disaster for our potty training efforts. Instead, he made it through the whole trip without a single accident! Woo-hoo!


Melissa said...

What a roller coaster of a trip - seeing old friends, the throwing up, a terribly sad funeral, potty training success. I hope that family can keep their strong faith, what a tragic loss.

taradon said...

Aaron said...

I feel the same way about the funeral. It was terribly difficult to see my friend Rachael crying upon seeing "[her] baby" in the casket. Also, seeing the funeral director carrying in the casket by himself was difficult, and there were 4 pallbearers instead of the usual six. It was touching when Ts`ooane brought William over to say goodbye and "we'll see you again some day," and there was some slight comedic relief when he said "all done" after the closing prayer. He also wanted to talk--while Ts`ooane was talking--during the testimonies portion and then say bye bye again to Isaac before the family left for the cemetary. It's definitely one of the most difficult experiences ever. Lots of mixed emotions. I know they will get through it and hope they will be comforted in their knowledge of the gospel and forever families.

On a lighter note, seeing 4 of my friends with whom I traveled to Nigeria back in 1999 was a joy and provided a much-needed emotional lift after the sadness of Saturday morning. Anne and Chris kept it as a surprise for Kay, and Dan just happened to be in the next city over, so he was able to stop by the hotel. I met several other teachers from the latest trip to Chile and southern Peru. It was a nice evening.