I’ll resume the tale of our trip starting with Tuesday, August fourth. We had noticed that Amy and Matt were in the middle of painting their house, but also had numerous other projects going on. We had some free time, and Jenny wanted to visit with Amy more, so we volunteered to help paint their stairwell. With thanks to Gerrit for loaning me some painting clothes, we put a coat of paint on most of their stairwell. As thanks, Amy fed us lunch and gave us some freshly-baked cookies for our drive that afternoon.
Before I forget–on the short drive from Heidi’s house to Amy’s house, we saw a Ferrari cruising by. I thought that was pretty cool, but then all of a sudden there was a second one, then a couple of Porsches and Corvettes, then a vintage Mercedes roadster. Before we knew it they were out of sight, so we didn’t have time to snap any photos. However, we did notice that they all bore decals for Utah Fast Pass.
After helping Amy, Jenny was pretty excited to buy powdered chocolate milk directly from the distributor. I suppose it isn’t quite milk, because it has some non-dairy components. She bought a five-pound can, even though we thought we might come up against luggage limits on our return flight. I am now happy to report that we made it home, Morning Moos and all, with no luggage trouble.
In the afternoon we went with Heidi and Ginny to visit my grandparents in Layton. They had also invited Uncle Mark and Aunt Winnie for dinner. We enjoyed visiting them very much, but Elena hadn’t had a very good nap, so she fussed quite a bit. Grandma wanted nothing more than to see Elena roll over, but Elena didn’t want to lie on the floor. I put Elena down, and amidst her yelling and screaming she did manage to roll over, which satisfied Grandma.
Before we left, Grandma gave Elena a plush teddy bear as a present. She told us that when she saw it, she immediately thought of Elena. Elena loves this bear–it’s her favorite stuffed animal. We often give Bear (we name her stuffed animals categorically) to her while we’re driving. A few minutes later, we hear her talking back there and when we look in the mirror, we see that she’s holding Bear out in front of her and having a conversation with him. On our last flight back to Austin, we kept Elena happy the whole way by playing hide and seek with Bear.
Upon leaving my grandparents’ house, our destination was Boise, Idaho. There’s not much to say about the vast, empty expanse of southern Idaho, except that at the end of it our windshield was absolutely covered with bugs. We were glad that we had an iPod, because I don’t think that there are any radio stations out there, and eventually I got tired of Jenny plying me for details about my life before I knew her.
We finally reached our hotel late at night, and it was amazing. We love the Cambria Suites Boise, and if you’re ever in Boise, we highly recommend it. Even more so if you book it on priceline.com for an absolute steal (email me for details). The staff was superb, and got a Pack-N-Play for Elena right away. The suite had a living area and a sleeping area, each with a TV. We managed to transfer our sleeping baby from her car seat to the playpen without awaking her. Then we watched TV in the other part of the suite without worrying that she would wake. Finally, the bed was like a dream, especially for Jenny, who slept very well.
The following day we did something that I had been looking forward to since seeing a large billboard the night before. My family’s favorite place to get camping gear and clothing is the Sierra Trading Post discount catalog, and they have two outlet stores–one in Wyoming (which we’ve all been to), and one near Boise. To my knowledge, we were the first to visit the Boise store. I almost bought some manpri pants, but decided that would be unwise.
After that, we drove as quickly as possible through the rest of Idaho, into Oregon, and on towards Washington, or, as Jenny calls it, the promised land. Just after lunch, Elena had her first major car meltdown. We didn’t know what to do, so we just kept going; we knew she was tired and just needed to go to sleep. Eventually she did, and slept all the way to the Tri-Cities, our destination.
That afternoon we relaxed and spent time with Jenny’s dad Tony and his wife Renee–they started to spoil Elena as soon as we got there. They have a refrigerator magnet that reads “Children are spoiled because you can’t spank Grandma.” One of their friends has a large amount of baby gear, and graciously allowed us to borrow it–toys, stroller, high chair, Pack-N-Play and more.
The instant hit was a rainforest-themed baby gym and play area. Renee found it at a yard sale, and got it for Elena. We wanted something like this, but hadn’t found anything as elaborate as this. At the end of our trip, they told us that if we could fit it in our luggage we were welcome to take it. I folded and squeezed it as much as possible and just barely got it to fit. Now it’s in our front room, and is one of Elena’s main play areas.
Even though Jenny was happy to be done with driving and be with her family, the cherry on top of the day for her was the tacos we had for dinner.