We arrived around 7 tonight after a mostly smooth drive. For once, we woke up ready to go this morning and were on the road on schedule. It also helped that Kates and I finished most of our packing Monday night with only some final items left to pack Tuesday night.
We left The ‘Ville around 9 a.m., and Kates gave Faye and Phoebe a “Frozen” present to help keep them occupied during the trip. Phoebe got a “Frozen” and math-themed marker board to practice her addition skills. She was good to go until Faye got her “Frozen” sticker book, and suddenly Phoebe’s gift want good enough. “I liked it for a moment until I realized I don’t like math!” she shouted through her tears.
We hit Des Moines around 11:30 with intentions of making a lunch stop and doing some shopping. But the first McDonald’s we stopped at didn’t have a Playplace, so we took a family vote and opted to do the shopping first and look for a kid-friendly McDonald’s later. … Our shopping destination was Trader Joe’s – which had been recommended to us by family and friends as if it was the Ikea of grocery stores, but I didn’t get that. We stocked up on some wine and snack foods, and the girls enjoyed pushing the kid-sized shopping cart – but mostly, to us, it was just like any other corner grocery store.
We found the McDonald’s about 10 miles down the road, ate our lunches and let the girls run off some energy on the Playplace. … By the time we were back on the road, it was almost 2 p.m., assuring that the sun would set before we arrived at The Farm.
Faye crashed and slept for most of the afternoon while Phoebe watched movies. That afternoon stretch through Iowa was the toughest we faced in terms of the weather conditions, with heavy snow flurries – but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.
We made one more stop outside of Dubuque for gas and a bathroom break. … Just two stops with the girls – not bad at all.
At Phoebe’s request, we listened to The Monkees on the iPod for the rest of the way. … That was fun. I loved listening to The Monkees when I was growing up, and I’ve enjoyed watching Phoebe take to them as I’ve played some of their records during the last several weeks. Phoebe’s favorite song right now is “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day.” And Kates and I had a nice time singing the harmonies on classics like “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
It’s always a relief when we come around the bend in the highway and see the farmhouse illuminated at the base of the bluff. … Until the girls unbuckle and scurry to greet anyone inside and saddle me with the task of unpacking the car and moving all of the baggage inside.
It was ok, though. I eventually made it inside to join everyone, too. We gathered for a refreshing chili supper …
Then, I rewarded myself with a nap on the couch, for which Chloe cuddled up next to me.