Monday, 26 March 2012


Your dad & I grew up with a massive amount of first cousins.  Gramma has 3 sisters and 1 brother, and Grandpa was one of 10 kids - there were 6 boys & 4 girls!  We always had aunts & uncles & cousins with whom to hang out!  You have all of those cousins, and their kids, and in some cases their kids' kids to hang out and play with at Christmas & 4th of July & all.  But you only have, and will likely only have, 1 first cousin.  And so, I thought it would be neat for you to get to know your other "cousins," the kids I consider my other nieces & nephews.  

This past weekend, you & I took a road trip to visit 3/4 of those kids.  We went to Mason City, Iowa, which is about 4 hours from home.  We left on Friday - your dad dropped you off at my house instead of school.  : )  You're a very, very good traveler, and really have always been.  Altho you whine about other things, you don't really whine in the car on long trips.  You're able to entertain yourself w/ the "toy purse" that I have in the back for you.  (Just in case you forget about the toy purse when you get older, this was not a purse for you - this was a purse of mine that collected toys in one of the compartments, and somehow just ended up being full of toys.  So, one day I just kept it in the car & voila!  It became your back seat companion. *grin*)

You like to listen to Christmas music all year round, and we listened to Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Glee cast version) at least 20 times on the trip.  Occasionally you'd let it go through the entire CD, but mostly it was just that song.  The three or four times I managed to listen to something else, you asked after every song if we could listen to Santa Claus again... EXCEPT for Yanni.  You let us listen to a Yanni CD twice in a row, AND liked two of my favorite songs.  *hugs*  I love you!!  : )  

We stopped at a Welcome Center on our way up, and you told the ladies working that we were headed to MC.  They gave you a coloring book, let you pick out two crayons, and also gave you a pamphlet w/ things to do in MC.  You told me all about the things to do when we got back to the car & were on our way - you saw a bowling alley & declared that's what we should do in MC.  We also ran off some energy at one of the rest stops.  

When we arrived in Mason, and checked into the hotel (our home away from home), almost the first thing you did was get jumping on the bed.  (I guess you didn't run off ALL your energy... LOL  Good thing, too!)  

Debi, Jacob & Adam arrived soon after us, and you immediately showed Adam the joys of bed jumping!  Jacob was a little more reserved, at first, but the next day joined you in that activity!  

As soon as Debi & the boys got settled, we headed down to the pool.  I didn't get in the water, but was grateful to Debi for keeping an eye on you.  I kept an eye on all you boys from the sideline!  : )  And of course took some pictures... *grin*  

We met Sarah, Stephen & Chase for dinner at Applebee's, and you ate ALL your dinner.  You shared Pinky & had fun rolling her back & forth & making obstacles out of crayons.  For some reason, Adam kept wanting to kiss your cheek.  LOL  Even tho he's a couple months older than you, he seemed to look to you as an older "cousin."  You were very polite.  After dinner, we all went back down to the pool for more fun!  

 When asked later about this picture, you said  you were scratching your head.  

Before bed, we watched some Disney & you played some Angry Birds, and then fell into quite a deep sleep! You did wake up around 2 or so & said you were scared, so I laid down w/ you for a few minutes until you fell back asleep.  You also were alllll over the bed, so I had to put you to rights a few times.  Saturday night, however, you stayed pretty much in place.  I only had to put the covers back on you once.  : )  

Saturday, we got up & had breakfast at the hotel, then met up w/ Debi & the boys (their room was right next door to ours).  Jacob & Adam hung out w/ us while their mom got checked out.  Then we all went to Hobby Lobby.  We rode w/ Debi, because she had a DVD player in her car for you all to watch.  This was the point you had your one & only meltdown, and I'm still not sure quite what caused it.  You'd been having fun w/ Jacob & Adam, and when they left to get the car cleaned out to make room, you threw a fit about going to Hobby Lobby.  

It took me about 15 minutes to get you calmed down - and then only after I finally said that we would just call Sarah & tell her we were going to have to head home, and that I was really disappointed you would miss out on meeting Joy's kids & bowling & going to the park.  Then you started crying about wanting to go bowling.  I said that we would stay, but in order to go bowling, we had to go to HL first.  It took you a minute, but you sat up & jumped off the bed & headed to the door, saying, "Well then we'd better hurry & get to Hobby Lobby then!"  *laugh*  And that was it.  You were well behaved & had fun the rest of the trip!  I was really proud of you this weekend, my dear!!  

After HL, we met Joy & her brood at Sarah's.  We hung out there for awhile & then all trooped over to McDonald's for lunch.  They had a play area & you all had a ball in the towers & slides after you ate.  We also noticed that you were about 2 heads taller than Joy's son, William, who turned 5 in December.  You're about as tall as her oldest daughter, Kathryn, who is 7!  Actually, you're about as tall as Jacob & Stephen who are 7 & 8, and taller than Adam, also 5!  (Just for reference, Alex is 13, Chase is 2 & Ariyana is 1.)

After lunch, we went BOWLING, because of your suggestion in the car on the way up.  You saw it in the book the Welcome Center ladies gave you & wanted to go.  So we did.  And everyone had a BLAST!!  AND you bowled an 85!!  Good idea, Leyton!  : )  

There were 12 of us (Ariyana & Chase didn't bowl, of course!) so the game took awhile, but afterwards we all trooped to the train park.  The weather was GORGEOUS.  Quite a blessing!!  : )  

Again, so proud of all you kids.  You all played so well together!  Even when there were spills - and there were a few: William fell off the zip line thing, Kathryn fell off a swing & then got beaned in the head by it, and you fell off the merry-go-round (not so merry at that time!)!!  Thankfully, no trips to the hospital!!!  God is good! 

We took a walk down to feed the ducks & deer before heading back to Sarah's for a taco dinner.

You didn't want to eat anything but chips, until all the taco meat was gone, and then you wanted a taco!  *laugh*  You did really well when you found out it was gone, tho, and ended up having chips & popcorn for dinner.  Not quite the balanced meal I'd hoped for, but you had eaten very well at breakfast & lunch, so it worked out okay.  I'm a fun aunt, but I am NOT the aunt that will let you eat nothing but junk food!  That way leads only to tummy aches - and those are no fun at all!  

Sunday we headed home, and you were a little more insistent on knowing how long the ride was going to be this time.  *laugh*  We made several stops at various rest areas, and had a terrific ride home.  Listening to more Christmas Glee, and Yanni, of course!  : )  And when we got home, you were uber excited to see Gramma!  : )  

*HUGS*  Thanks for road tripping with me, my nephew.  I had soooo much fun, and can't wait to do it again!!  Your next trip will be to Arizona to visit Grandma Peg & Grandpa w/ your mommy & Anthony.  I think you'll be visiting your other Aunt & cousin, too!!  Be good & travel well for momma.  

Love you!
Aunt Carrie

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