Aside from our dramatically horrible start to this trip, it hasn't been all bad. It's actually been pretty good. In fact, I even extended my stay by three days. That's partially because we're having fun and mostly because I'm too scared to drive home with a carsick baby and I'm putting it off. I haven't been stung by anymore bees, but I did find a wasp's nest IN my mom's car and I will be scarred for the rest of my life.
Gracie and I have been completely spoiled. We went shopping the other day, and while I unfortunately didn't wind up with any more clothes covered in illegal substances, Gracie and I did walk out of a store with matching Nikes, and I'm not upset about it. We've eaten at all the cafes and bakeries and explored all the local parks--one resembling the English countryside, and another overlooking the Mississippi River full of eagles, trails, and a castle tower. Gracie has always loved being outside, but now she cries and begs to go outside constantly. We touch all the flowers, play with rocks, and run down the sidewalk. This kid has had the time of her life, so much so that she refuses to sit in her stroller or be held. She is only happy when she's holding my hands and walking.
We wound up driving north to an apple orchard on Wednesday. It was in the 50s and drizzly. The forecast was predicting 70s and 80s when I packed, but the weather has been more in the upper 50s and 60s. All I have are flip flops (aside from my new Nikes), and my feet and everything else have been freezing, but I love it. We drove on a little two lane road through cornfields and hills. There were barns and cows and old farmhouses everywhere. It was pure Midwestern delight. There was an apple orchard tucked away in one of the hills, and I think it's the most delightful place I've ever been. I walked away with homemade apple butter which I can't wait to smother on some cornbread once I get home.
There's also a coffee shop in town that I cannot rip myself away from. They serve the best breakfast burritos and cappuccinos I've ever had. Keep in mind we're in small town, rural Iowa here, and this is the trendiest, most hipster place I've ever been. It would put Columbus coffee shops to shame. I AM IN HEAVEN. I'm afraid they're going to get a restraining order because I won't leave them alone. They have some of the best coffee ever, and they have ridiculously delicious baked goods and sandwiches. They announced a few weeks ago that they were hiring, and I almost applied for a job even though I live 8 hours away.
In crazy neighbor news, they have only gotten crazier. The other day, he mowed the entire lawn with a push mower and then RE-MOWED IT with a riding mower. Yesterday, when Gracie was trying to nap, he decided to edge the lawn and then get the leaf blower out. He didn't just blow the grass of the sidewalk; he literally swept over the entire yard AND THE STREET with his leaf blower. I have never seen anyone so OCD about their yard in my entire life. They wake Gracie up from her nap everyday with their shenanigans. I have yet to go yell at them, but they've received some death glares through the window. Under the cover of darkness tonight, I plan to go rip out a handful of grass and put it on their driveway.
Tomorrow we drive home. If I think about it, I get carsick too from the stress. I was able to finagle a prescription for some anti-nausea medicine for her, so there is a chance we will survive. But if you could do me a huge favor and get down on your knees right now and pray, fast, offer up a sacrifice, whatever you have to do. JUST PRAY SHE DOESN'T PUKE. Because if she does, my next post will come to you from the insane asylum.
In the meantime, you can find me at the coffee shop stress-drinking cappuccinos.