Whew, what a trip I had! I meant to post about my whirlwind tour before now, but getting back into the swing of school and home things slightly delayed those plans. Not to mention being sorely sleep-deprived and slightly under-the-weather. But I'm back now to tell my tale, so here it goes.
I had a simply wonderful time! I don't think I could have squeezed one more thing into my trip. I missed my husband and kids so much, but had little time to dwell on it, which was just as well.
I have to mention my plane ride, because it was one of the things that I truly dreaded. I rarely fly, the last time being 8 years ago. Honestly, I remember flying as being much smoother. We seemed to run into turbulence at every turn, including one time where they skipped beverage service all together because of it. I was so glad I was flying with a friend (at least part of the way) and could visit as a slight distraction. My last prior plane ride my hubby slipped me some Dramamine and I slept through the whole flight. But that's kinda hard to do when you're in the middle seat. I know, because I tried, and I think my seatmates thought I had a little too much to drink (which I had had none) with all the weaving and bobbing to stay awake.
The Ladies conference was great in and of itself. Bumping into so many old friends and college roommates (not always synonymous:) truly warmed my heart. It was odd that among so many people (several thousand) I would park next to one, sit next to one, ect. All unplanned. The speakers were awesome, and I hope to post more about that soon. I had one moment where I truly felt like God singled me out about something I've been particularly struggling with the past year or so, and gave me a clear-cut answer. Amazing! The trip would have been worth it just for that.
I met up with my girlfriend half-way through the plane trip where our flights connected. It was a little crazy, because her flight was cancelled. In fact, all flights going out of Ketchikan (AK) were cancelled for the day due to weather. We had to change our tickets/itinerary twice. Thank goodness we had planned our trip with a days leeway between traveling and the conference. We visited for several days (amid the conference) and then parted ways while I went to visit my family. We managed to drive from Chicago O'hare airport in rush hour traffic (nerve-racking to say the least) and had a few other adventures along the way. I truly appreciate her last-minute, hare-brained idea to go on this trip, lol. It was quite an adventure.
After the conference, I picked up a rental car (or rather they picked me up; thank you enterprise) and headed to northern Indiana to visit my family. I had asked for a nice, safe little Kia to drive as that's what my girlfriend had rented for the first part of our trip. I ended up with a 2010 Mazda 626 that was both a stick and an automatic (which I still don't understand). I admit I had to call my hubby after driving only a few miles because I couldn't figure a few things out. The dashboard looked like a airplane cockpit, very strange. I eventually got used to it, which probably isn't a good thing. I don't foresee driving another one in the near future, but it was fun while it lasted :)
It was so good to see my parents and siblings again! It definitely didn't hurt that I was treated like a celebrity; funny, I don't remember it being that way at all growing up ;) We spent long nights talking, watching old home movies, and trying to squeeze a ton of things into a few days time. I met my nephew and niece, and had so much fun being an on-site aunt (versus the long-distance kind). It was a relief to see my sister who has been struggling with crohns the last few years doing slightly better. Overall, it was just good to be back home.
I have to mention the Fall landscape in that part of the country. Every year I get homesick for the Midwest around this time of the year. As I looked out the window of my parent's home and saw the leaves gently wafting to the ground (very similar to a light snowfall) I was simply amazed. My parents home is on one of those streets of old, but well-taken care of homes so common in small, Midwest towns. Down both sides of the street the sidewalks were lined with trees with leaves of the richest hues of red, orange, and yellow. The ground was covered with an endless supply of them as well, and to rake them up would simply spoil the picture. In print it doesn't translate nearly as well, but suffice to say it was the prettiest Autumn picture imaginable. I left my digital camera in Oregon (whoa is me!) but my dad promised to take some pics and send them to me. I'm now going through withdrawals with the dinghy yellows and browns of Oregon...lol.
I arrived back home to a surprise birthday party provided by hubby and the kids. They did an impressive job of decorating I must say. It was no surprise to me that the Princess had made me Pink (versus an un-girly green or blue) Jello for a birthday treat in lieu of cake, as she had mentioned she was going to in every single phone call while I was gone, lol. After about an hour of festivities I begged off because the 3 hours difference and six hours in the air had caught up with me. I promptly climbed into bed at 3 in the afternoon and took an 8 hour nap!
The change in weather, and an average of 4 hours of sleep a night finally caught up with me, and I've been a little under the weather for the past week. But I'm feeling strong now (those tons of vitamins really do make a difference) and I'm SO glad I managed to avoid the flu. My husband did a great job of homeschooling with the kids, though not as well as myself of course (allow me just a bit of pride here). But we're back in the flow and looking forward to Thanksgiving break.
I have to add just one more thing due to the fact that it shows the difference that age can make. While my middle child told me every 5 minutes how glad he was that I was home, and the youngest stuck to me like glue, my eldest was much more nonchalance. He was happy to see me of course, but commented quite a few times on what a wonderful time he had while I was gone...lol. I asked him if perhaps he would like me to stay longer next time? With an embarrassed grin he answered in the negative. I love it that he enjoyed being with Dad so much, and is feeling more independent. But I'm also glad that I have one (if not two) kids who still want mom rather close by. Feeling needed is a rather nice thing.
Did I say just one more thing..? So I did. But I'm also going to mention that I have a special giveaway coming up soon that would make a very nice Christmas gift for someone special on your list. My sister has turned into quite an accomplished artist and I'm planning to start an Etsy shop to display and sell her wares. Which means a giveaway to help get the word out. How does a customized portrait sound? Stay tuned :)
I have lots of posts from my favorite blogs to catch up on. I know you've missed my witty comments..lol. I've missed hearing about all your activities, so I'm going to squeeze in some extra time for catching up today as I can.
Have a great Monday~