Friday, September 18, 2015

An Idaho Vacation (Part 1)

Last week, our little family of three made the trip out west to visit friends and family. Due to the vast distance between Missouri and Idaho, we decided to save everyone's sanity and fly, avoiding a 20+ hour drive with a toddler who hates her car seat and a husband with a bladder the size of a pea. No way in hell was that happening. So, we set off for the airport bright and early Saturday morning with smiles on our faces and the highest of hopes for a meltdown-free day of travel. Taylor was over the moon when she found out we would be riding a bus from the parking lot to the airport and couldn't stop pointing and saying "I on a bus!" the entire time. Once we arrived at the terminal, we checked our luggage and zipped through security, Jake slung the car seat over his back Ninja Turtle style, and we were off to grab a bite to eat before boarding our first flight. Taylor was so excited to be in the airport, waving and yelling "hi" to everyone from her stroller. Boarding the plane was a huge relief as we were finally able to gate check the stroller, car seat, and Taylor's suitcase (that I wasn't about to check due to a bad track record with lost luggage). Traveling with a toddler definitely requires lugging more junk around than you ever thought possible, but we were infinitely glad to have her stroller when hoofing it through the airport and around all of southern Idaho. We could've rented a car seat from the car rental company, but I was happy having our own knowing that it was in a clean and safe condition.

Our first flight from St. Louis to Denver went rather smooth despite it being the smallest plane I've ever seen. Since Tay is technically still one, the airline did not require us to buy a ticket for her which meant that one of us would have to hold her on our lap during the flights. Imagine my expanding body, my 6'4" husband, our squirmy toddler, and an overflowing diaper bag shoved into 2 seats with little to no leg room. My knees touched the seat in front of me, so I have no idea how Jake even managed to sit in his seat. Add a toddler (and all of her flailing limbs) and you end up saying 100 "I'm sorry's" to the person in front of you and secretly wishing you could roundhouse kick whoever designed this horrible contraption in the face. But alas, fruit snacks and Frozen to the rescue! Taylor was completely oblivious that she was even on a plane except for the take off and landing (both of which she loved).

Flight number two from Denver to Salt Lake wasn't quite as easy due to my already queasy stomach and a lot of turbulence. Jake was a lifesaver, holding the tot on his lap and playing videos on his phone to distract her while I attempted not to hurl. Uh, it was horrible. To make matters worse, as soon as we landed Jake turned on his phone to find a message from the airline informing us that a piece of our luggage had not arrived. We quickly deplaned and headed straight to baggage claim where we discovered that Jake's bag had arrived unscathed while my suitcase was on a flight to Chicago. Awesome. Thankfully, our plan was to stay with friends in Salt Lake that evening and then drive up to Idaho in the morning. After being assured that my suitcase would be delivered some time that evening, we made a quick exit to the car rental company only to find that it was located about 15 minutes from the airport. Another bus ride made for a happy tot, but schlepping all of our junk (minus my suitcase) was starting to get old. We made a quick trip in and out of the rental company, loaded up our Volkswagen Passat, and got the hell out of dodge. We were all ready to be done traveling for the day.

That night, we stayed with two of our very favorite people, one of Jake's best friends from childhood, his awesome wife, and their dog, Collie. Taylor instantly took to Collie, following her around and saying her name over and over - it was so adorable. We had purchased a camping cot for the tot to sleep on during our travels (mailing it to their house prior to our trip was maybe the smartest thing we've ever done), so we were anxious to see how she'd do on it. As always, she was amazing and stayed on it the entire night as if she'd been sleeping on it her entire life.

The next morning, we woke up to a phone call that my suitcase was out for delivery. Giant sigh of relief.  At that point, I was determined that nothing else could go wrong, so we quickly got ready, grabbed breakfast at a local cafe, and headed north for Twin Falls, Idaho. A short three hours (and two full viewings of Frozen) later, we pulled into Jake's mom's driveway where we were greeted by lots of family. We feasted on shrimp, corn on the cobb, potatoes, and iced cream sandwiches then sat around the kitchen table playing cards and watched Taylor climb in and out of the dog door. Cheap entertainment at its finest!


Later that night, tired and sore from a long afternoon of travel, I headed back to Jake's sister's house to put the tot and myself to bed while Jake went out to meet up with some friends from high school. Jake's sister and her family were nice enough to put us up for the week, so we were nice enough to pay them back in toddler laughs and by staying out of their hair as much as possible. Thanks again Curt and Mindy - we appreciate all of your hospitality!

The next day we were up early to head to the Twin Falls County Fair where we made noises at every barnyard animal, ate lots of yummy food (fair corn dogs are a pregnant lady's dream), and watched the tot ride her first pony and a couple of rickety carnival rides with her cousin, Will. The fair is basically every kid's fantasy - you can get as dirty and sticky as you want, run around like a crazy person, and still fit right in! Taylor was no exception.

Obviously, she had a great time, because she spent the rest of the afternoon like this, drool and all, which was much needed because that evening we went to a friend's house for dinner where there were an abundance of little girls for Taylor to play with. They had a blast pushing baby dolls in strollers, jumping on the trampoline, and having their own hilarious conversations at the dinner table while the adults stayed outside. She was in heaven running around with the big girls, so we seized the opportunity to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in far too long. It was such a great night, and I'm so glad we were able to see them while we were in town!

Well, that's probably enough for one post (plus it's getting late). Stay tuned for details about the rest of our trip as well as another picture overload!