Last Wednesday, we got up at 4:00 in the morning to leave for a trip to the Chicago area to visit Mark’s family. We haven’t seen them since 2011 and it was high time for a visit! We originally planned a longer (and more expensive) trip in July that included some sight-seeing (and American Girl shopping), but ended up re-scheduling that trip due to my being in Kansas for my nephew’s birth and because we’d made some foolish decisions in choosing the July dates for the trip in terms of the end of my school session with paper grading work, etc. Luckily, I’d gotten 100% refundable train tickets in July and all of our other reservations were easily cancelled too. This revised trip was solely for visiting relatives rather than rolling a mini-vacation into it. It turns out that train travel in September was only $250 for all five of us, rather than the $450 we’d paid in July! (Good to know for future travel dates.) We took Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago and then walked to the Metra station which took us to Mark’s family’s town in the Chicago-area suburbs. We opted to travel with backpacks only to make the walk and the train ride easier and it was a good choice that proved we could do backpack-only travel (we actually packed more than we needed and could have traveled even lighter!). I did end up buying a heavy sculpture at a cool store (Ginger Blossom) and things like new shoes for the boys at a $5 Below store and thus having to borrow a duffel to take home, however (this was optional though and I could have chosen not to buy them or shipped them to myself instead). We hadn’t realized when booking the trip that the Metra connection back to Chicago on a Sunday morning didn’t start until after we were supposed to be at Union Station and so we ended up needing my father-in-law drive us to the city on Sunday morning, which was a hassle for him and I felt bad for making him have to do it! However, in general, we are big fans of train travel and I’d recommend it to people with little kids (and husbands with back problems that make long drives really, really hard on him). I always feel very capable and adult when I successfully pull off a trip—especially when it includes walking with three kids for a mile in downtown Chicago!
The kids got to meet two cousins for the first time—Mark’s sister’s son and Mark’s cousin’s little daughter. It was funny to see how much our little nephew looked like Lann when he was little! And, he has the same face shape and smile Mark had when he was a little boy. No one took any pictures that had me in it, so it looks like I wasn’t even there! This is one of those in-lieu-of-scrapbooking posts and so below is a brief gallery of pictures from the trip. If you click one, it will open up larger and you can see the captions.
I am leaving again in ten days to go to Kansas for the Gaea Goddess Gathering. I really don’t like the revved up/gotta catch up feeling of getting home from a trip (and getting ready to leave on another one). Today I have been snappy, irritable, and tense and my mind is racing with various to-dos. It is hard to feel fast-forwarded through the first part of September, when there are so many things to take care of at home, for my classes, and inventory to prepare for my booth at GGG.
I’m 33 weeks pregnant today and feeling kind of physically “weighted down.” I don’t know how much I actually weigh anymore because I kind of don’t want to check! It is hard to get up and down and I keep sleeping on my back involuntarily and waking up with a seized up feeling in my sacrum as well as round ligament pain. I feel like I’m having trouble eating enough of the right foods at the right times. It is something that I neglect until I am low-blood-sugared out and crabby and headachy. I have this issue when I’m not pregnant too, but I feel like this pregnancy has been the most difficult for me in terms of getting enough to eat at the appropriate time, rather than when I’m desperate and kind of freaking out. I have loads of practice contractions, I swear every 15-20 minutes all day long, and the baby has been doing short stints of practice breathing as well as lots of bumping and jumping. I still occasionally feel like it could possibly be twins (why do I continue to have this weird neurosis, I wonder?), because of a couple of things that feel unusual about his movements—like hiccups being in two different places or dramatic movements/”rolling” limbs sort of sensations—as well as how lumbering I feel in general. Only one baby though!
I miss my Sacred Pregnancy class, because it was the thing I was doing to connect to the baby and to being pregnant. Now, I’m back to feeling more like he is a “deadline” than a new person! It is unbelievable how many things there are still left to do and take care of before he is born. Today, I found myself ordering birthday presents, planning Lann’s 11th birthday party and trying to squeeze the party in somehow between my GGG trip, my mother blessing ceremony, and my aunt, cousin, brother, and sister-in-law’s visit at the end of the month. These are all good things, but I kind of just want to run away into the woods and sit on a rock. Other than our fall women’s retreat, the end of my classes, and a work party at our house, I have most of October blocked out as rest time and primarily unscheduled for anything much else. I have had to work hard to maintain this boundary and say no to other potential scheduled activities in October-December. And, handily, I’m almost completely done with Christmas shopping already!
Time to pick back up our work on new and ongoing projects and also getting inventory prepared for our upcoming booth…