Well, while I have posted about the beginning of our trip, and the end of the trip, I have failed completely to bring you, my faithful readers (hi Aunty Lily and Mom and Dad Cowan) any details at all about the actual trip itself. This is partly because there are so many cute stories this post could go on until next Tuesday; but it’s mostly because I’m lazy.
Our trip began a full 24 hours earlier than our original plan. The St. Louis weather forecast was for a winter storm on Friday December 24th, so the operator and general manager at Jonathan’s Chick-Fil-A encouraged him to leave a day early rather than get trapped here by weather. It was a gracious and generous offer, considering they were giving him the second and third busiest days in their year, and we were grateful for it. As it was, we traveled on Thursday with clear skies, dry roads, and happy children. The only hang up was a strange glitch in our Garmin navigator that took us off the interstate, onto a 2 lane state highway and then lost the road, repeating “recalculating” in that frustrating way it has until we turned it off and forged our way the old fashioned way (reading signs and maps. Primitive, I know.).
While in Canada the children went sledding and skating for the first time. Both were a hit, but sledding was easier than she thought it would be and skating harder. She lasted a good long while sledding, but eventually got tired walking back up the hill. The cheesedoodle was cold and wasn’t into sledding at all, the poor monkey.
The highlighting of skating for both of them was the Uncle Brian factor. First, Uncle Brian took them for a high powered skate around the rink (they put their skates -or feet, in the cheesedoodle’s case – on the ice and Uncle Brian powered them like the motor behind a boat). Both kids thought this was a most excellent way of transporting themselves on ice and preferred it to the slow method of slip and fall they were managing on their own. But to crown it all, at the end of the open skate time, Uncle Brian and several other men put on their hockey gear and took to the ice in that most Canadian of pursuits. Brian is a goalie. Skates themselves add several inches of height, and goalie gear adds an impressive girth as well. In his full gear Uncle Brian looked, in the mackerdoodle’s words, like a superhero on skates. Both children were most impressed at their masked and armored uncle, and the cheesedoodle was DELIGHTED with the sport of hockey.
The mackerdoodle wants her uncle Brian to teach her how to play hockey, but she has decided she wants pink skates, a pink stick and a pink cape. She liked hockey, but she’s still a three year old girl.
Despite these excellent inaugural experiences, when asked what her favorite part of the trip is, the mackerdoodle’s answer is the same every time. “Playing with my cousins.” They played outside at Nana and Papa’s, they played upstairs and downstairs at Nana and Papa’s, they played at her cousins’ house and they played together at church. They played all manner of games (generally involving the mackerdoodle and “Bess” the cousin closest to her age wearing princess dresses) and read stories and watched movies and even had a sleepover in which the mackerdoodle and “Bess” got to share the top bunk.
And the cheesedoodle? I think his experience can best be summed up in one story. The evening of the cousin sleepover, Aunty Melissa brought out after supper coffee for the six adults while the cousins watched a movie together. She set the tray on her ottoman and began to pour for individuals. The cheesedoodle looked at the tray, grunted in his trademark way and went very purposefully over to the kitchen table. He fetched his sippy cup and carried it back to Aunty Melissa to partake in the fellowship. Uncle Brian saw him coming and realized his purpose. “You are a little buddy, aren’t you?” he said, laughing, and then declared, “Get that boy some coffee.” He got his coffee and fell asleep at 9:00 pm watching Transformers with the big boys. It’s good to be the youngest boy in a family.
Driving away from Nana and Papa’s house on January 1st, the mackerdoodle declared, “I like Nana and Papa’s house. I like my cousins. Can Daddy go to school in Canada?” She thought about that for a minute and then asked “And can Mr. Rob and Ms. Sherri and Mr. Mitch and Ms. Jawan and Abigail and LukeAndrew live in Tillsonburg?” – a location 10 minutes from Nana and Papa and 25 minutes from cousins.
What a beautiful dream baby girl. I “amen” that.