Today Nathan, his mom and I went to Berkeley’s Habitot Children’s Museum. I think the trains were his favorite thing to play with. There were lots of kids there in various stages of cooperative (or non-cooperative) play. There’s also tables of goop to form, water to splash about in, grocery store pretend, and big building blocks.
Nathan’s taking a nap now and Ryan is out exploring her new house. John’s at work. I am sole babysitter. I have the trusty baby monitor next to me for when he wakes up. I am looking forward to an afternoon of reading books, playing blocks and making snacks. Nathan isn’t always so sure he wants to play with his Beeba – Zayde seems like so much more fun. Maybe John is especially loved for being the inventor of spatula ball and for not being the one who changes diapers. I am hoping our one on one time will go well.
Nathan, his Mommy, Daddy and Auntie Leigh came to stay at our house Sunday for a month while their new house is getting ready. It is so wonderful having them here. Especially Nathan! Since Jon and Leigh had to go to work and Ryan had to go supervise housecleaning and then paperwork two days in a row, we got to babysit!
This is a picture of Nathan enjoying bubbles. John would blow bubbles and get them so they stuck on the table and Nathan would pop them. It was great fun. We also made pretend soup where Nathan would pour water from one mixing bowl to another. After each transfer he would whisk the results. Since we did this in the kitchen there was lots of spilling on the kitchen floor. I figure soon I will have washed the whole floor one tile at a time! What a superior way to get the floor clean.
We also read books and listened to music. Nathan liked to do a strange little goose-stepping dance to the Mozart Horn Concerto. Of course, we also made food, changed diapers, went up and down the stairs a lot, kissed booboos, and did all the million things one has to do to keep babies safe and happy.
How did we ever do it when our kids were small? Taking care of babies is hard work! Kudos to Ryan and Jon for doing such a great job with Nathan.
Well, we’ve made it back to California as of this past Sunday. We are so glad to get home but we certainly had a wonderful trip. With all the posting I’ve done over the past two months I’ve taken a short blog vacation this week. But I have to share this adorable picture of Nathan wearing his John Deere tractor slippers which we got in Moline many weeks ago.
We were so afraid that Nathan would have forgotten us since we were gone so long. But one look at his happy, smiling face let us know that he hadn’t forgotten us at all. Nathan and his family are moving in with us this coming weekend while they are waiting for their recently purchased house to be ready. We are so excited! Today we are moving things around and trying to make it as comfortable as possible for everyone. I think that Nathan may be the star of this blog for a while!
Leaving Gallup at a gallop, we journeyed into Arizona to see our good friends and old neighbors from Massachusetts, Eileen & Jim. On the way we stopped in Sedona, a much more upscale red rock town than St. George, and climbed the Cleopatra Hill up to Jerome, AZ. From there we made our way down to Prescott, AZ.
As usual Eileen had munchies and wine waiting and we sat around eating, drinking wine and talking about our trip, the world situation and anything else that came to mind. After a wonderful dinner of crabcakes and more wine, there was some raucous dancing and guitar playing. As I said we always have fun with Eileen and Jim.
On Wednesday we had a quiet day doing some shopping and taking some naps and basically recovering from the day before. Jim was flying off for work on Thursday and we were heading home.
On Thursday after some final hugs, we started our way back to St. George where the trip all began so many weeks ago. Soon I’ll have a list of bests and worsts but for now I’ll just say that this was the trip of a lifetime. We met so many nice people and saw so many amazing things. We put about 10,000 miles on our little Santa Fe which held up admirably. ButÂ now we were looking forward to getting back to St. George. Â When we saw the Vermillion Cliffs of Arizona and Utah, we knew we were close and it felt good. (What felt less good was getting into the house in St. George and finding the air conditioning broken. The house peaked at 93 degrees. So we spent one more night in a hotel. Hopefully tonight we’ll sleep in our own bed!)
Sunday and Monday we spent driving from Dallas to Gallup, New Mexico with an overnight in Amarillo, TX.Â On Sunday when we got into our hotel just in time to take a nap.Â (Better there than in the car!)Â Later we walked across the parking lot to the Texas Roadhouse and had dinner.Â And so ends another exciting day on the road.
Monday was a long drive day but we started early and gained an hour going into Mountain Time so we had time to do a little something.Â About 50 miles outside of Gallup we turned off I-40 and went to two National Monuments, El Malpais and El Morro.Â I had never heard of either of these.Â The first was a geologic site with volcanoes and lava tubes, the second, a small oasis next to a toweringÂ cliff where various people from pre-historic Native AmericansÂ to Spanish invaders to soldiers had carved there names,
We got into Gallup shortly after 5 PM.Â Soon thereafter there was an immense thunderstorm, a real gullywasher.Â So we had chips and cheese and bread for supper not wishing to venture out.Â Tomorrow we head to Prescott, AZ to visit our friends, Eileen and Jim.Â We always have fun there!
After abandoning Hope, we stopped in Texarkana, AR/TX.
Texarkana has the distinction of having the only federal building located in two states. Its post office and courthouse are sitting astride Stateline Ave. which divides the building equally between Arkansas and Texas.
We got to Dallas around mid-day and checked into Baileyâ€™s Uptown Inn. The inn is within walking distance of our nephew, Andyâ€™s, apartment. We schlepped all our stuff upstairs to our room only to discover after an hour or so that the air conditioning was not working upstairs. So poor John schlepped all downstairs to a queen size room (boo). A downside of inns is that there is usually no elevator and no one to help with the luggage.
We walked over to Andyâ€™s and we were so excited to see him in his new life as up and coming Texas Instruments employee. He is very happy and is looking forward to getting married next year and buying a house. We went out to dinner at the Hibiscus Grill. The food was excellent and we spent a few hours talking about his hopes for the future and discussing the world situation. It was fun and interesting.
On Saturday we all went to the Sixth Floor Museum at the old Book Depository in Dallas. (The window on the end just below the decorative brick is the one that Lee Harvey Oswald shot through.) It was a sobering look at the events surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. John and I were just entering high school when it happened. The country had been filled with the promise of a young president and his new ideas. Young people were joining the Peace Corps. There was such enthusiasm and hopefulness for the future. Then with a rifle bought for $12.75 it all came to an end.
Later we traveled to Ft. Worth where â€œthe real West beginsâ€ for dinner at Cattlemanâ€™s Steakhouse in the historic Stockyards District. Wow, what a difference from Dallas. Dallas is all cosmopolitan and Ft. Worth is all cowboy.
We had some great steaks cooked by Chef Edward and were waited on by the irrepressible Barbie.
Many thanks to Andy who planned such a nice weekend for us. Hopefully we can return the favor in Utah or California.
This is going to be one of my most picture-filled blogs so there may be only one sentence per picture.
Today as we left Memphis we swung by Graceland hoping to snap a picture. Although Elvisâ€™s house is located on a busy street among gas stations, fast food and hotels, it is nestled in a bunch of trees and impossible to see from the street. Since we didnâ€™t want to pay $6 just to get our car parked, we just took a picture of the sign.
From there we made our way to Arkansas. We stopped in Hot Springs to have some lunch and ate at the Dixie CafÃ©. They had a plate called Vegetable Heaven. Since we have been in the land of few vegetables both John and I decided to have it. Our lunch consisted of a marinated black-eye pea salad and three sides. John had turnip greens, fried okra and white beans with ham. I had the white beans and ham, cole slaw and the real surprise, deep fried corn on the cob. This was corn dipped in a tempura type batter and deep-fried. Really good. And there is no question that John and I are going back on the healthy lifestyle plan and get fit when we are back in California.
Then we went on to Hope, Arkansas, the birthplace of President Bill Clinton.
It is also the home of the Watermelon Festival where watermelons over 100 pounds vie for the â€œbiggest watermelonâ€ title.
After dinner at Amigo Juanâ€™s, we took a tour of Hope. The dining options in Hope are few. It could be that it is hard for restaurants to make money since Hopeâ€™s county is dry.
We stopped at Clintonâ€™s first home. It is within shouting distance of the railroad tracks. Trains rumbled back and forth even while we were there.
We took a look downtown. Many of the stores were boarded up.
In face, whole rows of stores were empty – empty stores, empty streets. It looks like the town had made an effort to spruce up with new plantings and sidewalks but to no avail.
In fact, one of the few prosperous looking places was the First National Bank of Hope. It was so huge and out of place in the rundown downtown.