Well, we finally took our first family road trip. Dave's sister, Christine, lives in Ithaca, NY and invited us up. Well sort of. I'm sure in all the years she's lived there, there must have been an official offer made, but I'm still not sure there was one specific to this visit.
In reality, the conversation between me and Dave went something like this:
D: Let's take a road trip - drive to Florida, then home, via Atlanta, Springfield, IL, Chicago, IL, Boston, MA and Rhode Island.
Me: Are you insane? I'd kill you and the kids before we left New Jersey. Scale it down a bit!
D: Ok Let's just drive to Florida, then go see the Space Shuttle launch and drive home, via Atlanta.
Me: Why don't we fly to Florida, rent a car, see the Space Shuttle and then drive somewhere closer. The kids might not like being in the car for days on end.
In the end, Dave agreed with me, and Ithaca, just about 5 hours away, became our destination.
It made sense to go now, as Christine lives in a roomy two-bedroom apartment for the time being. She just signed a lease on a cute, if compact, one bedroom.
We left Friday afternoon - Claire went to nursery school in the morning, and then to the park for a bit. Then we packed the car (argued a fair bit ) and got on the road, around 2ish. We decided to stop for an earlyish dinner about half way there. The weather was awful with heavy rain the whole way. But we made decent time, Ben slept the whole trip and Claire was pretty good about the ride.
When we got to Christine's it was late. Claire was wired and I sort of think Ben didn't know which end was up any more. After some snacking, we got the two of them off to sleep. Christine was nice enough to give up her comfy bed to Claire for the weekend, and Ben slept in his pack-n-play.
Saturday, the kids were up early. Claire was sort of freaked out by being in a strange place, but warmed up to Aunt Chrissy right away. We ate breakfast at home, and then headed to the Ithaca Farmer's Market to explore lunch options.
It was still damp and chilly, but we managed a nice little picnic - Asiago cheese and pesto pizza, Cuban rice and beans with chicken and something Vietnamese, I think, but for the life of me, I can't remember what.
Then we went to the Ithaca Sciencenter to explore. It was awesome, Claire had a blast exploring just about every inch of the place and is still talking about the "musician" we saw at Aunt Chrissy's house. (One of her little vocab quirks...) I was impressed - lots of preschooler-appropriate stuff and very accommodating to a nursing mum. I was offered privacy in a corner of their volunteer's lounge as well as the chance to borrow one of their boppy pillows. Sweet!
After the museum we headed home, rested for a bit and then headed out for Chinese. After getting the kiddos off to sleep, Dave, Christine and I watched the first Matt Smith/Doctor Who. I'm reserving judgment until he's settled in a bit.
Sunday dawned and we were off to the Ithaca Commons to meet a couple of Christine's friends for waffles at a new waffle cafe. Waffle Frolic. Then we wandered the Commons for a bit, and I finally got myself a pair of decent sneakers. We returned home for a break, and later in the afternoon, we went to the Cornell Equine Research Park to look at the pretty horses. Christine showed us the Cornell campus. Then we went for a walk in the woods at Sapsucker Woods. We didn't see much in the way of avian life, but did see a red-winged blackbird and some sort of river rat thing. After dinner, which was at The Ithaca Bakery, Christine and I spent the evening watching Masterpiece Theater and trying on her old clothes. (I was trying, she was purging. I got a few pairs of pants, a beautiful blue cable knit sweater and a green t-shirt.)
Monday morning, we loaded up the car, dropped Christine off at work, and did the return trip. Dave tried to work in the car, but the hilly terrain made getting a wireless signal difficult. We stopped 3 times on the way home - once for lunch and a playground stop, once to switch drivers and lastly at Blueberry Mountain - a local ice cream shop in the town where Dave and Christine grew up.
It was a splendid getaway.
Now, we're planning our Florida trip. Leaving on a Thursday, flying into Tampa and staying with my BFF, the one who came up in October. Friday morning, we will drive across the state to Titusville, to see the Shuttle Atlantis launch and stay over there. Then it's back to my friends' home to help her 16 year old twins turn 17.