We just returned from a 10 day trip to Iowa and Missouri to spend time with Chad’s family.
The trip was motivated by 1) our love for our family and 2) an urgent need to escape the confines of our condo and go somewhere that the girls could run free for awhile.
The trip was exactly what we needed.
We were greeted by cool weather by our standards… the kind of weather that doesn’t induce sweating within your first minute outside. The air felt crisp to us Floridians, and we enjoyed humidity free sunshine.
Chad’s family has a cabin on a lake in Missouri, about 2 hours from their farm in Iowa. We spent most of our trip at the cabin, logging many hours cruising around the lake in the pontoon, swimming in the water (without fear of alligators), and fishing.
We soaked in family time. Our days didn’t adhere to the schedule that normally dictates our lives. We spent long hours on the water, pausing to eat when we got hungry and rest when we were tired.
I took advantage of the beautiful cool weather and explored Missouri on my morning runs. For those unfamiliar with the geography of Florida, it’s about as flat as it gets. Missouri on the other hand? Rolling hills. Never. Ending. Massive. Huge. Painful. Mountain-like, hills.
I have a weird love for running hills. I love how running hills is so painful that you can’t think about your whole run at once- otherwise you’d die just at the thought of it.
I don’t even try to take it one hill at a time… I break up each hill: “To the next mail box” and then, “to that clump of yellow flowers” next, “to the shadow of that tree”.
Hills require intense focus. Your mind
doesn’t can’t wander to think about the long list of “to-do’s” or rewind to replay an argument you recently had, or ruminate on the latest issue that requires solving.
No, your brain is stuck in the moment. It is stuck on the next tiny chunk of road that requires focus. Your legs burn, and your lungs feel like they are about to explode. And right when you feel like you are on the doorstep of death, the road slowly flattens, your heart keeps beating, and your legs carry on.
The focus that hills require becomes almost meditative. With the chatter of the brain quieted by the hill induced exhaustion, you find yourself present; available to face any passing thoughts without judgement.
We spent our final night of the trip in Iowa so the girls could spend some time on the farm the following morning. Chad and I had a couple of errands to run to move around some of our things in storage.
We were driving at dusk, bumping over dirt roads and soaking in the views of mist covered fields with dark purple clouds billowing above.
I was transfixed by the quiet beauty of Iowa when Chad asked, “Do you see them?”
“See what?” I asked.
I blinked and shifted my focus toward the fields. Sure enough, I watched as tiny twinkling lights arose from the fields in the thousands. I’ve never seen that many fireflies at one time.
“It’s magical” I whispered, not wanting the moment to end.
“They kind of stink,” he said, with a smirk.
“WHAT?” I asked, hoping I didn’t hear him right.
“Every time they pass gas, they light up,” he said with a wide smile.
The moment was officially ruined.
Traveling during a pandemic is about what we expected. People were not required to wear masks in the airport or on the airplane- if I had to guess, I’d say around 50% of people wore masks.
Surprisingly, the flight attendants were not required to wear masks. The ones who did wear them would take them off when they talked. I wanted to yell, “YOU’RE DEFEATING THE ENTIRE PURPOSE”… but I didn’t… because Alice had pulled down her own mask to eat a lollipop, and then lick her sticky fingers.
We tried to be as careful as possible, but… kids will be kids. Alice was intrigued by the plastic toilet seat cover in the airport. So intrigued, in fact, that I caught her stroking the crinkly toilet seat cover. Meanwhile, Avery found her joy by using the powerful hand dryers to get a professional grade blow out.
Don’t worry though, we had lots of “Hamitizer” (hand sanitizer), and we used it.
And that, my friends, is our update. We are back in FL and re-adjusting to life post vacation. COVID is rampant here, so we are doing our best to remain safe.
Love to all,