Weekend Road Trip to Iowa.

Getting there.
On Friday, John and I hopped onto I-65 at around 3:30 to begin our travel to Sigourney to see the Richardson clan.

We were hoping to get to John's parents around 12:30 a.m. But, an accident on I-64 east of St. Louis set us back about an hour. Then, as we entered St. Louis, construction slowed us down another 30 minutes. So, we arrived at John's parents somewhere around 2 a.m. Oh well!

We're Home!
Gertie was awake and waiting for us when we arrived (no surprise!). After we'd welcomed each other with giant hugs, we hauled our stuff into the house and crashed.

Saturday morning.
When we woke up Saturday, Gertie had a big smile and coffee waiting for us downstairs. We visited and caught-up over cinnamon rolls and yummy breakfast casserole. Then, while John took his shower, I went outside for some fresh air. It felt so good to look out and see corn fields, farm places and rolling hills.

Eloise arrives!
Tom, Sr., had left Friday night for Seneca to pick-up Eloise. He stayed the night there and brought her to Sigourney Saturday morning around 10 a.m. or so. It had been a while since we'd gotten to see her. She was as inspiring as ever. What an incredible lady. (I want to be like Eloise when I grow up.)

Tom's walking-tour
After visiting a little to catch up, Tom took John, Eloise and I out for a little walking-tour of all the projects he'd been working on around the farm. He's whipped all of the buildings into shape. The old hog shed is now a storage building with freshly painted siding, new wiring and a more open layout inside. Tom took the lofts down and the walls of the building's alley way to make room. It looks great. And, Tom plans to put up a basketball hoop in there as well. (Don't be challenging him to a game of HORSE...you won't win! HA.)

Tom, Minnie, Grace and Brooke Arrive
By the time we finished our tour, Tom, Minnie, Grace and Brooke were there and it was time for lunch. Gertie had whipped up some lasagna casserole, corn casserole and BBQ pork. Boy did that hit the spot. (John and I want the lasagna recipe!) For dessert, she served up some fresh blackberry pie from some berries that the Pfeiffer's had given her. MMMmmmm good.

Grace is amazing.
At only 2.5 years-old, Grace is talking up a storm. And, I'm not just talking about echoing what others are saying. She's actually having full conversations and speaking clearly. I swear, she's an adult trapped in a little person's body!

Minnie calls the girls "sweetie" and Grace has picked up on this, too. Gertie had told me how cute it was, but I had no idea just how cute until I heard Grace utter the words myself. In her tiny little adult-like voice she said, "How are you doing, sweetie?"

Grace was a trip all day long.

Brooke has more hair than me.
Brooke (4 months-old) has the hair of ten babies. It is thick and dark and definitely not going anywhere. I know Tom and Minnie are probably sick of people commenting on it, so I'll keep it brief, but it really is wild.

Aside from the hair phenomenon, Brooke is also very alert and wide-eyed. She fussed a little bit with all the commotion of new people and different surroundings, but for the most part she was either eating, sleeping or smiling.

Good stuff.

Matt and Rosemary
Mid-afternoon, Gertie brought Matt and Rosemary to visit as well. With the help of Gertie, Tom, Kathy, Al, Carol and Kim, Rosemary and Matt are getting along pretty well. Everyone is pitching in where they can to help with doctor visits, shopping, church and various daily needs so that the two of them are able to be at home.

Matt is looking pretty healthy. He's put on some weight (which is good) and he's still got that sparkle in his eye when we talk about farming. Rosemary and Gertie talk daily and work together to make sure his progress keeps moving forward. Having Carol in Kansas City is also a blessing.

Saturday Supper
Tom grilled burgers while Gertie made hash brown casserole and Minnie worked with Tom, John and Grace to shuck / cook some sweet corn. It was MMMmmmmgoood.

Jason & Julie
Julie had to work at the rest home until 7 p.m. on Saturday, so she and Jason came over around 7:30 Saturday night. Gertie heated up some left-overs for them and we sat out on the screened in porch to visit with them.

Jason is still commuting to Iowa City everyday and Julie started work at the rest home a few months ago. Sounds like she likes it pretty well and gets to work with her friend Carrie, so that makes it even more fun. On Saturday, she made four pans of brownies...I mean really...how can you go wrong with that!?!

Everyone went home around 10 or 10:30. John and Tom went to bed while Eloise, Gertie and I stayed up to visit a little. We talked about Eloise's travels throughout the years. I had no idea Eloise had ridden a camel (twice!), seen the pyramids and had her photo taken in front of the Sphinx! She's also been to Hawaii, the Holy Land, Africa and either the Bahamas or the Caribbean (can't remember which). Very cool.

Sunday Morning
Tom and Eloise went to the 8 a.m. service at Harper. Gertie, John and I visited in the meantime. When Tom and Eloise returned, Gertie left to take Matt and Rosemary to the 10 a.m. service in Sigourney. We visited with Tom and Eloise until about 9:45...and then we packed up the car.

By 10 a.m. we were on the road and by 7 p.m. we were home. We stopped twice for gas and arrived back in Nashville right at 9 hours. (next time we're going to see if we can stop once...shave off another 15 minutes!)

What a quick trip. But, it was sure jammed packed. We enjoyed it so much and are already trying to figure out when we can do it again.

Gertie and Tom...we appreciate the efforts you made to make sure we were able to see everyone. From going to get Eloise to bringing Matt & Rosemary over for the day to inviting Tom, Minnie & the girls to making sure Julie & Jason could be there, too. Without your coordination, we wouldn't have gotten to see everyone.

We appreciate the extra effort by all so that we could all be together in one place. It was really nice to be able to see everyone all at once.

It was a GREAT weekend.

I'll post some photos of the Richardson Road trip later tonight.

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