Farm Girl

Last weekend we drove down to Iowa to visit Chris’ family. Olivia was about 7 months when we were last there and she hadn’t been on a car trip that long since then.

She did pretty well on the drive down, after we had gone to her ECFE class. She was actually prepping for Iowa without realizing it, as her teachers had set up a big corn activity to play in.

After a lunch of Subway (Olivia was digging getting part of my sandwich) and two 40 minute naps in the car seat, we arrived at Chris’ aunt’s house around 5:00 p.m. After changing and nursing, we headed off to take his aunt out for pizza at the family restaurant. Olivia got her first taste of the famous Happy Joe’s taco pizza. She had two slices and Mama had, er, like, five.

We got back to his aunt’s and Olivia didn’t go down until about 8:30, but she still did OK. It wasn’t until Chris and I joined her in the spare room that it all went downhill.

Chris thinks it’s because he flushed the toilet and she heard it, but honestly, with her not sleeping in the same room as us for the past 10 months, it would have been inevitable that she would have some objection to it all. She stirred as soon as we crept in and then proceeded to WAIL when we got in bed. Like, terrified wailing. So of course I get up to grab her and take her to bed to nurse. Problem is, she won’t sleep in bed with us. Chris tried to walk her around to see if she’d fall asleep. After an hour and a half of this, we gave up and Chris took the floor while I tried to sleep in the bed with her.

Long story short, I *think* I got an hour of sleep, and Olivia slept down at my feet, head down, and I had one hand on her all night, worried of her falling out of bed or, I don’t know, suffocating herself in the bedsheets. I get that she’s almost a year and a half, but… I can’t stop the paranoia. So awake I was. All night.

Everyone was up at 6:30 a.m. We got ready and headed out, to breakfast at a little diner (Olivia loved her pancakes, eggs and hash browns, and making new friends in the form of old people waving gaily at her) and then the Amish grocery store to get my bulk items. (Best place ever—at least if you are obsessed with cooking and baking like I am) Olivia took a solid hour nap in the car with Chris while I shopped.

After that, we headed to his parents’ house. They have a farm/not-a-farm.

Olivia got to see chickens for the first time. She thought it was the greatest thing ever.

In fact, she kept insisting on going back into the pen to see them. She also got to help Grandma in the garden beds, but her forte was more grabbing dirt out of the beds to toss out. Still, she may come in handy this summer with our own garden.

His parents built an enormous year round greenhouse a few years ago and have been starting most of our plants for us every year, along with Chris’ other siblings. We actually were sent home with a bunch of onion and celery for us to plant here in the next week.

We spent a lot of time out in the gorgeous weather. Olivia got dirty, dusty and scratched. All in all, she had a blast. This was one of my infertility *moments.* Getting to bring her to her grandparents’ farm/not farm. All the other cousins love visiting, so it’s nice to finally have our own dirty kid racing around the garden beds.

We had lunch at a little restaurant in a neighboring town, and then Olivia took an hour and a half nap in the borrowed pack n play (and I did too in my husband’s childhood bedroom). Chris and I talked and decided to pack up everything from his aunt’s and bring it over to his parents’ house to sleep there the second night since Olivia could have her own room. And I needed to sleep. Another night awake would do me in physically and emotionally.

Supper was at Red Robin with more family (Olivia working the crowd, as usual) and then we drove to his aunts and Chris packed everything while I changed and nursed Olivia. We made it back to his parents a half hour later and Olivia went down OK, save for the angry/terrified crying that thankfully only lasted a hot second before she promptly fell asleep. Chris and I sat up with his parents, until I surrendered to exhaustion and went to bed.

She slept all the way through until just before 7:30, so it was definitely a good decision to stay there. His mom made us blueberry pancakes and Olivia got to eat them (and kiwi. and more blueberries. and frozen strawberries) from her daddy’s old highchair.

We packed the car up (after Olivia visited the chickens one last time, and threw one last fistful of dirt) and went home with 7 dozen chicken eggs and three pints of fresh honey. My inlaws speak my language.

It ended up being a late start back because we stopped at the Amana Colonies for some shopping and lunch at the Ox Yoke.

Olivia did NOT appreciate being back in the car again for five hours, so we ended up stopping at a park in a tiny town 30 minutes from Rochester, and then after dinner in Rochester, we made the rest of the way back without stopping. Olivia had discovered her socks had strings and we spend a good hour and a half drive in silence as she concentrated on eating playing with them. She adjusted well back home and slept in the next morning.

So we made it! Chris will most likely be going back alone in the next few weeks to pick up the rest of our plants, since I don’t know if I want to do another five hour drive with Olivia again for awhile.

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Jane allen

Love the photos of her and the chickens!


Looks like it was a wonderful trip. I’m sorry you had a night of lost sleep, but it’s good you found a solution and still got to see family.

May there be many more. And looking forward to the post about Olivia’s first chicken coop.


It looks like she had a great time!! Throwing dirt, that’s us too! haha There is no way Bowen would sleep in bed with us and the thought of trying to get him to sleep even in a hotel room with us frightens me!! He would totally wake up to any noise he heard. Maybe one day this will work better for us! When are they supposed to transition to a toddler bed. Right now I can not even imagine, he would fall out!


Oooohhhhh, how I so can relate to those sleepless nights away from home! We have definitely had our share. Everyone being in the same room does not bode well for getting sleep. I can still clearly remember being up almost all night once, when Tony’s family rented a beach house. Rylee would. not. sleep.

So fun that you got to experience taking your own little one to the family farm (not farm, lol). Watching them be so enamored with farm life really is one of the best things ever.