Monday, September 28, 2009

Learning To Drive

This is over a year ago, can't find a more recent driving picture, but it only shows how long the boy's been obsessed with cars. It hasn't been until we got back from our trip last week that Eli's really paid attention to the rules of the road. Driving anywhere is exciting. He exclaims about trucks, buses, trains (and their tracks, ding dings, and how its the cars' turn to wait), bridges, tunnels, stop signs and even tells me how to drive. He likes to play red light, green light with his cars and got quite upset at me the other day when he noticed I turned right when the light was red. And when our neighbor was pulling out of her parking spot he reminded her "red stop, green go."

He's even a good pedestrian. I've given him a healthy fear of cars and he's very aware. I'm never rough with him, but when he saw Brian was close to being in the way of an oncoming car in a parking garage he grabbed his hand and pulled him to safety, complete with a frustrated yell and loud exhale.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Scenery

Bodensee (Lake Constance)

Appenzell (only one of MANY goat encounters)

Brienz-Rothorn (Eli's steam engine took us to the top to see Jungfrau from across and Brienz Sea and Interlaken from above)

Appenzell (farmers have a nice view, luckily the wife often runs a restaurant in the house so it was our dinner view too)

Appenzell again

Brian thought he wanted to go to travel far to big, famous cities, but he's a small town boy, so it makes sense that the picturesque farming town Appenzell was always his favorite. Hopefully I can get him to write about his adventurous hike and pick only a few pictures to share.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting Around

By the first week we'd used practically every mode of transportation possible. Buses for around town, a car to see the sights and a few others, just for fun, like a horse drawn wagon. When we walked, Eli always had a reason to exclaim "MOM!" with all the buses and trains going by.

Bri got an international driver's license so we could rent a car. I only got scared a couple of times, it was surprisingly stressful for him driving there despite how well-organized and marked things were. We definitely wouldn't have survived in Italy. Although well-maintained, country and mountain roads are quite narrow.

Take this mountain pass, cliffs and opposing traffic to the left and a sheer drop to the right, all on a road we would consider wide enough for one car. Did I mention the fog? Never seen Brian so scared.

And there were always fun things to stop for. Mostly cows on an open range or farmers bringing them from the field for milking, but also goats whose trailer blocked the road while the most spry of the farmer's sons tried to wrangle them. Not just unexpected animals brought us to a halt. Obviously pedestrians have the right of way, but it was good seeing programs like a police officer teaching a small group of brightly-marked kindergarteners how to cross the road or teaching elementary school kids how to ride their bikes in traffic.

The whole trip Eli was teaching us an appreciation for trains. This little green one in Brienz was especially exciting. A 200 year old steam engine pushed a couple of viewing cars up a mountain, through steep cow pastures and all kinds of tunnels("toe teens," as Eli calls them) to an amazing view of the Jungfrau, among others.

Finally a train like Thomas, that blows smoke and steam and has top stop to drink water.

Eli wasn't quite as excited about the big ship we rode on, but he was thrilled when we got off and he saw it was full of cars and even a tour bus that also wanted to cross the lake.

And, as with any other time we visit my dad, there is walking involved. More than you are used to. Luckily he seemed to take it easy on us, probably because I'm pregnant. But it was the best way to experience the land.

The Flight

5 a.m. Post. Good way to make myself useful during the wakeful effects of jet lag. Last night I was just waking Brian up all the time.

Eli was amazing. He definitely got antsy and didn't sleep much, but our supply of movies, candy, toys and books kept the crying at bay. I was happy he liked using his homemade backpack (filled with his lightest toys: foam plane, felt book, tiny plastic animals and cars) so he could be like mom and dad. On the plane people kept saying how good he was. He loved running through the airports to make connecting flights, so it was fine that I forgot the stroller. The planes, escalators, and these moving sidewalks were super-exciting.

It was the home flight Friday that I was worried about. Two hours longer because of the jet stream, no Brian to help, stinking customs, and it would require us to fly all night. Again, the little man was an angel, but had reached his limit after the 9 hour flight when we landed at the now-dreaded JFK airport. I'm sure everyone around me was feeling sorry for themselves as his whimpers slowly turned into a screaming tantrum, poor boy had been so patient and couldn't understand why the plane had landed and was still but we couldn't get off for another half an hour because our gate wasn't open. I'll blame it on pregnancy, but I started to cry at the thought of telling him we still had to get on another plane. Then, as we got off he thought we were going to see Bri. (I was very careful not to mention that we were going home or going to see Bri until we were walking off the Salt Lake plane because he doesn't understand time and it would have made him less patient, so I don't know where he got the idea.) Sore and tired and sweaty, I made it across the poorly planned and slacker-staffed airport holding the maximum number of carry-on items (a bag, a purse, and one personal item, in case anyone's wondering) for two people and only carrying Eli like a football while running when I heard my name on the intercom.

I am staying on the ground for a long time.

But then we saw Bri and we came home to a clean house, beautiful new floors, and a warm dinner on the stove. It was Christmas at midnight in September when Eli was reunited with all of his toys.
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