Hey Guys! This is the guest post I promised you, written by the talented and beautiful Amy, one of my dearest friends and a great blogger. I took over her blog for the day as well, writing on the same weekend. You can check out my post at Mouse of the House. And, while you’re over there, read and subscribe to her blog too! It doesn’t disappoint.
My good friend, Cherity (you know her, I presume), and I spent the last weekend in September with two of our other friends (Katie and Kristen) at the lovely Farmers’ Guest House in Galena, IL. It was our second, hopefully annual, such trip. While we were there, Cherity approached me with the idea of doing guest posts about the weekend on each other’s blogs. Since Cherity is a talented and experienced bloggstress and I am a fumbling novice, I found the idea to be a bit intimidating. But I figured, why not? Could be fun! But then I really struggled when it came to actually writing this post. Guest blogging for someone that I have long believed to be a better writer than I am just freaks me out a little bit. I know, I know…it’s not a competition, but that doesn’t keep me from wanting to bring my “A game.” Problem is, I haven’t been doing this very long, so even my “A game” isn’t much to speak of at this point. But I promise I’ll do my best not to bore you!
There are two things that I remember most clearly about the weekend…
First… I was away from my 6 month old son, overnight…for two nights, for the first time ever. A year ago, when we first planned the trip, I thought that after 6 months of motherhood I’d surely be ready for a weekend away to relax and spend some time with friends. That assumption seems laughable now that I actually have a child. In reality, despite thoroughly enjoying the company of my good friends, I still lost track of the number of times that I caught myself thinking, “I wish my baby was here.” I also spent a lot more time than I anticipated looking at photos and videos of him on my phone, while at the same time worrying to myself that my friends would think that I’m crazy/obsessed with motherhood/no fun anymore. Additionally, I had to fight the urge to refer to myself as “mama” or “this mama,” as I’ve recently grown accustomed to doing. Even I think that’s kind of annoying, but it’s a remarkably hard habit to break once you’ve started! My friends are very gracious, though…if they got sick of hearing me talk about Sammy, they never let on that they did. And they looked at all of my photos and videos with nary an eye roll.
Being away from my son wasn’t JUST an emotional hardship. There were some logistical burdens as well. Like pumping around the clock. Now, being a mother that works away from home 3 days a week, I’m no stranger to pumping. It seems like the time it takes to pump is a small price to pay in order to keep my son nourished when I can’t be there to nurse him. It’s also way cheaper than buying formula. But on the days when I have to pump, I typically only have to do it twice in order extract enough milk to cover the 4 feedings that I miss while I’m at the office during the day. It’s not that big of a hassle. Pumping around the clock is another story. I felt like I was constantly having to stop whatever I was doing to go back to my room at the bed and breakfast and hook myself up to the pump for a good 15 or 20 minutes. I’ve never felt more like a cow. Only instead of cud, I chewed on chocolate chip cookies from the B&B’s bottomless cookie jar. On second thought, I guess it wasn’t ALL bad.
I also had to hide my milk. The bed and breakfast provides a fridge and freezer for their guests to use, but since there are some people that get all weirded out about human breast milk, as a courtesy, I decided to disguise it somehow. I started off by putting my milk bags into an empty plastic ice cream container. It seemed like the perfect solution, at first, since the plastic was opaque and no one would think twice about seeing an ice cream container in the freezer. It also seemed like a great way to justify my extreme levels of ice cream consumption in the last six months…”See…it’s a good thing I bought and ate all that ice cream…I really needed those containers!” But then I got to thinking…what if another guest sees the container and assumes that the B&B has upped their game to provide not only a bottomless cookie jar, but also complimentary ice cream? I could just see another guest grabbing two cookies and then opening up the container with the intent of making a delicious ice cream sandwich, only to be surprised by a two day supply of my breast milk. In attempt to avoid that awkward moment, I decided to further disguise my stash in a reusable Piggly Wiggly bag. Every time I came down from my room, I’d stop by the freezer to covertly slip a couple of bags of milk into my hiding place. But it’s hard to be “covert” when handling a bag with a giant pig face on the front of it. I’m sure no one was fooled. But I tried.
The second thing that I remember most clearly about the weekend was that I was sick as a dog. I had come down with a sinus infection earlier that week and, despite being on antibiotics, still wasn’t feeling much improvement. I try not to let sickness hold me back when I have fun plans, because you can either be sick and doing something fun, or be sick and doing nothing. I’d rather be sick and doing something fun. Still sickness has a way of putting a damper on even the most enjoyable situations. Over that weekend I popped a lot of ibuprofen and had several, “ugh…I feel like death” moments. It wasn’t ideal, but I’m still glad I went on the trip. I just hope I’m healthy when we do this trip again next year. Last year I was pregnant and battling morning sickness. I really don’t want me being sick to be part of the tradition.
I’m realizing that I’ve told you very little about the actual trip. Sorry about that. Honestly, the first time I tried to write this post there was a lot more about what we did on the trip, but then I decided that if there’s one thing more boring than writing a play-by-play of my weekend (even a fun weekend), it’s reading a play-by-play of someone else’s vacation. Since I promised to try not to bore you, here are just a few highlights.
1). My friends. These girls are so much fun. I’m so glad that I know them. Even though one of our conversations alternated between the topics of health insurance and the fact that we’re so old and boring now that we choose to converse about things like health insurance, I still enjoy talking with all of them! Another one of our conversations during the weekend involved determining which race we’d belong to if we were characters in The Lord of the Rings. These girls are just the right amount of weird for me! If you care to know, it was decided that despite my height and love for singing, I would be hobbit. As I sit here contemplating second breakfast, I have to say, I agree.
***Almostfarmgirl’s note: It was decided that I would be a woman of Rohan…because, like Eowyn, I have an affinity for horses, and, of all of us, I was voted most likely to hold a sword and scream “I am no man!”***
2). The Farmers’ Guest House. Do go if you get a chance! This place is amazing! I already mentioned the bottomless cookie jar. But there is also wine and cheese time every night at 5 PM. On the first night that we were there, I had actually arrived before the rest of the girls (a statistical rarity) and was able to enjoy the wine time with some of the other guests. Then, when the rest of my friends arrived, the innkeepers, Don and Susan, sent up another bottle of wine so that the other girls could enjoy wine time, too, even though they had missed the official gathering.
The inn is beautifully decorated! Last year we planned our trip in the summer, so it was a nice surprise this year to arrive and see the whole place decorated for fall. The rooms are beautifully decorated, too, although not seasonally like the rest of the inn. They’re also very clean (super important to me) and comfortable. I just feel so relaxed when I’m there.
And I can’t forget the breakfasts. They are phenomenal! One morning, as just one part of a delicious meal, Susan baked little individual apple pies for everyone. They were lovely. Don and Susan are so very accommodating when it comes to catering to dietary issues. Our group had a few and they never made us feel like we were inconveniencing them in any way.
3). We went for a lovely bike ride on a trail that ran through the woods parallel to the Galena River. I hadn’t been on a bike in over a year, so it felt great! And it was a glorious day for a bike ride…sunny and cool! Halfway through the ride we stopped for a picnic lunch at a conveniently trailside located picnic table. We didn’t discover the wasp nest that was attached to the roof over the table until we were just about to leave, but luckily the wasps never discovered us either.
I would have been happy to bike all afternoon, but sadly the bikes the Katie and Cherity had rented were terrible. The seats wouldn’t stay in position, so every mile or so one of them would have to stop to readjust their seat. I couldn’t blame them for not wanting to put up with that all day, so we decided to spend the rest of the day shopping.
4). Shopping in downtown Galena is so fun. Being a Midwestern tourist destination, it gets a little crowded on the weekends, but it’s so quaint.
And the shops have some really nice stuff. I was able to find fun and unique birthday gifts for both my niece and nephew, an anniversary gift for my husband (better late than never!), and a really cute dress that my aforementioned good friends helped me justify purchasing. I’m really excited about the dress. Katie even bought me the scarf that the shop had accessorized it with as an early Christmas gift. Now, if only I can find some time to shave my legs, I’ll have a really cute outfit to wear out somewhere this fall. Or maybe I’ll just buy some leggings. That’s probably more realistic.
While shopping, we also came across some interesting books, including this little gem.
5). The restaurants did not disappoint. We ate at a place called Green Street something-or-other twice. Both times I had something fish related. First it was the Friday night fish fry, and the second time (Sunday afternoon) I had the fish tacos. Both were delicious! Another night we ate at Vinny Vanucchi’s Little Italy. I remember the name of that place because it’s my favorite restaurant in Galena. It’s reported to be haunted, but we think the building is just so old that the floors are slanted, which causes things to fall off shelves. Regardless, they have awesome food! I don’t remember what my meal was called, but it had pasta, chicken, a spicy cream sauce, broccoli, tomatoes, and mushrooms….aaaand now I’m hungry. So good!
6). Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention playing the game Cards Against Humanity. I’d heard about the game before that weekend, but had never had the pleasure of playing it. What a blast! For those who have never played it, be warned…it’s not appropriate for children or people who are easily offended. But, if you’re like me and my friends, and you have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, you’ll probably get a kick out of it, too. I laughed so hard while playing this game. I’m going to credit it with helping me finally start to get over my sickness, because I felt considerably better the morning after we played it. That can’t just be a coincidence, right?
So…that’s about it. We had a great time and I can’t wait to do it all again next year. But for now, I’m back home with my adorable baby boy and my husband. Home is where hobbits feel most comfortable, you know. If you care to read any more about my “domestic musings,” you can do so by visiting my blog: Mouse of the House. Thanks!