This past weekend, our family had a little getaway to Indianapolis. We decided to embrace the whole ‘homeschool family’ thing and spend the weekend at the IAHE homeschool conference.
We had a great weekend, but it was definitely one to remember! Thanks to mommy’s disorganization, it was a weekend full of ‘interesting’ events!
Keith found an inexpensive hotel room on Hotwire, and we enjoyed two nights at a hotel with the warmest swimming pool ever! Oh my goodness, it was like swimming in a bathtub! We all thought it was the BEST pool experience in a long time! (This was the first time we used Hotwire, and we really enjoyed the discounted price and had a nice stay at our hotel. I was SO nervous, but it was worth it! $52 a night with free breakfast and the warmest pool ever? I’ll take it!)
We’d had a very crazy week leading up to this trip, so my packing efforts were not quite as organized as I would have liked. We arrived at our hotel around 3 pm, hoping to have plenty of time for swimming, dinner, and a decent bedtime for all.
When I opened our suitcases, I discovered that I’d left the boys swim trunks ON THEIR DRESSER. AT HOME. TWO HOURS AWAY. Sigh. So off we went to the nearest Walmart, where the boys happily chose matching Mario swim trunks. They are thrilled with their ‘souvenir’!
This moved back all of our plans, so we had a later swim, a later dinner, and a very late bedtime. Jensyn could not settle, and she was still awake at almost 11 PM. We had to be up early the next day. Little did we know just how early we’d wake.
At around 4 AM, Alex woke up coughing and mildly wheezing. While it wasn’t an emergency, it was obvious that his inhaler would help. I went to get it out of the bag, and I discovered IT WASN’T THERE. We had two epi-pens and an inhaler spacer, but the albuterol wasn’t there!
We looked up the nearest 24 hour pharmacy, wake up the pediatrician on call, and had to argue our way to a prescription. She would have preferred us to visit the nearest ER, but we weren’t about to go to that extreme when an inhaler would solve the problem. Finally, she agreed, and Keith headed off in the dark to pick up the inhaler.
Keith returned with the inhaler, and we tried to get the kids back to sleep. Max and Jensyn slept late, which meant we’d likely miss the beginning of the opening session at the convention, but we didn’t dare bring underslept kids to a conference with no opportunity for a nap!
After we got everyone ready and fed, we headed to the fairgrounds for the convention. As we drove, Keith told me that he’d heard a loud thud against the side of the car as he’d driven to CVS earlier that morning. He’d looked at the car, but couldn’t find anything. He decided it was probably just a piece of construction debris that had bounced off the car due to wind.
We enjoyed a wonderful day at the convention, and I was able to hear several fabulous speakers. (If you ever have a chance to hear Heidi St. John speak, do it! She’s uplifting, encouraging, and funny. I thoroughly enjoyed her presentations!) We ate lunch with friends, explored the exhibit hall, made a few purchases, and left early enough to enjoy a nice swim before dinner.
As we loaded into the car at the fairgrounds, Keith glanced down and discovered the cause of the ‘thud’ he had heard earlier that morning – a large screw was embedded in the tire. SO…off we went on a field trip to the nearest tire shop. Thankfully, they had time to fix the tire, so our little family took over their waiting room for a time. They were SO kind to our children, providing them with stickers, coloring pages, and tattoos.
Afterwards, we decided it make more sense to grab dinner while we were out, so we headed to Chick Fil A, where we let the kids enjoy the play area for a while. How nice it is that they’re old enough to play independently – it gave Keith and me a nice chance to just sit and chat while they worked out their day’s worth of wiggles!
We had time to swim, and Alex made a new friend in the pool. We got the kids to bed at a semi-decent time. Sweet Jensyn fell asleep even before we gave hugs and kisses and had prayers!
Jensyn had a troubled night of sleep (probably due to lack of quality sleep the previous night!), but otherwise we had a good night’s rest. We enjoyed another breakfast at our hotel before heading off to the second day of the convention. We somehow managed to be even later than the previous day (!), which means we missed most of the keynote speaker. (We’ve heard podcasts of Peter Heck before, and we were looking forward this this…but we’ll have to catch it in MP3 version!)
Keith took the kids around the exhibit hall and took them to a kids puppet and balloon art show so that I could concentrate on a seminars. I enjoyed two more Heidi St. John presentation, and I was also very glad to hear the presentation from Spelling You See creator, Dr. Karen Holinga. (Jensyn accompanied me to that one while Keith and the boys played.)
We had decided to leave at lunchtime, so after these presentations, we explored the exhibits, chatted with some friends, and then I went to see just a few more exhibit booths while Keith took the kids to a booth that had candy-filled eggs. We said goodbye to our friends, and Keith headed one direction with the kiddos while I headed to the opposite side of the exhibit hall.
As I’m browsing, I hear this sweet little voice excitedly calling, “Mama! Mama!” I thought it sounded like Jensyn, but with so many kids around, I ignored it. I figured she was safely with Daddy on the other side of the hall.
As I turned to head down the next aisle, I caught a glimpse of my Jensyn barreling toward me with a giant grin on her face. A panicked woman was chasing after her, looking all around. Behind the panicked woman, our friend Dave was also running down the aisle after Jensyn.
The panicked woman was very relieved to see that Jensyn had found her Mama. Our friend Dave said, “I was just standing in the main aisle talking to Christy, and we saw a blur of little girl run by. It took a minute to realize it was Jensyn. Alone!”
Less than a minute later, a panicked Keith flew down the main aisle, pushing a stroller and dragging the boys along with him. Dave yelled for him, and Keith came over – very thankful to see that Jensyn was just fine. He’d found the candy egg booth for the kids, but he had to fill out an information card at the booth while simultaneously keeping Max from opening ALL of the candy eggs. Suddenly, he realized that Jensyn was gone!
It turns out she’d come to show Mama her candy-filled egg, and she found me without ever realizing she’d been ‘lost’. I guess if you’re going to lose your toddler, a convention hall full of homeschoolers is probably the very safest place to do it!
We left, grabbed a fast food lunch, and headed for home….with all 3 children, a new inhaler, two new pairs of swim trunks, and a freshly-patched tire. We also had a new spelling curriculum and a drawing book for Alex, K4 pages for Max, and some preschool workbooks for Jensyn. I think we’re all set for fall! (Oh, and each of the kids got a fun 6-color ink pen!)
I think we’re all glad that we went to the convention, and we’re glad to have gotten a feel for what it’s all about. Keith said he’s now ‘been there, done that’, and next year I can just go with a friend and enjoy a weekend away while he holds down the fort at home. As much as I enjoyed going with the family, I think that sounds like a pretty good deal! Hopefully I can remember to pack a little more efficiently next time around!
And a nice little P.S…
At our own church the next day, another homeschool family told us that we’d won a door prize at the convention! We had already left when the prizes were announced, so Rebecca asked if she would be allowed to take the prize to us. They were giving away the brand new toys that they’d placed in the Toddler Play area during the convention. Rebecca sent her daughter to pick one, and she just happened to pick the one that my kids absolutely LOVED – a picnic set! They have been happily playing with this toy for several days! Thanks, Rebecca and Jaylyn!