To break the doldrums of the family being cooped up at home for four straight days over the long Thanksgiving weekend, as well as to stay clear of Black Friday traffic, we decided to make a daytrip out to the hill country today. We decided on Fredericksburg as our destination, with it’s location only a 90 minute drive away and its nice, walkable Main Street, lined with historic buildings and unique shops, providing a nice medium between indoors and outdoors on this cold day. After my parents headed back to Houston, we loaded up an inordinate amount of baby supplies, snacks, and other essentials for the 90-minute trip. The plan was to drive to Fredericksburg and enjoy the countryside while Claire watched movies (Annie, etc.) on her DVD player and Molly had her morning nap. We even had a pair of earphones, Claire’s first, ready for the DVD player to keep the noise down so Molly could nap reliably.
We rolled through the hill country, Kit and I having a rare long chat (ie, more than 5 minutes) while Molly slept and Claire watched her movie. But it would not last. Right around Johnson City, the earphones idea backfired badly. Claire broke her 45-minute silence by saying — no, shouting — “Mama! Can I have my water?” Kit and I quickly told Claire to quiet down, please! Claire looked confused and dismayed, like “What? I just asked for some water.” In retrospect, Claire probably did not even realize she was shouting over her earphones. Anyways, the disturbance caused Molly to wake up mid-way through her nap. Within five minutes, Molly was crying, then shrieking, and occasionally spitting and gasping. We could not settle her down. This lasted for final 45 minutes to Fredericksburg, the last 15 minutes being stuck in gridlock on the final mile into town. Yes, Black Friday seemed to hit even Fredericksburg, way out here in the country.
Once we finally parked and got out of the car, Molly almost immediately stopped crying, and Fredericksburg was great. We strolled onto Main Street in the slightly cool, sunny afternoon. We poked around a couple of craftsman and/or antique stores, where Claire exercised her “one finger rule” for touching any wares, and Molly’s little arms were always held out of reach of anything at all. We had a delicious German-inspired lunch in a crowded corner cafe. We looked at old antique gates for sale in an alleyway. Claire said the gates looked good even though they were old and rusty, although she still preferred shiny, golden gates. Claire also enjoyed the koi pond in front of the old hospital. Molly enjoyed the crowds and a chance to crawl and climb (under supervision) on a nice iron bench on the busy sidewalk. We picked up a Christmas decoration and headed back to the car, where we gave Claire another lecture about keeping quiet. Then we loaded up and headed home.
Claire was very quiet in the car on the way back. When she did talk at all, it was a quiet whisper. This lasted until right around Dripping Springs. At that point, Claire was so engrossed in her movie that she once again shouted something out by mistake, and once again Molly woke up, and once again Molly cried and shrieked as if mortally wounded until we got home to Austin. After we got home, Molly settled back down pretty quickly and played with her big sister. Kit, who was understandably rattled by all the crying, took about 15 minutes to herself upstairs and then came down in a better mood. I would have hoped that this fun excursion would not have required a 15 minute “cool down” period at the end. Still, it was a really great day overall, even though I would give back about 90 minutes in the car. I am sure Molly would agree.