Upon securing our luggage and rental car in Cedar Rapids right around noon, the first order of business was the Taco Bell drive-thru. One bean burrito and one beef soft taco (with lots of fire sauce) later, this pregnant woman could have died content. Rather pathetic, I know, but I had really been craving Taco Bell! After a quick run in to Wal-Mart to buy a few toiletries, etc., we headed up to Urbana, Iowa to see Eric's family.
Shortly after our arrival, the main attraction showed up: our nieces! We had an awesome afternoon of playing with Tinker Toys, reading books, and catching up on stories. And we can't leave out our excitement about meeting our newest niece, who was born in October!
Eric with his parents and three sisters
It also happened to be Eric's mom's birthday, so we got to celebrate that all together on Sunday as well! The two older girls (and probably with just a little help from their mom) made a pecan pie for Nena's birthday . . . and helped her blow out the candle.
And when you load up a gingerbread house with lots of candy and then give the green light to dig in and enjoy a little bit of it, then what you end up with is . . .
a serious sugar crash!
That Monday morning, Eric and I got up early to head down to Burlington. He was scheduled to work in his old office for the week and coordinate with some folks up that way on his Brasil projects. While in town, I got to finish up our Christmas shopping, visit my old office, and handle some paperwork. We went out to supper each night with friends and coworkers.
We were treated to some lovely weather while in Burlington. We got everything from dangerously low wind chills to snow, sleet, and freezing rain while in town. Which made for cruddy driving conditions and miserable conditions to be outside in, but gave us some pretty landscapes.
A random snowy shot from along the highway
The Burlington bridge across the frozen Mississippi River: proof that flowing water does, in fact, freeze
The side mirror on the Ford Escape we rented, notice the 1/2"+ layer of ice! The entire car was enclosed in a layer of ice one morning. We literally had to bust through 1/2 - 3/4" of ice to open our car doors. You might also notice that I am sitting inside the car (with the heat turned on full blast) while my Hubby scrapes ice from the windows so we can drive. It was about this time that I rolled my window down and told him, "You know, Dear, people don't have to live this way. There're lots of other places in the world to live where this doesn't happen." And then I quickly rolled the window back up as to not loose too much heat from inside the car. (I just thought that might be the ideal time to toss the idea out to him.)