Once the experience with croup passed, and Riley felt better, everyone felt better. In fact, she got better just in time for us to continue with our plans for Kevin's birthday a couple weeks ago! We always take off work each year on one another's birthdays, and this year was no exception.
Riley is a big fan of "choo choo's" ... and Kevin has talked here and there about taking a ride on a passenger train at some point. So thanks to the suggestion of a coworker, I was able to snag some tickets for us to go on the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad on his birthday. It was so much fun boarding the big train and watching Riley look excitedly out the window while yelling, "Choo choo ride! Choo choo ride!". There was even a concession car and a souvenir shop. We rode it down to Akron - about a 80 minute train ride that included 5 stops along the way. Once in Akron we got off the train and got onto a bus waiting at the station and headed to the Akron Zoo.
We spent 2 1/2 hours at the zoo and Riley walked and/or ran the entire time. I knew ahead of time that this day would mess with her nap schedule and was praying she'd sleep on the train ride back. We basically had the zoo all to ourselves, so it was great getting to see her run and explore without the concern of losing her in a crowd or her getting knocked over. We enjoyed a picnic lunch together that I had packed the night before, and it gave Kevin and I great laughs watching Riley chase birds around the picnic area with a chip stretched out to them, yelling "Ere burd - ere burd!"
By the end of the afternoon she was definitely getting tired and once the bus dropped us back off at the train station, it was just minutes before she was sound asleep in Kevin's arms. Moments like this are rare now - where we get to hold our sleeping baby. When I walked over to Kevin to see the two of them, I found him with tears just welling up in his eyes. He said this was the best part of his birthday and that he knows he won't get to hold her like that forever. It was such a raw, tender moment that I'll never forget, nor will he.
Riley only slept about 45 minutes, thanks to the man across the aisle from Kevin on the train, who yelled something loudly at us and woke her. He felt badly, but still ... think! He redeemed himself we we got to our destination and he chased us all the way off of the train and into the parking lot with Riley's blankie that I had left behind on our seat. Thank God for him - it would not have been a fun evening without blankie!
And we finished the night off with a bang. Although she was so tired, Riley was a little trooper, running on pure adrenaline ... and sugar ... through the party here at our house with Kevin's family.