Embracing the Unexpected

Our summer has been hectic, and it has been a rare occasion that we have been home for two whole days in a row with relatively few objectives. With weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal showers, family reunions, and other family obligations, my husband and I have had most of our days planned for us. On a recent weekend, my husband was working and I had few plans. So what did I do? Planned my weekend. How could I deviate from the norm?

Saturday went off without a hitch and the plans were well executed. Jessa had fun, I had fun, and Tom had fun (when he finally could join us).

Jessa went to bed a bit later than usual on Saturday, so when she slept in on Sunday it was no big deal. We would go to later church, as that was my only plan for the morning. Due to our busy schedule, our Sundays have mostly been spent away from Iowa City, so I was looking forward to having a “normal” Sunday. We hung out, played, and slowly got ready to make our way towards downtown. Everything was just as planned.

Plans changed as I got ready to park at church. Like I said, our summer has been pretty crazy, but when we do go to church we always hit up the 8:15 service instead of 10:45. Today it would work out just fine to attend 10:45…except that the sign said the second service was at 10:00 today. Oops! FAIL!

Jessa had heard me say that we were “almost there” for a few minutes, and she was not thrilled that I didn’t park the car at church.  Now with a crabby kid in tow I decided to head to the library. New plans made!

J and I parked, walked a few blocks (slowly, as she refused to be held) to the library, and I was pleased that my timing was perfect as it was almost 11:00. Phew, our trip downtown would at least result in a few library books!

Guess what? The library doesn’t open until 12:00 on Sundays. Great job, Lana. Late for church and early for the library. So much for plans.

I finally realized that the fates must be telling me something. Finally, I asked Jessa what SHE wanted to do. She quickly yelled, “Slides!”, so we headed for the playground.  I was happy that, even though I was a mess-up that morning, I had sunscreen and water in my purse.

We spent much of the next 45 minutes playing on the slides.  J took the lead, and I happily followed. Up and down and all around we went. I was beginning to realize it was nice to have no agenda!

Suddenly, just when I was thinking I was going to have to break it to Jessa that she needed to stop playing in order to eat something, I heard my little girl start begging for “Chips!”. (She is certainly her father’s daughter.) Next stop…Bread Garden.

Did I let Jessa eat chips for lunch? You bet! She definitely had better ideas than me for the morning, so who was I to argue?? She munched on cheddar kettle chips like it was her job, and it was all kinds of adorable. The little hooligan also asked for a bite or two of my sandwich, but truth was that I didn’t even care. If she only wanted chips for lunch that was fine with me! It had certainly turned into a Jessa Day.

After lunch we sauntered back to the car, as it was getting awfully close to nap time. After a long nap, Jessa led me in coloring, reading books, playing outside, and even coaxed me into pulling her in the wagon.


Don’t get me wrong, I DO play with my daughter every day. We play a lot! However, on this “planned” Sunday I had expected to run a couple of errands after her nap. Instead I embraced the unexpected changes in the schedule and allowed Jessa to lead the day. And what a day it was!




Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


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