-Our daughter is a trooper
-There is such thing as too long of a break
-"Vacation" no longer exists
-Sick husband equates into becoming a single mom with 2 kids
As you can probably surmise from the lessons learned, Christmas
Refer back to lesson #1 - Bean is a trooper! On Thursday before break, Bean came down with what I would have sworn was croup. We were literally up all night (sat in a chair with cool air from the sun room coming through a crack in the door so that she could breathe) with one sick little girl. She would cough and gasp for air in fits. She'd sort of crash in between fits, but couldn't get completely comfortable laying on me. I definitely couldn't get comfortable but did doze off and on in the chair. I got Bean in with the doctor and she was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchial irritation (not croup). We left the office with a prescription for a steroid and antibiotics. What a way to start vacation! We delayed our departure and stuck around OH an extra day, putting us in Indiana Saturday evening.
We celebrated Christmas with my family on Sunday. Bean was of course the center of attention amongst her cousins. The little kids all opened their gifts together and she was literally sitting in the middle of the mayhem. I helped her unwrap her gifts. She of course wanted the toys opened asap! She got a pretty sweet kitchen playset, that we sadly had to leave behind (not enough room in our car to bring it back this go around). We have plans of getting it soon! I look forward to her playing in her little kitchen while I cook in our big kitchen (we are going to set it up in there to give her some entertainment other than unloading the dishwasher!).
(Our sick little elf!)
(Bean in the middle of the little kid mayhem! We were wise this year and had all the little kids unwrap their gifts first, and then the rest of us did our gifts.)
(Crazy aunt Amber with a bag on her head! Oliver was loving it!)
(Opening up Bean's gifts)
(What is going on Uncle Joe?!)
On Tuesday morning, we loaded up into the car and started our long drive towards New Jersey at 8 in the morning. We had expected to make a stop after the first couple of hours, but Bean was doing so well, we decided to go straight to our first stop. We met up with Steve's college friend in a suburb of Cleveland (he was home visiting family). We stopped at a restaurant and enjoyed catching up with him and the break from the car! Bean had to be contained in the booth/high chair. She really just wanted to roam around, but I wasn't about to let her crawl all over the restaurant. She kept going faster and faster which was a sign she was ready for a nap!
(All loaded up and on our way! Bean met the requirements to turn her carseat around. Even though it is safer to remain rear facing for as long as possible, it made life so much easier having her forward facing! She would watch out thew windows and we could reach stuff to her much easier!)
(Snack cup, Frozen, and taking up as much space as possible - despite the sad face she is making, she was loving life at this moment.)
We got back in the car and continued our journey towards New Jersey. We drove for a few more hours (Bean mostly slept, but I do think we had to pull out the tablet and Frozen for her again), went through a Burger King drive-thru for dinner, and then got to our hotel for the night! We stayed at a place in PA, which was just over the halfway point for our full drive. Bean was thrilled to be out of the car and finally allowed to roam around. The hotel room was perfect for her - she could go all over and we didn't have to worry about what she was into (other than the outlets/power cords!). We set up a little towel and she happily ate her baby ravioli kit while we ate our fastfood. Since we were all sharing a room, we all had an early bedtime (I tried to get Bean down so we could just lay and watch some tv, but that didn't fly with her). We pushed one of the beds against the wall. She and I
(Picnic dinner at the hotel! Totally legit, right?)
The next morning (Christmas Eve), we had a schedule to stick to. Bean had finally crashed a little before 6am and I really didn't want to wake her for the alarm at 7:30. We tried to quietly get ready and get everything pulled together. She slept through it all and wasn't happy when we finally had to wake her. We had to take advantage of the free breakfast! Which by the way, we stayed at a Best Western Plus and it was amazing! They had a high chair in the breakfast room which made it so nice to feed Bean! We got on the road a little later than planned, but it wasn't a big deal.
We continued on our way and stopped for lunch at one of our favorite road trip places -- Fuddruckers! Only this time, it was located in HERSHEY, PA! We ate our delicious food (which btw, this was the first time we ordered a kids meal! Ahhhh, although, she didn't eat it - daddy did!). As we were leaving, the guy at the baker gave Bean a chocolate chip cookie for being cute! Merry Christmas Eve to us :)! After lunch, we got back in the car and headed to stop at the Hershey factory! We trekked through the cold and rain to go inside and take the little tour. We got on these little cars (like a Disney ride!) and went through different scenes of the chocolate making process. Bean was so puzzled by the singing cows and trying to figure out what on earth was going on. We got KitKats upon exiting and Bean ate a whole stick by herself! We got back in the car just in time for naptime! Woohoo!
(On the chocolate ride. Bean was really into the singing cows!)
(Enjoying Hershey land! It's hard to see, but there was a Twizzler man you could get your picture with in front of the tree. I really wanted to take Bean, but she was tired and we feared her freaking out.)
The last few hours went quickly and we soon arrived at Nanny & Poppy's house! Bean again was thrilled to be out of the car! And on top of that -- she became the center of attention for the next week! There were so many people between aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc, that she constantly had some companion buying into all her desires. Now that we are home, we definitely miss the extra help! She had quite the adjustiment to no cell phones/tablets, no one walking her up and down the stairs, and lastly no one saying, "Where's 'Bean'?"! Bean has a 2nd cousin (once removed if you want to get technical) who is 3 years old and kept asking "Where's 'Bean'?" and all he wanted to do was play with her and be next to her at all times. It was cute :-).
While we were in NJ, Bean did great taking naps. I was concerned that she would have a heard time falling asleep without a rocking chair, monitor, etc; but she did great! I guess she was getting so worn out she was begging for naps. We had a pack'n'play set up in our room. All I'd have to do was change her, hold her and hum a little song, then put her in it, turn on singing worm, and leave the room. She'd fall asleep and we wouldn't hear a peep out of her for a couple hours. She did fairly well at night too. I was concerned with us all sleeping in a room together, but she did great until the last 2 nights. Those were another story. Mommy/Me parties from 1-5am are never fun. Even Mommom got in on the parties and helped out trying to get her to sleep. I wasn't aware at the time, but now looking back, I realize she was teething (all 4 molars came in over Christmas) and I guess the pain just kept her up. All she wanted was to lay on someone to sleep, but then you couldn't get comfortable and sleep, too.
(We celebrated Christmas on the 26th. Mommom & Poppop got Bean a Little People Princess castle. They decided to have it all set up for when she woke up so she had something to play with.)
(Then all the family arrived and mayhem ensued! Bean fell in love with Uncle Barry and his booming voice. She'd shuffle over to him and crawl up in his lap.)
(Cousin Benjamin LOVED Bean -- and her blocks! He enjoyed playing with them and would tell us that they were hers. Throughout the weekend, Benjamin was constantly on the lookout for Bean.)
(Watching Polar Express with Daddy & Cousin Ava)
(And then Poppop got in on the Polar Express action. We weren't adequately prepared for the warmer weather -inside and outside the house! Bean pretty much lived in the same short sleeve onesie and pants whenever possible.)
(On Saturday - even more family came for a big Christmas gathering. There's Bean on Uncle Barry's lap again!)
(All the little kids exchanging gifts. The young ones draw names in advance so each kid gets a special gift just for them!)
(Bean snacking on some blueberries on Momma's lap while the "big kids" exchange gifts. The adults do like a white elephant exchange. We walked away with the 7 Wonders board game -- which we also brought with us. . . )
(Bean hanging out with Coraline and watching some Dora. These two kiddos actually had each other's names in the gift exchange.)
(Cousin Benjamin and Bean hanging out with Uncle Scott. Pretty sure they were watching twerking elves at this point.)
Towards the end of our visit, Steve got sick. I'm guessing he got whatever it was that Bean started Christmas break off with. He felt weak, had chills, sore throat, runny nose, etc - and when Steve gets sick, he falls apart. So the last few days, I was solely responsible for Bean, packing us up, loading the car, and being the sane person in the group. When we left, he started off driving, but by lunch I was the sole driver (he did another hour attempt, but he definitely shouldn't have, so I took back over). We did the whole drive back (9ish hours) in one day. Since he was out sick, I just had a "survive the day" mentality. Meaning, Bean got to watch Frozen a couple times, we stopped when we needed, and got right back in the car until the next stop. We only stopped 3 times, which really isn't that bad- lunch, gas, dinner, then home! When we got home, I had to unload the car, put Bean to bed, and finally had time to just sit and decompress.
Despite the crazy end to the week, we had a great time seeing all of Steve's family and watching Bean interact with everyone. We are extremely blessed with our little girl and look forward to many Christmases in the future (just now I know what to expect!).