Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trip to Washington

I'm so dead tired right now. I'm pretty much ready to pass out, but there are some things I need to do before going to bed, but first I needed a break to relax and to rejuvenate some before attacking those things, I thought I'd post.

So on Aug. 8, Aaron, Alex, and I headed out to Washington/Oregon to see family. My sister, whom I haven't seen in 5 years, was coming from North Carolina with her husband and four kids (two of whom I've never even met), so I took the opportunity to go as well so I could see her. My other sister and my brother were both there as well (the former lives in California and the latter lives in China). It was really great to see everyone and to see my nieces and nephews.

To take advantage of the rates, we decided to leave on a Friday morning and return on a Tuesday, a week and a half later, so it was a long trip, but with all who we had to see, it really needed to be that long. There was very little time where I had nothing to see or anyone to visit.

On the first day, we flew into Portland, and my sister Krissa (the one with kids) picked us up from the airport and took us to her mother-in-law's house to hang out till my mom picked us up. We were able to spend time with her and her four kids Jesse (8), Larissa (5), Mitchell (3), and Noah (8 months). And of course she had fun meeting and playing with Alex. In the afternoon, Mom picked us up and we went to my Grandma's in Salem, Oregon. We spent the night there (kind of crammed with six adults and a baby: us plus Mom; Roy, my step-dad; Jeremy, my brother, and Grandma). My sister Marcie flew in the same day with her boyfriend and his son. They came by for dinner and to hang out, but stayed in a hotel that night.

The next night near Vancouver, Washington (right over the border from Portland, Oregon), Jesse was baptized. This was the main reason for the trip. Most of Jesse's aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins live in Washington, and so they wanted to bring him there to be baptized. So on Saturday we drove back to Portland/Vancouver for the baptism. It was very lovely and we had fun being together as a family. After the baptism. Krissa's mother-in-law had a BBQ at her house, so we all headed there. That was another long day because we had to hang out there until my Mom took my Grandma back to Salem, and we had nothing to do really. Also, I was having trouble getting Alex to take a nap, and then I thought that my parents would be back soon, and so I didn't want Alex to fall asleep and then have to wake him up after only a little while so we could leave.

Then once they got back, we had to drive 2 hours to their house to pick up a car they had for us to use while we were in town, then it was another hour to get to Aaron's parent's house. We didn't get there till almost 10 p.m. (after stopping to get diapers). Obviously, Alex was really tired and all we had to do was swaddle and feed him to get him to fall asleep. Luckily, Susan (my mother-in-law) had set up the crib and so we were able to put him right down.

On Monday, Aug. 11, my Mom hosted what was basically a family reunion. All my siblings were there and four out of five of my step-siblings, along with all of our kids and some spouses. It was really fun and great to see everyone and meet some of my nieces and nephews that I haven't met, and see some I haven't seen in awhile. Altogether, there were about 25 people there. Emily brought her horse and gave all the older kids "pony rides," which I thought was so cool and made me wish that Alex was old enough, so he could been able to do that too. Hopefully he'll still get a chance when he's older. I personally love riding horses (though I know practically nothing about it). When I was a pre-teen, I went to Girls Camp each summer and we would get to go on a trail ride once during the week. I LOVED it and wished we could do it more.

Anyway, so we all had a fun night and good food, including some really yummy watermelon. I made a creamy banana pudding dessert (bananas, whipped topping, vanilla wafers, and vanilla pudding), and got many compliments, which was cool. So overall, it was a lot of fun and I'm really glad that Mom arranged it all and that everyone came.

Last Friday, Aaron, Alex, and I headed to Ocean Shores with my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law. They own this really nice trailer right off of the beach as a vacation spot, and it's fun to go and get away. Unfortunately, summer is not the time to go to Washington's coast. My mom says that spring is better. It was so foggy that we couldn't see the water till we were right on it and had to wear jackets, hats, pants, and cover Alex in a blanket.

On Saturday, Susan and I went into town to have fun looking at the gifts in the gift shops and get some taffy. While we were there, Aaron called and asked if we could pick him up some lunch. I know he loves Subway, so I decided to stop by the Subway in Ocean Shores. WARNING: DO NOT go to the Subway in Ocean Shores. I think there were about 10 people in front of me, and it took me an HOUR (at least) to get a sandwich. I was getting really upset and antsy. It shouldn't take that long to serve 10 people (it is called fast food after all). Let me tell you, I was so upset by the time I got my sandwich, I barely had the chance to remember to ask for a points card (I didn't have my card with me). And guess what? Yeah, they didn't have any (but they "ordered them a week and a half ago," as if that was supposed to make me feel better). So yeah, I was upset.

Even though I had a lot of fun at the beach, and I was really glad we went (even though packing up all the baby stuff is such a pain), but I was glad to head back to Tacoma on Sunday. Then I headed out to my Mom's house to spend some time with my mom and step-dad before heading back home. After Roy made me something to eat, my mom helped me put Alex to bed, and then Roy and I went for a little adventure. He took me in his little beat up car up a "road" (it really didn't merit the name); it was a really roundabout way to get to the river that runs below the house. There he signed me up for Rock Skipping 101. We went through and found rocks that were flat and good for skipping, and then he went about teaching me how get the rocks to skip. It was a lot of fun. While we were out (surprise, surprise), it started raining. We didn't care. One time, Roy threw a rock that split in two and both halves skipped a few times. It was pretty cool. And then this other time, he was like, "This is a perfect rock. This one is going to skip a bunch of times. Be ready to count because it's going to be a lot." Then he throws the rock and it hit the bank. We both just busted up laughing.

So finally we were tired and the rain had gotten to us, so we got back to the car. This time, we took another route home, and apparently Roy's goal was to scare me out of my wits. He took "roads" that went to a dead end, then turned around and then took me up a hill then turned into a not-road. This was even worse than the you-can-barely-call-them-roads-because-there-is-a-narrow-path-with-two-tracks-for-tires road. This didn't have any track at all. He said something about that we were fine and I shouldn't be scared, and I told him to ask my armpits.

So finally we got back to the house, luckily in one piece, to find that Alex hadn't fallen asleep. He ended up fussing for an hour and finally I went in and tried to calm him down. Normally I wouldn't worry, but after fussing an hour, he started wailing, so I figured I should probably do something to help calm him down. Luckily, he finally fell asleep. I think it was being in a different environment that caused the problem.

The next day (yesterday), I headed back to my mother-in-law's. Aaron and I had a date to see The Dark Knight. This was the first movie we saw in the theater since March. It was fun to get away and not worry about Alex (my mother-in-law took care of him, which was so nice of her). I spent the rest of the night, after I got home and put Alex to bed, packing. This morning my mom came and picked us up to take us to the airport. Then it was getting through security, flying on the plane, getting picked up, driving home, and unpacking.

One thing that excited me about being home (besides just being back in my comfort zone) was how much easier doing Alex's bedtime routine is. While traveling, we had to dig through our luggage to get a blanket, towel, sleeper, diaper, wipes, lotion, etc., etc. Here I know where all that is and it's in a convenient location. I also have things here that make the bath a lot easier. It was just amazing to me how much easier it was and how much quicker it was. So wonderful. And unlike some nights while we were gone, Alex went to bed so easy, despite it being basically an hour earlier than he has because of the time change. I think he felt better being home too. He knew he was home where he's used to.

So overall the trip was good, but tiring. I was so ready to come home. Traveling with a baby is hard, and next time I go on vacation, I really hope that we only go to ONE place (it wouldn't have been so hard if we hadn't gone to so many places). But I'm glad we went and we have a lot of great memories.

To see pictures of my trip home, click here.

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