Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Weekend Trip

So, by this point, you all know me pretty well, right?  Well, if you're new to the blog and you don't know a lot about me, I'm a VERY type A personality.  I am super rigidly organized, like schedules and plans, and tend to have some trouble when things don't go as proposed.  So, the trip we took a few days ago as briefly discussed here, was a big undertaking for me.  As I mentioned, a friend and I drove from our hometowns to about 5 hours away with our two babies around the ages of 15-16 months without our husbands, to stay in a hotel for two nights.

If you are already a parent, you know all of the possible scenarios that can go wrong based on that description.  In the back of my mind, before we left, I had a panicked moment seeing visions of screaming babies in the car, screaming babies needing to be rocked all night long at the hotel, and two very tired mamas dragging their unhappy babies back home.  When you give your child a structured routine at home to help organize themselves, you also have to know that in the back of your head, that means possible chaos when you try to do something spontaneous and fun.  Thankfully, I don't know how our trip could have gone any better, minus the fact that it randomly was almost 100 degrees on the day of the get together.  (A little less sweaty stinky baby and me for this mama please!)

I think one of the main things that REALLY helped was where we stayed.  One of the other ladies chose the hotel because it offered suite-style accommodations.  We ended up staying at a Staybridge Suites Hotel.  The hotel offered rooms with separate living and sleeping quarters, a kitchenette (stocked with pots, pans, silverware, glasses, a stove, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher, with pretty much any utensil or cleaning product you would need to operate any of those), included breakfast every day (and in the event we had stayed there during the week, they also serve free dinner Tuesdays-Thursdays as their 'social hour' with beverages provided as well), and an indoor pool.   (They also allow pets to accompany you, which didn't apply for us this trip, but is awesome to know for future reference!)

Somehow, my friend and I really lucked out with the hotel.  We had reserved a room with a living space and separate sleeping room with two double beds.  My guess was that we were going to probably put the babies in their pack and plays in the living space, and we'd bunk up in the bedroom space while they slept.  Only problem with that was that our two babies have very different sleep schedules.  When we checked in, I can only guess that they saw two ladies with two very small babies and took pity on us and upgraded our room.  Or, alternately, they wanted to make sure we were as far away from all the other guests as possible so they put us in a room in the very far end of the building next to a room where there was already a barking dog staying.  :)  The room we ended up with looked a little bit like this:
Again, thankfully, we were able to have two separate bedrooms with two separate bathrooms, plus the living space in the middle.  So, we were able to each keep our baby in the room with us, but still have the space in the living area to be awake and loud after they were asleep.  It worked really, really well.  All-in-all, for everything the hotel had to offer, I was extremely impressed and would rank this as #1 on my list of hotel chains to stay in as a family.  I could see this also working really well with families with older children as there is a separate space to be for the parents, and plenty of room for everyone to sleep.

Once at the hotel, the first thing we did, after a very long day of travel, and pushing bedtime, was to jump in the pool.  The other families were I believe already down there when we got there, and there were I think 6 babes either in or at the pool including us.  Here's where my next surprise came in.  Little man did WONDERFUL.

Normally, when we push bedtime back, he tells us.  My child likes his sleep, and does not like it when that is interrupted.  He usually gets very cranky after he has passed his limit, and on Saturday, after only 1.5 hours of nap, and being awake and in the car from 2p-8p, we were about at that limit, if not already over.  He also has never been in a pool.  He loves his bath, but he is usually very wary of new situations and has to observe first.  When we first got in, he clung to me like a little spider monkey, but as time passed, he really began to enjoy it, giggling and smiling at everyone and liking being lifted in and out of the water.  It also was pretty amazing to have the pool mainly to ourselves.  I think there might have been one other family with little children in there, but not to the point where it was a bunch of older kids running, jumping, splashing, etc.  It was really fun, and it made me sad that our neighborhood pool is kind of a huge mess (it is WAY too small for the size and composition of our neighborhood- we are mainly young families, and there are often parents that are not watching their children or very raucous older children playing) and not fit for little babies.

That night, he went to bed really easily, and a few of the other mamas were able to come and hang out for a little while in our living room area.  It was really nice to have some adult time, before I passed out that is :)  Little man did a great job sleeping and was able to sleep through the night until the light of a thousand suns shot through a tiny crack in our window coverings the next morning, waking him up promptly at 7a.  (Which isn't terribly off for us as that was 8a our time, but normally I have to wake him at 9:30, I know, I know, we're extremely blessed with a sleepy babe)  The next morning most of the ladies met for the free breakfast which had a lot of the items little man normally eats like bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. as well as amazing waffles for me!  (Dear DH, if you're reading this, we need to start making more waffles at home.  Yum.)  The only complaint there was that they only had two high chairs.  At the time, we had 5 babies down for breakfast, four of the age that they could sit in high chairs.  I ended up running back up to the room for our feeding chair, which we bring everywhere and absolutely love, for another quick seat to use.

Little man spent a little time after breakfast hangin' with his new friend H (son of Nicole @ The Kavanaugh Report) before they went down to the pool, again, all smiles here!

After another quick hop in the pool and a well-needed morning nap (that again surprisingly went really well, a few tears at the beginning but then after some cuddles he went right down), we headed off to the park for the main get together with all the ladies.  I was a bit nervous as well about this part, seeing as it was ridiculously hot outside and we were to meet at a park about an hour away from our hotel, so we'd have hot, likely cranky babies on the way home, but some of the girls brought a kiddie pool and water tables, and there was a shelter at the park with a nice breeze at times so that helped.

Little man got a kick out of just watching the other babies, and was smiling the whole day, when he wasn't observing what everyone else was doing :)

He also LOVED the kiddie pool, and wanted to get in and out of it about 900 times in a row, after the initial trepidation of feet touching the water was out of the way.

Again, it was really nice to hang out with the parents and let all the kids mingle at the park.  It was also interesting to watch little man in a group of his same age peers and see what he was doing in comparison to what everyone else was doing, and how he reacted and processed things in comparison to how other babies did.

Most of the other families had left the hotel to get on their way after the park, but we hung around for one more night, because I'm a wimp and didn't want to attempt the drive after a long day out.  Little man had a bit more trouble falling asleep that night, but all he wanted to do was lay in my arms and cuddle.  I fell asleep holding him and got up a bit later to put him in the PNP so I could stretch out.

He was back up with the sun again, because I had forgotten to buy painter's tape to close the curtains tight on our Target trip, but he was a happy camper in that he got to watch cartoons on TV which is a big treat.

The drive back home was pretty uneventful so long as the babies were well supplied with goldfish and sippy cups, and soon we were back at home and he was cuddling with DH.  (Funny story, he really missed DH, and actually followed him into the bathroom and wouldn't let him go to the bathroom alone when we had just gotten home!)  Overall, I was so pleasantly surprised with how well everything went.  I had a ball with all of the ladies, and little man was SO happy the whole weekend, with big smiles to share throughout everything, no matter how tired he was.  I think he really enjoyed getting to play with all of the other babies, and he did so well in all of the new situations.  

This was a really good experience for me to know that 1) He is capable of doing off-schedule, extensive fun trips like this.  2) I am capable of doing this by myself, even when I am feeling sick or woozy in the mornings and early afternoons, that I can get through it and still have fun.  3) I am one lucky, lucky duck to have the child I do, and I enjoyed all of the extra little snuggles and cuddles he handed out freely on our little vacation away.  

♥ the naptown organizer

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