Friday, June 17, 2016

First road trip with two kids | June 2016

Happy Friday everyone! It's been quite a week here for us after returning from our first family-of-four road trip to Ohio. We got home on Monday and I've been meaning to get this recap post up, but a sick toddler has thwarted my plans up until now. Max still isn't back to 100% but he's happily eating dry Cheerios and watching Bubble Guppies right now, so I'm taking advantage of the freedom for a bit.

We traveled to my mom's house in Cincinnati, Ohio so we could attend my cousin Lauren's high school graduation party last weekend. I love being able to coordinate visits to my mom's with special events with the extended family. I used to be very involved with my younger cousins when I was growing up. As the oldest cousin, I babysat them all frequently and even gave swim lessons to two of them. I miss being a part of family get-togethers now that I live in Maryland, so I make an effort to get back home whenever I can if I have advance notice of an event. 

List makers gonna list. Max scribbled on this seconds after this photo was taken.

We headed to Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon after Victor finished with some court hearings. We got a much later start than we're used to when we left close to 3 PM, but for the most part, the drive went well. Max fell asleep before we even got on the highway and slept for over 2 hours, and Louisa slept a majority of the trip. Things got pretty hairy about an hour out from my mom's house. It was close to midnight. Max had been in a car seat for 9 hours and just wanted to sprawl out to sleep for the night, so he was pretty whiny and uncomfortable. By the time we arrived, got everything inside, and wound down for bed, it was after 2 AM. Victor and Max slept in one room and Louisa and I slept in another; with Louisa's frequent night wakings to nurse, I didn't want her to wake Max up, so we kept this sleeping arrangement for the entire 4-night visit. 

On Friday, we had plans to meet my friend from college and her little family (her son Ryan is 3 weeks younger than Max) at the Cincinnati Zoo for the morning, but a surprise deluge of rain thwarted our plans and we had to improvise. We decided to check out EnterTRAINment Junction nearby, which is a huge indoor model train exhibit. The boys loved running around and pushing all the buttons to power the trains. It was also quite difficult to get them away from the play area in the middle of the exhibit. We adults enjoyed learning about the history of railroading through the model displays and seeing our boys really play together for the first time.

Interesting way to hold hands, boys. But oh so sweet!

After a Chick-fil-a lunch, it was naptime for the whole family in preparation for the Reds game later that night. Max had a great time cheering for the Redlegs and watching the post-game fireworks. He also grew quite concerned when he saw the Mr. Redlegs mascot disappear on an elevator. This concern is ongoing; still today, everytime he sees a photo of Mr. Redlegs, the search resumes. In other news, Louisa and I got to try out the fancy nursing suite at Great American Ballpark. Never have I felt so pampered while feeding my baby!

Waiting for Louisa to sleep so I could sleep

On Saturday, Max stayed with my mom and sister while Victor, Louisa, and I enjoyed a leisurely coffee date at Starbucks. A sweet lady and her husband at the table next to us were quite emotional when they saw Louisa because they're waiting on the arrival of their first grandchild later this summer. Their son is in the Air Force and is stationed in Germany, so they will travel to meet the new babe in August. The grandma-to-be got teary-eyed when she learned more about Louisa and predicted how difficult it would be to leave her new grandson. So sweet--I just love genuine encounters with strangers! After Starbucks, we headed to Walmart for some various items, then we had lunch at Piada before heading home for naps and to get ready for my cousin's graduation party.

My aunts, uncles, and cousins loved meeting Louisa for the first time at the party. Max was shy at first but then enjoyed playing with anyone who would pay attention to him. We were also visited by two cardinals while we chatted on the back deck, which we believe were Grandma Ann (my mom's mom) and Lauren's Grandpa Joe (her dad's dad) stopping by to enjoy the party with us (they say cardinals are representative of a loved one who has passed away).

Lou and Daddy matched

Uncle Pat made Max's pool playing dreams come true

After the party, my sister, her friends, and two of my cousins headed to some bars downtown for some good ol' young adult fun. I sent them this picture and essentially told them to live it up while they could because after marriage and two kids, Saturday nights look a lot different (we watched Pitch Perfect 2--loved it!)

On Sunday, Victor, my mom, the kids, and I went to Washington Park in downtown Cincinnati so Max could play in the fountains. It was such a lovely park and Max had a blast! I wish I had worn my bathing suit so I could have just sat down on the water wall because it was HOT! Looking forward to taking him to more parks like this in our area, as well. 

After naps on Sunday, my sister and her friends came to my mom's for dinner, and Max once again got to have lots of playmates. He's really learning how to ham it up and he'll do pretty much anything if he realizes he can get a laugh out of people.

We actually were on the road by 8:30 AM on Monday to head home (I don't think we've ever been able to leave that early for a road trip since Max was born) and we made really good time. Both kids did great on the drive back, and we were home before dinner. We have begun to make a pit-stop at Cabela's in Wheeling, WV so we can all stretch our legs and walk around. Max never tires of seeing all the animals in the store.

Those animals aren't part of the mural. They're life-size taxidermied figures.

It was a great trip, and I'm looking forward to hopefully another trip back there before the summer is over. The visits are never long enough.

I hope you all had a great week! Hoping to post more in the coming weeks!

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