Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fun times in Nebraska! (Aside from car trouble and sleep-less nights, of course)

Tory and I are home from a week-long trip to Nebraska. I'm fantastically lucky to go home and see my family as often as I do. Those trips are the best distraction from real life when Andi's traveling for work. Week-long solo parenting = so lonely. So, I booked this trip months ago when I realized Andi would be gone and arranged my cousin's baby shower and niece's first birthday celebration to coincide with my visit.

The thing about traveling with a toddler who thrives on a schedule is, sometimes we have the best time and I'm very let's do this again a million times over! and other times I'm stuck in sleep-hell with a fussy and over-tired child who seems super high maintenance to the family members who don't see her on her home turf very often. Unfortunately, on this trip Tory was a complete wreck between the hours of 6pm - 6am. (Good lord, am I a going to pour myself a tall glass of wine after Baby #2 is born. This mama needs it.) In ideal terms, I'd keep Tory on the same schedule she has at home (an afternoon nap and bedtime around 7:30pm) but in my parents small duplex and with all the commotion of family events, people talking and loud noises, it just isn't possible. My Tory Girl is a gentle flower when it comes to sleep and trips away from her cozy bed only make it worse. Thus ensued hours-long inconsolable screaming fits during the nighttime hours. It felt like I had a flailing, floppy infant again which really sent me into a panic about actually adding a second sleep-less child to the mix this winter. (Which, too late. I shall never sleep again, I'm afraid.)

Other than no sleeping and the constant demand for "Mommy," the rest of our trip was great. We celebrated my niece Neeley's first birthday Friday and Saturday nights. It's hard to believe this sweet girl is one year old already. She folded into our family as if she's always been a part of it and is the most easy-going, happy child on the planet. Neeley smiles from ear to ear morning until night and never puts up a fuss about anything. Unless you have a string cheese in your hand, in which case she take a big ol' bite out of your arm to get it. (Tory learned that lesson the hard way).

My nieces Brooke and Neeley

I took a pitiful amount of photos this weekend, so no pictures to share ... but, my sister threw Neeley a "Winnie The Pooh" birthday party over the weekend which was very cute. She made food and decorations for "Neeley's Hundred Acre Woods" with "Tigger Tails" (Cheetos), "Hunny Cakes" (yellow cupcakes with a Teddy Graham cracker on top), a veggie tray from "Rabbit's Garden," and "Piglets in a Blanket" (hot dogs). All the little cousins descended upon Neeley's new gifts, helping her open and play with every single one of them, and the birthday girl didn't mind one bit. Tory was obsessed with Neeley's new CozyCoupe car so I may have to re-think my gift plans and get one for Tory's birthday later this month, too.

Tory and I also met up with my best friend Ashley and her little boy Easton for an afternoon of lunch and shopping while we were back in town. In the last few weeks, Tory has developed a serious love for accessories and insists on wearing her sunglasses, necklace and purse at all times. At one store, she pulled some shoes off the shelf and had to try them on. She is a girlie-girl through and through.

My brother moved into a new apartment while I was back home, so I went along to see him, even though I had no intention of helping him carry boxes in all my pregnant glory. Remember when your entire life fit into the back of a small trailer? Or better yet, the back of a car. My brother's (now) Bronco used to be my dad's and it's packed and unpacked all three of us kids twenty different times at least. My parents are so great, though. They drive to the residence of the moment, load and unload, and never say a word about it.

Adam's move was going smoothly until my dad went to move the Bronco into a parking spot and the entire shifter snapped off the dashboard. Somehow my dad managed to manually place the truck into drive so we could coast the truck back to my parent's hometown auto body shop. Cue a series of musical cars. My parents stayed in Lincoln to finish moving my brother's stuff while my sister drove the broken truck back to my parent's hometown and I followed behind in her vehicle with all the kids in tow. We rolled into the auto body shop parking lot just as the old Bronco stalled completely. My sister then drove all the way back to my brother's apartment to pick up my parents and then back again to drop them off at home. Remember how I said Tory's rigid schedule is hard to keep when we're visiting? Case in point. Everyone was exhausted the next day.

And between all those events, I managed to eat like a bottom-less pit, catch even less sleep as I attempted to spend a few kid-free moments with my family and make fifteen trips to Wal-Mart. So, fairly typical as my trips back home seem to go.

On the flight back to Minneapolis, the airplane wasn't complete full so Tory got her own seat next to the window. It was both glorious to have the extra space (and Tory's wiggly body off my pregnant self) and eye-opening to realize Girlfriend will need some practice sitting in her own seat with seat belt fastened on future trips. We weren't reprimanded by the flight attendant for Tory's constant seat belt unbuckling, but I was waiting for it.

For a few wonderful moments as Tory sat next to me on the plane watching her iPad, I actually read 10 pages of a book which hasn't ever happened in my history of traveling solo with a small child. All the rigmarole of nursing an infant, then occupying a small toddler with snacks and books and please don't scream child! to reading a book peacefully (for two minutes) on the plane. Who would have seen it coming? I couldn't help but think about the next time we fly back to Nebraska at Christmastime. We'll have Baby Aden with us and a whole new adventure of airport madness will ensue ... x TWO.

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