Friday, July 31, 2009

First Family Vacation: Day One

Sunday afternoon, our little family left our humble abode and set off on our first family vacation. Our original intention had been to travel to California during this week to visit Josh's aunt and uncle that moved there recently, but after thinking about Eli on a plane, in a confined space, for 5-6 hours, we changed those plans. As of the Wednesday before our trip, we knew that we wanted to go to Destin, FL, but we didn't know where we would stay when we got there. I wanted to do a beach trip because I absolutely LOVE the beach. Unfortunately, Josh doesn't like it at all, but he conceded and said that if I could find a good deal on a condo we would go. I spent every waking moment (at least it seemed like that) for three or four days scouring the internet for condo deals in Destin, FL, only to find out that it's really hard to find a condo available for rent four days before you want to be there. Finally, when it seemed like my eyes would forever cross from staring at the computer screen, I found a great deal on a condo just 300 yards from the beach in a nice little resort called Tops'l Beach and Raquet Resort. Do I play tennis, you ask? Ha! Not at all! But, beggars can't be choosey, so we made reservations and began packing for our trip to Destin.

Josh's mom, Sue or Zue-Zue, came with us to help with Eli. We knew that Eli would not be on the beach for more than 45 minutes to an hour and we needed someone to watch him so we could stay out on the beach a little longer than that. Sue hadn't been on a vacation in about 20 years and was excited about getting to see a new place. Plus, she didn't really care about getting a tan, so she said she wouldn't mind coming to watch Eli for us.

Sunday afternoon, we loaded up our bags and set off for Destin, FL. One of my friends, Cheryl, has taken several trips with her baby, who is six weeks older than Eli. They have always traveled at night during Brody's normal sleeping time to make things easier on them. We decided to try this with Eli and I'm happy to say it worked like a charm! We left around 4:30 and stopped for supper at 7:00. We gave Eli his last bottle, changed him into his jammies, and turned Praise Baby on for him to watch to relax. Since he's still rear-facing, he has to watch the DVD through the reflection in his mirror, but it still worked! He didn't move an inch the entire time. Finally, once he was relaxed, he dozed off and slept until we arrived in Destin around 11:30 that night.

"Woo Hoo! Road trip!"

Ready for his first vacation

Entranced by Praise Baby
(Nicki and I refer to it as "baby crack")

The plan was for us to take all the luggage to the condo while Sue stayed with Eli in the car. Josh and I got everything unloaded for the final trip up there when we heard a squeal of delight from the backseat. Eli had decided to wake up and he thought it was time to play! We got to the condo and he immediately took off exploring everything and finding new things that would make Mommy and Daddy say, "No!".

Checking out the fake bamboo tree

"When they're not looking, I'm SO going to climb this thing!"

"Drat! Mommy caught me!"

Off to explore something else

For a last minute reservation, we were VERY pleased with our condo. The furnishings were very nice. We were so pleased. We put everything up that needed to be put away for the night and left the rest of the stuff for the morning; we were so tired and really wanted to go to sleep, but a certain little boy had his second wind and was ready to play, play, play. I thought I could trick him into going to sleep again, by doing his normal night time routine with him, so I gave him a bath, put his jammies back on, and gave him a little bottle. It worked! He went to sleep and so did the rest of us. We knew that we would have a very busy, fun-filled day the next morning!

Guest room

Guest bathroom


Dining room

View from living room

Living room
(Those pictures stressed me out all week!)

Living room

Check out Eli's rent-a-crib on the left. He hated it! We would lay him in the crib sound asleep, his hand would feel that thin mattress, he'd start patting it as if to say, "This is NOT my bed!", and then he'd proceed to stand up and cry. We should have taken the pack-n-play as a back up because he spent most nights with us in our bed. He always started out in his crib, but usually during the early morning hours when I couldn't get him to settle down again, I'd finally cave and just let him snuggle with us. We're trying to get back into our normal routine, now that we're back home. This taught us a lesson though...always have a back-up crib!

Master bathroom

Master bedroom

Master bedroom
(the door on the right leads you out to the balcony)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Trip: Part 2 "Trip Back Home"

Sunday morning Eli woke up and we discovered that short hair gives you a challenge to style after sleeping on it all night :) I love waking up and seeing my little boy's face for the first time! It's the best thing in the world to wake up and see him smiling at me from his crib.

We were kind of lazy that morning, but eventually we did start getting ready for church. My brother, Uncle Josh, had just finished eating his cereal and Eli decided he wanted to check the bowl for him to make sure he ate all his food. Eli is still working on his next tooth, so anything he picks up in his hands goes straight into his mouth to chew. He seemed to particularly enjoy this spoon this morning.

"You saving that piece for later?"

My church has a wonderful nursery, but once again I was hesitant to put him there when he knows absolutely none of the workers. I didn't want him to get upset because I was leaving him with strangers, so we brought him into the worship service with us. He really did very well. The music definitely caught his attention and he decided to shout his own "Hallelujahs" a couple of times, which resulted in several stares from some of the members. Luckily, with 2500 people in attendance, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where a noise is coming from, so it wasn't too bad. Pastor D had just started to preach when Eli got really sleepy. I grabbed him and his bag and we were going to go to the cry room, but it was locked, so we decided to hang out in the coffee lounge instead. My church just went through a huge building project to add what they call KID CITY to our church and one of the things they added before you get to KID CITY is this coffee lounge for the parents and a HUGE play area for the kids. My intent was to rock Eli to sleep while watching Pastor D on TV, but that didn't happen. There was way too much going on, especially when 50 kids started playing in the play area. Eli was fascinated and didn't sit still for a minute.

Needless to say, Eli was pooped after church. He got in the car and one the way to Applebee's he drank his bottle and went fast asleep. He was still asleep when we got to the restaurant, so while my parents acquired a table, I sat with Eli while he finished his bottle. When he finished, I delicately transferred him to his stroller and he stayed asleep again! That's twice this weekend! WOW!

He did great at the restaurant again. He slept for about 30 minutes and then woke up and was ready for some baby food. He kept his eyes on our plates the entire time we were there and Dad finally succumbed to the pressure and gave his some tiny pieces of a french fry. Eli gobbled that up so fast! He loved it! I brought a banana with us to the restaurant because I wanted to try giving him some pieces of it and letting him feed himself. He did really well and managed to get a few pieces into his mouth. He seemed to really enjoy feeding himself the bigger chunks so we'll have to start branching out with some other soft foods that he can feed himself. Any suggestions from my blog followers?

We got home and while I packed all our stuff in the van, Eli got to swim one last time in the pool with Pop. My plan was to tire him out so he would go right to sleep in the car so we wouldn't have to stop at all on the way home. He loved swimming with Pop. We're going to have to get the boy a swimming pool one day because he loves it so much. At one point, Grammy came to get me so they could show me Eli's new trick. They put him on the side and Pop stood right in front of him. Grammy let go and Eli would lunge and then fall into Pop's arms. He kept doing it over and over and over. He was enjoying it so much that he hated having to get out of the pool when it was time to go. He would have stayed in that pool all day if he could have!

We got on the road and after a quick trip to Sonic for a drink and a bottle feeding we got on the road. I looked in the rearview mirror and this is what I saw...ahhh, the sound of sweet silence.

He slept this way all the way to Monroe and then things went downhill FAST! He was tired of traveling, tired of the car, tired of the car seat, tired of Mommy singing to him to get him to calm down, tired of not seeing anyone, tired of having to entertain himself, and ready to get O-U-T! We stopped at Pier One because I knew they had lots of furniture that Eli could jump on to help release some energy. He loved it until 30 minutes later Mommy put him back in that stupid car seat for the rest of the trip home. He decided to pay me back though in the form of wailing and crying most of the hour and a half trip home. He didn't cry the entire time, thankfully, but that was due in part to Gerber Puffs. They satisfy a crying baby like nothing else :) We now never leave the house without those things :) They're MAGIC!

We made it home safe and sound. Eli was so happy to see his daddy and his daddy was so happy to have his family back home. Even though it was about an hour past his bedtime, we let Eli play for about 30 minutes so he could get some energy out before going to sleep for the night, and play he did! Oh my gosh! That kid went crazy :) Josh asked me what I had given him, but Eli was just so happy to be home and be around his own toys. He kept going in circles around the living room checking everything out. It was so funny! I am so glad we were able to make this trip. We had so much fun visiting with my parents. I can't wait until we go again!

Swimming with Pop

Saturday night while Uncle Caleb and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie (REALLY LIKED IT!), Eli got to hang out with Pop, Grammy, Uncle David and all the fur children! I got back to Mom and Dad's house and Mom said that Eli had a blast swimming in the pool with Pop and Emily. Mom and Dad have this little fountain that floats around in the pool and Emily chased Eli with it and he loved it. He kept reaching his hand out to touch the water as it was spraying up in the air. He worked up quite an appetite after all that swimming and ate his supper by the pool again (that really made for easy clean-up when he was finished!). Mom and Uncle David took lots of videos of Eli at the pool that night. I'll try to put them on here in a separate post. In one of them he kept "talking" every time someone would say "Pop". I'm so glad Grammy and Pop got to enjoy some time with Eli :)

Trying to catch the fountain

Uncle David chillaxin' by the pool

Annabelle trying to help Eli with his float

Boardwalk Fun

After Eli and Grammy both got their new hairdos, we met my Dad at McAlister's for lunch (Audra, I finally got their signature sweet tea I've been wanting!). Eli has gotten so much better about eating out with us at restaurants. Josh and I haven't tried it alone, yet, but after this trip to S'port, I think we may be able to handle it. Eli sits so great in the highchair now and as long as you keep him supplied with puffs, he is one happy camper. Eli has also started to figure out that restaurants equal new exciting foods for him to try. We ordered our food and when it was brought to us, we all had a dill pickle spear on our plate. I LOVE pickles. Seriously, they're an addiction. When I was a freshman in college, my grandfather bought me a huge jar of pickles for Christmas. You would have thought I won the lottery the way I reacted over those pickles! Anyway, just like any good pregnant woman, I consumed my fair share of pickles, olives, banana peppers, and all other kinds of sodium loaded foods. I decided to give Eli a pickle so I could see what his reaction would be. I figured he would pucker up his lips, squint his eyes, and make a face, but this is what happened instead...

Okay, so you can't see the joy that was all over his face in this picture, but trust me, he LOVED them! In fact, right after this picture, he used his little chompers to bite off a piece of pickle, giving me quite a scare and prompting me to dig it out of his little mouth. He did that twice and after the second bite, I decided that pickles would have to wait for now. I'm too scared he's going to choke. Guess those pickles I ate when I was pregnant did have an effect on him. Too bad Poppy (my grandfather) isn't here to see this. He would have been tickled to know that his great grandson loved pickles just as much as granddaughter. :) Eli might have even gotten a big jar of pickles for his first birthday, too!

After McAlister's, we all drove to the Boardwalk for some shopping. The weather was so nice and I also wanted Eli to get to experience riding the carousel they had there. After all the excitement of the morning, Eli was sound asleep within minutes of leaving McAlister's and stayed asleep when we got to the Boardwalk and even when we transferred him to his stroller. I was convinved someone had switched my baby, because my child has NEVER done that. The moment you go to move him, he usually wakes up, but not this day!

This was Eli after we got to the Boardwalk. Still sound asleep! Woo Hoo!

We went to Children's Place and I picked up a couple of onesies (you can never have enough of those!) before Eli woke up with big smiles all over his face. His 30 minute power nap worked! Since he was in such a good mood, I decided to capitalize on that and let him ride the carousel.

Eli's first carousel experience was in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago, and he had fun, but after the third trip around he was pretty much done with just sitting on a tiger that didn't move. We switched up the game plan this time and I found an animal that did move. What says "We live in Louisiana and we're proud of it!" more than a crawfish? Eli didn't mind at all; in fact, he was so excited and surprised when he discovered that the crawfish moved up and down. This carousel ride went so much better :) I didn't want Grammy and Pop to miss out on all the fun, so Eli got to ride the carousel two more times with each of them. Can you say spoiled rotten? No, not really. He LOVED it and I'm so glad Mom and Dad got to experience it with him :) I bet the carousel operator was disappointed when we left. She probably looked at us and saw "SUCKERS" written all over our foreheads.

1st time around with Mommy on a crawfish

He did this with each of us. He wanted to see what made the figurines
go up and down. Maybe we have a little engineer on our hands :)

2nd time around with Grammy on a zebra

3rd time around with Pop on a horse

Pop rode on the horse and let Eli sit with him.
Eli took advantage of that and proceeded to do tricks.
"Look, Mommy! No hands!"

"I can ride backwards, too!"

We shopped a little more and then headed to Cold Stone Creamery for a yummy treat. Poor Eli, all he got was a bottle of formula that he didn't want at all, so he settled for some ice water out of a straw from Grammy. He really wanted all of our smoothies, but mine had strawberries in it and our pediatrician told us to stay away from those for awhile (just in case of allergies); Mom's was a coffee flavored smoothie and you all know that my child does not need any extra energy; and Dad's was some sort of cheesecake concoction that was loaded with lots of sugar. So, in the end, he had to settle for his water. He didn't seem to mind and his favorite part was when he got to keep a straw and chew on it. I bent down to get some of his stuff together so we could leave and this is what I found. How funny! I had Mom take a picture real quick so I could blog about it (everything in my world is blog worthy, I've come to realize).

Getting some sugar from Grammy

Eli was tired and ready to go, but I wanted to do the traditional fountain picture that everyone does when they're at the Boardwalk. Unfortunately for me, all Eli wanted to do was to climb in the fountain, so those pictures didn't turn out quite so well. I'm smiling though :) I settled for a couple of pictures under this tree and these two turned out cute. If you look closely at the last picture, you'll see a family to our left. They were doing fountain pictures, too, when one of their kids actually fell in the fountain completely! Notice they are all staring at something? That would be their daughter's shoe that was about to go off the waterfall in the fountain. When we left, they were debating who was going to go in the fountain to retrieve the shoe. Why, oh, why, do I have images of me having to retrieve my SON from this same fountain one day? :)

I had a death grip on him because he was fighting so hard to "get" the water!

"Umm, can I go in now?"

"Mommy, why are you smiling?"
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