We're back from vacation and I can honestly say, I think this is the first time that I've ever been more tired upon return than when I left! Vacationing with a baby is definitely a whole different experience than as an adult couple. We did have LOTS of fun though, and I'm so glad we did it!
We visited Myrtle Beach, SC which is over 600 miles away from us. We drove and it's just shy of 11 hours one way. Mark and I have made this trip and stayed in this location a few times before, and I visited as a child with my family, but this was Jack's very first trip! It was also his very first time sleeping away from home, which we were pretty nervous about.
We left really early Friday morning. Our plan was to get the car packed, sleep for a few hours, and then leave. Of course reality laughed at our plans as usual and with the crunch of everything we needed to get accomplished before leaving we were packing the car at about 10pm. Mark finally called it a night and demanded sleep shortly after 11pm. While he slept I continued packing and getting things ready to go. He was doing the driving so I knew I would be able to sleep in the car and I don't do well with "power naps" anyway. A little amount of sleep just makes my body crave sleep more!
When planning the trip we had talked about leaving at Jack's bedtime and driving all night to get there for optimum chances of Jack sleeping through the ride. We had concerns about how he'd do being stuck in a car for so long as we've never attempted a trip like this before. We decided against this option for two reasons: one, we'd arrive much earlier than our scheduled check in time, but also, Mark didn't feel comfortable driving all night with no sleep. It's kind of funny now because he obviously didn't get much sleep on our compromise plan either!
So anyway, Mark slept from about 11pm-1am and then I woke him up as planned. We finished packing the last minute things that I had been working on, scooped Jack out of bed and gathered the essential things from his room that we weren't able to pack until last minute and we were on our way at 1.45am!
When we got in the car Jack was so confused! He was looking at all the stuff packed in the car and pointing and saying "Huh. Huh?". We found out that while traveling with a little one you basically have to bring your whole house. Mark's truck filled up quickly. Last time we made this trip (right before I got pregnant actually!) I think we brought two suitcases and a cooler, total.
We were hoping he'd go right back to sleep since it was the middle of the night, but that wasn't the case. He was up for a while before he conked out again. Basically, he kind of napped on and off the whole car ride. He was awake for much more of the time than we were hoping, but it ended up being totally fine because he hardly made a peep the whole ride! Although... around 4.30am he did start signing "all done" to me (I assume with being in the car!) and I had to unfortunately tell him that we still had a long way to go!
Jack and I caught a few winks of sleep (he more than I...) and we stopped for breakfast around 8am. We changed his diaper, his clothes (we put him in the car in his PJs), ate, and refueled and then we were back on the road. Jack spent the rest of the time looking out the window (he's still rear-facing and did just fine), playing with the books and toys I brought to give him in the car, and napping periodically. He was doing so well that when we were able 3-4 hours out from our destination we decided to forgo stopping for lunch as we had planned and continue on. I fed him lunch in the car and when we were about 1 1/2-2 hours away he ended up falling asleep for another little nap so it worked out really well!
Overall, the drive down went beautifully and way better than we were expecting!
When we arrived at the hotel, Jack immediately found his favorite location in the room: the balcony.
This kid was in-out-in-out-in-out the whole time! He must have gone between the room and the balcony 100 times a day! He loved it out there and thankfully he only threw one toy overboard that Daddy had to go retrieve. Oops!
We did plenty of eating (as usual)
|Jack's first hushpuppy|
|He didn't seem overwhelmingly impressed.|
We spent a lot of time at the beach. More than we ever have before, actually. When we went by ourselves we visited the beach, but spent most of the time at the pool, lounging and reading and napping in the sun. Those days are surely gone!
Jack loved the sand and loved to walk all over the beach visiting with people and making friends. I was mildly worried he'd be scared of the ocean (it's kind of big and loud for little people!), but that wasn't a problem. It wasn't his favorite thing, but he didn't seem to dislike it.
Periodically he'd run up to the very edge and let the water get his toes. The funny thing was that he'd watch the surf as it came and went and he'd lean into it so much so that he'd fall over so if he got any closer than the very, very edge, one of us had to make sure to hold him up so he didn't accidentally fall and get a mouthful of water!
|Jack's first visit to the ocean!|
|Standing in the surf with Daddy.|
|And he did a lot of running. Maybe he has a future on the remake of Baywatch?|
|Back to the surf.|
|At least we're all in the picture so you can see we were all there... :-/|
|Playing in the sand!|
My biggest worry going in was sleep! I feared that none of us would sleep for the whole week and we were very pleasantly surprised to find that it really wasn't an issue. He slept in his pack-n-play in his own room. We kept to the same pre-sleep routine as much as possible and brought his white noise machine along.
The first night he did cry for about 10 minutes. I hatehatehate to hear him cry, but I knew that he needed to get settled on his own. After 10 minutes he went to sleep. I thought maybe he'd wake up overnight and get upset again, but we were again pleasantly surprised when he slept clear through!
The next day, we laid him down for a nap at his usual time and he cried for about 10 minutes then went to sleep. He slept for a bit, but was back awake again very quickly. We finally gave up on the nap and went to get him to discover that he had a dirty diaper. Parenting fail. We had no idea that's why he wasn't sleeping as he's never had a dirty diaper in bed before! It was a common theme though as he often woke up on vacation with a dirty diaper. Weird.
The second night, he cried for about 5 minutes before falling asleep, and did the same at nap. By the third day and night he didn't cry at all, he just laid right down and went to sleep. It was a much easier transition than we were expecting and we were very happy that it went so well! He didn't get quite as much sleep as usual, he was up a little earlier and didn't take quite as long naps, but overall we all got enough sleep, it went smoothly, so I'm certainly not going to complain!
The one hiccup that we did have was on the 4th day of our trip. We woke up and had breakfast and Jack played in the room for a short time, then we got ready to head to the beach as usual. We got to the beach and Jack was unhappy, kind of fussy, and didn't seem to want to be there. He was sitting with Mark and laid his head on Mark's chest and looked like he was getting sleepy, which we thought odd as we had only been up a short time. We were just discussing whether we should just let him chill out like that for a while, or if we should head back up to the room to let him rest and then he threw up all over the place! Well... all over Mark really. Not fun.
So, we headed back up to the room, popped him in the shower, and then he sat with me wrapped in a towel out on the balcony. All he wanted to do was snuggle, which is very unlike him these days. We knew he was feeling badly, and very shortly after he got out of the shower it was clear that he had a low-grade fever going on. ::cue panic::
Of course Mark and I were worried that he was getting sick. We were worried how sick he would be, how the rest of our trip was going to go, how the drive home would go with a sick kid, what we were going to do with a sick kid in a hotel room half a day away from home.
So we did the only thing that we could do, we snuggled and eventually we moved inside to our bed. Jack laid with us for a bit just watching TV and then he fell asleep on the bed. Again, very unlike him as of late. He's at an age where he's so excitable there's no way he'll just fall asleep with stuff going on around him, but sleep he did. We took it easy that day and stayed in. He just snuggled and slept on and off all day long. Late afternoon he woke up and threw up again (on Mark... again. Somehow I came away unscathed, good boy!) and then he went back to sleep. His low-grade fever persisted. Early evening he woke up and seemed to be feeling better. He didn't feel as hot and got down from the bed to play for a bit. Despite sleeping all day, he was ready to go to bed at the same time as usual.
We were worried he'd be up overnight feeling sick again, but he woke up the next morning and seemed totally fine! It was like it had never happened at all. It was really strange, but we sure were thankful! So we took it easy a second day and instead of going to the beach, we popped him in the stroller to walk around and do some casual shopping. He was totally fine the rest of trip! Phew!
The trip home was uneventful. He was a little more agitated than when we were heading down. He was still really great and managed the trip well, but we did stop for both breakfast and lunch to give him a break from being in the car.
We're SO glad to be home (Jack included. I know he missed his bed!) and although we made some great memories we really could use a vacation from vacation!