11 January 2007

I am alive and well

...and tired. We got home from our Christmas vacation this week. I'll tell you all about it - the good and the bad.

The good version:
We left Wednesday morning with presents, snow wear and lots of yummy car food in tow. The kids were hooked up with a DVD player and books and coloring pencils. My husband and I were able to talk to one another uninterrupted in the front seat (except when it came time to feed Sasha). I got to read. A book. A real book. It was a wonderful, beautiful, scenic drive.

When we arrived at my husband's childhood home we were doted with gifts and with love. It had been a long time since we'd had Christmas with family, so we really got spoiled. It seems that there is a significant increase in the number of gifts you get when there are no shipping costs involved. :)

Our second day there I got to have brunch with a few of my favorite bloggers and friends. Among them were Char (our gracious host), Val, DYM, Jane, Sabra, Olivia, and Meadow. Sadly, Miss Stephanie could not make it. And I'm still getting over it.

For New Year's Eve we ate millions of delectable hors d'oeuvres and chatted with extended family guests. Who knew mingling could be so fun? Of course, I took the next day to sleep in and relax. And save up my energy for shopping on the day after that! The girls, my mother-in-law, and I hit 2 of my favortie stores... Gymboree (which yes, I realize is not indigenous to Utah, but I wanted in on that smashing sale!) and Hip and Humble. There was also a quest for baci rolls at a fabulous bakery in town, which was sadly closed.

The kids had their fun in the snow the last couple days we were there... we took them and their cousin sledding. They built a big snowman, made snow angels and had snowball fights. I took about 300 pictures of them, many of which turned out very well - everyone smiling.

We enjoyed Mom's prime rib, pot pie and wassail (served on 3 different occasions, not together :P).

We also visited some of my family, who owns a beautiful home with a very large theater room, which the children really enjoyed. And I got to see my brother, his wife and their 3 month old off to California for an internship.

Our last night there, my husband and I went out. On a date. With FREE babysitting. Ka-ching! We decided to try the Citris Grill. Which was so mmmmmmmmmmm... I had the grilled salmon and he had the pot roast.

It finally came time to leave for home. We were sad, but ready. Mom sent us off with cinnamon bears, Great Harvest bread and some of her delicious homemade strawberry jam. Had a pecan pie fit in our cooler, we'd have taken that as well!

Some pictures:
The bad version (and sadly - the longer, more detailed version):
We left Wednesday morning with a car so full you could hardly see out the rear window. I got to listen to my husband complain incessantly about the number of shoes that were packed, among other things. "We can do laundry while we're there, you know." Which really means "My mom can do our laundry while we're there, you know."

It took a while for the kids to get settled and stop asking "Where are we?" (to which you'd better have an answer... and if there isn't one, and you're somewhere between Waco and whatever comes after Waco, you make one up) and "What's for lunch/dinner/breakfast?"

Our second day of driving we were making pretty good time. Until we got to Rock Springs. At which point we entered the setup to a scene from some horrifying winter flick, I was sure. We lost count of the number of overturned semis we saw off the side of the road. We began counting water bottles and I located all the blankets and coats should we have been left there to die. And wodnered which of my children would be willing to breastfeed, if necessary. Alas, we pulled off the freeway and decided to stay the night in a hotel. There were just a few hours of driving to complete in the morning.

And we did. So we arrived 15 hours later than planned, but in better spirits.

That night my sister-in-law brought her youngest over to welcome us. I hadn't seen my niece since her blessing, and we all know how much a child can change in a year. I was thrilled to see her in all her sweet toddlerness!

The following day my SIL called and told us her oldest child had been throwing up all night long. Oh no, I thought... the kids were so excited to play with her! And playing was going to be a staple in our vacation. But they were just going to have to wait a couple days. Bummer!

Well, a couple days turned into all week as my SIL contracted the bug in the process. It was then that she linked it back to her youngest, who'd thrown up on Christmas night. And had been in contact with our children the night we arrived.

Fast forward to New Year's Day when Drew threw up. Joy to the world! And leaked diarrhea everywhere. Hark the Herald Angels Sing! Needless to say, he spent the rest of his vacation under a blanket, in the basement, in front of the tv, with a bucket beside him, while dh and I traded hours staring at him.

As we watched the weather forecast throughout the week, it became increasingly obvious that we'd need to leave a day earlier than we'd originally planned. There was another storm blowing in and we wanted nothing to do with it! So Wednesday night, after Drew seemed to be feeling better, we made a whirlwind trip out to see some of my family and hurried back to exchange gifts with my husband's brother and fiancee, who'd just gotten back into town. My SIL's family was finally feeling better too, so they came over as well and we snapped pictures of the kids and tried to make up for lost time.

We stayed up late packing so we could leave first thing in the morning. At which point Drew throws up again. And then snow began to fall. And fall. Several hours before expected. And we realized we'd be extending the trip rather than shortening it.

That night on our date, before we even had a chance to order dessert, we got a call from Mom saying that Jonah had thrown up. All is calm, all is bright! We rushed home to find him sacked out in the basement lying exactly as Drew had just nights before.

The next day we had to leave. It was the weekend and my husband had no more vacation days left (plus, we had overstayed our welcome). We had exactly the number of days we needed to get home. We were mostly packed, so getting ready to leave the next morning was a breeze. Thank goodness.

Jonah made it through the night only throwing up once, but we got to wake up to the sound of Sasha heaving in her pack-n-play. Glo-oooo-o-oooo-o-oooo-oria! Still we piled into the car. And as if it wasn't full enough when we arrived, we had to cram in buckets, rags, and paper towels for the much anticipated vomit fest.

An hour into the trip Jonah already needed a change of clothes. Another hour goes by, I wanted to change clothes (thanks to Sasha, bless her heart), but dh encouraged me to "use a wet wipe". And so the day goes, stopping again and again. Our grand total of driving mileage that first day? 300.

Everyone was grateful for a place to lie down for the night and we splurged on a nice hotel. I think we deserved it. Throughout the night I fed Sasha in small increments... 2 minutes every half hour is about all she could tolerate. And when she didn't want anything, I hand expressed into a cup. And watched for signs of dehydration. And learned that I hand express pretty well, but that bruised feeling boobs the following day is not so pleasant. Some good that big fluffy, comfortable, expensive bed did me, lol!

Day two, we continued on in our routine of puking, stopping, changing, deoderizing the car and anti-bacterializing our hands. The only highlight of which was that Jonah actually made it into the bucket! Woot! And my husband actually let me change clothes as poor Sasha did not (make it in the bucket). I had to fight for it, though. The clean clothing. The conversation went something like this: "Honey, pull over, I need to change." "Can't you just wipe it off?" "No, I've had these clothes on since yesterday afternoon anyway. They're dirty." "What about yesterday's clothes? They should be dry by now." "Um, they were still puked on. I just want clean clothes, please." "Well, if I can reach one of my shirts here, how about you just wear that over what you have on." "NO, I JUST WANT CLEAN CLOTHES, PLEASE!" What's a girl gotta do to not turn heads, er noses, at every rest stop in America? Sheesh!

At this point we were just over halfway home. My husband called in for a comp day and we chilled in another nice, comfy hotel room for the night.

Things finally began looking up. Sure, my son hadn't eaten a thing in over 2 days and was looking pretty gaunt. I was terribly engorged. But nobody had thrown up in 12 hours or so, so I considered that a positive sign.

We plummeted through New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas and rolled into our driveway around 8:30pm at night. We'd made up for almost half of our trip that day, which was a considerable improvement in driving time!

So yes, there were some highs and many lows to our winter vacation. But when we got home, we realized that half of us had stayed healthy and we'd made it home safely, sans ice and snow. It would really have helped if I'd remembered these small positive things on the road. I lost my cool more times than I care to admit. But hindsight is often the keenest. And I am grateful to at least have that!


QueenMeadow said...

I'm so glad you made it back safely. I've been thinking of you.

Sounds like a really long trip home, but its over now :)

Morning Glory said...

You poor thing! I remember trips with similar experiences and it's NO FUN. Traveling across Wyoming in the winter can be like living in the twilight zone. It's awful and we got stuck in a blizzard there too.

So glad you're home safe and sound.

Char said...

Holy cow, woman! Glad you're home safely and can wear all the clean clothes you want.

MelnHead said...

Oh no!! Well, you're home now-- and welcome back! :)

Oh, why did I not know you were in Texas? I'm so sad!! I'll be back hoem for a month this summer.. ;)

Tracey said...

Hmmm.. I like the first version better. Sorry about the puking! We had that over Christmas, too. I think every family had a version of it. But not with the wonderful travel included!!

Rachelle said...

So glad you made it back ok! The pics are adorable!

Emily said...

Oh that does not sound fun! Glad you made it back (finally).

Lee said...

Holy cow. I am glad you guys are home, safe and sound. Hope you can have a nice week or two of just recoup and rest time.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I think you have definitely earned a vacation from your vacation.

It sounds like you handled everything really well, though ... I think I would have lost it the first day on the road home with everyone puking!

Glad to have you back!

emlouisa said...

So um. Next time are you flying???

:) Sorry the drive home was so awful! I was sick when I heard about it. Glad they are doing well now!!!

The Daring One said...

I'm glad you came. It was so fun to meet you. I wish we'd actually conversed but your friends were all too funny. I was having fun just paying attention to everything that was going on around me.

txmommy said...

the first story sounds lovely.
Sorry about the reality check.

I HATE the drive from TX to UT. We've made it twice this year both times w/ kids throwing up. SIgh.

glad you're home

utmommy said...

I'm so so sorry. Vomit and travelling don't mesh well. Glad you all made it home safely.

Nicole said...

Oh my! I am glad that you made it home.

sheri said...

Yikes! Isn't being home the best?! (and my Grandma totally lives near Waco. Well, she lives in Gatesville. Waco is where we went to go to *real* stores and restaurants, lol)
Love the pictures, too!!

Zoe said...

Wow. I thought that my vacation was interesting. I hope that you are not sick now!

Today, as we all went to the doctor's office (two with croup- the rest with head colds) I thought, "this is what I get for flying with small children". Humm, driving doesn't seem like it would have been any better. Sorry Lei.

Maine Mom said...

This is the second account I've read and our own family experience of going to Utah for Christmas and vomiting is involved! All but one of our children got sick in Utah during our Christmas vacation...resulting in less playtime with cousins :-( Our 3 year old was throwing up the night before we flew back home, but thankfully she was fine the day we flew. I'm glad you finally made it home. What a trip back you had!