Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On The Road Again

Most years I raise funds for an event that benefits research and treatment of women's cancers. The top fundraising prizes are airline tickets, which is a really nice perk. Last year I took Logan to San Antonio to stay with good friends. This year I decided to take Hayden, who had been very excited for weeks about this trip. A few days before we left, Fillip told Logan they may go up to Davis while Hayden and I were gone. He got so excited, turned to me and said "I go Devis Daddy!" and did a little happy jig. Neither of us realized he had a happy dance in him and it was really cute. We both feel that the kids can benefit by some one-on-one time, and their response only confirmed that.

Fillip and Logan dropped us at the airport, and I held it together really well as I kissed my baby goodbye for the next few days. Both boys were very excited about their respective trips. Logan was excited to hit the road with Daddy (little did he know that would mean 5 hours in the car!) and Hayden felt like Mr. Independent to be in charge of his own rolling suitcase all through the security checks. He wasn't too happy that he had to put his shoes back on after the security check, but overall weathered the process well. We stopped for snacks, toys and gossip magazines for me, getting to the gate with a few minutes to spare. He had been asking for days about how we actually get on the airplane, and loved the jetway. The concept of an assigned seat stumped him at first, but not for long. I was concerned about the 2 1/2 hour flight, especially when he immediately rejected all the things I had brought to occupy him. However, the snacks, drink service, and window shade were pretty much enough to keep him content. The bathroom kind of freaked him out, but he got through it, and didn't hesitate to use it again on the way back. Despite my concerns, Hayden was terrific on the flight.

We arrived at San Antonio to be greeted by Gina and Brenna. It's always emotional for me to see her since it is so rare. The four of us collected our baggage and headed out. First stop was a sports grill, where we introduced Hayden to good ol' bbq chicken wings. Rejected. Oh well. It was really late for him, and I didn't expect him to eat much. I, however had no problem with the wings or the breaded fried mushrooms. Mmmm!! Once we got to Gina and Jim's house, Hayden enjoyed free reign while he got acquainted with Brenna (2 1/2) and Korbin (1 1/2). He got to feel extra big since Korbin is so much younger, even though Brenna is older than Logan. (Got all that?) He stayed up for a little bit, then went to bed without a problem, probably relieved to finally sleep. Once I went to bed, I had hoped for a restful night, and sleep in a bit. Hah!! Hayden is a very restless sleeper. I felt bad, but when I still hadn't slept at all by 4am, I settled him on the floor so I could get a least a couple hours of sleep. I wanted him to stay up fairly late to keep him on his Pacific Time zone schedule. He had no problem with that, but woke up bright and early San Antonio time anyway.

Most of our first day was spent hanging out around the house in our sweatpants. It was such a great change from our normal hustle and bustle. The kids played very nicely together, and Hayden was quite solicitous toward the other two. They watched some movies, played in the backyard and we even all took a walk. I took advantage of Gina's kindness and even took a walk all by myself. They live in a beautiful neighborhood with brick facade houses that just look like a postcard. Meals came and went as did the usual naptime struggles. I won- after an hour and a half of persistance, Hayden konked out until dinnertime. Yippee!! I got to sleep too! By dinner I was a bit stir crazy, so we headed to one of their favorite local joints. The food is what I consider good southern fare (keep in mind, I've never been to the South, making my opinion pretty useless), but the big draw is the giant sandbox outside on the patio deck. We sat enjoying margaritas while the kids had a blast building and knocking down sandcastles. For the first time ever, I ordered chicken fried steak. It wasn't bad, better than the fried pickles, but I'm not sure I need to try that again. After dinner we headed back to the house to help the kids bake some brownies and play some more. Sadly, Brenna had caught a nasty stomach bug that dispersed us all for the evening. That poor little girl was so sick, and I felt bad for all of them as they comforted her and continuously cleaned their sofa cushions. I got Hayden to bed as much because it was late as because I wanted him out of the way. I then spent the evening finishing a novel and trying to stay out of the way as well. Nobody made me feel like a nuisance, but I do know how stressful it is when your kids are actively sick. Having houseguests can't help.

The next day it was just me, Gina and Hayden heading out to see some of the San Antonio sights. I felt obligated to bring Hayden to the Alamo, but we didn't spend much time there. He was so bored. We walked through quickly, bought Logan a Davy Crockett hat (like Logan and I had bought one for Hayden there), and made our way down to Riverwalk. Now, I absolutely love Riverwalk. It is such a neat concept. Hayden enjoyed the water features leading down to the the main area, but moving forward didn't exactly hold his interest. He was hot and tired, and not very cooperative. We finally got down there and settled at a little Italian restaurant for lunch. Once he was refreshed with a cold drink, with his favorite pizza on the way, he was a much happier boy. He loved watching the boats go by and seemed to enjoy himself. Gina and I shared a crisp fresh antipasto salad and an absolutely delicious grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. After all that fried food, it was a very nice change. One snow cone and a lot of prodding later, we headed back to the house for naps.
Brenna seemed to be feeling much better so the kids continued to play, eat dinner and enjoy each other's company. Jim was kind enough to watch all three so Gina and I could hit the town for some Girl Time. We didn't get out until after 10:30pm because Hayden and I both wanted me there while he went to bed. However, even at that late hour we took our pre-revelry pic, enjoyed a delicious sushi dinner, then some live music at a local club. It was almost like old times when we would party hard and dance the night away. Almost. Conversation has switched from parties and boyfriends, to husbands and birth experiences. However, Gina is one of those people I can spend endless relaxed hours with, talking about everything or nothing.

The next morning was uneventful as I got us packed and ready to go. We hung around outside with the kids for awhile. Hayden was amazing at getting himself and Brenna going on the swinging seesaw. She just held on tight enjoying every second. Later in the morning we headed to the airport, with Hayden again smoothly navigating the security checkpoints, and picking out airport treats. He loved the Texas size jelly beans and choosing something new to play with. We found our seats on the plane, and again his behavior was stellar. I had bought him a deck of cards and it was so fun to teach him how to play the card game War. He totally got it, calling out which cards were bigger, then laying them out when they matched. Fillip and Logan weren't arriving home until late that night, so Hayden and I hung out with the neighbors, got my car cleaned out (which any of you who know me also know what a big and overdue project that was!), went grocery shopping, and had a couple rounds of Candyland. (Hayden won.) What was interesting to me, was despite having a fantastic weeked away together, I was much more relaxed at home, enjoying simply being with Hayden. The trip itself was great, and I am so glad we went. I love Jim and Gina and miss them tremendously. It was wonderful of them to let us stay in their beautiful home, making us part of their family for the weekend.

Fillip and Logan got in around 10:30pm. Logan was a sleepyhead, but quickly woke up to play with me for a few minutes. It felt so good to hold him and hear his chatter. He and Fillip had a fabulous time as well, sharing their many stories about the family friends they played with all weekend. We are lucky in so many ways- to have these friends to visit as family and to have boys that adapt to new situations so wonderfully.

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