We were on vacation in Minnesota and Wisconsin for 8 days and 7 nights. By the 7th night I could've stored all our luggage in the bags under my eyes. I don't think I'll ever again take Ben on vacation without Heath. My parents, Ian and Bekah were a huge help, but there are times when he only wants Mommy or Daddy. And when Daddy's not around, it all falls on Mommy. It didn't help that his sleep schedule got all messed up, so he never went to bed before 8:30pm and never woke up after 5:45am. All. Week. Long. Heath joined us for my cousin's wedding on the weekend, and I had never been so excited to see him, although my joy was masked by my crushing fatigue.
That being said, I'm glad we went. Ben got to spend time with his great-grandparents, his great-aunts and uncles and various other relatives. He also got to spend a lot of time with his Oma and Opa, Uncle Ian and Aunt Bekah, which is great because he'll be all the the more comfortable with them come November, when Mommy and Daddy are going to Hawaii BY THEMSELVES (can you tell I'm just a wee bit excited about that? not only about relaxing on the beach and spending time together, but just the thought of packing for a trip and NOT having to pack for a toddler makes me giddy).
I feel like Ben grew up on this trip. He's not really a baby anymore. He can't walk just yet, but he's so close it'll be any second. And his diet expanded significantly. It was like all of a sudden he couldn't get enough of solid food. He was introduced to the concept that on vacation you eat a lot of junk. He had his first tastes of ice cream, Jell-o, french fries and blueberry muffins. We also discovered that the kid is a carb freak. We did not find his threshold for eating bread. As far as we know, he'll continue eating it indefinitely. I guess he won't be going on Atkins anytime soon.
Once again, Ben proved what a tremendous traveler he is. He did spectacularly well in the car and the frequent changes in environment didn't seem to throw him too much. By the end of the week you could tell he was wiped out, so by the day of my cousin's wedding he was pretty grouchy. The people sitting in front of us got a nice recitation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar about a dozen times during the ceremony. However, the kid is a trooper. And on Sunday he found out just how wonderful it is to come home after a long trip. He was so excited to be home. He crawled around examining everything and squeaked with joy, as if to say, "I never thought I'd see you again!"
It's been nice to be home this week, but we've had trouble getting back on schedule. Ben is resisting naps and putting him to bed at night is horrible. We're back to letting him cry it out and it's been 30-60 minutes (or more) before he finally falls asleep. I think it's because Heath usually puts him to bed and after being away from him for a week Ben's afraid he'll be gone again. It's really sweet and it shows how much he loves his daddy, but it's very stressful for all of us.
Just to end on a pleasant note, I'll share my favorite memory from the week: It was Saturday morning and when I woke up Heath and Ben were lounging on the other bed. I joined them and we all just snuggled for a while, happy to be together again. It was one of those moments that makes you feel all the other crap is totally worth it.