It’s been awhile since I last posted because we’ve been on vacation. Actually, we’ve been on a trip…I’m not quite sure it felt like vacation. :) We spent 11 days driving up to Elko, NV to see Steve, then across to Northern California to see my family, and then up to Toledo, OR to see Gabe’s extended family. I’m so glad we got to do it all, but it was exhausting. I think having a baby along made it more so than it would have been…the first few nights especially were pretty tough, as Jonathan had slept in the car most of the day and so didn’t feel the need to sleep at night. Thankfully it didn’t stay that way through the whole trip!
Poor kid, it’s hard enough for me (as an adult!) to handle 12 hours in the car. Jonathan just couldn’t understand why he had to be in the horrible car seat so much! He was fine in the mornings, especially when we left really early before he was really awake. But afternoons were awful unless we could get him to go to sleep. Gabe and I sang so many songs, and let Jonathan suck on our fingers, and shushed and sang some more and played Pat-a-cake until we couldn’t see straight. And when all else failed we gave up and stopped the car and took him out – which immediately made the world a brighter place until we put him back in.
The days we weren’t driving were lots of fun, though. It was great to see Steve, especially since it seems like most of our efforts to get together with him get thwarted one way or the other! We went hiking in the mountains, with Jonathan in the sling on Gabe’s hip and the diaper bag slung over my shoulder. It was absolutely beautiful, and lots of fun on the way up. The way down wasn’t so great, because I got what I think is altitude sickness, and wasn’t quite sure I was going to make it back down! A dizzy head and shaky knees on a narrow trail on the side of a mountain just aren’t the best. But Gabe and Steve were very sweet and I leaned on Gabe’s arm and made it down ok. I think I’ll stay a tad below 9700 feet in the future. :)
We also went out to see the ranch that Steve’s parents own. It’s a Christian camp out in the absolute middle of nowhere. No kidding…they can’t even get electricity because the closest power lines are 16 miles away. You have to drive for over half an hour on a dirt road just to get there, and that’s after driving the first half hour on a windy paved road through what you think is the middle of nowhere. Nevada is a crazy state.
The time with my family was great. Gabe and I left Jonathan with Mom (who loves being Grandmommy!) and went to the river to have lunch and put our feet in. It was a lot of fun to re-live the memories of when we first went there together, the summer before we got engaged. We also went to Nevada City to wander around town and visit a really cool bookstore. We spent lots of money we shouldn’t have on books, and then topped it off with ice cream on the way back to the car.
We also got to show off our son to his great-grandparents, which was really cool. Grandpa actually held Jonathan for more than a few seconds, which is rather amazing. It’s been the family joke ever since I was born that Grandpa holds the baby for a few seconds, just long enough to look terrified for the picture, and then give him/her back as quickly as possible. But he seems to have relaxed a bit, because he held Jonathan without any visible nerves or trouble at all. We have some great pictures.
Driving through Oregon was an amazing experience. I have never been in such a breathtakingly beautiful place. I kept pointing out the window and saying “look, Gabe, I want to live there.” And then a few minutes later “oh look, I want to live there!” After listening to this for the entire trip, Gabe finally turned to me and said with some exasperation, “Emily, you’ve pointed out thirty places that you want to live!” Actually, I think it was probably a lot more than thirty…at least I’d be easy to please up there, right?
My very favorite was a lovely large farmhouse, dark brown, set far enough back in the trees that you could only just see it from the road. There was a meadow beside the house, surrounded by trees, and a creek running alongside. It looked like the perfect place to raise children…just think of the fun and learning that could happen with a meadow to pasture goats and maybe a horse in, and a creek to wade in and catch tadpoles and minnows, and trees to climb and, and, and! When I picture my daydream family and home, it is in a place like that: homeschooling, teaching my children to love the outdoors and never feel the need for TV, helping them learn responsibility and compassion by taking care of animals, running around playing hide and seek in the trees.
Ok, back from my dreaming. It was nice to get a chance to meet some of Gabe’s extended family members. I guess technically I’d met them before, because they came to our wedding, but I don’t really remember them. Now I have a much better grasp of who Uncle Dave actually is. :) Grandma Moothart was a wonderfully caring and yet laid back hostess, and she was thrilled to get to meet Jonathan. She gave us a cute set of clothes that fit Jonathan perfectly, and had last been worn by Dad Moothart! We had fun meals in her home and at area restaurants, went walking on the beach (they have sand dunes!) and picked blackberries in the yard. Grandma even made us a blackberry pie!
The drive home was tough, I think particularly because it was the end and we were so tired and I just desperately wanted to be home. I enjoyed all the people on the trip, but after so many days all I wanted was my own house and peace and quiet and the chance to try to re-create some semblance of a schedule for Jonathan. But as long drives go, it really wasn’t too bad. Jonathan slept for much of the two days, and still slept at night without too much trouble, and we spent the night between the long driving days at my parents home again, which was nice. Poor Mom – she didn’t want to give Jonathan up!
Speaking of Mom, she was wonderful with Jonathan and wonderful to Gabe and I. We really got a huge break when we were there, because she just sort of took over and held him a lot. Even when he cried, Mom was right there ready to take him (even in the middle of the night!) It was sort of strange not be the one who always needed to hold him when he cried…I felt a bit displaced for awhile because I didn’t know quite how to be “mom” when Grandma was around! But that only lasted a short time, and then I settled in to enjoy the fact that it wasn’t all on my shoulders for a bit. It was definitely nice.
Before I forget: Jonathan learned how to roll over while we were up in Oregon! He succeeded in rolling from back to tummy, and also from tummy to back. Unfortunately, now that he’s home and back in his big cloth diapers, he doesn’t seem to be able to do it anymore. The diapers seem to be just too much weight and unwieldy bulk to allow him to move as easily as he did in the disposables we used on the trip. But now at least we (and he!) know that he can do it – maybe it’ll just take a bit more time to gain the strength necessary to do it with the diaper.
Jonathan is also laughing now. Not the half-way chuckle of before, but a full-on laugh. And he finds the funniest things funny! Tonight Gabe was trying to get him to roll over, and so he demonstrated it for him by flopping over from his back to his stomach beside Jonathan. For some reason this was the funniest thing Jonathan had ever seen…he laughed every time Gabe did it.
My baby’s laugh is the most wonderful sound in the world. I hope he does it more and more often.
Ok, it’s past my bedtime and I’m exhausted. I’ll blog more later when I can think straight again.