We live in sunny San Diego, and for those of you who don’t know… I hate it! And since neither of us has family within 3 hours, we decided to drive 5 hours and visit Brad’s extended family in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving! I’ve never met most of them, so I was really excited to make new bonds of friendship.
If you read About Me, you have a brief idea of the leaps and bounds of craziness that is my relationship. Because of our introduction to this relationship, and our surprise Pookie, it should come as no surprise that neither one of us had the opportunity to get to know the other’s family. Which, honestly, I didn’t mind. I found that meeting the families has caused a lot of tension in past relationships and really has never done too much good. I’ve always thought of relationships as a secret between the two people, so I never felt the need to involve a lot of family members. But, now that we are a family, I want Vienna to know as much of our extended kin as possible.
Seeing as this is the first year celebrating holidays with our baby; I wanted to make it extra special. Although it was bittersweet for me. It was also the first Thanksgiving, in 27 years (I’m 27 years old), that I wasn’t spending with my parents. And as much as I LOVE my new little family, I’m used to my other little family. My old family. Some people aren’t as close to their parents and maybe that’s a better way to live, but we’re close. My parents and I have such a strong bond, that not being with them made me a little sad. But, then again, I was always taught, “if you’re happy, then we’re happy” and I was happy.
Family Itinarary Dreams
- Drive to Las Vegas early Tuesday morning
- Arrive late afternoon, check-in to the Luxor, unpack, sleep
- Wednesday, walk around the strip
- Afternoon/evening visit with the family
- Check-out Thanksgiving Thursday morning
- Enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner with family
- Begin driving home around 5 pm
It looks crazy, especially with a 9-month-old, but we needed to be home Thursday night. Brad had an important exam on Monday and wanted the weekend to focus and study. Being a good partner, I wanted him to be able to decompress from the trip too. My focus was on making the trip as easy as possible, and that meant having everything planned out. I had been trying to get things together for god-knows-how-long, at least I thought I had. It turns out that a job requirement of being a mother is now forgetting everything. What was supposed to be packed, cleaned, and ready to go by Sunday afternoon, I was still finishing late Monday night. As I’m sure you’re surprised, Brad was man-helpful (as in, he wasn’t). Here’s what I packed:
- 6 baby outfits
- 4 bottles
- 3 favorite toys
- 1 can of Similac Pro Formula
- Diapers and wipes
- 3 Outfits for myself and Brad
- Cheap jewelry
- Pack n’ Play, mattress, and sheets
- Baby blankets
- Diaper bag, wallets, purse
- Cell phones, chargers, headphones
On Your Marks, Get Set……Wait
Finally! We were packed and ready to go. But, before we went anywhere, we needed to pack a Fiat 500 with everything, a baby, and two adults. I’ve had this car for years, and nothing, not even the addition of a baby, is going to make me reconsider. I get fabulous gas mileage, it handles the road well, and I can park anywhere! How did we make it work? First, we took out the passenger seat! Yep. No shotgun riding here. The backseat fits me and the baby, but it’s not the most comfortable situation for 5-hour long road trips.
If I didn’t love the drive to Vegas so much, I would have just sat in the back. But, it’s my favorite drive, and I wasn’t giving up the wheel. Where could I put a 6’3″ colossal man? In the passenger area. I know, it’s not legal, and it terrified me to the core, but I did it anyway. We took a mattress from our foam pack n’ play and laid it on the floor of the Fiat, put a pillow against the back of the car seat, and loaded his majesty up with blankets.
I tried so hard to have everything handled and running smoothly, and in the process, I ended up breaking a nail – badly. I couldn’t go like that. One nail? Broken? No. I ran over to the salon down the road and begged them to fix it. Sure, they would. But, it wasn’t my usual spot. Why does that matter, Margaret? I’ll tell you why. Because they don’t have the same color as the rest of my nails! What should have taken 10 minutes was now taking 45 and my excitement was dwindling. I rushed home, only to find that nothing had been packed into the car! Isn’t that just like a man? Lord knows, my patience was g-o-n-e!
After a well-deserved argument, we hit the road at 11 am instead of 8 am like I had planned. Can 3 hours really make that much of a difference? YES! Not only was Vienna’s nap schedule thrown off, but Brad was more awake than I wanted him to be. More awake equals more complaining, more food, and ultimately more bathroom breaks. I wanted nothing to do with any of that.
People make road trips so difficult. It’s why most people hate them. Take snacks, and any stop better be quick. I’ve driven across the country (in this Fiat) with my mother countless times. We’ve made it in less than 48 hours every time, and we’ve never had an issue. 5 hours was nothing to me, but this time it was with a family, so that was definitely different. But, you know, it wasn’t that bad. We hardly stopped. Vienna only needed a little attention at one point (and 2 diaper changes). I really can’t complain too much.
Family Itenary Reality
Since we left at 11 am our asses didn’t arrive in Las Vegas until 6 pm. By the time we got checked in, and somewhat settled in our room, it was after 8 and I knew Vienna needed to sleep. Yeah, right, like that was going to happen. Here’s how the rest of our trip looked, up till Thanksgiving:
- Check-in at 6 pm
- Unpack clothes, Pack n’ Play, and let Vienna roam around the room
- Grab the stroller and head for the strip
- Deal with an overly tired, super hyper, in awe baby
- Locate food – I’m starving
- Get to bed at 10 (be woken up every 2 hours because the baby is confused about where she’s at)
- Wake up early, head to the hotel buffet
- Drive over to family’s house for a quick visit
- Visit runs long and we’re back at the hotel at 9 pm
- Back to sleep by 11 (for adults) – up again constantly
- Jump up before baby and get STARBUCKS
- Turn on the parade (have man complain about needing more sleep)
- [insert argument here]
- Pack up, call for luggage and car, check out
- Realize it’s too early and walk around the strip
- Now, realize it’s getting late (we’re late) and need to go to
- Thanksgiving dinner
Absolutely nothing went the way it was supposed to, and I’m starting to realize that this chaos is my new normal – for awhile, at least. I don’t really like it. It’s so frustrating. I like to have plans, goals, and everything in a timely order. I’m no timekeeper, that’s for sure. I’m almost never on time and always late, but not by this much! I just miss having some actual control. But see, that’s the thing about families, it isn’t your needs and wants. It’s everyone’s, together. Even before Vienna, things were easier because we were two adults and could figure things out. Now, we revolve around her 99% of the time.
Because I’m the primary caretaker in our family, it drives me CRAZY when Brad can’t read my mind, or just magically know what I need doing. It sounds stupid, and it is, but it’s true. Eventually, things will be more manageable, but for now, I need to continue accepting the craziness because I’m sure I’ll miss it when it’s all gone years from now. Don’t get me wrong, by the time we got to Thanksgiving I was at my “flexibility limit”. Luckily, Vienna encountered her first doggy, Lexi, and fell in love. She got to meet a family who adored her and fell even more in love. And now, she was going to experience her favorite thing in the world – food! I would like to say Part Two will be less hectic, but…….