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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Travels and Tribulations

We are in the throes of vacation madness at the moment, so life has been rather hectic on the homefront. And off the homefront. In the 37 days between the beginning of August and mid-next month, we'll have been traveling for 18 of them.

Chris, Emmeline, and I went to Las Vegas earlier this month so Chris could attend a conference. I have family there, so I tagged along, and brought Emmeline so I wouldn't have to worry about pumping or transporting milk. Carys stayed with my parents, much to their mutual delight. Less than week later we left for St. Louis to attend Chris's family reunion (um, have you guys been to City Museum? IT IS INSANE. How is that even a thing? An amazing thing.). Next month we are going to Hilton Head, home of fantastic golfing (for Chris) and family to visit (for me) and beaches and palm trees and all those things Nebraska doesn't have. I cannot wait to take Carys to the beach for the first time.  I'm placing a heap of expectations on that moment. There's no possible way that could go wrong.

Las Vegas was a constant whirlwind of activity - I didn't even get a chance to walk the strip (um....not that way) or even go to the strip at all, except for dinner one night at the Cosmopolitan. Which was fine - this was my tenth time (ish?) in Vegas, so I've seen most of it multiple times.  Although we kept busy, I of course missed Carys. I was happy she was getting lavished with attention back at home, but I kept thinking, "Ah, I wish Carys was here to do/see/taste this!"

While she didn't cry at all on the flight, she was completely freaked out by the noise and vibration.

Borrowed a friend's conference badge to walk around the conference floor a little bit.

Can you see the zipline seat in the middle of the picture? I did that. 

Visiting with my cousins, who live in L.A.  Emmeline loved them. I say "them" to spare feelings but we all know it was really just him. We actually were able to spend the entire day together, but we were having so much fun I have almost no pictures of anything we did. Super bummer, dude. 

Um, sorry about that picture above. But I saw it, so YOU HAVE TO ALSO.

The next few are from our visit to Valley of Fire State Park, an incredible site with petroglyphs that are thousands of years old.

Spot the lizard.

Our flight home was delayed by three hours. I might have cried. I was really in the "getting ready to see Carys" again zone and was so sad that it was going to have to wait a day (since the delay put us in Omaha at around 3am).

While all that was going on, my mom was sending me pictures of Carys (and making me miss her a ton).  She promises Carys was having fun, she just wanted to put her head down for the second picture.

It was much needed on many fronts. Carys had been screaming for attention (sometimes literally) and I've been hard-pressed to be able to provide the one-on-one time that she desperately needed. We're sorely lacking for sitters around here, and Chris works late most days, so he's not usually able to help a lot in that regard.  Being showered with attention for five days was exactly what she needed. I wish it could have been from me and Chris, but my mom - her beloved Nana - is definitely next best. And I got a chance to have more individual time with Emmeline than she's had in her entire eight months of life. They both thrived under the circumstances, and returned to family life refreshed. And seeing Carys rush up to Emmeline and Emmeline's face light up when we went to pick Carys up...well, those smiles and giggles are what sisterhood is all about.

The family vacation was fun, too (can you say Epic Family Scavenger Hunt? THAT WE WON?), and both girls were given more love and attention than they could possibly ever need. It was their first time meeting many members of Chris's family and they acted appropriately charming and wonderful and made Chris and I look good. Which is all that matters in parenting. What other people think of your kids.  (/sarcasm)

Settling in for the long drive there. Three adults and two kids in carseats in a five-seater car. DO NOT RECOMMEND. I actually had a bruise on my hip from the car seat pushing into me the whole time. Sad face.

The amazing VRBO rental house we stayed at. It was perfect. It was actually about an hour outside of St. Louis in a private, gated community on a lake, and easily accommodated our entire group.

We divided the attendees up into groups for games and the scavenger hunt, and 
each group was also assigned a meal to prepare and cleaned up after a different meal.

 The previously mentioned City Museum. This shit is bananas.

A few of our scavenger hunt entries. Did I mention we won?!?!

There was cheesecake left over the morning we left. So obviously we had to eat it for breakfast.

One last glance at our weekend house.

She slept SO long on the way home. The weekend exhausted her.

Emmeline did wonderfully on the flight to Vegas, even with a three plus hour delay, and they both did wonderfully on the 8-hour drive there (should have been 6, but...small bladders. And not on the children. And not on me. Ahem, husband.) and back.  Next up is a flight with both of them, so that should be...fun. I'm stocking up on small activities, and I *think* I've figured out the carseat/stroller situation. Maybe. It kind of changes daily. But I'm more hopeful that will go well since they both did well on the long drive than I was before.

If you made it this far and you've flown with kids (bonus points for multiple kids), any hints that you want to share? 


  1. Your travels look fun! I have to say, I was SO happy to see Emmeline in her car seat on the plane. Good for you for keeping her (and all the other passengers) safe!
    I've not traveled by air with kiddos yet, but this is the single best thing I've ever seen about flying with car seats:

  2. Jenny, we purchased her a ticket as a lap infant, but crossed our fingers there would be seats available for her car seat! Luckily, there were, both ways. Hoping our trip to SC is the same!

  3. Well, didn't PURCHASE one. But booked her as a lap infant.

  4. Oh looking very pleased.
    It is. Travelling with family gives the happiest memory. You can try paid host family. They are very hospitable and helpful. You will never feel awkward. They will make free with them. Visit to get the nearest one of your place.