The travel bug on my side of the family is at least three generations deep. It’s now being passed down to the fourth generation. At least that’s what I like to think is happening since my little Chunky Monkey enjoyed his first out-of-State vacation so much. A week ago last Friday, me, Brennan, and hubby ventured up to Washington D.C. for a weekend with my brother and sister-in-law and a five day visit with Matt’s family in Charlottesville, VA. Although we had an hour delay sitting on the tarmac in Dallas, Brennan traveled very well. Much more so than his parents, who 1) started getting really anxious and frustrated with the delay (that was just me); 2) had a misunderstanding on where we were to meet after going in different directions at the Dulles Airport, which resulted in Matt carrying
all most of our bags PLUS Brennan in the stroller onto a shuttle to the rental car place all on his own; 3) realized that hubby had not retrieved all of the bags, but only most of them…he’d forgotten the checked bag with the car seat in it; 4) after two additional and unintentional hours spent at the airport getting situated, we went ten minutes in the wrong direction trying to get to our hotel. Ten minutes ain’t so bad, but when you topple it upon numbers 1, 2, & 3, it didn’t make for a pretty picture. While I complained and was more like a wife who was rottenness to my hubby’s bones (seriously! Proverbs 12:4) , little Brennan just went with the flow with much patience (like his Daddy). Oh, precious boy, I learn so much from you!
Brennan traipsed across D.C. the whole weekend; that little one barely got any naps! After getting settled into the hotel on Friday night, we went over to Mac and Julie’s place in Arlington. Julie made a fabulous dinner of cashew chicken, salad, and an incredible brownie-like dessert that once I get my hands on the recipe, it’s all over for me. I’ve never known a more pleasurable way to put on ten extra pounds. We also were able to enjoy watching the movie Bride Wars; it was quite funny!
I played my first role of Momma Bear on Friday night. Well, make that early Saturday morning at 4 a.m. Apparently there was a room of young teen girls in the room next to us who decided to squeal and talk at 4 a.m., waking both me and Matt up. Fortunately, Brennan was still knocked out despite being right next to the wall with their shrieks. All of our small attempts to get them to be quiet failed. I’d had enough, nor was I willing to risk my baby’s night of sleep. Especially after a group of guys joined the party next door, that did it for me. I walked next door in my PJs, knocked on their door and told them, as kindly but as seriously as I could, to please be quiet or move the party to another room. They politely obliged and were fairly quiet the rest of the morning. <Big momma bear growl>
So onward we went with our day, commencing with a walk around Mac and Julie’s neighborhood in the hip/fun Clarendon area. It was a gorgeous and delightful day to meander about. Our tummies started rumbling, so we ventured downtown, a mere five minute drive from their place, and went to a well-known hole-in-the-wall, famous for their chili:
BEN’S CHILI BOWL
An empty basket of chili cheese fries. I had to share the basket with Matt. I could’ve eaten it all by myself.
I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about over lunch, but it obviously provoked something in Mac.
Whatever it was, Brennan must’ve thought Uncle Mac and Aunt Julie were pretty funny.
Without a doubt, I left Austin with a fairly quiet, still baby only to return with an active, babbling 5 month old who wiggles, squirms, squeals, and will hardly sit still anymore! His most favorite past time: jumping on anything and everyone; he loves to practice standing and jumping up and down. It was the activity that guaranteed us a happy baby.
One chili cheese burger, three chili smokes, and two baskets of chili cheese fries later, we wobbled down the street…
to change Brennan’s dirty diaper in the car. This was the first of a few public diaper changes, the worst one being a nasty explosion on Sunday, in which the poor baby obviously paid a price from my intake of chili.
Our aim was to make it to the Museum of Natural History to see Brennan’s eyes pop wide open at the sight of the dinosaurs, but the little guy desperately needed a nap. So while he snoozed in the Bjorn while scoping out the sculpture gardens, the four of us found a nice bench by the fountain and enjoyed chatting.
Hanging Brennan upside down is Matt’s new kick. Brennan loves it! In fact, he loves all things “Daddy”! It’s incredible to see that little boy get such delight at a big, goofy man. Of course, being the serious one that I am, I asked Matt to please look up on the Internet to make sure it wasn’t too early to start hanging Brennan upside down before doing it. <grin> Obviously, he got the green light.
In the afternoon, we went back to Mac and Julie’s for some down-time. Mac played NCAA Football on the Xbox while me and Brennan snoozed a bit and Matt and Julie went for a bike ride. For dinner, we headed to the National Harbor and had a great meal at Rosa Mexicano. We stuffed ourselves silly with the delicious guacamole made right in front of us.
On Sunday, we went to Mac and Julie’s church, The Falls Church, and enjoyed a wonderful service! Then we headed back into the city for lunch at Founding Farmers, a tasty restaurant owned by a collective of family farmers where only the freshest food is served in one of the most environmentally friendly settings I’ve seen. For example, they serve only twice distilled water. I chowed down on my Southern Fried Chicken Salad.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon back at Mac and Julie’s relaxing and playing “Clue” out in the courtyard surrounded by gorgeous blue hydrangeas. It is always so sad to depart our loved ones. What a gift it was to see Mac and Julie in their welcoming abode and to now be able to picture where they live as we think of them daily.
Sunday evening, we were picked up by Matt’s parents and headed to Charlottesville! Brennan has changed a lot since they last saw him at 4 weeks old, and it was fun for them to get to see Brennan at this new, active stage. We were able to introduce Brennan to his other great-grandfather. A priceless moment was when Grandpa prayed a blessing over our baby boy…a blessing that Brennan would grow to be big and strong, and a good athlete. <grin>
Much of Matt’s extended family lives in Charlottesville as well, and they were able to come over for a brief get-together Monday night. Here is Matt’s cousin Alex, with her precious baby boy, Malachi. It was fun introducing the two babies to each other.
We were able to celebrate Aunt Melissa’s birthday with her on Tuesday! Brennan picked some flowers for her on our morning walk and presented them to her like a gentleman. It was so fun to watch Aunt Melissa play with Brennan; I learned some play tips from her, and Brennan delighted in his good buddy! We had the pleasure of seeing her new place, too and having a lovely birthday luncheon there. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the yumminess Ruth made us all last week; I pigged out! I’ve got some fun, new recipes to try out, that’s for sure. A highlight for me was getting a pedicure with Melissa; we had the chance to soak our feet and sip on a glass of wine for 30 minutes before they got started on us! It was delightful girl time!
Once Brennan went down for bed, nearly every night, the five of us stayed up and played “Clue”. I’d forgotten how awesome a game it is! Matt kicked booty!
I was somewhat skeptic about our vacation actually feeling like a vacation traveling with a baby. I was pleasantly surprised. Brennan traveled well; he slept through the nights even though he was a consistent early bird; and I was able to enjoy some down time since so many people were around that wanted to play and help. One of the exceptions was Wednesday when the poor fella was either teething or going through one tough growth spurt. The unknowns of what makes him restless, unable to nap, and terribly fussy undo me the most. Fortunately, he perked up for his Papa, Nana, and Melissa because they graciously babysat him for us Wednesday night while me and hubby enjoyed a tasty meal at Timberwood Grill and the fabulous movie, Up. We were like giddy high school sweethearts. <grin>
Thursday we got to have lunch with Matt’s cousin Jason, who happened to be in town at the same time. It was a highlight to catch up with him. We went to another VA hotspot: Five Guys Burgers and Fries to enjoy yet another greasy fare. One of the other highlights was seeing Brennan master rolling over from his tummy to his back! Thursday night, Ed and Ruth prepared a special early Father’s Day celebration and we grilled steaks out. We were blessed with fabulous weather, even though it was June. However, upon returning to Austin, we’ve been blasted with heat indexes of 105 degrees. For. Cryin’. Out. Loud.
Despite my personal aversion to the Yankees, I was a good wife and dressed Brennan in his New York Yankees onesie that Matt bought him last year as part of my Father’s Day gift to Matt. <grin>
Friday we shared a relaxing day together. Matt enjoyed a special breakfast date with his momma and all of us hung out at the pool for a bit, too. Brennan got to show off his swimming skills to Papa, Nana, and Melissa. That evening, we had a lovely dinner out at Mono Loco near the downtown mall.
We arrived home on Saturday evening, and while we miss all of our family and it was hard to say “goodbye”, it is wonderful to be home. We were greeted by sweet Molly, who spent the week with Pops and Meems. My Momma was so generous to not only drive Molly up and drop her off so we didn’t have to worry about picking her up, she also had a meal prepared for us! So upon getting home, we dropped our bags in the entryway to unpack later and were able to sit down together as a family to some homemade Mexican food that we’d been craving. I’m trying to gear myself up for the week, getting Brennan back on his routine (putting him to bed the last two nights have been rough), and helping him adjust to not having constant attention by so many different people. <gulp> How can it be that sometimes I’m afraid of a baby???
It was such a nice vacation and a special time visiting family! A great many thanks to all of our family for graciously hosting us, for spoiling us with love and fabulous meals, for loving our little boy soooo much, and for giving us precious memories. We miss you all a lot and can’t wait until the next time we get to be in your presence again!
As for Brennan, he’s finally all snuggled into his crib for the night, probably dreaming of this so called “travel bug” that his Momma keeps talking about, wondering how a creepy, crawly bug can help him see the world.