Monday, July 03, 2006
We are back from our long family-filled weekend. We had a chance to see tons of Dan's family, most of whom we hadn't seen since last summer. Due to both of our chosen fields, holiday gatherings are usually out of the question, so we make up for it during the summer months.
We started our weekend on Friday when Dan's brother Joel and his family came to visit and spend the night at our place. We had a much needed relaxing afternoon at our house. We invited Dan's step-sister Kelly and her family to join us for a barbecue that evening. We were very worried about making enough food for everyone. I think Dan figured a pound and a half of meat for each person, including the kids! We had plenty of leftovers.
The next morning we headed north to Carey for Dan's maternal grandmother's family reunion. It was hot. Damn hot. I think the mercury crept passed 90 during the day. Luckily there were plenty of shade trees and ice cold lemonade to keep us cool. Aveline had a ball making laps around the park-like yard. This meant Dan or I also got our exercise for the day. We forced iced water down her throat whenever we could. She was drenched with sweat and flushed most of the day. They did have a kiddy pool and water games for the kids to play. The kiddy pool enchanted Aveline. She must have splashed and giggled for nearly an hour. I played pool ref, wading in the shin-deep water, making sure the bigger kids didn't drown the younger ones. The splashing, which would have normally perturbed me, was welcomed.
After the reunion, we gathered at Dan's sister Heather's house to celebrate her daughter Isabella's second birthday. By then the heat was subsiding, and eating pizza and cake did not feel like such a chore. Aveline had her first taste of real pizza and seemed to enjoy it.
We finally retired to our accommodations for the evening. We stayed at Dan's maternal grandfather's house and had a chance to visit with them. By the time we made it to their house, Aveline's routine and loose schedule had been obliterated. She had had a very busy, active day and was exhausted, though she barely let on that fact. It was nearly 10 pm when we put her to bed. Neither she nor we were happy. Our normally nearly perfect angel, sprouted cloven hooves, horns and a tail when we laid her down. She screamed. And screamed. We knew she was tired and sleep was the only solution, one that she needed to do on her own. We left her alone in her pack and play and went downstairs. Usually she goes to bed and down for naps with rarely a noise, so we figured she would realize the futility of crying and drift off soon. After only 5 minutes or so, she quieted down. We thought we had won. Little did we know what lay ahead for us.
When we called it a night and ascended the staircase, we encountered a familiar smell: vomit. She had cried so hard that she puked all over her crib, and then fallen asleep in the puddle. I grabbed her and rushed her to the bathroom. I stripped her out of the soggy pajamas and quickly bathed her. As she aroused, she began crying hard. I sat on the floor of the bathroom, leaning on the toilet sobbing as I rocked my hysterical child. I wanted to go home right then. Dan cleaned up the crib and readied it for her return. I could not calm her down. After twenty minutes or so, I went back to the bedroom and laid her down with me in our bed. I gave her a sippy cup with water and stroked her hair. She snuggled with me and whimpered while she drank. Slowly she relaxed. We decided to put her back in the crib, but Aveline was not ready, screaming as soon as Dan lowered her. He returned her to me and we snuggled as a family for nearly an hour. I think we finally got her to bed around 2 am. I know it took me much longer to sleep.
The next day we headed up to Dan's father's house for the day and a visit. We all were cranky and our patiences were shot, which made the day long. Aveline wasn't in the best mood, so we got to deal with that all day. She fought us at every turn, whether it was changing a diaper, eating or taking a nap. I developed a migraine halfway through the day and decided to nap with Aveline. It was much needed for both of us. After we got up, we were in much better spirits and enjoyed the rest of our visit. We packed the van and headed for home near nine that evening.
Aveline slept most of the way home, and so did Dan. I-75 can be a very lonely highway during the night. I saw a few fireworks displays off the roadway as I drove. We got home at midnight and tried to put Aveline to bed right away. Sure enough, she wanted nothing to do with that. She played for the next 3 hours. I think my head finally hit the pillow before the birds sang. Luckily, she did sleep until 9 am, so we are semi rested.
Today, she has been fine. She settled back into her routine and has picked up her halo again. As much as we enjoyed seeing everyone, I think we are incredibly grateful to be home, where life and babies are normal. Normal is good.