Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2 months old, 9 weeks old, and first Mt Rainier Trip!

I apologize first for it being so long since my last post and second for grouping so many major events in one entry. But we've been away from the house for almost a week, and , as many of you know, being gone from the house for so long often makes for several days of unpacking upon return.

James turned 2 months old on the 19th, and 9 weeks old on the 21st. Here are pics to commemorate these events(The 9 week pic was actually taken a day before):

2 months

9 weeks

We went to Mt Rainier National Park this past week, a family summer tradition. We normally would camp, but we decided camping with a newborn was a no-go. So instead we stayed in the Paradise Inn for the first time, a historic inn from 1916. It was a 5-hour drive up there, but James did pretty well considering. We made many, many stops and had the car packed full with supplies and food for all involved.

Our first night there was mostly unpacking and getting settled. Our room was small but big enough for a pack n play, a changing station (on a desk) and a food station (on a dresser). We had a sink in our room but the showers and bathrooms were down the hall. As long as we had the sink to wash bottles in, etc, we were golden.

Our window is third from the right

The second day we took it easy. We went on a short hike to Myrtle Falls with James in the stroller and packed a lunch. We ended up needing to feed him a bottle on the way there, which wasn't the most enjoyable because there was no shade. But we made do.

Oh, and the hill was quite a hike...

But we made it!

We had our lunch in the shade of the new visitors center and then sat down for a game of scrabble in the hotel lobby with a view of the mountain. James slept and ate, did what he normally does at home. Then we were going to treat ourselves to a meal in the dining room, but decided instead to order it to go to eat in our room because it was WAY less stressful that way than worrying about taking care of James in a nice restaurant. We watched the The Crucible in our room on Eliot's laptop because we couldn't really go outside due to the massive amounts of mosquitoes. But I did hear the pianist play in the lobby for a bit, which was just lovely. Oh, and we took some family pics:

The next day after waking up, I took over care of James from Eliot (I do the 10pm to 5am shift, he does 5am to noon), I decided to put James in the Moby wrap and go for a walk outside because it was so lovely out and I wanted to see some flowers. So James and I went for a hike while Eliot took a nap. Here is some of what we saw:

The visitor's center

Indian paintbrush


Partridge Foot

Tatoosh Range

After our hike, we woke up Eliot, had some lunch, and then wandered outside once more with the whole family on a hike around the Nisqually Vista trail which overlooks the Nisqually glacier. It was not as crowded as it used to be since they demolished the old visitors center near where the trail begins. Here are some things we saw on our hike:

Rock with a hole in it that I've been in/on/near almost every year since I was little!

Marmot about the same size as James!

Nisqually glacier and river

That night was uneventful, we just relaxed a bit in our room. But later that night, while I was reading my book with the light on, I heard rustling on the floor in one of our bags. I sat up, woke up Eliot, and told him I thought there was a mouse in the room. Just then, I saw a mouse run under the pack n play(!!!). I screamed (quietly, didn't want to wake up James) and watched as the mouse squeezed under the door and ran away. We decided to put all the food in a zippered suit case and stuff a robe under the door to keep the mice at bay. Luckily they didn't eat any of our food.... but... ugh! *shudder*

The next day we woke up nice and early (or, rather, James woke us up nice and early) so we had lots of time to pack and hit the road around 11am. Unfortunately, even while we made good time, we hit Friday afternoon traffic in Portland around 3pm. After sitting on I-5 in traffic for 2 hours, I noticed the air coming out of the vents was was hot (and it was in the high 70s outside). We had been having problems with our a/c for awhile anyway, so I didn't think anything of it... till the car started losing power and the hood started steaming. I pulled off two lanes to the right to get the shoulder, and some idiot trying to beat the traffic and get to an exit almost creamed up as he was flying down the shoulder. Luckily we made it off the freeway before the car totally died.

I was pretty shaken up by the guy who almost hit us, but we didn't panic because Mom had gotten us AAA this year. So we called for a tow and waited an hour and a half while the "multi passenger" tow truck made it across town in rush hour to come get us (since we had an infant with a car seat we needed a special truck).

The guy who came to tow us was named James and was very nice. He took us to the Kia dealership, which had unfortunately JUST closed because it took so long to get there. So there was no one to drive us and our 100lbs of baby stuff anywhere. And so we set up camp in the Kia service center parking lot, waiting till my mom got off work so we could camp out at her house instead of the car (and she could drive us there).

Camping out in the parking lot

It turns out the car's engine cooling fan motor was kaput and after a $360 repair we were back on the road the next day. But we stayed on at "grandma's house" for an extra day so we could go to the Oregon Chorale kickoff party (the choir I sing with up in Portland). We had a great time showing James off and visiting with old friends. I even got some breastfeeding help from a soprano who is a pediatrician (thanks Nan!). It was a lovely evening finishing with some singing and an uneventful drive home.

Whew! So much stuff in just a few days. It's taken me two days to recover and get the house back in order. I still need to unpack my clothes (seems my stuff comes last these days) and do a bit of gardening, but overall we are glad we went on the trip.

Here are a few things we learned about traveling with a newborn:

Stick to the normal routine as much as possible. Bath time is still bath time no matter where your locale.

Allow for 2 hours to pack up everything before leaving.

Allow for 1.5 hours more to get places if it is a long trip.

Don't be afraid to feed the baby anywhere you happen to be.

Bring diaper laundry detergent even if you think you won't need it.

Always, ALWAYS carry a valid AAA card.

Use a "Pee pee tee pee" if you are changing a diaper next to a cold open window (the inside of the room was 80 degrees, while outside it was 40 degrees)

Just go out and do things, enjoy yourself. Don't be afraid to go exploring.

Leave the "baby stuff" in a car or room nearby and just go out with the baby. Sometimes you need to enjoy your child with out all their accessories dragging you down.

Find moments of peace together as a family.

For more pictures, please visit the "2nd Month" photo album (link below). I'll be starting a new album for his 3rd month soon.

James Second Month

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