Now that I’ve finished properly stretching my blogging fingers, I can face the task at hand. Five days. Two cities. Three states. Hours and hours of traffic and planes. Over a hundred photos. Back in the day, we’d break something like this into multiple posts. Not this time. We’re going to push through the whole weekend even if it makes this our longest post to date.
It began simply enough. We wanted to go to my cousin’s wedding in Michigan, but found that direct flights in the aircraft size we wanted at the times we wanted were unobtainable. It was determined that we’d leave a little early and spend a day in Chicago. Thus began our fateful journey.
Upon our arrival, I immediately abandoned my family by dashing out to upgrade our rental car, stuff a couple of car seats in the back, and immediately rush back to pick everyone up. Due to the configuration of the vehicle, the boys got to sit right next to each other in their car seats. This meant that they were forced to interact with each other.
The rest of the evening was taken up by an ill-fated trip out for deep dish pizza (totally my fault) and the realization that Owen would not be sleeping in the pack and play that we dragged across the country.
After a mostly sleepless night, we dragged ourselves out of bed for our complimentary breakfast, after which Owen decided it was time to do some catching up.
After letting him sleep off a little of his emerging cold and some of the leftover tiredness from the night before, we decided to head out to Max’s favorite eatery so the boys could have a touch of normal.
The afternoon (sans nap) actually went a little better. We dragged our sleepy brood out to the aquarium, where Max spent his time briefly pointing at things before running on to the next tank.
Max did his best to stay awake through all of that, but he finally gave in after we got into the car.
After another low-sleep night we made our way out to the big event in Michigan. At this point in our sleep deprivation we were happy to be able to hand the children off to anyone who would take them.
The next couple of days were actually much more relaxing than our time in Chicago. The lodge we were staying in had plenty of space for the boys to run around and plenty of couches for relaxing.
Of course, with the cousins there it wasn’t all just laying around.
That evening we headed back out to the lake house of our lovely hosts, which was located a short way down a gentle rocky path. This of course meant that we’d be desperately trying to snap a photo of these two.
Once we arrived, Max quickly found his way to the nearest possible toy. He’s always been a big fan of the small free-spinning wheels they install in playgrounds. Clearly this was way better.
*Misuse of nautical terms intentional, to annoy my dad
The following day, we decided to take a trip down to the nearby beach. Due to our landlocked status at home, this would actually be the first time Max had ever seen a body of water this large, much less one adjacent to a bunch of sand.
My lovely wife even managed to snag a great photo of me and my siblings.
Playtime continued when we returned to the lodge. This time, we pulled Uncle Ryan into the fun.
Speaking of little guys, it didn’t take long for these two to find each other.
They seemed to enjoy their time playing together, though they had a tendency to mostly ignore each other unless we prodded them to interact.
As the day moved along, the time came to get everyone all dressed up for the party. This inevitably led to group photos.
Not too long after that, we made our way back to the lodge. Christy took the big guy up for bedtime, which left me holding a very tired baby. I decided to settle in on the couch, where he promptly fell asleep on my shoulder. It became clear that this was the first moment of calm in a trip that had been somewhat crazy to that point. Through the open windows, I listened to the rain making its way through the leaves. As I waited for Christy to return, I realized that this was also one of the few moments Owen has spent cuddling with me. He’s never really been one to snuggle, but the combination of illness and lack of sleep had clearly put him in the mood. All the things that had made the week more difficult for us had come together to give me these moments with my son. With all the insanity that had enveloped the weekend, it was nice to regain sight of the reasons I love being a dad.
I slept well that night. All indications are that Owen did not do the same. Many thanks go out to my wife for enduring his sleeplessness.
The last day in Michigan was spent trying to get some last-minute time in with the family.
With all of our goodbyes said, we made our way back to Chicago. We spent one last fitful night of sleep (Max flops around like a fish in bed…it’s insane) and one last trip through airport security with two car seats, a stroller, three backpacks, two kids, four pairs of shoes, and a camera bag. Then we were on our way home.
Max spent the entire flight, once again, watching Toy Story 2 repeatedly on the iPod. I’m pretty sure he has half of it memorized by now. Sadly, this was all an attempt to avoid taking a nap. About ten minutes after the captain requested that we turn off all of our electronic devices, this happened.
We know how you feel, big guy.
Through all of the crazy, it was a really good trip. It was fantastic to see some family we hadn’t seen in years. Hopefully it won’t be quite so long before we see them again.
I guess I should probably close out what is almost certainly the longest post we’ve ever made on this blog.
To see the rest of the photos (yes, there’s more) from this week, you can click here.
I think I’ll go pass out or something.