Rather than write a detailed post which is sure to top 5000 words about all the things we did and all the people we saw, I thought I would try doing it in list format. Hopefully this is less boring.
- spend two nights in the Lower Mainland
- visit family, Amanda, and Kat
- spend two nights on the Sunshine Coast
- visit sister and family
- spend three nights in Powell River
- visit parents, grandparents, Karin, and Crystal
- coincidentally being in the Lower Mainland at the same time as Rachael and Ira (whom I hadn't seen since he was a few weeks old - he's now seven months!), and getting to spend a few hours with them.
- being invited to Erin's baby shower, where I got to hold a four-week-old baby and get into some nitty-gritty details about the "joys" of breastfeeding.
- Gwen slept through the night every single night, and napped in the car on the days I managed to arrange our schedule appropriately.
- Some days, she missed her nap, but she didn't make us suffer for it.
- I finally got to spend some time hanging out with Karin's boys, Zak and Eli, who are totally cool.
- Hanging out with Amanda and her family - especially her older son, Kai, who is four - makes me really look forward to Future Gwen: the one who can talk and ask questions and provide an endlessly amusing commentary on life.
- Saturday morning while I was at my sister's, Gwen took a 2.5 hour nap, which allowed me TONS of time to hang out with my nephews for some quality "let's show Auntie Laura all our cool toys" time. It was awesome!
- That afternoon, we all went swimming at the new pool in Sechelt, which was also awesome.
- On Tuesday night I put Gwen to bed then followed my mom to her vocal ensemble practice where I got to hear them work on the pieces they were preparing for the local Music Festival. I haven't heard my mom sing in years, so that was a great experience.
- For the entirety of my stay with my sister, I thought my camera had been left behind, so I have NO PICTURES of that portion of our trip. Fortunately, it was found again when I got to our next destination.
- I left behind various objects at every place we visited. I'm missing a baby bottle, one of Gwen's toys, my sunglasses, and a tiny booklight I used to read in bed while Gwen slept in the playpen two feet away. Typical of me to lose stuff - but at least it wasn't anything critical (see previous item re: camera).
- The time Gwen couldn't go to sleep at 7pm because my dad's band was practicing downstairs. When they finally finished practicing and I put her to bed, I think she was asleep before I even left the room.
- The time my younger nephew Scotty jumped into my arms at the pool without warning me, and he flew over my head and apparently I made a truly hilarious face.
- The time my mom took Gwen and I to Wal-Mart (where she works) so she could show Gwen off. She strode proudly up and down the aisles, hailing everyone she knew by saying, "Look, my baby's here!" She would then talk all about how old Gwen was, how much she slept, what her personality was like, etc, often without even introducing me. I should have excused myself and gone to the spa, as my presence was clearly not needed!
- I figured she'd have learned to walk by the time we got home. Nope. I also thought she'd have about four more teeth by this time. Not even one.
- Every single place we stayed gave us stuff. Robyn gave us a table toy (the kind I'd been wanting to buy for Gwen) as well as a huge bag of 12- & 18-month clothes; Sara gave me some toys her boys have outgrown, including a LeapPad; Mom gave me a giant bin of vintage Fisher Price stuff that used to be mine (how freaking cool is that!). I ended up bringing home way more stuff than I left with. Fortunately, I have totally made my peace with the fact that Travelling with Babies Means No More Packing Light, so it's all good.
My absolute favourite moment of the whole trip:
One night in the middle of our trip Gwen woke up. There was no clock in the room so at first I thought it might be morning (maybe 6am, and still dark). So I picked her up and cuddled her. But my body soon told me it was not morning yet, because I was still exhausted, and all I wanted to do was lie back down in my bed. Gwen was snuggled into my shoulder. I wondered if she'd let me get away with it - usually if you try to cuddle her lying down she just gets up and crawls away. She's not much for the co-sleeping. But I was so tired I thought I'd try. I lay down and she snuggled right up beside me. I got to cuddle her for about 30 or 40 minutes while she dozed. When I started to doze off too, I got up and put her back in the crib, so she wouldn't fall off the bed (it was a single).
It was a lovely feeling, snuggling with my perfect little girl as she slept beside me, the house silent and dark around us. She was so relaxed and I just basked in her perfection and my love for her.
Okay but we can't end the post on such a shmoopy note, so tell another funny story:
I can't think of one, so instead I'll just post a picture of Gwen playing on the ferry on our way home.
Gwen is a good traveller. And I have learned why travelling with her works well for me too: with other people around to talk to, and without the nagging feeling that I should be dealing with housework and my many other life obligations, I am way more relaxed and way more attentive to her (and for the brief times when I'm truly unavailable, hey, look! It's those other people again!). I enjoyed this trip so much that I think taking a little "mommy and me" vacation together once a year might become one of our little bonding traditions.