Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trip to Arizona: A Different Kind of Travel with Baby - Month 4.5

21 weeks

I keep meaning to blog about our trip to Arizona, but I can't believe how quickly time slips away from me these days. Little crazy.
Jackson's first trip to Carefree, Arizona

To recap, we flew to Carefree, Arizona over Labor Day weekend (stretched it to a longer weekend), met some of my family out there and were able to experience the first-time joys of traveling with a little one.

If you take anything from this post, here it is in short...

Before going on vacation as first-time parents, limit your expectations (know this will most likely not be like any of your other vacations in the past and keep an open mind). Discuss any expectations you might have with your significant other going into the trip. Such as, "Honey bear, I can't wait to get up and go for a run every morning." (Hint: You'll have to work out a system if you really do want to get a run in.) or "Sweet cheeks, I'm so looking forward to sleeping in and taking a nap every afternoon." (Hint: Not really gonna happen.) Yes, these things seem ridiculous to discuss because in your old life, you could just do them. But you're a family now and dads and moms have different roles and sometimes when you're not in the other person's shoes, you don't realize all that's going on with them or quite get what they are thinking...or why they are doing the things they are doing. So trust me on this one. Expectations need to be discussed.
I love looking at myself in the mirror! (not talking about Karl either...)

I also want to mention that I mainly blog not because I want to be a drama mama, but because I need to let out what's on my mind and sometimes that's hard to get out in person or over the phone (my brain doesn't work that fast anymore. I need time to let things settle and think things through before I speak because I never know if it's the over-dramatic, over-tired Christie coming out or the real Christie. I don't want people to get the wrong impression.) or I don't quite have the time like I used to to even have a conversation (lots of interruptions these days and a packed schedule) AND because sometimes when I ask newer moms how things are going, I hear about how awesome every little thing is. Say what? How? No freakin' way. I hear about how their babies go down at the same time every night. How their relationship with their husband is better than ever. That everything seems so easy and amazing.  ???


I can't help but wonder...OK... HELLO???? What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? What am I missing? Why can't I have perfect? Why am I such a freak-a-zoid about some things???

So this is why I blog. Not because I have a zillion of hours on my hand, but because it's how I get things out and feel better about stuff (and myself) and I want to share the truth. You can't have perfect. There is no way. I'm sure things are amazing for a lot of people... I look at Giuliana and Bill Rancic. They waited years to have a baby and now Edward is here. Yes, I'm sure they are over the moon right now and don't care how much sleep they are losing. Or I follow Snooki on Twitter... Yeah, don't ask me why. But I wonder how she's managing to fit shoe shopping into her day. She's not tired? She's not dragging? She's not crying at everything???

Something must be wrong with me.

Then I hear back from others who are silently going through a lot of the same things I am and can relate. They *get* it too. I've learned it's OK to admit what's going on inside. I like you a lot better if you just admit..."THIS IS HARD!" I guarantee you're not alone. And the last thing on my mind is, "Whoa...she's failing, big time." Ummm, no. Been there. Done that. If anything, I want to HUG you!

Let's be honest here. I love Karl to pieces. I really do love being a mom. Jackson is my everything. I am pretty happy... But still... There are those days and moments (pretty much every day) where you question everything and realize this mom stuff isn't easy... and probably never will be. Parenthood is hard work and takes a ton of effort. But at the same time it's also VERY rewarding, super amazing and keeps getting better and better. It's the weirdest thing!

Now...back to vacation. (If you call it that...)

In the past, without kids, you could pretty much do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted and nobody would grumble about it. It's a new adventure with a baby.

And if you're nursing, you will more likely be the one who will recognize the changes the most. And you'll end up feeling a titch bitter when the vacation you had hoped for, turns out nothing like you expected. Catch my drift? So yeah...OPEN YOUR MOUTH.
This kids smile melts my heart every time

The exciting moments:
Jackson swam in a pool for his first time! So much fun to watch. He seemed to love it. We didn't spend too much time out in the pool because we didn't want the little guy to burn from the hot Arizona sun (my sunscreen was confiscated by the airport. Boo-hiss!) but we wanted him to experience the pool a couple times. Funny part was I bought his swim trunks when I first found out I was pregnant, figuring I was having a boy. They were $.97 on sale - not a huge loss if Jackson turned out to be a girl. Then I went to Old Navy the day before we left for our trip and saw the matching swim shirt (a year later) for $.97 too!!! The trunks were a little big, but super cute. And boy....did he kick those legs.
First swim in the pool. Thinking about it....
He's liking it!
Loving it!!! And loves swimming with daddy!

Jackson was able to meet my grandma and my aunts and uncles out in Arizona for the first time. Growing up, I only saw my mom's side one time a year for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. That was it. So I'm glad he was able to meet everyone at only 4.5 months.
Jackson's Great Uncle Dave and Great Grandma Edith
Jackson LOVED Great Uncle Mark. Smiled every single time he saw him

Great Aunt Doris loved speaking German to Jackson

Jackson began teething. is this exciting, you ask? Exactly. But it's a first and needed to be noted because he was extra fussy and I'm not sure this was because of his teeth, new environment, strange schedule or the different time zones. Could have been many things... Tried to just go with it.
Me? Teething? Fussy? Naaaah. I'm too cute.

Jackson experienced his first flight. I mentioned this before in my post about flying with a baby. I don't think he quite knew what was going on but all in all, everything turned out OK. We survived!
First flight

Jackson absolutely LOVES being outside. He can't get enough of it. He stared at the mountains and cactus and birds flying by. If we ever needed to calm him down, taking him outside was the ticket. No matter how hot.
Our nature boy.

On to the other stuff....

Before we left, I had all these ideas about how relaxing our trip to Arizona would be and that I'd finally be getting some kind of break, only because Carefree, Arizona always stands up to its name. There's always time to hike up Black Mountain. Time to walk/run in the breathe in the fresh air. Time to sit outside and read through magazines and sip coffee and soak up the beautiful scenery. Time to read a book. To nap. Time to walk down the street to the local resort and sit pool side and order cocktails, finishing up in the hot tub. Time to sun bathe and swim laps.
Grandpa and Grandma Powalish soaking up Jackson as much as they could

Oh my, my... How vacation changes with a little one. Ninety eight percent of the time I was stressing out because Jackson was fussier than normal, wasn't going down for his naps, not sleeping through the night and could never be left alone. I needed to keep reminding myself he's still a little guy and needs lots and lots of attention. In short: there was no downtime for momma. And it probably wouldn't have been so hard if I had let Karl into my world a little more from the beginning.

I shouldn't say "no" time. I did have some quick quiet moments. I was able to get one 40 minute run/walk in early in the morning and was able to sit outside and read all four pages of one of my magazines and get two sips of coffee in. And I was able to sit outside a couple times in the sun (frantically checking the baby monitor every 30 seconds). I also had to be in bed around 8 just so I would get enough sleep through the night. Kind of crazy.
Schedule was a titch messed up, so sleeping anywhere worked for us!

Everything is ALWAYS a learning experience when you become a mom. But at the same time, you must at least try going about your normal daily life...and then learn from it. For instance, I learned a lot on our first vacation and I'm glad to have it under my belt now. I'm ready for next time!

This time around I spent a lot of time downstairs in a dark bedroom by myself nursing Jackson while everyone else enjoyed drinks and good conversation. I felt totally left out. I LOVE Jackson and the bonding experience that comes with nursing, but it's not often my family is together. AND I WAS MISSING THEM. Plus, we don't get to Arizona a lot either. I clearly could've worked up the nerve to nurse in front of everyone, but I'm still not there. *Sigh*. There are insecurities I still struggle with. And I get frustrated when they get the best of me. But now I know for next time.

In the end, I was kind of bummed I didn't come home recharged and rearing to go, but I will say I still enjoyed the time we did have. Karl and I both took Tuesday off to catch up on laundry and work around the house, and that felt more like a vacation to me than any of the days in Arizona. Kind of weird. Like I said before... limit those expectations and just go with it.

Mostly, I'm glad Jackson was able to get see family and experience a new state. I love that little guy.

Learn anything on your first vacation together?


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