Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The long overdue post that is really really long

It has been almost a month since we took a trip to RI. I thought it was about time to do a post about it.

Our last trip in November did not go well at all (understatement!). At the time, Emily was dealing with some new seizure activity (we thought) and a new medication that was not agreeing with her. We ended up spending about 2 days in RI and coming right back home. We didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with our family and we were pretty bummed about it!

This time around, we wanted to make sure the trip went well and we were able to stay the whole week. The main reason for our visit was to see my brother and his family. They live in TX and we have not seen them in about 8 years. So when we found out they would be heading to RI, we decided to head that way ourselves. It had been FAR too long since all of my siblings and our families have been together!

Before Emily was born, we would drive straight through in one day. The trip to RI is 1000 miles and would take us about 16 hours. The last 2 trips with Emily, we drove straight through and it took us a bit longer. If traffic was good and we didn’t hit construction, it took about 18 hours. Needless to say, it would make for a VERY LONG day! By the end of the trip, all 3 of us would be pretty cranky!

Emily does not adapt well to change and a trip like this involves a LOT of change. So we wanted to do everything we could to make a smooth transition for her. This time around, we decided to break up the drive over 2 days. Both drives (there and back) went SO much smoother! The first day we wanted to drive 600 miles. We made it to about 570 and Emily started to have a meltdown. We figured we were close enough to our goal and pulled over to check into a motel for the night. On the way home, she did great in the car. We made it about 700 miles the first day. In general, she did well in the car. She would start to whine and fuss about every 3 hours. So we would stop, get out and stretch, eat, gas up and go on our way. She really took it all in stride!

One side note, Emily is too big to fit on any of the baby changing stations in public restrooms. That makes it pretty challenging to change her diapers at a rest stop or a fast food restaurant! Rather than use Emily’s wheelchair during the road trip, we used her stroller. It was easier to get her in and out and she could lie down rather than sitting in the same position she had already been in for hours. The other benefit – I can change her diaper in the stroller. It is a bit tricky (especially for those messy ones), but we have it down to a science now!

During the week that we spent in RI, the biggest challenge we had with Emily was sleeping. The first 2 or 3 nights she cried for about an hour when we would try to put her to bed. We basically had to rock her to sleep. We also used some medication that her neurologist had given us. It is supposed to help calm her when she is stressed. He strongly recommended we use it when she travels. I kind of felt bad about giving her the drug, but knew that she needed her sleep. Sleep deprivation is not a good thing for a child who is prone to seizures! Thankfully, after the first few nights, she went to bed with no problem.

Funny thing is, when we stopped at the motels, she didn’t give us any trouble about going to bed. I think she was just so happy to be out of the car, she didn’t really care that we were putting her to bed. Plus, Mike had a great idea. He brought her crib bumper with us. He tied some sticks to it to keep it standing and put it around her. We wanted to “trick” her into thinking she was at home in her own bed. Not sure if the trick worked, but she did go to sleep with little trouble and slept fairly well.

And here is a shot of Emily in the car. This was the second leg of our trip to RI. We were in CT and Emily was not happy about being in the car. She would just kind of whine and pout. It was pretty pitiful so I had to catch a picture (I am such a good mom, I know!).

We had this trip planned for a few months ahead of time, but we had a slight change of plans as the trip got closer. Mike's grandmother was in the hospital and her health was declining. We were hoping to get to visit with her when we got into town, but that was not to be. She passed away a few days before we were going to leave. (Emily's middle name is Rose after Mike's grandmother.) We left a day earlier so we could make it to the wake and funeral. We were sad that we didn't get to see her in person, but we were thankful that we were able to visit with Mike's extended family from out of town.

Here is a shot of Mike's mom and her siblings:

And here is a shot of all the grandchildren (well most of them - I know there is at least one missing):

Mike and I went to a hockey game with my family while Emily hung out with Mike's parents. I have no doubt they were thrilled to have their granddaughter all to themselves! We had a great time at the game even though our team lost. Most of the pics from the game are really dark, but I wanted to share a couple. Here are my nephews, Aaron and Peter. Aaron was very excited about the big foam hand!

Here are my nieces, Lauren and Courtney. Aren't they beautiful?
(My nephews from TX were pretty crafty about avoiding the camera so I didn't get very many shots of them.)

We did go to the zoo one day, but that was a disaster. Here is a shot of Emily at the zoo. Doesn't she look like she is having a good time?

The rest of the week we just relaxed and visited with family. We did go out by ourselves a few times (gotta love having family around that is excited to babysit!). We did take a ton of pictures, but this post is already super long, so I will just share a few random ones.

My brother and sister. They actually have the same birthday 3 years apart.

Emily enjoying being tickled by her cousin - I think she LOVED all the extra attention!

My mom and brother. She was thrilled to have her only son in town!

My dad and brother:

Me and my siblings (don't we look SO much alike?). Lisa, Frankie, me and Christine :
Frankie and his family (finally got a shot of the boys!). Robin, Nick, Frankie and Joey:

Lisa and her family. Lisa, Courtney, Lauren and Steve:

Christine and her family. Peter, Peter, Christine and Aaron (can you tell that Christine and Peter just got back from Mexico?):

All in all, it was a good trip. We were thrilled that we were able to stay the whole time and that Emily did pretty well all of the new stuff that was thrown at her.


Anonymous said...

Glad the trip went well for you all and for Little Em, but so sorry to hear about Mikes grandmother.

Loved the pics. It was neat to see your family. You can never have too many pics.


ANewKindOfPerfect said...

She sure didn't enjoy the zoo, did she! LOL Poor thing. We are taking a car trip in June .. it's only 8 hours each way and I am nervous about how Peanut will do. You are true trekkers! :) I have the same concern about changing tables. She doesn't fit on them, and I don't think they're made to hold 30 pounds anyway. I figure we'll have to change her in the back of the van, which is a pain since her wheelchair lift is on the back. I'm sure it'll work. I'll keep reminding myself that you took your Emily on a 2-day each-way trek and survived! :)

(I say your Emily because my Peanut shares her name LOL)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Looks like you had a fun trip (other than the zoo drama)! We're glad you could squeeze us in to all the fun. :)

Jenkins said...

Nothing like a good road trip!

I like the "bumper" for her to sleep.

And her little face in the car seat!

Keri said...

Geesh, as I read your post, it brought back vivid memories of our traveling with Logan. Not always an easy thing to do.

Great family photos! The pictures crack me up, all the smiles and the not so smiles. Glad you were able to visit with everyone!

Katy said...

Sorry to hear about Mike's grandmother.

Sounds like you've got the trip thing figured out--these kids, they make us change our ways!

That picture of Em at the zoo is just too much!