The trip took us about nine hours including stops, which really wasn't too bad. On the way there, Ellie got herself into a little cycle of happily hanging out in her car seat, then fussing, then sleeping, then fussing, then repeat. So, there was a fair bit of racket coming from the back seat, but also a little bit of this:
Sleeping baby on a car trip - a beautiful sight.
So really, it could have been worse. Because we don't have a car, Ellie has only been in a car at all a handful of times, so we weren't really sure how it would go. I think I had myself all psyched up for her to scream the entire time, so when she only did for about half the time, it seemed like a victory. It's all mental, people!
We spent the weekend at my grandfather's house, and my mom, Aunt Rachel and cousin Adam also came into town for the weekend to visit with us (so nice, right?). When we arrived at the house, my mom and grandfather came rushing out to meet Ellie. My mom couldn't wait to get her hands on her granddaughter, but Ellie was busy smiling away at her great-grandfather. It was so cool to see her grinning at him!
Ellie and her great-grandfather meeting for the very first time
Look out! Grammy's coming for you, Ellie!
Ellie and Grammy, reunited at last
Look at Ellie, grinning away at her Great-Gramps!
We tried to get Ellie down for a nap pretty soon after arriving, and were successful...momentarily. As soon as I left the room, the phone right by her head rang, waking her right up and leaving her with no nap to speak of. And really, that's how the entire weekend went - just a comedy of errors when it came to baby sleep. If it wasn't the phone, it was church bells, yardwork, fireworks, etc. I had no idea the suburbs were so noisy! She gets better sleep in the big city!
So, she pretty much spent the weekend only napping on her Grammy:
Thank goodness she did have a Grammy there who was willing to do whatever it took to get her to sleep (usually bouncing for hours on end on the exercise ball), because as it was she was OVER. IT. by the end of the weekend. I can only imagine if there had been NO naps!
As for me, I jumped right into what has become a favorite pastime to share with my mom: drinking wine.
My daughter is really a chip off the ol' block - look at her zoned in on that wine!
Later that evening, Aunt Rachel and Adam arrived and Ellie got her first look at some more of her relatives. It was sort of like an appetizer for the big family reunion we have coming up in August!
Ellie meeting her Great Aunt Rachel
Ellie and Adam
By the end of the night, after all that excitement, my baby girl was just plumb tuckered out.
Luckily, although she did not take a significant nap all weekend, she did great with sleeping at night in her Pack 'N Play. She would go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. every night and sleep until about 6:30, sometimes even going back to sleep after waking up for a quick breakfast. Halleluia.
On Saturday, we filled part of the time before Megan's wedding with a lovely walk around the neighborhood. Eric and I even got to goof around on the playground at the nearby elementary school for a bit while my mom pushed our sleeping baby around in the stroller.
Out for a walk
Ellie's newest favorite face - sticking out that bottom lip!
Eric playing on the playground (and my mom pushing Ellie's stroller in the background!)
I'm not sure, but I think Eric might be a better jumper than me.
That morning everybody got to hold Ellie, including my grandfather. It was really something incredible to have four generations of our family together at once, and to see my daughter smiling up at my Gramps. What a cool thing.
She loves her Great-Gramps!
Smiles for Grammy
With Great Aunt Rachel and Adam
Ellie spent the rest of Saturday morning/afternoon hanging out with her Grammy and Great Aunt Rachel while Eric and I got ready for and went to the wedding ceremony. We stopped back in for a brief time in between the ceremony and reception, but then left Ellie in her Grammy's care once again. And my mom did a great job - she successfully gave Ellie a bottle and got her to sleep in her Pack 'N Play! Yay! As soon as I got my mom's text message informing me of her triumph, I hit up the bar at the reception for another glass of wine. Mama had a night off!
Sunday morning we went to church (Ellie's first time!) at Divinity Lutheran Church, which is a very special place for my family. My grandfather was the pastor there for years and years, and that church has played such a big part in our family's history - weddings, baptisms, First Communions, confirmations. Personally, I was baptized and received my First Communion there before my family moved to Florida. I have always loved that church and it meant so much to me to take Ellie to her first church service at that church.
Divinity Lutheran Church
And Ellie did very well at church! She got a little fussy at times so Eric and I took turns walking her around the narthex, but overall she was a church-going champ.
Family photo after the service
My mom and Aunt Rachel letting Ellie look at their contrasting-colored outfits! I think Ellie was all, "oh, these crazy ladies again."
Grammy can't resist!
As soon as we got back to the house, Grammy and Ellie were right back in their favorite spot - bouncing on our exercise ball.
Time for a post-church nap!
Side note to my pregnant friends: Do you have one of these yoga/exercise balls? If not, GET ONE NOW. I swear, it is the best baby purchase we have made. She will take or leave all the other junk - swings, bouncy seats, play mats, etc. but that ball always calms her down. It has been the one thing that has consistently worked since day one. We couldn't live without it. So, that is my recommendation - you need an exercise ball!
After Ellie's brief post-church nap with Grammy, we loaded her up and took her over to my Aunt Jean's house for her first meeting with extended family on my dad's side. The weekend was wearing on by that point so she was pretty unhappy (WHY WILL SHE NOT NAP / WHY ARE THE SUBURBS SO NOISY), but we did manage to get a pretty nice little visit in despite the tears.
Ellie and her Great Aunt Jean
Then it was back to Gramps's house for Ellie's first experience with Cleveland sports - in this case, watching the Indians with Gramps. She was a natural!
Clearly a baseball fan!
Did you see that play?!
Before dinner Eric, my mom and I took Ellie for another walk, which helped her get in another brief cat nap.
Before going inside after our walk, we had our fun in the grass in Gramps's yard.
Aunt Rachel and Adam left after dinner, we got Ellie to bed and then stayed up chatting with my mom and Gramps.
Monday morning Ellie primarily hung out with her Grammy while Eric and I packed and loaded up the car. The weekend went way too fast!
Ellie clearly doesn't want to leave, and Grammy doesn't want to say good-bye!
We said our good-byes and got on the road by about 11:30 that morning, kicking off a very looooong trip home. It took us the same amount of time as the trip there did, but Ellie was just so over everything that it got pretty rough at times. We did have a few happy moments at a rest stop:
Enjoying the sun and the wind out in the fresh air
Back in the car AGAIN, Dad?!
And she spent a little bit of time playing with her new toy I got her for the trip:
And I'm sure there was also some sleeping in there somewhere too, but much of the trip (including the last two hours straight) looked like this:
Unhappy at a rest stop
GET. ME. HOME.
Needless to say, we were all glad to finally be home!
All smiles on the way to pick Achilles up from doggy camp!
Overall, it was a great weekend! Thanks so much to Gramps for hosting us, and to Mom, Aunt Rachel and Adam both just for making the trip to see us and for the superb babysitting!
Our next trip with Ellie will be our trip to Florida later this month...by airplane. Dun, dun, DUN. Stay tuned to see how that goes!