It's about time I do a post about our vacation since it's been a month. "Vacation" is a word that should not be used in association with traveling with young children. A more appropriate phrase is "chaos relocation." On Good Friday, we drove 4 hours to Chicago to take a non-stop flight to Nashville (due to concern over Micah's ears... see Highlights below). After we rented a minivan, we drove to SW Georgia to visit family for Easter. We left our house at 6:30am and arrived at 11:00pm. It was brutal, especially with the tornadoes and thunderstorms (see Lowlights below). We must have looked absolutely ridiculous in the airports. Picture it, if you will... three full-size car seats (Nathan isn't big enough for a booster yet), double stroller, two large suitcases (plus a duffel bag on the return trip), a diaper bag, a carryon, Micah's pump, Matthew's apnea monitor, Nathan's backpack, two little ones who don't walk, and one little one who runs a lot (along with two adults pulling their hair out).
We had a good time. I'm glad we went. But we will not be getting on an airplane again this year. Next year might be even more challenging when we head to St. Simons in April because both Matthew and Micah will hopefully be walking. That early walking stage was the most difficult travel stage with Nathan because all he wanted to do was move. But next time we won't have the apnea monitor (we weren't allowed to ditch that before we left, but Matthew is off it now). Micah's meds, formula, pump, tubing, syringes, etc., are quite a challenge to manage at home, let alone on the road, especially when you stay in 3 different places in 9 days. It didn't help that I left the perfectly-packed quart-size ziploc bag of liquid meds on the island at home. Doh! And I shorted us one can of formula (see remedy in Highlights below).
· Nathan asking "Are we there yet?" when we were about one hour into what turned into a 14-hour travel day. We got a great laugh out of that.
· The generosity of our hosts – thanks so much to the D, K, and M families
· Easter with family in Southwest Georgia
· Visiting with the B family
· Gathering at the H house in Atlanta – thanks so much, dear friends!
· Davis (age 3): “I’ll be praying for you, Micah.” - and he does pray for Micah. He's so sweet. And I must share another Davis story... Their family was taking a walk and their 5yr old daughter, Madeline, decided to ask a man doing yard work whether he knew Jesus. When he replied, "Yes, I do," Davis asked him, "Are you sure?" That story still makes me smile. :-)
· Stone Mountain with the K family
· Coffee/tea with Colleen and no kids (thanks, dads)
· Meeting Bennett and spending time fellowshipping with Valerie. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s emotional sharing with someone in person who is walking a similar road: waiting on pins and needles while your child is on heart-lung bypass for hours; feeding your child with a tube rather than snuggling while nursing or bottle-feeding; watching other kids born around the same time doing all the wonderful developmental milestones months before your child and knowing that they take those milestones for granted because you did the same thing with your first-born; feeling like you’ve burdened your family and friends; feeling like no one in your life really “gets it,” no matter how supportive everyone is. Bennett is about 8 months older than Micah and has DiGeorge syndrome (obviously different from Down syndrome, but there are similar battles to fight as parents). It's been so helpful to chat with Valerie since before Micah was born.
· A free can of formula from Bennett’s gastroenterologist’s office (I was one can short, so Valerie picked up a sample can for us. Our home health company would have charged us $90 to have a can shipped there. I could have ordered 4 cans online for $150. But free was much better!)
· Pedicures with Ann and Mary (again, thanks to the dads)
· Zoo with friends in Nashville (and running into a neighbor from Wisconsin!)
· Mark’s reunion at Vandy
· Breakfasts with the M family
· Micah having no problems with his ears on the flights. We were quite concerned about this because of his lack of ability to take anything in his mouth. You’re encouraged to give a baby a pacifier or a bottle during takeoff and landing to help their ears. Neither of those is possible with Micah so we prayed (and proactively decided to take a non-stop flight, resulting in a long morning drive rather than flying out of our local airport).
· All three of the boys doing great traveling. Because we had two “lap babies,” we couldn’t all sit together in one set of 3 seats (because there are only four oxygen masks for the 3 seats). The flight (each way) was oversold, so there was no chance we could put Micah in a seat. So, Nathan was in his car seat by the window, Mark was holding Micah in the middle seat, and Matthew was in my lap on the aisle seat across the aisle. This created an open aisle seat next to Mark. Usually you would see only middle seats open when you’re in the C boarding group on Southwest. But it was hilarious. People were only briefly glancing at the aisle seat next to Mark before moving past or grabbing a middle seat before they even reached us. They would rather sit in the last row in the middle than sit next to our crazy family. I can’t blame them. I mean, who would guess that sitting in between two parents playing zone defense against 3 children under the age of 3 ½ would actually be enjoyable.
· Tornado in TN (we missed the touchdown in Murfreesboro by an hour or so) and major thunderstorms in GA on our first day making that day CRAZY long – Mark was an all-star driver.
· Matthew smuggling a wood tick back from TN on the back of his head (and it not being found for 3 days)
· Nathan’s fever, Micah’s puking, Micah’s double ear infection, and Matthew’s eventual cold
· Nathan in the H’s front yard dropping trou rather than going inside to the bathroom, causing 4yr old Brooke to ask me, “Why did he do that?” Poor girl… you’ll be asking your mother that same question about lots of boys for the next 25 years.
· Not seeing everyone we wanted to see, both in Georgia and Tennessee
· Trip to the ER in TN – And it wasn’t even for Micah! I apparently passed a kidney stone.
· Missing a gathering of Mark's classmates and families due to Micah being sick
We miss our friends in Georgia and Tennessee tremendously (for those of you who are unaware, we used to live in both states). To all of you down there, we offer a spare bedroom at our house this summer when you need to escape the heat!