Before the baby came, we would head up to Vancouver, BC or down to Portland, OR a couple times each month for a change of scenery day trip. They allowed us to decompress on the 2.5 to 3 hour drive each way and relax our minds from the grind of our everyday lives.
Since Ava arrived, with the pressures and challenges a new baby brings, we've needed these even more. While we've managed to fit in a couple good getaways, life has gotten busier, free time is more limited and gas is nearly $4/gallon. Still, we knew we had to bite the bullet and just go or quit all our bellyaching about how much we needed a getaway.
So last weekend, we booked a room at the Hotel Lucia in Portland and headed out after work on Friday. It was a lovely, uneventful drive after we got out of the Friday traffic around Seattle and Tacoma and in less than three hours, we were checking in to our room.
We love the hotel's contemporary style. Ava loved the king size bed with plush duvet cover and leather headboard. Okay, I'm guessing. But she didn't dislike it and seemed quite content lolling about on the bed playing with her toes while J. hit the bar downstairs for a cocktail and I chowed down on delish room service from the hotel's Thai restaurant Typhoon!. Yes, it's spelled with the exclamation point. As in "Loved it!" Ava even tried a little rice. Tag-teaming on baby duty is part of the territory when traveling with a child this age if you ever want to see anything besides the hotel room. We learned that on our Vegas trip.
The next day we met up with one of J.'s colleagues, did some shopping, then hit Koji Osakaya in NE Portland for some teriyaki salmon rice and noodle bowls. My penchant for international food during pregnancy and while nursing seems to have primed Ava's tastebuds for new flavors. She is still nursing at 7 1/2 months but is starting to reach for our food and drinks and willingly tries new things.
Here she is with J. getting her first sip of miso soup. She lapped it up and leaned forward for more! She also had a few grains of rice before pursing her lips to indicate "No more please." As we finished up, it was about 2:30pm and getting close to nap time for her so the fussiness and mini-meltdown started. J. jiggled her while I shoveled the last of my food down so we could get out to the car and feed her, strap her in, and hit the road. With a tummy full of milk, she was asleep before we crossed the Interstate bridge back into Washington.
We had to punch it on the way back because we needed to be back in Seattle by 7pm. That morning, we'd gotten a call from our friend Anne who offered tickets for that night's Seattle Storm game. We made it back by six, freshened up, and rolled into the arena just as the game was starting. Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird were still in Russia finishing up their overseas season, but Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash and the rest of the ladies played a great game. And whoa: Alison Feaster of Indiana should wear a warning on her jersey that you'll be getting a game and a gun show: her arms are ripped. I've GOT to start doing push ups.
Ava loved all the visual stimulation at the game! She smiled, squawked and wiggled her arms and legs when the crowd cheered. This is her look for "How is that a foul?! It's not our fault she ran into our player's elbow with her face!"
When she wasn't doing her Dennis Rodman sneer impersonation, Ava looked quite fetching in her leopard print hat and received several compliments from passersby who'd seen her on the Jumbotron totally rockin' out. Yeah, shy she's not. We were even able to snag a shot with Anne, whose notorious blink reflex is perfectly in sync with any nearby camera flash. Really, we tried. Twice! This was the best we could do. Thanks again Anne for a great family night out.
But wait, there's more! Sunday was my first official Mother's Day! That of course made it special. But the best part was that J. cooked brunch (salmon, eggs, bacon (yay protein!), waffles, fruit, and pomegranate mimosas) for the whole family (his side and mine) with an assist from his cousin on the eggs and waffle iron. I didn't have to do anything. Okay, I helped with a few things, like pre-event clean up and set up of the tables and chairs. But J. did the bulk of the work, which was AWESOME.
See, I enjoy having family over, but it's a lot of work, as any host will tell you. Especially when it's never fewer than 10 folks. While everyone's there, you're so busy doing stuff (refilling glasses, finding someone tartar sauce (on salmon?!), getting an extra serving utensil, etc.) that you don't actually get to enjoy the folks who are there. So getting a pass for a day was the best gift of the year from my super thoughtful husband. Plus, I got lovely cards from several folks, including Ava. She's so thoughtful that little girl. Just wait until she's walking. I was so busy enjoying the day, I didn't take any pictures, but one of the cousins did, so I'll track it down and get it up here.
The three of us closed out the afternoon napping in a drooling, protein-enfused heap on the family room couch. The perfect end to a great, family-filled weekend. I counted my blessing that day but couldn't finish. What comes after a gazillion?