Thursday, January 19, 2012

The BIG Trip

 As I mentioned Monday, last week we traveled to San Antonio to see our friend John graduate from basic military training.  The trip was stressful, to say the least.

On the way to San Antonio, Patrick drove a friend's car (who otherwise would not have been able to come) while I drove Madison in the Explorer.  That meant that no one was available to pick up dropped toys, make funny faces, or pacify Madison in the backseat.  Thankfully, Madison slept for the first two hours of the trip, which was a miracle considering she had already napped for three hours before we left the house.  The next hour and a half, however, was far from miraculous.  That is, unless you consider me not having a full blown nervous breakdown a miracle.  In that  respect, it was a miracle indeed.

She cried.  And cried.  Then she slept, woke up, and cried some more.  I pulled over once to give her a chance to breathe.  It was that bad.  After an eternity of that, we finally arrived at the hotel.  At this point, it was about 7:30, a full hour after her typical bedtime.  Usually, that would mean relentless screaming, but the new environment was interesting enough to keep her curious and quiet.  Here she is with Patrick in the hotel lobby, waiting for our room keys.
 It probably took us forty-five minutes to get all our things into the room and start on her bedtime routine, meaning she went down for the night almost two hours late.  I expected to have a difficult time getting her to sleep, but she was all tuckered out. 

To minimize noisiness, Patrick stayed in the adjoining room with our friend.  We figured one of us would be half as loud as two.  Actually, I'm being generous here.  That boy is loud.  I wish I could say the whole night was uneventful, but she woke up crying three times, probably with flashbacks of our terrible drive.  She ended up staying in bed with me after the third time, at 4:45, a mere fifteen minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off. 
 As I mentioned Monday, it was cold that morning.  We weren't sure what to expect, or how long Madison would have to be outside, so we dressed her as warmly as we could.  First up was the most adorable thermal underwear I've ever seen.
  Then black pantyhose right over the thermals,
Notice my jeans are tucked into my soccer socks.  If that's not classy, I don't know what is.
 And a long-sleeved dress on top.
 Once we got to the graduation, we added a crochet cap, "fur" hooded coat, and our stroller blanket (which, by the way, is probably one of the most useful gifts we've gotten, diapers excluded).
 Immediately after this picture was taken, we realized that the graduation didn't start for another hour and a half, so the three of us got back into the car and chilled toasted until it was time to head for the stands.  Why do the best photo ops always turn out fuzzy?  Oh well, this is still a favorite.
 By the time we were ready to walk to the stands to watch the graduation, Madison had fallen asleep.  She slept through most of the ceremony, but woke up in time to see be completely oblivious to the fly-over.  Patrick was really impressed with it, though.  : )  There were three C-something-something gunships.  Or something like that.
 While that was one of Pat's favorite parts of the graduation, my favorite part was when the graduates took the Oath of Enlistment and recited the Airman's Creed.  The last part was them screaming, in unison, "We will not fail!"  Hello, goosebumps.
 The closest I came to crying (not counting the drive there) was watching Janese, John's mom, "tapping" him out.  The soldiers stood at attention until a loved one came and tapped them out by touching them.
 I love that John and Patrick are smiling at Madison, and she's not even paying attention.  I think she was still in a sleep state.
We all went to Saltgrass after the graduation.  While waiting to order, Patrick was trying to take a rare picture of me with Madison, and said "Wow, that was a bad one of Madison."  I argued that there could be no such thing, but then he showed me the screen.  I think this is Madi's first truly unflattering picture.  Maybe she is my daughter, after all.  : )
And here's another cute picture to balance things out.  You're welcome, Madison. 
The return trip was almost identical to the first, with one huge difference.  Our friend stayed in San Antonio for the weekend, so Patrick and I took turns driving the Explorer.  Madison did cry for about an hour on the way back, but it never grew into a full blown fit because we were there to distract her. 

If I had to sum the whole trip up in one sentence, it would be this: I am so glad we went, and I am so glad it's over!

Have you ever been to a military graduation?  What's the longest you've driven with a crying baby?  Do you tuck your jeans into your socks, too?  Yeah, I figured that last one was just me.



  1. road trips with a baby = good in theory. Always better once they are over!

  2. I've been to an airmen graduation at that exact place :) my brother graduated in 2006 I think.

  3. wow! I'm finally able to get on your blog again. Brian gave me the idea of what to do. I have missed so much, but have really enjoyed getting caught up!! Love the pictures and commentary - glad to see a few pictures of you included. Loved Pat's letters to his beautiful ladies. Glad you had a safe trip, although certainly difficult at times. Proud of John, I know I would have had some tears. The bathroom looks good; and am so glad the fence is finally done, a major project. Love to all, dorothy, Grandma, Mom:)