Warning: Epic post... Might want to have a good chunk of time on your hands and a bowl of popcorn.
Wilder's first trip to Tennessee was exciting, emotional, exhausting, and so so special. It was so fun to watch his grandparents love on him and the rest of our family meet him for the first time. The consensus was that he looks just like Paul, but has my eyes, and is the cutest, sweetest baby in the entire world ;) We saw soooo many people every day and at first he was a little overwhelmed but, in his typical laid-back fashion, he just went along with whatever the plan was each day.
The time difference didn't really faze him and he was so tired every night that he really had no trouble sleeping. I sure did though. Not because I wasn't tired, but because he slept in the room with me so every time he moved I would wake up and check on him on the monitor (yes, I had the video monitor set up so I could watch him from three feet away) to make sure he wasn't face down in the Pack and Play. I tried to keep him on his nap schedule but that was nearly impossible since we were gone so much so he did a lot of napping in the car between stops or on whoever happened to be holding him at those stops. He's always loved studying people so he was in heaven getting to see all those different faces every day. He did great and was a total trooper and I was so proud of him.
Here we are at the San Diego airport. Getting through security was no small feat -- everything is more difficult while juggling a 15-lb. baby. I definitely should have packed more lightly for the plane. I wanted to be prepared for every possible situation, but I probably could have left the fire extinguisher at home ;)
He did great on the plane. I fed him during take-off and landing so his ears wouldn't hurt. There was another baby across the aisle from us who he stared at for the first hour and then he slept for the last two hours. The only time he cried was when I took him to the restroom and flushed the toilet. I had forgotten/never thought about how loud the toilet on an airplane is and it scared the crap out of him. Poor little dude, his face got all red and he screamed his head off until we escaped what he was obviously convinced was a chamber of death. FYI: They have fold-out changing tables in airplane bathrooms, who knew!
My parents picked us up at the airport in Nashville and it was the happiest reunion I've ever been a part of. My mom could hardly wait for me to get him out of the carrier so she could hold him and we had to sit in the airport lounge so they could love on him for a little while before we made the two-hour drive to Jackson. They hadn't seen him since he was a week old so it had been all they could do to not meet us on the runway, for goodness sakes.
On Wednesday Paul's sweet Aunt Kathy had set up a little luncheon for us at The Painted Lady. (All you Jacksonians... go there! It's sooo delicious. And yes, it's downtown, get over it! You can only eat at Panera so many times in a week and, let's face it, North Jackson is nice but totally devoid of character.) Anyway, at the luncheon, Wilder got to meet his cousin Ava and her beautiful mama Betsy (and his little boy cousin in Betsy's tummy), his great-aunts Kathy and Pam, and see his Lovie for the first time in a couple of months. Needless to say, he was a hit with the ladies.
Also on Wednesday I took him to meet his "aunt" Jinny (my very best friend) at her work and we got to visit with another good friend, Alexis, while we were there.
We ended up staying for quite a while so he was a little irritated by the time we took the picture below, but oh well.
Then, against my better judgment, we made one more stop at Paul's dad's office before going home to feed him and take a nap. I couldn't not have him see all the grandparents on our first day there. Although I'm sure his Daddy G would have preferred to see him post-snack and -nap, it just didn't work out that way. We didn't take any pictures there for obvious reasons (imagine his attitude in the above picture times 10).
My grandmother (my dad's mom) came over for dinner that night but, luckily, he was in a much better mood by then because it was his bath time. He totally hammed it up for her naked as a jaybird on the kitchen counter and she thought he was just too cute.
On Thursday we loaded up in the car and headed to Memphis to have a play date with my good friend Megan and her 7-month-old son Mason. Mason was so much more active than Wilder and I don't think Wilder quite knew what to do with him but it was really fun and special to get them together.
I had to post all three of these pictures because Wilder's face totally cracks me up in all of them. Doesn't he look so happy to have a little friend? :)
(And yes, for you observant readers, he had to have a wardrobe change halfway through the morning because he spit up all. over. himself.)
Megan had two of those jumper things so we put the boys in them to play. Wilder wasn't sure what he was supposed to do in it at first but Mason was next to him rambunctiously jumping up and down so he watched him for a few minutes and then started jumping too. It was funny to see him learn from his friend and it made me really realize how much I need to get him around other babies.
After our play date we got back in the car and drove to Covington, TN, to visit my mom's family. Wilder got to meet his great-grandmother, great-aunts, and lots of cousins. I was so excited to finally introduce him to them and it was such a fun afternoon getting to visit with all of them.
After being gone all day Thursday we were exhausted so we didn't even leave the house on Friday. It was still an exciting day though. Wilder's Auntie Lizanne came into town from Nashville to see him. She is so sweet with him and we had fun getting to sit around and catch up with her.
Also on Friday, my brother William and his fiancee' Lauren came into town for the weekend. My brother was the only one in my immediate family who hadn't met Wilder yet so I was really excited for this.
Oh and Wilder also got to meet my brother's sweet pit bull Diesel who absolutely loved him. He was so gentle with Wilder and protective of him.
It was so nice to get to hang out with them all weekend. I just know Wilder is going to adore his Uncle William as he grows up. How cute is this video?? :)
Also on Friday I took Wilder's 14-week picture. I enlisted the help of my mom because Wilder seriously adores her. Other than Paul, there is no one who can make him smile so much.
On Saturday my mom and grandmother had set up a Sip and See (yeah, it's a Southern thing) at my grandmother's house for friends and family to come over to meet Wilder. My brother and Lauren played with Wilder that morning while I got ready. They all had a great time hanging out.
The Sip and See was so nice! I got to see a lot of people who I wouldn't have otherwise been able to see and everyone just ooh'd and ahh'd over my little Wilder. He did so good too. Let everyone pass him around and finally fell asleep with my mom holding him.
Jinny and me with our babies
Us with Dr. Barefoot -- he married
Paul and me almost four years ago there
at my grandmother's house so it meant a
lot to me for him to be there to meet Wilder
After the Sip and See we went home and rested then went back to my grandmother's house because my dad's youngest brother and his family had come into town from Oxford, MS. All the kids got to hold him and his cousin SallyKate read a book to him. It was so sweet -- he actually paid attention which he rarely does when I read to him.
On Sunday Paul's dad's parents invited their whole family over to have lunch and meet Wilder. In typical Mama Sue fashion it was a Southern feast and it was so fun to see all of them. Wilder loved Paul's grandparents and all the aunts were so sweet loving on him. It was a fun and happy afternoon.
Monday we made some last visits -- to see my mom's boss of 15 years at her office and to see Wilder's Daddy G one last time. Then that night my grandmother, a couple friend of my parents' whose sons William and I grew up with, and Paul's mom came over to visit and say goodbye. It was a nice, relaxing ending to a hectic trip.
Tuesday morning we made the drive back to Nashville for our flight. Wilder slept the whole way in the car so of course he was wide awake for most of the plane ride, which was pretty exhausting and nerve-wracking for me. He did really well though and entertained himself by flirting with the lady sitting next to us and awkwardly staring at the people across the aisle from us. When he got antsy I would lift him up and down over my head to look at everyone behind us. I know the 30 rows behind us thought it was weird to see this baby keep popping up at the front of the plane but he loved it. When we landed and were waiting to exit the plane everyone around us commented on what a good baby he had been so that was a relief. We were both so excited to see Paul!
Wilder and Paul watching for our bags
We've been pretty out of sorts since we got back to San Diego. I've been exhausted and Wilder has apparently forgotten how to play by himself -- something I worked so hard to teach him. I usually let him play alone during part of his morning playtime but my parents got up with him every morning during our trip and I wanted them to get to spend as much time as possible with him so I just let them play with him. It's OK, I'm sure he'll get back into his old routine soon enough and the time he spent with them is priceless.
Also, the time difference didn't bother him while we were in TN, in fact it was nice because he actually slept a little later in the mornings. But coming back... ugh, he woke up at 5:00 AM that first morning thinking it was 7:00 AM. He's slept progressively later each day so hopefully that will even out soon too. Getting thrown off our schedule was definitely hard but the trip was sooooo worth it. We've spent this week recuperating and it's been nice to not have anywhere to go the last few days.
Last night Paul got out of class early so we walked down the street to the North Park Farmer's Market. There's a booth there that has the best roasted red bell pepper hummus and we stocked up on some beautiful heirloom tomatoes too. It was fun to walk around and sample stuff from all the booths. We stopped at a booth selling all different kinds of Indian foods and Wilder had his first taste of real food -- mango lassi (a traditional Indian yogurt-based drink). I personally thought it was delicious but he sort of spit it out and let it dribble down his chin. I don't think the proprietor was too offended though, haha ;)
Anyway, we had a great trip and a wonderful time visiting with everyone. Thank you to everyone who took the time to see us and we are already looking forward to our next trip in May when (I can't believe it) my baby brother is getting married!
Tomorrow we go to cousin Henry's 1st birthday party up in La Habra. It's going to be so cute and fun and we are looking forward to seeing Amber, Travis, and Henry again.
Well, that's all, I suppose. No really, I can't think of one more thing to say, can you believe it? ;) I'll just leave you with a few more cute photos from the past two weeks...