The Illinois Trip.

Last week I got pretty serious on your asses.  This week, I figure I’ll make it up to you by delivering intolerable levels of cuteness to your computer screen. Or your phone screen if you’re on the go. I’m down with that, I like going places. I went to Illinois last month, and took the whole crew with me. Well, we left the pets at home with a stunt double.  But, my mom, John, Xavier and I all went to Illinois for a few days.

Day one, we were up at 2 am, heading for the airport. My mom is semi-disabled, and Xavier’s lazy ass refused to walk or carry anything. In an effort to save money, we decided to only check one bag for all of us, and we all would maximize what we carried on. Everyone is allowed one carry on bag, and one personal item, like a purse. So I busted out my two most giant purses for Mom and I. John got a man purse (it’s a European shoulder bag, dammit) and we all had our roller carry ons. Now add a stroller and a carseat.

Holy shit that’s a  lot of stuff.

Annnnd now we go through security with it. Which..I lost a lot of sleep preparing everything for to get through as fast as possible. But I think you just have to accept that when you’re traveling with an infant and a disabled person, it’s just not going to be speedy. But we tried. I made sure everyone was wearing shoes that slid on and off. No belts, everyones liquids are easily accessible, take that laptop out and put it in the bin by itself please.

It worked, and we got through without issue. Woot! This is the one tip I can’t stress enough when traveling with an infant: Estimate how long you think it could possibly take, if everything and anything were to go wrong. Now add an hour. Yes, seriously, an hour.

I’m a big girl, so being squashed into an airplane seat is not my fave. John and my mom aren’t teeny people either. Again, saving money so we did not buy Xavier his own seat, he had to be held. We looked about like this:

I was absolutely petrified of having that baby on the plane. You know, the one that screams and wails and everyone either goes “Goddammit woman shut that kid UP!” or “Wtf is that baby even doing on the plane at all?”   

 But oh..my kid is a rock star. I nursed him on the way up, somehow. He was like half on my mom’s lap, tucked under John’s elbow, squeezed in like a tetris block. But we got it done, and no one except John and my mom saw boobs. And they see em all the time, real talk.

When we landed, he was knocked out cold. So I didn’t wake him up to nurse on the way down. We requested a wheelchair at O’hare for my mom, because if you’ve ever been through that place, you know it’s a legit city. So at the gate, we got picked up by one of those little cars! And we got to baggage claim in about um, five seconds flat. Amazeballs.

Picked up the rental car,  and after a quick stop at Target for diapers and other supplies, (read: diet coke and candy.) checked into our hotel and took a nap. A NAP!!! Blisssssssss. Then John went and got dinner from one of my favorite Chicago area spots, Portillo’s.

Portillo’s is the SHIT, my friends.

http://www.portillos.com/portillos/menu/

You can actually get their food packed in dry ice and shipped to you. No, I never have.  I hear it’s not quite the same, but will do in a pinch. 

We stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Naperville, which was actually pretty damned nice, and I got a helluva deal on Hotels.com. The breakfast there was like a legit buffet, with hot food like bacon and waffles.

Saturday, realized we forgot Mom’s sweater. Back to Target. Back to Portillo’s for lunch. Tried to bathe Xavier using this thing:

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Fold-Store-Sling/dp/B005EHEJ0G

He kept sliding right down out of it. It was kind of a fail.

Got myself dressed and my mom dressed. John got himself dressed and mostly got Xavier dressed. We got out of the hotel JUST in time to make the ceremony..but then we hit construction.

And then we hit some kind of accident where the police blocked the whole area off and we had to detour like a mile around, in heavy ass traffic.

We missed the ceremony.

I am so ashamed of this, I can’t even tell you. I was pretty much in tears by the time we got there just as cocktail hour was starting. Xavier, again was just amazing. He got passed around like a joint at a Phish show, and was all smiles. He fussed a little during toasts and my blood ran cold (omg what was I thinking bringing a baby to a wedding he’s going to ruin everything I’m such a fucking idiot…) But then it passed and he went to sleep. Phew.

Here’s some pictures, although I must apologize they’re not very good. I took my tiny camera because I had to use my purse as a diaper bag and only so much crap fits.

Chillin with Dad

My crazy ass Momma and me. Why I didn’t take my sunglasses off my head the entire night, I don’t know. I have a problem with this. I’m seeing a counselor and we’re working on my sunglasses attachment issues.

Gettin some lovin from Auntie Megan, Auntie Sarah, and Grandpa Gary. Grandpa Gary has the mustache John would have if I’d ever allow it. (Hint: I won’t. But Grandpa Gary rocks that shit, hard.)

So yea, I totally should have worn a cami under the dress. I have to adjust to life with boobs. And without sunglasses.

Check out his little pocket square! Couldn’t you just die!

So..we cut out pretty early, because Xavier was fading fast. I did have one glass of champagne though..and it was delicious. Then my mom actually tasted my diet coke to make sure there wasn’t booze in it.  Come on mom, I’m turning 30 this month..not gonna get trashed then drive my entire family home and stick a booze laced boob into my baby’s mouth. Who do you think I am, you?

(I kid, I’ve seen my mom drink like four times in my whole life. It was just a joke folks.)

So that was it for Chicago. We got out of there pretty early in the am, and started heading south. Stopped in Bloomington for a little while, where Xavier met his Uncle Tom. (Ha!) I freaking miss this guy.

We left Mom in Bloomington, and John, Xavier and I went on, down to Eureka Missouri, to meet up with my brother Joe and his amazing little family. We had such a great time just hanging out and talking about everything and nothing. It was SO, so great, no one wanted the night to end. We hadn’t seen them since we got married in 2009, because the distance is just crazy. So I’m really glad we were able to steal a few hours with them. My niece and nephew are getting so big it’s unbelievable.  We stayed at the Super 8. This place was like, right next to Six Flags St Louis, so it was wicked overpriced and badly in need of some serious updating. The game room still had Super Mario Bros/Donkey Kong. Retro!

Here’s a picture chock full of some of my favorite people in the whole world.

Yea I look like hot ass and cheese in it, but what are ya gonna do?

The next morning, we drove the four looooong ass hours back to Bloomington, for our one night appearance. My bestie Tess met us at our (much nicer)  hotel with her brood of crazy kiddos in tow.

Couple things I want to say about this photo. 1. I’m not one of those people who lets their baby run around in a tee shirt and a diaper. This never happens.  I was actively getting him dressed when I looked over and realized that all four of Tess’ kids were actually sitting still and no one was crying or wearing any bodily fluids. PICTURE TIME RIGHT NOW!! And 2, in Rylan’s little baggie right there is dehydrated green beans. NOT  what you think it is. Come on, who do you think we are, you?

I kid. I don’t know if you’re a pothead, or if you’d let your baby stick his hands in a bag full of it. I hope not. 

I had a little fun putting ridiculous amounts of makeup on the two little girls, Kyliee and Addisyn. Not “Full Glitz” like they say on Toddlers and Tiaras, but definitely “Semi-Glitz”, just because it amuses me, and they like the teal eyeshadow too.

SO then Xavier and I went to visit Jimi’s mom. She cooked me dinner and it was, no bullshit, the best meal I think I’d eaten all week. Yep, better than Portillo’s.

Here is Xavier with Gramma Smith:

The next morning, we left at about 4 am. And I’m glad because we hit this insane fog that definitely slowed things down quite a bit. I forgot how bad the fog in Illinois can be, when there’s no trees or hills to break it up, it just settles in like a thick ass blanket that you have to drive 12 mph through.

So we dropped off the car just in the nick of time, got to the airport, where I was hoping for another ride in the little car because HOLY SHIT that’s a lot of stuff. But no such luck. They have you drop off your elderly or disabled in this little roped off section, then they deliver them through security to their gate in the order in which their flight leaves.

My mom was not happy with this “Cripple Service” as she calls it. We didn’t care for being seperated, and it took them longer to get her there, than it did for us, with the baby, and standing in lines, and walking. But whatevs. Got on the flight, Xavier was an angel again, even though the ride was crazy turbulent. I’m a pretty seasoned vet when it comes to flying, after four years of back and forth, but it was enough to make me nervous. Boooo!

So even though it went as well as could be expected, I’m in no hurry to do that crap again. It was worth it, but exhausting. Mom and I are discussing taking a trip down to Texas so that Xavier can meet his Uncle Ben, (ha! Uncle Tom AND Uncle Ben) and his cousin Trinity, who is just three weeks older than he is. (and who I can’t wait to snuggle!) The trouble with that is that we’re looking at at minimum, two layovers to get to where they are in Texas. Last February, I took this trip alone. (If you count 16 weeks pregnant as alone, that is.) I got stranded in Washington DC for one night, with just my carryon (which only had my laptop and camera in it.) and it was epic fucking suckage. So the possibility of that happening with my mom and baby in tow..well let’s just say I’m hesitant.

But we’ll see, because Trinity IS pretty damned cute:-)

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