Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take Me to the River

McKinley took his first major road trip over Memorial Day Weekend to Tecumseh, MO, a small town 20 miles outside of Gainsville, and it was quite the adventure for this one month old. My parents own a small house, a home we affectionately refer to as "The River House", that sits a mile and a half off a paved road. The river is the North Fork of the White River, a blue ribbon trout stream for my fly fishing father.

The trip usually takes about five hours, but for this crew it took us roughly six! We left Overland Park around 4:00pm on that Thursday and things were going well. McKinley slept on and off, Joel and I caught up with one another since we hadn't spent all that much time together since McKinley's birth and around Harrisonville, MO we plugged in our iPOD and sang along to a large array of tunes.

When enroute to the river, we typically stop in Springfield, MO for gas and dine at the McDonald's across the street. Well, we rolled into Springfield around 6:30 or so, got gas and ran into McDonald's to change McKinley and grab a quick bite for the road. McKinley had other plans! Turns out our little traveler was not only wet but hungry. So, our "to go" order turned into "for here". Now, McKinley is not what one would call a fast eater, which is an unfortunate trait he inherited from his mother. But it wasn't just the length of time in which he ate, it was the fact that he soaked in every ounce of his surroundings while chomping down on his #2 combo meal and vanilla shake that we told him he was enjoying. He even made friends with the couple who sat down behind us. All in all, it took us over an hour to finish up our dinners, have another diaper change and get our things loaded back in the car.

It is now 8:00 and we still have another two hours to go. McKinley continued to doze on and off as we continue to listen to Barry Manilow and others on our iPOD. We finally pull into my parents "driveway" around 10:00 and begin unloading the car. If you've ever traveled with a child, and this was our first time, you take EVERYTHING they own!! And again, since we are 20 miles away from the closest town, you have to take everything you own! Joel is exhausted from working a half day, mowing the lawn, packing the car and driving six hours and all he wants to do is feed McKinley one more time and fall into bed. But again, McKinley had other plans! He had slept for six hours so he was ready to play! It was the longest night of our lives. He was awake on and off all night long and we barely slept ourselves. Friday was going to be a long day!

Friday was a dreary day. Dad hadn't been to the house in months and it needed a major mowing so he headed out early to tend to the yard. Mom and I headed into town for groceries and our holiday trip to the Dollar General. That left Joel and McKinley to fend for themselves. What did they do? NAP! Both boys snoozed in the quite of the house and by that evening McKinley was back on a routine.

Saturday was a big day for the family! We loaded up the car and headed out for a picnic lunch along the bank of the river. Wait, what river bank? The river was so high that we were forced to tailgate out of the back of the Explorer, which was fine. We love a good adventure. And an adventure it was. I'm not sure if McKinley can sense that everyone is eating but him, but he will immediately start fussing for a bottle the minute we all start to eat. No worries little man! A bottle is always at your service. What we weren't expecting was a major poo! But that's exactly what took place. With that begin said, we immediately started making room for a makeshift changing table in the back of the car. We threw down a blanket, placed a large trashbag under his little butt and began the clean up process. So glad we could dump that messy diaper in the trash cans at the campground. Not really something you want in the car ride back home!

The rest of the day was somewhat lazy. I took a long nap after we got home while McKinley, Joel and Mom played in the living room. (Grandpa "watched" from a chair where really he napped.) McKinley never napped that day. Instead, he proceeded to play under his floor gym for the remainder of the afternoon and for the first time slept a full seven hours! And what did I do? I was up every hour making sure he was still breathing. Thank goodness I napped earlier in the day.

Sunday found us taking a roadtrip to Hodgson's Water Mill. The mill was built in 1861 to channel a huge natural spring that flowed into Bryant Creek. An amazing fact; that spring still spews almost 3,000,000 gallons of water a day! McKinley was so blown away by that information that he continued to nap I sure hope this trend doesn't continue when he's in school. That could be a long 12 years!!! The rest of the day was much the same. Once home, we spent the rest of the day relaxing, playing, napping and getting things ready for the trip home the next day.

Before we headed out Monday morning, my dad wanted to see how McKinley would react to swinging in the hammock. We placed a large blanket in the middle of the hammock, laid him down and stood back. He hated it as you can see from the photo below. I'm pretty sure he won't ever want to get in that thing again!

Since McKinley did nothing but nap the entire way to the river and was then up all night, we decided to be smart about our trip home and leave after his mid-morning bottle. We knew he would need to eat again along the way, but he could nap in the afternoon so that he was awake when we got home by early evening and stay awake until it was truly bedtime. Four hours later, and on the other side of Clinton, MO, we stopped at one of my favorite gas stations on the way home. (I'm a creature of habit when we travel. I know what gas stations have the nicer restrooms and I make sure we stop there every time. That's why we stop at McDonald's a lot too.) Anyway, I come back from using the restroom and McKinley is in the car screaming! Well, it's been several hours so we know it's probably a wet diaper. Instead of getting out of the car and going back in, I decide to change him in the car. Bad idea! He's sliding all over the place, I can't get a good angle on him and he's ticked! Turns out, it's not just the wet diaper but a hungry belly as well. So, I proceed to make a bottle while holding him and throwing stuff into the back of the car to make room. Once in place, guess what? That's right! We spend 45 minutes in the gas station parking lot feeding little mister. Again, slow eater!

We finally get home around 5:00 that evening. McKinley was amazing! He woke up just as we reached I-435 and I slid into the backseat to keep him company. He cooed and smiled and I praised him for being such a good traveler. We got the car unpacked, fed him his last bottle before putting him down for the evening and as Joel and I finally made our way into bed we both agreed we have the best go with the flow baby anyone could ask for!

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