We took our first vacation as a family of three…and survived to tell about it.
The place: Seattle
The characters: one handsome husband, me, and a cuddly baby.
The reason: Zach and Dana’s wedding. Let’s be honest- who would plan to take a 9 week old on vacation unless there was a good reason? Let’s also just note that I don’t have one single picture of the rehearsal dinner or wedding because my baby was crying most of the time. I’ll get to that later.
After flying down to Irvine the weekend before, I felt like an old pro on navigating the complexities of traveling with an infant. It’s an art people. I am still a newbie, as evidenced by the fact that I left my cell phone at home, but here are the basics:
1. Look vulnerable and scared. Flight attendants will take pity on you and offer an extra seat and priority lines through security.
2. Keep the baby strapped on at all times. How else are you supposed to take your shoes off?
3. Do whatever it takes to get the baby to sleep. Nursing on takeoff helps. Nursing on landing helps. Nursing the entire flight might also help.
So, we got to Seattle on Thursday afternoon (sans cell phone) and immediately found the “family restroom” at the airport. I was sorta giddy about using the family restroom. I mean, I didn’t even know family restrooms existed! What fun! I can pee while Jonathan changes the baby!
I have always said I could live in Seattle because the two times I’ve been there it was sunny and beautiful the entire time. People claim it rains a lot. I don’t really believe them. I was actually very anxious to experience fall weather because it’s been so hot here. I even bought new leggings from J. Crew (and, I will note, they are wonderfully comfy and cute…if I do say so myself.) Anna’s suitcase was filled with little pants, and little sweaters, and little hats. I couldn’t wait to put them on her until arriving to 75 degree temps and sunny skies. I still wore my leggings and Anna still wore her sweatsuit until she pooped all over it.
When we checked into the hotel we met up with Jenny, Chris and Lola. I couldn’t believe how much Lola has changed since Lori’s wedding. She’s still so petite but oh so pretty. Her mom dresses her in cute outfits and lots of headbands (my kind of gal!) While sitting in our huge suite, I soaked in the fun of raising a baby girl at the same time Jenny is also raising one. Then we get a call from the front desk that the huge suite wasn’t actually ours so we moved down the hall to a much smaller room that was just as comfy. We tried not to whine about this.
Note: hotels have baby cribs! This is a good thing because we decided not to bring our Pack ‘n Play due to its weight. Instead we planned on letting Anna sleep in her car seat. We’re superstar parents like that. She was really living the high life in her crib/our king size bed.
On Thursday night we dined at one of Seattle’s nicest restaurants, Canlis. And yes, we were that couple who brought THAT baby. I was feeling so lucky to receive an invite to the rehearsal dinner but as the night progressed I started asking myself this simple question: “What the H-E-Double hockey sticks were we thinking?!?” Apparently, Anna doesn’t like fine wine, crab legs, steak or chocolate lava cake. Weird. Jenny and I left early, determined to put the babies down to sleep and then hang out. Turns out, I also forgot the stupid (and expensive) baby monitor that we’d purchased for times such as these. Jenny and I talked on the phone for an hour in our respective rooms. It was very glamorous.
Miraculously, Anna slept 8 straight hours that night. We celebrated her behavior with breakfast at Citizen, where I had the most delicious savory crepe I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Then, we plopped her in the Ergo baby carrier and hauled her all over Seattle for the day, visiting Pike Place Market, getting clam chowder at Ivar’s, and taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island with friends. Did I mention it was maybe the most beautiful day in Seattle’s history? Anna loves the Ergo and didn’t make a fuss all day…until…THE WEDDING.
I won’t lie: I left Zach and Dana’s wedding very bitter. Caring for an infant while you’re trying to look all pretty, and dance, and eat pie is nearly impossible. I don’t blame Anna for hating her life that night. It was loud and hot and she’d been carried around all day like a kangaroo. Still, Mama was not happy when I had to leave the reception before I even got to bust a single move on the dance floor with all of our friends. Plus, I missed the pie buffet. I love pie. I had to keep reminding myself that at least I was able to attend the wedding rather than be at home. The happy couple are dear friends of ours and will be moving to Sacramento in June.
On Saturday we headed out to Woodinville, Jonathan’s hometown, because he hadn’t been to visit in 9 years! Lucky for Anna, her Uncle Matt happened to be in town for a different wedding so we got breakfast with him at the Woodinville Care. Anna had a major spit-up in the restaurant that involved liquid running down a wall. I decided not to notify management and cleaned it up myself. Major EW. We also stopped by Jonathan’s old house, the church, a winery, and Red Hook Brewery. I nursed Anna while Jonathan tasted beers. Yes, we took a baby to a bar. It was awesome.
Later that night we picked up dinner at Dick’s (Jonathan’s favorite!) and took it up to Kerry Park for a picnic. The night was gorgeous, and the baby stayed sleeping, so we walked all over Queen Anne…chatting and soaking up one of the last nights of summer. I could hardly believe that it had been about 9 years since Jonathan took me to Kerry Park during our first summer of dating. My, how 9 years can change a couple…
And still…the weekend wasn’t over!
Sunday took us to Fremont Market, a suggestion from Ashlee. I’m so glad we went. The weather had shifted by that morning and we bundled up to brave the first crisp morning of fall. Besides looking at all the cute vintage wear, flowers and produce; we also stopped for samples at Theo Chocolate. I realize we could have gone to church- but- we got chocolate, people!
Speaking of chocolate, I have this secret wish I could be a famous food blogger. Whenever we travel, I love the idea of discovering new foods that no one has discovered before. Later on Sunday, after we dressed our baby in Seahawk’s gear and Jonathan headed off the the game, I braved Seattle with Anna.
We took the monorail to downtown where I made a bad food court sushi decision. (Seriously- if I want to be a foodie, why did I settle on eating at the food court?!) I tried to redeem my food choice by purchasing a Swedish Dream cookie at Pike Place. When that didn’t settle my desires, I noticed a long line at the Mee Sum Pastry shop. I was very full at that point and yet still got in line for a humbow. It was amazing and I don’t for a minute regret the side ache I suffered from the rest of the afternoon.
The only picture I have from Sunday’s adventure is a self shot taken in the Nordstrom Ladies Lounge where I retreated to feed Anna. I love Nordstrom for making my Sunday stroll possible.
By Sunday night we were exhausted and grateful for home cooked pumpkin chili and apple pie at a friend’s house from college. Phil and his wife Kara were incredibly gracious hosts, sending us home with a loaf of zucchini bread and a reminder that the expensive loans we are still paying off from college are totally worth it for the friends we now have scattered across the United States.
And that, my friends, is my very lengthy account of our Seattle trip. If you’re still reading- well- I’m shocked. Thanks for hanging this long.