What an end to 2019 we had. We spent one week in Michigan for Christmas with my family, had one rare and precious weekend away just the two of us without Reese, and then had about 36 hours of traveling to get back to Seattle thanks to flight troubles. It was a roller coaster of events and I’m still recovering from it all but definitely grateful for the time we got to spend with family and the time we got to spend with ourselves.
We had our usual early morning flight out of Seattle to head to Michigan on Christmas Eve. Our flight there went on without a hitch more or less (only about a 30 minute delay flying from Chicago to Lansing) and we all arrived at my parent’s house in East Lansing with a good amount of energy. Reese was thrilled to see my parents and maybe less so to see Sophie, their dog, at first but Sophie quickly became her favorite item in the house. She followed “Ruff Ruff” around everywhere and always had her eye out for her. Christmas Eve was the always-delicious dinner of clam chowder and king crab legs at my parent’s house with my grandparents visiting for the night. After our fill of seafood, coffee and Christmas cookies, I had about an hour of wrapping presents to do after putting Reese to bed. Somehow she lasted until her normal PST bedtime, which was helped by new people, the dog and her Christmas Eve present of her Mickey Mouse riding airplane that I must admit was super cool.
Christmas morning came and Bryan and I were slow to get up. We spent the morning snacking on my dad’s mini quiches before settling into presents at home first before getting dressed and heading over to my grandparent’s house. We made out like bandits this year, filling an entire duffel bag on our return flight home. Bryan and I cleaned up and face-timed with the Miller and Konecni families while Reese made friends with the neighborhood kids outside. We piled into the car and headed over to my grandparents. This was the first year in maybe five years that all four cousins were at home for Christmas so I know it was especially special for my Grandma. It was great to catch up with my cousins, flying in from Berlin and Denver, while Chad was home from Cincinatti. We had a delicious Christmas dinner of beef sandwiches, ham, dips, shrimp cocktail and other super tasty delights before settling into opening presents in a circle like we have always done. After that Reese was itching to get outside and it was a nice day so all cousins, Bryan, my dad, Terry and Reese went for a walk to a nearby park to play. We returned just before dark but the fresh air and the warm temps felt wonderful after a large meal. We were the last to leave, per usual, and headed back home after a wonderful holiday celebration with the whole family. Chad was already on his way back to Cincinatti unfortunately.
The day after Christmas was gorgeous in Michigan!!! The temperature reached 60 degrees with the sun out and little wind. It felt balmy. Bryan and I went for a run along the Red Cedar on campus while my parents had Reese nap and then went for a walk with her around the neighborhood. After showers, Bryan and I met up with them at the park to slide, swing and merry go round. We returned home for a bit before setting out on foot for downtown East Lansing to meet up with our friends Tom and Pam at El Azteco for margaritas and the famous Topopo Salad. It is always so great seeing Tom and Pam, people I have always felt were an extension of family to us. And Reese managed to fall asleep in the stroller and stayed asleep for at least 30 minutes in the lively bar/restaurant which helped make the meal that much more enjoyable. After dinner, and seeing a few other random friends at the restaurant, we headed back home, still really enjoying the warm air and stretching our legs.
Friday we managed to get to Court One to get a little exercise in for the whole family (although my parent’s exercise was a little less structured thanks to watching Reese). We returned home to clean up and then Bryan and I said our goodbyes to Baby Girl before heading to Detroit to check into the Detroit Foundation Hotel (a firestation converted to a boutique hotel) for two nights alone! It was an amazing hotel and a wonderful experience all around. The room was really well done and it was nice to have some peace and quiet, get dinner and drinks out alone, and be able to sleep when we wanted. We spent the first night enjoying dinner at the hotel’s well-reviewed restaurant, the Apparatus Room. We had an exceptional meal of a whitefish caesar salad, toasted homemade bread with homemade whipped ricotta, pistachios, and persimmon and short ribs for me and a pork shank for Bryan. We split the chocolate cake of sorts to seal the deal and finished our meal quite late and ready for bed.
Saturday was a full day all to ourselves. Naturally, we woke up at about 10 am EST. We got ready at our own speed and made our way down to brunch around 11 am. We had a wonderfully relaxing brunch before heading out on foot to explore the town. We stopped at Campus Martius and checked out the quaint shops and ambiance of the Cadillac Lodge. We then walked to Eastern Market (the largest farmers market in the country) and browsed the vendors, picking up a lot of items to bring back to my parents. We explored the shops around the Market, as well as Eastern Market Brewing Company and the Detroit Distillery. We called for the Lincoln Navigator from the hotel to come pick us up to bring us back to the hotel. We chilled out for a bit and then headed to the hotel gym to try out their two Peloton bikes. I enjoyed my 30 minute ride and definitely got my sweat on. We cleaned up and got ready to go out for a night. We enjoyed several small dishes and drinks at the hotel bar before riding in the Lincoln to the famous Cliff Bell’s for live jazz. We spent several hours there, getting drinks and having good conversation, mostly reminiscing on the past year and our dreams for the new year. We walked back to the hotel, stopping at the Cadillac Lodge for some dancing and a beer first and warming up by one of their fires.
Sunday morning was a lazy one. We enjoyed room service breakfast while we packed up our items to check out of the hotel. We made one stop at Astoria Bakery in Greektown to bring back some pastries for my parents. We got back to East Lansing right around 1 pm and Reese smiled sweetly when she caught sight of Daddy and then screamed “MOM” in almost anger when she saw me. Typical! She was fresh from a nap and ready to play and catch up with each other’s weekends. My parents did a wonderful job of the difficult task of keeping her entertained and managing the sleep “schedule” of Reese. We were ready to reunite with Reese after just under 48 hours away from her. We spent the night at Potter Park Zoo, walking through their exhibits and the last night of Zoo Lights. We headed home and got take out Chinese food from Charlie Kang’s and enjoyed Nisa’s homemade eggrolls while we watched the Seahawks lose to the 49ers before calling it a night.
Monday was our last full day in East Lansing and was probably the laziest of all. I think we were all affected by the weather and all pretty groggy throughout the day. We played with Reese inside and actually didn’t leave at all but it was windy and raining a good portion of the day. We enjoyed one more visit from my grandparents and then said our goodbyes to them. We tested out mom’s new boxing gloves, which was a hoot with Reese. We also enjoyed making dinner together and having that in peace and quiet after Reese was asleep. It was a delicious dinner and we spent a long time in conversation at the table before cleaning up and starting to pack our bags.
Tuesday morning was not much other than packing and getting ready for our travels. We had an extra bag to bring back with all new stuff and with the first snow starting to fall we wanted to get on the road with plenty of time (although the roads were perfectly fine). We got to the Detroit Airport around 1 pm and my parents walked us to security and said their goodbyes. Security was a breeze and we found the kids play area. We got a lunch of pizza at Mod Pizza and then were ready at the gate for our plane, but our plane wasn’t there. We were quoted a 45 minute delay and then the plane arrived and were informed of a further delay due to a maintenance issue on the plane. Two hours after the flight was supposed to take off we were informed the flight was canceled. Enter: chaos! It took forever for rebooking to begin and long lines were formed. We finally were able to get rescheduled for a flight leaving the next morning, with a connection in Dallas!
Alaska put us up at the Embassy Suites at the airport and we took the shuttle to check in there. Check in at the hotel didn’t go smooth but we finally got our room and managed to hit the tail end of happy hour at the hotel. We ordered delivery from a nearby restaurant and began to wait for that. Three hours later and after giving up and putting Reese to bed, we were told the restaurant was not open and our order was cancelled. This was after 10 pm. Bryan called in an order to the restaurant at the hotel next door and they were able to get our dinner ready in 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Bryan managed to step in a big puddle on his walk over to that hotel. This was after he already had to use the hotel shuttle to go to CVS to get us diapers, since we were now out of them! After finally getting our dinner at 10:30 we were not in the mood for anything having to do with New Years Eve and went to bed. Thankfully we did because Reese didn’t sleep all too well in the hotel.
We were up at 7:30 AM on our new travel day. We got ready and got breakfast at the free brunch at the hotel. We took the shuttle back to the airport, went back through security (Bryan got a random security check, go figure) and then we were finally on board our new flight to Dallas. 3.5 hours later we were in Dallas and we caught the second half of the Michigan vs. Alabama game at one of the airport restaurants. We burned off some of Reese’s energy before boarding the 4.5 hour flight to Seattle that I was legit dreading. However, Reese slept the whole flight through and woke up in a good mood once we were in Seattle. Baggage claim took awhile but there was a Ruff Ruff there and escalators to keep Reese entertained. We were finally in our Uber home. Amen!
It was great to be home and the house was cleaned for us while we were away. Reese was up for a bit but then quickly transitioned to way too tired and was in bed just after 9 pm. She was up at 7 am EST this morning (that would be 4 am local time!). I was going into work and Bryan decided, smartly, to call in sick, so we took shifts with Reese in the morning. Bryan helped me get Reese ready to drop off at Sarah’s and then took me to work before dropping Reese off. It’s been a day but I am managing and so relieved that I have one day left before a weekend to recover from the last 48 hours.
Traveling with a kid is different and unfortunately the beginning of 2020 has not started off with a bang (at least not a good one). It’s not like I might have imagined it to be but that’s okay. Hopefully the rest of 2020 will treat us better!