It was a good trip, but stressful.
On the 5 hour drive down to my mother-in-law's house, Bean did very well. We left very early in the morning Thanksgiving day, and the Bean slept for a majority of the trip. We arrived to find that there had been a change in plans... My MIL decided to put us in the office instead of the back bedroom. I was hesitant about this because the office is right off of the living room and directly next to the kitchen, and the Bean goes to sleep at 6:00 p.m. But I was a good little doormat and decided not to complain. In retrospect, this was a HUGE mistake.
The house was full to the gills, with 10-12 people and 4 dogs split among 4 bedrooms. As you might have guessed, this does not make for a quiet house in which a 7 month old might sleep. So the Bean's naps were few and short-lived, making for a fussy baby in general. In addition, I fear her ear infection has returned because on both Friday and Saturday nights, Bean was inconsolable and screaming for long stretches (which she usually does not do), and at times ran a low-grade fever. We've got an appointment tomorrow morning with Bean's doctor to find out for sure. And somehow I ended up doing the majority of both the cooking and dishes. I'm such a sucker.
But there were some wonderful high points this weekend. The turkey came out beautifully thanks to a lovely cider brine. The stuffing was the best I have ever made. Bean tasted her first mashed potatoes and loved them. Bean happily spent time in the arms of relatives galore, and charmed the pants off 'em (if I do say so myself).
Most notably, Bean's 5-year-old cousin Princess was absolutely enthralled with the Bean and followed me and the Bean around all weekend. She was actually pretty good compared to what you might expect from an excited 5-year-old. Princess was not in Bean's face too much, and she actually loved to entertain the Bean with singing, dancing, books and toys. She kept asking if it was time for a diaper change, if it was time to nurse her, and if we could check on the Bean when she slept.
The hardest part of the weekend came Sunday. The drive home was horrendous, and the 5 hour drive took over 9 hours. In part because traffic was terrible, and in part because the poor little Bean was sick to death of her car seat/torture chair. We had to keep taking breaks from the drive just to let her out and calm her down when she would get rolling on a crying binge. At one point we spent about 25 minutes walking around in a Walmart (notable as my first visit to a Walmart ever). We bought Bean a toy car. I still feel kinda guilty for shopping at Walmart.
But anyway, we survived. And it was wonderful to see Husband's family. But it will be awhile before the next time we A) stay in a house that crowded, and B) take a drive that long...