Ups & Downs (and Ups Again)

We’re celebrating John’s birthday today (8-8-8!), which is also our last day in “Big G,” Galena Illinois (John’s hometown). We’ve been in Illinois since Monday, after a long, and to be totally honest, totally brutal journey out here. John and I are convinced that our trip from San Francisco to O’Hare was designed as an experiment in cruelty for new parents. Long story short, after a multitude of delays and several totally understandable meltdowns by a tired Finn, we made it to our hotel at about midnight local time. We made it without baggage or a car seat, but at that point we didn’t even care.

While Monday was mostly a downer, Tuesday was a mix of ups and downs. We got our baggage and cleaned ourselves up. We had two scheduled visits with most of John’s mom’s relatives in Chicago–all of her sisters and many of their children and grandchildren. We had a great time visiting with folks we hadn’t seen since our wedding, and introducing them to Finn. In between outings, we tried to get our sleep-deprived boy down for an afternoon nap, but it ended up just being two hours of crying.

After our second family visit, we returned once again to the hotel. Little did we know that naptime was only a taste of what was to come, and what we later dubbed “The Battle of La Quinta.” Suffice it to say that with only a 1-hour morning nap under his belt, Finn was completely overtired and completely overstimulated. We put Finn down to bed following our usual routine. He slept for 30 minutes then spent the next three hours crying and screaming his brains out. Nothing would calm him down, and we were all crammed into our hotel room, each trying to gut it out in our own way. Finally Finn wore himself out and slept for 10 hours straight.

Once we arrived in Galena, Finn’s schedule has evened out, and we’ve had a couple of more normal days. We’re happily back on the upside. Finn’s been catching up on his sleep and being a *lot* more fun to be around.

Thursday brought many of the Liggett relatives out from Wisconsin and other parts of Illinois, including my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and a few of cousin Brad’s kids. It was great to see them all, and Finn got a beautiful handmade quilt from his aunt. Thursday also brought many Nack relatives as well! John’s cousin Alicia, her husband Fito, and their adorable son Alejandro flew in from Texas and pitstopped in Galena on their way to Iowa for a funeral. The “lawyer Nacks” also came by–Joe, then Tommy and his wife Sarah, and their son Gus (3 months older than Finn).

Another “up”: Last night, John and I got to go on a hot air balloon ride with his brother Ted and girlfriend Stephanie. It was a gorgeous evening and floating over the idyllic rolling countryside was amazing. We wished Finn was old enough to enjoy it, but it’s motivation for us to do it again. Today brings us to John’s birthday party later this afternoon, so Finn is resting up so he can sparkle for the party guests!

Tomorrow we drive back to O’Hare for our flight out. After Monday’s ordeal, we were miraculously able to reschedule our return flight, which had us flying through Dallas and arriving home at midnight, to a much more reasonable nonstop back to SFO. That should cut about 6 hours off our travel day and hopefully keep Finn a little more even-keeled.

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