Family Life, Travel

Thanksgiving 2017

We did it….we took a trip to North Carolina, with a(n) {almost} 3 month old!  The trip to NC is about a 12-13 hour drive, with VERY few stops.  You also lose an hour (assuming you’re driving from the central time zone like we do.)  These facts are all true WITHOUT a baby. Will and I were most certainly curious about how this trip would turn out for us.  We devised a plan!  Believe it or not, it ACTUALLY worked.  I have to say, Annabelle Grace is seriously such a great baby!  {Fingers crossed she remains an easy-going child in the future!!!  We’ll take what we can get!}

So our plan you ask?  Well, I folded, rolled, and SQUEEZED all three of our clothes in to ONE suitcase.  In case you haven’t realized, we have a tiny car, or at least now we are realizing just how tiny it really is.  Annabelle Grace’s carseat sits in the middle backseat (originally for safety purposes) but we have also learned that it cannot touch the back of the other seats in the car, so really it almost hasssss to be in the middle.  We also had to leave one of the other back seats empty.  Remember how long this trip was going to be?  Well- that means we needed a way to get to her in the middle for changing and feeding- so there went another place to pack things.  Anyhow, one suitcase later, along with a play pen, baby bag, toy bag, pump bag, shoe bag, extra diapers, baby carrier, and surely something I’m forgetting- our car was FULL!

Back to our plan!  Will got off work around 2/3:00pm.  He came home, packed the car SUPER fast, took a shower, and went to bed at 6:00pm.  Now let me tell you- he takes sleeping seriously!  So when we decided he had to be asleep at 6:00pm, he was ASLEEP! My husband is a FANTASTIC sleeper- hopefully the reason why Annabelle is such a great sleeper!  This is also why he was in charge of this part.  While he was sleeping, I carried on as normal with Annabelle Grace and her bedtime routine.  I got her to sleep by 7:30pm, then took my shower, made sure everything was ready to go, and finally attempted to sleep.  Did I mention yet that our plan meant we were getting up at midnight?  Well, that was the next part of the plan.  I slept for 1.5 hours! Will slept a solid 6 hours and woke up like a Christmas elf.  On second thought, I’m pretty sure he was a Christmas elf.  He was in a much too jolly mood for me that morning.  We turned all of the lights off in the house, warmed the car, changed our clothes, and then gently woke our sweetie- only enough change a diaper, and feed, getting her RIGHT back to sleep.  To the car we went, and we were on the road by 12:45am.  We were hoping this would help her sleep for a good part of our ride.  It did!  Really they say you should get babies up every few hours from a carseat to move around- so that part was a little nerve-wracking, but we did it, and it was dark enough that we could change her, feed her, and she’d go right back to sleep.  Remember how I said Will is a champion sleeper- well Annabelle apparently is, too!  Once the sun came up and she was truly “up” for the day- she still did pretty well!  Did I ride in the back you ask?  Not really.  I went to the backseat long enough to have play time, around the same times she would have play time at home with me.  Once nap time rolled around again, we would put a cover over her seat and I would go back up front.  People seem surprised that one of us doesn’t consistently ride in the back with her, and maybe it does seem crazy- but we also live in Helena! (IE- the middle of no-where) This means that a majority of the time when we drive her around, we are not together, and while not together with her in the car, there isn’t another person to ride in the back with her, and it still takes a while to get somewhere- like Memphis!  So, we figured it was best for her to get used to riding in the back by herself from the beginning- and she’s done great so far!  Lots of people also seem surprised that I don’t just get in the back and nurse her while Will continues to drive, to save time.  Yes, it is a pain to add time for stopping, but it would be so much worse to have a wreck while she isn’t properly buckled.  I’ll take the extra time to avoid losing the baby we waited so long to get!


Prime example of stopping for a diaper change and feeding!  Will is honestly a MUCH faster diaper changer than me, so he was in charge of most of the diapers, then passed her back to me to nurse.  I could then buckle her back in and change seats again!

We also took plenty of wiggle breaks!  We would find a place to stop and eat.  We would eat inside and lay her on the booth seat so that she could “talk” and wiggle some!

We made it to NC about 4:30pm-ish (3:30pm “her time”)  The one great thing about losing this hour when coming from Arkansas is that we gained an extra hour to visit/be out and about.  One thing Will and I have worked really hard on since the beginning is trying to create good sleep habits for Annabelle Grace.  We have followed the same routine for going to bed since like week 3 maybe?  We thought it would take a while to actually get a solid timed routine down, but she has done so well, that we’ve been on set timed routine for a while now.  At this point she was going to bed between 7:15-8:00pm, usually about 7:30pm most days- which meant we had until about 8:30pm to visit while in NC!  (We really do not sway much from the same time each night, it has worked so well for us so far!)

Our first stop after un-packing the car was to my parent’s house!  My Mom was home, so she got to see Annabelle Grace first!

My Dad was able to leave work early as well to come home and visit!



My sister, Kristin, her husband, Brad, and their girls, Ava and Kylie, were also able to stop by and meet Annabelle Grace for the first time!


Of course we had to get a “group selfie!”


All-in-all, we’ve come to a conclusion that we have a rock-star of a baby!  Hopefully she’ll stay this good in the years to come, but we’ll take what we can get! Day one was a success!


Day two Will and I decided to have an early lunch before heading to my parent’s house.  It gave us a chance to get out an about and spend a little family time together.  We had lunch at Noodles, and went to Target!  This little girl loves her Daddy!



We then headed over to my parent’s house for a Thanksgiving meal.  Nana and Jubee (my great aunt, Joyce) were there, as well as my sister’s family!  This was Jubee’s first time getting to meet Annabelle Grace!


The girls, especially Ava, couldn’t seem to get enough of Annabelle!  Annabelle didn’t seem to mind all of the loving attention!



Of course Nana and my Mom had to get their one-on-one time in again!



I had to get my own picture with these two ladies! (I should mention they helped me paint my first apartment year ago when I was moving out- I should also mention it may have been neon green and royal purple..)  I also spent many hours up late at night with them at the beach playing cards!


Annabelle Grace was most certainly dressed for the occasion as well!

Day three was a big day for us!  Day three actually fell on Thanksgiving Day, and also happened to be this girl’s THREE MONTH BIRTHDAY!  What…. my baby actually HAS to grow up so fast?!


We met my Dad over at my parent’s house and visited for a little bit!



We then took the day to take a short trip to Pittsboro, NC.  My Great-Grandmother lives in Pittsboro.  This was the first time she would get to meet Annabelle Grace, along with my grandparents!



Here she is with her THREE GREAT-GREAT-grandaughters!


We also took plenty of group photos!  It was special to get a “FIVE Generations Picture!”  These pictures will be pretty special to these three girls, the older they get!



(Thanks again to our friends Lee and Jamie for the beautiful dress Annabelle Grace is wearing in these pictures!  We have gotten so many compliments on it!)

There was also lots of catching up to do!

Even Annabelle Grace had a LOT to tell Mema (her great-great grandmother!)

To finish out the day, we headed back to my parent’s house to visit with my parents, Kristin and her family, and Nana!  We had to take an “Four Generations Picture” with my Nana!




That evening my Dad and I spent some long-overdue time together.  We made one of my famous pecan pies together!  He is now the ONLY person that knows my recipe!  It turned out to be pretty tasty, too!

Day four was a pretty easy day for us!  We had no big plans, so Will and I did a little shopping, I did another Pure Barre class in High Point, and we took Annabelle Grace to UNCG (my college!)  I was excited to find out that Yum Yum was actually open- so that’s where we had lunch!  Yum Yum is a very old place on campus that ONLY serves hotdogs and ice cream.  My grandpa actually worked at the original Yum Yum when he was younger and I have eaten many hotdogs here with friends, so it was fun to stop in!

and then we met my grand-parents for an early dinner at Smokey Bones!



Day five, the last day of our trip, was reserved for two of my very best friends, Jackie and Lenise!  They were both thankfully in town!

For lunch we met up with Jackie (one of my best friends from college!)



While waiting to meet Lenise for dinner, we stopped back by my parent’s house to say our last goodbyes to them, my Nana, and Jubee.

We met Lenise (my best friend since KINDERGARTEN) for dinner at Elizabeth’s Italian Restaurant!  This restaurant is actually the first restaurant that I where I became a waitress!  Lenise then came back and got to experience our night time routine with Annabelle Grace!


Having MY best friends meet our first baby was such a crazy moment!  One of my other best friends, Seama, was out of town, but she actually visited us in Helena a few weeks ago.  These three girls have been around for so much of my life.  The fact that they are now becoming a part of my daughter’s life is so exciting!  I’m glad we were able to have some one-on-one time with each of them!

After putting Annabelle to bed, Lenise headed out and Will and I quickly packed the car took showers, and went to bed.  We basically planned on heading home in the middle of the night, just like we did for our ride to NC.  Once again, Annabelle Grace FAR exceeded our expectations for such a long trip.  She did not fall apart or get cranky. AT ALL!

This trip was so wonderful.  I’m so glad we were able to make it work!


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