so before i post vacation pictures, i want to throw this out there: we left nate for 7 days. SEVEN. in STL. that is a long time. especially since we had only left him on overnights maybe three or four times ever - and one night only!
basically, i drove to St. Louis a few days before we left, tried to get him acclimated as best as possible, and then took off. (yea. i left while he was sleeping. i am a coward!) i drove home wednesday afternoon and was at the airport by 4:30 am Thursday morning headed for the Dominican Republic (via Charlotte NC).
Mostly he stayed with my lovely cousin bridget and her husband and their three babies and also with my parents. initially we were going to leave Nate in Little Rock with friends and family, but the logistics were getting out of control (not to mention that the packnplay, stroller, foodseat, diapers, food, carseat, um, clothes... basically all the STUFF were becoming a nightmare of lists, packing, stress, etc. nate doesn't even have that much stuff but he does need a place to sleep, food to eat, and a carseat. (which most of our friends do not have. not that easy to cart around town.) i swear i almost threw up every day from mid to late may thinking about it. i (alternately) wanted to call off the vacation, bring Nate along with us, sell our tickets on the interwebs, or bring him and a nanny along (ha. ha. ha.) (i don't know how karl didn't murder me during this period of time).
about a week before we left... stress...sleeplessness...lack of birthday party planning... the STL arrangements were made. i may have cried with relief. it was definately the best decision. we are both very, very thankful the way it turned out. nate had a great time with his cousins and got to visit with A LOT of the STL crew. it was a bit bittersweet for me. i wanted to be there. i wanted to watch him with the other kiddos and in new environements. (though he probably would have acted differently with me around. he is a bit of a cling on right now.)
on the trip, i wanted him with me and i wanted to see him in the ocean and playing in the sand. every baby i saw (there were a surprising number!) gave me a little ache. BUT i knew we was in amazing hands. we had a great time without him. as i mentioned previously, i slept. a lot. in the hotel room. on the beach. by the pool. (um, nate isn't that wonderful of a sleeper as a general rule.) (plus, you just get used to sleeping so light with a little one. i swear i wake up if that child so much as breathes weird.)
we called everynight. and MAYBE everyday. and maybe, there was one day i called a third time. (thanks to good ole skype!) and MAYBE i exchanged a few emails here and there. and I might have twittered. and the one blog post. karl and i tried to keep it light with our technology on the trip - one computer each, one iPhone each, and one camera. (what? that's keeping it light i swear! no video camera, no eBook reader, the camera was point and shoot, no ipod, no garmin, only two computers (one of which was karl's stupid dell mini that i hate.) (mostly b/c he bought it without consulting me.) (and in black - there were color options karl hills.) (wow. we have too much crap.)
ANYWAY, the point is - i STILL feel bipolar about the whole vaca sans baby thing. we had a fabulous time and so did Nate. I don't feel guilty about leaving him. i enjoyed late dinners and drinks and dancing...er, watching other people dance. and snorkeling and sailing. and sleeping. and showering in peace. and peeing with the door closed. (too much info?) and being with our friends. (too many sentence frags?) Nate looked different when Dad met me halfway for the great baby exchange! (yea. my dad ROCKS. he cut my 12 hours to 6.) Nate was fuss and half asleep in the car when we got out in the middle of nowhere arkansas and kept reaching for my dad. (sad, right?) (no worries, he smiled big and kissed my face shortly thereafter and wouldn't let go.) (but still.) When we got home, he was opening cabinets (new) and pulling up on the wall (new). Not a big deal, really, but different! How can his coordination improve that much in one week? Additionally, he won't let me out of his sight and he has been extra lovey dovey and crawls fast to follow me like my little shadow.
Would I do it again? Ask me in a year when I am up to my eyeballs in the details of regular, everyday life and have beach stars in my eyes.
Oh, and, no, again, I am most certain that i am not, in fact, pregnant as many of you have suggested. i know i said when nate was 1, but, well, that was a lie. i was telling it to myself and to karl and to you. Ask me in a year when I am up to my eyeballs in sweet toddling toddler love and have newborn baby stars in my eyes.