Monday, April 25, 2011

Our trip, in chapters {Chapter One - Hell}

As I mentioned the other day, we are back from Arches National Park. We really had a good time for about 75% of the trip. The 25% that was Thursday was nothing short of hell.

Chapter 1 - Hell

Thursday morning started out calmly enough. We packed the car, played with the baby and packed the cooler. James thought the huge ice cubes we poured into the cooler were like gigantic beautiful popsicles and spent a good twenty minutes sucking on them. Gotta love toddlers.
We left around 10:00 and started our drive to Arches. The drive to Arches is really not that bad, maybe four hours. James was mostly great in the car. He really is not a good sleeper outside of his crib, so while he only slept for 15 minutes the entire day he was pretty happy. We set up the iPad in the back so he could watch Sesame Street and made lots of stops to stretch our legs.

The slower pace and the fact that our campsite was 40 minutes into Arches National Park meant that the drive really took all day. Around 3:30 we stopped at Balanced Rock to let James stretch again before we arrived at the campsite. Balanced Rock is really awesome and it is great for toddlers because the trail around its base is super flat and easy. Plus its full of rocks, sand and trees, all of which James adores.

As we got out the car we noticed one thing: the wind. It was horrible. Strong and fast, like a whip. But I put on E's hat and we braved it. James was as happy as can be and we didn't hear a single complaint.

My boys hike around awesome Balanced Rock.
Red rocks and blue skies. Nothing better.
The wind made me look like I was striking a model pose! Yea!

Really doesn't sound too bad, does it? Where does the hell part come in? Oh, just wait.
After the very short "hike" where James mostly just visited a few trees, we packed the boy back into the car and drove the last twenty minutes to our campsite.

The wind had picked up considerably. We got out and were surprised by just how much wind the little campsite could contain. The sand was pulled into the air and if felt like it was being thrown into our faces by the wind. James broke into tears. His eyes were filled with red rough sand. I ran to the campsite bathroom with him, trying to get out of the wind.

Soon my Mom, Step-dad and siblings arrived. I hoped in their SUV with the baby, trying to stay clear of the wind. The rest of the family started setting up tents. It was sad to see a tent in this much wind. Everyone was so frustrated. Melissa's tent kept blowing away and Chandler's tent got ripped in the wind. It was just that strong.

An hour ticked by. Then two. James and I were still in the car and now it was almost an hour after his dinner time. I got E to come and sit with him while I dug around in the cooler to find something I could feed my kid.

Then I took my place in the backseat of the SUV and fed James sausage, waffles and some yogurt. James was really being fabulous and I had no idea how he had so much patience for being locked in another car for extended periods of time.

Finally I waved E over. I asked him if the wind was dying down. He shook his head sadly. Then I begged him to get on his phone (thank god we had service) and try to book a hotel in Moab, the town right outside of the park.

He was able to get one of the last remaining rooms in Moab.

I told my now very angry mom (who had been helping everyone set up their tents in in the wind) that we were bailing, and that we would see them in the morning. E asked her where our travel crib was, since she offered to bring it down...

She didn't have it.

It was at home in the trunk of her car completely forgotten.

James is NOT a co-sleeper. He will not sleep in bed with us. I looked at E like he had to be joking, he looked back at me sadly.

We loaded James back into our car and took off. Almost an hour later we arrived at our hotel and were so happy to find the hotel had a travel crib we could use (!!!). Seriously, so happy.

We bathed our sandy baby, but him to bed (in the bathroom, no less), and ordered take out. We were warm and out of the wind, with a travel crib. I was happy.

Then, right when I was ready to call it a night James started screaming. I ran into his bathroom suite to find him on his tummy, face down crying hysterically. I scooped him up and tried to sooth him.

He was limp in my arms.

I ran out of the bathroom and outside. Not only did I not want to disturb the other hotel guests at 11:00 pm, I wanted to wake James up. He was limp, sobbing, in my arms, with his eyes closed.

We got outside and it was cold. Really cold.

James would not wake up. I rocked him, sshhhed him, and told him Mama was there. He sobbed and sobbed. E looked on so scared. I told E I thought he was having a night terror, and was in fact still asleep in my arms.

James continued to scream and cry.

Very very slowly, over the next 40 minutes, he began to wake up. I was freezing and exhausted. Every time we brought him back into the hotel room he began to cry again.

After about an hour of this we decided to put him in the car again to see if we could get him to calm down by driving around. At this point I was done. It was almost midnight and I was ready to call it quits, leave right then; to arrive back home in the middle of the night. At this point I was crying. I'm not a crier, but the fright of the last hour and the frustration of the day was catching up to me.

E said let's see if we can get him to go back to bed at least. We turned the car around, unloaded him, carried him back in the room (of course he was crying again), and laid him in his travel crib. I told myself that I'd let him cry for five minutes, and if he was still crying after that, we'd pack up and go.

He was out in thirty seconds.

E and I called it a night soon after and we all slept until morning. Friday was a lot better than Thursday. Can't wait to post about the good part of our trip. I was damn happy Thursday (aka Hell Day) was over.


  1. Very nice image that you propose, you have an interesting blog, congratulations!!

  2. Stacey11:33 AM

    Oh that broke my heart. I want to cry for James. Glad the trip got better.

  3. Anonymous1:16 PM

    i keep on saying this but baby James and Alice are totally alike. She loves lickin ice too!!! Sorry that night was so horrid

    Auntie Melissa

  4. my gooodness what a horrible night for you!! I feel your's absolutely terrifying when you can't wake your baby up.


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