Sam is nearly 8 months old now, and the past two weeks have seen his first two major road trips.

The first weekend, we drove 3 hours to and from Michigan to visit his great grandpa. Then the next weekend, we rented a cabin at Lake Hope, Ohio.

And neither turned out as bad as I was worried they would be.

The Long Trip to Michigan

Three hours in the car to Michigan?! I expected our ears to be bleeding by the end of that car ride. And let the record show that I turned down The Great American Beer Tasting 2018 at the Dayton Dragons stadium to go on this trip because, well, it would have been kind of a deadbeat dad move to stay at home drinking beer.

The car ride there wasn’t so bad though. He was calm the first hour, asleep for the second, then of course, grumpy and loud for the final hour. Really, it was the best we could have hoped for. The real challenge came the first night at the hotel.

Sam had never really slept overnight anywhere except our house, and his first attempt didn’t go so well. He fell asleep for about an hour before he woke up screaming bloody murder and no amount of rocking, singing, or comforting could quiet him down. I was legitimately worried that people were going to start pounding on our door demanding that we stop abusing our child.

We could possibly attribute that to teething, nightmares, or a developmental leap though. At this age, maybe he just felt like crying. Who knows?

Beach Day with the Baby
We didn’t take any pictures in the woods, so here’s the whole family at the beach.

Cabin in the Woods

This past weekend, we rented a cabin in the woods at Lake Hope. My wife and I enjoy hiking and being outdoors (as long as we can sleep in a bed) and it’s something we wanted to get Sam used to early.

Completely by accident, we had no wi-fi, no phone signal, and no television. And we’re not great at the whole “unplug” thing. All we had to watch were the handful of movies I had on my laptop. We attempted to watch the 1990 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie the first night and pretty much stuck to reading after that.

Obviously, we spent plenty of quality family time together too, but we both like the chance to just quietly be together every once in a while too (especially after bringing a baby into the family dynamic).

Baby’s First Hike Through the Woods (I’m basically Hodor)

Our first full day out, we hit a short 1.5-mile hiking trail to explore the woods. Obviously, Sam can’t walk on his own yet, so we attempted to strap him to my back like Bran Stark on Hodor, but we didn’t get very far before we realized he wasn’t going to accept the Yoda/Luke setup.

Not to be beaten so easily, attempt number 2 was to strap him to my front facing forward, so I was more like a 16-month pregnant woman (who was out-of-shape to begin with). That worked out better… for him.

It wasn’t long before the uphill climbing started to catch up to me, but I made it to the end without passing out. The baby, on the other hand, was passed out by the halfway point. Pfft, amateur.

Baby’s First Taste of Sandy Beaches (Literally)

After a 45-minute hike, we drove back to the cabin for lunch and a nap. When Sam woke us up later in the afternoon, we decided to take a trip to the beach and let him play in the sand.

Surprising literally no one, sand suddenly became his favorite food. I know all babies eat sand sometimes and it’s not going to hurt them, but I tried my best to keep his hands away from his mouth because I was worried about the diaper situation threatening to attack the next day. And attack, it did. Sandy poop is weird.

Baby Eating Sand
He looks like he doesn’t like it, but it didn’t stop him from eating it.

He was fascinated as I buried his legs in packed sand and built sandcastles which we promptly destroyed, and all-in-all it was a good day.

It was one of those snapshot parenting days that you try to remember as they grow up. You get to experience a lot of those “snapshot” parenting in the first several months as your child experiences each new thing for the first time.