Baby’s First Trip to California

My cousin got married last weekend!

My dad called me a few months ago and asked if I would like to fly to California with him to attend the wedding. My mom offered to stay here with Hula Girl and Monkey Man so Jonathan didn’t have to take any time off work. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my cousins and to visit Jonathan’s parents. So, we booked our tickets and made our plans to stay in California for four days.

In order to achieve our goal of spending time with family, we left early in the morning (REALLY early- 4:45 am!) from my parents’ house on Thursday. I was super worried about Sugar Plum’s sleep. She is my third Babywise baby, and I have worked hard to give her a good, consistent schedule all her life. Of course, she has endured many more disruptions to her schedule than her siblings ever endured, so I really ought not to have worried so much! I woke her at 4:15 on Thursday morning, and she slept a tiny bit on the way to the airport. She stayed awake all through checking in and security, and through boarding the flight. I nursed her as we took off, and she fell asleep for about 30 minutes or so. Then I moved and woke her up… and she never went back to sleep. She didn’t cry, though, so it was fine.

Sugar Plum slept REALLY well while we were at Ama and Papa’s (Jonathan’s parents’) house. We stayed with them during our visit because Ama so kindly offered to babysit Sugar Plum while we went out to see family and attend the wedding. We had a pretty major problem, though: Sugar Plum won’t take a bottle. I tried for weeks in advance, and I had Jonathan and Auntie Nay Nay (Jonathan’s sister) try at various times in there. No dice. She doesn’t cry when offered a bottle, but she just kind of chews on the nipple and looks at you like, “What am I supposed to do with this?”So I couldn’t really LEAVE her with Ama and Papa for very long. Fortunately, she is a good night sleeper, and once I got her down for the night, I could leave her and be pretty sure she’d sleep just fine.

While we were there, Sugar Plum basked in the attention lavished upon her by Ama, Papa, Grampy, and me. She didn’t have to share the spotlight with anyone else, for once in her life! She worked hard on rolling and got *so close*. She lit up and smiled her giant gummy baby smile whenever she saw her Ama. I got to take a couple showers and dry my hair and put on makeup… it was quite the luxurious trip for all of us!

My dad and I made plans to see his brothers and my cousins on Friday afternoon. We drove about an hour away to visit and have a barbecue. I took Sugar Plum over there to meet everyone (she made special friends with my cousin’s eight-year-old daughter, who is just the sweetest thing ever and loves babies so much!), then I drove her back to Ama and Papa’s house for bedtime. I went back to my uncle’s house to visit with family some more  (another uncle and several more cousins showed up then–hooray!), and then we drove back to Ama and Papa’s house for the night. It was a lot of driving but it was SO worth it. Family is extremely important to me, and I am very glad we had the opportunity to reconnect, at least a little bit.

Saturday was the day of the wedding. I worked on getting Sugar Plum good sleep during the day so she’d sleep well during the evening, when I left her with Ama and Papa. Unfortunately, the afternoon didn’t quite work out as I had planned, so when I left for the wedding, I was not sure how the evening would go. But I knew it was only one evening, and even if she stayed awake until midnight, at least she was with someone who knew how to care for my baby! (Jonathan’s parents are awesome grandparents! I couldn’t imagine better grandparents for my kiddos than the ones they have!) Lo and behold, Sugar Plum ended up waking up around 8:00 for part of the night. Ama gave her a small bottle, which she chewed, and rocked and snuggled her for a while before putting her back down. She went back down without a peep, and was out like a light for the rest of the night.

Now for the reason for our visit: the wedding. It was a superfun wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with (almost) all my cousins on my dad’s side– I haven’t seen any of them in over five years! The location was a small building in the middle of downtown LA. My cousins had decorated with tulle and lights and beautiful flowers, but it definitely was not overdone. It was a great mixture of hard and soft elements (thank you, Tim Gunn, for bringing awareness to this juxtaposition, haha). The food was AMAZING. They hired a street taco vendor, who doled out hundreds of delicious tacos during the evening. There was a small cake, but most guests satisfied their sweet tooth with a vanilla glazed donut instead. Yummo.

Even better than the decor and the food was the company. My cousins are just so cool. The last time I saw most of them was when I was still in high school. Getting to know a family member again as an adult is such a rewarding experience. It is really fascinating to get to know about each person’s unique interests and pursuits, and to witness the maturation of someone you’ve known since you were born. I would imagine it’s a similar situation as when siblings grow up and hang out for a while again. I am excited for and proud of my cousins and most, if not all, seem quite happy with where their lives have led them so far. There is NOTHING like family for comfort, entertainment, and encouragement. We had such a great trip and loved getting to know you better.

Our trip home was long but uneventful. Thank you, Dad and Mom, for making the trip happen. Thank you, Ama and Papa, for your hospitality and for the babysitting. Thank you, K&K, for getting married and providing a reason for us to get together. Love you all!

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Fall Camping

A couple weekends ago, Hula Girl and my parents were scheduled to go camping. Unfortunately, the first few weeks of October are really hard to predict around here and it ended up being below freezing and snowing. So, they stuck around my parents’ house.

My parents live on 5 acres in a forest. So camping there is basically like camping at any campground in the area anyway! Just nicer amenities- flush toilets, hot water, refrigerator, showers, etc.  And my dad is such a softy for Hula Girl that he set up their pop-up trailer and they all slept in there one night.

They also made s’mores. My dad lit a fire in their little outdoor fire pit and they went out in the freezing cold after Hula Girl’s nap one afternoon and she got to eat her favorite treat. Not just one, either. Like I said, my dad’s a softy for Hula Girl.

Then she got to go kayaking. My parents have a pond that is kind of an old well that overflowed. It has shrunk considerably in recent years due to our drought. However, it was huge when Hula Girl came over because we had a week of rain in September. It was about 90 feet across. My parents each have a kayak- my dad’s is hand-made (took him years) and my mom’s is just a smaller yellow kayak. They sent Hula Girl out onto the pond in my mom’s kayak. She was all bundled up, and she loved rocking it back and forth (she wore her life jacket). My parents would push her to the middle and then run with the rope as fast as they could and float her back to the edge of the pond. Over and over. She just adored it.

She also enjoyed playing with the pond “slime.” It has been growing there since I was a little girl. We always thought it was like some sort of algae, but up close it looked like blades of grass with hundreds of tiny green lentils attached. Hula Girl scooped it up by the handfuls and squished, squeezed, and smooshed it before throwing it back in. Yuck.

And do you know what else? My parents let her stay in the same clothes all weekend long, just like a real camping trip. In fact, she didn’t even bathe. I picked her up on Sunday afternoon and her hair was still in the braids I’d put in on Friday morning. She had such a good time. 🙂

Top Ten Tips for Tearfree Tot Travel

We arrived home from our vacation about a week ago, and I am still amazed at how well my children did. I expected meltdowns and drama, especially from the 3-year-old. But we only got smiles, excitement, curiosity, and perhaps a fuss here and there at the end (from the 1-year-old). I think a lot of it has to do with our kids’ personalities.

Hula Girl, the 3-year-old, is the incessant questioner. She is always wondering about anything and everything. And when she’s done wondering about what’s in front of her face, she thinks back to yesterday, a week ago, or even last Christmas, and asks us random questions about past times. “Mommy, when we met Mr. Chris and he was showing us houses, why did he drive a white truck?” (Folks, Mr. Chris showed us houses in May. She went to three houses that he showed us.) Needless to say, her mind was abuzz and quite occupied with all the things to see and think about.

Gelato, the 13-month-old, is just plain happy-go-lucky. He let us know he wasn’t too excited about riding in his stroller and car seat all day long, as he has recently learned to walk and wanted to try out his new skillz, but he was fine as soon as we got moving. He had a steady stream of snacks and he fell asleep pretty quickly once we got in the air or on the road.

Obviously everyone’s kids are different, so there will be some things that worked well for my kids that wouldn’t be so hot for every family. But some things probably have mass appeal. So without further ado and in no particular order, here are some ideas that worked for us.

  1. Glow sticks. My friend Jaclyn recommended this one to me and she is RIGHT. You can get these things from the dollar section in many major stores. Cheap, self-contained fun. All you have to do is rip open the wrapper, crack the stick, and give it a little shake. The only note here is to avoid using the blue/purple ones in daylight- they do not show up at all in the sunlight. Green and yellow glow brightest overall. We got several varieties- fat sticks, small “bracelets,” and even several smaller rods that connect and bend into a ball. Kids loved these. LOVED.
  2. Snacks. The key with snacks is to not give your children junk you wouldn’t normally give them. You don’t want an upset tummy on top of traveling stress. We stuck with apples, crackers, rice cakes, and granola bars. All organic. I did two types of crackers- one sweet and one salty. Honestly, the rice cakes and crackers were a bit too messy for my liking, but the kids were happy with the offerings. It really helped Gelato to be able to munch an apple during takeoff.
  3. Routine. We have a pretty regular routine. My kids get up at the same time every morning, and they nap and go to bed at generally the same times every day. They eat meals at the same times. Everything in between sleep periods and meals is generally in the same order. Give me a time and I can probably tell you what my kids will be doing at that time next Tuesday, within about 15 minutes. THIS HELPS TREMENDOUSLY when traveling. I scheduled our flight times to coincide with Gelato’s nap times so that we’d have the best chance of him actually falling asleep on the plane. He did, and other passengers were appreciative. We also stuck to our routine pretty much the entire vacation. We had two nights that were later nights than we expected. But we did not have severe behavior problems, with one notable exception- wait ’til you see the pictures of THAT one!!! HA! We were not stressed out, we were able to relax, and everyone had an enjoyable time because we knew what to expect. **I’d also like to point out that my in-laws are AWESOME and they respect and utilize our routines and schedules while we are visiting them. It really helps add to our fun and relaxation because we know our kids are well taken care of and they’re on schedule so they’ll stay at their optimum the whole time, too. It’s absolutely fantastic to have such support!!!**
  4. Surprises. Hula Girl was so surprised and overjoyed to be tasting her very first lollipop on our plane ride. We have never let her have candy really, so this was something she had truly been longing for. She always walked past the displays of the “World’s Best Lollipops” in stores and asked me if she could have one. I always agreed that they were pretty and looked good, but turned down her request. What a delight for her to open her backpack and find a pink strawberry shortcake flavored lollipop just waiting for her!!! (We gave it for her to suck on so her ears would stay clear. Worked like a charm!) Other surprises were things like a portable DVD player and an Elmo video, the glow sticks, and for Gelato, some small cars and animals he could play with.
  5. Pieces of home. Hula Girl had her blankies and Daisy, her bear, to sleep with. We also brought her Gro-Clock and her sound machine. Gelato had his sound machine and we brought one of his sheets to put on the pack ‘n’ play so it would smell more like home. We brought some of the kids’ favorite books and toys.
  6. Organization. I had a list that showed me every piece of luggage and exactly what was in each bag or suitcase. We carried on two car seats, a suitcase, and three bags. We checked two larger suitcases. My bag held all of Gelato’s plane essentials- change of clothes, diapers and wipes, snacks, water, and small toys- along with my own plane gear- a light sweater, my glasses (I never check these; I’d be lost without them), and a book in case Gelato fell asleep- and all our travel documentation- IDs, birth certificates, boarding passes, etc. Jonathan’s backpack held random electronic stuff like cameras and phone chargers, Hula Girl’s DVD player, a book for him, etc. Hula Girl’s backpack held her travel snacks, toys, and crayons. The carry-on suitcase had all our kids’ sound machines, Gro-Clock, and random extra things. Our checked bags held Gelato and Hula Girl’s clothes and Mommy and Daddy’s clothes. I was GLAD things were organized well. Plus I like lists.
  7. Plan ahead. Sounds like organization. But it’s different. And I was fortunate enough to marry into a family with a mother-in-law who indulges my whims and has a few of her own. Therefore we knew what activities we’d likely be doing, what we’d need for them, and what we definitely would not need to pack. We knew we needed lots of swim gear since there was a splash park nearby, but since we didn’t want to pack our (very expensive) sunscreen, we just had my mother-in-law get some in advance. She also got coconut oil and baby wash to make sure our kids’ skin was pampered and our clean clothes stayed that way on the flight.
  8. Talk it up. We made sure Hula Girl was SO excited to travel. We made it sound like an adventure for sure. We read books about traveling on an airplane and watched videos about going to the beach. We acted out scenes during which Daddy and I got stopped by TSA and were searched while we were getting to our gate. We reassured her that if TSA stopped any of us, none of us would get left behind. She practiced how she’d greet her relatives, and we talked about what to do if she couldn’t find someone she knew. (In case you’re wondering, we told her to look for a MOMMY WITH KIDS and ask for help. She can spell her name and she knows Jonathan’s and my phone numbers by heart. So that helps me feel more comfortable. We even practice “getting lost” a lot at home, just so she knows what to do and is SURE of herself in the event it happens someday.)
  9. …But don’t talk it up too much in advance. My daughter is a worry wart. (I have no idea where she gets it…) She gets VERY excited about things and she can’t sleep for DAYS in advance when she knows something is coming up. Therefore we did not tell her the exact date, but just kept conversation focused on what we’d do when we get there, and how great it would be to see Ama and Papa. We finally told her on the morning of our flight that THAT was the day we were going to see Ama and Papa. It definitely worked out for us.
  10. Expect delays and rudeness. When you’re traveling with children, SO much work goes into planning, organizing, corralling, carrying, and keeping everything (and everyone) together. Any task, from checking in to going through security to using the restroom to actually boarding the plane, takes about five times longer than it would if you were alone. And when you consider the bundles of energy and excitement who squirm and hop along with the massive amounts of luggage and the GIANT CAR SEATS you have to haul around… well… just know it takes a long time to get from here to there. At least 2 hours longer than you’d imagined at first. And other people are generally helpful… but some flight attendants can be downright snarky and rude. Especially the ones we flew with. We were interrogated several times on each flight- “Did you purchase tickets for your children? Are they supposed to be sitting there? Are your car seats FAA approved? I’m sorry, but I just need to SEE the approval sticker. I’ve never seen people bring car seats on the plane before. Are you sure you don’t want to gate check the car seats? Do you want to make sure to sit near the back so that other passengers aren’t bothered by your children?” And on and on. And do you know what?! There was NO NEED for them to be rude to us. We got in, we got out, our children were SILENT the entire flight (except for the one time Hula Girl burst out in a song from ballet class). Again, other passengers were very pleasant, offering to help carry bags and watch items for us so we could manage. But the flight attendants… wowie wow wow.
  11. BONUS TIP!!! Purchase tickets for your children. Even if you don’t do the car seat thing (which I am vehemently AGAINST but whatever), at least it gives your child AND you a bit  of room to stretch out. The other passengers will appreciate it. 🙂

Sudden Snuggler

Gelato at thirteen months plus a week and a half or so:

Oh my goodness, is Gelato a snuggly little guy these past two days!?!?! This is a HUGE exciting thing for me because that little boy does.not.stop.moving.or.hold.still. Ever. But the past two days he has been clinging to my leg and burying his face in my shoulder and giving my arms huge sloppy kisses and trying to bonk his head into my face at any spare moment. It’s SO cute. Yesterday it wasn’t so cute because he was also crying and whining a lot. He’s getting a couple of teeth. But today they weren’t bothering him so much, so I got a lot of goofy grins and happy squawks instead.

He has also been really cuddly with Hula Girl, which she EATS UP. Girlfriend is HUGE on touch (Pretty sure it’s her #1 love language), and it’s killed her that he doesn’t like to snuggle very much. She just wants to hold his hand and cuddle him like she did when he was little- but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. But the past two days, he will literally run into her and topple both of them over just so they can roll around and cuddle. He even came over to her bed at her naptime just to give her giant kisses on her eyes and nose. She about died out of sheer bliss.

Gelato’s second favorite activity is talking. Little Man talks all day, every day. He greets me with, “Mo-neen!” when I walk in his room. He wants to “wa! wa! wa!” everywhere we go. He grabs his “oos? oos?” and wants me to put them on his feet for him. He brings me “boo!” and wants me to “read-ee? read-ee?” He tells me when he’s “Hun-ee,” and wants to “EAT! EAT! EAT!” He hears a “doggy” saying, “Woof. woof. woof.” He tells me when he wants some water to “dink, dink, dink.” He can mimic anything we say and he spontaneously says new words every single day. Along with the words listed above, here’s what I can think of off the top of my head: [sister’s name], door, closed, open, ball, truck, car, toys, dance, happy (SO cute), night night, nurse, cup, spoon, rock, horse, phone, bye, banana, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, cheese, apple, applesauce, did it!, help, Mommy, Daddy, Riley, gentle, tickle, peek-a-boo, Ama, Papa, fan, noise, shh, climb, up, down, swing, swim, inside, outside, potty, tub, teeth, stop, and go.

Gelato is ACTIVE. He is a huge climber, and I tend to let him climb. If he can get up, he can get down. It takes a lot more time and infinitely more coaching to get down. But I let him do it. Two days ago, he climbed up to the top of our inherited playset in the backyard. Just wait until I show you a picture of that one. The rock wall (?!?!?) he climbed is over six feet tall. Kid’s thirteen months old. And he climbed to the top of a sixish foot rock wall. Ridiculous. (I need to point out that even though I LET him do this, I was also holding my hands about 2 centimeters from his body the entire time. I didn’t touch him, but I was READY. He does not get to adventure out on his own… yet.)

We’re still nursing. Gelato actually skipped two nursings one day when we were in California because Jonathan and I had taken Hula Girl to the beach (another post) and we left Gelato with Ama for the day. He did really well with it. Didn’t drink any milk, drank a ton of water, but still took good naps. I am pretty sure he’s never going to really like milk that much. Fine by me. He LOVES yogurt and cheese. And there’s always ice cream….. ha!

Gelato is still not much of an eater. Although I say he has foods he LOVES, he only eats a small amount of them compared with the amounts his sister ate at his age. Some days he surprises me, like yesterday when he ate two whole adult-sized pancakes plus a cup of blueberries for breakfast. That’s like a week’s rations, folks. Even when he’s acting cranky and whiny and says he’s hungry and wants to eat, he usually eats about a 1/2 cup of food altogether and then he’s done. He’s a pretty small little guy, I guess, but to see how much he does and compare that to how much he eats makes me worried he’s not getting enough. But I don’t push it. I just offer whatever we’re having and if he doesn’t want a lot, he doesn’t eat a lot. He sits at the table with the family and we wait until everyone is done. He has good manners and doesn’t fuss to get down. Usually.

Everyone always comments on how happy he is. He truly is happy, and he has this little squint wrinkly nose thing that he does when he’s trying to get people to smile back. It makes him look like a total goofball, but it’s adorable. Everyone smiles then and comments on how cute he is. Even when we were traveling to California and we’d been up since 5:45 am and he had to sleep in his car seat on the airplane and in the car, he didn’t cry once all the way through the shuttles, trains, cars, airplanes, airports, rental car offices, or on the drive to Ama and Papa’s house. (He also met and wooed a Swedish girl who looked the part- white blond hair, slim, beautiful. She was about 25 years old and she let him play with some animal app on her iPad. It had music [his third love] and he thought that was GREAT. The only word she knew in English was “dance” and boy did that come in handy. Gelato danced to the music and she laughed and cooed away in Swedish. They kept each other company for an hour in the rental car office. Thank you, Swedish girl!)

Gelato in three words: energetic, opinionated, happy

I love having a son.

Finally…

This is not a Gelato post… don’t get your hopes up.

However, there is reason to celebrate this day.

Hula Girl has started entertaining herself in the car. Meaning, she’s not constantly asking me to sing to her or talk with her. She actually prefers it if I just leave her alone and let her sing and talk in her own little world. She has quite a good time!

I remember doing this as a child and I have been waiting and waiting for this special moment in my daughter’s life. I think it’s a wonderful thing when kids talk and sing to themselves. It gives us such a great view into their little noggins. And Hula Girl’s noggin is full o’ fun!

So, today I celebrate. Here’s to self-talk and singing!

First Illness (besides a stupid cold)

Hula Girl is sick. As in, not with a cold. As in, she woke up crying at quarter past midnight last night, because she was throwing up. Awesome. We thought it might be because she has the same cold thing as us, and the mucus was upsetting her tummy.

However, this morning, she had an axilliary temperature of 100.5°. Being the selfish person that I am, and wanting Mother’s Day at my parents’ house, I watched her for a bit before deciding she “seems” fine enough to come to Grammy and Grampy’s house for the weekend.

She threw up again in the car. And then she fell asleep during independent playtime, a full hour and 15 minutes before her next nap was scheduled to begin.

Whoops.

We are praying for a speedy recovery for our little girl. Please join us.

MIA

I apologize to those of you who were, like me, unaware I was going to be MIA for the weekend. I blame my mom. (Don’t we all?)

Hula Girl and I took a short weekend trip to my parents’ house just to do a sort of trial run for our vacation coming up on Thursday. We worked through a few kinks in the packing/scheduling. I am really glad we went, because I learned three things about Hula Girl’s sleep that were quite surprising:

  1. She can sleep in her new car seat!
  2. She sleeps when it’s time for her naps, no problem. Perfect naps.
  3. She has a hard time falling asleep at night when she’s not in her crib at home.

OK- the car seat sleeping and perfect napping are a total relief. The difficulty falling asleep at night was really hard to handle for me, since she always falls asleep with no difficulty whatsoever here at home. It really threw me for a loop. However, now I know what to expect on our trip. No problem.

My mom and I had a great time playing with Hula Girl. My mom spoils her rotten. She got so many new toys and new (new to her- yay consignment!) clothes. We even drove to Babies ‘R’ Us just so we could pick up a rubber travel placemat with a food catcher for messy baby hands.  That trip also afforded Hula Girl some cute shoes and slippers for next winter. They had a great BOGO sale for all clearance footwear! We are definitely bargain hunters.

Anyway, Hula Girl turned 10 months old yesterday. She is official 5/6 of the way done nursing. I am super happy about that. But I am also growing slightly nostalgic. Maybe I don’t want her to be done that soon? We’ll see how things go. I just really enjoy our snuggle time together four times a day. It’s really precious time for me. She has such a beautiful soft blond head, and her eyelashes are so dark against her cherub cheeks. She usually has some kind of goobers coming out of her eyes or nose, but those are easily wiped away. Oh, my precious girl. She’s growing up too fast.

That is enough for now. I will be posting again tomorrow at the regularly scheduled time.

Did you miss me?

Mardi Gras or Easter- it still Applies!

Ok, I’ll admit it- I am kind of starting to freak out… a bit… about our upcoming trip. My poor mother-in-law has had to answer a lot of dumb questions and listen to me musing over time change, luggage, and car seat napping all day. Thanks for your support, Momma C!

I am not concerned about Hula Girl’s schedule when we’re actually there. However, it’s going to be a long journey to reach our final destination. We’re flying out of a city that is 2.5 hours away from our house, so traveling there will be our first obstacle. Our current plan is for my mom to drive Hula Girl and me up there on Thursday so we can stop by my old school and visit my former coworkers. I am making sure to arrive there about 30 minutes after school is dismissed in hopes of missing the afternoon traffic rush and avoiding the germy germy children who will inevitably get their schoolchild sick germs all over my HEALTHY child. After this visit, my mom and I will take Hula Girl to dinner somewhere. Then we’ll go to our friends’ house for the night. Jonathan will arrive much later in the evening, as he will have to work that day. I expect he’ll also be in charge of dropping off our cat, Riley, with my grandma on his way.

Friday morning we will be with our friends, and Hula Girl will likely get a full nap in before we have to leave for the airport. I think I will be bringing a bottle and feeding her that way when we arrive at the airport. I can’t imagine trying to find a quiet, secluded place to nurse her before we get through security. This airport has, like, no place like that at all. So, a bottle we will bring! I scheduled our flight to be right during Hula Girl’s second nap time of the day. It is my intention to help her sleep on the flight, but my gut tells me it won’t happen. I plan to nurse her 15 minutes early to help her ears adjust as we’re descending.

When we arrive in San Diego on Friday afternoon, we’ll take the hotel shuttle from the airport. It will be quite a short trip, thank goodness. Our next adventure will be trying to find a way to get some food to eat (Mommy, Daddy, and Baby food). There are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores in the area, but they are just out of a short walk’s distance from the hotel. Never mind, we’ll figure it out.

Saturday is the day of my friend’s wedding. Hula Girl’s dress is absolutely cute on her. My one concern is that I have yet to purchase a little sweater to go along with the dress. It will happen. Sometime. Maybe I’ll even leave the tag on it just in case we don’t have to use it.

Saturday night will be amazing, thanks to my gorgeous, wonderful, amazing sister-in-law (who is still going to lose our Easter Egg Competition, no matter how attractive, fantastic, or great she is). She has kindly accepted our request that she come and babysit Hula Girl while we enjoy the wedding reception. I am looking forward to spending time with some of my favorite girls from college, and embarrassing myself on the dance floor. I have never danced at a wedding (mine was the exception-but it was expected!) and I haven’t really ever danced at a prom/party either. Let’s just say… there is a very good reason I avoid dancing in public. Or at all. I feel like a spaz, I look like a klutz, and I am really, really terrible at it. Nevertheless, I made Jonathan promise to dance with me. Who knows? Maybe his skills will rub off on me.

Sunday we will be staying at the hotel until Hula Girl’s first nap ends, and then we’ll be taking the final leg of our journey up to Ama and Papa’s house, which will be about a 2.5-3 hour drive. Again, I am attempting to schedule Hula Girl’s nap during travel time, but we’ll see how things go. All I can do is plan it the best I can and then pray it goes well and shrug it off if it goes differently than I expected!

Monday-Sunday we’ll be with my in-laws and we’ll be having a blast. Monopoly championship tournament Easter 2011, Easter Egg Competition 2011, and lots of laughter over the cute little girl we call Hula. Laissez les bons temps roulez! (I realize that phrase is typically applied to Mardi Gras, but it seems fitting here, too.)

Finally, the Monday after Easter, our little family will travel back home on another flight followed by a long car ride to our house. Let’s just hope the following week will provide relaxation and structure as we settle back in to our little life here.

Do you have any tips for traveling with a baby or thoughts on how to get through security fast?

My Best Friends’ Weddings

The kitchen is scrubbed, top to bottom. The laundry is *almost* done, including all the diapers. The carpets are vacuumed. The meals are planned, the grocery list is made, and we’re headed to the grocery store during Hula Girl’s next awake time.

It has been a productive day so far.

I have begun the process of looking for a place to rent in the new town, just in case Jonathan gets the job and it offers a decent salary. We are going through some major issues with our current place of residence, and we really want to move out. It is really frustrating to be dealing with everything we are dealing with, since we really are great tenants- we’re clean, quiet, respectful. I don’t think our land lady really understands how much we’re doing and how she should be treating us. Sigh.

I’m going to try out some new recipes this week. I’ve decided that since I’m going to be doing this whole “Mommy” thing for quite some time, I may as well learn to cook something other than our normal rotation. So this week, we’re going to have some new dishes, and we’ll be evaluating the likelihood of repeats. Here’s the menu for the week (dinners):

  • Monday: Fettuccine with Zucchini Sauce and Meatballs; Salad on the Side
  • Tuesday: Drunken Chicken over Rice with Broccoli
  • Wednesday: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Shallots; New Potatoes and Corn on the Side
  • Thursday: Turkey Burgers  and Savory Brussels Sprouts

Jonathan is cooking on Thursday. I don’t grill. I should clarify that turkey burgers are not a new dish for us. They’re just less frequent. Also, we don’t eat much red meat; the meatballs mentioned on Monday will be turkey meatballs.

I am really looking forward to the end of this summer when we can start harvesting yummy vegetables from our garden. We’re really going to enjoy the bounty! Today, I came across a lot of really tasty-sounding recipes utilizing the veggies we’re going to grow. I can’t wait to use the recipes and share them with our neighbors and friends! I sure hope we can actually grow some stuff…

Next weekend, Hula Girl and I will be taking a short trip to my parent’s house, just an hour and a half away. Jonathan has a mandatory work training on Friday and Saturday, so we will be missing him. However, it will be a lot of fun to see Grammy and Grampy, and to play with Hula Girl’s new toys! My mom purchased a little walking/riding toy for Hula Girl recently, and we’re so excited for her to try it out. She’s good at walking while she pushes the laundry basket around the living room. She’ll be walking all on her own very soon. It will be a good opportunity for her to practice her balancing skills!

The next weekend is when we leave for our trip to California, to attend my good friend’s wedding and to see the other grandparents, Ama and Papa. We’ll also get to see Jonathan’s sister (who is going to LOSE in the Easter Egg Competition), his aunt (who made the delightful quilt I mentioned in this post), and some other fun folks. I really hope we get to the beach one day, even though it is somewhat far from where we’re staying.  At least Ama and Papa’s house is a lot closer than ours is to the beach!

We will be spending 10 days in California, so two weekends. Then I will be spending the next weekend with my best friend and all of her closest friends as we celebrate her upcoming marriage by throwing her a bridal shower! I am really looking forward to treating my friend a bit, as she just really really deserves it. We got to have coffee together last night, and I really enjoyed our time together. We’ve never had one of those best friend relationships where every little detail is important. I don’t really care what kind of music she listens to. But we do know each other well, and we can discuss the bigger picture. I also noticed that our friendship has not suffered from lack of time spent together- in fact, our friendship is enhanced even more because it is well-seasoned with prayers and words exchanged in hard times and in glad times. I am grateful that God has placed my best friend in my life, even if I’m not the only friend “of honor.” 🙂

What is your favorite memory with your closest friend?

Getting Things Done and Planning Vacation

Sickness. We’re riddled with it in our house right now. Fortunately it’s not the totally-incapacitating terrible-knock-you-down sickness. For me, at least, it’s just the stop-to-blow-your-nose-or-drink-a-sip-of-hot-tea sickness. That means I’ve actually gotten a lot done.

Part of that is that I’ve washed Hula Girl’s sheets after every single nap/nighttime sleep. She wakes up with boogies all over her sheets, and I feel bad putting her back down to sleep on stiff sheets. Fortunately she has 3 sheets for her crib, so I just peel off the boogified one and put on a fresh one after each sleep. I think it’s also helping her get better a lot faster.

Hula Girl really does seem to feel better this morning. She’s back to being pretty talkative (albeit raspy), she’s standing up and bouncing, and she’s dancing to her music. All in all, she’s about 60% back to normal. Still very infrequent smiling, not much of an appetite, but drinking a LOT of water (I warm it up in her sippy cup for her).

I told Jonathan the other day that I’m pretty sure Hula Girl will start walking soon after she’s kicked this cold. This morning, she had her doggie in one arm, and she stood up hanging on to her music table, and reached out for her Pooh Bear. She stood there with 2 stuffed animals in her hands, not hanging on to anything else for about 10 seconds. So cool! She’s definitely going to be walking soon. She’s mastered the art of cruising, to the detriment of the tissue box on the end table. She enjoys pulling it to the floor, grabbing lots of tissues out of it, and ripping them to shreds, which she then proceeds to eat. Needless to say, our tissue box has graduated to the computer desk.

In other news, we’re really looking forward to our trip out to California in April. Less than 4 weeks now! We’re going out to visit Jonathan’s family mostly, but we’ve got to stop in San Diego first for one of my best friend’s wedding! Hula Girl is going to walk down the aisle in the wedding (or be carried, either way) in this dress:

Too Cute!

I also got her some little sparkly white shoes and a white bow for her head. I think she’ll be adorable.

The rest of our trip will be spent with Jonathan’s parents and other family members. We are really excited to see his sister, his aunt (creator of a fabulous quilt, seen below), and possibly even my cousins and uncle.

Hula Girl’s schedule is going to be totally demolished while we’re on vacation. I’m anxious about that, but I already asked Jonathan to help me “just deal with it” and go with the flow.  The one thing I’ve really gleaned from her current illness is that she’ll snap back to whatever schedule we’re on really easily- we’ve done it since she was born! I hope to just enjoy our time, get her rest as needed, and enjoy our time. And enjoy our time. I also hope that Hula Girl will be friendly and not quite so wary of new faces. She’s got a major case of “stranger danger” and I don’t want all the relatives and friends to miss out on holding her and cuddling her while she’s still so little.

Anyway, here’s a picture of the quilt:

Soooo pretty- you should see the detail in this thing!

Do you have any traveling with a baby tips?

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