Traveling with Toddlers

In a word? Don’t.

We made it back from our big Disney Extravaganza yesterday. Well.
Today, actually. If you wanna get technical. And I do. The kids did
great on vacation. But traveling was hard on all of us.

I’m going to save the warm and fuzzy details for my warm and fuzzy
posts about the trip. This post is for the Traveling. Which was
neither warm nor fuzzy. And may have included me having a nervous
breakdown in the Denver airport.

Going out was… interesting. I mean, all in all, it was pretty
smooth considering. But we weren’t used to traveling at that point
and the whole business just had us frayed before we even got on the
plane, I think. We left fairly early on Wednesday morning. Kile’s
co-worker who lives near us came by and rode with us in the van down
to the airport where we unloaded our junk and the carseats and she
took the van to work with plans to leave it at our house on her way
home from work, picking up her car which was parked there. Make
sense? Everyone with me so far? Good?

The carseats… were a pain. I mean, I know we needed to have them.
But lugging them through the airport was AWFUL. I had the bruises to
show for it too! We hadn’t purchased Evie her own seat (since she can
qualify as a free “lap child”) but were able to score her a seat on
the plane anyhow so we brought her seat on the plane with us. And
that was hard! Pushing a stroller and carrying a carseat along with
the other carry ons was a nightmare, but then having to carry Evie
(having left the stroller at the jetway) and the carseat on the plane?
OMG. There are no words. I’m already starting to block it from my
memory, it was so bad.

And the moment the plane started moving, Evie got upset. And I’m
talking pulling back from the jetway. The stewardess finally told me
as we were taking off that I could take her out of her seat and hold
her. So I did and that chilled her out. So much that she started to
fall asleep so I put her back in her seat and that was all well and
good.

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The boys were fine and dandy and other than Liam’s propensity for
kicking the back of Evie’s seat, he did pretty well too. Harry soon
discovered that flying was pretty cool and he liked ordering soda from
the stewardess and getting packets of peanuts and cookies.

We went first to Los Angeles, which seemed counter-intuitive. But
whatever. I saw the Hollywood sign as we were landing and tried to
point it out to Harry but he couldn’t see it. We landed and felt
rather smug for surviving our first (short) flight. We didn’t have to
get off the plane because even though it was stopping, we were riding
the same flight clear through to Orlando. Or so we thought.

While chatting with a fellow passenger, we found out that our plane
was busted. Oh yes. Busted. And at first, we weren’t sure when
they’d be able to find another plane for us to use since fixing the
current one was not going to happen anytime soon. But before I could
properly figure out how to react to this, they found us a plane. And
it was at another gate! Clear across the LAX airport. Soooo… we
unstrapped the carseats and tried to book it as fast as we could to
the other gate. We were following the flight crew and they promised
to get us on board. But at the gate, the agent there was a crabby
wench and made us wait and then snapped at us and was generally rude
to everyone she spoke to. We were finally let on board and scored new
seats and all was well.

The next leg was to Phoenix and was pretty uneventful. We landed. We
took off. Blah blah blah. The kids were getting used to it by now
and this time Evie only had minor complaints. But the flight from
Phoenix to Orlando was a long one and with the bumpy ride over the
gulf (wee!) I wasn’t sure we’d EVER get there! But we did, and landed
just as the sun was going down. The Orlando airport is all kinds of
awesome and we were easily able to find baggage claim. I hung out
there, grabbing our bags, while Kile went and got our rental car. It
was when we got outside baggage claim to get into the car that I had
full understanding of the heat and humidity. And this was after the
sun had gone down. GULP.

We found directions on my iPhone and drove to my parents condo for the
night. The whole toll road thing blows my mind. They really know how
to soak the tourists, don’t they? The whole east coast does that…
do regular residents/commuters find non-toll roads to use? Or how
does that work? Cuz I can’t imagine having to deal with that on a
daily basis. Bah!

Now…

The trip home was something else entirely. I made a decision that we
would check Evie’s carseat. I simply could not comprehend trying to
deal with it again. I had been having intermittent wrist pain all
week long (a result of not knitting? I have no idea.) the carseat
would have been too much. We had more stress than usual since we were
flying Southwest and they don’t have a sweet hookup with Disney like
some of the other airlines. Other people pack up their bags on the
boat and then don’t see them until they land at home. NOT US!

Oh, and we had to get off the boat at the asscrack of dawn. We were
up at 6am, at breakfast at 6:45 and then they made it clear they
wanted us off the boat ASAP. We tried to hang around as long as we
could but ended up on transfer bus around 9am. The trip to the
airport was quick and we were there by 9:30. We got our bags up to
the check in counter only to find out… you can’t check bags if your
flight is more than four hours away from taking off. Our flight was
scheduled at 4:20 so… yeah. We rented one of those Smarte Carte
things, loaded it up (you should have seen it! WHY didn’t I take a
picture??) and headed out. The airport is basically a MALL so we had
no trouble keeping ourselves occupied for a while. Especially once we
found the rest of my family hanging out. NO one had flights that were
leaving anytime soon.

Note to self (and anyone else planning a similar vacation): DO NOT
hesitate to schedule your flight earlier in the day! 12:30/1pm would
have been PERFECT. CURSE YOU, late flight!!

After Kile finally was able to check the bulk of our baggage, we
grabbed lunch at the food court (see? MALL!) and I was finally able
to try the infamous Chik fil-A. I had a chicken sandwich that was
mighty tasty. We browsed around the shops after that, and I was
mighty tempted to buy yet MORE Disney goodies at the Disney store
there. I showed restraint but even now, I’m sorta wishing that I
hadn’t. There was the cutest Tinkerbell coffee mug!

Anyhow, after that we braved security which had a whole bunch of
people from other countries going through. More than usual, I would
say. But by that point, I was so used to people from other countries
and foreign accents that I’m surprised I even noticed. Security was a
lot smoother than in Reno, simply because we were “old pros” at that
point. We found our gate and set up camp near some electrical outlets
so we could charge up our phones some more. We said goodbye to the
remaining family members and it wasn’t long before our flight boarded.
It went a lot smoother for me without the carseat. The bad news is,
it was a very full flight and every seat was taken so there wasn’t
much room to set her down or anything.

We took off a little late because there was some weather in the area.
But nothing awful and we were able to land almost on time in Denver.
Evie didn’t sleep a wink the whole flight and was extremely wriggly.
But we managed.

I have to say right now that I have extremely negative feelings about
the Denver airport. I like Denver. I do not like Denver’s airport.
There is ALWAYS turbulence (but then, there is in Reno too), but more
than that it’s the whole layout of the airport. The wasted space, the
inefficiency, the uselessness of the second floor “waiting” area.
WTF, Denver?

This is where we realized just HOW stupid our flight schedule was. We
were on the last flight from Denver to Las Vegas, which was then
continuing to Reno. And as such, we had to wait. There was a flight
from Philadelphia that had been delayed by weather and as luck would
have it, 30 or so people from that flight were on our Vegas flight.
So… we waited. We already had a 2 1/2 hour layover (and ate at a
restaurant that turned out to be exceedingly expensive). Add on
another hour. On top of tired children and parents and we were just
ready to be home. I didn’t handle it well. I was frustrated. I fell
in the trap of counting up the hours we’d been awake, how many hours
until we could be home. It was overwhelming. Liam and Evie had had
it. Harry was exhausted. I was beyond tired. We were all just DONE.

We finally got on the plane and got up in the air. Evie fell asleep
before we even took off so she was taken care of. I still had to hold
her, which meant my arms fell asleep. But at least she slept. She
woke when we landed in Vegas, but fell asleep as we took off for Reno.
Praise be! Liam slept too, which was great. He had slept most of
the way from Orlando to Denver too so Kile made out pretty well on
that deal. Harry slept on my shoulder the majority of the time. But
as we landed in Reno, he was awake and had the biggest smile I think
I’d seen on him all week. He wanted to be up in his bed so bad and I
couldn’t blame him.

Baggage claim in Reno is notoriously slooooooooow. Harry and I waited
for bags while Kile went out to look for his co-worker who had again
graciously offered to ferry us. That was a small mercy, let me tell
you! We FINALLY got our bags and FINALLY were on our way homeward.
It was after 1am by the time we got home. I could barely see
straight. Evie was interested in a diaper change and then BED. She
was out before she hit the crib mattress. Liam complained for maybe a
minute before dropping off. Harry was dead to the world. It took
Kile and I NO time at all to fall dead asleep.

And that… as they say… is that. We made it there and back in one
piece. That, my friends, is amazing. Flying with toddlers is a pain
unlike anything else. It’s just damn lucky that this whole trip made
it SO WORTH IT. Details to follow!

Oh yeah, that IS today, huh?

Yet again, I don’t have long… Just long enough for the boys to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway. But I had to mention that today us our 11th anniversary. Pretty cool to be celebrating on such an amazing vacation, huh?

We haven’t really had a chance to do anything “just us”, but that’s okay. We’ve had a great day with the kids, soaking up one more day in the parks before heading off to the cruise tomorrow.

Still, I couldn’t let this day pass without acknowledging that I’m married to the most awesome man. We complement each other perfectly… And I’m looking forward to many more anniversaries in the future.

And, I have to say, eleven years is a piece of cake when you’re married to your best friend.

Dad's Day

I know I’ve been a blogging flake lately. I’m sorry about that. But I wanted to take a little moment today to mention Fathers Day.

Kile is an awesome dad. In fact, I tend to believe that he’s a better dad than I am a mom. It just comes naturally to him. When he comes home from work he loves to sit down in his chair with one (or more!) of the kids and just interact with them. Evie has gotten to where she anticipates this so much that she literally lets out a blood curdelling scream of excitement when she sees him come through the door.

He’s never been reluctant to take the kids with him on small errands. Even if it is just down the street to Little Caesar’s to pick up a pizza for dinner.  If I need him to watch all three kids while I go someplace, do something, need a break?  No problem.  He does it without breaking a sweat.

I know you’ve all heard this from me before.  But I felt it beared repeating on today, the day we celebrate fathers.  I just had to acknowledge that so far the best part of our marriage is watching my husband be a father.  I wonder if anyone else could have done a better job so far.  And that gives me great encouragement for the years ahead, which I’m sure will be full of challenges for everyone.

Harry is in Elko, so it feels strange to have Father’s Day without him here.  He would have been front and center, making Kile breakfast and having me “help”.  He would have been bestowing Kile with any number of charming homemade gifts, including that contraption he put together out of legos.  But he did call this morning to wish his papa a happy Father’s Day.  We must be doing SOMETHING right with that boy, you think?

Liam and Evie are too young yet to fully appreciate and understand the holiday.  I made Kile breakfast and gave him a couple of cards (both signed by me).  We’re going to go do some browsing, chiefly at Kile’s favorite store these days: Whole Foods.  Maybe I’ll let him buy a chunk of smelly cheese.  The man has a thing for cheese.  I’m not 100% sure what’s going on for dinner, but he mentioned bbq chicken at one point.

I’m doing what I can to make the day special for him.  I hope he has a great day because he deserves it.

He deserves so much more

Papa Bear and his broodToday is my husband’s birthday.  And I feel a little bad becasue there just isn’t all that much I can get/do/etc for him today to make his day special.  I’ve already explained how I don’t leave the house so going out to buy gifts is a no-go.  I let him pick out a few things on the weekend when we were out shopping (among them: new shorts, a bottle of scotch, Call of Duty 4, and iPod headphones) and he’s currently deciding what he’d like to do best for dinner tonight (have me cook, bring in take-out or go out to eat).  But really, he deserves so much more for his birthday.

He works hard.  Like most people today, he worries about losing his job and how he would take care of his family if that were to happen.  True, he’s maybe a little more insulated from that tragedy that some people, but he never acts like it.  He acts like every day is the difference between keeping and losing his job.  While it keeps him vigilant and at the top of his game, it’s an awful lot of stress to take on.

He takes care of his family.  Aside from being Liam’s “buddy” on the weekend (we each have a “buddy” and since Evie is sitll nursing, she’s my buddy by default), he does a lot to take care of the kids.  He gives the little ones baths.  He shares in the feeding and diaper changing duties.  He plays rambunctuous papa games with the little ones, the sort of things that mama never does like flipping them over to make them giggle.

He makes us dinner, almost every night (pretty much the only nights he doesn’t make dinner is when we eat out.  It’s very rare that he asks me to make dinner).  And he makes really yummy food too!  Just last night, he grilled us up some burgers that were out of this world.  I love when he makes these burgers; he got the inspiration from In n’ Out’s “Animal style” burgers.  He grills them in mustard, puts some cheese on and then tops them with grilled onions.  Just thinking about them makes my mouth water.  And what about the penne pasta tossed with smoked sausage and stir-fry vegetables.  A simple dish, but SO tasty!  And he does this every night, after working all day.

He’s also very good to me.  He goes out of his way to make my birthdays and Mother’s Days special.  He gives me a break when I need it and nurses me back to health when I do something stupid like breaking my ankle.   He makes an effort to spend time with me and we do an at-home “date night” once a month.  He doesn’t ever object to watching a chick flick when I really want to see it.  He’s a shoulder to cry on and a companion to share my life with.

I’m sad to think of him at work today, but that was his choice.  I’m even sadder, though, for him to be feeling bad about his birthday.  It’s never easy turning one year older.  And I just wish I could do more to make him feel celebrated today.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.  I love you!

Friday! Can I get an amen?

It doesn’t matter how difficult or relatively easy a week is, how long or how short, I am ALWAYS glad to see Friday come.  ALWAYS.

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This wasn’t such a bad week.  The children weren’t overly frustrating (just mildly so).  The days weren’t as long and exhausting.  Which is surprising considering how late we’ve been staying up to watch Conan O’Brian on The Tonight Show this week.

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And while we’re on the topic, isn’t Conan doing a great job?  I’ve really enjoyed watching him this week.  We haven’t stayed up for the entire show, as we are milk-toasts and tend to want to be in bed around midnight.  But we’ve watched his opening monologue and the little sketches he’s been doing and have enjoyed those immensely.  I particularly enjoyed his take-over of the Universal Studios Tour tram ride.  Kile enjoyed it when he bought his “Bitch” belt buckle.

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Anyhow.  Where was I?  Oh yes.  FRIDAY!  It’s even been a rather easy week, weather wise.  It has been stormy since last weekend and I am LOVING it.   I’d say we’ve had more rain this last week than we have had so far this YEAR.  Every day is cloudy, moody, rainy and full of marvelous thunderstorms.  I love thunderstorms.  We even had HAIL today.

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And the question of whether or not to go camping tonight came up and I think the weather answered it for us:  HELL NO.  We’re not masochists.  Life is short.  It is not meant to be spent setting up tents in the mud and huddling inside with the water dripping in.  I’m sorry but I’m just not geared for that.  And neither is Kile, apparently, as he shared my views on it.  Shoot, I imagine even if we had a super fancy camper complete with heater and cozy beds we’d be reluctant.  What fun is it camping in such drippy weather?  Better saved for warmer weather, I think.  We’re still planning to go here in a couple weeks or so (I’m not sure the exact date which would explain why things like this tend to sneak up on me).  And I can guarantee the weather will be back to “normal”.

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I hate “normal” weather in Nevada in the summer time.  I hate the hot sun, the dry wind, the heat, heat, heat!  Come to think of it, there is precious little I do enjoy about Nevada these days.  Why are we still here again?  Good question.

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One of these days, we’re going to get more motivated to try to relocate to someplace else.  I imagine it might be easier if the economy weren’t in the crapper.  And housing prices weren’t a complete and utter joke.  I have given up seeing what our home is valued at these days.  Just too damned depressing.

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Lets not talk about such depressing stuff, shall we?  Let’s talk about happy things!  Like the fact that the weekend is here!  I don’t know if we have anything planned.  Probably another trip to the drive in.  I don’t even know what’s playing this weekend but I’m sure something fabulous is.  I guess I have to look that up.  Oh and we have a cub scouts thing for Harry tomorrow.  We’ll just go up during the day and hope for the best.  I hope the kids are cooperative.  Scratch that:  I hope LIAM is cooperative.

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Kile’s birthday is coming up soon.  And try as I might, I can’t get a good answer out of him on what he wants to do/get/have/be for his birthday.  Frustrating.  I’m rather limited in my shopping capabilities which means ordering online is the way to go.  And if he won’t tell me what to get or how much I have to spend… well, I’m sorta screwed.  So in turn I feel bad that I’m not honoring his birthday like I should.  I do have cake mix on hand though!  There will be cake!

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Men.  So frustrating.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear Evie is up from her nap and I need to go give her some serious big-time snuggles.  And perhaps a diaper change.  Not neccessarily in that order.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!  Eat pizza for dinner tonight in celebration!  (I know I plan to!)

I really am here. Honestly.

So. I’m sorry I haven’t posted in the last couple of days. It’s been an… INTERESTING week. It’s been busy. And I’ve not been tremendously happy. Lots of crankiness. And, as luck would have it, there was lots of ornery children too. Well, ornery CHILD is more specific. Evie had her moments too, but she was mostly being clingy and sensitive and Ornery Child’s orneryness served to only make her more clingy and more sensitive.

Good times.

This weekend is also very busy. Case in point: I am writing this on my iPhone as we sit at the drive in for the third Saturday in a row. I really haven’t had much other time in the last two days to sit down and write. Mostly because if I am sitting, I’m knitting. And since Kile’s parents are visiting, it’s sorta rude to be on the computer. I can still chat while I knit.

This has been great for my knitting progress, not so much for my blogging.

In other news, I hope this funk of mine lets up soon. It wasn’t too bad until Thursday evening when it went off the rails. And I know, I know… I shouldn’t let someone’s remarks make me feel worthless. Or rather, MORE worthless. But when you’re already spiraling, it often doesn’t take much.

And that totally has nothing to do with anything else and I’m sorry for putting out there. I’m obviously not to be trusted.

So, it’s time to settle in and watch the movie. Angels and Demons, y’all. Rockin’.

Stuck

I’m currently stranded at Kohl’s and I literally don’t know what to do with myself. Kile dumped me off here and took the kids with him to go do Super Sekrit Mother’s Day Shopping.

I know most women would killfor tgiskind of opportunity to shop, sans kids. But I’m kind of an odd duck. Plus, I don’t really think I can spend any money so that makes looking at stuff kinda pointless.

I did find some cheap, cute, and comfy (the three c’s!) pajama/lounge capris. And some ccc girly pajamas for Evie too. I also looked high and low for a shirt she could wear under one of her swing dresses but had no luck. Though, looking back, I probably should have looked for a shirt in red too, cuz she needs one of those too. Oh well, I don’t think they would have had one.

So right now, I’m sitting down in the shoe department (the only place I could find to sit). And thank GOD for the iPhone or I’d probably totally be beside myself.

So what is everyone else up to today? We’re hoping to go see “Star Trek” at the drive-in tonight. I have my doubts as to how smoothly THAT will go. But it’s worth a shot.

Okay, I’m getting strange looks from the sales people so I better mosey on. Later, peeps!

Sucker Punch

I did something unwise as we were going to bed last night. I fired up Safari on my iPhone to catch up on a couple blogs while Kile tucked the boys in and got into bed himself. This was a poor idea because I read something that brought me to my knees. That sucked the air from my lungs. That made me feel like I was going to throw up. That caused me to cry and ache and alarm my poor husband.

Maddie died last night.

If you haven’t been reading Mamasphor, you may not know Maddie. But I’ve been reading about her and her family for quite a while now. And while I knew that her prematurity gave her a lot of health issues, she was still a vibrant, happy little girl. Not too much older than Evie. I would get nervous whenever Maddie was sick, particularly this last fall when she was hospitalized. But she recovered.

And now? Now…

I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep, think of this beautiful little girl and her poor parents. Kile tried to distract me, and it sorta worked. Instead I found myself all upset and enraged about this kid who has been stealing food out of Harry’s lunch at school.  That’s productive, huh?

And when I heard Evie cry and moan over the monitor? Instead of willing her to fall back to sleep like I normally would, I leapt out of bed to retrieve her. I held her tight, reveling in her weight. In her health.  I kissed her head and stroked her hair and cried for a poor baby girl and a mama who won’t get to do that with her daughter ever again.

It’s not fair.  It’s not right.

There isn’t much I or anyone else can do.  But what I can do is donate the paltry amount currently residing in my PayPal account to her March of Dimes campaign and join the walk.  And I shall do both.   How about you?

UPDATE: Heather’s (aka mamaspohr) blog has been down for the better part of the day.  To hear why and what has been done about it, read this.

I continue to be just heartsick about this.  I cannot concentrate on anything.  I weep for a child I never knew.

Weekend Whimsy

Another end to another interesting week. I think me getting out of the house with the kids to go shopping on Monday really helped. We went out on Tuesday night and did a little shopping. Wednesday, Kile wasn’t feeling well so he stayed home and I was able to go to the grocery store BY MYSELF. That was HUGE, people.

I think Thursday was the only day I stayed home the whole day. And even then it wasn’t dull because there was much online shenanigans to enjoy.

Last night, we ran out so I couldget to the yarn store before it closed at 6. And when I walked in, the gal behind the counter said, “You’re back! What do you need this time?”. Which I take as a hint that maybe I’m in there an awful lot. Not that it will discourage me from returning. And my trip there last night was a great success because the yarn I picked up matches my project PERFECTLY. So, you know, YAY.

We ate out at Chili’s, something we almost never do anymore. If we do eat out, it’s almost always fast food. And apparently, people think that’s the way it should be because the young, childless people seated behind us kept giving us dirty looks throughout dinner. How dare we eat out when we have children? The nerve! It’s alright; I rest assured that these people will someday have small children and will want to eat out at a family friendly (ha!) restaurant with their kids in tow who will actually behave decently and they too will have some selfish pricks glare at them while they try to eat.

The universe is fair that way.

Anyhow…

The weekend itslef has been full of shopping trips and other fun and exciting things. And if you read that sentance, your voice dripping with sarcasm, then you yet a cookie.

I’m sorry this isn’t more exciting to read but time has been scant (as has patience), and I’ve pecked this whole sordid thing out on my phone and I think that should qualify me for some sort of medal, don’t you think?


One of my favorite stores to visit, Whole Foods

Developments

Sorry to keep you all hanging, waiting for pictures of Kile’s new toy.  Yesterday was a Knit Knit Knit day for me since Sunday and Monday were so busy.  That meant that blogging took a back seat.

Believe it or not, I posted a little hint about this toy the other day in one of my picture posts.  I’m surprised no one picked up on it.  Anyhow, here it be:

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I know, right?  It’s a SCOOTER.  Albeit, it’s a fairly souped up scooter.  But it’s a scooter.  It actually belonged to my brother in law.  Their whole family had scooters and he didn’t like to ride his so he gave Kile a VERY good price (and payment plan!) for it.  It’s nearly new (despite the dirt on it, which it received in the back of my sister in law’s truck on the ride down on Sunday) and in great shape.  Kile is out in the garage as I speak giving it a bath, removing the stickers (not his style) and doing an oil change.  To say he’s enchanted by it is probably putting it mildly.  It came with a nice helmet but we got a small helmet for Harry the other day to go with it so he could go on little rides too.  Kile is looking for a pink helmet for me. Heh.

The plan is he’ll drive this to work during the summer months since it gets like INSANE gas mileage.  He might have to put gas in it like once a month.  It’s more gas efficient than a motorcycle even.  Kile would still like a motorcycle someday, but this is a good step in that direction.

Oy, huh?

***

In other news, Evie pulled herself up on the couch for the first time yesterday.

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At one point I looked up at her and there she was, standing.  She had been on her knees, playing with her pushcar/stroller (birthday present!) like she likes to do.  I’m guessing she got it pushed over to the couch and she decided to branch out and pulled herself up.  She did it another time or two later that day and went so far as to get “stuck” once (the stroller got away from her and she couldn’t figure out how to let herself down easily).   Look at that face.  Does she look proud of herself or what?

Of course this is the beginning of the end.  This will morph into cruising, standing up in her crib, and eventually walking.  WALKING.  So not cool.  First she has the audacity to turn one and now this?  She and I need to have a talk.

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And, cuz that’s how I roll, here’s some other pictures to share with ya’ll.  Happy Hump Day!  Enjoy “Lost” tonight! (You know I will!)

Skirty Girl

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Breathtaking Sunset

Addiction

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