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Let's Talk Babies!

travel

A couple of months ago we were trying to decide if we should go somewhere for Maya’s spring break. After much discussion and research we decided to take the kids to Disneyland. The girls were super excited and I heard “I’m so excited to go to Disneyland!!” every day for weeks :) Anna had no idea what “going to Disneyland” meant but she was excited any way. Maya spent the weeks and days leading up to our trip planning out what rides she wanted to go on.

We arrived late last Monday and headed to the park first thing Tuesday morning. We all had so much fun. Maya and Lorne spent much of their time going from ride to ride. Anna loved the rides she could go on, especially the carousel. The girls got to meet a few characters, including a few princesses. Maya wasn’t as into the meeting characters this time, she preferred the rides. Anna loved it and was such a ham every time she posed with a character. Some friends of ours were also at Disneyland last week and we met up with them several times throughout the trip. Maya and Anna loved getting to explore the park and go on rides with some of their best buds.

After four days of fun at Disneyland we headed home. The girls were sad to say goodbye. They would have loved to stay longer. Anna has asked me at least a dozen times today when we are going to Disneyland again!

It was a great way to spend spring break. I always love going to Disneyland with the girls, it is so fun to see it all through their eyes. Looking forward to our next trip.

Part of our Memorial Day long weekend adventures took us over the mountains to the quaint little town of Leavenworth, WA.

Leavenworth is a couple of hour drive from us. A drive that takes us into the Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth is nestled in the mountains, on the other side. This quaint little town used to be a logging community and when the logging business in the area started to die, so did the town. In the 60s town officials came up with the brilliant idea to transform the town into a Bavarian village in the hopes of attracting tourists and bringing the economy of the town back to life. It worked. Leavenworth now finds itself teeming with visitors much of the year. People are drawn in by the beautiful back drop of the mountains, the quaint little shops and restaurants, the old school architecture and the old German feel of the town.

We had a great time in Leavenworth. We strolled around town checking out the little shops. We enjoyed a German meal at one of the many little restaurants and played on the grass while we people watched. We are looking forward to heading back again some time. I especially want to head over in December when the whole town turns into a Christmas village.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early (well not too early) we will be hitting the road. We are making the trek up to the Great White North to visit our families for the holidays. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone. I am not, however, looking forward to the travel part of it. But, since they haven’t invented a teleporter yet I guess I’m stuck with the travel part of it *shrug*.

Since we’ll be traveling with a baby who still enjoys eating every 2-3 hours we’ve decided to break the 14ish hour drive into 2 days. Breaking it up is nice in that neither day will be too crazy driving wise. But, at the same time, it is nice just to get it all over and done with in one day. I’m hoping Anna does well on the trip. She has, recently, started tolerating her carseat a little better. She certainly doesn’t like it by any stretch of the imagination, but she doesn’t cry as much now and can entertain herself a bit with her toys back there. Hopefully there isn’t too much crying so we can all maintain our sanity. The night in the hotel could get interesting too. Hopefully we all get a little sleep.

Today I’m busy packing and organizing, 100% sure I’m going to forget something. Hopefully it all fits in the car!

Yesterday I took the girls to see Santa since I had been procrastinating and needed to get it done before we left. Maya had a blast and talked Santa’s ear off. Anna was determined not to crack a smile for the lady taking the picture and burst into tears moments after the first picture was snapped when the lady tried to tickle her. Oh well, at least the first shot was a good one :)

I hope you all have a great weekend. Please keep your fingers crossed that our weekend of driving, driving and more driving goes smoothly.

When Lorne got the offer to do a rotation in Australia we knew it would mean spending at least a month apart.  Since I was already pregnant when the opportunity came up the time I would be able to spend in Australia was very well defined.  On the advise of my doctor, lots of reading online about common recommendations and my own gutt feeling, I knew I had to travel back no later than 32 weeks into my pregnancy.  Lorne’s company had a requirement that he be there for at least 4 months (they wanted more).  Based on when we could get all the necessary visa paperwork, etc that meant he would be in Australia for a month longer than me and wouldn’t be able to travel home until just a mere 3.5 weeks before Baby Girl 2.0’s due date (I know cutting it close right!).

Up until we left Australia last Thursday the reality of that hadn’t really sunk in.  As we said good bye at the airport it hit me how hard it was going to be.  It hit me that for the next month I was going to have to be a single parent and I would be alone if anything were to happen and I went into labor early (I’m trying not to think about that aspect of it because sometimes ignorance is bliss).  Luckily, at the airport, saying good bye, I had a 3 year old and airport security to worry about so I couldn’t cry, but boy did I feel like it.

I’ve been at this single parenting gig for a week now.  The parenting part of it hasn’t been bad.  Maya and I are in a good groove and she is handling the separation from her daddy very well so far.  I think since I”m a stay-at-home mom and responsible for most of the child rearing aspects of our day to day life anyway the actual parenting part of this single parenting gig comes easy for me.  Some days have felt a little endless since I’m not getting my usual couple of hour break at the end of the day where I get to co-parent and someone else can take over the often exhausting job of entertaining Maya, but most days have been good.  The part that has been hardest, the part that gets to me everyday, is the absence of my best friend, my favorite person, my partner.  It is the absence of someone to bounce ideas off, to complain to, to just talk to at the end of the day.  Spending all day, every day, talking to a 3 year old can be exhausting.  Especially when that 3 year old is my daughter who seems to think the day is not complete unless she has literally talked every second of the day!  I didn’t realize how important it was to me, how nice it was, to have a grown up (especially one I’m awfully fond of) to talk to at the end of the day, to unwind with.  That part has been hard and I look forward to those phone calls and email exchanges that let me unwind a little.

I have a few single parents in my circle of friends and my mom was a single parent for part of my childhood and this experience has given me a new found respect for what they go through everyday.  Being a parent is a tough job, often a thankless job.  Being a single parent is a tougher job, and an even more thankless job.  My hat goes off to you.

One week down, three weeks to go.  Fingers crossed that things continue to go well and that Baby Girl 2.0 stays put until her daddy gets home.

We are home!!  22 travel hours, lots of time spent standing in security lines, much boredom later we made it back to St. Louis.  It feels so good to be home.

8:00 am Thursday morning in Australia, so Wednesday night in the US, we headed out the door on our way to the airport.  Unfortunately, Quantas, for such a large airline, did not have adequate representatives checking people in so the line was very long.  We made it through faster than I thought we would and headed towards security.  But, before we got to security we had to say goodbye to Lorne.  It was tough saying goodbye knowing it was going to be a whole month before he would be coming home.  Maya did really well saying goodbye, which was helpful.  I didn’t have time to be sad since I had security to get through. Security was quick and easy at the Brisbane airport (can I just say how friendly and helpful the security people in Australia are, so refreshing) and in a flash we were on our way to our gate.

Once we boarded the aircraft I quickly realized that the seats we had chosen, thanks to a seatguru.com recommendation, were horrible.  We opted for seats towards the back of the plane because it meant we would get a row to ourselves.  Maya’s seat, the window seat, was pretty good.  She had a bunch of space between her and the window where she could stand up and look out the window while stretching her legs.  My seat, however, was horrible.  There was a huge box under the seat in front of me which meant I had no where to put my feet or my carry on bag.  Not to mention the fact that a very large man sat in the seat in front of me and reclined his seat for the whole flight.  And, because of his size he pushed his seat practically into my lap.  His seat was pressed, painfully, against my knees for the whole flight.  Being near the back was good in that we were close to the potty for my frequent need to use it.  But, it is also a popular gathering spot for those walking the cabin to stretch their legs, which meant that it was loud, the whole flight.  It made sleeping a bit tough for me.  But, we suffered through and made it to LA in one piece and without any major meltdowns.

Arriving in LA had always been the part of the travel that I was most nervous and anxious about.  I knew that in LA I would have to go through customs, gather my luggage, go through security, recheck my bags and then go through security again to enter the domestic terminal.  It had the potential to be very difficult and stress inducing.  Customs was a breeze.  I hadn’t expected it to be a problem since I had all our paperwork and there was nothing unusual about our trip or what we were bringing home with us.  Gathering our bags was a bit time consuming.  Even after being one of the last people off the plane, stopping for a potty break and going through customs it still took another 20 minutes for our bags to show up.  Luckily, they did have luggage carts available. I had been really worried about that since I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage all our stuff on my own without one.  After we finally got our bags, carseat and stroller we headed through security.  The line was long but moved quickly.  We made it through without having to stop to have our bags searched, which was nice.  After rechecking our bags to be loaded on our flight to St. Louis we headed to the domestic terminal.  As soon as I walked up the stairs towards the security check point I knew the easy part was over.  There was a sea of people for as far as I could see.  The line to get through security was ridiculously long.  It ended up taking us an hour and a half to finally make our way to the front of the line.  The TSA agents were extremely unhelpful. Very different from my experience in Australia.  After at first waving me through a very bitchy TSA agent decided to call me back and put me in the infamous glass booth.  I stood in the glass booth with Maya for about 5 minutes when another, much friendlier TSA agent, came over and said he just had to swab my shoes.  A couple of minutes later he returned with my shoes and told me I was free to go.  Still not sure why I ended up in there, if an alarm went off, or if I was just unlucky number whatever who required further screening, but at least it was over quickly.

The nice part about it all taking so long was that we only had 3 hours to kill until our next flight instead of 5. Maya did really well through all the hold ups, well as good as can be expected from a 3 year old.  She got antsy but managed to entertain herself, and those around us, with some singing and dancing :)  We killed the 3 hours in LA walking around the terminal, eating some lunch and watching movies (Maya) and playing on the internet (me).  Before we knew it, it was time to board our flight to St. Louis.

The flight to St. Louis felt so short compared with the 13 hour flight from Australia.  By the time we took off, got our complimentary beverage and took a little nap it was time to get ready for landing.  Arriving in St. Louis felt so good. It was nice to know we were finally home and had made it all in one piece.

The flight home, in many ways, was easier than the flight to Australia.  I knew what to expect, and so did Maya, so we were able to suffer through a little better this time around.  I learned a few things on the flight over that I was able to use to make this flight easier.  I knew not to look at my watch very often because doing so would only make the time go by slower, or at least feel like it was.  I knew what to pack in our carry on to keep us both entertained, the things that worked best the last time around.  I knew the best thing to do when Maya’s attitude started to go downhill was to make her sleep (it worked every time!).  All of which made the day, although still extremely long, not so horrible.

Maya was so happy when we walked through the door of our house.  She walked around all evening and all the next day saying “Mommy, I love home!” and getting super excited about every single one of her toys.  The kitties have been much loved since our return.  They try to make it seem like they could care less, but since they are always hanging out in whatever room Maya is in, I know they secretly love it.  We’ve been settling in nicely and haven’t suffered too much from jet lag.

Home Sweet Home.  There is just something so nice about being home.  No matter how much fun we had on our little adventure and how wonderful Australia was ,there truly is no place like home.