Easier Said Then Done

See this child?

She’s pretty easy going, as this photo may suggest.  She has her toddler moments, most of which can be solved by a hug from momma or a snack.  This makes her a decent traveler.  She’s been traveling by plane for some time now, since four months old and almost all flights over 6 hours.  However, as a child gets older, the ability to hold her in your lap, amused and happy, for 6 hours, becomes more and more difficult.  Again, her easygoing nature is very useful, but every easygoing child has its limits.  This past Tuesday night on the flight back from the Other Washington to the Emerald City, she had her limits.
As anyone who travels by air knows, air travel is not easy.  With a toddler it is, well, complicated.  Lots o’stuff from car to checked baggage to security, which includes sippie cup tests, strollers being collapsed/uncollapsed, shoes on/off, and then the hunt for the gate.  We’re pretty good at all of this.  Despite my high tension during flying tendencies, I’ve been able to chill out a good amount while traveling with LC.
LC was a little fussy before the flight – traveling, different schedules, lots of new people, teething – and then we had to sit on the runway to wait for our turn to take off.  So 45 minutes later than we were should have taken off, we were still sitting there, just adding time to the already over 5 hour flight time.  We tried to placate LC with a turkey sandwich, peaches, and milk.  Lots of milk, which always tends to soothe her.  And sometimes it helps her sleep.  So that just may have been an intended side effect of the milk as well.
A few hours later, we were in the air and struggling to keep LC entertained and happy.  She had grown very fussy and assuming it was her teeth, we tried some infant advil.  She continued to fuss and we tried to pass her between the two of us to make her happy or get her comfortable.  She clung to me and begin to try to snuggle.  Thinking she may want to sleep, I worked to help her find a comfy spot, try to cushion her head on my chest.  And that is when she vomited peaches, milk, turkey and infant advil all over me.**
I’m a prepared mother when traveling.  I had three different types of wipes, two change of clothes for LC, extra diapers (and still more peaches).  However what I didn’t have was a change of clothes for me.  So with two hours remaining in the flight and a drink cart blocking the aisle between me and the bathroom, I sat there fuming (literally and figuratively), trying to decide what I would do.  Once able to do so, I took some wipes to the bathroom to try to work with what I had.  I was wearing a cardigan, tee shirt and skirt.  The cardigan was beyond help, so I quickly shed that.  Unable to do anything else, I wiped at the shirt and skirt with the baby wipes and hoped that would be enough.  I returned to my seat, hoping it would dry and I’d be fine.  I soon found the stench was horrendous.  I returned to the bathroom to discover my bra had formed an excellent catch for regurgitated milk and peaches.  I tried to clean it out best I could, but it was just too soiled.  My choices were soon clear – sit and deal with the smell or lose the bra.  With slightly less than two hours to go, I took my bra off and chose to sit bra less, pregnant, covered in baby vomit, a wet shirt and skirt on a freezing cold plane.  So you can see where this is going.  It certainly wasn’t pretty.  And to be honest, my attitude was not very pretty either at this point. 
We made it home approximately three hours or so later.  We all survived.  LC stayed awake until we placed her in the stroller once we deplaned.  I was able to shower and no longer smelled like spoiled milk and peaches.  So yeah, we survived the trip home.  But next time I start to panic about a flight with LC, perhaps this story will come to mind and you can understand why I may not be rushing down the jet way.

** A will tell this story as “LC vomited all over herself and Lauren.”  Be assured, LC got off easy here.

Planning for Panic

We’re preparing for our family vacation next week.  I should probably refer to it as our “vacation” because my stress level is so high right now, it is hard to imagine it being relaxing.  Traveling cross country is never easy – airline travel is not only expensive, but takes forever and is a giant pain.  Now, add in a toddler.  This will be our first cross country flight since LC can walk on her own.  That’s six hours on a plane with a toddler who has come to enjoy her freedom to move when and where she wants.  Oh, and has also learned to throw a temper tantrum.

In addition to the airline travel, toddlers need stuff.  Every time I try to minimize or cut down on our packing list, I think of five more things that need to be added.  A pack and play, car seat, stroller, diapers, food (because HEAVEN HELP US if we do not have enough snacks for the plane ride), swim diapers, clothes, extra clothes, toys, books, oh, the list goes on. 

We’re trying to combine our vacation with visiting family, which is creating a complicated multipage itinerary and balancing act to see friends, enjoy some time as tourists but still be sure LC’s adoring fan club all gets their time with her.  To say we are scheduled to the minute may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. (And when talking about a schedule, keep in mind there is a three hour time difference and the last two trips to the East Coast resulted in a sleep strike from a jet lagged LC.  So, there’s that.)

I’m hoping the stress ends once we land in the Other Washington and I can enjoy the only time we have to get away from it all this summer.  But when you travel with a toddler, you begin to realize you really just bring it all with you. 

California, Back Where We Started From

Ok, we didn’t really start in CA, but roll with it.

We spent a wonderful long weekend in LA with friends, showing LC how to do it up Hollywood style. LC took to the whole lifestyle pretty well, including wanting to stay up all hours of the night, you know, like you do in LA.

photo (3)

She went to an NBA play-off game and received a free tee shirt, even if the Clippers blew a 24 point lead to eventually lost the game.

brucknerparty

She went to LA parties.  (Or one party.  But still, it was very LA.) That’s Megan who graciously hosted us (with Wade!) and introduced LC to all that is LA, or at least North Hollywood.

Taking a toddler to visit your childless friends can highlight just how much your life has changed since becoming parents.  For instance, our friends were not interested in the daily 6am treks to the local bakery to get LC food and let her run through the hall to the bathrooms where her voice echoes. At this point in our “parenting journey”, we don’t even think getting up at 6am on a Saturday to be odd at all.

Thanks to Megan, Wade and Skip for a very excellent weekend.  We had a wonderful time and maybe next time we visit, LC will understand that the bakery is still open at 9am and there is no need to claim the good table at 6am.

My Trip was Just Peachy

I made it – I survived the trip without LC.  By the last day I was ready to leave Atlanta and get home but I made the best of it.  I even threw some education in on the last day and traveled to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.  (I was *this* close to the Nobel Peace Prize.  Which was kinda awesome.)

A few reflections on Atlanta:

– It is warm.  It was 80 degrees when I landed.  On March 28.  While that was nice, to be outside and have sun and such so early in the year, I imagine come July it is much more than 80.

– You can have too much of a good thing.  I do not think I ate too much in Atlanta, it is more what I ate.  The food was so rich and involved many types of pork.  Delicious?  Yes.  Did it make my belly crave something not made with bacon grease?  Also yes.  But I must say, I may have to re-write my burger post after experiencing Flip Burger.  I wish I could have tried every burger on the menu.  (I had the chorizo with sweet potato tots).  I also wish I had been told that the shakes may be advertised as single serve but that you will live to regret that choice. (Krispy Kreme shake.  A-MAZ-ING.  It was like drinking a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts.)

– Being on the East Coast from the West Coast is a difficult transition.  Everything starts early (one day began with a working breakfast at 7:30am and did not end until 6pm), but you can’t sleep before midnight.  Also, when you end your conference day at 6pm, it is only 3pm back at your office so there is lots of people waiting for you to respond to email.

– Watching tv without a DVR is just uncivilized.  Do people really watch commercials? It makes Idol soooo long.

– It was nice having the time to myself – for about 24 hours.  I traveled, I read, I had dinner by myself, I had a massage. . . and then I was ready to go home.  I missed my family and being in the hotel room was lonely. 

– Every hotel should have a Ham Bar.

Traveling Light

So I’m really doing it. I left this morning for a 4 day business trip WITHOUT LC. I know LC is in good hands, A is an amazing Dad and handles more than his share of baby work on a daily basis already. And I know plenty of people travel without their kids – many of my friends having done their first trip before their child is 14 months old. But this is my first and it is filled with anxiety and unknowns. I am trying to make some goals to accomplish this trip so that I can focus on those and not on missing LC (or wondering what is she doing, is she ok, did she sleep, eat, etc).

– be productive. This is a work trip. My work time is normally capped by baby duties – day care pick ups, feeding, cleaning, putting to bed and getting enough sleep to get up and do it all over again the next morning (hopefully morning and not middle of the night!) So beginning with this flight I am making the most of it, I started working right away.

– relax. Easier said than done when I am 3000 miles away from LC, but I do have the opportunity to sleep in a bed for 8 hours, not sharing the comforter with a beagle. I am going to take advantage of the hotel spa before the conference begins tomorrow. I am going to watch the latest Twilight movie on my iPad. I am not going to fret every moment about what might need to be done at home.

– attack the to do list. Beyond work, there are plenty of to dos that don’t get done on daily basis – updating the milk man order, ensuring bills are being paid, paying that parking ticket I got two weeks ago, working on the March for Babies fundraising. All these little things that I plan to do every night after LC goes to sleep and usually gets lost between a last few work emails and wanting to zone out and watch Smash. Room service and I are going to get acquainted and knock some things out.

– enjoy the opportunity to be in Atlanta. We have friends in Atlanta who I will be able to see. Many a Top Chef have a restaurant in Atlanta and I’ve already mapped out their locations. I have four hours to kill on Saturday before my flight home and I may try to see the whale shark at the aquarium. Sure, I wish I could see LC’s face when she sees that giant fish, but I hope an iPhone photo will delight her as well.

It won’t be easy. And maybe I will just end up re-reading The Hunger Games and watching American Idol – and that would be ok. I will survive, LC and A will survive and we’ll all have pancakes together Sunday morning.

A Very Merry Un-birthday to You

First, I would like to note that my baby is not yet one.  There are several days until this happens.  Please do not call her a one year old just yet.

Last week I had a work conference in the Other Washington, so we packed up the family and took some extra time to spend with friends and family.  The timing worked out well, a week before LC’s first birthday, so we celebrated early with our Other Washington crew. 

I didn’t make an organic cake from scratch or hand-make her outfit.  There was no special order invitations or party favors.  The theme of the party was “LC Turns One.”  Maybe that makes me a bad infant mom, but the pizza, beer, hummus, chips, and supermarket cake worked out just fine for our “un-birthday” celebration.  Besides, anything that produces photos like these can’t be that poorly planned. 

100_0644           100_0639

Cakes of all shapes and sizes (at least two shapes and sizes)

100_0654

 

100_0636

Checking out her glamour shots.

 

DSC03923

Being the birthday girl (or un-birthday girl) certainly has its privileges.

Getting Back to the Grind

After snow days, three day weekends and a business trip to the East Coast, we jumped back into the routine today.  I didn’t have that high an expectation for how today would go.  Almost two weeks of telecommuting and traveling, we were all tired and knew what large inboxes would await us. (LC wasn’t too worried about her inbox, she had good people covering the Infant One office while she was gone.)  All of this was true, we were tired, our inboxes were out of control. But it was one of those days where the fun just kept coming.  Work things kept popping up.  Then a phone call from the day care letting us know about a “suspicious rash”.**  Any parent with a child in day care knows what follows from those sort of calls.  A quick conference between parents to determine who can blow off their schedule when and then where can we exchange the baby and her items.  I ran to a meeting on campus while A picked up and watched LC in the coffee show in his building.  Then I came back and picked up LC, who “helped” me write memos in my office while A went a meeting at his office. Needless to say, I was glad that I had lower expectations of how today went, since they were so quickly meant.

** If you are a grandmother of LC’s please do not call us in a panic.  Doctor’s have been consulted and no one is concerned.

Jet Setting Baby = Jet Lagging Baby

LC has done a far amount of travel in her short life thus far.  Two weeks away from being one year old (um, who let that happen so quickly??) and LC has racked up almost 20,000 frequent flier miles, with no trip under 2000 miles.  For one so small, she does well on the plane.  Sure, there is at least a few minutes of crying on each flight, but for each moment of crying, there are usually several hours of sleeping too.  That and every flight we’ve flown on has had much worse behaving children on it, so combine that with her adorableness and most people don’t seem to mind.

With all this traveling, LC has visited many a time zone.  We’ve yet to figure out just how one adjusts a baby to a new time zone.  On her first trip, she was young, pretty much still sleeping every 3 hours.  We took the red eye and she slept almost the whole flight, then awoke when we landed.  3 hours later she took a nap and was pretty much on schedule for the rest of the trip.  We thought, huh, this time zone thing is easy.  This latest trip has proven to be the biggest mystery.  Being on the East Coast she was much more likely to sleep until 10am and then want to be up until 11pm.  Or worse, go down at 8pm like normal, but treat it like a nap, waking up at 11:30pm to play.

You can’t explain to a baby that it may feel like play time but it is really sleep time. (Trust me, we’ve tried.) We roll with it and hope that we are not screwing up her sleep schedule beyond repair.  So far, so good, but we are always open to suggestions on this jet lag thing.  If LC’s first year travel schedule suggests anything, it is that you can’t keep a good baby tied down for too long.

MIA

We’ve been MIA for the start of 2012 – hiding in a non-Washington location.  We took LC back to the “motherland” – that is my hometown in New England.  It was a lo-o-ong flight there (and an even longer one back to Seattle) but the trip was great.  LC loved seeing her grandparents and her uncles, as well as meeting some cousins for the first time! 

Having taken the first week of the new year off to travel, I feel a little behind the curve on the whole 2012 thing.  While people had all last week to erroneously write “11” on their checks, I was doing nothing of the sort.  Jumping back in this week will be a challenge, to say the least.

Hope your 2012 is going well – as you can see from our photos, the start of our year in New England was pretty swell.

DSC03852

 

IMG_0722

DSC03861

I like cheese

I have been craving a good cheese plate.  Some soft cheeses, a little manchego, fig jam, those little bumpy pickles and a nice savory cracker.

 

cheese

This is a delicious cheese platter we had for lunch while vacationing in New Zealand a few years ago.  A perfect blend of sweet and savory (though it probably could have used a little more cheese.  It was meat heavy. But delicious.)  Mmm, with that New Zealand sauvignon blanc. . . .sigh.

So if you know a guy in Seattle who can get me some Humboldt Fog, a nice bleu and something nutty for A, please let me know.  This girl needs some cheese.