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Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Campers

Yes, we are crazy.

We got back in town from our trip to GA on Tuesday, and headed right back out of town on Friday night for our second camping trip with our two under two! Our friends, Ben and Rachel, and their toddler, Sagan, camped with us. 

Last time we camped in the shade of the redwoods, this time we headed inland to desert climes at Del Valle Regional Park. I missed the redwoods. It was a few degrees warmer at night, but oh man the sun was scorching during the day! At least it felt scorching for October. Our campsite was really exposed, so we had to relocate to a little grove of trees across the street to find a shady spot for ourselves and especially our little ones. Luckily, we were able to switch campsites to a shadier one for the second night. 

We decided not to go for a hike or hit the lake (which was mostly dry anyway) and we just lounged around the campsite all weekend. Calvin and Sagan played in the dirt, and Henry relaxed with us in the shade. 

Good morning campers! First morning at the campsite.
James and Calvin are looking sharp in their matching jammies.
With in a couple hours, the sun was up with it the temp was WAY up. We kept Henry cool in the shade of the cabana. 
Re-located cabana in the grove across the street. Mama giving Henry a bottle. 
Dad's Happy Camper!
Shady spot. You can see our sunny campsite in the background.
Daddy giving Henry a bottle. 
Nap time in the cabana.
Chilllin' in Sagan's camp chair. Gotta get Calvin one of these!
Firefighters drove their brush rig through and let our boys check it out.
Firefighter Calvin!
Tummy Time is so hard! This is just a few minutes before Henry rolled over for the first time! All that frustration paid off!

Oh look, another bottle for Henry!
James Jams in his Jammies
Good morning on our last day of camping! More milk for Henry!

I'm so glad we got to enjoy a weekend of camping with our friends! We headed home on Sunday afternoon. We have a new family tradition (which we started after our last camping trip). The evening we return from camping, after the car is unpacked, the laundry has been started, we've all showered and put on jammies, we order a pizza and put on a movie. Right now Calvin's still too little for pizza and a movie, so he had his dinner and bedtime early. But soon I'm sure he'll appreciate our post-camping chill out ;) For now, James and I sure do!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Crying Kid

I'm guessing that everyone who travels has been on at least one flight where there's that poor kid who screams just about the entire time. And just when you notice a lull and you think "Thank goodness,The Crying Kid must have finally fallen asleep..." it starts all over again. I always felt bad for everyone involved. I figured the kid must be miserable to be crying so much, whether it be tiredness, or sickness, or ear pain, or just big feelings that they can't express any other way... and I figured the parents are probably doing their best to calm the kid down so they must be frustrated... and I figured all the other passengers are probably sick of hearing the crying. Nobody is happy about having The Crying Kid on their flight.

Well, on our flight home from Georgia, The Crying Kid was Calvin.

Here he is, having finally worn himself out - temporarily. He is holding my hair. 
Getting to the airport for our flight out to Georgia had been crazy and stressful. But the flight that time hadn't been bad. Henry was an angel. At 3 months old, he is easy to take on a plane - he just sleeps and eats, and he's tiny! Calvin was a little restless, but James let him walk up and down the aisles a bit and around the galley in the back to stretch his legs and his wandering didn't seem to bother anyone too much. He did fuss and cry when he got tired and was having a hard time falling asleep, but I held him and rocked him and after he slept for a while he was awake and happy again. We entertained him with toys and books and he was fine.

For our flight home, we had help from Granny and Grandpa in the morning, so we got out the door and to the airport with time to spare. The only hiccup we encountered getting to our gate was that I had to be patted down by TSA because apparently squeeze pouches of baby food are a potential threat to national security.

Threat Level: Raspberry

At the gate, Calvin walked around a bit and looked out the window at the planes and the airport service vehicles. Henry slept in the Ergo with James. They both seemed fine.

We boarded and it turned out that there was an empty seat next to one of ours so Calvin was able to have his own seat.

Calvin is reviewing the safety procedures. 
Once again, Henry was totally fine the entire flight. Not a peep. Ate, slept, and was adorable. There was even a changing table this time.

Calvin, on the other hand, had a very tough time on the flight :( Poor kid had had a rough night to begin with. We had stayed out past his bedtime visiting friends, and he hadn't been fussy or irritable there at all, in fact he was happy and friendly the entire time. When we finally did go home, he went right to sleep and all seemed fine. But then he woke up several times during the night and cried and yelled angrily. He ended up sleeping with his Granny instead of in his crib.

So on the flight, even though he'd been in a good mood that morning, he was tired and badly needed a nice long nap. Unfortunately, on the plane it was very hard for him to fall asleep and stay asleep. So the poor kid would play for a short time until he was fussy, then one of us would hold him and he just cried and cried trying to fall asleep. It may seem weird if you don't have a toddler, because I know it seems like if he was so tired he would just nod off... I think it has to do with stress built up from chronic tiredness. The whole weekend had been a lot of new experiences, and a lot of shifts in his sleep schedule because of the time difference and visiting people.

Calvin is 18 months old, and we've already weaned him off of bottles and pacifiers. I can't just stick something in his mouth to magically soothe him. The only way we could finally get him to sleep was for me to hold him tight, rock him, and sing our usual lullabies into his ear. Then finally (and slowly) the yelling would subside into whimpering and he'd finally nod off. But he couldn't stay asleep for that long, so he'd wake up and the cycle would begin again. I would guess he spent at least half the 5 hour flight fussing and crying. During those precious moments when he was asleep, I did all I could to keep him comfy and sleeping!

The absolute worst part was when he woke up after landing. He was not well rested and he was not happy to have been woken up, so of course he resumed screaming and crying. Only now the plane was parked at the gate so we didn't have the white noise of the engines to soften his yells and everyone was standing or sitting around waiting to de-plane and awkwardly trying not to stare at The Crying Kid. Meanwhile, I am struggling to hold and soothe Calvin who is not only screaming and crying, but also writhing and fighting me. I tried putting him down and he just cried harder. I tried offering him food and toys, but of course I couldn't give him what he needed which was more sleep.

As we finally walked down the aisle to get off the plane, another passenger muttered something about "Benadryl" and I wanted to punch him in the face. James explained that the man was actually trying to make a helpful suggestion by reporting that he'd heard Benadryl could  help with ear pain during the flight. I had thought he was just suggesting that I drug my baby to make him sleep.

Being the mom of The Crying Kid was tough. As we walked through SFO I felt like total crap. I felt like I had singlehandedly made my own sweet baby completely miserable and all the passengers around us irritated and uncomfortable. I felt like it was my fault and James' fault for being lax about Calvin's bed time the night before. But there was nothing to do but to shake it off and move on. Calvin cheered up a bit as we moved through the airport and collected our baggage. And he went to bed very early that night!

Short and Sweet Visit to Georgia

Since James has just started his new job at Align (which he loves!), we couldn't do a long visit to Georgia so we settled for a long weekend. The toughest thing about a short stay is that we weren't able to see everyone we'd have liked to see while we were there. Still, we were able to see some people from each side of our family, and a few friends as well.

We went straight from the airport to meet some friends for dinner and Calvin and Cedric (who met last Christmas when Cedric was just weeks old!) got to see each other and play.

Cedric: 10 months, Calvin: 18 months

From there, we went to my parents' house where we spent the night.

Of course Calvin wants in on Grandpa's pancakes, even though he's already eaten his own breakfast!

After breakfast with Granny and Grandpa, we drove up into the mountains to see Calvin's other grandparents. James' family does a big Oktoberfest dinner every year, and we were in town for this year's bratwurst and beer-fest ;) Four of James' five siblings were there with their spouses and kids. One of his sisters was sick, so her family didn't make it. Calvin woke up from his car nap to a house full of unfamiliar faces (of course, he'd met them all nine months before at Christmas). He was quite shocked and shy at first, but it didn't take him long to warm up to his cousins and it didn't take them long to warm up to him :)

Cousin Fort
James and his brother and sisters making pretzels for Oktoberfest

Henry and Grandma - He must have gotten his curls from her!

Calvin is wearing his Grandpa's first pair of walking shoes! 

We stayed with James' parents for two nights, then spent our last night back with my parents. On our last evening, we visited some of my family's friends.

We stayed past Calvin's bed time, but he was happy and social the whole time so we thought he was fine. Unfortunately, I think keeping him up late made him fussy on the plane the next day...

All in all, the trip was short and sweet. Though I regret that we couldn't visit all our family and friends, it was nice to visit with some of them and it was great for the boys to get to spend some time with each set of grandparents. 

Chirpy and Grumpy (Barely) Make Their Flight

We usually do our annual trip to Georgia at Christmas with extra trips occasionally for weddings and such. But this year, knowing that we'd have two "infants in arms," we decided to save ourselves the headache of travelling with the holiday rush and make a trip out in the Fall instead.

We booked a super early flight, leaving at 7:45 AM. I wanted to get there in time to have dinner with friends and I wanted to have plenty of time to get through the airport on the ATL end and pick up our rental car and everything. 

From our house we can get to the airport in 15 minutes with no traffic, and we needed to leave our car in the airport parking lot so we decided to shoot for leaving the house at 5:30. We felt that this would give us plenty of time to park the car and make it to our gate in time to board at 7:15. And it probably would have if we had actually left the house at 5:30. 

For whatever completely idiotic reason (probably because parenting and lack of sleep has melted our brains), we set our alarms for 5 AM. As if half an hour was enough time to accomplish the following:
1. mom shower/brush teeth/dress/blow dry
2. dad brush teeth/dress
3. dress both babies and change diapers
4. give Henry a bottle
5. make coffee
6. cook breakfast of bacon and eggs because otherwise the bacon would go bad
7. eat bacon and eggs for breakfast
8. clean up from breakfast 
9. pack last minute items 
10. check the apartment to make sure important things are unplugged/turned off
11. load the car
12. put babies in car seats

Half an hour. Guess how long it actually took us. An hour and a half. 

So we leave the house a full hour later than planned. Give or take a few minutes. We pull into SFO and we're looking for signs for long-term parking. We see no such signs. Then it hits me like a palm to a forehead: long term parking is off a different exit!

Back on the freeway we go, and I'm going, "Um, ok, it's been a long time... but I'm pretty sure we need this exit... off this freeway... no... no, yeah... go that way!" And James is very dubious and doubtful about my directions, but somehow I convince him to follow them and we did, in fact, make it to the correct lot. At 6:45. So we now have half an hour 'til our expected boarding time. Half an hour to accomplish the following:
1. Lug our stuff and babies to the shuttle stop
2. Lug our stuff and babies onto a shuttle bus
3. Ride the bus to the terminal
4. Wait in line for check in
5. Check our bag and car seats
6. Get through security - this is the big one. Airport security can take for. ev. er. 
7. Walk to our gate - which thankfully at SFO is not far. 

At this point, I was no longer Chirpy. I was feeling nauseated at the idea of missing our flight and having to fly standby with these babes. To make matters worse, there were no luggage cart thingies in the long-term parking lot because you can't roll those luggage cart thingies onto the shuttle. So, Thank God I bought these awesome car seat covers that come with shoulder straps. We each slung a car seat over a shoulder and James dragged the suitcase while I pushed the stroller. Henry was in the Ergo carrier strapped to me. Sure enough we made it onto the bus, to the terminal, checked in, and then arrived at the long, depressing security line. If I'd developed any hope of catching the flight, the sight of that line squashed it. 

James came to the rescue. He told the TSA agent manning the entrance to the line our sob story about having 15 minutes till departure (that was an exaggeration), and having "all these babies." Luckily, she took pity on us (though I think she rolled her eyes a little) and let us cut to the front of the line! We stumbled through the security checks and managed to roll up to the gate while the herd of passengers was still boarding. Then, we cut the line again (I felt like kind of a jerk, but James insisted that the babies ensured us line-cutting privileges) and boarded. 


The flight itself went pretty well. Henry's first airplane trip! Wish I could say the same about our return trip, but that is another story for another post.

Baby Henry on his first flight! He is just about to turn 3 months old. 

There were no changing tables on this plane, so I had to change Henry's diaper in my lap!

We learned when booking this flight that you can't have two "infants in arms" in the same group of seats because there is always only one extra oxygen mask. So James and I sat across the aisle from each other and each of us held a baby. I don't have pictures of Calvin on this flight! It was hard to take pictures at all with our arms full of babies, but luckily we got these precious few of Henry on his first flight. And really, we were lucky to make the flight at all!