Archive for January 2012

Traveling ….there   Leave a comment

Thankfully, all my worry about the trip there and the trip back were for very little. But I could easily see how the trip could have gone very, very wrong. Luck was with us and we had an excellent trip on the way there and a good trip on the way home.

Heading to Texas!

We arrived at the airport about 7 (our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:20). We paid the skycap to check our bags curbside which was great because I didn’t have to worry about getting it all in. Kissing Daddy goodbye was hard, I always miss him when we go, plus this time I suddenly realized that I would have pretty much sole LA responsibility for the next 6 days. Sure I’d have my father and step mother, but since she didn’t know them as well it would be mostly me.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we arrived at security to find a short line. The attendant waved me through a family/pilot/attendant line and I didn’t have to wait at all. I took a deep breath and told myself to just take things one at a time and not rush. After clearing my pockets I did shoes and then loaded our carry on up computer diaper bag. While unhooking LA from our wheeled carry-on an attendant came up to ask for help. When I explained that this was my first time doing this and I was on my own she helped. She also shouted at another attendant that we’d have to put the car seat through “Big Bertha” because it was a bit wide for the regular x-ray machine. LA stayed in her carseat until it was time to go through, she was happy the whole time.

As we went through the metal detector our first helper shouted over “She’s on her own for the first time with the baby…. somebody help her!”

On the other side they had her car seat and moved it over to a bench for me so I could buckle her back in. Then they brought most of my other stuff so I could put us back together away from the crowd. That made it MUCH easier. They did take a bit of time scanning LA’s snacks etc. And at this point they took away her playdough, the guy apologized, but I told him it was ok. I only brought it because my friend used it to distract her son on a transatlantic flight. He was really nice and even showed me how they do the scanning and assured me it was safe for her food.

LA was pretty much happy this whole time, although she did request Cookie.

At the gate I found out there were spare seats all the way to Texas so we were able to bring the carseat on! Horray!

We boarded after A and premiere…. I ran into my first big issue. The car seat was too wide to roll down the aisle. Luckily the pilot and the attendant were there. They were both flirting shamelessly with LA, and she was doing the same back. The pilot said that since this was her first ride we’d have to get her picture in the cock pit when we landed. (this made me very excited).

He told me to carry her and the bags back and he’d bring the car seat… but the seats I’d grabbed were no good. Here is a note, if you have a baby car seat you can’t sit right before or right after the bulkhead. So we moved me back and then the pilot carried the car seat back for us!!!!

LA sat by the window (also where a car seat must go), I sat in the middle and a nice man who works for Southwest Unions had the aisle. This is where I also ran into a problem. How did I hold a now squirming LA and buckle the belt into the seat. Thankfully, the gentleman has an 8 year old daughter and he was happy to help, he hooked it right up. LA started fussing a bit so I pulled out my cover and nursed her. She passed right out and slept through take off and the first leg of our flight to Birmingham!

When she woke up I buckled her in her car seat and she sucked on her sippy cup for our second take off (we didn’t have to change planes btw). Then I gave her snack and that occupied her for a while. We tried various toys… the only big problem I was that when she was done with them she’d toss them on the other side of her car seat where I couldn’t reach, this was annoying. The beads worked best and for the longest amount of time. She enjoyed her stickers quite a bit and some of her other toys. The big hit was the sunglasses….

She wanted out of her seat after a while and wanted to ride with our new friend Southwest guy. Luckily he really liked kids so he didn’t mind. She nursed through landing and voila we were there!

Again, thank God for Southwest guy… he unhooked our car seat and carried it off the plane for us. It just took a moment to hook up her carseat to our wheelie and we headed for baggage. Unfortunately the pilot had already left because we were so long getting off… so no picture for me. I probably could have hung around and asked about the cockpit but I didn’t want to be a bother.

The toughest part of the trip was corralling her while we were waiting for our luggage at the carousel… mostly because she wanted to ride with the luggage and had energy from sitting still for so long.

Oh… forgot her cutest moment!!! While we were preparing to land she started signing “bird.” I looked all over for some birds but didn’t see any. I signed “plane” for her… but she was insistent. “Bird! Bird! Bird! BIRD!” I asked where she saw birds and she pointed at our wings. When we came down she pointed at the other planes, squeaked and signed “bird!” over and over. So all I can figure is she thought we flew in a bird! Which makes sense to a child if you think about it, more sense than a giant mechanical plane really! She was totally fascinated with the clouds and the view below… it was adorable!

So the lessons I learned on the flight there…….

1. The staff is really helpful! And it behooves them to get you through as easily as quickly as possible too… so they want to help! Let them!

2. People are nicer than you think… at least some of them. Sure some will give you the evil eye for daring to bring your child on THEIR airplane, but they are souless, child hating zombies cleverly disguised as humans… ignore them. Accept the help from the nice people… someday you will grow up to be one too.

3. Babies seem to sense what is going on and if you try to make it fun they will cooperate.

4. Remember to breathe… it will be fine!


Posted January 25, 2012 by etainl in How To, New Mom, Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

Here we go again   Leave a comment

Ok now we fly home! The first flight went really well… We had a spare seat for her to be strapped in. She slept more than half the time… Every one was super nice… More details later…The flight was much easier than I thought!

We had a great time… Will catch up on all of that soon 🙂

So you would think that since we had such an easy time out I’d be less nervous… But nope, still pretty nervous. Hoping lightning will strike twice and we will get that extra seat for her car seat again!

Fingers crossed! And last time the pilot promised we could get a pic of her in the cockpit… So we will see!


Posted January 24, 2012 by etainl in Life, Mommy-hood, Travel

Leaving on a Jet Plane…   3 comments

… or how to travel with a really, really active one year old (alone!)

So two months ago I booked a flight for LA and I to go out and visit my father and step mother in Texas. At the time this seemed do-able. Sure she was active but I timed it for nap time and was confidant I could keep her happy for a few hours, especially if I had Tangled or Sesame street as a treat available.

Fast forward to now and I’m trembling in my metaphoric boots. She is SO much more active than a couple of months ago!

I’m only mildly intimidated by the idea of taking her on the plane, still praying that nursing during take off will knock her out. I think what is frightening me the most is the idea of getting her and our carry on through the security check point. It will be at that point that I will need to unhook her carseat from the carry on (I’ve bought this strap that hooks them together so they can gate check it but I also will have it in case there are extra seats and I can use it, plus I can wheel her on it like a stroller). Then I will need to get out my lap top (which I need for work), the iPad, and all out of the rolling carry on. Plus get all of our shoes off and pockets cleared and through the metal detector. All the while trying to keep her from scampering off OR doing it all while holding her. I do have my Ergo that she can be front of back carried in but 90% of the time she screams in it (no idea why). Of course, all of this is in front of a line of people silently cursing me with their eyes because I’m slowing things down.

Yup, that is what I’m afraid of.

Tonight I pack our carry on back…. I’ve been scouring the web for advice, tips, magic spells to make this easy. I’ve purchased some new dollar store toys that I will wrap and space out for her entertainment. I even bought one of those leash back pack things that I detest (no offense if you love them, I just don’t)… it’s still in the package but I have it “just in case.” One of the website that helped a lot was my friends blog, From One Swamp to Another. She wrote about bringing her son on a transAtlantic flight alone. He as about the same age at the time as LA.

I have playdough, a car or two, some beads (she loves beads), color book, a Christmas toy or two that are small that I swiped so it would be novel to her, some toys that she hasn’t seen for a while, some glow sticks, and a few other things. Plus the iPad which will be prepared with some of her favorite things to watch. Plus lots of snacks….

I’m praying with all of my energy that the flight is not full and we will have a spare seat or two and that she will fall asleep. I’m honestly not even worried about bothering people with her cries so much as her crying period 😦

So I’ll update you (assuming I survive) and let you know how it goes!

Meant to post this last night 🙂
Here we go!


Posted January 19, 2012 by etainl in How To, Travel

My Pretty Baby   Leave a comment

Posted January 14, 2012 by etainl in Life

Happy New Year!   2 comments

Ok so I’ve gotten the memo from the general population that New Years resolutions are trite. That no one keeps them and therefore they are completely worthless. I get that. I understand that if you make a resolution that you have absolutely no intention of keeping, it’s pretty much a waste.

But I do believe in New Year’s resolution…. sure most people don’t keep them for longer than a week (a month is quite an accomplishment) and I know that for many people it’s the same resolutions year after year with no improvement. However, I do believe there is some value in taking a moment, even if only a moment, to evaluate your life and see what needs to be changed. Obviously, it would be better if more people actually put some effort into making the changes they’ve noticed are needed… but in this fast paced world at least they took a bit of time for self refelction.

Me… I make them every year and I do honestly try to keep them. Most of mine aren’t really quantifiable… so it’s hard to tell if I succeeded in them. But even when I made one with a clear out come, for example the resolution “I WILL finish my novel this year” … was useful…. obviously I did not finish my novel in the past when I’ve made the resolution but my attempts to do so have been better because of the resolution. I’m going with any improvement is better than none at all.

So in the spirit of attempted self improvement I give you my New Years Resolutions!

1. I need more patience.

     It always makes me laugh when people tell me that I have so much patience. I’ve had students remark on it throughout my years of teaching. It’s strange because I do not feel like a patient person, I would not list it as one of my stronger attributes.  I know that some of the people closest to me would not list it as one either (I know this because both my mother and my husband have commented on it in the last month alone lol). But I suppose I can see why some people think I am. I give the impression of patience…. in some situations I’ve gotten very good at “looking” patient. Not the same thing at all. I think it’s also because while I am not patient I am very good at judging what things matter and what things don’t. So if I know it’s something I can’t really change and that doesn’t matter in the long run, I can be very patient about it. But other things I’m just not

      I have a tendency to not be patient with things that occur over and over again. If something happened with a student once or twice, for example, I would be very patient about it. The more it happened the more impatient I would become. I think this is because, in my mind at least, we’ve addressed it… it’s not that hard…. stop doing it!!!! I also have a hard time dealing with complete and utter illogic. People making statements that just aren’t true, or have no basis in reason, drive me bonkers.

     With all that in mind there is one particular person I need to have more patience with. I love this person very much, I would say I’m very close to her. But she manages to push all my buttons. She always has to be right, she is very judgemental, her way is the only way to do things, she believes she has to say whatever she thinks no matter how hurtful it might be (ironically she doesn’t see how it hurt someone as it is just how she feels), she nags on these issues incessently, she sees the world as a glass half empty and has to push this negative world view on everyone and she often acts or speaks without any basis in fact. Now having said these negative things she is also a warm, loving person who would do anything for those she loves. She is so insecure that she cannot seem to believe she is loved, which is so very sad.  She truly means well and even some of her worst flaws come from her trying to do her best. All of these things are increased by the fact that she is in her mid 80’s.

     I can see that some of the things she says or repeats is not by choice, but by the fact that she is growing older and she simply cannot remember that she said them. However, sometimes it is just because she has to be right. One of the things she loves most in this world is LA, which means one of the things she has to boss me around about, criticize me about, worry about or make little comments is LA. Needless to say this makes me feel judged and nagged… two things that do not lead to my having patience.

Plus, in the vein of her always having to be right, she will decide things and go with it, even if all evidence points to the contrary. One of the things is temperature. She believes that LA is cold….always. It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the room tells her that she is the only cold one she is convinced that LA isn’t wearing enough clothing. It doesn’t even matter if LA is sweating…. LA is cold. Why don’t I do something about it? Then the passive aggressive comments start, “Well, I know I don’t know anything, but in my day babies were meant to be kept warm.”

Did I mention that passive agressive also drives me bonkers.

So when these things start I really do try to grit my teeth and ignore them. I remind myself it’s borne of love. I try to ignore. But she is fairly relentless and I’m not patient so I’ll end up snapping. One time I remember saying, “That’s right. I carried her for 9 months being careful of everything I ate or drank for her well being. I had my migraines and other illness and wouldn’t take medication. Followed up by a completely natural childbirth because I believed it was best for her ….all so that I could make her freeze once I got her, you’re on to me!”

This did not go over well.

So I’m not asking God to give me the opportunity to learn patience…. I have the perfect opportunity as it is. I’m hoping I can let things go more. And not just on this situation.

But especially with this situation because I do love her and I recognize that we won’t have her forever.

(On a side note it always drives me nuts because part of my brain is screaming “So why won’t she just lay off you so you can enjoy being around her” but a. I know she can’t help some of it and b. that’s who she’s been for all these years she is not likely to change now…. even though it drives me crazy)


2. Exercise and Health

Yeah, yeah, yeah…. EVERYONE makes this one. I never claimed to be a total original. I never had baby weight to lose so I was confidant that nursing would keep me at my new weight or help me lose even more. But no. In fact nursing seems to have had me gain weight. Perhaps its because for the first 9 months of LA’s years I didn’t have to move as much. Now I certainly do! lol

Anyway, Steve and I are doing a couch to 5K program for running and I’ve been keeping a better eye on my diet. So hopefully I can keep this one! (Sidenote… I seriously hate running and believe it should only be done if someone is chasing you with a sharp object and a maniacal gleam in their eye.)

We are always on the prowl for keeping things natural and healthy as well. With that in mind we are actually looking into building a chicken coop in our backyard so we’ll have fresh eggs. I’m very excited about this prospect. More on that later.

3. Clean out and downsize.

So I don’t see myself on an episode of Hoarders anytime soon but I’d like to be more streamlined. I think things would be easier to clean and keep clean if we had less.

This is no problem for Steve, he’s a minimalist. I am not.

I need to go through things though while I’m in this frame of mind and purge. Problem is there is a little help who would be right behind me and it’s very hard to work when she’s “helping.” Plus I often find it difficult to keep up with my regular cleaning, working, being Mama activities…. taking quite a bit of time to reorganize and downsize seems impossible. But I’m going to try!

4. Go to bed with the house (mostly!) straight and the kitchen clean

So this one is a joint resolution. I proposed this be our family resolution. Steve just raised his eyebrows and said, “We’ll see.” Although to his credit he has been pretty good so far.

I just want to take five minutes to straighten the couch pillows, put away the stray toys, the glasses, any trash etc before we go to bed. Because when we don’t I walk out into the living room in the morning and I just immediately feel overwhelmed. When it’s mostly straight I feel better, more ready to take care of stuff. It’s a psychological thing I’m sure.

Plus the kitchen…. sigh….. My husband is pretty perfect but we have what I call the ongoing Dish War. When we started dating and he realized I could cook he swore that whenever I cooked dinner he would clean up. That lasted less than a year.

However, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, it really sucks to spend up to an hour in the kitchen preparing a nice meal only to be put back in the kitchen afterwards to clean it all up. Plus, LA usually needs me so I don’t get it until later and by then I’m just exhausted and it feel so unfair.

Steve often says he will do it, and he will, but my definition of cleaning up the kitchen does not mean doing it all 3 days later. It’s gross, it looks terrible, it attracts bugs (hello Florida!) and if I want to cook something else I don’t have the space or the tools available.

He came up with a plan about a year ago, admittedly after I had a dish meltdown, that I would do dishes Monday and Thursday and he would take the rest. Fair enough but it still doesn’t happen most nights.

So I’m really hoping this one will get going….. for my sanity because one day I’m going to completely have a dish meltdown and it won’t be pretty.

5. Do more with LA

LA is growing so fast! I want to do everything with her! I feel like some days I’m just treading water to get through… and I don’t want to go through life like that or I’ll miss things. So I’m really trying to slow myself down and savor all her moments. To do interactive things and let her try…. to not get caught up in other things and just focus on her without technology or life distracting me (there is another blog post half writing about this one too).

And to focus on husband and life more… it’s so easy for me to rush around completing a to do list. But I’ve come to realize I’ll never finish. I’m one of these people who will always have a project or 12 so I need to take time to cuddle on the couch and let it go.

6. Write! Write, write, write! Novel finished by 2013!

I’ve been a terrible writer and I’ve missed it. Lately the characters for my novel (and some other characters for other ideas) have been screaming at me to get going. When they expect me to do this, I don’t know. But I need to. It’s part of who I am and I’m happier when I have some time to do this.

The idea for this blog was to keep my juices flowing so I would write my “real” stuff more. It hasn’t really done that and I haven’t been really great about keeping up with this either (trust me, there are like 8 incomplete posts I need to finish).

I signed up for a writing class that meets once a month for 6 months. I’m hoping it will help me stay accountable and really get some pages done each month. I also am hoping to do more here….

This post, I’m resolving, will my last unedited, quick post. I will take time. I will work on craft. I will try…. otherwise this place may become a spot to dump whatever is on my mind before I get to my other work… but I hope not.

Hoping to get at least two more posts out before I go to Texas next week. That’s right, Texas, see I do have some catching up to do!

Happy New Year!

Posted January 14, 2012 by etainl in Celebrations and Milestones, Culture, Life, Writing