Tag Archive | travel

normal? What is that?

I am finally on a something of a ‘normal’ day – house guest delivered to the airport and Lars back to work.  However pushing myself to actually work out during kids swim lessons (right now) is proving too much, so, I guess, I’m not ‘quite’ back yet…

Daddy+ vacation was totally different from JustGirls vacation.  Adding in his BFF, who is Niamh’s Godfather, was like mixing in a random good yet chaotic element to our world.  We rolled with it and had a ton of fun but it was tiring fun with lots of late nights playing games and then I was the one to greet the sun with #3.  I did get some naps in and that is why there was less blog than average because in the sleep v blog  equation sleep had to win a few times.  The kids are rebounding too from the excitement and changes for over a month and today I ended up bailing out on a Como Zoo trip 20 min after I got there because they were more than I cared to handle.  They were tired, I was tired, mapquest led me astray, parking was horrible and when they were just walking the line of pushing buttons in the crowded zoo I decided it was time to retreat  tactfully change direction before there was a real meltdown from any of us.  Recognizing when mommy needs a timeout is a real thing too!

Afternoon progressed much better, 2 of 3 napped out in the car and stayed that way until 3.  Husband produced food and attention for me during his lunch and everything was going well leading into swim lessons.  Still going fine as far as I know for them, for me I’ve read my book in peace for 30 min and then did a few money housekeeping things and now I blog rather than work out and clean.  I’ve been blitzing the house zone by zone reclaiming it from the frat level of clean (a nice frat; engineers not lacross players if you know what I mean) but it still a job to get done while also parenting and visiting and hostessing.

 

I’m looking forward to getting back on the bandwagon of Moms club and all the things I know and love here but I can’t help but miss the grove I got into in NY.  Good thing I can facetime and keep in the mix!  My girlfriends today asked me where I like better and that isn’t something I can even answer.  Here I have a house, friends, knowledge of the area and cool stuff to do, memberships to clubs and parks….  There I have my parents, my sister, my extended family, the big beach, and the limo equivalent of a boat (owned, maintained and skippered by dad but I get to take rides).  Focusing on what I miss does nobody any favors so I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to have been there for a month.

 

I hope to also get back on the blogging bandwagon.  I even got a concerned em from a reader asking if things were ok.  Yes, totally fine, I’m ready to bet back to boring, innodating, entertaining you all with summer midwest fun and excitement with a sprinkle of political, social, and crafting thoughts.  We have no significant plans for the foreseeable future,  I would love a weekend away with just Lars but finding someone to watch the three will be the trick.  People might visit, we will go to nearby attractions, summer will roll into fall and I hope to keep being happy with today as it happens.

Vacation part II; Daddy edition

We got back and dove right into…. MORE VACATION.  Lars took the balance of the week of and, for once, work has actually been good the past few days so he actually has been able to be with us.  The catnip-like draw of his long lost BFF is a little like standing in the shadow of the empire state building but he did tell me that “we have all our lives together” so that is comforting even after not seeing him for a MONTH.  Anyway….

 

Konrad and the girls got a crash course in each other in the car on the way.  He got mistaken for their dad plenty of times and he got to enjoy the compliments from strangers that make the behavior feel just a bit better because *someone* thinks they are darling.  They are all playing a game right now and ‘oh darn’ it is only a 4 person game so I have 15 min for the blog land.  We have been keeping very busy and the mere fact that Lars is active and available plus a houseguest means that our normal routine is not just out the window it is 50 miles away.  On the bright side, Fiona decided to sleep until 8am this morning!  That is probably a reaction to a few late nights and finally getting over this beauty.


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I tagged this “babyfightclub’ on instagram but it was just a bug bite and 3 days later you can hardly tell.  I did feel compelled to tell every person looking critically at her that it was a bite and not some gross contagious disease since we did take her to the mall of america the day after it ‘bloomed’.  Everyone loves the mall and I think Konrad was possibly even impressed by the park.  We ate overpriced underwhelming food (per normal) but otherwise it was a very nice afternoon.

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Yesterday we had a semi normal day and in the evening we went up to our friends house and did the fireworks we got in WI.  They were really GREAT fireworks and I have to remember next year that the one named HOT HOT HOT was particularly great.  All the kids loved the sparklers and it was very fun to see the surly teenager turn back into an energetic little boy when he got to play with sparklers (and even a roman candle under penalty of death).  Fiona clapped and cheered and loved it all and left the evening saying “wireworks go BOOM!” (she has no F in her speech yet… she says her name is Mona)

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baby and bottle rockets…. what could go wrong?

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Today we braved the 90% humidity to play in the Tamarack Nature park (stick park) and I always find it funny that places like that are crowded on the week days but nearly empty on weekends.  I don’t know if everyone is going up north or working parents just don’t know its around but there were maybe 4 families there total.  I didn’t get any pictures unfortunately but Zoe has found her grove as a rock climber and Konrad described one of her climbs as “holding onto texture”.  Since my parents met because of rock climbing I think it is in my genes so I take full credit.  I’ll be sorry when I get texted a selfie from a colorado mt titled “trails are for sissies’ and see nothing but clouds below my middle born – but lets not borrow trouble….

 

We are totally unplanned and that is a little bit cringe worthy for me but it works overall.  So far things have fallen into place and I trust the next three days will too.  Ok, the game is over and dinner is calling so that is the update from me; still on vacation… or staycation… but adding a daddy to the mix does make it better :)

A review of travel

At this point in my life I feel like I’ve traveled quite a bit – domestic and international, alone and with 1, 2, and 3 kids (with and wo husband) and a variety of different scenarios in general.  All that said I think I have a fair expectation of what is normal, good, and bad in travel and yesterday I ran through a freak streak of  ‘great’ on multiple spots.

 

First a rewind to the first day there.  Our plan was to rent a midsize sedan so the 3 kids could fit in the back seat figuring we were never going more then 5 miles around town and if we did go further my sister had a minivan and one of ours could hop in with her.  When I got to the rental place they had no cars….. um… that is your WHOLE JOB?  I was not impressed.  I was also polite and it paid off because they did have a mini van just in and clean and would I be willing to take that?  Oh… I suppose… at the same rate of course.  So I got a very nice upgrade for the inconvenience.  I call that a win in travel land and I also secured that we could return it at a different airport – double win.  However the REALLY IMPRESSIVE part was upon returning our rental car to the depot at JFK we pull into the return lanes and I get out to flag down the man to ask if it is a shuttle or a tram to the airport (makes a difference in how we handle the stroller) and he took one look in the car and said “Miss, we are just going to drive you over, get on back in”.  They checked us in, gave us a receipt, and then I got in the back and we were chauffeured over to our terminal by the rental agent.  I kinda felt like I should hug him because you hug the person who drops you off at the door.  We decided on a $10 tip in lieu of hug.  So I must notably note that in my 15 years of adult travel this was the absolute best surprise service I have ever encountered.  Kudos to Hertz at JFK. That ride saved us probably 30min at least.

Our driver! (for 5 min)

The next notable comparison is between Delta and SunCountry.  I’ve flown both a few times in the past 6 months and while Delta has the name, SunCountry has a better handle on service.  Last trip with Fiona I nearly missed the flight even though I was 2 hours early because of the epic and ever present line at the Delta counter.  SunCountry is in the “General middle east/Indian” area of the terminal (Egyptair, Elal, Emirates, Kuwait Air, Air india, Pakistan international etc)  area so there is 99% more security but also it is incredibly efficient and made to move a ton of people quickly.  This is a big deal, the other side of the Delta terminal on Delta they have their ‘own’ security but it is only 3 machines, maybe 4 and the Middle East section has like 50.  On top of there being so many lanes we get tapped for pre check and that makes it even more fast.  We were in and out in under 5 min on the security lines.  SunCountry also ‘gate’ checked our carryon’s right there so we had just our back packs.  I’ve asked to check our carry on bags at every agent desk for years and this is the first time they did it and they actually even offered!

 

So between little to no traffic, the ride from the rental, the speed of check in lines and security we were at our gate 2 hours early….  That has its pro’s and cons but I really don’t like stress rushing with 3 kids so I’ll take it.  We brought subway since we know the kids eat it and had a nice dinner at the gate in the big chairs with the charging spots.

 

The flight itself was fine, take off and landing on time and even a tad early.  The guy in front of us had serious issues like he was a junkie coming down from something but harmless overall.  Lars and I discussed the merits of this very late flight (9pm take off) and I’m not sure we would seek it out again because the kids didn’t sleep but they were decent on the plane but at the end of the rope at midnight when we landed…  There is no decompression time with this because we were all up and at it this morning with school and work and grocery etc.  There is no perfect flight I don’t think but this particular travel experience had some very very nice perks and for that I am happy with the the choices we made.

 

 

The will to live

What a dramatic title and I am, of course, flippant ;)  Once I came home and saw that status of the house it renewed my will to live so my children will not get lost in the house should I meet my demise.  To his credit, Lars made the kitchen good, kept the kids happy, but the rest of the house took a turn for the worse.  Given that the house was VERY clean, PARTY clean just Sunday it actually is mostly just surface stuff that I can (and will) tidy over the next day or so and we should be back to status quo.

 

The trip was a crazy mix of good and bad.  Fiona was sick the whole time and I started Saturday morning with a bang when Fiona puked in my hair.  It was my hope that since I was puked on early it would mean we had our sacrifice to the puke god so nobody else would have to succumb during the bachelorette party.  One way or another no other puke happened that day so that was good.

 

I’m still sleep deprived… Fiona between sickness and new place woke up way too much and early so I never got more then a few hours and then add in a party that I didn’t even get home until 3am and it was a tired weekend.  Given how tired I was the extra strife that is just part of any group party sat less well then ever but I did my best to not over react.  Fortunately everything else was really good to balance it out and the NYC portion of the weekend was awesome.  Last night I got woken up at 3am with a sad Zoe and then 6am by an awake Fiona so I’m still in zombie land so this post is more a place keeper until I can do justice to the pictures.  Today was stressed on top of sleepy because we needed one last tax thing and since I was away until last night at 10pm this morning was the scramble to comb closing documents to find what we needed.  It was worth it because we got a very nice return!  This day/weekend/week/month is just full of extremes – I’m ready for some average for a bit.

I have no idea what to do about Easter… I’ll think about that tomorrow.  I do know I’m running my first 5k of the season on saturday and they will reward me with a big cup of chocolate, that is my kind of race ;)

 

Brain over-loading

I held it together so well for the whole party but now I have a skull full of mush.  The late night and early morning did not help much either…..  We ate that tall cake at 8pm when Niamh got home from Karate so bedtime for 2 little girls was far later than normal.  I have her birth time, 10:06, programmed into my phone (all the kids birthtimes actually) and I expected to hear that harp-music while sipping something adult and watching something on TV.  I ended up hearing it while Niamh was reading me a book (from grandma).  Even though it was 1.5 hours past bedtime I like that she was really really reading just 6 short years after her birth.

Today is the normal mill of things – library, bake the bread, fold the laundry, sing and rhyme and dance and make that semi educational but I also have to figure out how to best make my absence for 4 days a minimal impact.  Should I prepack lunches?  I don’t want to insult Lars’s parenting but we are a team and it is hard to remember all the things.  I’m also trying to figure out what to bring with me and when to pack it because the days are racing along.  The result; applesauce brain.

 

I need to just go start at the beginning and go through the things.  It will be fine I’m sure but I would not expect too many words from me over the next day or two!

and the visit week is over

Lars is back, thank goodness.  Fiona was sure he was in his office and kept trying to go find him.  We did FaceTime but it just is not the same.  He had a wholly un-fun time but at least the weather was nice.  Funerals are just not fun affairs but this one included a few more un-fun elements then normal so although he is home he needs a vacation from the vacation.  

On the bright side, while he was gone my mom was here.  They are not substitutes for each other but it was great to have my mom around and the kids loved having her too.  She is a great reader and listener to reading and always had time and a lap for a granddaughter and that is a very good thing while I was managing all the continuation of life solo.  The travel exchange worked as planned, Lars arrived at 1 and Mom left at 3 so for 2 hours we hung out at the Mall of America.  Mom was amused by the rides and general fun and Lars was buoyed up by doing something easy and fun with his girls.  We all left when we had to bring mom to catch her plane because everyone was tired.

On the dark side, it was a hard week with interrupted sleep and I had trouble maintaining 2 thoughts at the same time much less good patience for the random nonsense of 3 little girls.  They are just like other kids I’m sure with the picking at each other, putting things in their mouth, disagreeing and correcting me… and usually I can handle it but my tolerance is  proportional to my level of sleep.  I will hope that tonight will be normal and tomorrow will be a fresh week with nothing out of the ordinary for 4 days.

On a complete tangent; Fiona is getting on board with the potty training.  I am well aware this is going to be a long process since she is currently too short to even get on a toilet, she does go when we put her on the potty.  She can’t hold it in-between but she seems interested in sitting when I suggest it.  Her language is improving daily and today she actually told me she had to go and I call that a very good sign.  I need to make a goal date, maybe summer?  Lets see how this week goes but I won’t be sad to be done with my constant nearly 6 year relationship with huggies.

To finish it up, here are a few other pictures from the week

guarding their eggs

Niamh is a silly bad driver, but, she is only 5

 

It was a good visit with my mom but at the same time a few days I missed Lars.  Cheers to a new week.