Stuck to You like Glue

Today is our 8th anniversary. I almost can’t believe that eight years have flown by. I was thinking about how we’ve surpassed a lot of the odds and have stayed together. So, here’s a list that enhances our marriage:

  1. We make up little word games and play them throughout the day. Just this morning, we started one. It started like this: I got a text from my hubby, saying “Happy Anniversary.” I responded, “Happy Anniversary! Seems like I’m stuck like glue to you!” And, then, it continued. He said, “Like Nutella and Toast” (I have a nutella addiction. And each of the comments had little inside jokes or some sort of reference to something about us). “Like Squirrels to a tree,” “A camera to an fstop!” “Like us to Lost Cities” “Like Northern Lights to Iceland” “Like the Moon and Earth”.
  2. Everything is a date for us. Sleeping in –yah, that’s a date! Cooking together is a date, cleaning is a date! Taking a 7am morning walk with our son–oh, yes, date, especially when coffee (for hubby) and tea (for me) is involved.
  3. We do our alone time together. Let’s face it. We’re in NYC and live in a 1BR apartment. So, if Hubby wants to listen to a podcast and I want to read on my kindle, we do it in the same room. And, you know what? It is so awesome. I love that I can cuddle up to him, but we’re still taking time to do something that entertains each of us.
  4. Our issues, our problem. We keep our problems private. I learned early on in our relationship that if you share a lot about a problem you’re having with a friend or family, your other half becomes the bad guy, when you’re already over it. No need to prejudice people against your spouse because that can poison your thoughts later on if you’re over something and it comes up again.
  5. Sometimes making up means just saying sorry through a song. Sometimes, we say it in person, sometimes, a quick SMS. But, the best is through song. One time, when Hubby was sorry about something he sent a Joe Firstman song, called “The One that Makes you Happy.” The fight immediately ended. It meant everything. Music is so powerful.
  6. Some of our hobbies overlap. We both love certain things or one of us has gotten the other really interested in something. No, I’ll never adore Led Zeppelin like he does, but we both love photography. We both can listen to tech podcasts and laugh at things Merlin Mann says or go to conferences on making apps.
  7. We love to travel together. Travel makes for great memories. It makes us have crazy stories and super awesome inside jokes. And, we can share our joy for photography at the same time.
  8. We pray together. It’s just the norm for us. And, now, Sebastian has joined us. It’s mostly talking to God and then some of our standard prayers to conclude it. We do this daily and on our roadtrips. We also go to Church together and make sure we’re there every Sunday.
  9. Silliness is OK. We do silly dances, and I pretend to think Hubby looks geeky or make up words like lurfles (love) and sneep (sneeze + pee=used a lot while I was pregnant). Jumping up and down behind each other to entertain our son is just part of our understanding. Ha, ha. Looking at hilarious youtube videos or sharing funny tweets is definitely part of the repertoire.
  10. We whisper under the covers. We seem to resolve a lot of things when we’re cuddled together, whispering so that the baby doesn’t wake up. And before a baby, we still would chat in bed. Something about the darkness, with no computers/phones/ipads distracting us, makes us have some of the most wonderful conversations.
  11. We send picture and video updates. Thank you, iphone! If I see something really odd on the NYC street or something cute that Sebastian does.
  12. Boardgames. Lots of Boardgames. For a while, we relied on trying to find people to play them with us, but then we discovered there were a lot of great two player games like Lost Cities and Power Grid and the Settlers of Catan card game. (We just learned Dominion last weekend).

 

Boating in the North Woods

Every day, we’ve been getting on the boat, at least for a few hours. The family has either been exploring the connecting lakes, geocaching on islands only available by boat, swimming, fishing or just resting on the boat.

The cabin abuts Rest Lake, the water is so clean, you could just dip a cup into it and drink from it, similar to the Boundary Waters in Canada (Ok, maybe those are cleaner, since boats are generally not allowed there).

There are little cabins along the lakes, which are great to look at and dream about, some are tiny and look like they were built in the 70’s and others are pristine and new. I wonder if I could leave my city life and live a simple life in the woods, just enjoying the water, the smells of the trees and eating fresh fish on a regular basis.

The doggie enjoys the boat so much that because of all the excitement, her tail got swollen.

Sebastian loves all the attention from his cousins.

They walk him around and he babbles more than he ever did, telling them, no, he doesn’t want to go that way or to be held or to sit or yes, he wants to keep walking. Its impressive, even though he can’t talk, his gestures clearly convey what he wants.

Here’s a picture of my brother’s mother-in-law, Chris, who is clearly an expert fisherwoman. She caught the only fish on the first night of fishing, a small mouth bass.

And, if we’re back by the cabin, we have a lot of fun swimming…and the girls have a great time jumping off the dock.

Well, I’m off to sit out with Sebastian by the campfire, so this one is short for tonight!

Trails Through the Forest

I’m vacationing in Manitowish Waters, about 20 miles north of Minocqua. My brother and his family rented a log cabin on the lake. It is so incredibly beautiful, with these big windows and natural wood everywhere. The air here is so fresh and the water so clear. There are so many lakes, connected to each other and I just can’t get enough of being outside. When you live in the city, you crave grass and trees and water. The East River doesn’t cut it and Central Park is great, but it’s nice to get outside of the city.

After breakfast, my family went off boating and I stayed at the lodge, waiting for Sebastian to wake up from his nap. When he woke up, I gathered him and some blueberries and started walking. I asked him whether he wanted to go left or right. He smiled when I said right, probably because I jumped to the side when I asked and so I decided to go that way. I followed the signs that said “snowmobile route”.

I found a rocky narrow, path first that took me through to another trail and another trail and eventually to a sign that said “Discover Center“. I had no idea what it was, but I was intrigued, so I kept going.

Trail 1

Trail 2

Trail 3

Discovery Center

I went down the path and found that it was a really neat place with tons of trails and great things for kids, including mini gardens, an outdoor theatre and lots of things to touch and play with . They even have classes for kids, that let them set live traps and learn about the woods. It’s just a great place and a random discovery!

They even had an Airstream trailer! (Or at least what I thought was a mini Airstream trailer, until my husband corrected me!)

“Airstream” Trailer

Ooooh, how I would love to travel around the country in one of these, perhaps a tiny bit bigger though…

Inside the “Airstream”

We walked past a nature center, a row of cabins (rented out for events and weddings) and a visitor center, where I found maps of the trails.

Nature Center

Cabins

I decided to take Sebastian on the Interpretive Trail. 

Take a Hike

Pond on Trail

It was a lot of fun exploring new places with Sebastian. Eventually, my mom joined us and we laid out a blanket under a big tree, ate blueberries and cuddled with Sebastian.

Airport Baby and the Fiasco that Ensued

It was Sebastian’s first time flying and my biggest worry was whether I could handle him on my own through security. I didn’t think of any other situations that could occur because I was so focused on just not carrying too much stuff and getting him safely through the airport. I was already pushing the envelope, taking an evening flight with a baby and flying for the first time with Baby and without Hubby.

Hubby drove me to the airport, since we were already in Jersey this past weekend. And, it was very sweet of him to insist on parking the car and pulling the large suitcase carrying the minimum amount of clothes that Sebastian and I needed and then all the other stuff that a baby needs or…the stuff that makes life easier. That included: diapers, wipes, a sun shade (for the beach), his hat, vitamins, the lion he sleeps with, two blankets, bathing toiletries, a towel, a few toys, teething items, nail clippers, his food processor (since I make all of his baby food), a travel crib, etc. Trust me, this is a different lifestyle for me. I can’t remember the last time I did anything but carry on for any trip, domestic or international.

So, we checked in and then we heard a guy say to the gate agent that he was hoping to get a pass to go all the way to the gate with his wife. So, we asked for that as well. Even though the lady with the power gave the pass to that guy (right in front of us), she gave me a once over and decided that we weren’t worthy of a pass, claiming, “We have moms and babies that travel all the time by themselves, so you aren’t going to get one.” It left a bad taste in my mouth, but there was no use fighting with a cranky, minimum wage worker, who clearly didn’t like her job. So, I went into the security area after saying goodbye to my hubby.

Luckily, one of the TSA workers was nice and let me through the elite access line because he saw I was with a baby. As I waited in line, I saw this sign. I thought it was hilarious, but clearly, someone left a kid on a table, if they have a warning like this one. As a carryon, I had a diaper bag. I didn’t bring my big camera, which I was regretting, but I knew it was just going to be too much to bring a baby and two bags. An iPhone has a good camera and I wanted to simplify my life.

I unpacked my laptop, took off my shoes and threw them in separate bins, laid my bag down and a couple was angered that I was taking too long and said that they were going ahead. I ignored them as they jumped ahead of me and smiled at Sebastian and pulled him out of the stroller. This was the challenging part, I am used to my big city stroller and not used to folding an umbrella stroller with one hand. I attempted to hold him and do it, but it wasn’t working, so I turned around, looked at a man, who 1) looked like he had kids of his own and 2) looked like he had a kind face and asked him if he would hold the baby. He was very happy to do it and said that it’s been 18 years, since he had kids this young, but he loved holding babies. Sebastian didn’t love going into a stranger’s arms, but he saw me close by, so he waited without crying. We got through the metal detectors and I was able to handle the rest with him in my one arm.

We had a gate change, so we used the moving walkway to get to our next location.

Finally, we got to our gate and I SMS’d Hubby to let him know that we were there and would be boarding in a half hour (at 6:25). I was happy because this would be perfect timing for Sebastian to breastfeed and pop his ears as we flew off the ground. I noticed that there were a lot of people on the standby list that were not getting on the plane and they kept making announcements, saying that the flight was overbooked by 11 people. The vouchers that they were giving out kept going up in price. It started off at $300 and went all the way up to $800 credit for a flight, plus a hotel voucher.

I just couldn’t wait to get on the plane and start my vacay. All of a sudden, at 6:20PM, an announcement was made, there would be a delay until 10PM. Look, I’m used to delays, I’ve flown hundreds of times, but a four hour delay was insane. It turned out that our flight crew was in Tampa and there was a tornado in Tampa. I didn’t find any of that out from United, of course. They like to be vague and uninformative. I found it out from google. Thank you, google!

After speaking with a gate agent and trying to see if I could get an alternate flight to a different airport, I realized that there was nothing open. Nothing to Midway in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Rockford, not even in Minnesota. I expressed how difficult it was going to be to wait with a baby for the next four hours and I received a $10 dollar meal voucher. I decided on a hamburger and a shake. Sebastian loves beef and, although my bet is that it’s not high quality beef, it was still food that both of us could enjoy.

My next challenge was going to the bathroom with the baby. I had planned on holding it as long as I could, but with a 4 hour delay, there was no way I could wait. I figured a handicapped stall would be the best bet. I went to the bathroom and the stall happened to be locked, with no one in it. I asked the cleaning woman about the stall and she responded, “It’s locked!” Well, yes, I saw that it was locked, but what was I going to do? There was no extra step to say, hey, there’s another bathroom around gate X or let me wait with the baby out here while you go to the other bathroom. Guess what? I would have (and in fact have) done that for other mothers. Couldn’t someone try acting with that thing called kindness? I was getting moodier by the minute in EWR. I decided to just breathe and walk out and kept walking and then, I saw it, a companion bathroom! Glory!

Sebastian giggled, as I squatted over the toilet. I was so grateful that they had this bathroom, especially when everything seemed to be going wrong. Mission Accomplished.

After that, I went to find a place to charge my phone. I found one plug open behind a phone card booth. I knew if I didn’t charge it now, I would be in trouble when I got on the plane at 10PM. Little did I know, 10PM was a far cry from when that would actually take place. I sat on the ground, rocking the stroller and hoping that Sebastian would soon fall asleep. As I did that, a Korean woman approached me and stood over the baby. She folded her arms and just stared at him for a while and then, she touched his arm. I quickly said, “What’s up? What are you doing?” She then proceeded to give me “advice” and telling me that I’m not feeding the baby and that’s why he’s cranky. Oh, please, give me more advice, lady, I’m sure you know exactly what we’re enduring at the airport and you know exactly what is going on with my child.

I walked away from that area so that I could get away from the lady, and went back to the gate. I then found out the flight was delayed till 10:45pm. Yay, another delay, but at least the crew had to be in the air and on their way to us at this point. I noticed my baby staring at the stroller, so I gave him it. He loved playing with it and hey, Sebastian was getting entertainment from playing with the stroller, I was grateful for that.

While he was sitting on my lap, I felt warmth. I noticed that there was pee on me and on him. I am now completely convinced that the Pampers Swaddlers are the best diapers because I had crappy diapers on him and they didn’t hold the wetness as well. So, I changed him into another outfit. He was fine at that point, until I put him back in the stroller. Then, there were tears.

Note to anyone reading this blog—there are a lot of people that want to hold your baby. Some are normal, others are not. I had a girl who was on standby to Dublin, who held him. She was a daughter of a pilot and always flew standby. Sadly, she got on the flight only to be told that the final person had arrived (albeit late) and she needed to be pulled off the plane. Then, there was the Russian woman. She also held the baby. I hovered over her. She was so nice, but then she decided that she wanted to go somewhere with the baby. I left my bag and stroller and ran after her, grabbed the baby back and sat down, far away. I couldn’t get on this plane fast enough.

Eventually, at 11:00PM, they started boarding. I walked up to get on the plane when they called for disabled passengers. I figured I had missed the call for people with children or that it was coming up. The gate agent then told me that they removed that policy and that I should go back to the end of the line and wait for my section to be called. I didn’t even say anything, I just handed my ticket to her and looked at her with my weary eyes. I think it’s absolutely insane that United removed this allowance for parents with their children and did it quietly. This makes me very angry. On top of waiting for this many hours, this woman was going to tell me that?

After that, we waited on the plane for another hour. Sebastian was first interested in everything around him and then he began thrashing everywhere. He was so hungry, but I needed to wait until we were taxiing, so that he wouldn’t cry from his ears popping.

We finally took off almost at midnight. The baby fell right asleep and we were able to cuddle. I read and held him in my arms and had a flight attendant fall into my seat because she was overtired. I can imagine that the delay wasn’t pleasant on the crew either. She fell over many times throughout the flight. I felt bad for her because she probably had a short turn around time before she had to get on another flight.

Eventually, we got to ORD. My mom met me at baggage claim and we were home by 2AM. Sleep was tough on everyone because Sebastian was overtired, so it was very broken sleep. He was tired, in a new place and wanted mommy all night.

Certainly an airport experience I can’t wait to forget! But, who knows, maybe the delay prevented something awful from happening, and things could always be worse…(not worse than an airline not prioritizing parents with their children though!)

Farm Stand

On our way back from our trip, we stopped at a random gas station in Mechanicsville, Virginia, a civil war town. Little did we know, that there would be a fantastic little farm stand right there. It was a perfect spot to get out, stretch the legs, show Sebastian something new and breastfeed. After getting a feel for the town, I definitely want to go back and finally see an awesome reenactment.

Sebastian enjoyed touching all he could.  He especially loved the wind chimes–oh, if only he could get his hands on those!

Of course, we had to get some veggies while we were out there. We got a whole bag and I mean, a whole grocery bag full of kale for 4 dollars. That would have cost about 15 in NYC!! Ha, ha.

And, who could resist eggs, which, somehow, made it back to NYC.

Moments on the Beach

This trip has been so beautiful and relaxing. When I’m at the beach or see any massive body of water, I feel so peaceful. I feel like God is in everything.

Here are just some little moments out of the vacation that struck me.

Walks and Silliness on the Beach with the Baby:

My mom running ahead and then doing her moves on the beach.

Here’s an upclose move of hers, spinning the baby around on the beach.

Entertaining Sebastian by gathering seagulls and pretending we had food to give out. Notice the mysterious man appearing again and throwing up his arms to trick the seagulls. And his Auntie holding a naked Sebastian.

…and the seagulls finally appeared here.

The result!

Sitting on the beach and chatting with my mom-in-law and Aunt Suzanne.

Reading on the beach.

Watching Sebastian look up in my Dad’s eyes.
Watching Sebastian play in the pool.
Taking fun photos of my aunt near the dunes. Believe it or not, she is my aunt by marriage. Husband’s grandfather had her later in life. She’s my age.
Eating yummy food outside on the deck.
Spending time with my husband and baby and some of Sebastian’s aunts, uncles and both sets of grandparents.
Enjoying sunsets on the beach.
Finding shells and exploring the beach.
All in all, a perfect vacay.

A Little Bit of Kayaking

The mysterious man was on an ocean kayak.

I got nervous that he was lurking again…and then something happened.

He was so thankful to make it after that roll that he kissed the sand. Now, he’s ready to lurk and appear in random places again.

He just had to be shown the way to kayak on the ocean! Those waves didn’t get me down! Hahahahahaha!

Naked Baby on the Beach

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Sebastian on the beach, as he sat au naturel on a mound of sand and looked up at the seagulls, flying above his head. It seems they were interested in some orange peels someone had left behind. This was the result:

Walks on a Beach

Another first for us—our stroller got a chance to ride on the beach, and it worked (as long as we avoided the deeper dry sand or very wet areas). There really is nothing like taking in the view and the sounds and the feel of the waves hitting your feet. I wanted to experience that, while taking my baby along too.

And that’s how we came to Ray carrying the stroller down from the house to the beach. We attached the summer kit, which has an umbrella, sunshade and a terry cloth back. This allows Sebastian to be nice and cool on hot days. He was overheating in the winter kit, so it was time for a change.

We got the stroller down and then Ray flipped the wheels to drag the stroller on the soft sand. We knew it would be easier once we hit the wet sand.

Even Uncle Brett came out to taunt us.

Of course, Hubby had to show off how challenging it was to push the stroller on the sand. Since, it was so difficult for him, I had to take over. Ha!

We came across a mysterious man on the beach.

Then, that same mysterious man was standing by the pier. Oh, what was that man thinking???

I took the necessary toe photo!

My mom ran from left to right keeping the baby giggling, as she appeared and disappeared behind Hubby.

Most people left after Memorial Day, so the beach was fairly empty. The evening was beautiful, and we had a great time on the beach with our little one.

Baby on a Beach

It’s so great to get a beach tent for the baby, this way we can spend a number of hours on the beach with the baby. He still gets his Vitamin D and doesn’t need all the nasty chemicals! It’s so easy to set up because it instantly pops up.

Sebastian was amused by the beach, but stayed in the shade. I thought it would be very difficult to be with a baby at the beach, but it’s not bad at all, especially if there is a place we can seek shelter from the sun and a place nearby for his morning and afternoon naps. I have yet to try a day on the beach without a house nearby. I think it would be too tough for a little guy at this age in extreme heat (I certainly welcome suggestions on how this can be done if any of you have good methods!) I don’t think every day will be like today with him wanting to stay in one place!

With so much family around to keep him constantly entertained when we want to go swim or read, this is an extremely relaxing vacation.

A puppy joined us on the deck.

By the end of the day, Naked Baby wanted to play in the mini pool his “Aunt” Joanne bought for us. He loves baths so much, it’s no surprise that Sebastian enjoyed the pool.

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