Saturday, February 21, 2009

Toddlers and Airplanes

These are just a few tips and things I've learned about flying with toddlers. Our trip? One day, two flights, one lay over, one Momma, one toddler, and an enormous bag of Just-In-Case.

-diapers, wipes, pad
-extra change of clothes for the toddler
-extra shirt for Mom
-medicine for toddler
-mini magna doodle
-stacking cups
-doll and dog duo
-four board books
-paper and crayons
-three blocks
-talking, electronic, Winnie the Pooh book
-small car

What we actually USED:
-straws to peel open from the Star Bucks I stopped at for the much needed vanilla latte
-cups from the plane beverage service, two empty ones
-the inflight magazine, which D tore into strips and then put into...
-the barf bag
-our neighbors were the BEST entertainment for him.
-the sky train at DFW, (Dallas Ft. Worth Airport) which we rode to get to our terminal
-the snacks were helpful, but with such a long layover we actually had time to get lunch at DFW and he wasn't interested in them on the plane. Go figure.

-I always pack too much.
-Next time I'm not going to pack as many toys.
-Or books.
-Or if I do, I know now that they're probably not going to be used.

-Get the airport early enough to walk through security, pull of all clothing, including the toddler's shoes (because they could be a weapon!! EGADS.), squish the stroller, flatten the enormous carry-on bag, drop at least four toys, and then put in all back on and open on the other side.
-Don't take toys that roll.
-Find a coffee/tea/bevie of your choice, a croissant for the kids, and sit at a window to look at the plane. This was Diego's favorite activity pre-boarding.
-We also made it a point to run around as much as possible to tire him out, with hopes that he would sleep on the flight. It doesn't hurt to show everyone waiting in line that at least you tried. :)
-But if he does cry, and they will, forget about everyone else on the plane. They can deal with a little cry. You just focus on what's important. Remember, you'll never see these people again. Sad and true.
-Besides, every time we fly we've been surrounded by supportive people on their way to see babies or are missing babies of their own. Even the kids around us have been especially helpful in distracting and playing with D, which is trully a blessing.
-Be open to help from strangers.
-Have fun.
-And when it's not fun, when your baby has puked all over you and you have no other clothes to change into and you still have one more flight ahead of you...just keep going. It could always be worse. And by worse I'm thinking of you, Jon and Kate plus 8, and your 5+ hours wait on the tarmac waiting for better weather with all kids tired and exhausted. You guys rock.

Happy flying!

Friday, February 20, 2009

first kisses

Diego had his first kiss at the playground the other day. There he was, enjoying the first rung on the red ladder, sun shining down, when this adorable (cute-cute-cuuuute) little girl with a bob came up and out of no where gave him a hug and a kiss. He was nonplussed. I think that's the word for it. He was surprised, I think, but I didn't see him push her away so he must have enjoyed himself. Especially when she came back to give him yet another hug. On her way back to her Dad she said, quite proud of herself, "I gave him a kiss!" Not knowing that this was his first. The most important! And Diego? Was he swooning? Was he chasing her down to get her name? Haha No. He had already turned back to the ladder, trying to get up on that second rung.

I'm sure we've all had that first and all-too forgetable kiss when we were toddlers. But what about other first kisses? Not going to ask for stories, but it's just nice to remember all the embarassing and wonderful first kisses, don't you think?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

life as baking

I was in a huge baking mood last week, wanting to get some goodies ready for Valentine's Day, and decided to make marshmallows and a pie of Jim's choice. (He chose Pecan Pie, he IS a Texan boy at heart after all.) The marshmallows were just a whim. So last Friday Diego and I set up a chair along the counter, some bowls, the standing mixer and all of the ingredients and we poured and mixed and whisked and got powdered sugar over EVERYTHING. I think he had fun. And now, when he sees the egg carton in the fridge he points, OOO!, and throws his hand down like he's cracking an egg. Which he now helps me do in the mornings when I make his eggs. That was enough of a mess so I thought I would wait for time alone, while D napped, to make the pie.

While making the crust and the filling I couldn't help but feel like the worry of the day was melting away as I stirred in the pecans and eggs and sugar. The vanilla is almost always the last step, and it's always one of my favorites. I love that sweet heady scent. I want to take all of those feelings and use them in the rest of my life. I often feel like I'm too hard on myself, tense and stumbling along life, cursing myself for not knowing exactly what I am doing and going to do. But when I bake, mistakes come and go, I learn from them and go on, mixing and turning over fillings, pie crusts or cookies. There are good scents, good work, and good treats at the end.

And they were delicious. Best pie to date. Not sure what I'm going to do with the remaining marshmallows. You're all welcome to come over for some hot chocolate. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

a poem for the rain

it's raining
on and off
it drips
it slows
the sun sleeps
behind clouds
we sleep
curled together
and warm
and soft
in the gray

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

family, Florida, and how hard it is to come home again

(@ Ft. Lauderdale Beach)

Diego and I went to visit my family in Florida this past week. It was a long, grueling and exhausting trip across the country (sure it was a plane, but two plane flights, one layover, and one bouncy toddler? Oi vey). We were very lucky to be surrounded by lovely people who happened to fall in love with said bouncy toddler and played with him the entire trip there. For some reason Diego loves sitting next to strangers on planes. He'll reach out for them, hold their hands, play games, peek-a-boo, anything and everything that he doesn't really do in any other situation. Odd but wonderful.

Being with family was also fantastic. They fed me rosquitas and empanadas and platanos fritos and arroz chaufa and my mom even made her famous spaghetti with meat sauce. Oh Yum. And it's not just the food. (Really!) We all just had a great time together. I heard stories that I'd never heard before and we all laughed every time we put Diego down to eat. He just kept cracking himself up and laughing for almost no reason, which made us happy. They also have this beautiful patio out back which Diego just loved, so everyone had the chance to help him water the plants.

(pictures above from the Butterfly Garden)

I miss being in a house with lots of people. There's the ever present noise, bustle, aromas and food or coffee being served. There are people watering plants, cooking, or just sitting around watching telenovelas. I grew up in a house filled with people, cousins and Tias and Tios coming and going, eating and talking. I love the quiet, sure, but I miss the noise sometimes.

Coming home was hard. I hate saying good-bye to my Mom, not knowing when I'll see her again. Good-byes to everyone else was also rushed since we were late getting up and out the door. Didn't feel right. The entire plane ride home I kept thinking about how nice it was to have family around, for me and especially for Diego. I kept thinking about how much I haven't enjoyed Orange County. More than that, I hate how lonely and out of place I've felt living here. How people still come up to me and Diego and ask if I speak English and if he's my son. It's been hard for me to find that community I yearn for and I feel like a complete idiot sometimes, falling over myself for friendship with Moms I meet. But I've realized I can't live here and hate it here at the same time.

I need a change in perspective. My goal this year is to really make a home for myself here. Breaking it down to micro-movements with tiny goals each month. This month my goal is to make my little apartment more of a home and less of a place we happen to live in. Starting with the patio. There are big and little plans ahead. So that's what I've learned, I guess. Or something like that.