Fortunately, Unfortunately.

Fortunately, my husband had an opportunity to go to a conference in Orlando.  So we decided it would be the perfect chance to spend some quality time with Bobo, and take her to The Magic Kingdom.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get on the same flights as Jay.

Fortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Unfortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Fortunately, the trip logistics went relatively smoothly.  Sure, some luggage was temporarily “misplaced” by the airlines, and a few meltdowns occurred here and there… but overall, there were no major snafus.

Unfortunately, our lucky streak came to a halting screech around 10 o’clock Sunday night.  That was when Bobo woke up, sick.

Fortunately, Jay took the late shift, and spent a good part of the night holding our daughter’s hair back… while I was able to get a few hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, she was still ralphing the next morning.  We had an early morning flight back home.

Fortunately, I had plenty of plastic bags I had pilfered from the hotel room garbage can.

Unfortunately, I ended up having to use most of them.  In the hotel room.  In the ticketing line.  In the security line.  And a couple of times on the plane.

Fortunately, we found out the hard way that a quick way to get through security is to be the proud owner of a vomiting child.  It was like a parting of the seas.  People gladly moved aside to let us by.  There was no mention of body cavity searches.

And, fortunately, we ran into some good folk on the way home.  Like the woman who inched my bag through the ticketing line while I held my sick daughter.  Or the grandpa who bought us a bottle of water and some hard candy from the sundry store, and then disappeared before I could offer to pay him.

Unfortunately, we also encountered some Grade-A jerks.  Like the businessman who rolled his eyes and made snide comments about having to sit next to a barfing kid on the plane.  Just count your blessings you’re not the one having to holding the bag, buddy.

Fortunately, we made it over 2,000 miles across the country without a single drop of vomit spilled outside the plastic bags.

Unfortunately, not more than 5 minutes after we set foot inside our house, she spewed everywhere.

Fortunately, after a hot bath and some popsicles, she was feeling better.  And, fortunately, Bobo was so exhausted last night, she asked to go to bed at 6 pm.  Fortunately, there were no cookies tossed in the middle of the night, and Bobo woke up feeling like herself again this morning.

Unfortunately, she woke up, feeling like herself this morning…  at 5 am, still on east coast time.

Fortunately, we’re home.  And, as I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, my daughter watching Scooby Doo, I’m glad we’re here.

Home.  It feels like the happiest place on earth.

The Magic Kingdom

There is something magical about this vacation.

And it’s not just the allure of the cartoon characters come to life, the princesses in their glittery ball gowns, or the ability of a $20 bill to disappear quicker than you can say “abracadabra.”  Those things are all magical.

I’m not just talking about the commercial, Disney type of magic.

I’m talking about the things you can’t quantify by tickets, astronomically high prices or wait times in horrendously long lines.

There is the magic in spending quality time with just our daughter.  And seeing it all through her eyes.

There is magic in seeing her joy and amazement in little things I used to take for granted when I traveled.  Flight attendants serving pop from beverage carts – and they even let you keep the whole can!  Mini bottles of lotion in the hotel bathroom.  Pop machines and ice dispensers on every floor.  Eating room service in bed, and not worrying about spilling anything on the covers.

There is magic in 5 hour plane rides where the only things to do are to watch “The Princess Bride,” read countless Shel Silverstein poems and ponder the big questions in life.  Questions like “where does the poop go when you flush on a plane?”

There is magic in watching her ride on Jay’s shoulders, her sticky little blue fingers running through his hair over his head.  She beams as she clutches a bag of cotton candy.  For the first time in a long time, she doesn’t have to share it with anyone.

There is magic about floating in the pool with my daughter… her tiny hands clutched around my neck as she makes big wet splashes with her feet.  “I’m swimming!” she exclaims excitedly.  And I let her think she is.

There is magic in the anticipation of taking my child to a place my husband and I had such vivid memories of when we were little.  He will do the teacups with her, so that I don’t blow chunks.  But Bobo and I will rock “It’s a Small World” by ourselves.  And, later, we’ll all yo-yo-ho with the Pirates of the Caribbean.

There is magic in having to put the proverbial beat down on my daughter because, the night before, she is too excited to stay in bed.  There is a tingle in the air, and we can all feel it.  I’m having trouble falling asleep, myself.

The three of us… crammed into a tiny, cluttered hotel room together… trying to drift off to sleep together.  The last time we all slept in the same room was when she was less than a week old.

Tonight, I watched her twirl a lock of her hair between her fingers as her eyes slowly closed shut.  I heard her breathing become slower and more rhythmic, interrupted only by the sporadic sounds of her thumb sucking.  The thumb sucking finally stopped, and she finally fell asleep, exhausted.  No doubt dreaming about tomorrow, and the Magic Kingdom.

Tomorrow, we will spin.  And ride.  And laugh.  And, hopefully, not blow chunks.

It will be magic.

And I can’t wait.

Viva la vacation

I wasn’t ready to come back.

Despite 4 red eye segments, 1 visit from a revengeful Montezuma, 2 sunburned backs, a handful of epic meltdowns, and 8 contiguous days spent with my in-laws (Kidding!  I actually adore my in-laws)… my only regret about our vacation was that it didn’t last longer.  That, and the fact that I forgot to turn down the heat before we left.  (For which I’m thankful that the Christmas tree didn’t spontaneously combust in our absence).

A few of my favorite memories:

Swimming until our feet and fingers turned into wrinkled little prunes.

Searching for treasures on the smooth white beaches… so different from the cold, Oregon sand that we’re used to.

Eating popsicles right before dinner.  Because that’s what you do when you’re on vacation… right?

Discovering that chips are overrated.  And that guacamole is best eaten with a spoon, anyways.

Laying underneath one of these.  And realizing that it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Okay, maybe it does.

And now?  Back to reality.  And the cold.

But I have a boatload of memories to keep me warm until the next time we’re lucky enough to get away.

Viva la vacation.


I’d be remiss without saying a huge thanks to Sherri, Big Daddy, KLZ and Liz for guest posting while I was unplugged.  You guys are the best.  Thanks also to those of you who stopped by to say hi.  Once I get grounded back into reality, I’ll try to get by for a visit.

Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

a belle, a bean & a chicago dogWhen I first read this post a few months back, I literally laughed out loud.  Because my own experiences traveling with my husband are nothing at all like this.

I’m kind of kidding about that last sentence.

Wrapping up the travel guest posts is Liz, from a belle, a bean & a chicago dog.  Liz never ceases to amaze me with her endless support, funny and touching posts, and her apparent ability to be everywhere in bloggyland.  Today, Liz talks about the joys of traveling with kids: the big and the little ones.

Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

Before I get started, I need to insert my disclaimer: The following list may not apply. If your husband isn’t really anal, with girly tendencies, traveling with him may be an easy-breezy, simple and enjoyable experience for you.

But for me it isn’t. Nope. No way.

Here’s why…

1. My husband implements a strategy for packing our bags. Not just, “What needs to go in the carry-on, honey?” but for every.single.thing we are taking with us. I seem incapable of packing, according to him, because I don’t naturally ball up underpants and jam them inside my shoes in order to save a centimeter of space. I don’t think of clever ways to use the cups of my bras to nestle travel-size bottles of shampoo. It doesn’t cross my mind to shove pantiliners in the pockets of my 4 year old’s shorts.

Silly me, right?

Maybe because he has triple the beauty products that I do, those minuscule amounts of square footage seem vital.

2. My husband asks me 57 times a day, for the week leading up to our departure, what time we’re planning on getting in the car and what time I’m waking the girls up that morning. I’m not sure if it’s for his own OCD needs or if he feels badgering me to the point of ripping my own hair out is the best way to ensure I’m aware of travel times.

3. And that brings me nicely to my next point. How often am I ever late? Doesn’t he know I have gotten myself and two kids ready every single day, on my own, since they were born? And tell me how often I ever forget something they need!

Planning for a vacation is something we moms start doing weeks in advance. We hit the Target Dollar Bins for some new toys, load up on snacks, and grab a few favorite DVDs. We lay out clothes, count diapers and make sure lovies make the cut in the – apparently – highly-coveted suitcase square footage competition. We moms have got it down to a science, so QUIT MESSING WITH US!

4. My husband’s apparently never heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’ve been telling him for years that it doesn’t do any of us any good if he burns through Mommy’s Bag O’ Tricks in the first 32 seconds of our trip. If the girls are happily scribbling on their Magna Doodles, let them! If they are content watching their current Backyardigans DVD, why turn to them and tell them you’ll start something new?

Once the bag of tricks is used up, we’re all screwed, buddy. So keep your trap shut and wait until they ask what else it is we have for them.

5. For some reason, my husband thinks it’s wise to frantically ask me, when we’re ten minutes INTO our trip, if I have everything we need. He goes through a roll call of sorts, even bringing up things that no sane person would ever take along. I assure him we have what we need, and then point out that if he was this concerned I’d thought of everything, it would have been helpful if he had asked, maybe, BEFORE we left the house!

6. Given the past 5 points, you’d think that with all his micro-management, he’d continue be right on top of things for the remainder of our travels. But, in fact, the exact opposite is true. As soon as we hit the airport, it’s like he’s never before met these little people, a.k.a. his children.

Me: Can you hand me the wipes?
Him — Where are they?
Me: In the same pocket of the diaper bag where I’ve kept them for the past 4.5 years.

Me: Grab me that bag of goldfish, please.
Him — Who are you going to give them to?
Me: Kate and Maddie.
Him — Do they even like goldfish?

Him — Is this jacket ours?
Him — Do these shoes belong to us?
Him — What time do they go to nap?

Me: Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

So there you have it. Traveling with my husband is more aggravating, more trying and more exhausting than traveling with my 2 kids. Give me airport tantrums, in-flight diaper changes and lack-of-sleep-induced meltdowns any day.

I’d gladly take them.

Vegas, Baby!

Taming InsanityEvery now and again, I read a post that I imagine (or wish) I might have written myself.  That’s exactly how I felt when this little ditty popped up in my inbox.

For the third in the series of travel-related guest posts, we have KLZ, of Taming Insanity.  If you’re not already reading KLZ’s blog, please go.  Now.  This woman is supportive, funny, and leaves what I think are the best one-liner comments in bloggyland.  Today she writes about a few of my favorite things: Vegas, bourbon, and traveling without your kids.  Ah, the good old days.

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas is an amazing spectacle of debauchery.

Unless you are pregnant.

Then it is a torture chamber. A torture chamber where you are forced to witness your husband’s spectacle of debauchery.

BTW, do you know how much one banana costs in Vegas? More than a drink. An alcoholic drink. So when your pregnant self is trying desperately to not gain 10,000 pounds, it’ll cost you.

But eventually it’ll come in handy.

Seeing as I was pregnant, you’d think I would have picked another destination. Except that I’m cheap. Plus, David always seems to manage to win cash in Vegas. I’m not sure how he does it and it upsets quite a few people we know. He’s been accused of having a horseshoe lodged up his butt by more than one person.

Ultimately, we were in Vegas because David had a conference there. Couple his company paying for his room and airfare with 300,000 United miles and what have you got? Say it with me: free vacation!

Let me clarify: a free vacation for my birthday.

My point is: this vacation seemed like a fantastic idea, expensive fruit and all. Not only would it be free but David would win money to pay off the expensive dinner we’d be having for my birthday.

Clearly, I’m not so bright.

The night of my birthday celebration started off harmlessly enough. I picked out a dress, which I slipped over my 13 week pregnant belly. A belly I thought was HUGE. I thought that everyone and their neighbors could see my belly. I thought that aliens in galaxies far, far away could easily identify me as pregnant. I mean, I couldn’t even button my pants!

We took this picture to document how “huge” I was at 13 weeks:

KLZ of Taming Insanity... 13 weeks

Again, I’m not so bright.

After that, we wandered over to the MGM for dinner. Where we had the slowest dinner service ever. David and I left pissed for different reasons. I had finally regained my appetite after all that morning sickness crap and hadn’t had my fill. David, on the other hand, was upset because he had intended to have more drinks before entering the Cirque Du Soleil show we’d bought tickets for.

Since he was sure they wouldn’t allow drinks in the theater (apparently he’d forgotten we were in Vegas and there were drinks everywhere), he ordered a couple at a nearby bar before we headed in. In his defense, they were pretty damn tiny drinks.

Still, this was the point where I should have headed back to the hotel by myself.

While David had his drinks, I got my pregnant self into line. Then I got out of line because I had to pee. I walked halfway across the casino, peed, then went and got myself back into line where David joined me.

We chatted idly when suddenly I noticed David was speechless. Speechless and gripping my arm quite hard. I followed his gaze. To the bar inside the theater.

The bar that was selling 32 oz. jack and cokes.

You know, I lied above. THIS was the point where I should have gone back to the hotel by myself.

Nowhere, ever, in the history of ever, should be allowed to sell 32 oz. jack and cokes. They lead to evil. They lead to your husband sharing his drink with a random stranger. Which wouldn’t bother you so much except that you are pregnant and the smell makes you want to vomit and you wish you could just go to bed already.

But you can’t go to bed. Because jack and cokes make your husband come down with “one more” syndrome. As in, “no, no, no, just one more hand and we’ll leave.” “just let the waitress come by one more time so I can tip her.” “I just need one more sip.”

Towards the end, these one more requests are met with one more death glare and one more threat of a punch to the throat.

Somewhere in here, I realized that I did not, in fact, look pregnant to anyone but myself. Which led to a lot of “Why are you being such a buzzkill, woman?” looks.

This in turn led to me loudly and frequently announcing “We have to go because I am tired and I am PREGNANT so we have to go.” Which is not super annoying at all.

Eventually I left my husband to share his drink with that stranger because I was tired and I was pregnant, so I had to go, as I reminded those at the blackjack table one last time. You know, just in case they hadn’t yet realized why I was so little fun.

When we awoke the next morning, David was not feeling so hot. So I handed him one of my mucho expensivo bananas. Bananas, if you don’t know, are high in potassium and potassium is good for hangovers.

He was…not enthused by my sacrifice. His head hurt and I was giving him a banana?

I fought the urge to tell him to store that banana with his horseshoe.

But the trip wasn’t a total bust. Since we’re talking about the horseshoe up David’s butt? We left that weekend up $400.

But neither of us knows how.