Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Vacation

The back side of Tahoe & the Sierra Nevadas - view from the front yard.
Lake Tahoe is just a 20 minute drive up the mountain.
Warning: Super long blog posting. Lots to catch up on.

It certainly does not seem like we were gone for 10 days, and no wonder - we were on the go almost the entire time. A very kind friend drove us to the airport on Monday afternoon, and after wrangling 2 bags, a stroller, a diaper bag and 2 kids into the terminal, we were off. We immediately ran into trouble in Minneapolis when our plane to Salt Lake was delayed. We finally made it to SLC, and missed our plane to Reno by 3 MINUTES! Picture an exhausted me running through the terminal with Big J strapped to my chest, pushing the stroller and trailing Big Sis behind me while dragging her Hello Kitty rolling backpack. As frustrated as I was with Delta for not bothering to hold that plane for 3 more minutes, at least they did the right thing by putting us up in a decent hotel & giving us a plethora of meal vouchers. I am so glad that I thought ahead and at least packed extra clothes for the kids in our carry-in bag. Of course I did NOT think to pack my glasses or contact case, so it was extra good times to sleep in my contacts and peel my scratchy eyes open the next morning.

We were back at the airport bright and early on Tuesday morning, and after fueling up on orange juice, decaf, and croissants courtesy of Delta, I gave the rest of our meal vouchers to the Elders and boarded our plane to Reno. We spent the next few days resting, hiking, cooking, watching movies, taking long walks, playing games, reading, and drinking hot chocolate. It actually snowed that Friday, and it was fun to cozy up to the wood stove and watch the snow flurries come down. It was all melted and gone by that afternoon, but stayed cold for a few more days.

Picking raspberries with Grandma Jan.

Hanging out, watching movies together.

Grandpa and his boy.

One of our many walks down a country road.

Sunday morning found Big J and I back at the airport (and oh boy, it was 17 degrees when we left the house!!), boarding another plane on our way to Dallas. I was there to prep for the Dallas Toy Show, and it was definitely a test of endurance. I was unaware of this, but children under 12 are strictly prohibited from entering the building (the Dallas Mart - a trade only building which holds showrooms for various sales reps and major retailers), and Big J and I caused a huge ruckus by showing up. I managed to get us into the building and up to the 13th floor where our showroom was being put together, but had to do a lot of fast talking and pleading to get us to stay. I think Big J's winning smile was what did the trick, and we managed to keep ourselves out of the way and get the job done. He did have a rough day, refusing to sleep until I put him in the Baby Bjorn and carried him around. By the time the big boss arrived he was in a fine mood after having slept, ate, and been changed, and he charmed everyone who came by. We flew back to Reno that night, and were exhausted.

There was just one last day of vacation before we once again spent an entire day flying to get home. Why on earth Delta flew us to Cincinnati just to turn around and fly back to Des Moines - I will never know. I shouldn't complain - on our last leg to Des Moines there was a woman and her 2 year old son who were just flying back from Egypt. I can't imagine how long it took them.

Good things about the trip:
  • The Baby Bjorn was a lifesaver. While in transit I pushed the stroller and wore Big J. Perfect for getting through security, wrangling a 4 year old and still keeping at least one hand free.

  • Everyone was very helpful, always offering to lend a hand with our bags, stroller, or whatever was needed. There is still kindness out there!

  • I actually read a book! The Shack by William Young. Thought provoking.

  • I came home with a KILLER recipe for chocolate frosting. I won't post it until I am sure I can recreate it, but it was unbelievable.

  • My kids are great travellers. Yes, there were rough times with Big J on our many flights, but overall he was a rock star. Though after saying that, I am so glad that Big Daddy is going to be with us on our next trip!

  • I brought the Bumbo with us, and am so glad I did. It allowed him to eat easily and to sit on the counter while we cooked or ate lunch at the kitchen island. A huge space suck in our luggage, but still worth it.

Lessons learned:

  • I thought I would be smart and use a scarf as a belt so I wouldn't have to try and unbuckle myself while wearing Big J and trying to get through security. Great in theory until I realized that I packed no belt at all. I spent the entire trip hitching my pants up every 3 minutes.

  • This has thrown Big J's schedule off completely. Couple that with 3 more teeth coming in and a stuffy nose, and he's been a grumpy boy. He's never been a good sleeper, but now he doesn't know which way is up.

  • I packed well for the kids, but apparently lost my ability to think clearly when packing for myself. Not only did I forget to pack PJ's (good thing that workout clothes will do in a pinch), but I only packed 2 pairs of pants for myself - including the pair I wore to travel in. It gave 'packing light' a whole new meaning.

  • Starting in November United is upping its luggage fees. It will be $125 to check a 2nd bag!! For that much you can UPS all your clothes wherever you're going!

  • I didn't exercise at all while gone. I did a few squats and lunges and such, but no running, no real cardio. I am freaked out at how difficult tomorrow's run will be, but honestly I think I needed the break.

Here's the 10 flights in 10 days I alluded to:

Monday: Des Moines-Minneapolis-Salt Lake
Tuesday: Salt Lake-Reno
Sunday: Reno-Denver-Dallas
Monday: Dallas-Denver-Reno
Wednesday: Reno-Salt Lake-Cincinnati-Des Moines

In other news: Big J is cutting 3 more teeth! He's been drooling up a storm, and his top 2 front teeth are about to break through and so is the one right next to his front left chopper. I know his mouth is hurting him, but he's still been in generally good spirits.

I hesitate to blog about this next subject, as I almost feel like I am going to jinx myself. But here goes: Before we left on our trip, we decided to break in our Y membership and go swimming. While finishing up in the Family changing room, I spied a scale. First I put Big Sis up there - all 33 lbs. of her - then I took a deep breath and stepped on myself. I'm down 14 lbs. from my pre-pregnancy weight. There, I said it. For so long, I felt like I would never be able to get myself back into shape, but it looks like it's actually happening. Only 30 more lbs. to go! That's a little tongue in cheek - I no longer have a specific goal weight. My real goal is to keep being active, and set fitness goals for myself. After the Race on the 25th, there's the Jingle Jam 5K in December, and then if I am still healthy and keeping active in the winter, I may start to train for even longer distances. And then I'll have to buy a few more belts to hold up my saggy pants.

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