Jul. 13th, 2010 12:12 pm
same_sky: (under the same sky)
We're finally home! That day of traveling is so rough but we had a great time while we were gone, so it was all worth it. I still can't believe that it had been five years since we were there. I really want that to not happen again. It was just too much time. It's also a little hard to believe that M has lived here almost ten years now, in October, and ten years ago this summer was the year I was in Sweden for the full summer. That was an amazing life experience sort of summer, and while I was sitting on the plane Sunday, I thought of all the other return trips I've made, including that first one where I was alone. I still had a year of college left to go and plans for M to move that fall, but if he had asked me to stay right then, I would have. I had enough self-control not to suggest it myself because it was so not the path we had chosen, but I could so easily see myself settling into life there for a while. And... where would we be now? I would have eventually found myself a job (one would hope) and then.. would we have ever gotten around to moving back here? Or would we have put down strong enough roots that we didn't want to change our whole life? And if we HAD moved back after a couple of years, as was our other plan (we considered me living there first and then moving here, but we always knew we wanted to stay here in the end) what kind of job situation would we have ended up with? And it goes without saying that we wouldn't have this house or THIS child... if we'd have had either one of those at all. It's just so freaky to think about how one decision could have changed so much.

It was interesting, though. Last time we were there, it felt completely natural, like we should be going home to our own house at the end of every day, like we were living there all along. It made us both kind of wish we COULD do the living in Sweden thing. This time, it did not feel like anything other than a vacation, and it made me feel less like I wanted to actually live there than before. It's not that there was anything BAD or WRONG that would make me say that. I think it's just that we're so settled now, here, in our own little life, that starting over sounds miserable. I know I'm just 31 but I feel too OLD for that sort of lifestyle change. So yeah. I don't want to move back, but I really want us to not go so long without visiting that it feels like everything is unfamiliar.

I don't know. It's just difficult sometimes, to be away from the other side of your family. It matters even more to me now that I have Evie, and I want her to have a close relationship with M's family, and to be familiar with her full cultural heritage.. not just the American part. As far as my inlaws go, we still don't know each other really well, because we don't get to spend that much time together, but we're much closer now than we were before say, the last time they came over to visit. I have been putting some effort into that for the last couple of years. Plus, there is still the language issue. Their English was pretty good to start with, and it's gotten better in the last ten years, with practice, but it's still not something they're totally comfortable with.

Speaking of language, my Swedish had passively improved a lot in the last five years. I'd mostly stopped trying, and had forgotten a lot of words that I knew. It was almost freaky to feel them coming back, plus some. I was at the point last time of sort of being able to hear what someone was talking about, but not necessarily what they were saying about it. This time, it was the same, except I was able to understand much larger portions of what was being said, and some entire conversations were fully processed. My biggest problem is that I am seriously shy about speaking and getting something wrong, so I get no practice with pronunciation or with stringing words together. So yeah, we're back on the bandwagon re: language. I always say this but I have a renewed determination this time, and hopefully it will stick because even before we went, I was trying hard to work on Evie's Swedish. It's dismal, to be perfectly frank. She clearly understands more than we think so does, based on a few things we noticed while there. This is the best example: M's mom told him, in Swedish, that there were nectarines in the refrigerator. She was standing across the room at the sink and not motioning at the fridge or anything. Evie looked up from her breakfast and said, "There's WHAT in the fridge, Daddy?" Completely didn't know she knew that word before. So, I think that's a promising sign. It's just daunting to consider teaching a second language to a three-year-old, but it's too late to do anything other than regret that we didn't stick with it in the beginning. I do have some pretty good ideas on where to go from here (I think) and we WILL be increasing her exposure, effective immediately. (Actually, effective three months ago to some degree, but especially now.)

Also, we may or may not have brought home thirty kids books in Swedish. Literally. They weren't all purchased by us, and some were bought used at a flea market, and the rest were bought on sale, but STILL. That is INSANE. Added to M's desire to bring home three LOGS (no kidding), we used every bit of weight we had available to us. You can have fifty pounds per suitcase. We had three of them filled up to within about a quarter of a pound each, which rather impressed the airline agent. The other was over by like two pounds--Whitley had a few pounds to spare so we threw some of our crap in there. They didn't charge us for it, at least.

We had several cameras going this time--ours, Whitley's, his mom's, and his sister's. There around something like 1,100 pictures all together (we exchanged pictures there at the end so we'd all have them.) and I still haven't seen all of them yet. So... I will post pictures after I can actually look at them myself. I'm way behind on the rest of my life so unpacking and laundry has had to come first. Also, sleeping.

Oh, just so I'll remember.. we went to Drottningholm (royal castle) and IKEA on Thursday, shopping on Friday (while Evie stayed with Farmor and Farfar again) and a bit more of Gamla Stan and lunch with M's sister on Saturday, and then we left on Sunday morning. I had to share one crappy internet connection with M and with Whitley, so I didn't really have much time to sit down a post at the end.
same_sky: (Default)
Have you ever been sitting on a plane, ages past boarding, and you’re waiting for the thing to actually move, and then suddenly someone bursts onto the plane looking disheveled and anxious, and you think smugly to yourself that these people should really plan better so that they don’t show up at the airport so close to their departure time?

Yeah. Welcome to our world yesterday.

Let’s put everything into perspective, though, and start on Saturday. We met my parents and niece for lunch, and then we brought my niece with us to the hotel near the airport, where we were spending the night. Both the girls fell asleep in the car on the way there. When they woke up at the hotel, Evie’s eyes were gunked up. YAY PINK EYE. We’re two hours from her doctor with an international flight going out the next day. I asked at the desk and found an Urgent Care center nearby, so we took off to the doctor. It was easily confirmed as pink eye—this is our first parenting experience with pink eye. It is not fun. So we pick up her medicine and drive around in circles for an hour looking for somewhere to eat. I finally gave up and picked the closest McDonald’s on the GPS. We drove for ten minutes and guess where it led us? To the ValuPark lot at the airport. Yes, the GPS was sending us INTO THE AIRPORT FOR DINNER. No thank you. That was really just a sidenote though because we finally ate and made it back to the hotel and the freezing ”heated” pool, where fun was had by all. When we get back, I am going to look into swimming lessons for Evie. She loved it.

After a restless night’s sleep, we get up and get our stuff ready to go. (This includes twenty minutes of trying to get Evie’s matted and puffy swollen eyes open and then medicated. Is this a good time to apologize to the flying peoples of the world for bringing pink eye onto a plane” Yeah, sorry about that.) We get to the airport, check in with minimal problems—although we did have go to through the security line twice because when we got up there, we found an issue with our boarding passes. Evie is grumpy, and none of us can blame her because HELLO, PINK EYE. We go through security, where I beep like mad. I was carrying all four passports and presumably they have a metal strip in them… according to the security people but I beeped several times later on so I have no idea.

After security, we have a couple of hours to kill and then I remember lunch. There’s only one place past security to eat in our general vicinity, so Whitley and I stood in line for 35 minutes. (Incidentally: after those 35 minutes, I waited an additional five minutes and then paid 22 bucks for two paninis, two bags of chips, two drinks, a one dollar orange that Evie wouldn’t touch after all and a bottle of milk. Whitley got a bottle of juice and a club sandwich for twelve, so I guess I can’t complain in comparison. The food sucked, too.) When we got back to the place, it was time to board.. or it would have been time to board if our flight wasn’t delayed. We had a few tense moments with thinking we were only going to have forty minutes to make it to our next flight, but eventually, a really nice gate agent really helped us. We decided to go to Newark and he put us in as backup on a flight that went out the next day. He even drew the route on a map of the Newark airport and told us how to get to the C terminal from A. We left before originally scheduled, so we had an hour and twenty minutes before the flight departed. We were GOLDEN.

HAHAHA. That is when this story takes a turn for the AWFUL. We get there and we are still rushing like mad because it’s a big place and we want to get to where we need to go as soon as possible, just in case. We ride the shuttle, we walk aaalllll the way through the C terminal to the gate, where we….. are told that we need to be in Terminal B. We’re not on that flight. We have 45 minutes at this point. M is pissed because he knew we wouldn’t have time to make it because of a Continental employee’s directions. The woman directs us to the Continental Customer Service, where we had to wait in line again. There, the woman ridiculed us for waiting at line (at yet another Continental employee’s direction) and basically just told us to run, knowing full well we wouldn’t make it. Yet, we had to try, so we ran. I mean, RAN. Two adults, one teen and one carried three-year-old, running like mad through a crowded airport. We get to the shuttle and we ride to the next terminal and can’t find the gate on the signs, so my brilliant husband heads to the SAS check-in counter. We were second-guessing that decision at the time, thinking that we might be killing precious minutes, but it was the only thing that saved us. They started messing with boarding passes and passports and affixed a beautiful green dot on our boarding passes that let us go through priority security lines, called the gate to let them know, and told us basically to run. I sent M on ahead at first, but we got back together at security, where we got to skip the mile-long lines. Then there was more running, still with the carry-ons and the Evie being carried. (We all took a turn, with M doing most of the worst of it, Whitley taking over in the middle and me finishing up. She weighs 40 pounds, by the way, and we stupidly decided against the mei tai, even though I was going to bring it for just this very sort of thing.)

And… we made it. After Security, M ran on the last few minutes to the gate—yes, the farthest one in the terminal--by himself, while we were struggling with the girl and the stuff, so that he could alert them that we were there.


We burst onto the plane with everyone staring. We were red-faced, hot, sweaty, exhausted and really just operating in a state of shock, but we made it. Our reserved seats were apparently reassigned, but since there were two together for Evie and someone, and then someone behind that seat, we didn’t say a word about it. I got to sit in a window seat on the other side of the plane in the aisle behind them by myself, so M got to do baby duty for the entire flight. She was pretty good, he said, and she managed to sleep three and a half hours. The rest of us… not so much. But we made it, and that is all that matters.

I’m finishing this up at two in the morning (eight EST) because we woke up in the middle of the night with Evie, who woke up confused, and neither of us could go back to sleep because our bodies were thinking it was time to be awake. I think it’s time to go give it another try, though, because I have a feeling we’ll be up with her again pretty early.

We’re here… by the skin of our teeth. :)

(p.s. going to try to double-post while I'm gone.. sorry if it bothers you if you have the feed.)


Jun. 14th, 2010 02:46 pm
same_sky: (Default)
I just got back from lunch with my daddy--what a lovely start to the week! He had to go pick up a vehicle that had been serviced (for his job) in a location far far away (225 miles from his job, so... a lot of driving today!) and the road he was on goes by a town about fifteen minutes from my house, AND he happened to be driving by at noon... so it worked out perfectly. :) Evie and I drove down and had a nice lunch with Grandpa, and then we tried to go coupon shopping at the really nice Rite Aid in that town, but I forgot my coupons at home and so we just came home. It's funny because last night I went out shopping and walked into Rite Aid at 5:54 and saw that they closed at 6:00 so walked right back out. Then today I walked in and saw that I couldn't buy anything and walked out again. Maybe tomorrow I might go again and see if I can find another reason why I can't shop?

Yesterday was such a great day. Evie was soooo good. She started out kind of rough, with unexplained crying and whining, but then we fed and dressed and watered her, and she perked up and played so nicely. M and I spent almost the entire day cleaning the computer room up. It was a disgusting pig sty and I am ashamed to even talk about how bad it was. It's a really hard room for us because it's where we spend most of our awake time that isn't full of childcare, and we're really bad about just taking stuff in there and dumping it because we don't know where it actually goes. Plus, all the electronics and office supplies and stuff. Anyway, we removed her plastic art desk thing that she didn't ever use and moved some furniture around until we could put a card table over in the corner with her computer set up on it. Now she has room to draw and write, and the computer is there so she can watch the Netflix (what she calls it, "the Netflix".. so funny) streaming, and eventually play her own computer games. She is not so great with the mouse, though, so I took some of her birthday money from Granny and Grandpa and bought her a kids mouse this morning. It only has one button, which will help immensely, I think. She has the basics of moving it, but she always hits the right button or tries to scroll with the wheel. Coordination is not her strongest suit, I fear. I mean, she's not openly clumsy, but those fine motions are a little hard for her still. Anyway, the computer room looks great! Still needs work but it looks fantastic already.

Now that I have been assured that it is okay to talk about my various obsessions, I... pretty much don't have anything more to add. haha. The thing with the car seat on the plane is that.. I have always thought it was a little silly when people talked about safety on a plane because seriously, if we crash, we're screwed anyway, right? It just kind of clicked recently that it was more about the turbulence while in air that can knock kids around, and for instance, if you lose altitude suddenly, the kid is gonna hit the ceiling. With that in mind, I started worrying that if that happened and she was just wearing the lapbelt, she might just slide out, given that it'd be loose over a child. I don't know. She's pretty much a giant anyway so she probably wouldn't have a problem without it but worrying about safety issues is, I guess, pretty much what I do. I'll let you know what I think about the harness I bought.

My child has stolen my left arm so I guess my typing time is over. Am not so good at the hunt and peck system. :)


Jun. 12th, 2010 11:18 pm
same_sky: (under the same sky)
I sorta have an obsessive personality in some ways. When I am focused on something, it becomes a Big Deal and it colors everything else I am doing and then I want to write about it even though I think people probably wish I would just settle down and not make such a Big Deal over everything. Like, pregnancy--every twinge was analyzed and catalogued. Buying a house--tedious details on room dimensions and floor plans. Right now, it's our trip to Sweden, and it's an especially easy one to obsess over because a) I have never flown with a child before b) I have never flown with my niece before, and she has never flown anywhere and c) everyone is super excited, as it's been five years and we are SO thrilled to be taking Whitley with us and also do you have any idea when our last vacation was? FOREVER AGO, that's how long. So I feel like a dork writing about this all the time because clearly I am thinking about it all the time and most of my friends online are worldly travelers who don't seem to put much time and energy into planning and organizing their trips. But I LIKE planning and I LIKE organizing and I don't really have all that much to plan and organize in my real life, and you know what? LiveJournal is so dead that I figure that another post from me about how I make one measly trip into a Big Hairy Deal (Again) has gotta be better than nothing.

I hope. :)

I am slowly working my way through some of the things I had on my mind. I have really been wrestling with the car seat on the plane idea. I love the idea of taking it for reasons of added safety and psychological encouragement (she is accustomed to sitting in her seat, after all) and potential comfort for her. I DETEST the idea of schlepping it through airports, trying to install it on a tiny airplane seat and then finally sitting next to it for eight hours. M's parents have procured a seat for us to use while there so we don't need to have it then. Anyway, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy the CARES harness. (kids fly safe.) It seems like it has good reviews and packing something that weighs one pound is much more attractive than packing a car seat. It's expensive, though.. $74.95 (will work out to $67 after cashback from bing.) You can rent them on eBay for $14, plus return shipping, so I was considering that, but then I decided to just buy the thing and then sell it on eBay when we get back. They seem to be selling for around sixty bucks, shipping included. I figure it'll be cheaper that way and easier than trying to make sure I return a rental item immediately upon our return. Anyone use one before? Or are you all more responsible than me and bring the car seat?

We went to lunch with some friends a couple of weeks ago. I used to work with her and we hadn't seen each other lately. Anyway, her husband is something of a geek (in a positive way!) and we talked about a potential theoretical purchase of a PSP for traveling. We weren't actually going to buy one, but that is what was recommended to M at a game store since it can play games AND movies, and that struck us as being a lovely idea. He thought it was a fairly terrible idea because they're apparently much more fragile than the game store clerk let on, but since he didn't use his much anymore, he offered to let us borrow it. I sent him a message yesterday and asked when it'd be okay to pick it up, and he replied and said that... they had just bought a 9" portable DVD player with a 7.5 hour battery life and wouldn't we rather take that instead? YES PLEASE. Actually, I argued that we wouldn't want to borrow something that they had JUST bought, but they are awesome and so we went this afternoon to pick it up. We have a portable DVD player, and it's really great for the weekend trips to my parents. (That's a 1.5 hour car ride.) We bought it for her first birthday, though, and we have used the heck out of it... mainly at home in the kitchen, but it's traveled a bit too. Anyway, the battery doesn't hold a charge at ALL anymore, so we had no expectation of bringing one. But, a battery that lasts that long--and of course it won't literally last that full amount of time but I also don't intend for her to need it on that long either--will be a totally useful addition to our flight, I think. Yay! And, I am not as excited about this as M is because to me, it just sounds like work, but they also gave M the sound system/speakers they just replaced.

I also finished my niece's travel guide. Want to see how much of a dork I am? Whitley's Travel Guide, as lovingly prepared by her favorite aunt. I know it was overkill, but it's exactly what I'm talking about. I NEED to plan and organize, and in Whitley's case... I also need to make sure she has as smooth a packing experience as possible since we're not going to be there to help her... and yes, I would like this to be one of those magical experiences she will always remember and I want that to start with her knowing that we're as excited about her coming with us as she is. It means so much to me to be able to do this for (and with!) my brother's baby girl. :)

So, yeah, I am dreading the flights and apprehensive about how it will go, but tentatively I am feeling relatively confident that it will turn out alright. I have things for her to do. I have been telling her about sleeping on the plane. I have been thinking of snacks and foods and clothing. I think she'll be fine. Truth is, M and I are giant wusses about this sort of thing. There's one of her and three of us, after all! :) Of course, once I get there and look around and take a deep breath, I will remember, again, that... oh yeah. this trip isn't for me. haha. I'll have plenty of fun though. I always do. :)
same_sky: (under the same sky)
Like a moron, I left my keys at my parents on Sunday. My mom was taking my grandfather to the doctor in Lexington (which is between us) so I decided to make it a shopping day and went to retrieve them. We met up after they were done at the doctor and my mom asked Evie if she wanted to come with her to Granny's house and... that is how I am sitting here posting at 9:20 a.m. It has been a long time since she went to stay with her Granny. Well, there was one day, about a month ago, but a) it was just one evening and b) it was for a very specific purpose (I had a crappy doctor appt) and c) they called at five a.m. because they were taking my grandfather back to the hospital. Hardly counts. I really think that E has been having a hard time with such a drastic decrease in the amount of Granny time so I hope this reassures her. Also, I had become accustomed to a little time off every so often! I know, I'm spoiled.

My grandfather, by the way, is doing better. Short recap: batteries changed in pacemaker turned into raging staph infection that would have killed him pretty quickly had they not removed it. Pacemaker removed, infection healing but problems that the pacemaker was correcting began returning--specifically, fluid in his lungs. It was well over a month before the pacemaker could be put back in, though, because of the risk of the infection returning. It's been three weeks since it was put back in and he's healing, but it's a slow process and he's fairly depressed about it. Right now, though, it's looking good and he's getting stronger. We're just praying it continues in this direction. The infection showed up two months ago today so it's been a long road.

Anyway! I have an extensive to-do list planned for today. I also have some shopping to do, though I might try to get up tomorrow morning and do it on my way to pick up the girl. My primary goal is going to be to make the binding for a baby quilt and do the machine attaching part. I will hand sew the other side, but I just need to get this part done before Evie gets back. Hopefully that won't take too long but I honestly don't remember from the last one I made. I kind of enjoy quilting but I don't see it ever becoming 'my' hobby, if you know what I mean. I really quite like the piecing part but I HATE the quilting part and I'm not too crazy about the rest of it either. So... yeah. I do have a few that I would like to make though.

We leave for Sweden in just about a month, and, being me, I am spending a bit of time doing organizational tasks. I mean, I always make lists, but I'm being more organized than usual for three reasons. 1) I am a SAHM and I am really looking forward to a change of pace 2) my niece and 3) my three-year-old. I want the traveling to be as peaceful as possible for E's sake, of course, but mainly, I have been stressing over my niece. It's just a slightly odd situation, you know. She's fifteen and she needs some guidance on STUFF. What to pack, what to not pack, what will happen, etc. If she lived with us, we'd just kind of get that info across as we were packing our own stuff. But she doesn't live with us and I don't really get to see her that often, and I almost never see her mom, my former sister-in-law. (Former..ish.) She needs to know this stuff too, since she'll be the one to help W pack. So, I am writing some notes on all that stuff, like how much the baggage can weigh and a list of what she definitely needs to pack and some notes on electrical devices and what to bring in a carryon and all of that good stuff. I guess part of it is just that it means a lot to me to be able to give this experience to her and I want it to go as well as possible.

So, help me? Most of you are the traveling sort. What do you think a fifteen year old girl needs to know about international travel and flying in general that she might not have thought about? She's never flown before. Any hints on what should she pack? What should she not pack? I have already written most of what I can think of telling her but I feel like I'm forgetting stuff so I was hoping you all would give me a few ideas. Imagine bringing a teenager with you next time you go--what would you want them to know in advance. Oh, and while you're at it... we'll be in Stockholm. Any ideas on what we should be doing with her (AND a three-year-old, of course) while we're there? We did a lot of touristy things when I was there for the summer before we got married, but it's a) been ten years and b) not like we did everything there was to do.

June 2015

212223242526 27


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags