Category Archives: traveling

Techical error

So that post I thought I posted on Father’s Day? Um, technical error. Didn’t post. Most likely because I forgot to hit the ‘publish’ button. But that’s OK. You didn’t really want to read another blather about fathers and dads and sons and everyone all doing super things together, right??

We ate pizza and went swimming. Vince painted Daddy a picture. It was extremely sweet. So that was Father’s Day, and then Edward went to work and I went to sleep. Party.

We are gearing up for our trip to New York this weekend. I should clarify that we are not actually going to the Big Apple. We are hitting up Long Island. You know, where Lindsay Lohan is from? There.

So unfortunately Tracy, I will not be going handbag shopping. As much as I long to be ushered up staircases and behind black sheet-draped enclosures, I will not be. Vince and his cousin Chloe are getting christened together on Sunday instead.

I guess it’s a good trade-off…

Maybe someone wants to just pick me up a handbag as a christening gift to Vince? Right. I thought not.

I am pretty excited to head up North to see the family. The last time we were up there was when Edward’s other little cousin Anna was christened in 2006. Which was just a few weeks after I moved to Florida from Canada. It was a bit of a culture shock for this Canadian, which is funny to look back at.

What a transformation a polite Canadian has when confronted by 70 or so Italians who mostly are eating things that Canadians are not accustom to devouring. And I say devour because that’s what I did. Pretty much the whole time. At Edward’s Grandparents house. At that really awesome restaurant we all ate at. At Edward’s aunts house, the one with the chocolate fountain?

It’s been 5 years and I am now a corrupt Anglo-Italian. Of sorts. Or at least my son is, being as he is actually of Italian and Canadian descent. And says ‘Mummy’ and ‘holiday’ and yet, also, eats mortadella by choice and has requested salami. And is three years old.

And who’s Mummy is an epic rambler. What was I talking about? Why am I not in bed? Happy Father’s Day! Belated!

Heading to Long Island in 3 days and am terrifically excited… Don’t worry, I’ll ramble again  before then…

xoxo a.m.

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Filed under family, Florida, Holiday, holy mother, Lindsay Lohan, motherhood, parenting, patience, traveling, Uncategorized

Glorious

The crazy Summer of 2002 and its Brazilian beach parties gradually ushered in one heck of a cold fall. Hamamatsu gets pretty windy.

Housing insulation…well…lets just say that it is not a priority. Thin walls, lack of central heat equals a very cold apartment.

With the cold fall, M’s Dad arrived and his visit was a highly anticipated one, both by M and by the school that we worked for. There were no end of eager students practically lining up to entertain him when he arrived. B, on the other hand, had his own ideas about what he would be doing… One day, I believe M woke up to find a note informing him that he (Dad) was heading to the train station (possibly on foot) to take the train up to Tokyo. And that he would call him later…

I peppered M with questions “Where’s he going? What’s he doing?” etc etc…. M replied “…not sure…” and that was the end of that conversation. A few days later he was back, it was the weekend and we all took a drive to see Momiji (or Japanese Maple trees in their gorgeous autumn splendor).

In case you haven’t ever witnessed their absolute glory, here is a picture from that afternoon hike that illustrates it…

Momiji 2002

Momiji 2002

It was pretty amazing. Can you see me on the side there? So we hiked all around this little mountain, up spider infested slopes and down them… under those fiery leaves and through their lightly less colourful brethren that were scattered on the ground…. We wound around and around the mini-mountainside until we came to the most interesting of bridges. Some type of suspension bridge, one of those that sways when you walk on them. I think they are awesome. M….. not so much. And B well, not at all. In fact he posed all cool and debonair and firmly on the ground, while I confidently strode out there and M followed behind… just slightly less excited than I was…

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

Jaime on the bridge, 2002

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

M on the bridge 2002... slightly less excited...

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

B not on the bridge and pretty happy about that....

It was a pretty full afternoon. Momiji. Glorious. Spider infested temple. Not so much. But that was evened out by amazing bridge experience (for me anyways).

That evening M joined me in my apartment (next to his) for an epic evening of boot-leg Simpsons episodes. We stayed up far too late. There might have been longing glances cast (in a behind the back sort of way…..we weren’t dating yet).

Glorious.

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Filed under amazing!, awesomeness, awkward, beer, discovery, dream, epic, family, gaijin, glorious, happy, Japan, late night, M, Nihon, traveling, Uncategorized

Banana (genius!)

banana-blog

I thought a lot about flying with V before our actual trip. A lot.

I MIGHT have over-thought everything, just a bit. I was really trying to think about things to do with him on the plane, but with a one year old that is a little tricky. Things that would work on older and younger children I didn’t think would work with him.

He doesn’t sit still ever.

And hates being held quietly and rocked like a younger child possibly would. Oh, and screams when falls asleep.

So a lot of thought went into what to take in that diaper bag of mine.

Snacks, toys, bottles and juice. That is pretty much what I had. Oh, and a banana.

The Banana, or  the herbaceous plants of the genus Musa, is cultivated primarily for its fruit.

Bananas are grown in at least 107 countries. In  popular culture and commerce, “banana” usually refers to soft, sweet “dessert” bananas. The bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains. Bananas may also be cut and dried and eaten as a type of chip. Dried bananas are also ground into banana flour.

Although the wild species have fruits with numerous large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas have seedless. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas.

V loves them, which was why I brought one. And spur of the moment, I decided to give the whole thing to him, skin and all to eat.

Holy burst of motherhood genius!!

That banana kept him occupied for about 25 minutes. I peeled the the skin back and let him hold the whole fruit, the skin draping down over those plump little fingers.

He was enchanted.

That little mouth didn’t know exactly what to do with it though. He tried to bite it with those 8 little teeth, but didn’t have much of an effect on the banana. He tried again, and managed to get some of the fruit in his mouth. With each bite he grew braver and braver, finally managing to take a whole mouthful of the fruit in one bite.

Banana was everywhere. How nice that I decided to save this moment for his first airplane ride, eh? It was on the airplane phone, the window, me, the seat in front of us, me again, him, all over him and his seatbelt and also my hands. I actually had a collection of banana pieces in my hand, the ones he didn’t feel like keeping in his mouth and spat out. Now normally I would just drop them on the floor and shout “Chewie!!! What’s this!!!” and our dog would come running and eat it.

That doesn’t quite fly on an airplane (harhar). So I just collected those little soggy bits in the palm of my hand and waited patiently for M to finish his diet soda so I could deposit them.

So word to the mothers out there. Bananas are genius for domestic flights!

Don’t, however, try and take one through customs entering the USA without declaring it, or you will be subjected to the excitement that we were (bag searches, flagged for the ‘short’ customs lineup (aka longest line ever with super strict scanning people) and having your bag swabbed for bomb residue). If you do bring any fruit through from Canada to the USA, make sure that it has the sticker on it. Apparently Canada imports from some countries that the USA doesn’t, and this is a huge issue.

Apart from that whole kerfuffle, I am a wellspring of motherhood genius! Banana! Genius!

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Filed under banana, Canada, flying with children, genious, holy mother, Mad skills, Mummy, parenting, patience, sanity, traveling, Uncategorized, Vancouver, West Coast

Mother knows best

mother-blog

Sunday morning M, V and I headed off into the beautiful sunshine for an outdoor excursion. Where were we going? I wasn’t that sure… all I knew is that it was an hour away. In the middle of loading everything up into M’s car, his father called and asked if we wanted to borrow theirs for the trip.

Their car is a sweet ride, all new leather interior with Sirius satellite radio and so of course the answer was yes. We headed over to their house, switched cars, re-loaded everything up and off we went. About 5 minutes after we left, M turned to me and said “Did you remember the stroller?” to which I replied “Of course!” in a confident manner. I WAS confident. I remember putting it in the trunk. No worries!

An hour later we arrived at Cyprus Gardens. It used to be one of the earliest theme parks in Florida, M explained to me. A few years ago they closed down all the rides but kept the gardens open. And added on a water park.

As we pulled into the parking lot, parked and got out… M swung around to the back of the car and opened the trunk.

Lo and behold it was empty! No stroller to be found anywhere. Where was it, you ask? Lounging in the trunk of M’s Mitsubishi in Orlando not in Polk County (where we were). Hmmm, my confidence was suddenly gone. Darn, I remember putting it in ‘a’ trunk. Not necessarily the trunk of the car we were in.

Things to remember when traveling with children:

Bring a stroller. Or at least make sure you can rent one wherever you are going. Or your arm might break off (like mine almost did while carrying V around). I know you aren’t retarded so I am sure you already knew this…

Bring hat(s). And be prepared for those hats to be flung off. I kept saying to M that I couldn’t believe we forgot one. And he kept saying “But all he does is throw them off”, which is true. But still wish we had one.

Sunscreen (especially if you live in places like Florida) is key. Even better if it is ‘stick’ form, which works well for little faces.

Water. Food. Food. Food. Water. Food.

Make sure your arms are nicely stretched out and can handle carrying your child that will for sure throw a fit after being in the stroller for 20 minutes or more. My bicep on my right arm is developing nicely. Not so much on my left…

Make sure you have lots of extra diapers. My darling child immediately filled his the minute we entered the gardens. So we immediately entered the washroom….

Which leads me to my  next point… make sure you have a changing pad. Baby changing stations are icky. Oh and a poo-bag. Oh, and most important…. hand sanitizer. (This particular changing station wouldn’t fold out completely, so V was on an angle. But on the plus side he was fascinated by being on an angle and I changed diapers with lightening-like speed!)

And in conclusion, don’t forget anything. And over-pack. And never forget to bring extra food/diapers/food/diapers. And make sure you pack enough snacks to feed a small army.

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Filed under busy, Florida, Mad skills, parenting, patience, The South, traveling, Uncategorized

Sanity

sanity-blog

I really like long weekends.

Last weekend I was super jealous of my fellow Canadians and their long weekend. But Ha! I have one now! A lovely long weekend that will be filled with party planning…

V’s first birthday is quickly approaching, as is our upcoming trip to Canada and there are many things to plan. I MIGHT even have to make a list (and we all know how much I love those).

His first birthday is a big deal to me, clearly, since I have been thinking about it for months and mentally theme-planning for ages as well. Finally it’s been narrowed down (I don’t want to reveal any secrets…. but there might be souvenir cd’s) and I am off this weekend with my M-I-L to pick out decorations.

I have been thinking a lot about traveling with a little one.

V has just learned how to do this:

BAA!!!! BAAAAAAA!!!!! BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It comes in 3’s and is very loud, and I love imagining us on a plane while he demonstrates his new skill.

He showed it of this evening at Pubes (or Publix…. or however you call it), and charmed every single person he came across so perhaps that means that his screams will be charming during our flight? And everyone will find that adorable?

In my imagination this is what will happen during our flight from Orlando to Vancouver:

1) Board the plane

2) Sit in seats and do up seatbelts

3) V falls instantly asleep as we leave Orlando

4) We land in Vancouver and V wakes up, refreshed and cheerful after a pleasant sleep.

Ideally this is how it will work.

Let’s think about reality though….

1) Board plane

2) Get kicked in stomach by small pointy feet for 30 minutes. Trade with M for 30. He trades back after 10 minutes saying “Jame, I have to go to the bathroom”. He doesn’t return for 45 minutes.

3) V excersizes his lungs repeatedly for half the flight.

4) V fights sleep for the second half (this involves screaming usually)

5) Our seats are showered with Cheerios and sticky half-eaten raisins.

6) V’s juice bottle rolls down the aisle at least 3 times.

7) There are at least 3 poopy diapers (which I will rock-paper-scissors M for. For real.)

8) I find at least 5 raisins and 10 Cherrios down the front of my shirt the first itme I go to the bathroom.

9) I leave the raisins there.

10) M pretends to sleep

11) We watch repeated episodes of ‘Elmo’s World’ and our seatmate requests a new seat (and leaves humming “Lalala lalala…Elmo’s World!!!)

12) We land in Vancouver, bus it to the ferry terminal and walk back and forth across the ferry for… well, for hours…. at least until we dock. I hand V to my mother and fall instantly asleep.

It should be an interesting experience and I am trying to not overthink everything (hahahahahahaha!!!! Oh geez…. I AM hilarious!!).

Things to read if you are traveling…

Here for traveling with little ones

Here for more traveling with the wee ones

For the oldest posting ever about sanity, click here

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Filed under Canada, parenting, sanity, traveling, Uncategorized