Exploring California: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Saturday, we took a short road trip north to visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with the Grasshopper and her Grandma and Grandpa.

The Grasshopper had a great time.  We let her lead the way and explore the museum as she felt inclined.  As she encountered different exhibits, we talked to her about them by asking a series of questions.  We’ve found that, for her, this is a good way for her to learn.

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For example, the museum has a blue whale skeleton at the entrance that you can walk into and touch.  She loved this and wanted to be right up in the bones.  This gave us the opportunity to talk to her about bones.  Understand that about half of the books we read together are science-related, so she’s been building on this knowledge for a while.  This is a chance for her to see the things we’ve read about up close.

santa barbara nautral history whale bones

What do bones do? Help us stand up.  Can you find the whale’s ribs (she’s been talking about ribs lately)?  That’s right!  What do our ribs do?  Protect my heart.  Where is your heart?  Where do you think this whale’s heart was?  I think you’re right?  Do you think it was a big heart or a little heart?  Biiiiiiiig heart!  I think you’re right!  Do you remember if a whale is a mammal or a fish?  I don’t know.  Well… let’s think about it.  Do whales breathe fresh air in their lungs?  Uh-huh.  …  Mammal!  That’s right Grasshopper!  What do you think baby whales eat?  Do you think they eat fish?  mmmmm…. No, they drink their mommy’s milk.  That’s right!  Do they drink a lot or a little do you think?  Remember, a baby whale is bigger than Papa!  A lot!  I bet you’re right!  I bet it takes a lot of milk for a baby whale to grow up big and strong.

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Then she ran to the whale’s head and had Grandpa lift her up into the head.

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Grasshopper, do you see teeth in this whale’s mouth?  No. No teeth.  What do you think it uses to eat?  I don’t know.  It uses a special kind of part in its mouth called baleen to eat a teeny-tiny animal called krill.  Do you want to know how baleen works?  It’s like when Mommy makes pasta.  You know at the end how Mommy pours the pasta through the strainer in the sink and the water flows out through the holes, but the pasta stays in the strainer so we can eat it?  It works just like that.

Aside from the whale bones, the other big highlight (for all of us!) was the butterfly exhibit.  I’ve been to a lot of butterfly exhibits.  Usually, they’re huge, glass pyramids with exotic greenery and lush waterfalls.  This exhibit was a simple building with net ceiling and walls to contain the butterflies.  Inside were plants that can grow happily in the local environment.

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It was the smallest butterfly exhibit I’ve ever been to.  It was also by far the best one I’ve ever seen.  The Grasshopper was able to have many close encounters with the butterflies.  She even found one that landed on my back!  And another tried to land on her pink shoe!  It was very exciting.

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The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History isn’t a child-oriented museum, but by letting the Grasshopper lead and explaining things in ways that she can understand, we were able to bring her into the experience and make it enjoyable for her.

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Sure, we didn’t get to see the hall of minerals, which I was actually pretty interested in.  We also spent way more time looking at dioramas than I probably would have.  But that doesn’t really matter.  By letting her lead and teaching to what she was interested in, she learned much more and had a much better time than she otherwise would have.  We all did!

 

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Exploring Farmer’s Markets with Kids

I love, love, love going to the farmer’s markets here in California.  I love wandering around and seeing all of the fresh fruits and veggies.  I love getting to taste samples of things.  I love the delicious tamales they sell there.  I love the people-watching, especially the free hugs guy and the poetry guy.  Most of all, though, I love going with my daughter.

At 3 years old, she’s so full of natural curiosity.  She enjoys the sensory experience of the market just as much as I do.  We hold hands and just wander around.  I let her take the lead.  We look at the strange things like the purple carrots and the fancy mushrooms.  I involve her directly in the shopping in a way that just isn’t possible at the grocery store.  I let her taste the samples and pick which item she wants.  We talk about the colors, the smells, the tastes.  We talk about where the food comes from and why we eat certain things.  There is something magical about experiencing a farmer’s market with a kid.  I heartily recommend it.

This morning, the Grasshopper and I went to our local farmer’s market for fun and to see what interesting things we could find for the long weekend.  We each came home with our own treasures.  I chose swiss chard, fresh white cheddar cheese (pasteurized so I can eat it!), fresh focaccia bread, and a Texas sweet onion.  Is it a Texas 1015 bred by Texas A&M?  WHOOP!  The fellow I bought it from wasn’t sure, but if it’s a Texas bred onion, that sounds good to me!  The Grasshopper got to choose some treasures of her own as well: raisins and a bag of Rainier cherries that we will have to help her to eat in a careful way to avoid choking on pits.

I’ll be honest.  I’m not a serious Farmer’s Market shopper.  For my family, it’s more about the experience than the shopping.  Most of our food comes from the big store up the road, but there are some things I’ve found that I just prefer getting at the market.

I always get my honey there.  I eat local honey to help with my allergies, and at the market I can talk to the apiarist (beekeeper) to find out just what “local” means.  In this case, it means just up the road from my house!  I’ve even been able to find honey specific to my allergies.  Since I’m allergic to flowering weeds, I go for a wildflower honey as opposed to an orange or lemon honey.

I also like to treat my family with good cheese from the market.  It’s more expensive, so we eat it as a treat.  I also like to get onions there.  The fresher the onion, the milder the flavor.  They just taste better.

Berries are also a good bet from the market.  Strawberries at the grocery store always seem to be just on the verge of getting furry.  The fresh berries from the market keep a little longer so there’s not as much pressure to eat them same day.

So if you haven’t been or if it’s just been a while, head out to your local farmer’s market.  See what’s there.  Explore the colors, the flavors, and the people.  You won’t regret it!

If you are a regular farmer’s market attendee, what are your favorite things to get there?  What kinds of things do you enjoy exploring?

Sightseeing in LA Before the Hyperemesis Gravidarum Starts

Yesterday, we drove to LA to do some tourist stuff.  We kind of had to since our car had to be taken to the dealership for some work and the closest dealer is in LA.  They gave us a lovely Cadillac that is completely pimped out, and, with the help of the Nav system, we got into all kinds of trouble.

First, we visited the La Brea Tar Pits, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.  It did not disappoint.  We did the walk around the big asphalt lake, which was very cool.  The big fiberglass mammoths are a little campy, but the lake itself (water on top of an asphalt quarry), was very cool.  The whole thing bubbles and fizzes with methane gas releases, and there’s this sheen of oil across the top of the water.  A huge fence keeps people back, away from the water.  Surrounding the lake are a few much smaller fenced areas (think 3′ x 3′) where the tar had apparently just randomly bubbled up.  The whole effect is pretty creepy.

la brea tar pits

We explored the museum area, which the Grasshopper seemed to really enjoy.  There were several docents in the museum with carts of different bone casts for her to touch, and later we got to walk around the grounds even more.  There were many tar pits in the park around the museum and lake that had been excavated, and a few that were being excavated right then.  There were a few with big bubbles of tar breaking the surface.  Scattered around the park were a lot more little spots where tar had bubbled up.  Some were old with permanent fences to keep people back.  Others were newer and had traffic cones marking them off.  Very cool and prehistoric.

It was a great outing, and I highly recommend that if you are ever in LA.  The Grasshopper loved seeing all the animal bones, and my husband and I thought the bubbling tar was very cool.

We ate lunch a few blocks away at a burger place.  I couldn’t do a burger today for some reason.  Something about the meat.  The idea of it just turned me off, but I did have their fried dill pickle chips and a salad.  I love fried dill pickles.  Slather those puppies in ranch dressing and I am one happy camper.  Fried pickles are a Southern food that this girl just craves.  Unfortunately, this burger joint tries to fancy them up with an apricot sauce.  Very California, but just not the way fried pickles are meant to be eaten.  Two little cups of ranch later and I was a happy camper.

How cliché is that?  The pregnant woman waxing poetic about pickles.  Hey, I’m just still happy to be waxing poetic about any kind of foodstuff.

My husband and I were talking about it in the car, and we both agreed that if it stayed like this, life would be pretty good.  Even if I had to take medicine all pregnancy, I would still love this.  It’s early, though.  I’m not going to set myself up for disappointment.

I managed to talk him into taking me to IKEA to get a few small things to finish off the Grasshopper’s room, and the nav system took us on a merry tour of LA.  We went through Korea town, Little Bangladesh, the Ethiopian neighborhood, Phillipino Town, and a variety of other places.  It was quite the downtown detour.  We made it to IKEA, got our stuff, and headed home.

I was exhausted.  I mean, seriously tired.

Then last night, I had bad dreams.  I dreamed that the pregnancy turned out to be ectopic, but there on the ultrasound was the perfect picture of a tiny, tiny baby with its heart just beating away.  If I didn’t have the surgery to remove it, I would die.  If I did, there would be no way to save the tiny baby.  I woke up feeling sad and unwell.

I have got to slow down.

I had to lay in bed a little longer this morning to wait for the Zofran to kick in before I could get up, and I’m finding that I need to sit mostly.  I think the illness is just very slowly creeping up on me.  I’m still mostly feeling okay, but sometimes a little wave will come along just to remind me.

I still want to rest up and try to see if we can go to Vietnamese New Year later today.  There’s the promise of excellent food and a neat cultural experience.  That’s something we can all get excited about.

Travelling with Emetophobia

Travelling with emetophobia can be brutal, and since having hyperemesis gravidarum, emetophobia is a real problem for me.  When we travel in the US, it’s not so bad.  You don’t have to worry so much about drinking the water or not having the right enzymes to digest the cheese.  Stuff like that.  Japan was not an issue at all.  Japan is so clean you could probably eat off the street and not get sick.  It was so clean that we could do stuff like eat food from street vendors outside the temples without much concern.

Latin America, not so much.  You can’t drink the tap water, and they don’t have the same health regulations for food vendors.  I managed okay in Nicaragua.  That was before the emetophobia really settled in and got comfortable in my head.  Ecuador was pretty rough.

I started having major food aversions in Ecuador.  I think I would have been okay, had I not gone to the grocery store with my mother-in-law and seen the crate of frozen turkeys just sitting out by the big double-doors leading to the outside.  Having just given a presentation at work on food safety, I was horrified.  I could practically see the bacteria crawling across it.  I imagined puddles of turkey juice settling onto the floor.  I didn’t eat much that day.

I spent a lot of the trip fighting off panic.  It was pretty rough.  I was not able to enjoy several of my favorite foods.  I had to force down my mother-in-law’s phenomenal ceviche, which is ridiculous because the shrimp are grown and harvested by my father-in-law so I know exactly where these shrimp come from and I know that they’re unbelievably fresh and packaged and handled safely.  Safer even than the US.  It’s also ridiculous because they’re the cleanest people I know.  My mother-in-law’s nickname is Mrs. Clean.  She mops her floors daily.  She keeps the cleanest house I’ve ever been in.

I generally will eat just about anything.  I love trying new foods, as evidenced by my willingness to eat octopus stuffed doughnuts outside Asakusa temple in Tokyo.

Savory little pastries with octopus arms inside. NOM.
Savory little pastries with octopus arms inside. NOM.

This emetophobia, though, has put the kibosh on that.  Now, I see restaurants or food vendors and all I can imagine is warm refrigerators and putting cooked meat back on plates that held raw meat and chopping veggies on the raw chicken cutting board.  All I can imagine is salmonella hell.

The plane rides were rough too, particularly coming back.  I always get a little woozy on airplanes.  The air is stuffy, they move around a little.  No big deal though.  These days, when the smell of the plane hits my nostrils, I immediately have to start fighting the panic.

On the way back–Guayaquil to Miami–there was a baby a few seats in front of us who kept having coughing fits.  I kept imagining I was hearing retching noises.  That’s a new one on me.  Usually it’s just me throwing up that’s a problem.  I kept imagining that I felt nauseated.  When we were landing in LAX, I actually had to talk myself down from an actual panic attack.  You know, you start breathing fast and your brain starts going around in circles.  I felt like I would be sick.  I felt trapped.  I felt like I couldn’t breath or get out.  I had to close my eyes, clamp my mouth shut, consciously slow my breathing, and talk myself down.

I think the emetophobia is getting worse.  Maybe it is time to start dealing with it.  Frankly, though we don’t have any travel planned, the thought of getting onto an airplane makes me feel extraordinarily uncomfortable.

This is the place where I usually start giving tips and pointers on dealing with things.  I don’t have any tips for dealing with this.  I’m at the point where I need to suck it up, make some time, and call my doctor to get a recommendation on a good therapist.  From what I gather, emetophobia is pretty difficult to deal with.  I am absolutely not interested in doing any kind of exposure therapy.  Hopefully my doctor will have some good information for me.

Anyone know how to deal with this kind of thing when you travel?  I mean aside from travelling with a whole bunch of Zofran.

NY Times Article on Travelling with a Baby

I just wanted to pop in quickly to share the article I found from the New York Times.  The author details her experience travelling to Southeast Asia (lucky!) with their baby.  She really nails it on describing how a baby draws you into a culture.  While our experiences haven’t been quite as extreme as there’s, the similarity is there.

Traveling in Southeast Asia With a Rock-Star Baby by Jennifer Bleyer

The moral of the story?  Take your baby with you!  It’s awesome!

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Travel with a Baby Part 2 – Getting Through the Day

 Since we have recently returned from a trip to Ecuador, I thought it would be fun to do a series on travelling with a baby.  The Grasshopper has been travelling with us since she was six months old, and she’s an old pro at this point.  I’m going to break this up into a 3 part series.  Part 1 deals with how attachment parenting practices make travel easy.  Part 2 (this one) deals with how we deal with the daily challenges of life away from home with a little one.  Part 3 will be more of a me centered post on how emetophobia impacts my ability to travel.

 
Travel can really does throw your life into an uproar.  It’s a pleasant uproar, but it’s still an uproar.  Unfortunately, while uproar can make life interesting for adults, it can make it miserable for children.  In this post, I’ll go through some of the ways we make it through the day when we’re travelling.

Days start early when we’re travelling.  We try to get up and get breakfast and get out as quickly as possible.  Mornings really are the prime time with a little one for sight-seeing.  So out we go.

Getting Around.  Except in the case of Japan, where we walked and used trains and buses, we always take our own carseat.  We learned our lesson on that in Nicaragua.  We had arranged to rent a carseat along with the car, but the carseat they presented us with was positively ancient.  It had a bar across it instead of a lap-belt, and the padding had long ago gone flat.  It was horrible.  Since then, we always bring our own carseat if cars will be involved.

Seeing the Sights.  Sightseeing with children can be really fun.  Explaining things to children can help you see things in such a different light.  Visiting the temples in Kyoto was so magical. We couldn’t just walk through and look passively.  We stopped and explained more, explored more, and this brought a whole new dimension to the experience for us.  It’s one thing to look at a statue of Buddha and something else entirely to explain it to a 2-year-old.

Washing hands in the sacred spring before entering Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto
Washing hands in the sacred spring before entering Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto

Sights were richer, more interesting, and definitely more interactive with a child along.  A child doesn’t want to stand and look. A child wants to do, and the Grasshopper, in her desire to participate in the goings on, brings us along with her.

Mealtimes.  When we travel, we really try to keep mealtimes at their normal time or as close as possible. We tend to follow the same pattern everywhere we go: breakfast, light snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Foods won’t be exactly like they are at home, but for us it works out. It’s pretty easy, wherever we are, to find something that resembles the food we eat at home.  Chicken, meat, a soup, noodles, etc are all pretty universal foods.  The meals aren’t as balanced as they are at home, but for a few days we’re willing to be flexible.  Luckily she isn’t afraid of stronger flavors, but even if she was, simple foods can usually be found anywhere.

Trying new ways of eating can be fun, too.  Sitting on the floor to eat at a low table is a blast for a child.

Dinner Kyoto style
Dinner Kyoto style

You know what else is fun?  Learning to eat in weird ways with funny stick things.

Noodles and chopticks.  Perfect for toddlers.
Noodles and chopticks. Perfect for toddlers.

She now insists on eating with “choppy-chops” whenever they are available, and she’s become quite adroit at managing them.  Most of the food winds up in her mouth.  Go her!

A Word on Snacks.  Bring your own from home.  There is nothing like raisins and a few whole wheat goldfish to help settle a cranky toddler in an unfamiliar environment.  Sometimes local snacks really won’t do.  They’re just not quite the same.  In Japan, we experimented with my cousin who lives there to see what all she would eat, but she just didn’t like the same “kid food” that Japanese kids eat.

Potty Time.  This can be a real challenge.  If your child is still in diapers, bring enough to cover the entire trip.  Although you will likely be able to find diapers locally, don’t count on local sources unless you’re travelling in the US.  We got lucky in Nicaragua and found the right brand/size of diapers, but that was made easier because we were there visiting family.  If your kiddo has a sensitive bottom, just bring your own.

When the Japan trip rolled around, the Grasshopper was already potty trained, so the challenge became finding a toilet that she could use when she had to go.  Japan is an incredibly child-friendly country, and it is also full of clean public toilets.  Almost everywhere we went we were able to find a toilet for her to use.  Just ask.  In our experience people are pretty willing to let a child use the toilet.

Naptime.  After lunch, we usually try to do something a little quieter so she can relax and fall asleep.  Take it from us, temple districts are not quiet.  Gardens are a much better naptime sightseeing choice.  We pop her into the carrier (now the stroller since she’s so big) and just stroll quietly.  She’s usually tired enough from the activity of the morning that she drops off.

Naptime outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo
Naptime outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

After nap, it’s business as usual.  Time to find the next sight to see.

Bedtime.  We try to maintain the same bedtime routine that we have at home.  We’re a little more flexible on the timing depending on how tired she is from the day, but the routine stays the same.  It’s safe.  It’s familiar.  Even if the sleeping arrangements are a little exotic.  I bring some of our favorite books from home to read to her at bedtime, then we nurse, and struggle up together to go to sleep.

Yes, I know, this means we don’t get to go out and experience local nightlife.  Meh.  We’ve never really been much into that anyway.  We’d rather visit cathedrals, temples, gardens, and other historical sights than go to bars.  We can go to a bar in the US.  So, when we’re travelling with the Grasshopper, we just adjust our sleep to her sleep.  That way we’re all refreshed together.

We slept on the floor on tatami mats in Kyoto.  She was in heaven!
We slept on the floor on tatami mats in Kyoto. She was in heaven!

Jet Lag.  This can be a challenge for all of us.  Mostly, we head south to Latin America where my husband family is from.  This means the jet lag isn’t as big of a deal.  In Ecuador, for example, they’re on Eastern Time.  This just means we stay up a little later and sleep in a little longer.  The only time it really was a problem was in Japan.  When we visited Japan, we essentially had to reverse our sleep cycles, which honestly is easier than getting over the jet lag you get going to Europe.  Don’t ask me why.  It just is.

I will be honest and say that when we went to Japan, all three of us used Benadryl to help up reverse our sleep cycles.  Drugging a child to sleep is never something I recommend, and we did so under her pediatricians advice and care.  We explored with him several possibilities, and based on her own medical history and risks associated with other potential choices, this is what we opted for.  If you ever do decide to go this route when travelling, please do consult your child’s physicianBenadryl, in some children, can have the opposite effect and cause them to become completely wired.  I wouldn’t think that’s something you’d want to find out about in a foreign hotel at 3 AM local time.

Really, we’ve found that getting through the day can be pretty easy.  A little planning ahead to coordinate active sights for morning and quiet sights for afternoon helps immensely, as does tweaking our adult sight-seeing habits slightly to fit in with the basic routine that she is accustomed to.  I hope this information helps you to feel more confident that you can travel with a very young child.  It’s wonderful.

Travel with a Baby Part 1 – Travel and Attachment Parenting

Happy New Year’s Eve to you all!  Since we have recently returned from a trip to Ecuador, I thought it would be fun to do a series on travelling with babies.  The Grasshopper has been travelling with us since she was six months old, and she’s an old pro at this point.  I’m going to break this up into a 3 part series.  Part 1 (this one) will deal with how attachment parenting practices make travel easy.  Part 2 will deal with how we deal with the daily challenges of life away from home with a little one.  Part 3 will be more of a me centered post on how emetophobia impacts my ability to travel.

My husband and I love to travel. We love it so much that we continued travelling after the Grasshopper was born. We pack her suitcase and bring her along with us wherever we go. I know there are parents who send the kids off to Grandma and Grandpa’s house when they take a trip, but there is no way we could leave her.  As a deeply attached family, it would be neither relaxing nor a vacation with her missing.

She is a pretty well-travelled kid by this point. She’s been a variety of places in the US, as well as Nicaragua, Japan, and now Ecuador.  She’s got lots of airline miles racked up already!

Dinner Kyoto style
Dinner Kyoto style

People always seem surprised when I tell them we brought the Grasshopper along on our latest trip, but in reality, travelling with a baby is not that hard. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do give it a chance.  Little ones can be extremely portable.  The younger the child, the easier it is to bring them along.  Six months was a magic age for travelling with her.  She was not yet mobile and content to sit still with me for long periods of time and still exclusively breastfed, so no need to worry about snacks and meal times.

Children can help you experience countries in interesting ways.  Rest assured that you will need to find a local grocery store for some critical and forgotten something, and grocery stores are great places to learn about other cultures’ every-day habits.  Babies also really seem to bring out that extra something in others.  We find ourselves interacting with locals much more when we bring her with us. People see a cute kid and they want to interact. It’s pretty cool.

Washing the Grasshopper's hands in the sacred spring before entering Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto
Washing the Grasshopper’s hands in the sacred spring before entering Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto

In Nicaragua, a boy in the market gave her a little toy grasshopper that he had made(so appropriate!).  We had so many cute little old men on the train in Japan grinning and waving and trying to get her to smile at them. People do that wherever we go.  A shopkeeper gave her a little packet of koala-shaped cookies.  In Kyoto, a group of taxi drivers took pity on us in a rainstorm and rushed over with umbrellas to help get her into the car without her getting wet.  People want to talk to her, make her smile, and they want to see her laugh.

Travelling with little ones is great, and if you are into attachment parenting like we are, it’s even easier. Here are some ways that AP has made travelling with our little one easier.

We nurse. Breastfeeding is wonderful for a variety of reasons, but when we are travelling, it’s great. On an airplane, when she was tiny, we would just nurse and sleep the entire flight. Now that she is older, it is still a way to keep her still and calm. It is also essential on take-off and landing to equalize the pressure in her ears.

Once we’ve arrived, nursing means we have a portable source of potable fluids for her, something especially important when travelling to countries where the tap water is not safe to drink. It is also a yummy nutritious snack (yes, I am a walking snack bar), a familiar food source when the local foods are a little too different for toddler tastes, and a place of retreat and comfort if the world becomes too stimulating. Nursing is the thing that most helps us when we travel.

Noodles and chopsticks. Perfect for toddlers.
Noodles and chopsticks. Perfect for toddlers.

We co-sleep.  I’ll be honest and say that at home we don’t co-sleep in the traditional sense.  When we travel, though, we transition to a more traditional form of co-sleeping. No need to pack porta cribs or rent cots or squeeze extra equipment into tiny hotel rooms. We just all snuggle up together.

It is more secure for her and easier for us if she wakes in the night for all the reasons co-sleeping at home makes night waking easier for parents.  Instead of sleeping in a strange place, she’s sleeping comfortably between Mama and Papa, the most familiar and comfortable place she knows.

We babywear.  When we are running through an airport or hiking across a city the baby carrier is an essential piece of equipment.  While I have several carriers at home, I stick with the ERGO baby carrier when we travel.  If you don’t already have one of these, get one.  They truly are an excellent carrier. There are no metal parts on this carrier, so I don’t even need to take her out to go through airport security.  Bonus!

The carrier gives her a place up high so she can see what we see.  It gives her a place to hide if the surroundings become too intense.  It gives her a place to nap that is comfortable and familiar.  All this allows us to press forward and see the sights we want to see without having to go back to the hotel every afternoon for nap time.

Comfy in the ERGO at Cannery Row

For full disclosure, we don’t use the Ergo anymore.  While she has not yet  exceeded the weight limit, she has become simply too big and too active to use the ERGO effectively.  Japan was our last trip using the ERGO.  Now, we use the Maclaren Quest stroller.  It is lightweight enough to haul up and down temple steps, but sturdy enough to have survived multiple encounters with airline baggage handlers.  It’s only just now developed a tiny bit of a wobble since the Guayaquil-Miami flight.  Pretty good for so many flights.  It also reclines nearly flat, allowing her to nap wherever we happen to be.

Really, those are the big basics for our travels with the Grasshopper.  Attachment parenting, far from tying us down as a few well-meaning friends suggested in the beginning, has given us the freedom we need to travel together as a family.

Travel and the Waiting Game

I hate waiting.

I really hate waiting.

Right now, I’m in waiting season.

I’m about as prepared for a pregnancy as I could possibly be.  There’s nothing really left to do but wait for things to happen.

I was hoping to distract myself with Christmas, but now we’re totally ready for that, too.  More waiting.  I feel like a little kid.  Why does Christmas have to take so long to get here?  This will be the first Christmas that the Grasshopper really gets it.  She’s so excited.  I can’t wait to see her on Christmas morning with after Santa comes.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

The fun part is, we are waiting down in Ecuador with the in-laws.  The Grasshopper is having a blast.  Travelling with her is wonderful because you get to experience things again through her eyes.  It’s great fun.

It’s a bit challenging, though, due to the extended nursing thing.  So far, my mother-in-law and father-in-law haven’t said a word, but that may be because I’m doing my best to hide it.  Usually, I’m very open about it (as evidenced by my public blog), but I just don’t want to deal with the cultural clash about this.  No sense in creating tension where there is none, if that makes sense.  The Grasshopper is doing really well adjusting to this.  I’ve only been able to get in one or two nursings per day, but she seems to be okay with that.  She’s been a champ with all the upheaval from the travel, new food, new experiences.  She’s a very flexible child.  I am so grateful for her positive attitude.

Honestly, that’s all I’ve got in me to write.  I’m typing on a borrowed laptop and it’s driving me crazy.  Also, it’s set to Spanish so it keeps trying to auto-correct every word I type.

I’ll write later about the flights down.  It truly was the trip from Hell.  I just don’t have the energy to go into it right now.

Leaving on a Jet Plane (to Ecuador)

hyperemesis gravidarum travel kit

This is the first our daughter really “gets” Christmas.  She is very excited.  She is excited about Santa, presents, and, most of all, seeing one of her favorite Aunts: her Tia Meli.

This is going to be an especially exciting Christmas because we are flying down to spend it with my husband’s family in Ecuador.  This will be the Grasshopper’s first trip to Ecuador, although not her first trip overseas.  She’s been to Nicaragua to visit family and Japan for vacation.  She’s quite the little world traveller!

Not really knowing where we are with being pregnant or not, I’m taking pretty much everything I might potentially need for the first stages of the HG assault.

Thank goodness for the hyperemesis gravidarum kit I put together this fall!

I’m adding a few items that weren’t in there before:

  • Prima Bella wristband (that’s going to be fun to explain to TSA)
  • 30 Zofran ODTs, bringing my total to 45, enough for 11 days a full dose.  Possible overkill.  I may re-evaluate this.
  • A few pregnancy tests
  • My regular daily vitamins (mulit-vitamin)
  • The stuff I’m taking for my sinus infection: antibiotics, affrin, etc.
  • A copy of The Protocol.

I’m thinking that this is going to need to go into the carry on.  I know they unlock and go through bags, and while I would never presume to accuse anyone of thievery, it just seems more prudent to carry this with me.  Several items in this kit are costly, namely the Zofran and the wristband.  It’s simpler anyway.  If TSA has questions about any of the stuff (I’m thinking the wristband), I can be right there to answer those questions.

We fly out this Saturday at the crack of dawn, so I’m glad that this is all basically together.  There’s so much other stuff to do, so it’s nice to know that this is all taken care of.

It’s going to be busy tonight and tomorrow getting ready, and I’m not sure what internet access is going to look like in Ecuador.  This may be the last post I write for a while, so don’t expect to hear too much from me between now and the first of the year.  I’ll do my best to approve any comments that need approving as quickly as possible, but if it takes a few days, please don’t take it personally.

Happy Holidays to everyone and to the HGers out there, I hope you are able to enjoy your holidays as well as possible.

Wishing comfort and joy to you all!