5 Tips for Traveling With a Newborn

Before Luna’s first flight (our recent trip to Texas) I spent a lot of time planning what to pack for her. Husband and I have learned to be very light packers over our years of traveling. I even wrote a blog about it. We only bring carry-on’s, even if it’s a 3 week trip on the other side of the world. It’s just so easy and fast, but is it possible to keep this up with a baby?

In typical me fashion, I made a list. I wrote down everything I thought baby needed and then tried to narrow that down to things she actually needs. Of course, I still had to make my own list of things to pack for myself. Sadly, I had to narrow down my own list even more than normal in order to fit in baby items.

After all of this planning and list-making Husband and I managed to each pack one carry-on suitcase, a backpack for him, a diaper bag for me, a car seat and that is it! We did not have to check a single thing. I was a little worried we didn’t bring enough, but we were going to my parents house, not a third world country, so we could always run to Target if we needed something.

I chose not to bring our stroller because I thought it would be a pain in the airport and assumed we would have to check it. Turns out you do not have to check it. They will stow it for you as you board the plan. After towing around our chunky baby in a car seat through three airports I was DYING for a stroller, and I have one bicep that is much larger than the other. We also wanted to bring our “tote-a-tot”, but the night before we left we discovered that it doesn’t work for an infant car seat.

photo of someone else's tote-a-tot
photo of someone else’s tote-a-tot

 

Luna had to come out of her car seat to go through security, but that was it. We were very fortunate that none of our flights were full and she could stay in her car seat next to us on all four flights without us having to pay for an extra seat. However, if they had been full we would have held her and the flight crew would have stowed the car seat for us. (BTW the attendants and flight crew on American Airlines were super nice about the baby, but sadly they no longer offer wings for first flights.)

hehe, love this pic of her strapped in her car seat in the airplane seat
hehe, love this pic of her strapped in her car seat in the airplane seat

Also, did you know that you can fly with liquids if they’re for your baby!? I had 2 bottles of breast milk that weren’t even questioned. Any medicine or food for a baby is allowed. You just have to show it to them as you go through security.

We learned a few “do’s and don’t” on this first trip, and I think it’s worth sharing what I learned with you! Here’s my list of Top 5 Tips for Traveling with a Newborn.

  1. Only pack the necessities. I brought:

-one outfit for each day, but they were mostly onesies. If she was older I’d bring less.

-2 blankets. I love the Aden & Anais brand best because they are very lightweight and breathable. I use them for EVERYTHING.

-one new pack of wipes

-diaper rash cream

-diapers for the plane. We were going to order a box of diapers from Amazon and have them sent to my parents ahead of time so we wouldn’t have to pack a week’s worth of diapers, but my Mom ended up picking up a box for us because she is awesome like that.

-a toy

-travel-sized baby bath products

-2 pacifiers

-breast-pump and bottles

-one bottle of breastmilk

-nursing cover (scarf from Marie Nohr!)

-a couple of zip-loc bags for dirty clothes or stinky diapers

-car seat

And here’s what I wish I would have brought:

-my Moby wrap

-a stroller. However, if we end up traveling overseas this year (fingers crossed!) we still won’t bring a stroller. I’m hoping a Moby wrap or Ergo Carrier will suffice.

-one of those little clips that attaches the pacifier to your bag or baby’s clothes. I cannot tell you how many times we lost both pacifiers.

  1. Consider the final destination. If you are traveling to a place with a washer and dryer than you won’t have to worry about having lots of extra outfits or blankets. If you have the address you can ship or order some things from Amazon ahead of time. Amazon is awesome! You can order diapers, wipes, formula, snacks, whatever you need and have it waiting for you when you arrive. Also, we did not have to pack a bed for Luna because my parents have a pack-n-play at their house. However, hotels should all offer pack-n-plays or bassinets as well. Just call ahead of time.
  1. Be prepared for a crying baby on the plane. Luckily, Luna only cried for 2 minutes before take off on one out of 4 flights. It was great. However, those two minute were absolute hell, and I can’t even imagine having a screaming baby the whole flight, but it happens so the best you can do is be ready with a pacifier, a bottle or a boob! Also, do not look at the strangers sitting around you. Their glares will not make you feel any better or help in any way. (Best advice I’ve ever got!)
  1. Don’t sweat it. Spit-up on your clothes? Dirty Diapers in the airport? Missing your ridiculous amount of baby gear? No big deal. Everyone feels gross in an airport already, so a little spit up isn’t going to hurt your ensemble. Just throw a baby blanket over that mess. I actually had a stranger offer to hold Luna after I changed her so I could wash my hands. And, you know, you don’t really need all that baby crap. We survived the week by swinging the baby in our arms, bathing her in the sink or with us and just listening for her cries when she went to bed before us.
  1. Tag team it. Thank God for awesome partners, right? We took turns holding her, calming her, rocking her, changing her and everything but feeding her. Let Daddy keep baby company while you grab some Starbucks. Have him check the flights, carry more bags or pick up a snack while you do the feeding. Whatever works for you, just make sure you do it together. We all love our babies more than anything, but sometimes you need a break…especially if you’ve been up and traveling since 3:45am.

That’s it. Our first trip with Luna was smooth-sailing! Hope all future trips go this well!

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Cheers!

Friends In Texas

We survived our first trip with our newborn daughter and boy was it a great trip! We went to Texas to see my parents, relatives and many friends who met Luna for the very first time. Luna was an awesome happy baby on four flights. She drove all over southeast Texas, ate at many restaurants, shopped all day, toured the boardwalk, had her first crawfish boil and met a ridiculous amount of people. (Yet, still not everyone…there are just too many good friends to see!) It was one awesome and busy week.

My Mom loving on baby O
My Mom loving on baby O

Luna and I both crashed after getting home today which explains why I’m blogging at 11:30pm. I’m certain that the second I post this and get into bed, she will wake up ready to eat. Oh well, I kind of miss her when she’s sleeping so waking up in the wee hours really isn’t bad. Although, she’s so worn out she may sleep all night.

This little princess could not have been more excited to meet my own little princess.
This little princess could not have been more excited to meet my own little princess.

One of the best parts of being in Texas was seeing my friends, their babies and introducing them to my baby. One of my best friends had her 3rd baby boy the day before we flew into town! Seeing all of us with our babies together is really special. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends who are also Mom’s in my life.

There's one more important lady and baby boy missing in this photo!
There’s one more important lady and baby boy missing in this photo!
Welcome to the world baby Slade!
Welcome to the world baby Slade!
Luna getting to meet her Aunt Danica
Luna getting to meet her Aunt Danica
And her Nanny Sommer
And her Nanny Sommer

The entire week was spent staring at babies and talking about them. None of us can even remember what we talked about prior to having babies. We transitioned from crushes to colleges to marriage to breastfeeding and poopy diapers over the last 15 or so years, but it seems like no time has passed at all. Seriously? Weren’t we all just calling shotgun in our boyfriend’s pick-up trucks, skipping school to eat at Dairy Queen and having all night dance parties in our pj’s? When the hell did we grow up?

Having a playdate with Mr. Handsome
Having a playdate with Mr. Handsome

We just thought that high school was hard and dramatic. What, with its heartbreaks, bad grades, attempts to fit-in, prom disasters, eating disorders, after-school jobs and whatnot. We only survived because we had each other. I’m sure of it. Now, we have learned the true meaning of survival as well as friendship. Life after high school has gotten so much better, but not without it’s fair share of illness, miscarriages, loss, career choices, more heartbreak, moves and failures. Thankfully, we still have each other. Even though we are states away (some of us are even countries away) I am constantly leaning on them for support.

Trying to get a photo with little Nolan!
Trying to get a photo with little Nolan!

Seeing our kids meet each other is so special. I wish we all lived closer, but hey, at least they’ll always have reasons to travel!

Luna had her first Easter Bunny picture taken with her best bud!
Luna had her first Easter Bunny picture taken with her best bud!

Love you all!

Cheers!

Baby’s First Flight

First flight!
First flight!

Yesterday, Luna had her first flight! We got up at 3am for a very early flight to Texas to see my parents. In fact, we took two flights to get there, and our little girl was quite the trouper. (Yes, I documented every moment with a poor quality cell phone photo, and yes you are now forced to look at them.)

Checking in
Checking in

It takes a lot of planning and some research to figure out what you need to fly with a baby (not much), but Husband and I managed to travel with only 2 carry-ons each, and Luna in a car seat. I think we brought everything we need, but we still have 6 days to go… once we are back in Tennessee I’ll write a post about how to travel and pack with a newborn! I’m sure I’ll have some do’s and don’t’s.

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going through security
caffed up and ready
caffed up and ready

We didn’t purchase her a seat, since babies fly free if you hold them. We carried her through the airport in her car seat and planned to put the car seat away on the flight. Luckily, neither flight was full which means we got to keep her in her car seat and put her in a seat next to us…no holding necessary.

watching the sun come up
watching the sun come up

She slept all the way to Dallas and only woke up to eat during our layover. On the second flight we ended up taxi-ing around for almost an hour. After half an hour Luna got restless and started sounding fussy. I decided to pick her up before she started crying, but I must have accidentally hit her on a buckle or something because she went from quiet-baby-fussing to unbearable-ear-splitting-screaming in a millisecond. I don’t think I have ever heard her scream as loud as she screamed the second I picked her up. Too terrified to look around at the passengers who were probably very unhappy, I kept my eyes glued to her and did everything possible to console her.

taking the monorail...yes I documented every moment with a photo
taking the monorail
strapped in and content
strapped in and content

It took only 2 minutes (which felt like 20) to calm her down. By the time we took off she was perfectly happy and didn’t make one more peep the rest of the flight. Whew.

American Airlines tweeted us for her first flight!
American Airlines tweeted us for her first flight!

We landed safely in small town Texas and were picked up by the happiest Grandparents ever. In just one day Luna took two flights, went grocery shopping, played dress up at Grandma’s store and even got to visit a new baby at the hospital. It was such an eventful day that she slept for 8 full hours last night!

PawPaw!
PawPaw!

We have a busy week in Texas ahead, can’t wait to share more of Luna’s first adventure!

Cheers!

Get Me Off This Emotional Roller Coaster!

During my first trimester I was a little emotional… Husband began to irritate me with things that never bothered me before being pregnant. I mean, seriously, do you have to constantly tap on me and hum while you eat??? I also cried a lot easier, which is really ridiculous considering that I already cry at 50% of TV commercials. However, once the second trimester arrived, I seemed to even out and feel like my more normal emotional self again.

Enter the third trimester.

My emotions have been all over the place the last week! I’m up, I’m down, I’m all around. Within minutes I can go from laughing to crying to fuming. I stayed up one night crying over sad things that happened in life two years ago. Sometimes I feel so elated with being pregnant, being with Husband and loving our life that I can hardly contain myself. Then, I find myself wanting to strangle Husband for putting a coffee cup in the wrong cabinet. The biggest emotional change has been my newfound fear of becoming a Mother.

If you want to scare yourself from having children, take a flight to anywhere. While flying back and forth between Nashville and Dallas I found myself thinking, what the hell did I get myself into??? There were SO many screaming temper-tantrum throwing kids. Normally, I find it easy to put on my headphones and ignore these naughty little ones, but this time I couldn’t help but notice the Moms. They looked exhausted, frustrated and a lot like zombies. I’ve never seen such dark circles under someone’s eyes. They were carrying vinyl diaper bags, princess accessories and wearing sweatpants. One family was eating hotdogs on the floor while their son threw chunks of bread and weenie out of his stroller. Is this what my life is going to morph into in a few months? Is it too late to back out? I was horrified.

Ten minutes later I noticed a toddler sitting with her Mother and eating fries and nuggets. She was adorable, singing to herself  and politely asking her Mom to blow on her chicken nugget even though it was obviously at room temperature by this point. Her Mom laughed with her silly little girl and snapped photos of her with a big cheesy smile to send to “Daddy”. It was so cute and sweet that I almost cried. It made me yearn for Luna’s arrival and our future Mommy/Daughter dates.

The whole trip went back and forth like this, and shopping was exactly the same. One minute I was on the verge of panicking as I watched siblings throw down in the middle of a store as “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” blared in the background. The next minute I was sappy and hopeful as I watched a little boy whisper his wish list sweetly into Santa’s ear.

I’m sure all of these scenarios are bits and pieces of what parenthood will be like and I’m certain Husband and I are both ready for this next step in life, but my God is it scary! I can definitely imagine us toting around princess toys and eating hotdogs on the floor at the airport, but sweatpants and vinyl bags is where I draw the line. Honestly, I found it hard to believe that this was the last trip I’ll be taking alone for a while. I became fully aware of my alone adult kid-less time and tried to savor every sip of Starbuck’s and every bite of Five Guy’s fries and felt thankful that I didn’t have to share my iPad with anyone.

Hopefully, this emotional roller coaster comes to an end soon. I’m ready to only feel excited again…does that even happen? Only 73 days to go! (Hopefully a little less than that!)

Cheers!

The Nephew

I had very good intentions of writing to you all weekend and sharing my memories with my new nephew with the world, but somewhere between getting my flight canceled, traveling for 20 hours and then holding my nephew for the first time, I forgot. I spent the entire weekend with my beautiful nephew, and never even left my parent’s house. (Luckily, a few of my friends were willing to make the trip out to the “country” to come see me.) I only got two days to make a good impression on this beautiful little miracle, so I did my best to teach spoil him and teach him a few valuable lessons.

I gave him a few new outfits and this adorable hand crocheted octopus from Le Zoe Musings and Amanda Jo Crafts. Thanks ladies!

octupus

I taught him all about reality television, beginning with the Kardashians.

eyes

We napped together…

asleep

Woke up together…

yawn

And we enjoyed the beautiful Texas spring weather.

meoutside

Every moment with him was a pleasure. It was also amazing to see my sister and my brother-in-law as parents. I never doubted they’d be great parents, but actually seeing it is awesome! My sister seems so natural as a Mother, and happier than ever. Geez, I’m a little teary eyed just writing it.

micahcouch

What a great weekend! Now, if  I could just get home. Once again I am stuck at the airport with a long flight delay…I’m so ready to see my Husband; it’s been two weeks too long. Oh well, I managed to get a free pass to the Admiral’s Club this time which is very snazzy.

Excuse me while I go refill my free coffee and snack plate.

Cheers!

Mission Impossible

About four months ago a good friend of mine told me about a very special bottle of Jack Daniels that he wanted. His Father, who recently passed, was a huge fan of Jack Daniels and Frank Sinatra. In December Jack Daniels announced that they would be selling a special “Sinatra Select” whiskey, and my friend decided he had to have it.

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The trick here is that the whiskey is only sold at the distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and in a few random airports’ duty free shops. Knowing that Husband often travels to Tennessee for work or family, my friend asked if we could possibly pick up a bottle for him…. And so our mission began.

We thought this would be an easy enough task; an interesting buy and a great favor for someone we think is great. We were actually in Nashville for the holidays and flew back to NYC on January 1, 2013. Excitedly we thought we would be one of the very first people to ever purchase this special Frank Sinatra whiskey. We were disappointed to find it had not been distributed to the Nashville airport yet.

No problem. Plan B, Husband was flying back for work a few weeks later, he could get it then. Still no whiskey in the airport, so Husband called the distillery. Guess what? No Sinatra Select available there either…hmmm.

At this point, our friend Steve (the friend who married us) decided he wanted to help. Plan C, Steve lives in Nashville and thought he could be our Tennessee accomplice. Once Husband flew back to NYC, Steve took over as our TWA (Tennessee Whiskey Agent). Steve called the distillery to find out the exact date the Sinatra Select would be put on the shelf, (Feb. 15-19) and researched the story behind the whiskey…

Frank and Jack were basically BFF’s. Frank drank Jack’s whiskey before every show and the two of them traveled the world together. They were such great friends that Jack actually had a special barrel made to create an extra dark whiskey for his friend Frank, and no one else. Frank’s barrel has extra grooves on the inside of the barrel to expose the whiskey to extra layers of Oak, so it’s rich and flavorful.

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In the next month Husband flew to Nashville a couple of more times with no luck. We also called and emailed the distillery numerous times (Plan D). We asked if we could buy a bottle, review a bottle, or get a bottle in any way possible. Again, no luck.

Finally on February 16th, Husband surprised me with a trip to Disneyland California. We flew out of JFK airport and guess what we found in the Duty Free shop?! We actually got to see and hold the bottle. We were jumping with excitement, but were quickly disappointed to learn we were not allowed to buy liquor from the Duty Free shop unless traveling internationally.

Fine. No big deal. Steve was working on carrying out his part of the mission in Lynchburg. This was the one and only weekend the Jack Daniels distillery said they’d be selling the Sinatra Select and Steve managed to find nearby refuge so he could go to the distillery each day until he found it on the shelves (Plan E).

By the time we were flying home from California, the distillery had still not put out the whiskey…this is especially frustrating considering the whiskey is made there and only there. Not only that, but NO ONE could tell us where or when we could actually purchase this impossible to get whiskey.

When we landed in JFK I decided enough was enough…we are getting this whiskey! Plan F was to find a new accomplice, an international accomplice. There is a food court located right outside of the Duty Free shop in the airport. Husband took a seat; I freshened up my makeup and began scouting fellow travelers. I walked from table to table asking friendly looking people if they were traveling internationally, none were.

Fine. I moved on to the Duty Free shop. I pretended to play on my phone and secretly watched shoppers. A few minutes later a young guy with a backpack walked out, Bingo!

I quickly began following the young guy and managed to strike up a conversation with him. He was friendly and his name was Esteban (as in the Spanish Steve!), I took this as a good sign and decided to recruit my new friend. Turned out that Esteban was indeed traveling internationally and more than happy to help me out.

Okay, this next part makes me sound like an idiot, but I’d prefer if you think of me as trusting and hopeful. We were standing at Esteban’s gate, unable to see the Duty Free shop. I handed my new friend $200 and sent him on his way. Immediately I texted Husband who was sitting in front of the shop, to let him know the plan was in action.

jack

He updated me every 30 seconds…

Esteban is in.

Whiskey is in his hands.

Checking out.

Walking out, no bag.

Going opposite direction…

F#@% come back!

At this point, I began running and preparing my story for police officers…How do I explain handing a complete stranger that much cash?

Wait, he’s coming back.

By the time I stopped running I could see Esteban walking towards me. Turns out that he did buy the whiskey, but as he left they informed him that he couldn’t take the whiskey. They will give him the whiskey when he is on the plane. So he left, walked the opposite direction, then went back and returned it. He gave me my money back, a hug and asked for my number.

Ugh… We left feeling incredibly frustrated, but not hopeless. We never give up. Seriously, never. When I want something, really want something I find a way to get it. I can be very crafty.

Onto Plan G…The last week of February Husband flew back to Nashville and again attempted to buy the whiskey with Steve. Every. Single. Day. Husband got the same response every day. “Sorry, still not here”.

On the way to the airport he got a call from the lady he had been emailing from Jack Daniel’s PR. She casually let him know that the Sinatra Selection has just been released in all Tennessee liquor stores. So, on the way to the airport Husband stopped in a plain ol’ boring liquor store and purchased the whiskey completely legally…no secret agents or espionage involved.

I have to say when he showed up with this giant bottle of whiskey I have never been more excited, and I don’t even like whiskey!

You may be wondering why I look weird here...it's because I have on no makeup.
You may be wondering why I look weird here…it’s because I have on no makeup.

Mission accomplished. Big thanks to Steve and Esteban for your many efforts.

BTW, we tried the whiskey and it taste a lot like whiskey, although I’m positive that Jack Daniel’s fans or whiskey drinkers will say different

Cheers!

Surprises

Husband and I love to plan surprises for each other, but we plan them very differently. I plan out surprises months in advance and am so excited that I tell him all about it, or even give it to him, before the special occasion. I have no self-control. Husband plans out his surprises and never ever even hints that he has devised anything at all, and then BAM, surprises me with the world’s best most unexpected surprise.

He told me a few months ago that he would plan something for our anniversary and I could plan something for Valentine’s Day. I bought him something he desperately needed, a new camera strap, and planned a romantic dinner out for two..which I told him about the second I booked a reservation.

I bought Husband a camera a few years ago, right before a trip to Japan. While traveling he realized he really needed a strap, but did not want to buy one. One day, while entering Tokyo Disneyland he found a bright sequined scrunchie, picked it up, attached it to his camera with a hair-band, and he has been using that as a camera strap ever since. Husband could care less that he looks ridiculous, he is just happy to have a free camera strap that has lasted him almost 3 years.

scrunchy

For Valentine’s I bought him a nice new innovative strap that I found on Kickstarter from a cool company called Peak Design. He was a little sentimental about saying good-bye to his dependable scrunchie, but he is thrilled to have a real camera strap that won’t garner stares from strangers.

sadpeter

 

We had dinner at Crudo, a romantic Italian restaurant in Little Italy that offered a vegetarian and non-vegetarian prix fixe menu. Like most NYC restaurants, it was small, cozy, and candlelit.

mousse

 

I was happy just to get dressed up and go out on a real date. Not that I don’t love our nights inside watching Walking Dead marathons…that’s probably my favorite kind of night.

shoes sweater street necklace coat

The next night Husband tells me to pack a suitcase. At first I was a little concerned…Are you kicking me out? Is this because I threw out your scrunchie? Turns out he had planned a surprise trip for our 8-year dating anniversary!  Within ten minutes I went from SUPER duper crazy excited to highly anxious freak-out mode.

What should I pack? How many days? What’s the weather? Are you taking me to a psych ward? Are we flying? Do I need my passport? Swimsuit? Coat? Boots? Flip-flops? Laptop? Nook? Raincoat? Camera? Snacks? Medicine? Heels? What about Belle? What about work? 

I couldn’t stand not knowing. I am a planner! He refused to answer half of my questions so I threatened to serenade him with Adele songs until he tells me the surprise. After singing all of Someone Like You as loud as possible and missing every single note, he told me he is never surprising me again…

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: We arrived to JFK airport and Husband handed me this..

tix

 

As soon as I saw “Los Angeles” I knew we were going to Disneyland!!!! I could not have been more excited! After a 6 hour flight, we arrived to the most comfortable Disney hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, special Disney pins and Mickey balloons. And the weekend just kept getting better….

arrival

Can’t wait to tell you more!

Cheers!

 

My Resolution

For the last week I have been racking my brain for the perfect resolution. My ideas are pretty typical…workout, eat healthy, write everyday, be nicer, get over irrational fear of going to the doctor, travel more, stop going to Starbucks so often blah, blah, blah. Everything just sounded so boring, so overdone, and so typical. I decided I needed one simple not too unrealistic resolution.

Stay positive.

After all, I do write a blog titled “Positively Panicked”. Everyday (give or take a few) I write to all of you about my daily adventures, the good and the bad, and do my best to focus on the positive, the silver linings, and the humorous sides of every little event. Outside of my virtual life though, I forget where I should focus. In my reality, my negative thoughts have been out weighing the positive, and it is time for a change. I want to adapt a more Zen approach to life.

Like Luke, when it comes to all things life I’m adopting a Zen attitude.

On January 1st, we flew home and I did not think a bit about resolving anything. I slept late, ate fries for lunch, and drank coffee after 4pm. Everything was fine and dandy until our flight. When we got to the airport we had a 45-minute delay, which turned out to be the perfect introduction to the rest of our trip.

In one day of traveling my computer crashed, my Nook crashed (every single book was deleted), our plane seats were malfunctioning, the airport tram broke down three times, the third time we were forced off, we stood in the cold to wait for a bus, missed our train, waited an hour, took 5 more trains to get home, ordered dinner at 1am, and they were out of my entrée.

Somewhere between getting kicked off the tram and waiting for our missed train I remembered my New Year’s resolution. “Stay positive”. I was extremely pissed off at this point, especially since I had nothing to read, but I did my best to search for a silver lining.

That silver lining turned out to be a hidden box of Triscuits in my backpack and some quality conversation with Husband. We talk a lot everyday, but during the 8-hour trip home we had real quality conversation, and made real adult like decisions about our plans for the next year.

Another benefit from our unlucky trip is that my willpower to keep this resolution was quickly put to the test, and I am happy to say I made it home without throwing a fit or taking a very expensive cab ride. I even had a few laughs.

I just have to keep reminding myself: deep breaths, think happy thoughts, everything will be okay. I can do this.

Is anyone else adopting a positive New Year’s resolution?

Cheers!

I Work Hard For the Money

After working a grueling 5 hours this morning (yay half-days!), I ran home, grabbed my suitcase and Husband, and hopped on a train headed to JFK airport. Why??? Because I’m spending my weekend in my most favorite place….no, not Sephora… DISNEY WORLD!

Our annual passes are about to expire, AND we got tickets to preview the new Fantasyland, AND it’s opening weekend of the Osbourne Family Spectacular of Lights, AND it’s the last weekend of the Food and Wine Festival! Woohoo party!

I am so pumped that the airport lines, and even all the screaming kids on our flight, can’t get me down. (I always forget how loud and annoying flights to Orlando are…I must block that from my memory after each trip.)

Now, I sit here, seat 22A, drinking my coffee AND ginger ale, eating my free chips AND cookies (love JetBlue), Nook in hand, and watching free movies. This, my friends, this, is how every great relaxing weekend should start.

Gettin’ my blog on
Step Up 4 was on…it was painful, but I watched just to get to great dance scenes.
Husband thought it necessary to document the excruciating pain I went through as we were descending. My ears were killing me!

I take the phrase “work hard, play hard” very literally. I love my job, and the feeling I get when I see the benefits of all my devoted time. I tend to throw my whole self into work, and go, go, go, until I’m worn out and ready to turn my work brain off, and my vacation brain on. I’m sure that working until I’m burnt out is not the best plan, but that’s how I’m programmed.

I treat “playing hard” the same way I treat “working hard”. On any and every vacation I go, go, go, only stopping to eat or sleep. I vacation to the fullest, and relax until I’m bored and ready to go back to work…. Yeah right. I’m never tired of vacation! However, I do feel restored and prepared to work hardcore again.

I have a co-worker who completely disagrees with my habit. He doesn’t believe in vacation. What?! His plan is to work, work, work, until he has enough money in his savings to feel satisfied enough to take vacation time. Now, he may not “travel” on vacation, but he certainly “plays hard” around town. His way or releasing all the stress is to enjoy Manhattan’s nightlife…not a bad idea.

Another friend of mine has a different idea. She follows a specific formula of work, play time, and relaxation time for each day. When work is over, she leaves, and doesn’t take one thing home with her. She has allotted time for her family/friends, and then a little time for herself to wind down. This is her “survival plan”…again, not a bad idea.

I’ve tried these working habits, and even a few others, that just don’t work for me. So now, after a Hurricane, a snowstorm, an election, hundreds of teaching hours, lesson planning, meetings, and even babysitting, I’m done. Done and headed to Disney!

Now tell me, how do you survive the work week and the weekend?

Yay! Made it to Orlando!

Cheers!

Not Ready Yet

Our wedding invitation…drawn from a photo by our very talented friend Trent.


I’m home.

No longer a bride. Just a dumb wife. Wedding is over. Honeymoon is over.  Back to the real world.

Boo.

JK…I’m not really so glum. Just sad about the fact that this very wonderful 3 week vacation is over and I have to actually put on real clothes and go to work tomorrow, and I just have a need to be a little over dramatic when trying to express myself.

Before leaving you and the concrete jungle 3 weeks ago, I made a promise to myself that I would be “technology free”, give myself a real break, and take in all of the special moments awaiting me.

If you are a Facebook Friend you know that I kept that promise for about 3 minutes. I was just so excited to share our joy and our MANY many photos, and EVERYONE around me conveniently had a laptop. It was like the universe was begging me to upload photos, write excited status updates, and “check-in” all over Costa Rica.

Please forgive the obnoxious amount of pictures I’ve been posting…if you haven’t already deleted me.

I have no self-control. But, I did not write a blog, so I should get some points for that.

The down side of not working or writing is that I am not sure how to jump back into it. I mean after a fairy tale wedding, a magical Disney vacation, an adventurous trip to Costa Rica,  and lots of panicky moments, where do I even begin?!? Also, I have only had 2 hours of sleep in the last 40 hours so it’s hard for me to even tell if I’m typing or just dreaming that I am being productive.

I guess I should start from the beginning…the preparations.

After flying to Florida at the crack of dawn with Zoey, we immediately went to her old house, (wonderful and generous roommate still lives there), to open up the bazillion packages I’d sent myself and start putting all the pieces of the wedding together.

Thanks for being my storage center Liz!

Husband (I need a better name than that…) and I have been determined to make our wedding very personal and unique. We really wanted each guest to feel like they are not only special to us, but to also be a part of our story. Each detail was carefully planned to relate to some part of our relationship.

The inside of our invitation for example…the left side has traditional Disney stars under my picture…and the right side has Nintendo stars under Peter’s picture.

(Right after getting engaged, I read an article about a girl who went to a wedding as a “plus one”, meaning she had never even met the couple getting married. She wrote about all the personal touches the couple had at their ceremony, and how by the time the reception was over she felt as if she’d known the couple for years. That is exactly how I wanted our guests to feel.)

Part of our plan was to prepare a “Welcome bag” for each guest or family. Everyone had traveled and spent a pretty penny to attend our wedding, and we wanted to show our appreciation. In each bag we put our favorite snacks (twizlers, hot fries, snickers, gushers, etc), gum, personalized water bottles, door hangers, and of course there own pair of Mouse Ears!

I hand-wrote a note to attach to each bag. We spent hours upon hours organizing bags and individualizing them for each group, but by far the most difficult part of this task was finding out where each person was staying.

Please ignore my sloppy hand writing.

I had to contact every single guest and ask them what hotel they were staying in and what day they were arriving…I am POSITIVE most people thought I was being obsessive, crazy, and way over controlling. All of which are qualities I possess…so I guess they were not too far off.

After all of this organizing Zoey drove me to each resort, and waited patiently as I went in and spoke to at least a hundred bellmen, receptionists, managers, and coordinators. Luckily, every hotel was pretty accommodating and gladly handed out the bags as our guests checked in. Whew.

Another personal touch was our theme: Traveling! Obviously we love to travel and consider it a necessary part of our lives. To express our love of exploring the world with everyone at the wedding we created luggage tag favors that doubled as escort cards. (These luggage tags were placed in little suitcases for each person to pick up before finding their seat.) Hand-writing and putting together all of these was the most tedious of our task. Mr. Panic and I completed this chore by ordering lots of Mexican food and watching a full-day marathon of Gilmore Girls.

The longest task, but not the worst, was our decision to write a personal letter to each and every guest. Again, we wanted to let everyone know how much we appreciate them, love them, blah blah blah. Although time consuming, it was nice to sit down and write to so many people I care about, decorate the envelope with vintage stamps, and tie them up with twine. We even used airmail stationary to tie into our travel theme.

Mom and Dad reading their letter

And, to complete the travel touches, our table numbers. Each table number was actually a different country that we had traveled too. AND each postcard was actually created from a photo that we have from said countries/states. (My other half made 13 of the postcards…I made 1.)

The final bits of preparations were the little gray and yellow boxes full of lemon drops that we placed at each seat. (Thanks Mom!) And THANK YOU to all my friends who stayed up in my hotel room and helped me put all the boxes together, and then celebrated by having a dance party with me.

After months of tedious chores, and a few very full busy days in Florida, we did it. We were completely ready for our Disney Wedding.

To be continued…

I have to get ready for bed…boo.

Cheers!