Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What a Month! Part 2

6/5/10 Sooooo... we get on the ship and drop off some stuff at the room. We are hastily shuffled towards the buffet restaurant for lunch. The food is great, the staff is AMAZING, and all seems well. For anyone considering cruising, the 2 biggest pleasantries of a cruise vacation are BY FAR the FOOD and the STAFF. Now, one might not think that the staff would have such a huge impact on the cruise experience, but it REALLY DOES. If you are like me, and you like to talk to people, I guarantee that the fleeting thought of "I should totally invite this person to dinner at my house after the cruise is over", may very well go through your head after a few days. You may not linger for long on this thought, but I bet you it will cross your mind...

6/6/10 Today is Mindi's birthday. We try to stay upbeat, but the lingering news of her sister's illness, coupled with the fact that we cannot seem to find a hot vegetarian dish that is not Pasta Primavera is obviously making our vacation a little less carefree. In addition, we realize, to our dismay, that there is absolutely NOTHING for Harris to do on the cruise. There is a children's program, but they will not accept any kid in pull-ups, or under age 3. When I asked them if I could sit in a corner of the children's area and play with him and their toys, they told me that it was not allowed. "Didn't you bring any toys for him to play with" she says, with an innocent look on her face... grrrrrrr... oh, you mean, in between the diapers and formula that required their own duffel? well, noooo, I thought that we might have access here. I didn't even want to leave him there, I just wanted him to have something new to play with. Her only other suggestions were to let him run around on the tennis court, and to take him swimming. 2 problems with that, if the weather was nice, the courts were occupied. If the weather wasn't nice, the weather was NASTY, and, as far as the pool goes, no children were allowed in whilst wearing swim diapers. I buck the system there with a big F U, and take him in the pool WITHOUT a swim diaper... heh heh heh... On a good Samaritan note, I ask him politely to tell me if he has to pee... does he tell me he needs to? No. does he pee in the pool? probably... On a positive note, Harris tries his first chicken leg, and loves it.

6/7/10 Over 48 hours on the ocean, we are going stir crazy. After the quick discovery that this cruise is meant for the "older set", and noting the interesting contrast between "aaaaw, look at the cute little one", vs the evil eye that says "your child is single handedly RUINING my vacation", we are ready to GET OFF THE BOAT. We dock in Juneau, Alaska, and proptly begin our search for our first letterbox. (Even more info about Letterboxing Here). While we don't find the letterbox, we do discover a park! With a swing set! And a slide! Wow, who gets that excited about a park? It reminds me of the time we drove from Chicago to Seattle over the course of 4 days, and after 24 hours of corn fields, we finally spotted a few cows, and nearly pissed ourselves with excitement...

6/8/10 We receive news about Mindi's sister. She has passed away. Long story short, she died at 27 from complications of a gastric bypass (almost 3 years ago), coupled with poor life choices. At this point, the rest of the trip becomes blurry.

6/9/10 We eat our way through another day, and buy a new toy for Harris at port. Which port? I have no idea.

6/10/10 We eat our way through another day

6/11/10 We eat our way through another day

6/12/10 We eat breakfast, then disembark the ship. Our friend Diana picks us all up. We make a quick stop back at the house, and then Diana takes Mindi swiftly to the airport, to hop on a plane to Miami for her sister's funeral.

I was with the 2 kids alone Sat, Sun, Monday, and part of the day Tuesday. It was not a big deal- not too difficult for me to be alone with the kids, so that was good. Mindi and her mom and remaining sister are doing as well as can be expected. It is so sad to think that Feb14th, 2007, Mindi lost her father, David, to cancer, and not more than 3 years later, she lost her younger sister too.

The icing on the cake? We came home to a broken microwave.

And now, a tidbit about cruising with children:

Cruising with kids is AWESOME. I know that some people might be nervous about the whole thing, but once you get on that ship, it is like you are in a town on the sea. There are lots of things to do (assuming you pick the right cruise) and, like I mentioned before, the food is spectacular and plentiful. (I gained 5 lbs in a week). I beg you, however, to really do your homework if you are cruising with children. Some cruise lines are better than others at entertaining families with small children. We cruised with Holland America. Now, I thought that the ship was nice, the food was excellent and the rooms were great, but it was obviously, like I said before, a cruise for the older set. Upon arriving home, I did some research into other cruise lines, and discovered that the 3 best cruises for families with little ones, are Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney cruise lines.

If you have had a good experience on a cruise with kids, I would love to hear about it!! In addition, if you have any questions about an upcoming cruise, I am happy to answer it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What a Month! Part 1

Wow, folks, it really has been quite a month for us! Let me just give you a quick rundown, and then, if I find I have the energy, I will expound a bit!

I will start a bit further back- into late May, well, just because I can!

5/26/10 I attend an "Edible Landscape" class, held through Seattle Tilth with my veeeeeeery good friend, Kat. I have to say, if any of you live even remotely close to Seattle and have an interest in anything garden, vegetable, plant, worm, chicken, or compost related, check out that website. It is the bomb. There are so many cool classes, and they are inexpensive, and laid back, and fun- not to mention, informative! Now, I have to admit, that going to this class (and an earlier one in April about composting) is a stretch for me. I am a homebody, and although I am very outgoing and people oriented, getting me there to MEET the people is a bit of a challenge. I am proud of myslef for pushing the limits of my comfort zone!

6/2/10 Stella has her final appointment for her Helmet. I opted to leave the helmet at the facility so that they could use it as an example for other parents. Before Stella started her treatment, I was able to see and feel another helmet as an example, but it was for a much older baby, and was, therefore, huge. I felt that seeing a smaller helmet would help me grasp it better as a parent, beginning therapy. What else was I going to do with it? I was not about to take up valuable memory box space with it, and I didn't want to send it to the dump. I was very excited when I asked them if they would be able to use it, and they said yes! Stella's head is adorable, and She has totally blossomed since we took it off. To date, she has had a little over 3 weeks of helmet-free-ness, and has since decided that if she is not sitting up on her own, she is not happy. But truthfully, her physical abilities have caught up with her mental desires, and she is doing great!

6/3/10 Mindi gets a frantic phone call from her mother. Mindi's 27 year old sister is gravely ill, and in the hospital. She nabs a flight to CA (where her sister is living) late in the afternoon (via an impromptu ride from Kat). It is a Thursday. We are scheduled to leave on a week-long Alaskan cruise on Saturday. We have not yet packed. In a heartbeat, I become a single mom with an infant and toddler, unsure of when the wifey will return, and faced with the responsibility of packing for a family of 4, all on my own, all while watching,changing, codling, loving my little ones. At this point, we are even unsure as whether we will be able to get on that boat.

6/4/10 Friday morning, my savior/friend Diana comes over to keep me sane help me focus make me laugh watch the kids, while I run around in chicken-esqe style, trying to pack. Let's not forget the fact that I have to pick up the dry cleaning and take Harris to his FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT. The dentist appointment was something I was not looking forward to. Harris is very much against things that make loud (loud to him of course) noises, and anything that someone unfamiliar is trying to stick in his mouth. nevertheless, Diana saved the day, and watched Stella while I took Harris. He did well, despite the fact that he wouldn't let the hygienist near him, and screamed and squirmed all the way through the dentist's exam. he loved the dentist after the fact though, and that toothpaste? That "just the right sized tube for me" with SPARKLES toothpaste? Well, Harris treated that like it was the best thing since sliced bread, and, apparently, his (child dentist, by the way) is now a celebrity in Harris' eyes. Awesome.
           After the stressful day of waiting , not knowing, and packing, my lovely wife flies in on a plane at 9:30pm.

6/5/10 Our lovely friend, Diana (who, I was getting QUITE sick of seeing- damn, it is like she never left my friggin' house! just kidding dirty Diana, just kidding!) drives us to the dock in the AM. Whew! We are going to get on that boat after all!!! After getting wee lost (but nothing Diana couldn't handle...) we make it to the big beautiful boat! We unload, give huggy thank you huggies, and start on our journey! The room on the boat is beautiful. It is large enough to feel that we were not cramped beyond belief, and we had popped for a verandah, which, to me, makes a WORLD of difference when you are on a cruise ship, especially with little kids!! We are all smiles. (and sweat- but mostly smiles).

To be Continued...

Saturday, June 12, 2010


My friend Kat clued me in to this list of fruits and fruit juices that contain lead. Don't get me started on LEAD.


Please take a minute to check out this list. Think your favorites could not possibly be on this list? Whoa baby, THINK AGAIN!

the LIST Bum Bum BUUUUUUM!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Beautiful Commercial? You Betcha!

Touching and true. This one gave me chills, and I am sure that you will get them too!

Untitled from Lynn L on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Helmet Free!

7 weeks to the day, and we are helmet free! I took Stella for her weekly appointment, and Hillary, the helmet fitting lady (who has been super great) gave us the seal of approval to discontinue the helmet! It was honestly a joint decision between the 2 moms and the expert. Stella's head is not perfectly round, (no body's head is!!) but it is well within the average head measurements, and it is noticeably better than when we first started the therapy! I can tell that she is enjoying all of her nakie head time, as are we.

I definitely recommend that any parent who is considering this therapy give it a whirl, and I want to thank Carey from Finding Chaos once again for helping me get the knowledge and courage to challenge the "authorities"!

Thank you also, to everyone else who gave encouraging words along the way!!

Here is her first "newly out of helmet therapy " picture!


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