Tag Archives: Travel

Hunkering Down for Hurricane Matthew

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A little over a week ago we faced our first Florida hurricane. Threats of a direct hit over Saint Augustine kicked us into evacuation gear. Thankfully, with the majority of Florida family less than 2 hours away, we had a place to stay and made plans to head inland towards Gainsville.


When several local gas stations were out of gas and we received word that St. John’s County schools were closed Thursday and Friday, we made the decision to leave Wednesday night after Chris got off work to avoid future traffic. We packed our bags, put pjs on the kids, and headed to Lake Butler.


About an hour into the drive Norah said she needed to go potty. (Note: We are almost potty trained over here. The kids have received various rewards along the way (minus the M&M’s – I ate the one-month supply after 3 days and remembered why I can’t keep junk food in the house) and now I’m brainstorming a reward for myself because I. AM. TIRED (and the M&M’s are not sufficient).


(Chris, if you’re reading this, a massage will do. Or a mani/pedi. Or better yet? Take the kids and leave for 5 hours and don’t come back. Okay, thank you).


Although I tried to reason with Norah that she was wearing a pull-up and “Don’t you just want to pee in it so we don’t have to stop and we can get to Poppy’s house sooner?” it didn’t work.


I’m thankful it didn’t work because we weren’t to the bathroom stall before she vomited all over the candy aisle of the gas station. Thankfully, this made the candy no longer tempting to purchase. That was the only good thing about the situation.


There were ugly tears, ugly SMELLS, and lots of emotion. The majority of the emotion from Norah had nothing to do with the fact that she just threw up, or in her words, “choked,” but rather because she was wearing her new Elmo pajamas from Meme and now they were dirty. This was devastating.


Several baby wipes and a change of clothes later we headed back to the car for the remainder of the drive. We arrived safe and sound-ish with no more sickness.


The next few days were a flood of emotions as mandatory evacuations were played out – fear, anxiety, and then relief, when Hurricane Matthew hooked to the East and it was clear there would not be a direct hit on St. Augustine. We wondered about our current home (my parent’s condo) and the home we were supposed to close on the very next week. How would they hold up?


In Lake Butler we vegged out, played, and enjoyed time with family. Miles and Norah watched The Lion King for the first time. And we ate. A lot. Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, turtle pie, ice cream, etc. A cousin made the following joke on Facebook:

“So far I’ve eaten one junk-food calorie per reference to “hunker down” on the Weather Channel, so I’m going to need one of those EMT crews with a crane to get me out of the house on Monday.”

This was me. I could very much relate to this post, especially because I had previously made it to day 22/30 on Whole 30 and wasn’t used to sugar, dairy, gluten, or anything fun.


However, we did not need to call an EMT crew Monday because when we got back to the condo Saturday night (once we heard the condo had power again) I threw everything up. Again. And again. And again, sicker with a stomach flu than I’ve been in a few years. I don’t think it was from Norah because hers was very isolated – she felt fine after – and never showed symptoms again. This bug lasted a solid 24 with food sensitivity through the next few days.


Unfortunately life doesn’t stop when you’re sick and Chris had to go to work. The office had been closed with the hurricane and there was a lot to do. Since this was my first time having to take care of kids while being sick, I don’t think I’ve ever missed our mothers more. Thankfully a girl from bible study agreed to take Miles and Norah into her home (along with her two littles) for a few hours so I could get extra rest. It was so appreciated, and if you’re reading this, I OWE YOU!


As sick as I was, I was also grateful that our family and home was safe. At that point we had heard of the damage and devastation done to St. Augustine and surrounding areas. One of the first people I met here has 5 kids and her entire first floor is ruined. I can’t begin to imagine what she is going through, but I know she has faith and people in her church have stepped up and served her family over the last week.


Driving through town and seeing the damage is extremely sad. If this is the result of a category 3 indirect hit, I cannot fathom the category 4 DIRECT hit that was originally predicted. As horrible as a tragedy it is, I will say that it is incredible to see all different people harmoniously coming together for the greater good.


Last Friday we closed on our new house. It will be a few more weeks before we officially move in, but we are very excited for what’s to come. With a house, a family, and employment, we are blessed beyond what we could imagine and continue to praise God for His faithfulness and blessings over our family. We give thanks to God, “for from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

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Gas on a Plane

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I have to write this so it’s printed and Miles can’t tell me one day I made it up, although he will probably say that or blame me anyway. Aren’t all of our problems a byproduct of our parents? JK. 🙂


So…it was the first time traveling with the twins with one adult – just me. Granted, I would much rather be the only adult with them on a 2 and 1/2 hour plane ride compared to a 17-hour car drive. Can I get an Amen?


Miles was so excited for the airplane. Being ALL BOY, he is very into Things that Go at the moment. I went to Wal-Mart and got several cheap and exciting plane activities and prizes – stickers, Dory and Cars coloring books, play dough, kid chapstick, suckers, etc.  I also purchased a Cars vehicle and a My Little Pony to add to their current collections. Then, to be even more proactive, I got them headphones and downloaded the movie Cars as well as Elmo in Grouchland – Norah’s favorite – on this small, less than 30 dollar tablet, nothing like an Ipad.


Although we definitely limit the kids’ electronic usage, they somehow work my phone almost better than me. The only time they really see the Ipad is when we use FaceTime. The other times are when they steal our phones. We don’t always notice until suddenly it gets very quiet. Find the nearest (or farthest – they are starting to get smarter) corner or closet, and there they are, on the Sesame Street app, You Tube, or looking through pictures.


SMH, kleptomaniacs at such a young age.


Anyway, the plan was to use the tablet as a last resort on the airplane if things got hairy. Unfortunately, for the first 20 minutes, “a bit hairy,” was the understatement of the century. 


Miles, the child who had joyfully anticipated this adventure, was full-on hysterical. It wasn’t the “I’m 2 years old and going to throw a toddler tantrum.” Instead, it was “I’m going to have a panic attack if you don’t get me off this plane!”

 

“No airplane! No take off! No Daddy! No Florida!” over and over and over, crying huge alligator tears.

 

“I waan tuh git ahhhhhff!”


I tried everything. I pulled out all the stops. My goody bag that was supposed to last the entire ride was gone within 20 minutes. He didn’t want the suckers, the toys, nada.


And the tablet? Well, I PURCHASED the movies, but apparently I never DOWNLOADED them over Wifi. So….yeah. That stinks.


My saving grace with “The King” – the Dinoco car I purchased. I told Miles we couldn’t open it until we took off, so no matter how much he screamed (at the top of his lungs, might I add) “NO TAKE OFF!!!!!!!!” he was desperate to try to behave so when we actually got in the air we could open his new toy.


That’s also how I knew it wasn’t just a tantrum. He’s mostly a people-pleaser, and it’s very easy to redirect him. When nothing was working, including the car, I knew he genuinely did NOT want to be on the airplane.


Thankfully, after a mild delay, we finally DID take off, and after that he was pretty content. He enjoyed looking out the window, watching the clouds, pointing out other odds and ends to Norah, who by the way, saw the sucker and other candy and never looked back.  A girl after my own heart. 


I wish the earlier hysterics were the only reason people looked and stared and whispered at the three of us, but alas, I must get to the title of this piece…Gas on a Plane.


In all reality, people looked at our row quite often. Those near us, and EVERYONE who passed us. Why? I’m pretty sure they were convinced both kids (if not myself included) crapped our pants.


Our row smelled SOOOO bad. I was convinced the kids’ pooped, too! Either that or an animal died.


The stewardess commented, and more than one person asked me nicely if perhaps one the kids needed a diaper change. I kid you not! So, we had a lot of looks.


After checking Miles’ diaper 5 times in 5 minutes, he yelled, “It’s just gas, Mom! It’s just gas!” Despite the smell, I burst out laughing. 


Each time I checked the diaper, that was his response. People around us started to laugh and smile. Although it reeked, his consistent “Just gas, Mom!” was cute as could be.


We survived the flight without electronic devices. There was no poop explosions. Other than the initial meltdown, we were good to go.


The best part? Watching the twins run as fast as their little feet could go, backpacks on, to reach their Daddy was absolutely priceless. You could tell everyone, including Chris, was on cloud nine. 


We were in Florida. We were finally home.

 

 

Sayonaras Said, Plane Ride Ahead

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You get a lot of looks and comments when you have twins. With cases of multiples, it seems you instantly inherit extra attention. The most popular – “Are they identical?” Weelllllll, one is a boy and one is a girl….soooooo NO. And then next, the question where people get the real scoop – “Are they natural?” in which case I like to reply, “Yes, they both came out of my vagina” because really it’s no one’s business how the babies came to life, even if I do have a grandma who is a twin. And I secretly like making people feel awkward sometimes.

Of course most people ask these questions in sincerity with good intentions, so it doesn’t really bother me. The whole “You’ve got your hands full!” and “Glad it was you, not me,” slides right off my back. First of all, my hands are full. And for the second comment, I secretly think it myself when I see parents with babies younger than three months old. It doesn’t matter if that infant has the cutest little face. All I see is a whole ‘lotta work!

Needless to say, I’m used to the added inquiries now that I have the kids, but my dad (and fellow flight companion) hasn’t been out with us alone often enough to get the real lookatthem-overthere-it’stwins-omg experience. Despite all his charisma and charm, the extra attention made him uncomfortable. He was paranoid that people speculated the worst – that he was the father and I was his trophy wife. I thought as a man in his 50’s he should feel honored, that at least he wouldn’t be considered the gold-digger. Regardless, this resulted in him shouting “Papa” every few minutes to divert people from the question if he was the father and married to me. I found the whole thing hysterical knowing he was self-conscious over attention was nothing more than the typical twinsperience.

Time for departure.

Based on the looks of other passengers, entering a plane with two babies under the age of one feels more like an invasive attack than a simple entrance, where I should immediately pull out my boarding pass as proof that I am in fact allowed to be on this plane. It also makes me want to apologize to everyone in advance for whatever may occur in the next couple hours. And although the looks some people give say “This ride is going to suck!” trust me, if it’s bad for you, it’s even worse for me. At least they’re not screaming in your lap.

For those of you wondering, “If you’re complaining, why do you do it? Why are you traveling with them, anyway?” I have an answer. Most of my family lives in Florida – brother, grandparents, aunt/uncles/cousins and my parents for part of the year. Florida is home. And a few hours of hardship on a plane seems minute compared to an 18-plus hour drive.

My dad held Miles and I was with Norah. Both babies cried, neither wanted to sleep even though it was naptime. Their poor sinuses/ear infection did not help the situation, for that I am sure. Poor guys.

But then came the smell. Seriously?! You had to poop now? I thought it should be Dad’s responsibility since he was the one holding Miles, but that got shut down. Hey, I had to try. I took Miles to the back of the plane to change his diaper. Thankfully there was a row of empty seats, so I used that space. We were on a very small plane and there was absolutely no room to change him in the bathroom.

Miles must have been 5 lbs lighter when I was done. It was hands down one of the top 10 worst diapers I have ever changed in my life. Poop was literally everywhere – on the seats, on my hands, in his hands. The man and wife in the seats ahead of us were coughing and gagging. I am FOR REAL. I felt awful. I tried to apologize but they didn’t speak English. I asked the mom and daughter to the right of me if they could hold down Miles’ body while I threw everything out and washed my hands. They were so gracious but how embarrassing?! I also asked if the foreign couple had been coughing earlier or if this was truly a result of the toxic waste. She replied that they would be fine, which told me it was indeed my fault.

Long story short, Miles went back to my dad and I grabbed Norah, bringing her back to the spot with the two open seats. She fell asleep shortly and then my dad switched with me in hopes that Miles would fall asleep as well. No success. I headed back to my original seat when the ride was almost over (the guy next of me must have cringed at my return, although later we realized his daughter and I went to high school together – small world!). Anyway, when I went back to my seat, this is what I saw:

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There’s Papa just hanging out, reading the paper. SMH. I still had a fussy baby in my hands but it was so cute seeing Norah sprawled like that; I didn’t even care.

We arrived and survived, but it was exhausting. And smelly. Add there were 100 apologetic smiles. But we’ve been here 4 days already and other than one mini meltdown (wait–do I mean me, or the kids? 😉 ) we’re doing great.

More Sunshine updates to come. Have a great weekend!