Friday, April 29, 2011

The Lucky and the Jinxed

You know that whole comment I made about our luck with flying over driving?


Okay, so we had the faux airport security "breach" on the way up to New England, but the way down was borderline torture.
Yup, that's me with unshowered hair at almost 2am sitting on the tarmac of a random airport in Columbia, South Carolina.

You see that boy there next to me?
That's Miles.
And guess what? We didn't land in GA until after 4am.
His first all nighter.

As I am sure many have heard over the brouhaha of the royal wedding (which is amazing, may I add), but the southeast was riddled with storms that killed over 300 in Alabama and a few dozen in Georgia.


In no way am I trying to compare the awful nature of our trip to the sheer devastation that so many endured--lives are not replaceable like sleep, and bottom line--we are safe and back in our home. THAT'S what matters.

But please let me just express how hard it was to be on the road for 12 hours with 2 small children between the hours of 4pm and 4am. Luckily, both boys were amazing (outside of a major freak out from Miles on our final descent into Atlanta during some insane turbulence). Kids thrive on routine--and taking them out of routine and thrown into the unpredictability of flight travel can be hard--especially when your flights don't take off until just about their bedtimes.

The bedtime travel normally works great since they both just go to sleep, but this time, we were not so lucky.
  • We left at 5pm for the airport in Boston.
  • Flight was delayed just by about 45 minutes. No biggie.
  • We got up in the air, and found out half way through the trip that the Atlanta airport was shut down due to severe weather some tower was hit by a tornado (maybe on in AL?).
  • We circled and circled and circled. No biggie, but it was way past 10pm, the time we were supposed to land. Again, no biggie, thanks to Toys DVD, snacks, and Felix falling asleep.
  • All that circling meant one thing--lack of fuel. Eh, kind of a biggie.
  • Diverted to Columbia, South Carolina to an airport that wasn't equipped to deal with planes our size. Meaning, the airport was kinda shut down for the night. The flight attendant said that he thought the last plane departed at like 9pm there. It was a ghost town, except for one other plane that was refueling there, too. But we were not allowed off the plane. So, we watched DVDs, ate trans fatty airplane biscuits, and honestly did a lot of praying and planning--how do we get to a hotel without car seats if we have to bunk in SC? What do we do if we get in so late that we cannot get any sleep? Do we take more time off of work? How are these kids going to stay quiet for a few more hours? Does anyone have any kiddie valium or twilight anesthesia we can administer to them?
  • We sat and waited to get refueled as well as waited until the Atlanta airport reopened . Okay, it's one thing to sit on the runway for hours, but it's another thing to sit, be told not to go in the aisles, and have 2 small kids under three awake at 2am. Biggie.
  • We get up in the air finally, and are told "tighten those seat belts, it's going to be a turbulent 45 minutes."
  • Miles Fuh-REAKED out. Like, he kind of went ballistic (like, I think he was in a daze/nightmare/etc). Oh, and the plane was being tossed around, which never makes me feel particularly optimistic about surviving to see grandchildren someday.
  • We got in past 4am. Scheduled arrival time was 10pm. You do the math. Biggest biggie.
  • The airport train that takes you from the far away terminals to baggage claim was CLOSED. Apparently so was the AC.
  • We walked for 30 minutes holding 3 carry on bags, 2 sweaty passed out kids, and an umbrella stroller.
  • We got home close to 5am, and everyone was up for the day at around 8:30am to go to school and work.
By some miracle of nature, the boys had rock star days at school.

No rest for the weary...but with an unscathed return...and boys with short memories, I'm leaving this whole situation feeling, well, LUCKY!

(And wanting to move up North)

More vacation stories, sans travel trauma, are in the works--stay tuned!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Easter 2011

There is a library of post fodder circulating in my brain after our vacation...but until I actually figure out how to compose a proper sentence after a 4 hour trip turning into a 12 hour one last night, I'll leave you with some Embrace the Camera, Easter Day 2011. I couldn't pick just one to showcase! I tried to push Mommy, Daddy, Mahna AND Grandpa in front of the camera.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Elite Repeats

I've already gone ahead and questioned my father's taste in men's neckware (and he noticed, much to my chagrin), so as an equal opportunist, I had to move to his better half--my mother.

Whenever I return to my childhood home, I am immediately brought back to moments throughout my life--one type of moment I remember clearly from when I was pretty young happened in my parents' room. They were busily making dinner or at work, and I would go up and:
  1. Shove my two feet into one of my Dad's penny loafers and hop around. Why? Probably the same reason I used to sit under the table and drink lemonade out of a bowl with a medicine dropper.
  2. Open up Christmas presents with McGyver skill, and identify the season's booty before re-taping in a way that you could never tell the present was manhandled (and my husband wonders why I hate surprises--I've never had one!)
  3. Secretly watch Saved by the Bell.
  4. Try on my mom's dresses and jewelry and do some sort of acting in her bureau mirror. The best was using her old handmade bridesmaid dresses to pretend that I was going to the prom (apparently, a 60s prom)
Some of the jewelry I would try on was kept in this tiny glass container--there were high school rings, two jade rings, and a scarab bracelet among the lot.

This time when I was home, I wanted to go on my own hunt--for that jewelry. Much to my dismay, I was told that it was probably donated to the church fair. Rats!

So then I thumbed through her closet, looking for other vintage gems.

And then I became convinced that my mother retired and has been the #1 wardrober for that show "Sister Wives." That, or she has been purchasing clothing from the handful of women who have escaped from Warren Jeff's polygamist camp. Listen--I'm not judging polygamy (though if you like, I can), but more so the fashion--and subsequently, my mother's wardrobe.

And I can do this for a number of reasons. I am pretty sure my mother agrees with my assessment. And she does have some other great clothing that fits her "New England, LL Bean" appearance. But we both shared a good laugh at the handful or pinafore type dresses. Shapeless "shmatas" with floral prints that she wears to church--but it's okay, she assured me, because she hides it all with her choir robe. If God and the congregation only saw the choir robe, I certainly wouldn't choose a mumu with buttons. I would opt for some leggings and oversized sweatshirt.

Don't get me started on the applique vests she got for her two decades worth of directing a preschool.

But we dug a little deeper, and the real gems emerged--Elite Repeats I'll call them. (Ode to my parents' church's consigment shop.) Outfits spanning from the 60's to 80's that I am adopting. And what I wouldn't give to have access to my mom's entire wardrobes during those times. But what I did find I was given permission to take. Sweet! In the words of Corey Feldman in the movie "Goonies",  "So I'm taking it back. I'm taking them all back!"

As you can see above, we unearthed my mother's honeymoon outfit. I love it! And for a woman who now sports floor length dresses, my mom's scantily clad honeymoon outfit was a gas to see.

And that was just the beginning. Going in backward chronilogical order, the Elite Repeats I'm taking home:

(Note: I am no model. Not trying to be a model, and was up at 5:03am the day the photos were taken. I hadn't showered at this point, and am just thankful that the photos came out grainy.)

80's: You know, those female neck bows were soooo cotoure. And we found a great silk "set" in my mom's dresser:

But I'll be making some adjustments

Early 70's: Wool sweater my mom had in college. I cannot wait to pair with some leggings and flats.

60's: two dresses my mom wore in either early high school or middle school. I mean, vintage at its finest! The fabric is so sturdy, and construction just remarkably solid. The 2nd I think I might be auditioning for a 60's stewardess role.

And finally, this is a skirt that was made by one of my uncle's girlfriends that was actually made in the early 80's. It's made with Welsh wool that my grandmother brought back from Wales. It's a little big (even with the some 5lbs I've packed on that stress and anxiety stole away from me in 2010), and long, so I am trying to figure out how to get it tailored to be something more fun. It never quite fit my mother, either, so it's never been worn. Any ideas seamstresses out there?

And just because I feel slightly bad I slammed my mom's closet, one thing that I will forever be envious of is her abs and guns. Although I couldn't convince my mom to get into a bikini to show she's still got it at over 60 (and she does, people), I had to pick out some pictures of her after she had my first brother that had both me and Eric slack jawed (sorry for the quality--pictures of pictres, and the originals had pen bleed through them.). How can I get that body and essentially keep it until 60?

But the real question is, how did she transform from Anne to John Lennon?

Thursday, April 21, 2011


2011--the first year we dyed Easter Eggs! I had intentions of going all organic and natural and stewing cabbage leaves and onion peels and beets to dye the eggs naturally...but the whole being up until 1am and then getting up at 5:30am (see previous post) had me on a path to least resistance all day--especially since I had an entire day of remote work to complete.
In the late afternoon, we decided to get out the traditional Paas egg coloring kit my mom picked up...but then I remembered a blog post I saw the day before: tie-dyed eggs! You take old, outdated silk ties, deconstruct them, and use them to "dye" eggs by boiling the fabric colored eggs in water and vinegar. And the silk can be used for multiple years. I mean, that's pretty eco-friendly if you ask me!

So, I shimmied up to my Dad's closet, and picked out his finest 1980's ties. Unfortunately, the man who has never purchased a piece of clothing for himself decided to have an opinion about something clothing related for the first time, and requested that a few of the ties make their way back to his closet. Are you serious? And they just happened to be some of the worst offenders (and ties I have NEVER seen him wear). And yes. My Dad is retired and could quite possibly be reading this. Dad--you've got some really ugly ties--and some nice ones, but let your daughter command the fashion police post. 40+ years as an engineer is not going to get you any honorary fashion degree.

The silk tie egg process was easy and fun. And I think the eggs turned out really neat! In fact, so did the PAAS ones. The boys had a great time. And I have to say--these eggs turned out better than most I ever did growing up!

Easter Egg Dying: 2011. A pictorial retrospective

First you take silk tie fabric, and wrap around a hard boiled egg

Then you wrap it up using the inner stuffing of the tie, and put it into an old sock, or wrap it in a piece of an old t-shirt.

Boil for 20 minutes in water and 3 T of vinegar--then cool down. Then just open up!

PAAS dying was fun, too, thanks to crayons, rubber bands, and dipping in multiple colors.

No. It's not a bubble wand, Felix!

Pretty, no?

Easter Egg hunt tomorrow!


Short (read: I say short, but it will be long) story before I post on our Easter Egg-stravaganza...

We are currently vacationing up in New England to see loads of family.

Grandparents/parents: check!
Aunts and Uncles: check! (times two)
New baby cousin: check!

Ah, home! (I still call my childhood house home most of the time...)

Anyone hiring in Western, MA for a great High School teacher and/or a professional organizer? (No, that's not my profession, but I kind of think I want to be one.) Salary requirements--$249,000--right below that tax threshold.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing.

Okay, let's resume.

The Heintz flight travel manifesto states that you must fly at night. Throw the kids in pajamas, wear them out, pack loads of carbohydrates, books, small toys, (a 3oz flask of gin for mom and dad--hey, it's within the travel volume limit! And yes. I'm JOKING! I totally prefer vodka...hee hee), ear plugs for your neighbors who inevitably whisper "please oh please oh please do not let that family with two small--but may I say undeniably beautiful---boys sit within a 5 rows of me," and then good  ole fashion PRAYER from Mom and Dad.

Dear God.

Please make this flight bearable. I'd appreciate it if tantrums were kept to a minimum, and if I floss every day, can you throw in both sleeping for a good portion of the ride?

I have to say--we DREAD car rides. We've never had good luck with them. It's always been a long, painful process. But we've had lots of luck with flying. I don't know why, but the boys have always done pretty well.

Shoot. There I went and jinxed it.

The airport is another story, but at least the chaos, noise, crying, etc can be diffused in such a large area.

And truly, the flight up to Boston wasn't too bad. Felix flirted. Miles occasionally watched a DVD and pretended to sleep. And both boys fought over my lap. In the end Felix passed out, and Miles just generally enjoyed hearing all the stories about how the plane lands (and maybe heard us bribe him that if he was quiet he could go with Grandpa and Daddy one morning to get doughnuts. Sign me up--I've started to bribe.)

But getting onto that flight was a different story.

After work, we all frantically rushed to get out the door by 4:45pm to make our 7pm flight. Traveling with small kids requires this kind of buffer. And then we realized Felix's tortellini was at school. DETOUR. Luckily, or unluckily, our flight was delayed until 8pm.

Security line--both children, suffering from low blood sugar--started melting down. Great. We were "that" family. And although Felix was satisfied with Cheddar Bunnies, Miles just didn't want anything but a bad attitude.

We rushed to take off shoes, empty pockets (you cannot even carry lint or a wish in your pocket anymore), threw the bags, stroller and NOT the kids onto the security conveyor belt...and then we heard:


A man was running toward the escalators, and the whole security area shut down. It became silent, and everyone's eyes got bigger and hearts beat a little faster. We were essentially told not to do a thing--move, blink, breathe, toot...Gates were shut. Uniformed TSA peeps started moving in formation...I must say it made me feel a little better about airport security. And man those people can quiet an entire airport down in less than 5 seconds.

But Felix didn't get the memo, and loud and clear you could hear him call out in either Ewok or Gremlin. (Good thing he is cute.)

After a few minutes, we were told to resume. Just a test! Um, my almost 3 year old did not understand that. I think Miles just about wet his diaper when all this happened. And we weren't just in the line--we were 2 steps from going through the metal detector. So going through after the faux breach consisted of carrying a white knuckled, trembling child through what I told him was an "airplane tunnel", and that the whole ordeal was nothing more, nothing more than...ah yes: AIRPORT FREEZE DANCE!

Not sure he bought it.

And then at the gate, we met a little boy named DJ, who I was sure was probably about 4. Until his Daddy told me that his 3rd birthday was next month. is Miles's! This kid could eats pancakes the size of Miles for breakfast. He was "hefty." And funny. And the 3 boys started racing up and down the aisles. And then Felix would scare unsuspecting passengers hooked up to their iPhones and iPads with his dinosaur ROAR! He just waddled on up in his pjs to anyone, and then literally roared at them.

We were totally that family.

But then we got on the plane, and things were okay...

Until we got off at almost 11pm. And the kids didn't go to sleep until after midnight.

But the happy ending is that they slept in, right?

Felix was up at 5:30am--Miles at 6:10am.

The early bird catches the grumpy parents.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"On your mark! Den Set! Go!"

I'm having one of those months that I am pretty sure if I don't document every minute, I'll forget things like the way my children look or their idiosyncracies...maybe even my address and middle name. Don't even broach the subject of tag number. I've been reverting back to counting on my fingers and littering sticky notes around my office that say things like "remember to eat." "remember to take your purse home."

In part, this stems from some recent brain decay I've had. I have no excuse...I didn't just have a baby. I am not having a baby. My kids sleep through the night.  (Mostly)

Oh, what's that you say? Stress! That'll do it.

But I used to be able to access words and translate thoughts into conversation rather seamlessly. Now I find myself verbally stumbling. Slipping around my vocabulary warehouse, mixing verbs, misappropriating nouns, and general adopting this sort of labored, halting quality to my communication. Broca's aphasia? And yet, I've got this great script in my mind running all.of.the.time.

But stress really does do amazing things to one's body. I am the poster child for what all it can do to you.

Like make you lose train of thought.

Wait, what was I even blogging about?

Oh yeah. Forgetting the nuances of each stage of my children's lives.

One thing I don't ever want to forget is the quality of my boys' voices. And the funny things they say. I guess I could be considered a bad Mommy for exploiting my son's difficulty pronouncing words, but it really is cute.

(And it's not like 1. we don't try to get him to speak correctly, or 2. that we are blind to the fact that there is a 99.9% repeating probability that we'll go into speech therapy.)

For Miles, it's the actual words he says that makes me laugh. With Felix, it's inflection and quality.

Tonight in the car, I got a sneak peak for y'all of Miles's funnies. (Torticollis style--ie, you need to turn your head to view). The quality isn't the greatest, but it's these moments I want to remember.  In the beginning, we asked him to speak in staccato (a  new trick he learned at school.) And, yes, him saying "bridge" and "clock" are only words we prefer him to say in the company of close friends at this time. And I have NO idea who told him the police comes and takes you to jail if you don't wear your seatbelt. Certainly not this perfect mother. (Although, I think his concepts of jail and heaven are currently just about the same--some place far far away. Where policeman eat doughnuts and dogs play with their owners. No, I'm serious. That's what he thinks.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Embrace the Camera: vintage preemie

As Miles's 3rd birthday approaches, I have been pouring over old photos to (finally) create his year by year photo books. I am also hoping to create one of those fun videos montages. I have no earthly idea how to do it, but that's what Google and Macs are for.

And then I realized all of the "Embrace the Camera" moments of my Miles's first year. 
They are different from current moments.
And sometimes scary (when you are dealing with a 4lb baby)

And when do they all of a sudden become little people who only snuggle on your chest at night?
Or when they are sick.
(Perhaps it's a good thing we have had our fair share of sickness--more snuggles--that's making spiked lemonade out of lemons I say)

I *miss* these moments. 
But I can still feel them.
Emotionally EMBRACE them.
Even smell them.
And hope that the more I look back, the more burned into my heart they become.

Miles--May 2008

And not to leave our second preemie miracle out, my favorite Daddy and Felix photo from his birth