Leaving The Summer Sun

Alexander and I are home. We arrived about 15 hours after we were supposed to. In case you were wondering, USAirways is on my bad list. (They wanted to reroute me like this: Take my original (delayed) flight into Las Vegas and “wait around for a few hours.” I looked at the man with my mouth wide open and disgust in my eyes and said, “You mean overnight?” He blinked a few times, paused, and finally admitted: yes, overnight. At 7am the next day I could then take a flight not to Pittsburgh. Instead, I could fly to Philadelphia. Where I could wait around for a few more hours (about 5). Then, I could finally take a flight to Pittsburgh where I would arrive approximately 26 hours after I left California. All with an infant. And a single small diaper bag that was packed for a 12 hour overnight flight. I refused to take their given reroute and made them give me a better one.)

It was all worth it, though. Spending time with my family in the unbelievably perfect weather was amazing. Here is proof:

There were blue skies and dry heat every day. On this particular day, I was told it was “kind of cloudy” by my Uncle:

"Cloudy" day in CA

There were birds and dogs galore! My Uncle and Aunt have four birds and a dog, and my Mother was there with her dog.

Jackson Dog

This is Jackson, my Mother’s wonderful corgi. He was so well behaved, even though he is constantly jealous of all of the attention that Alex gets.

Lola Dog

And we have Lola, my Uncle’s wonderful lab.

The birds were wonderful. First we have Pappy:

Pappy Bird

Then we have Sydney:

Sydney Bird

And then we have the love birds, Pure and Simple. There are actually two, but they are (almost) identical, so here is just a photo of one:

Love Bird

Poor Uncle Mike accidentally gave Alex a bunch of scratches on our first day! He was carrying him sitting on top of his shoulders, and walked under a tree. Unfortunately, Alex was up too high and came into direct contact with a few branches. He had scratches all over his forehead and a few over his lips. He was a trooper, though, and only cried for a few minutes. Mike, on the other hand, would not stop talking about how he almost killed my child.

Alex's beat up face

While my Mother has been away all summer, Alex has obviously grown enormously. Babies tend to do that. He has grown physically and changed in so many ways. The reunion between Alex and his Grandmother was beautiful. He remembered her, something we were both unsure about, and I have not seen her that happy in a long time. It will be great to have her back in Pittsburgh, not only for babysitting purposes (Mama needs a break!) but also for Alex to have another consistent person in his life again besides Mom and Dad.

Reunited with Grandma

Alex enjoyed playing in water most days we were there. He would splash like crazy in the bucket full of water, having a great time.

Playing with water

Splashing in a bucket

Of course, being in California, we had to go to the beach. We took a nice ten minute drive to the coast, where it was 25 degrees cooler, and enjoyed an hour playing in the sand:

At the beach

At the beach

At the beach

While we were there, Alex learned to climb up stairs. Fast. I had been putting off buying baby gates, but now that he is up the stairs before I have a chance to stop him it is definitely time to make that purchase!

Climbing the stairs

So, all in all it was a wonderful vacation. It certainly was not relaxing, rejuvenating, or peaceful. It was hectic, exhausting, and sleepless. Between Alex being in a new place, having to adjust to a three hour time change, being in a not-baby-proofed home, surrounded by 2 dogs and 4 birds (2 bites from Sydney on Alex’s poor little finger!), teething, having a 103 fever for about 30 hours, getting growled at by Lola, eating a fistful of sand, and screaming for over an hour on the flight home, there was never a dull moment.

Worth it.

Alex in a Box

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East Coast, Here We Come!

Alex has adjusted to West Coast time. Surprise? No. We are leaving tonight, so naturally he figures out the time change today.

We are taking another red eye with a flight change in Las Vegas. I’m not looking forward to having to wait around the Vegas airport again, but at least this time our layover is less than an hour. If all goes well, Alex will sleep the whole time in my arms. (Actually, if all goes really well there will be an extra seat and he can sleep in his car seat!)

While this trip has been anything but relaxing, it has certainly been wonderful. Spending time with my family was great and I am going to miss them dearly. Having a gourmet meal prepared for me every night was just one of the many perks of being here! It will be sad to leave, but I am looking forward to getting back home.

I have taken over 300 pictures since we arrived, so once I get back I will have many wonderful photos to share! Alex enjoyed playing outside with buckets of water, we went to the beach, we took a wonderful drive, played with four birds and two dogs, and I started cloth diapering. I’m sure you are really excited about seeing the cute cloth diapers.

East coast, here we come!

Time Zone Change + Baby = Unhappy Mama

We’ve been in California for going on 7 full days. While most of this trip has been wonderful, the fact that Alex still has not adjusted to the time change is, well, not so wonderful. He is waking up between 3:00am and 4:30am every day. Apparently he doesn’t care that he’s only been sleeping for 7 hours! But I care.

I don’t know how to make him sleep in later. Keeping him up later at night doesn’t help. Putting him to bed earlier doesn’t help. Fewer naps? Still wakes up early. More naps? Still wakes up early.

Hopefully tonight is the night that he gets on schedule. If he sleeps like he does at home, he’ll be out at 8:00pm, not make a peep all night long, and then wake up happy, hungry, and ready to start the day at 6:30am.

Who knew that I would be begging for my son to wake up at 6:30am?

California, Here We Come!

Alex and I leave for a ten day vacation in California on Monday. We wont be arriving at our destination until after 1 in the morning. This means it will be after 4 in the morning, Pittsburgh time, and I will have not slept a wink because Alex will have been in my arms the whole time. (Stupid me not splurging on buying Alex his very own seat!)

I’m really excited, though. My Uncle Mike and Aunt Jill, who I will be staying with (along with my Mother who has been house sitting for them on and off all summer while they vacationed and visited their daughter in the Peace Corps), are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. They are funny, intelligent, and completely nonjudgemental. Mike is sweet, a great story teller, and always has beer on demand. Jill is genuinely caring, beautiful, and possibly the best cook I have ever encountered. She prepares exquisite meals every. single. night. Seriously, how could I not love being with them?

The last time I was there was at Thanksgiving, when Alex was just turning 3 months old. He was smiling, occasionally giggling, and learning how to grab and shake things. His sleep habits were awful, but he was still very charming.

When we first arrived, I managed to take this “classic Uncle Mike” shot:

Alex Crying With Mike

Alex Crying With Mike

It’s classic because for some reason babies always cry the first time he holds them. There are numerous photos of Mike holding me as a baby while I wail in his arms. Alex ended up loving him (as did I!), but it took a few hours.

Jill is one of those women who has “the touch” with children. She could make Alex fall asleep in less than a minute, make him smile any time she felt like it, and entertain him for hours. Alex adored her, and I know he will love her even more now that he’s older!

Alex on Thanksgiving Day, 2007

Alex on Thanksgiving Day, 2007

It will have been over eight months since Mike and Jill last saw Alex. He has grown tremendously, crossed so many developmental milestones, and has become such a wonderful little person.

I can’t wait for them to meet him again! And, of course, I can’t wait to see them, either!

SO Happy!

When Moving Becomes Not So Much Across The Country

Californ-i-a, here we don’t come. Sorry.

Short story: Zach got the same job offer here in Pittsburgh that he had received in Mountain View. Same company, same benefits, cheaper location. The decision was hard, but I think we made the right one.

I have mixed feelings about this. I’m excited to be staying, but sad to missing out on the opportunity to move to California.

So, hello old friends! free babysitting! a city I know like the back of my hand! a nicer apartment (hopefully)! a nicer neighborhood (maybe)! decreasing our debt! Pittsburgh-baby Alexander! familial stress! same ol’ same ol’!

So, goodbye new opportunities! beautiful weather! farmer’s markets daily! a drive to my Uncle’s! taking walks every day! getting a tan! California-baby Alexander! progressive state! crappy apartment! now knowing anyone! anxiety! increased debt!

Most importantly: ‘Bye Arnold! I was so looking forward to having you as my governator!