Fontaine à Chambéry

Fontaine à Chambéry

Sunday, September 15, 2013

First Day Fiasco

Last Sunday I was on edge all day because I was starting a new job Monday. All day I had butterflies in my stomach. Having spent two years--which may not seem like a lot but is to me--at my previous job, where, for the most part I really liked it, I was wondering whether I had made the right choice for myself and my family by switching career paths. What if I didn't like the work? What if nobody was nice? Would I be able to have my cell phone out in case daycare called? Was there a coffee maker? (I have my priorities.) 

In addition to the usual worries, I was incredibly anxious by Sunday evening because Z started exhibiting signs of pink eye. Those gooey, sticky eye crusties plus my poor baby's swollen eyes was freaking me out. I wouldn't be able to take her to the doctor if she needed to go, which made me feel like a bad mom. Additionally, the cough/cold combo I'd been battling for a week was starting to feel more like bronchitis by the minute, and I was puffing on my rescue inhaler way more than I liked.   I went to bed Sunday night hoping that when we woke up in the morning, everything would be perfect. Um, no.

An hour after going to bed, I was in a deep sleep, when R started yelling "SHE PEED ON ME!" Lily, our cat who's been spayed twice and battles bladder infections off-and-on, had indeed urinated on her father for no apparent reason. Lucky for me, my side was nice and dry, and Lily came and curled up with me. Girl power! R went to the couch, because our guest room is still a mess from when we painted our kitchen this summer (yes, we've procrastinated on cleaning that). After hearing him yell and fuss at the dog for 15 minutes, he came storming back in our room and turned on the light, deciding to change the sheets. He started doing it while I was still in bed, and I freaked out. Once the sheets were changed, the cats in the basement for the night, and the dog had a treat to calm down, we all drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

I awoke feeling like I had a fever. Z awoke with her eyes swollen shut. Pinkeye indeed. R stayed home with her and took her to the doctor for eyedrops. I went to work, where my first day was incredibly stressful. Things were very hectic because some large projects are nearing completion. As a result, people are stressed and have been working overtime. The high-energy atmosphere isn't anything I'm used to, so that was overwhelming. All day I battled chills and breathing issues and coughing. Getting off work at 5 was a totally new experience for me; at my old job, I left at 3, picked Z up from school at 3:30, and we were home most days at 3:45, giving us ample time to play and relax before the dinner-bathtime-bedtime routine. Not the case here. Right when I left the parking lot, I had a meltdown, wondering if I had made the right choice by starting a new job. I felt so guilty for cutting my time with Z by two hours each day. That's 10 hours a week. She goes to bed at 7:30, so when I get home at 5:30, we have little time to relax because of all of the necessities. 

When I got home, my meltdown was in full form. I know I freaked Z out, because she was looking at me strangely. After I calmed down and ate, I went to Urgent Care to get some antibiotics. 

As the antibiotics began working, and I slowly adjusted to a new office, new hours, new coworkers, new job, and new schedule for my family, I started to feel better. I really love the work. Z is in good hands. She loves her daycare and R picks her up early and they hang out every afternoon. I still wish I could somehow finagle my old hours, but that's not likely. After such an epic first day, I'm looking forward to a peaceful week.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Traveling with Tot

We’ve flown to Colorado twice and Houston once since Z was born. The first time we went to Colorado, Z was only 10 weeks old. She slept on the plane and didn’t make a peep the entire time. The people around us were surprised when we deplaned with an infant because she was so quiet. The second time we went to Colorado, Z was 9 ½ months old and mobile. She still did really well on the plane and stayed occupied by playing, reading, and eating snacks. I was afraid she’d want to get down and crawl around, but she didn’t. Our Houston trip was the weekend after that Colorado trip, and it was pretty much the same scenario on that plane ride.

Two weekends ago, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Chicago to get away for the weekend. Even though Z’s a laid back kid, I was a little nervous for the 4 ½ hour car ride. She did really well though! I made sure to bring a lot of toys, books, and snacks. We stopped a couple of times on the way up for pit stops. As a last resort against boredom, we turned on Ratatouille and Z zoned out.

This was our first family vacation with just the three of us. It was such a blast! We went to the Field Museum to see the Lascaux cave painting exhibit. I’ve written about this exhibit and the cave’s importance to art history before. It was an amazing exhibit, very well done, and R really liked the fact that the signage was written in both French and English; he felt it was respectful to the Lascaux cave heritage. We walked around Chicago a lot, visited Navy Pier, ate Chicago-style pizza, walked up and down Michigan Avenue, and walked along Lake Michigan.

My bottom line for writing this post: it is possible to travel with kids. From my experience, traveling with kiddos requires flexibility. Each age has its perks and its downsides: nursing on a plane sucks, as does worrying about nursing schedules while you’re in the middle of traveling. Having a toddler in a museum isn’t as easy as having a non-mobile infant. BUT, the important thing is to roll with it. If you’re calm, your kid will be calm, and everyone will have a lot more fun. So here are some tips I’ve compiled:

Travel Tips with Tot:

         Think your kid’s favorite toy or book will be enough? WRONG. Bring 4 times the stuff you think you’ll need, especially if you’re traveling by car and can’t get up and walk around. Kids get bored really fast.

·         Bring a variety of snacks or treats. Having something that you normally don’t buy will be fun and special; however, don’t introduce anything that could cause an allergic reaction (IE: nuts, shellfish—don’t know why you’d do this anyway—exotic fruits, etc.). You don’t want to ruin your trip by spending time in the ER.

·         Always keep a roll of toilet paper or a pack of baby wipes in the car (regardless of whether you have kids or not). You can thank me in advance.

·         Bring extra clothes. For everyone.

·         Buy a stroller with a collapsible seat in case your little one wants to take a snooze.

·         Remember to have fun and go with the flow! 

Pretty skyline

Love this shot!

LOVED this exhibit

Gorgeous view

Waiting for Chicago-style pizza at Giordano's

Z likes to hold hands.

Happy family!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Noteworthy Reads from A to Z

Here are some of my favorites and some that are on my to-read list (an asterisk is next to these), categorized in alphabetical order:

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (Yes, I realize it's a short story.)
Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce A. Tyldesley

The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Good Thief's Guide To... (series) by Chris Ewan
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Iliad by Homer

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran 

The Odyssey by Homer

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
Pompeii by Robert Harris

Quentins by Maeve Binchy

A Rather... (series) by C.A. Belmond
Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.  by Jeremy Mercer

Under the Dome by Stephen King*

Venice by Jan Morris*
The Vesuvius Isotope by Kristin Elise

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Xibalba Murders (series) by Lyn Hamilton*

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks*

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman*