This post is actually a week or so late unfortunately, but with good cause. Last Thursday we trekked over to Cle Elem for the Heras/Parris wedding, came back Sunday and then Sunday night I flew out to London for work. I got back on Friday, so things have been a little crazy busy. As a sidenote, traveling for that long internationally when you’re still nursing is quite the experience. I packed a ton of pump parts and a scrub brush, but it’s not particularly easy to execute pumping and cleaning in a foreign land. Then when I got to security, TSA at Heathrow told me I couldn’t bring my breast milk on the plane with me since my baby was not with me. This was the 4th time I’ve traveled since going back to work and I’ve never been told that. Additionally, I had done my research and there is nothing on the TSA website that lists that as a requirement. Lastly, why would I have a ton of breast milk if my baby were with me? It just seemed crazy, but not having worked through this rationale in my head at the time I was just upset because I didn’t want to lose my milk. I ended up being able to check it all, so it all worked out in the end, thank goodness!
I made it back from London in one piece and one of the first things I asked Brian when I got home was if Piper had a tooth yet. I could feel swelling and nubs in her mouth right before I left, but Brian said no. I stuck my finger in her mouth to feel around and sure enough she did have a tooth! Here are some of the other notable developmental milestones Piper has hit:
- She walking quite a bit now for pretty long distances at a time
- She eats pretty much everything we do, but we put everything she eats in a chopper
- We think she’s said four words other than “abba” – “mama, dada, hi & Ellie”
- She loves to play peek-a-boo
- She loves to clap
- She loves to wave
At her 9-month checkup the doctor was optimistic about Piper. There wasn’t really anything of concern. They poked her foot to get a blood sample to test her iron levels and everything was right where it should be. The only thing that’s challenging for us right now is still the sleep thing (more to come in another post about sleep advice from our sleep doula) and the fact that Piper’s a total busy body wiggle worm. It’s incredibly difficult to change her diaper or change her clothes because she’s just moving about all the time. As you can see from her nine month pic where her headband is around her neck, the girl plays with everything…
Brian and I are currently somewhere over Illinois, coming back on our last leg from our trip to Italy…sans Ellie! It was a thoroughly brave adventure for us. In theory when planning the trip we knew it was a healthy thing to do, both for Ellie and us. As the trip date arrived though, we started to get really sad at the prospect of being so far away from her for so long.
The things that made the trip a little easier are two-fold:
1. Tutu and Grandy stayed at our house the whole time and played with her non-stop. She had such a great time and was so happy. We actually wondered a bit if she even noticed we were gone!
2. FaceTime! Brian had his phone on, but turned data off and when we got wifi we were able to FaceTime my mom and talk to them and Ellie for a bit. It was so awesome to see her and hear her say non-stop “mommy” and “daddy.” It made us miss her even more, but I think it made her feel good to connect with us and know we we’re just somewhere else.
Before the trip for a couple of weeks I was talking to Ellie about what a vacation is and that mommy and daddy were going to go on a vacation and she was going to hang out with Tutu and Grandy while we were gone. I know communication is not 100% confirmed at this point in her life, but I truly think it helped quite a bit.
We’ll see how she feels when we get back and that will be the real measure of success. Last time when we went away for three days she seemed a little upset when we got back. Hopefully this time she’s not too mad at us.
Likely needless to say, our adult vacation in Italy was truly wonderful and relaxing. We didn’t plan anything out really, just kind of played it by ear. We spent the bulk of our time in Cortona, a small town in Tuscany, just outside of Perugia. It was a beautiful town with quite a few restaurants and shops. We did a fair amount of walking/hiking up the hills, which felt really good. It also felt a little breath-taking (literally), which made sense when I read my What To Expect update; it was all about how baby is squishing my lungs now and I’m likely to experience a shortness of breath. Si, de accordo.
I haven’t been around that much cigarette smoke since frequenting Belltown Billiards when I was 22. I haven’t eaten that much gelato since we were in Italy last time and I haven’t had that much tomatoes, mozzarella and pasta in a long time either! Honestly though, out of the whole trip, the most regrettable meals were definitely the ones we had on the airplane ride back! I look forward to getting home and focusing back on fruits and veggies for the rest of the pregnancy.
Here’s a pick of #2 at 30 weeks with the beautiful Cortona valley in the background:
We planned our trip to Colorado back at the end of 2012 and we took into consideration many of the things we learned with our first traveling experience with Ellie. Yes, she can walk, so we figured a quick two hour flight wouldn’t be too bad and the fact that we were going in the opposite time zone direction would be good so she would fall asleep later and wake up later. We booked the trip with my mom and her boyfriend (Grandy) and thought we were smart to stay in Denver for a day so we could visit with our aunts and get Ellie acclimated to the altitude before going up to the mountains.
All good intentions, but unfortunately good intentions do not equal good outcomes. Tutu (my mom) and Grandy had to cancel the trip due to their impending living situation and new job. Long story, but nonetheless, we were coming to visit family, so not the end of the world. The flight was fine, Ellie was happy. We spent the next day at the aquarium with Aunt Jackie, which was a blast. Then we headed up to the mountain with Ellie. While only 3000 feet above Denver, Ellie did not acclimate to the altitude very well.
The day after we got up there she seemed okay and the next morning we went for a snowshoe. It seemed to be all down hill from there – no pun intended. Ellie became really fussy and she developed a bit of a fever. Being the adequate parents we are, we had our baby Tylenol on us and gave Ellie a bit of that. She seemed to wax and wane, but at around 5 am she woke up with a temp above 103 and she vomited. With that, we were off to the nearest ER.
After a plethora of tests – a nasal swab, a chest x-ray – it was determined that she had altitude sickness and acute bronchitis. They put her on some oxygen and advised we keep her on it and get down to lower altitude as soon as possible. This was incredibly disappointing, since we were really looking forward to spending a lot more time with family up in Minturn.
We got Ellie down to lower altitude yesterday and spent the entire day today in our hotel room. She seems to be doing better now, but oh my goodness, what a roller coaster ride. It is so incredibly difficult to see our baby have a difficult time getting air and not knowing when enough is enough. We were so grateful to talk through the situation with our nurses through the hotline at Ballard Pediatric. We felt so much better after that conversation. It’s just insanely unnerving to hear that our baby could start to turn blue and that’s a sign to go back to the hospital. I just want to be like “oh really, no shit!” Being a parent is so tough sometimes. But it’s so rewarding at other times and it’s always worth every minute. I’m so grateful to have such a great partner to work through these tough situations and such a trooper of a daughter. She could only be slightly more of a trooper if she didn’t try to spit out every drop of Tylenol we try to put in her body and freak out every time we put saline in her nose and suck out her boogers. We’ll take what we can get though!
Today is the last day of our Hawaiian adventure with our seven month old – yes, she turned seven months while we were here! We can’t believe how fast the time has been flying by and this was such a nice way to get away and spend some valuable time together as a family. Brian and I really wanted to get away, just us so we could focus on our family and we talked to a lot of people to get tips on traveling with our babe. There were a few things we really loved and then there were a few things we also learned. Here is a list of our tips if you have a baby and are looking to get out of dodge.
- I am convinced we did a good thing by traveling before she is too mobile, although she’s been crawling for about a month and pulling herself up, so she really doesn’t want to just sit still. I would have gone a little earlier if we would have known she’d be crawling now. It’s hard to tell when that is though, so I think we did the best we could. I would recommend traveling between 5 and 6 months to others.
- Feed baby on the way up and especially on the way down.
- Wrap some toys in wrapping paper, so it gives baby something different to do. The wrapping paper tends to go in their mouth, so if you’re worried about that, perhaps there’s some soy based paper out there. I don’t worry about stuff like that too much any more – trying to take more of the second baby approach.
- I remembered when I was little and we traveled with my baby sister that the Continental flight attendant gave my sister a balloon with sugar in it when she was going ape, so we brought balloons and picked up some raw sugar at Starbucks in the airport. She had so much fun playing with that dang thing!
- Our babe is at the stage where anything but her toys is fun, so every time we go to a restaurant, we ask for a spoon and a straw – hours of entertainment. We ran into another couple with a baby here and they said they went to Target and raided the $1 bins to buy interesting non-toy things for their baby…smart, very smart.
- If you want to get any sun time at all, it’s imperative to have a sun tent for baby. We used this one, but you could use a multitude of other options.
- Time Zone – this was a learning for us. In hindsight, it would have been better to travel North, South or East. West was pretty tough and Elle didn’t really adjust to the time change ever. Brian woke up with her between 4 and 5 and then I’d get up around 6 and he’d take a little nap. We managed fine, but it would have been smarter not to have to deal with that.
- Bring friends or family – another learning for us. While we had good intentions by wanting to spend time with just the three of us, but it would have been so nice to be with another couple with a baby so we could swap nights watching them while they sleep and the other couple could go out. Grandparents would have been another good option.
I hope those tips are helpful for some people when planning their next vacation. With all that being said, our trip has been fun, but very different from other times to Maui. We are all leaving more white than we’ve ever left Maui – trips to the pool or beach were much more scarce than usual. Because we weren’t just laying in the sun the whole time we came up with a few other fun things to do. We took a drive to the upcountry to the Maui Winery. It’s a quick elevation gain, so Ellie and I were a little uncomfortable toward the top, but on the way up, she was all giggles:
We just got done with another spurt of craziness: getting the house on the market and nanny interviews are the main 2 endeavors. Also not in the video, we just spent a couple of days on the Washington coast and LOVED the cute hotel we stayed at, The Adrift. We also fell in love with Astoria and I will post soon about the book I found there. Here’s the quick video with Ellie and I: