Next Family Vacation: Vietnam?!

That’s what we’ve been tossing around. Our last trip to Spain was 100% my choice so this time around I am at the mercy of my husband’s choice which is Vietnam. Upon further research, I have a few hesitations. We’re looking at traveling during the summer of 2016. We’ll have a one year old and a three year old! That alone would be scary enough anywhere, let alone as far away as Vietnam. So I thought I would share my fears and excitements below.

FEARS:

Traffic: This is probably the number one thing I am worried about in Vietnam. Apparently it is very different than I’m used to in the states. Based on my googling, it would seem that there aren’t too many traffic lights or stop signs and you have to walk head long into traffic without even hesitating as cars whiz passed you. The drivers are expected to assess your stride and swerve accordingly. This seems particularly risky, especially with my tots in tow. Perhaps we can plan our travels without having to cross the street…?

Mosquitos: Everything I have read recommends bringing lots of bug spray, mosquito nets, long sleeves, etc. Here at home, I am a mosquito magnet and Vietnam appears to be the mosquito capital of the world. This could spell trouble. And of course, I don’t want my little guys all bitten up either. I guess my hubby can fend for himself, his bites are never as bad, numerous, or noticeable as mine anyway!

EXCITEMENTS

The food: I am definitely excited about the food portion of the adventure. Maybe it’s because I’m 6 months pregnant as I write this but I can’t wait to taste the exotic flavors. We may also stop over in Thailand while on our trip and I have always been a big fan of Thai cuisine (what’s available here in the states anyway). We have a friend that is an excellent cook who is from Thailand so I do feel I’ve had the real deal and it did not disappoint! I can’t wait to share the culinary delights with the little guys too. Hopefully they’re receptive!

The culture: Vietnam seems to have a lot to offer in the way of cultural, hands on experiences. One such experience that has caught my eye are treks and homestays with locals in Sapa, Northern Vietnam. You can stay with a local family, trek through beautiful scenery, see local animals and eat meals together. It all sounds so fantastic. Of course, the thought of the mosquitoes is still buzzing through my mind..here’s a link to the site all about it: http://www.sapaochau.org/.

Getting a stamp in my passport: Seems silly and small, but life is all about the little things, right? I recently went on a cruise with some friends and we went to Belize and Cozumel and I was very sad to realize that other than a passing glance, my passport would not be getting any attention.

What do you think? Would you travel with your little ones to Vietnam?

Baby #2

I’m just going to ramble some updates at you…

As you can see by the vast length of time between posts, I’ve been a little busy. My little guy is now 20 months old and he has a little brother on the way! Baby Jones number 2 is going to be a boy! I’m getting settled into my new identity as a boy mom. We plan to only have two children so boys it is! So far the biggest struggle is coming up with another boy name. Girl names were so easy. I’m glad that there will be no shortage of clothing for the little brother and the toy situation should work out nicely as well.

I continue to reflect on how great it has worked out being a part time substitute teacher and stay at home mom. Although I longed for a full time teaching job of my own, I continue to realize what a blessing it has been to have this time with my son. I now know that I want the same for my next boy and will not look for full time work until baby # 2 is at least a year old. Having my in-laws nearby, retired, and eager to hang with their grand kid has been a major help and allowed me to keep one foot in the teaching world.

Pregnancy number 2 has so far, and thankfully been exactly like pregnancy number 1. I was lucky to have no sickness or issues the first time and people continually reminded me that each pregnancy is different, to which I had hoped they would be wrong. So far they have been. Although perhaps one difference is that I am truly struggling with my cravings, which have mostly been for sugar and junk food. I just can’t seem to say no. I’ll blame it on the pregnancy for now and hope I can curb it soon!

My little man is pretty awesome. He talks a lot. Can’t believe I was worried when he didn’t say much at a year! He knows his colors and can point out a few letters and numbers. He’s addicted to Thomas the tank engine and knows the names of the trains better than his family members! He loves animals, especially our two cats (to their dismay). He’s starting to become a wildly picky eater. It’s hard at times and makes me feel like not getting those veggies in will cost him dearly. Trying to be like Frozen and let it go. He does have some good times with meals so I’ll focus on the small successes (continued love of peas, yay!).

I just got back from a dirty thirty cruise with my other lady friends who are also turning the big 3-0 this year. It was fun but a bit challenging being all pregnant and unable to truly party it up or do daring things like the flow-rider on the ship. Snorkeling in Belize was a blast, the food was great, and the company wasn’t too bad either! The hubs is currently on his man trip to compliment my lady trip, out in Colorado. He’s spending the week with his cousin skiing to his hearts content.

So June 19th is the proposed arrival of baby boy #2! Lots to do before then. We are working on (by we I mean my husband) remodeling two rooms of our house which will be our new room so the children can have what’s left over. I keep thinking that I can’t believe I’m going to give birth again. All of it seems just as scary as the first time. Maybe even more so, because I know what I’m in for! Wish me luck and hopefully I’ll update again soon!

night time musings

family is everything (especially when you wish they weren’t)

self-esteem is underrated (this should be a school subject)

writing is cathartic (ahhh, feels so good)

taking responsibility isn’t easy (but you’ve got to do it)

my problems don’t seems so big anymore (can’t believe I ever thought they were)

it’s all about perspective (can you really see the other side?)

alone time is valuable (even and especially when it scares you)

talking to yourself is okay, even good (as long as you’re well spoken)

know when to cry (hint: it’s not very often)

be grateful and give back (you’ll feel better, plain and simple)

Made it to Spain and back with a 1 year old!!

WP_20140802_008Enjoying some vino on the beautiful balcony in our Madrid rental!

We did it! I can officially cross Spain off my bucket list! What a trip! I’m so glad we did it, but I definitely have some new insight about traveling with a one year old that might be helpful.

What I learned:

  • If a red-eye flight is available, TAKE IT! On our way to Spain our flight left at around 10pm. It was perfect. My little guy took about an hour to get settled and then he slept the ENTIRE flight. It was about 7 hours total. It also helped that there was an extra seat in our row and he could stretch out.
  • Try to get family/ friends to join you on your trip. Having my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and good friend there made the traveling easier. We had people to rely on for help with the wee one. They entertained him, watched him, and shared with him.
  • Bring an umbrella stroller. Ours was very simple and perfect. It wasn’t cumbersome like our jogging stroller and was a breeze to quickly fold up and take right to the gate of our plane. Our son rode in that for a good chunk of the trip. There was a lot of sight-seeing, touring, and shopping and lucky for us he enjoys riding in the stroller.
  • Bring a soft carrier. We debated about bringing our large frame hiking backpack but decided it was too big and we weren’t sure we’d even use it. We casually mentioned that we should throw in the soft carrier since it didn’t take up much space, but somehow it never made it. There were a couple of times, like when went to the top of a bell tower in an old church where that might have come in handy.
  • Don’t be too attached to high chairs. In Spain, most restaurants didn’t have them. We made do and worked out. With our group there were five laps and the stroller to help.
  • Get over the American fear/annoyance of smoking. In Spain you can’t escape it. It seemed like EVERYONE smoked, even when they were with their own tiny tots. It seemed like we were the odd ones not lighting up. That was probably one of the toughest things to deal with.
  • Use Airbnb. It worked out great for us! Our rental in Malaga had 0 reviews and we went with it. I thought we were crazy but it was the nicest rental, so spacious, in a beautiful old building. The owner’s assistant was super helpful. Our other rental in Madrid worked out great as well. It had an amazing balcony and was in THE perfect location!
  • Relax and have fun! Relaxing can be tough when you’re parenting non-stop. My husband and I helped each other to appreciate the moment, the experience, and the journey. To not get caught up with the little things.

Becoming The Stereotype I Used to Hate…

new mom bad friend

I remember back in my wild days of freedom, going to college in NYC that my friends and I would occasionally see a mom toting her children, a diaper bag, her groceries, and possibly be dealing with a screaming child all while looking entirely too frumpy and far from trendy. We would instantly, and probably not out of her hearing, proclaim that we could NEVER imagine being a mom. That it must be impossible and so hard. That we might never find such a lifestyle desirable. And if we WERE ever to find ourselves in the throes of motherhood, we would do it stylishly, our children would also be trendy and well-behaved, and we would only be raising children in Manhattan if we found ourselves wealthy enough to never have to take the subway! We were so sure of ourselves, so confident about our futures! Ahhh, how silly we were!

Fast forward several years and I have become that woman. I’m that woman that young girls are glaring at thinking my lifestyle is so far from theirs, that my fun is gone. To a degree, they’re right. I am not that young, silly, selfish thing skipping classes and hitting up bars. I don’t wear sexy clothes. I don’t party. I don’t even wear make-up. My hubby never cared for it and I admitted to myself that I don’t either. My wardrobe consists mainly of t-shirts and jeans. I recently cut my long, thick locks into a short pixie cut. I never find time to wear it down and I was always curious what I would look like. Well now I know: soccer mom-ish and a bit matronly (it’ll grow back though, right?!). My social life consists of weekly get togethers with my one mom friend and her son, a monthly date night with my husband if we’re lucky, and the occasional family dinner out. If my younger self saw me today, I would assume that I am boring. I would assume that my life is essentially over, that I’m constantly changing diapers (well, that one might be spot on!), that I don’t have fun. Oh how wrong I would be. For example, tonight I went for a tandem bicycle ride with the hubs and the little man after a nice dinner out at our local, tasty Thai restaurant. I water-ski, downhill ski, travel overseas, occasionally performs at our local professional theater, and even blog! I might not get to party every night, or stay out til the wee hours of the morning, or act like I know it all when I don’t but I’ve exchanged that for so much more. I didn’t lose my identity, I enhanced it. I get to watch my tiny, amazing human that I created learn new things at lightning speed. I get to be a part of a rock-solid parenting team of my husband and I. I get to see our parents turn into the best grandparents my son could ever ask for. I get to meet others like me, randomly at the park or in the grocery line, and share that moment of recognition that we are members of a growing club of strong, selfless, caring, a little bit crazy people who call themselves New Parents!

Biting Off More Than We Can Chew…as usual

summer beachyAhh summer! So glad to be basking in the glow of it. I’ve been impatient for it’s arrival and now that it’s here, it feels like it is slipping away fast.

So as the title implies, it looks like we may have taken on more projects and trips and jobs than our little family can handle. Let me explain. It’s been awhile, a looong while since I’ve posted, so a little background here. My husband and I work in local schools, he’s a real full time teacher and I’m a subbing wannabe. This means our summers are open, sorta. So we decided to pack it full of fun stuff and projects.

In order to pay for the fun stuff and projects, it turns out we needed to look for some more funds. I took on a few shifts at a restaurant I used to work for and my hubby picked up a summer school gig for the first time. So in addition to summer school and restaurant hours we also decided this would be a good summer to paint the house. Gah!! What were we thinking?! Now granted, our house has a mostly fake stone siding so it’s much quicker than a typical house, but there’s so much scraping to be done. So our summer so far has consisted of summer school, waiting tables, planning a trip to Spain and a camping trip, catching a few weekends at the family cottage by the lake, and a couple of dips in the pool.

It’s only TWO measly little weeks until we head out to the mountains for our camping trip and literally a day after we fly out to Espana! Did I mention we have a one year old? AND he’s coming with us! Just typing this all out, I feel a little insane. But, there’s never a dull moment at the Jones’ house. Now we just need to readjust our expectations about when our house will actually be finished. You see as soon as we get back from Spain, the hubs starts his cross country coaching season and I basically don’t see him until November. So maybe we’ll have the house done by 2015!

4 Ways to Make Playtime More Fun (For Grownups!)

mom playing with baby cartoon

It’s my one year anniversary with WordPress! To celebrate, I want to share some ways to make playtime fun for grown ups. Lately I’ve gotten into a rut with playtime. It seems we play with the same toys, read the same books, and do the same things over and over. He’s totally fine with it at almost 11 months old. But me at 28? I’m more than bored! So here are some things I’ve done to spice up playtime:

1) Busta (Nursery) Rhyme – Yup, you read that right! Try pumping up the jam with Jack and Jill. Instead of the boring cadence you usually use, try reading it extra quick and with extra vigor! Get silly, get Ludacris! Your little one will love your style and it’ll breath new life into those worn out rhymes. Also, jazz up those kids books with different accents.

2) Dance party – Turn up your favorite music. It’s never to early to introduce your tot to your tunes, but maybe skip the hard stuff. You can both enjoy it and get some exercise by grooving around the room. This is great for all ages. You can carry or wear your tiny tot while dancing or have your toddlers stand on your feet.

3) Get Dramatic – Whether your babe can talk or babble or just stare wide eyed, when you’re trying to entertain, do it to the max. Gather up those millions of stuffed animals and act out the latest episode of Downton Abby, teddy bear edition. Or whatever your favorite show is, they’ll love to see you so into it and you’ll get a kick out of reliving or adapting your latest tv show addiction.

4) Take Selfies – pretty ‘self’ explanatory. Have fun hamming it up, use some nifty filters, post online or text to your friends and family.

And of course, like everyone says, enjoy each moment no matter how boring it might seem at the time. It’s true that time flies, and soon enough you’ll be longing for a few more ‘boring’ seconds with your little baby.

 

 

clipart: http://www.clipartof.com/portfolio/toonaday/baby