Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MeMe Take 1

Not anyone in particular. My mom was going to name me Tara when they found out I was a girl, but Daddy had a name picked out because of some cute little girl named Nicole who was the daughter of one of his friends.

I find myself crying for various reasons...I think the last time I cried was in Pennsylvania...I cried when I was watching my aunt with her grandchildren. She was able to do so much with them, and I cried a bit at the thought that my Mom may not have that with Ella. BUT...I decided that she is going to get healed and will have the opportunity to make FlufferNutter sandwiches and make forts out of blankets in the play room.

Usually, yes. It's probably a good thing since I have a business that in many ways rides on my handwriting.

My guilty love is salami with white American cheese. But, since that is not on my wonderful eat-clean diet, turkey and lean ham are what I usually munch on.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Yes, I have the most beautiful baby girl in the world. If she doesn't steal your heart, you don't have one.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? I think I'd be a good friend to myself.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? No. And I don't really like people who do.


9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I would have before I had kids. Now, I don't think so. I want to see my children grow up.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Oh, good question. I love me some cereal...Life, Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, and lately banana nut granola with Silk vanilla soymilk. It always has to be very cold and the best way to do it was shown to me by my best friend's stepdad...ice circles. Ice circles are bowls with a little water on the bottom, put in the freezer overnight. It keeps your milk cold and your cereal yum-o!

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, I really should. I hear it helps keep them longer.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically-Not like I used to be, but I'm working on it. Spiritually-I believe that I could always be stronger.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Cold Stone's Chocolate Peanut Butter in a Reese's covered waffle cone...shared with my hubby. I wonder how many calories are in that!


15. RED OR PINK? That depends on what sort of mood I am in. I love them both, but I'm more into pink these days.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? My fleeting ability to keep myself organized. I used to be so good about having a plan, a place, and a purpose for everything. Not so much anymore.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My college roomies. They were soooooo fun!

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Brown Old Navy sweatpants, white running socks.
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Law & Order that my MIL and hubby are watching

22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Nothing beats Brandon's Lacoste cologne. I also love the smell of Ella after a bath, the smell of fabric softener/clean cotton.

24. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football!!! College football.
5. HAIR COLOR? Brown & blonde.
26. EYE COLOR? Brown
27. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?Nope 20/20 vision
28. FAVORITE FOOD? Philly Cheesesteaks from Philly (all else are imposters)
29. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? I hate scary movies
30. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?Finding Nemo with my MIL and Ella.
.32. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, definitely!
33. HUGS OR KISSES? Both...from Brandon and Ella.
34. FAVORITE DESSERT? Brownies...chewy, gooey, not all the way done.
35. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Power of Praying Wife, Power of Praying Parent.
36. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have a mouse pad. I've got one of those touch pads on the laptop.
37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? I didn't watch any TV last night. This sounds super spiritual, but Brandon and I had some friends over and we listened to a sermon CD and talked about God until the wee hours of the morning.
38. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Brandon singing to Ella!
40. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Living-Los Angeles, CA. Vacationing-Sri Lanka.
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Creative stuff...scrapbooking

Okay, enough about me. I tag the PB&J! C'mon sista!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why It Was Worth It...

This is my Mommom...Actually, she's Ella's Mommom, too. Even though she is her great-grandmother, we didn't have to come up with a new name. Mommom is 80 years old, lives in Philadelphia, and hasn't yet seen Ella...until this trip.

Check out the progression. Brandon really caught it with our new camera as we brought Ella in to meet Mommom for the first time.

I think they like each other. This is the moment that made our hellish day in the airport worth it. But wait...there's more. We also spent time with more family members, and I'll show & tell you more about that later.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What A Difference 5 Minutes Makes...Part 2

Okay, so where was I?
We missed it...Oh Yes..We missed it by 5 minutes!!!

So...we were running through the airport with a total of 3 pieces of regular luggage, 4 carry-on items, a stroller, a car seat/base, 2 coats and a very cute baby...

We got to the gate right as they closed the door. I said, "There's no hope for us, is there?" And I kind of got a chuckle from the attendants. Luckily for us, there was a nice, no...a VERY nice gal there named Margot. She had us go to the counter and told us our options...

Everything was overbooked all day long. The only thing we had a hope to get on was a 3:30pm flight that would get us into Atlanta then Philly by 11pm (we could have driven to Philly and back in that amount of time). She booked us on that, and then I asked if there were any other earlier flights. Yes, there was a 11:56am, but it was WAY overbooked (why do they overbook flights anyway?). So we took the 3:30 flight and asked her to put us on the standby list for the 11:56 flight just in case there were other idiotic travlers like we had proved to be this morning.

A few typestrokes and our silent prayers later and Margot was handing me two CONFIRMED boarding passes for the 11:56 flight! She said that she has a 7 month old and they took her on the plane just last month and knows how hard it can be to travel with an infant, so she bumped others on the flight so we could get there quicker. I didn't know her but I wanted to kiss her. She told Brandon that he could take our 3 check in bags back to the front and check them.

So he did.

And I stayed at the gate, and decided to chat with Margot for a minute before she left and I broke out the oh-so-wonderful Hooter Hider (my beloved nursing cover) and get some breakfast in my child (who, at this point, was still an angel and wasn't even crying about the fact that she had been up since 4 and hadn't eaten anything yet). Just as I was settling into the corner chair in Gate A5, quieting my soul down enough to actually enjoy the nursing session, I get a phone call.

It's Brandon's special ringtone. It makes me smile every time.

He says that the lady at the front (the same one who wouldn't let us check our bags before) is telling him that he can't check his bags in until 3 hours before his flight. It's 6:15am now, and he can't check them in until 8:56am. Can I please get Margot on the phone to work this out? (We knew we had an ally in good ole' Margot...I should send a compliment card or something to AirTran singing her praises).
No, babe...sorry. I'm nursing Ella in my little hideaway and Margot's nowhere in sight right now.

So my poor husband had to get back in the security line (only this time he didn't get to cut anyone), and take all of our luggage which was meant to be checked back through the security checkpoint...what little hadn't already been discovered and "properly disposed of" (aka, put in the pocket of the worker probably--who wouldn't want my brand new jar of 100% natural peanut butter from Whole Foods or the new hair serum that leaves hair feeling stronger and shinier?)--was promptly discovered and taken away from us in this go-around. I think we probably lost about $40 worth of good stuff in that security line.
My dejected husband looked like a truck hit him when, an hour later, he rounded the corner and met us in A5 with all of our stuff. Then I had the task of telling him we'd acutally need to move to A7 and set up camp...the gate changed. All the while, Ella is playing on a blanket with a new toy I had packed for the big airplane adventure.

We did have a silver lining to this dark cloud in that as I was strolling Ella down the concourse trying to get her to fall asleep, I spotted Bear Reinhart, a former Paladin, teammate of Brandon's, and the lead singer for the band Need To Breathe. He and his band were at Furman before making it big. They just signed with Atlantic Records, have the #1 song on the P.S. I Love You soundtrack ("More Time"), and are really on the verge of blowing up...We are very excited for them. Surprisingly, Bear recognized me, and we talked as I walked him over to Brandon where we all got to visit with each other while we waited.
And, heck...since we really do think that Bear and his band are going to be super famous one day, we asked him to take a picture with us so we could show Ella one day that she met him...

(Remember, it was only 7am when this pic was taken)

So...FINALLY, the flight begins to board. We had everything together and got on. Margot had even found a black garbage bag for us to protect our car seat and base at gate check. Ella promptly fell asleep, Thank You, GOD! She slept the whole 48 minutes to ATL.

We got off the plane, checked the boards and found out that it was SNOWING in Atlanta, and our flight was delayed at least 2 hours. So we waited...

This is a nice family whom we met and befriended. Their daughter was so fun and high-spirited. If Ella is anything like her when she's three, though, we're in for it. She was HIGH-Energy. Thankfully, the mom bought me a coffee to help me keep up with her.

I closed my eyes for about 20 minutes thinking that when I'd open them, the gate would definitely be full of people ready to board. But when I did, amidst the blaring loop of news stories in the background, there were no more people than before...that's funny...shouldn't we be leaving in 20 minutes?

It's a good thing I think like this, y'all. My husband was on the phone, blissfully ignorant to the fact that our gate had changed and we were about to miss our flight...AGAIN.

But we didn't. And in my next post, I'll show what made all of this craziness worth it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What a difference 5 minutes makes...

Brandon and I took Ella on her first flight adventure to Pennsylvania to see my family in Philadelphia.
For weeks, I have been planning the trip...what we would do, who we would see, how we would eat famous Philly Cheesesteaks, and...all the details about the flight. Flying with a five month old seemed to me to be a daunting task, but one I was certainly up for. I feel as if I'm a pretty experienced traveler. I've been to North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia numerous times. I've traveled with large groups, in charge of large groups, and by myself. I've become quite proficient at packing, too...able to fit all I'd need for 2 weeks on the backside of the African bush in just one small bag. But for some reason, traveling with our little bundle of joy was much more stressful than any mission trip, honeymoon or vacation I'd ever taken.
I had to research everything from what to do during takeoff and landing, to the best way to keep an infant secure on a plane, to packing lists, best toys, and how to maneuver a stroller through an airport. What to check, what not to check, how to get breast milk through the security check, how to pack for below freezing temperatures...I was online A LOT...A LOT getting ready for this. Not only were we flying to PA, but for the entire week before that, we'd also be in Charlotte, NC and Burlington, NC as Brandon took a seminary class. So really, we had to be prepared to live out of our suitcases for 2 weeks.
Brandon pushed his way through the class, and even managed to get 4 hours of sleep combined during the last two days (which I was not thrilled about, but...whatever). I had the packing down to a science...what we would check, what we would bring on the plane, what items would fit best in each bag, and even enough room to bring other things back from PA.
Our flight left on Saturday morning at 6:10am. I purposefully set it up that way so that we would most likely miss the throngs of people in the airport. I figured that if we got a lot of traveling out of the way in the morning, Ella would probably sleep through most of it. We planned on leaving the house at 4:30am, being at the airport before 5am and sailing through everything because of my wonderful planning. By 11am we'd be in Philly and on our way to get our cheesesteaks for lunch and to introduce Ella to her great Grandmother.
Well, anyone with kids knows that getting out on time with them is easier said than done. My day began at 3:30am, but between trying to finish my last minute packing, going over the checklist to make sure nothing was left behind or out of place, showering, getting Brandon to get out of bed, packing the car, waking and dressing Ella while still keeping her kind of drowsy, and trying not to leave our room a total disaster area, we got in the car around 5am. A little stressed but not much because we thought it would be fine.
It wasn't.
We forgot that we'd have to park in long term parking instead of being conveniently dropped off at the door. And, we'd have to get all of our stuff out of the car, wait for a shuttle, get all of our stuff on the shuttle (I'm talking 3 checked luggage pieces, a travel system for the baby, a violin, a breast pump, a book bag, & a diaper bag), wait as the shuttle picked up other passengers and putted out to the airport, get all our stuff off the bus and stand in line. By the time we got to the counter it was 5:41am.
We were told that we couldn't check our luggage after 30 minutes prior to takeoff. That was one minute ago. We would have to take all of our luggage and check it at the gate for an extra charge. Awesome. So...we got our boarding passes and had to take every piece of luggage to the security line. And wait. It was MOBBED in the airport. I guess that MLK holiday is a big travel day. On the intercom, we heard an announcement that our flight's gate would close in 7 minutes...
Have you ever seen A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!-If you haven't, shame on you). Well, in the movie Ralphie wants to see Santa, and he goes with his family to the department store to tell Santa that he wants a Red Ryder BB gun. The line, he says, stretches "from here to Tarahote"...That is what this security line seemed like...and we were at the end of it. Brandon called out that we were on that plane they were boarding, and surprisingly the Red Sea parted.
Everyone must have felt bad for us...we were a pretty sorry sight with all of our stuff and this baby (who, by the way, was an angel at this point). We had to take cameras and laptops out of cases, Ella out of her carrier, fold up the stroller and carrier and base, take off shoes, belts, earrings, & watches. It was crazy. They went through ALL of our bags and threw out a lot of stuff that we would have checked if we had been allowed to. So annoying. I had to go in and out of the metal detector with Ella 3 times. And then we hear the announcement that it's 1 minute until the gate closes...
We halfway get dressed so we can run with all of our stuff down the corridor. It was such a sight. Absolutely ridiculous, really. We finally got to the gate (the next to last one from the very end, of course), and caught them right after they had closed the door...
We missed it. Oh yes..we missed it by 5 minutes.
So what did we do? How did we handle it? Did we ever get our cheesesteak?
I'll go on later...I want to leave you hanging to peek your curiosity.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

January Happenings

We hosted our annual get together with the Johnsons and the Smith-Mathers last week. As always, the boys stayed up way too late for my liking (6am...), only this time instead of being in some amazing discussion on how to change the world, they were trying to take over the world...by playing RISK. Now, I've never played RISK, but apparently it's like Monopoly...it could go on for a VERY long time until there's one winner. The girls wanted to play 90's edition of Trivial Pursuit, but we got vetoed.

So we played with the babies....

On Friday night we also had the Pecoraros, The Shufords, the Holmes', and our friend Nikki Pressley over to enjoy some dinner and fellowship.

God has been so good to us...bringing such amazing couples into our lives.