Tag Archives: travel

The First Big Trip — Part One

The motivation to get us on our first plane ride with the twins was a wedding; a glorious wedding, as it turned out, one that happened to fall on the twins’ birthday.  And this wedding was a non-negotiable because it was the nuptials of one of my greatest friends of all time, and I was in it.  It’s always good to show up when you’re a bridesmaid.

I did my fair share of fingernail chewing about having two infants on a plane, but it wasn’t nearly the endeavor it could have been because my entire family was traveling with us.  They adore Amy and Brian too, so they were every bit as committed to getting there as we were.

Off we flew to Philadelphia (direct, of course.  There IS no other way to fly with babies.)

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Fun Twin Flying Fact: one cannot have two lap-babies in a row.  Not just on one side, but all six seats across.  So at any given moment, all seven of us had to ensure that we passed the babies forward and backward so as not to break this rule.  Believe me, the stewardesses caught us more than once when we weren’t paying attention and the babies were adjusted accordingly.

Shocking no one more than me and Mike, the twins were virtually silent on the plane.  Perfectly content, happy with the novelty of the new sights (and snacks).  They didn’t cry once.  It was some sort of air travel nirvana.

Once we arrived, we had the joy of introducing the babies to their extended family, some of whom they’d already met (thank you aunties and uncle for visiting!).  The most important introduction was to my grandpa, the husband of Arden Charlotte’s namesake.  I had been anticipating their meeting since the day they were born.  I’m very close with my grandpa, so him meeting them was enormously emotional for me — it was like introducing the babies to a piece of my heart.

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They also got to meet little Avery, the newest addition to the family, daughter of my cousins Amy and Joel.  She’s so precious, and her hair makes my children green with envy — I mean, Arden won’t even acknowledge her.

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We had so much fun with them all together.  We plunged them into the pool in little floaties, because well, how could we resist this?

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This was the twins’ first real swimming experience, and they were timid but grew to love it.  Arden’s swim trick (Mike always holds her in the air and says “Swim swim swim!” and she does a perfect breaststroke that you wouldn’t believe) translated beautifully to actual swimming.

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Feel free to stop me if you feel your heart giving out.

Since the babies cleared their first bite of cake at their birthday party the previous week, we felt it was only fair that they try the local specialty: a Dunkin Donut.  Dunkin Donuts are sacred terrority in my family, with multiple runs to DD’s being made for breakfast in each visit east.  They didn’t get a whole donut, just a bite or two each, but it was all that they dreamed, I’m sure of it.

Their favorite place in the house was the kitchen, rustling up Great Grandpa’s pots and pans.  They never get to be in the kitchen at home, so this was like a theme park.

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Mostly we just soaked up time with loved ones we don’t see often enough.  It’s so amazing to be thirty years old and realize your heart is still feeling new emotions — this trip afforded me the joy of sharing my children with the family I’ve treasured my entire life.  My cousin Allie, pictured below, being silly with Arden, is a perfect example.

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It’s a joy coupled with pain, I soon realized, because Henry and Arden don’t get to see their wonderful great-grandpa and great aunts and uncles nearly enough.  I would love so much for them to grow up seeing each other every week.

I mean, look at the joy in these faces.

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My generous aunt Beth threw a birthday party for the babies, and it was so adorable — the accessories were everything.

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Henry!  Your eyes.  I could faint.  Arden, your cheeks!  It’s too much.

*Side note: Henry’s hat had to be cut at the side to fit over his head.  Further proof it’s larger than the average one year old.  Don’t worry, it’s just holding your huge brain, Hank!

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I know.  I can’t talk about my hair here either.  All I can say is: humidity + growing out bangs = lethal.

If you’re just dazzled by their enthusiasm, it’s because it was about 8PM and their bedtime is 7PM.  They were, shall we say, less than agreeable.

But we partied on!

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You’d think we’d just told them their cupcakes were made of quinoa and stuffed with spinach.  Or maybe they misunderstood what birthdays are and they think people arrive with packages to take your toys away?

We had some deja vu with the cake rejection here too.

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Henry: “Don’t you people learn?”

Arden: “No means no.”

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After several relaxing days spent with the family, we headed off to Lancaster for the wedding of the year.  Wait until you see this gorgeous couple and their wedding locale.  Oh, and Henry in a suit and Arden in a Parisian dress.  I can hear your toe tapping so I’ll get right on that.

Part Two coming soon!

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Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

A Wee Explanation

You know that musty smell you’ve been noticing, the one that you can’t put your finger on but smells vaguely of dust and maybe a twinge of rot?  It’s not coming from your fridge, your shower, or even your garbage disposal (you’re welcome for those visuals), it’s coming from your computer and/or mobile device…because this blog has been decaying for two months.  It has been radiating the stench through the interweb and into your home, and for that I must apologize.  I don’t think I’ve ever stalled this long between posts, although don’t go running over to the sidebar to check that statement via the archives.  All I can say, which is exactly what you know I’m going to say, is twins.  Twinnage.  Twinning.

Right around early July everything picked up in my not-online life because of planning the twins’ birthday party as well as our first trans-American flight to Pennsylvania.  It shatters the mind to comprehend the number of errands and thankless chores that went into each of these endeavors, but I can confidently say it was all worth it.  The birthday was a truly lovely time (I only cried once!) and the trip east was a week I will treasure forever (they didn’t cry once on the plane — okay that only applies to the first flight, but STILL).

In case those situations are not sufficient excuses, Mike traveled for two weeks in early August, and do single mothers blog?  Maybe they do, but are their kids still alive?  I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but I wasn’t entirely single, as my blessed sister Erin came to stay with me the first week, and the second week the twins and I took a three day trip to Oregon to visit my grandmother.  My mom also spent the night once.  There was not a LOT of single motherhood going on, but can we agree this contributes to the theme of summer blog silence?

Now that I’ve gotten that paperwork out of the way, I hereby resolve to get my act together and become something resembling a regular blogger.  Because I know you’re waiting with breath that is baited (name that show) for more juicy tales from the exciting halls of Twin Reph University (go TRU!).

In the meantime, a few gems from the last two months (it pains me to write “two months” again, and now I’ve done it three times).

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Just a cacophony of fun in the sun with our cousins in PA — including the newest addition, Avery.

 

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Photographing these three together proved irresistible. Note that they are virtually the same size but, per Avery’s onesie, she is six months old, whereas my darlings are two days from being one year. Love. It.

 

 

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The birthday party! Massive announcement: I made that life ring in the background (correction, Sam really did most of the work).

 

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Visiting Grandma (Great Grandma to the babes!). Otherwise known as: stripey family heads south.

Twinning!

 

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Filed under ForeWORD (Intro)

“Do You Think I’ll Need This Hoodie?”

I find it deeply ironic that my favorite activity in the world is preceded by my least favorite activity in the world. 

They are traveling and packing, respectively.

Nothing makes me happier than having a trip to plan for, anticipate, fantasize about and eventually experience.  But nothing fills me with more panic-stricken dread than packing for such an adventure.

As a well-documented commitment-phobe, packing is really my ultimate test of will.  We’re not just talking about a few decisions that have minor consequences; we’re talking about dozens of decisions that have the potential for dire consequences.

How many outfits is realistic for a two-week trip?  What is the likelihood I’ll need high heels?  The weather calls for 80 degree days, but what if it’s unseasonably chilly and I don’t bring a jacket and an entire evening is ruined?   This is the type of self-inflicted battery I endure.

It’s not all fashion-related, either.  It’s equally hard for me to choose which pajamas to bring as it is actual clothes.  I would never pack impractical shoes for a trip that involves lots of walking.  I am just as concerned with comfort as I am style.  

For me, packing begins days, sometimes weeks in advance of departure.  I make a master checklist, see what items I need to purchase (perfect — more decisions!), and begin mentally cataloguing my wardrobe.  Three days before, I start laundry and restrict myself from wearing any of the clean items so I can save them for the trip.  Two days before, I lay everything out on the bed, staring, moving, replacing, rejecting each item until I feel somewhat assured that the earth is not going to fall off its axis.

Mike packs in ten minutes or less, if you didn’t assume that already.

While living with roommates during and after college, they knew to come running at pack time, armed with snacks and wine and light-hearted music to get me through.  They’d hold up items from my closet and say “yes or no?” and I only had a few seconds to answer or they’d make the choice for me.  This worked remarkably well, apart from the hives it caused.

Nothing comforts me like being able to explain my neurosis to a willing party, in the hope that that person will agree with my sound logic or tell me I’ve lost my mind while stuffing my oversized hat back into its hatbox.

“But what if we have dinner out?  And it’s cold?  And I’m in a dress so I’ll need something with length?”

“Abby, you are going to Pennsylvania.  In August.  You will not need your wool trench coat.”

As it turns out, I’m not the only one fit for a straight jacket when it comes to packing.  One of my best gal pals, Jamie, recently wrote a blog post on her twin sister, Jen’s, new blog.  It’s all about packing, and it’s fantastic.  Every word of it made me feel like less of an insane person.  Jamie and Jen were in town last weekend and we swapped sob stories of packing gone wrong.  We are all recovering overpackers.

I have to boast that my personal best occurred in May of 2011.  Mike and I traveled to Europe for twelve days and we carried on.  Yes, every piece of clothing and every shoe and accessory were combined with Mike’s items into four small bags fit for overhead bin and under-seat stowing.  This, you can imagine, was a colossal feat that had me sweating all the way to the airport, convinced I’d forgotten everything essential.

The real conversion moment happened upon our return home.   As I unpacked, I reached into the bottom of my bag and realized there were two dresses I forgot to wear.   I was struck dumb by the fact that my micro-packing not only worked, it worked so well that I didn’t even miss my extra clothes.  This, my friends, was life-altering progress.

However, for the trip to Italy we are taking in two days, I will be checking a bag (it’s free…hello).  There is only one layover, and it’s for five hours, so I’m counting on the airline’s ability to move my bag correctly in that amount of time.

So for the next 36 hours, the pressure is on.  My personal Olympic event is underway, and I’m limbering up.  I’ve got my snacks, wine, music and my decision-making game face on.  I’m not aspiring to medal, but I am hoping to finish in one piece (which reminds me: swimsuits…two piece or one? Both? Oh my word…).

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Filed under AwkWORD (Humor)