A Little Catch Up…

29 Apr

Happy Hump Day! So I was laying in bed last night trying to go to sleep- something I’m doing a good bit of this week as my body rebels against the time change (coincidentally, my stomach is also rebelling and is hungry at the complete wrong times…)- and was thinking about today’s post. I had planned to do it on the city of Wiesbaden, but then I realized that I’d be skipping several things- our travel to get here, pictures I’d originally posted on Facebook that many of you wouldn’t get to see, our apartment…So I’ve decided to backtrack just a bit to fill in some of these gaps and I’ll post again tomorrow when we’re supposed to get rained out for the second time this week. Jammie days are the best for good posts anyway 🙂

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Neve is really an awesome traveler. With the exception of one lengthy roadtrip to Kentucky when she was about 6 months old (NIGHTMARE, just ask my then-childless sister and brother in law who rode with us), we have never really had any problems. Be it car, plane, boat, bike…She’s a trooper! Yet for some reason, before any long trip by any of the above-mentioned modes, I always get that slight tinge of dread. You know, that one that you hear from so many parents about needing to drive all night instead of during the day or drugging the kid on the plane so he’ll sleep or even skipping traveling until the kids are older and easier…And don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting any of these strategies as I know that they’re real and significant issues for some families. Rather, I’m just saying that for us, we’ve lucked up in that they are more or less non-issues, so I’m never sure why I get that pit in my stomach for a minute or two during the planning stages of a trip.

That being said, Neve is a three year old. A VERY active, engaged, spirited, imaginative three year old. And there’s no getting around that on any trip, which means that ALOT of planning goes into our travel beforehand and ALOT of work goes into the actual traveling itself. Loading and re-loading her iPad with her favorites (we switch them out several times during lengthy trips to prevent boredom), packing oodles of her favorite snacks, bringing with us familiar items…One off-the-wall thing I’ve found so helpful on plane trips is my ‘Bag’o Goodies.’ I go to the Dollar Tree and pick up about 10-15 items that I know she’ll love. Some are toys, but most aren’t. Tape, rubber bands, flashlights, stress balls, chap stick…This trip, her favorite was a box of hot pink Barbie Bandaids. I also pick up a pack of multi-colored tissue paper and I wrap each item individually in a different color to put in my Bag. Then, every hour or so of the trip, we get out the Bag, examine all the colors, shapes and sizes of the presents, and pick the perfect one to unwrap. For the following hour, we have a brand new, unique gift to play with! Huge hit!

So back to this trip…This one was a bit more stressful than some. Like several times before, Neve and I flew separately from John as he has to fly the contract carrier for work and we, well, we fly what’s cheapest and most convenient with times and layovers. She and I are pretty much old pros as we’ve done several 10+ hour flights, a couple red-eye overnight flights, and even more shorter flights. This was our first time connecting through Newark. I hate Newark Airport. Always have, but we won’t get into that. Basically, I’ve just never had anything go right when I’m there. The streak continued this time…Connections are always tricky as you’re trying to navigate to your concourse and your gate in a sea of people. You’re also trying to go potty, wash hands, and usually eat something. All in a matter of a couple hours at most. If you’ve never done this with a preschooler- a strong-willed, independent preschooler- well, just take my word for it. Whole new can of worms, friend.

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The biggest concern for me these days is all the people. Neve is lightning quick and it’s can be a challenge to watch her 100% of the time and also order food, stock up on water at the newstand, etc.. Just thinking about being able to spot her in a sea of people makes me tense. Get my drift? This time, our terminal was under construction, which meant that signage was down, which meant that we missed the turn off for the tram to take us to our departing concourse. About the same second I realized this, I also realized I’d just crossed the line back into ‘you have to go through security again’ zone. Are you kidding me right now?? So for the next hour and 11 minutes (of our two hour and one minute layover), we waited in line. Again. Once we were mobile again, we found the original turn off and got on the tram. Which broke down about two minutes into the commute and we had to wait 14 minutes for a relief tram to come take us the rest of the way. JEEZ. By this point, it’s almost 7 o’clock, we haven’t eaten, we haven’t peed, so we are booking it down the concourse- btw, Murphy’s Law says that you’re gate has to be at the farthest point when you’re in a rush- Neve riding on our wheelie carry-on suitcase in our usual fashion by straddling and bear hugging the extended handle as I run. It’s pretty comical to see, I can only imagine. Needless to say, we peed, we washed hands, we ate (gross) fast food at our gate and we boarded on time.

For the most part, our flight was good. It was only a ‘medium jet,’ as Neve calls them, in that the seats were 2 4 2 (they looked like _ _    _ _ _ _    _ _) instead of a ‘super jet’ that is 3 6 3 ( _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _), so we got two seats all to ourselves, which is always nice with kids so you’re not crawling over people a zillion times, kicking them, talking to them constantly…(The folks in front of and behind us get enough of that, I’m sure.) As soon as it gets dark outside, I always change Neve into her PJs because I find it helps her make the distinction that it’s time to wind down and that people will be sleeping. And by ‘people,’ I do not mean her or me, just to clarify. So we get her out of her clothes and into her favorite Dora jammies and socks, get out her blanket and start to settle in for our cramped evening. About this time, the stewardess comes by one last time with drinks and Neve asks for apple juice. For some reason, United has unusually large- almost Dixie size- cups- so that’s what we got. Do you see where this is going? Fast forward 60 seconds and Neve is frustrated that her headphones won’t stay on her ears and has a mini-tantrum, ripping them out of the iPad…and straight into the Dixie cup full of apple juice that I’ve been guarding on my tray. Yep, it was as bad as you’re picturing. Her jammies, her socks, her person, my clothes, my person, her seat (somehow mine was spared, thank God)…Have you ever spilled juice? Let’s just say that Post-It should really consider working it into their formula for extra heavy duty adhesive. Good Lawd.

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Well, at this point in the game, we have 7+ hours still to go, so there’s no need getting all bent out of shape. We head to the mouse hole that is the bathroom to sponge bathe with papertowels and airplane water- and for Neve to find the Flush button and try it out a few dozen times, which makes me lightheaded because I always hold my breath to flush airplane toilets because just think of all the germs going all over creation and all the while I’m trying to cover her face with a papertowel to block some of said germs…Jeez. Anyways, then we head back to our seats to replace jammies with the comfy change of clothes that I always pack for Neve in our carry on. Then we ask the stewardess for some trash bags- one for the wet jammies, one to cover the seat Adam Sandler/Big Daddy style- and a cookie (Neve was frazzled and thought a cookie could help.)

I did not pack a comfy change of clothes. Or any clothes. So it was a sticky night for me.

Other than that, the flight was uneventful. We watched movies, we played games, we walked the aisles, we talked about life…She slept just shy of three hours (a first! Bazinga!) and was thrilled with the croissants they brought around for breakfast. Customs was a breeze. Baggage claim took forever. But then those doors opened and there was Daddy and all was right in the world again. His flight landed an hour before ours- just enough time for him to get the rental car 🙂

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Daddy even had a sign made in case we didn’t recognize him.

It was nice to have the next day, Sunday, as a family to do a bit of exploring together after catching up on sleep. We all slept nearly 13 hours that first night! I haven’t slept until noon since highschool! Ha! The weather was a perfect 68F and sunny, so walking around the city was a grand time. It’s gorgeous here- very old, very big (in a good way), very picturesque. Germany shuts down on Sundays, but we did manage to find an all-day brunch, so waffles and bacon hit the spot!

John started work on Monday, which means Neve and I are on our own during the days for the week. Monday, it rained from the time we woke up until the time we went to bed- and it never got out of the 40s- so I won’t say that our first day solo was terrific, but the days since have been redeeming with bike rides, playgrounds and farmers’ markets. More on that tomorrow, though…

And since a few folks asked about our apartment…I don’t have many pictures, but here are a few, including one of our typical nighttimes since we’ve been here ❤

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Walking in the front door. One open space for living, kitchen and dining. Master is to the left, Neve's room is to the right. Straight out the sliding doors is our terrace and little fenced in yard. (Wish the pups were here :( ) The outside space and the  windowed dining area (all of them open!) are our favorite parts :)

Walking in the front door. One open space for living, kitchen and dining. Master is to the left, Neve’s room is to the right. Straight out the sliding doors is our terrace and little fenced in yard. (Wish the pups were here 😦 ) The outside space and the windowed dining area (all of them open!) are our favorite parts.

Out on the terrace, looking back toward the dining area.

Out on the terrace, looking back toward the dining area.

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5 Responses to “A Little Catch Up…”

  1. Eleanor April 30, 2015 at 3:12 PM #

    Entertaining story about your traveling so far. Hope your weather improves daily. Very cool here today, rain yesterday, but sun is shining now. Apartment looks great! Have fun and keep making those memories!

  2. Jesi Freshwater April 30, 2015 at 6:25 AM #

    Aww Erin, I bet the pups miss you guys already! What a super cute apartment! I giggled thinking that perhaps the apple juice kept Neve’s eyes sealed for an extra hour or so…ha. I’m glad to hear you are enjoying it there and can’t wait to find out the final decision on making it long~term or returning to the states. Soak up the rainy days, make adventures when the weather allows and rake in as many memory making moments as you can!

    • Erin T. April 30, 2015 at 8:35 AM #

      Thanks, girlie! We are definitely making the most of it! Miss you!

  3. Taylor Ryan (@femininemuscle) April 29, 2015 at 10:52 PM #

    Love it! And the apartment. I wish I could jump on the back of a suitcase and have Dan run around the airport with me. Now that would be a sight!

    • Erin T. April 30, 2015 at 8:35 AM #

      Girl, I would pay big bucks to see you riding a wheelie suitcase! 😉 By that stage of the game, I would’ve paid big bucks for someone to pull me on one!

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