Wish I was there . .
My passport is ready and I can be packed in minutes.

20 June 2007

Hei Norge!

Off we go... This is PH. Unfortunately, Hexe has been a little ill so you get me. Hexe flew up to Maine on Monday to drop off KK and Hew at her mother's home. Here's what happened: We woke up at 3:20 AM to make a 6:00 AM flight. After checking in the gang headed to security for the fun to begin.

The TSA confiscated the kid's yogurt as contraband at the security check point. The kid's Play-Dough was nearly taken, but after a rather intense inspection it was allowed on the plane. Upon finding the yogurt and Play-Dough, Hexe was forced to empty the entire contents of her purse and back pack. After the PB&J sandwiches were analyzed to make sure they didn't exceed the 3 ounce limit, the family was allowed to proceed to their flight.

Of course, Delta was nice enough to seat each of them in three different rows. The ticket counter person said she couldn't reassign the seats so that the children could sit with their mother. The representative at the gate also refused. So, Hexe did what any mother traveling alone with a 3 and 5 year old would do. She chose a nice row and squatted until the crew reseated other passengers.

Once seated together they got ready for take off. More fun quickly ensued. Both KK and Hexe tend to get air sick. This time, it was KK's turn to throw up on the plane. The good news is that the entire contents of KK's stomach made it into the vomit bag. Hew was rather impressed and told every passenger what good a job KK did to throw up in the bag while being careful not to "miss it" like last time. Plus, KK only needed ONE bag this time. What a proud little brother.

The three of them arrived on time to Atlanta for their connection to Maine. While exiting the plane Hexe gave the flight attendant KK's deposit and went in search of the connecting flight. There were no more security "issues" and this flight boarded on time. However, once the plane was fully boarded several passengers started to notice a rather familiar, strong smell. This was quickly pointed out to the flight crew who told the Captain. Apparently, over the weekend the ground crew forgot to clean and empty the toilets. Instead, three days of "remains" were still in the tank. The crew was instructed to take off and let the ground crew in Maine clean it up. Fortunately, the Captain had a heart and forced them to empty the toilets before leaving. I am really glad he did. Otherwise, Hexe and KK would have filled several small bags on this flight.

Hew was rather impressed with the cleaning crew and told them to make sure there was plenty of blue water for him to use, now that he is completely potty trained.

After a 30 minute delay for the "potty clean up," the kids and Hexe were on their way back home to Maine. Unfortunately, during the rush to put everyone's shoes back on and gather her belongings at security in Florida, the PB&J sandwiches were found at the bottom of the back pack. So, on the Atlanta flight there was no yogurt and no sandwiches. Isn't Play-Dough edible?

During the last half hour of the flight KK was unable to equalize the pressure in her ears and screamed bloody murder. The good news is that no one threw up. Hew made sure that all the passengers were aware of this fact.

Once on ground Hexe gathered the luggage and car seats and went in search of the rental car. It was now 1:30 and the kids only had peanuts to eat. The first "restaurant" she could find was a McDonald's - somewhere the kids have NEVER been and Hexe hasn't visited since she was in high school. The kids were not impressed with the chicken nuggets, but ate them any way since the only other option was a plastic bag of squished PB&J remnants.

Unfortunately, Hexe caught a bug on the flights north. No, it is not T.B. Between visits from her cousins and grandparents she has been trying to stay in bed as much as possible so she can get over her funk before we fly to Norway tonight. I am currently sitting at Gate 77 in the Orlando Airport waiting for my flight to Boston where I will meet Hexe for our Norwegian vacation.

In Boston I'll greet her with a big hug, a kiss, and a vomit bag if needed. Details from our visit will be coming soon. Until then... we are off to the Land of the Midnight Sun.



15 June 2007

Technical Assistance Needed

I need someone to tell me how I can reply to my comments individually without leaving another comment. I see some of you have mastered this talent (Ms. Mac and Expat Travel and the rest of you know who you are) and this technology challenged blogger needs some help figuring out how to do this. I will forever be in debt to you master bloggers. Merci, Tusen Takk, Danke.

Round One

I am trying to pack and prepare for our flight next week. Yet my kids seem to have other ideas. This happened last year too. I've yet to figure out the correlation between suitcases and bad behavior. I have no conclusive evidence other than to note that it appears to be a consistent trend.

My kids, although young, are good travelers. Now as their parent, I'm sure I'm biased. However on every plane these kids have flown, total strangers have turned to us at the end of the flight and comment how well behaved my devil spawn are during the flight. Even when sick, there is no crying on planes.

But getting them to the plane with a packed suitcase is a different story. This morning has included repeatedly rolling the ottoman across the floor and banging it into the wall, as well as the removal of several Barbie heads. We have had fights that have resulted in hitting and one biting incident. BITING! These kids did not even have a biting phase as toddlers and now at the sight of a suitcase, they're leaving teeth imprints on each other. I would love to toss them both outside but as I reside in Hell and it is two thousand degrees in the backyard, I would be accused of child abuse if they were left outside melting for more than ten minutes.

I need reinforcement - Is it too early for wine?

13 June 2007

Yesterday included a visit to the dentist for a cleaning, a stop by the store for socks and toothbrushes, and a run through the market for mild and bread. Both kids strapped themselves in and out of the car seats several times. I didn't realize how long it was taking until Hew pointing to the local Bob Evans, chimed from the back seat, "There's Auntie's house."

It appears in all the errands I took a wrong turn and drove 1300 miles to New Hampshire. Imagine how happy my sister would be to think that the home they spent the last six years building resembles this?

10 June 2007

Food and Wine

While in Oregon, I attended my first cooking class. I have to say that I am hooked. I've always loved cooking and this brunch class just furthered my curiosity (as well as my appetite!). The menu included:

Goat cheese and salmon blintz served with a red onion and quince jam and creme fraiche

Whole wheat crepes filled with a spinach florentine served with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce

A living cress and citrus salad AND

Classic crepes suzettes

Of course, I forgot my camera so I have no proof of my creativity, but it was wonderful. The food was incredible and the class was only six students so it was a cozy group. Since then I have been inspired and PH and the kids have been reaping the benefits.

When I arrived home PH had some left over chicken in the refrigerator, I diced up the chicken with some artichoke, prepared a roux and added chicken stock and lemon juice. I had no creme in the house so I tossed in some of the kid's vanilla yogurt and then made homemade crepes and a salad - resulting in lemon chicken and artichokes crepes with salad. YUM! Since then I have grilled some great burgers with corn on the cob and a delicious tabouli salad. Last night was a cold peach and strawberry soup with steam artichokes and a mustard wine sauce. I'm not sure how long the inspiration will continue but I need to start taking some photos to capture this creativity.

Also in Oregon, I stopped by a winery

And also made a stop at Tillmook Dairy where I was nearly run over by numerous senior citizens with giant bags of cheese

Finally, I stopped at the Blue Heron Dairy where I sample and purchased some tasty smoke brie, including a smoked pepper brie. I also had lunch in their cute kitchen - a smoked turkey and brie sandwich with a cup of clam chowder. YUM!

Must go - time for lunch!

07 June 2007


The view of my hotel, The Ocean Lodge from the beach the day I arrived. It was rainy and very foggy.

One of the many house along the beach that I liked.

These flowers were growing around the hotel. I have no idea what they are.

This is the fireplace where I spent some quiet hours reading with coffee and a treat from the never ending cookie jar!

Once the fog cleared, this was the view from the deck in my room.

I took numerous pictures of these rocks. There was something mesmerizing about them.

As the sun was setting

A path down to the beach from a state park.

More random flowers found while walking.

Children are" calling" (screaming bloody murder at each other over a $0.50 toy) so more later about the cheese and wine.

04 June 2007

Thank You PH

I tried to upload photos but my computer is doing strange things - I guess it does not enjoy traveling as much as I do :) So far I have walked the beach and stared at the ocean, been to a cooking class, shopped, watched a movie, gone to a winery, visited two dairys that make cheese, and taken lots of pictures. And it has rained almost the entire time I've been here!

None of this wonderful trip would not be possible without my wonderful husband watching my children. I know there are many women who would be uncomfortable traveling alone and even fewer husbands who would agree to let their wife fly off across the country to wander alone. Since I can't load pictures, I can at least thank my husband for this time. Thank you for the time and for watching the kids. Thank you for realizing that I need time to wander and for trusting me enough to always encourage me to take time. I love you and miss you.

02 June 2007

I Love Travel

I would swear to you that this state hates me. For weeks I have wished for cool weather or a lazy rainy day, and now as I sit at the airport waiting to leave the state, there is a down pour. Not only that, it is expected to rain all weekend. Yeah, yeah the irony . . .

This is my first time at the airport since Christmas with PH and the kids. Being here by myself is certainly different. First, I am sitting quietly. No one has asked for a drink, snack, movie, or to be taken to the bathroom. It’s almost eerily quiet as I sit looking at the blowing rain wondering what I will be doing for the next few days. And that is the second difference, what will I be doing for the next few days? Normally travel days are filled with events, people to see, and children to control. Other than a couple hour cooking class, my time is free for the next couple days. Those of you with families can understand how this is both exhilarating and yet slightly unnerving. I know I used to have a life before marriage and children, but the years of sleeplessness have robbed my memory of that time.

There is an excitement however, every time I walk into airport. You’d think it would get old and that I’ve flown enough to find it a dirty but necessary inconvenience. Yet walking through the airport doors with people rushing about with suitcases, it appears as though the world is a possibility. Sounds corny, I know. But from this place, people will be going to places across an ocean. They will meet new people, have new experiences, and modify their world view. I can’t help but sense the possibilities each time I walk through the automated doors.

Enjoy the weekend and hopefully I’ll some pictures in the next few days so the sappy dribble can be replaced. And all my love to PH and the kids

01 June 2007

An Observation

It’s an overcast day and a cool breeze is blowing through the backyard. Cool is relative here as both kids are currently in their bathing suits running through the grass, chasing bubbles they have blown. It’s a simple pleasure they enjoy and one that I haven’t had time for recently as it includes a change of clothes when the “bubble juice” inevitable ends up on their clothing.

I covertly sneak out the camera to try and capture a few of these moments for eternity. I manage a couple of pictures before the beauty queen, my five year old daughter, notices the camera. Within a second the scene changes and my five year old is posing in her brightly stripped one piece bathing suit, right leg out in front, hip cocked to the side as though she is Ms. June in a magazine. And I’m disturbed. Where did she learn that? I gave up on being fashionable years ago so there are no magazine floating around the house unless they have recipes or home improvement projects. No pictures of the anorexically thin young girls in the provocative clothes and poses. Is the one hour a day of PBS and Disney television responsible? With the ultra thin, ultra cute, ultra white smiled pre-teens dancing across the screen? Or maybe preschool, where her classmates have older brothers and sisters who have passed down a not so impressive vocabulary that has unfortunately made its way into my home?

All I know is that in that moment I could see that KK was not going to be five forever and it disturbed me. How many moments do I miss just in the business of the day? What do I fail to see when I’m running around trying to throw together a healthy dinner that they will eat and I won’t be sweeping off the floor? Or when I ask for just one more minute to finish the task at hand? It a cliché about time passing quickly but today I could see it running away with my girl and I didn’t like it.