"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature." ~St. Augustine

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring Break Part 1

Well, we just got back last Sunday from our week off in Mexico.  That's right.  We took two 2 1/2 year-olds (one with cerebral palsy) and one 10-month-old on a vacation to another country.  I was actually very anxious about this whole vacation.  But  one of my friends said, "it is not going to be a vacation - it will be a trip.  You will make memories."  This helped me put things in perspective.  Yes, it was not a vacation where I layed around by the pool as Gerardo brought me tropical drinks with fruit in them.  I did not walk in the moonlight with my husband on the sandy beach while the waves rolled in.  I did not get a tan, I barely read a book - but I did have fun!  This may be a long post but I really want to document this trip.  I think I may turn this blog into a way that I can keep track of our lives since I have done a HORRIBLE job at baby books or journals. 
Let me start by saying that I made a concerted effort and decision before we left that on this trip  that I was going to be relaxed and go with the flow without stressing.  I have always been a very serious (my husband might say stressful) traveler.  I want everything to  go as planned, because I have taken a lot of time to plan them correctly.  I want to be places early (not on time), and I don't want to be rushed!  Even before we had kids, I tended to get very stressed (I mean serious) about vacations.  So you can imagine how I might be with 3 babies.  I am on the phone with my sister as I am driving to work to print off my boarding passes and I tell her that this trip is going to be different.  I am going to be so chill and laid back, no one will even recognize me! 

Then, BAM!  I spend 5 hours on the  phone with United Airlines trying to figure out why I can't check in and print my boarding passes.  You think that I am joking or exaggerating, but I am not.  I got to work (it was a day off) and spent 5 hours dealing with the airlines.  As you may guess, being the planner that I am, I bought these tickets almost a year ago.  I made sure we had 4 seat assignments and that we were across the aisle from each other and I paid my 10% which is now required for lap infants.  I know the airlines well enough by now to know that if you don't have a seat assignment, you are basically flying stand-by.  I still don't see how they can get away with over selling flights.  Regardless, we have seats and we are good!  However, I can't check in.  At one point, I have 2 phones going (both on hold) in my office just to increase my chances of speaking to someone.  It was a little comical.  After 5 hours of being on hold and talking to some people who clearly were clueless I FINALLY reached a supervisor (which I had been asking for for hours) and he put me on hold.   Really?  When he came back he explained to me that we couldn't check in online because we were flying with an infant.  That is it?  No one could have told me this earlier? No one else knew this simple little fact?  I guess that is why he gets paid the big bucks. 

 And so it begins....I am not stressing.  I am not stressing.  I am not stressing.

I am a list lady.  I have lists upon lists upon lists.  So I started a packing list about 2 months ago.  I revised it often throughout the weeks as I saw things that I used that hadn't been on the "list".  I should preface by saying that traveling with kids, especially babies who need bottles and formula, and especially a child with special needs, is not easy.  There are MANY things to pack.   With Parker, there are things that if I forget them could be detrimental to  his health, including his main source of nutrition which is his very expensive formula that can only be purchased through a medical supply company.  It is not in the stores and you need a prescription for it.  It comes in a can and he needs 4 cans a day.  Sooooo...we had a suitcase that just carried 32 cans of his formula.  So there is that and his meds, feeding supplies, bottles, and food.  He eats blended food.  My mom makes him amazing meals (he eats better than all of us), blends them up and freezes them.  So we always have a great supply of food for him.  Packaged baby food is not only bland, but it is mostly water and therefore not nutritious enough for a toddler.  Soooo...that means we needed to take frozen meals (enough for 8 days) to Mexico as well.  Then there are the other basic necessities like clothes, some toys, books, music, borrowed DVD player, blow-up toys for pool, sheets and blankets for the portable cribs from the hotel, some diapers (we bought most of them when we got there), wipes, Parker's high chair (he has to be well supported while eating), a car seat for Parker on the airplane, snacks/food for travel day, Ryder's formula and bottles, really the list goes on and on.

So, back to my list.  I was like Santa.  I had a list and I was checking it twice.  (and three times and four times)  In fact, the night before we left I made a separate list from the master list that showed the last minute things I needed to pack the next morning (frozen food, etc) even though they were circled and highlighted on the original list.  I wonder if there is a mental disorder about list making.  If so, I would be in the medical journal describing it. 

Well, we get to the airport, get checked in at a kiosk, and my mom is even able to get a gate pass so she can help us through security.  It was a little funny/sad/awkward because the ticket agent at first looked at us when we asked and said, "We don't allow people to come to the gate just because you have babies.  Can you imagine how many people would be going through security if every mom wanted help with her kids?  We only allow it if there are special  needs or a handicap."   Ok, do I really have to pull the disability card?  So I said, "My son has cerebral palsy and we will need help."  She actually looked at us like she didn't believe us, but we did get the pass. 

TSA security was amazing!  They let us go in the employee/first class line which was much faster.  However, we slowed it down for sure!  (sorry employees)  The 32 cans of formula were worrisome to them.  Apparently, they only wanted us to  take what we would need for the day on our carry on.  We quickly explained that it is a prescription and if it was checked baggage and lost we would have no way of replacing it.  They understood, but we had to be screened more seriously.  No problem.  I wasn't stressing.  (really I wasn't)  I stood there and let them pat me down.  I let them take out every single item from all 3 of our carry-ons that I had so painstakenly packed and mess up my organization.  I let them take apart our stroller and even quickly pat down my baby, all with a smile on my face.

I am not stressing.  I am not stressing.

Here is where some of the comedy starts.  We get all settled at the gate.  My mom is feeding Parker his bottle, Jimmy is trying to get Brady to eat some fruit and drink his milk, and I sit down to feed Ryder his bottle.  I quickly take the cap off of it and go to tip it into his mouth and BOOOSH!  His little face and body gets flooded with formula.  Somehow I forgot to put the nipple in the bottle and didn't even notice until it was too late.  Good job, mom.  Sigh...I am not stressing.  I am not stressing.  So I quickly take off his coat which luckily took the majority of the formula and wipe him down. 

Now, all the  people at the gate who gave each other the "oh crap" looks as we walked up to join them with our 3 babies are saying to themselves "not only does she have 3 babies, but she is not so bright either."    I know they are dreading getting on a flight with us.  That is ok.

We actually had a great first flight to San Fransisco.  No one cried, and I wanted to say to all of the people, "See, that wasn't so bad, was it?"  But I didn't.  We landed in San Fransisco, did quick diaper changes and bottle feedings, and we departed from the exact same gate an hour later - very easy!  This flight however was longer and a little more challenging.  But with books and the DVD player, we pulled it off pretty well!

Brady watching Cars with "B"

We finally got to the hotel (Cabo is about a 45 minute drive from the airport) and the boys were just starting to have a little meltdown.  Keep in mind that they were up at 4 AM and only Ryder has had any sleep.  But we get to the resort and get checked in.  We finally settled on a room on the ground floor approximately 20 steps from the pool.  (after making Jimmy and our friend carry out luggage back and forth between 2 rooms) 

Our dear friends, Scott and Jenn, had already been there for a day and they scooped up the boys, got swim diapers on them and said "let's go to the pool!"  Thank God for them (for many reasons) but at that moment the last thing I was going to do was go to the pool.  I was thinking we should feed the kids or possibly put them down for a cat nap...but, hey - we are in Mexico.  It is sunny and warm.  So, we followed suit and joined everyone at the pool.  And the boys loved it!  We hung out, had a drink or two and sat in the warm pool soaking up the much needed sun and Vitamin D. 

Parker loving the water!

Our good friend Jenn with Ryder
Brady getting water on his face for the first time.

I have to also tell you why we are so lucky to have Scott and Jenn.  They took our 2 huge checked bags with them for the trip so we didn't have to deal with it.  They have 2 kids themselves, so this is not a simple task.  Luckily, though, their kids are a bit older and they were amazing!  Our luggage was waiting for us when we got there and they also took it back on the return trip.  We love them!

I will tell you that the first night was a night from hell.  No lie.  To say our boys were over-tired is such an understatement.  We had 3 full-fledged, crazy, non-stop melt downs.  We tried to put Parker in one of the portable cribs, but he was having non of that.  He doesn't exactly curl up and they weren't full sized, so he was not happy.  So we pushed the two full sized beds together and I held him in bed to try to get him to stop crying.  Ryder did fine in the crib, and Brady would have to but he saw Parker in bed with mommy and wanted in there too.  So, I am holding/rocking Parker trying to get him to fall asleep and Brady is crying because he is tired.  Finally Parker falls asleep.  I gently try to roll him off of me and onto the bed...and he wakes up - more furious then he was before.  I am not stressing.  I am not stressing.  Ok, I resign to the fact that he will be sleeping on me and I am not going to  have dinner or get out of my dirty travel clothes.  Jimmy also comes in because Brady is needing some attention himself.  Finally Ryder has fallen asleep.  And there we are co-sleeping to the best of our ability.  It is all a blur and to say that we were co-sleeping is really not accurate.  There wasn't much sleeping going on.  At one point Parker got switched to Jimmy and Brady came snuggling up to me with his sweaty little body.  All I really know is that I have never been so happy to see morning!

The first day of travel was a little wild, but the rest of the vacation was amazing! 

To be continued...


  1. Awesome post! Love all the detail and can't wait to read more about your trip.

    Love the whole you are going on a trip (not a vacation) and you are there to make memories. That's exactly the right attitude. We love taking our boys on vacation for just that reason.

  2. I wish we lived closer because we would get along great! We are a lot alike when it comes to planning. I had to laugh at your lists because I did the same thing when we planned our trip and I am the stresser in my marriage as well. Hopefully the fisrt night was the roughest and the rest of the trip was amazing! Can't wait to read more!

    1. I always love to find a fellow list maker! :) Too bad we don't live closer, we could have some very organized play dates. hee hee.

  3. W-O-W. You guys deserve some sort of parenting medal. Trophy, actually. Until you mentioned that friends were going too I was like "Oh my god, how are they going to wrangle all that stuff with those kids!" Thank goodness for great friends!

    I know exactly what that night from hell was like as almost every night in California during our "trip" was like that. Can't wait to hear the rest!

  4. Wow! I am impressed - I have not been brave enough to travel with my boys. We did go to Montreal for 3 days which went pretty smoothly so I have entertained the idea of taking them on a tropical vacation - your post has inspired me :-). Can't wait to hear about the rest of your vacation.

    1. Do it! You will love it and your kids will too!

  5. You are all very sweet, but credit has to be given to my amazing family and friends. We definitely couldn't have done it without them! Thanks for reading!


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