Sherry

Sherry in Morocco-1I just know that Sherry is going to be horrified that I’m writing a blog post about her. She’s got this weird allergy to attention. (Don’t worry, Sher, I won’t post any incriminating photos.)

Why a post about this woman? Because she came to Morocco with Savanna and I, AND we are still friends. That means she is a superwoman. I have serious respect for her.

I knew Sherry is easy going and fun and all, but I was still a little worried before the trip. As a parent, I don’t expect anyone without kids to understand the absolute shit that kids put you through–the temper tantrums when you put the sock on their left foot first instead of the right foot, or the tears when you give them the fork that isn’t the right color, or the demand to watch Ice Age 3 for the thirty-seventh time on a trip, or taking up most of the space in a big bed with their tiny little bodies. Parents, you know what I’m sayin, right?

I was bracing myself for the risk of turning Sherry off of kids for the rest of her life. That would really be a shame.

It was magical to watch Savanna fall in love with Sherry. Even before our flight took off, Sherry had let Savanna put vegetable stickers all over her arms. Those two played pretending to eat soup for hours in Marrakech. When we were sitting in a warm train compartment, Sherry fanned Savanna to keep her cool. She played hide and seek with Savanna, did her make-up, braided her hair, and held her when she was tired. She did all this without me asking her to. Savanna loved walking down the street holding Sherry’s hand, and slept like a baby squeezed right up against Sherry. Before our flight home, Savanna said to me, “Sherry is my new sister.”

I was ok with doing less and seeing less on this trip because of Savanna. I chose to take her on the trip and I was willing. I didn’t expect Sherry to. But through the 10 days we spent together, she was never once upset about skipping a beat; not even a hint of impatience when I was slow or when Savanna needed some time to deal with her feelings. Because of her calm demeanor, she even prevented me from chewing someone’s head off when I was hangry.

As a parent, I am so grateful for her love for my child. As a friend, I am so grateful for her steadfast, upbeat, and adventurous attitude. The trip definitely would not have been the same without her.

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Because camels are super cool

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(drawn by the super talented dude I married)

10 years ago, when I turned 30, I wanted to do something big to celebrate a new decade. I rode my motorcycle solo from Vancouver to Halifax, camping along the way and eating meals out of my camping stove.

10 years later, things look dramatically different at home. Josh is 5 1/2 and Savanna is 3 1/2. I can’t justify taking off for 2 weeks by myself. The truth is, I don’t think I would do that ride again. I was dog tired last time after 6,200 km, and I was a lot younger then.

My craving for interesting travel never stopped. I feel like this is the right time now to start doing some more interesting things again, involving the kids. Unfortunately, Cliff has to work, and Josh has school. That leaves Savanna and I to plan a girls’ trip on our own.

Savanna and I have agreed that riding on a camel in Morocco would be pretty interesting. We also convinced Sherry that camels are super cool, so she’s coming too to check things out.

I’ll report back in two weeks and let you know if camels are in fact super cool.

Traveling with kids

The first time we traveled with Joshua, he was 5 months old.  We went to Hawaii for a week, followed by Taiwan for a week.  I was so nervous about the trip, I lost sleep over it.  In my mind, Joshua was still too young to travel.  I worried about everything from changing pressure bothering Joshua’s ears to how to keep his baby formula cool for such a long flight.  After the trip, I felt like I just ran two marathons in a row and deserved a medal for the accomplishment.  Since then, we have traveled with Joshua a few more times, and each time it gets a little easier with practice.

Last week was our first time taking TWO kids on a trip.  Joshua is over 2 years old, and Savanna is just 2 months old.  But this time around I was a lot less worried.  I didn’t lose any sleep over this trip, probably because I’m already exhausted from the night feedings.  Ha.  There’s the secret to not lose sleep over something–tire yourself out first.

Anyway, while we were at Disneyland, I got a lot of comments from strangers about how brave I was to travel with a 2-month-old.  It has nothing to do with being brave.  I’m just a lot more relaxed about everything this time around.  So what if Savanna had her epic blow-out poops on the flight, or Joshua missed his nap because the flight was delayed?  Oh well, life still goes on with a stinky poopy shirt and a very whiney toddler.  The fun we had on the trip as a family will be memories that will last a life time.

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The camera that went to Disneyland: G11

After the previous post, I received various comments from everyone on the blog and on Facebook.  I considered everything, and decided to take the G11 (point-and-shoot) to Disneyland with us for the following reasons:

1. It’s lightweight.

2. We’ll be outside in the California sun for the better part, so the fact that the G11 is not so great for low light conditions will not be detrimental.

I mentally had to prepare myself for the lower quality pictures, and knowing there are certain shots I won’t be able to do with the G11.  While we were on our trip, there were definitely moments I wish I had the 7D with me.  I had to tell myself I was there to have a good time with my family, not to be a photographer.  However, I must say, for the most part, I was so glad it was the G11 I took.  We did about 8 hours per day in Disneyland, and I was carrying Savanna in a baby carrier and a diaper bag the entire time.  That’s about 15 lbs of baby and gear for 8 hours a day.  If I had to also carry the 7D, I probably would have hung myself by the camera strap.

I’m not all that excited about our trip pictures in the photographic sense.  But I am glad I got to enjoy the experience of seeing my son’s eyes light up at the sight of Lightning McQueen and Mater in Cars Land.

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Cravings

Since I’ve been pregnant, people often ask me what my cravings are.  I actually haven’t had ANY food cravings during this pregnancy.

My “cravings”, aside from food, however, have been quite intense.  You know what I really crave?  I’m craving riding a motorcycle, or trekking in Tibet, or rolling down the sand dune in the dessert of Egypt.  I’m craving something crazy, something exotic, or something my mom is going to have a heart attack over.

We knew before we had Joshua that life is going to change in a totally different direction once the little monkey (or in our case soon, two monkeys) arrives.  The type of traveling I loved will not be available for a few years.  I sold my motorcycle, knowing that I won’t have time to ride for a while.  I certainly do not regret the decision to put these things on hold, and focus on raising my kids.  All I’m saying, is that I have to admit, my heart has not stopped craving for the next adventure.

A few years ago, I read a book called A Camera, Two Kids, and a Camel written by Annie Griffiths Belt.  This woman is my hero.  She’s a photographer working for the National Geographic, had two kids, and took her kids on photo assignments with her all over the world.  Her book wasn’t very long, but it influenced me in a serious way.  She totally dispelled the myths that people don’t travel to exotic places with young kids.  She found ways to make it work to take her kids on assignments.  She’s the type of women who never follows tradition, and blazes her own path in life.  It made me decide that if I ever had kids, I’m not going to use them as an excuse not to travel.

I know, for now at least, I can only savour the memories of past travels or experience of exotic places.  I do really look forward to one day going somewhere really cool with the kids, and show them just how amazing it is to see the world outside of our little corner in North America.

Solo ride from Vancouver to Halifax:

 

In the Okavango Delta in Botswana:

 

Rock climbing in Joshua Tree:

 

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with Cliff:

 

Vienna:

 

Sand dune in Namibia:

 

A beach at Zanzibar:

 

Muncho Lake in Alaska:

 

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:

 

On a safari in Tanzania:

 

 

 

Taiwan

From Maui, we flew to Taipei through Honolulu and Tokyo. This is Joshua’s first time meeting many of his relatives. He charmed everybody, especially his Grandpa. He smiled at his Grandpa right out of the airport, and then some.

Joshua was very popular in Taiwan everywhere he went. Everyone, including store cashiers and strangers, commented on how fat and prosperous he is and how cute he is. Ladies come up to squeeze his thighs and he would giggle with delight.

First picture with Grandpa:

Taking the High Speed Rail to Kaoshung:

Meeting Great Grandma:

Meeting Great Grandpa:

Meeting Great Auntie:

Checking out the market:

Picture with Great Uncle:

Charming Great Grandma:

Grandpa requested another picture with Joshua:

Meeting Great-God-Mom:

Hanging out with Grandpa and God-Cousin:

Hanging out with God-Cousin:

God-mom with all the boys:

Watching mommy and daddy eat shaved ice:

Found his toes:

Hard to tell where the elbow is:

Last picture in Taiwan before flying back to Vancouver:

Maui

We flew out on April 8th to Maui.  This is Joshua’s first “vacation”.  I’ve been stressing out about the flight since we booked the vacation.  But as it turns out, Joshua did really well on the flight.  On take-off and landing, I nursed him to reduce the ear pressure build-up.  He only cried for a few minutes during the flight, as a part of his normal pre-sleep routine.

We had a great time bathing in the sun and enjoying the beach in Maui.  In terms of new developments, Joshua started sitting, turning over from his back to his belly, and grabbing his toes all on this trip.

Joshua’s first flight; watching TV with daddy:

Hanging out at the beach with mommy:

Hanging out on the lanai with daddy:

Sitting up all on his own:

I love this little shark sun-shirt on him:

Family photo on the beach:

Up at 5 am Maui time:

We are so cool:

Fish:

Spinner dolphins:

Joshua’s first time on a boat:

I think he loves the beach:

First time dipping his feet in sand:

Hanging out in Lahaina:

Grabbing for daddy’s coffee at the airport:

On the flight out of Maui:

Playing in the bassinet on the plane: