Thursday, August 30, 2012

One more 14 Post!

I realized I just did two pretty long posts about Mr.14 Months. Here's one more I just had to share though:

*The idea totally came from the video posted on Bower Power a few weeks was a good idea!

Israel: Tel Aviv University Zoo

Tel Aviv University has a small zoo that can be visited as part of an organized group, or through special connections. We had the latter, and Little N had the best time looking at all the animals, many of which are free to roam. The highlight though was walking around with a peacock feather!

And this concludes our Israel recaps! Stay tuned for the next part of our trip...hint: it start with a Flor, and ends with an ida.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Israel: Tel Aviv Mitcham HaTachana & Neve Tzedek

One of our most memorable visits to Tel Aviv, we headed down to the southern part of town on the border with Jaffa to visit the newly re-done Mitcham HaTachana, the old Tel Aviv Train Station that was recently re-done as a shopping and dining mini-district. The complex is oh-so-touristy complete with restored train cars but it is very cute! The Station area is adjacent to the picturesque Neve Tzedek neighborhood, so following an excellent lunch we also strolled in the area.

Mitcham HaTachana:

Neve Tzedek:

Monday, August 27, 2012

What to Expect: The First Year

This is another book that I received as a gift, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how useful it was. It goes through month by month and what you can expect in terms of developmental milestones. It also includes little tidbits on feeding, sleeping, playing, idea for games and so on. I did notice that some of the advice (i.e. starting solids at 4 months) seems to be a bit outdated, but I also do not own the newest version so perhaps it has since been edited. Even though I never thought I would use a book like this, I ended up really enjoying having it as a reference to check little things (especially milestones, to know when they would be happening) and overall it was able to answer a large majority of my questions.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Israel: Jerusalem 2

Our second trip to Jerusalem also involved lots of socializing, but we also managed to enjoy the downtown area and the Old City! We made the day into an adventure by taking the relatively new light rail (thus avoiding having to deal with parking). Our verdict: semi success. While the train was nice and efficient, it stopped for unreasonably long times at stop lights so the "priority" supposedly given to it, is obviously not working. It didn't however damper our visit and Little N enjoyed lots of walking time and his first trip to the Western Wall.

making our way into the Old City

at the Western Wall

Yaffo Street, looking good

walking on Yaffo Street

on the light rail

Friday, August 24, 2012

Israel: Jerusalem 1

We managed to make it to Jerusalem twice on this trip! All things considered it was quite a feat, but we managed to make the most of it and had a great time. Our first visit was purely to spend the day with some very good friends. We walked around the Emek Refaim area, enjoyed lunch and each others' company. Of course we had to grab some dinner from our favorite restaurant, Focaccia Bar, and Little N most certainly approved of our choice!

The following morning we made a mandatory visit to the Shuk. We had a great breakfast and then did some exploration with just a tad of rugelach shopping!

Why does United hate children?

Oh, United Airlines, what shall we do with you?

United has had some major problems recently:
But that's not what this post is about. This is about how families are treated rudely on United Airlines. The airline decided to get rid of pre-boarding "privileges" for families. I'm not sure what manager, sitting under fluorescent lights in his air conditioned office decided that pre-boarding is a privilege, and I'm not sure what the train of thought was when he decided to just get rid of it. It is a mystery. And a very inconvenient mystery at that.

Everyone that has flown with a child knows that it is not an easy feat. Parents come prepared with every last thing to make sure that the flight goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. No parent wants to deal with an unhappy child, nor with unhappy fellow passengers making snide comments. Therefore we pack A LOT OF STUFF. We bring toys and snacks and ipads and every last thing we can think of to make our child happy and the journey painless. We have our own carry-ons and personal items, plus the diaper bag and a stroller that we need to gate-check (and some have a car seat too)! This is a lot of stuff that needs to get accommodated under our feet and in the overhead bins, not to mention accommodating the kids!

After flying several flights with this company over the summer, I can say from personal experience that we were not treated like customers that had paid thousands of dollars for their flights. We were denied a bassinet because bulkhead seats cost extra now and nobody made any effort to accommodate us. We were bullied into changing our seats (aisle + window) to get two seats together (luckily we held our guns and stayed with our original seats). We were rudely informed of above mentioned new policy (not that it mattered because we were in boarding group 1 anyway, and the flight attendant that had just chastised us was pretty livid to see our faces within 5 minutes). The cherry on top was that they managed to bang up our stroller even though it was in a bag! There were also several non-child related issues that we had, but all in all it was a less than pleasant experience.

I'm not sure how to answer my own question, but it makes me frustrated that we are in a situation where we are stuck flying this airline because of limited service and that we have to support a company which doesn't treat us well.

/End Rant

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Israel: heading North

Our trip this summer involved a whole lot less hiking and a whole lot more visiting than our normal adventures. We only made it up north for a couple of days and other than a couple short walks didn't get to tour very much. Nevertheless, we had a great time visiting friends and family.

our rental car (diaper change time)

The first stop on our trip was Zichron Yaakov. We had just a bit of exploration time to peruse the main street area, starting with the grassy visitor's center.

We continued our drive north up to Kfar Vradim and enjoyed the amazing view from the balcony of our hosts. Little N had his very first piano lesson and got to enjoy some mountain scenery, quite different from what he's used to.

On our way back south the following day, we stopped in Kiryat Tivon to visit some more friends and family and then it was time to head back to our home base.

Routine (14 Months)

7:30- Wake up! Diaper change, nursing, playing in the bedroom for a few minutes while Mommy gets ready to go downstairs.

8:30- Breakfast: usually some type of bread and cheese, often times a little fruit as well.

9:30- 12:00- Morning activities: playing in the play area (with blocks, stacking rings, shape sorter, hammering pegs, puzzles- kind of, reading books), and/or doing errands, and/or going on a 5K walk or to the park, and/or meeting up with other mommies and babies.

Baby Boy got really great at using the hammer the past month

12:30- Lunch: main meal of the day, protein (fish, chicken, beans, garbanzos, lentils) + carb (pasta, rice, potatoes, tortilla) + veggie + (sometimes) fruit. You eat really well!

Baby Boy likes to feed himself so we're using suction bowls now, cuteness

13:30-15:00- Nursing + Nap time! Hallelujah!

15:30- 16:30- Play around the house and get ready for a walk outdoors. Often times involves roaming and playing with balls (we have a soccer player in training).

16:30- 17:45- Walk + park. Unless it's going to rain, we take a walk down the trail, occasionally do some small errands, and then stop at a park on the way home for play time (or just watching the older kids and dogs playing). Very important to note, that we cannot leave without snacks in the snack cup! Favorites include: cheerios or puffs, dehydrated fruit, cheese cubes.
The kiddo loves having a cap on, and sticking his thumb in his mouth for pictures

17:45- Dinner: very often includes oatmeal, yogurt, blueberries, some other veggies/fruit depending on what he already had during the day. After dinner we usually take about 15+ minutes to run around and burn that energy. Lots of ball kicking to get us nice and tired.

18:45- Bath: this is Daddy's domain. Baby Boy goes on the potty, then has a bath, then teeth brushing, tickle time, diaper and pajamas. Baby Boy especially loves when we leave the water running for him.

19:30-Mommy comes in for a final nursing, a chat about our day and the one to come, and into the bed. Good night, sweet dreams, Mommy loves you and we'll see each other tomorrow! (The mantra that started as wishful thinking has mostly become reality).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Daily Life: June

We got ready for our trip.

M finished his family medicine rotation that took place at a hospital across town.

We finally checked out Trompo Magico, the local children's museum.

M got a concussion at a soccer game (but everything was fine)

More pool time!

We flew to Israel!

We celebrated Little N's first birthday!

We went to Tel Aviv (and several other places) and Little N started (really) walking!

Diaper Free Before 3

I got this book when Baby Boy was right around 6 months old. I wanted to read as early as possible about healthy bathroom habits and how I could make potty learning easier for us. The first half of the book talks about the history of diapers and potty training. The author makes a great case for why earlier potty training is healthier for both the child and the environment. (Always a conspiracy with the this case diaper manufacturers trying to get kids to stay in diapers as long as possible).

The second half gives some ideas as to how to go about early potty training. This includes sitting the child on a potty from age 6 months onwards just to get them used to it, then putting them on the potty several times a day once they are in the 12-18 month range.

Overall I am definitely glad to have read it. I do have two main criticisms: The author is very anti-cloth diapers. It's obvious that she doesn't have experience with them and I found all the anti-cloth sentiments off-putting. Secondly, the method is a bit vague. I would have loved some more guidance and even more scenarios to know if what I am/could be doing is on track.

*So far we have Baby Boy sit on the potty once a day. Since we just got back from a long trip, we are going to stabilize our routine a bit more before moving on to the next step. Hopefully soon!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Israel: Tel Aviv Marina (and around town)

We went to Tel-Aviv several times during our month long visit. It is "the center" of Israel after all. One of our favorite places to walk around is the marina; it is the northern end of the boardwalk, and is now connected by a really nice walking path to the main boardwalk in the more central part of the city.

the Marina in the morning calm

schnitzel, bigger than the kiddo

And a little taste from the rest of Tel-Aviv:

typical residential street

outside Dizengoff, old and new

coffee shop fun in one of many many many cafés in town

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's with the Wheels?

I have the sneaking suspicion that Baby Boy read a book called: "Real Boys Play with Wheels". It's like as soon as he became a toddler he reverted into some baby version of Tim the Toolman. The kid is obsessed with wheels: cars, trucks, buses, taxis, yes even the neighbor's minivan is riveting! When he's indoors it's all about his little vehicles (second only to his balls...) - the ones he had no interest in just a couple short months ago. As soon as he steps outside though, the real fun begins! He is obsessed with inspecting every rivet on our cars. On the off chance that his dad humors him with a "ride" in our bug he acts like the happiest person in the world! It is just amazing how he is becoming this little boy before our eyes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Israel: flight and arrival

By the title of this post you already know that this summer we went to Israel!

On our flight on the way there, we had a short flight in first class. Heaven. The other passengers were skeptical of course, but they had nothing to worry about. The extra space meant that Little N could stand on the floor in front of us and was amazing! The seat was also large enough that he could situate himself for a short nap.

happy in first

This also meant that we had club access during our layover. We took the opportunity to wash Little N in the showers and dress him in pajamas in anticipation of the night flight. It made everything so much more manageable. The 11 hour flight ahead of us could have been a nightmare, but it wasn't! The kiddo slept 7 hours, laying across both of our laps and so keeping him entertained for the remaining time was not bad at all. We arrived tired but ready to go!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Changing Car Seats

Way, way, way back, when I was pregnant with Baby Boy, I did a lot of research on car seats. I decided that for our needs, driving about once a week or so (only to go grocery shopping actually), I had no need for an infant car seat, and could just go with a convertible seat that could stay in the car. I focused on a highly rated convertible that was particularly well suited for infants as well. This guided my search, and I finally found what I thought was the perfect seat for us, the First Years C670 True Fit Premier, which we promptly brought down from the US.

little baby

We used it happily for 6 months. Scratch that. It didn't fit very well from the beginning in our Acura, but we tolerated it for the first 6 months. The incline of our back seat made it a nightmare to position at the correct angle, but it was fine. Then at the 6 month mark we needed to add the top part because Baby Boy was getting too tall to be just in the infant part. Here started our big problem: the passenger seat needed to be all the way forward for the seat to fit properly rear facing. It was uncomfortable to say the least. (Also not very safe if the airbags were to inflate).

how I felt about my legroom

As soon as we knew we would be back in the US, I started researching car seats all over again. This time I had a different goal in mind: a seat that would take up the least amount of room (while still staying top-rated for safety of course). I wasn't too concerned with the weight limit because I figured that if I need to buy another seat in a couple of years then we would deal with that then (and who knows if we'll still have the same car). At the end of the day, we chose the Britax Roundabout and we could not be happier!

We used the seat during our beach vacation, and since I flew by myself I had to uninstall and reinstall at the airport on both legs of the journey. It was very easy to get it correctly installed, and most importantly, now that we are back home it fits amazingly well in our Acura. The passenger seat has so much leg room again! Love!