Winter Trip to South New JerseyJuly 30, 2010 1 Comment
My husband and I live in Sunny Redondo Beach California just a couple of blocks from the Pier. Even in January we can expect mother nature to bless us with beautiful sunny days. Our idea of cold weather on a typical January afternoon is low to mid sixties, so when we decided to visit my Dad on the East Coast in the dead of winter we had to brace ourselves for a healthy dose of “stop your wining”!
My Dad had been bugging me to make a trip back to visit him and the rest of his family ever since my son Christian was born. I’d been living in California for about 10 years and in all that time my Dad had not been able to come and visit, so after Christian was born I thought he would finally make it out here! Unfortunately my grandmother wasn’t feeling well enough to travel and she really wanted to see the baby. So, we chose to make our first trip on an airline with Christian who at the time was 3 1/2 months old.
We thought that taking a red-eye flight would be the best idea for our son as he would sleep the entire way. Little did we know that he would be the only one getting sleep that night! I thought that if I kept him in his Ergo carrier he would fall asleep and I could be hands free during the flight, but it was clear he didn’t want to be in there for very long. I ended up holding him in my arms most of the 5 hour flight. The entire time I was fearful that if I fell asleep I might crush his little body or possibly drop him in the aisle, so I didn’t sleep a wink. My husband tried to sleep, but he didn’t have much luck either. Usually he sits in the aisle seat and I’m always the one crammed in the middle. He likes the aisle seat so that he can get up whenever he needs to without inconveniencing anyone, but for this trip he wanted me to hold Christian the entire time so that we would not disturb the passenger next to us. It was hard for him to get comfortable in the middle seat because of his broad shoulders and he was very happy to exit the plane when we finally arrived.
My Dad picked us up from the airport and we both looked and felt like zombies! Afterward, I was thinking about how our decision to book a red-eye flight was not the best we ever had. The only bummer was that the next day I slept for a good portion of the day to try to catch up and be somewhat social for my dad.
The four days we spent in South New Jersey visiting my family were very special and memorable. First, it was over my dad’s birthday, so he was so excited about his “gift”. Also, it was projected to be the biggest blizzard in the South New Jersey area in decades. We were a little bit nervous, but we made the best of it.
I grew up in South Jersey, so there were many people I wanted to see and places I wanted to visit in the short time I was there. Unfortunately things didn’t go exactly as planned. One thing I really regret is that I didn’t get to see my grandfather on my mom’s side. I was also hoping to visit with one of my best friends growing up but that didn’t happen either. And of course, eating at Lamberti’s, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, is usually mandatory but again the blizzard conditions made it impossible.
We arrived at my Dad’s townhouse, where we stayed for the 4 days we were there. He had a separate room which opened up into a bathroom ready for us with all of the baby conveniences we could have asked for including Pampers diapers, a borrowed bouncer, a Boppy pillow, bassinet and playpen! When we got there, he also showered us with some sweet gifts for Christian.
We arrived on a Thursday, and after sleeping most of the day, we decided to take a short trip to Borders for some book shopping and a quick coffee break. I told him I was craving an authentic cheese steak, so we planned on that for dinner. The following day, the news was wall-to-wall coverage of the incoming storm, which was already sending some light snow. They were basically telling everyone to plan on not leaving the house Saturday. Incidentally, this is the day that my entire Italian family had planned to throw a party in our honor at my grandmother’s house to celebrate Christian. They had already ordered tons of food and planned their day around this party for everyone. So when everyone was told that they were not going to be able to drive anywhere, the whole family was in a panic.
My dad, his girlfriend and grandmother decided to have an impromptu gathering at her house that day (Friday) instead so at least we’d get to see her. This idea spread like wildfire throughout my family and the spontaneous decision became reality! Not all of the food was prepared, and not everyone was able to make it because of work and school schedules, but most of them made it and were able to see Christian!
Despite the last minute change of plans, we still had our aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and the rest of our roughly 20 person party show up. Everyone showed up bearing gifts for Christian and we felt so blessed! The kid gained 10 lbs of clothes! Trying to fit all of that in our already heavy bags when we were leaving was not fun, but we managed. The party was a great success. There were 2 gourmet cakes and we even had homemade lasagna (which I had been craving).
It was so great to see everyone and I’m thankful that we were still able to get together despite the weather. It was a good thing we moved the party back one day because on Saturday, the storm hit us with a vengeance. My dad and husband had to go outside and shovel the car out twice! There was at least 2 feet of snow dumped on us overnight! We spent the entire day indoors hanging out and watching movies. The news reporters were actually telling people that if they were caught driving, they would be stopped, ticketed and towed! We ate a ton of leftovers all day and watched my Dad’s bootleg copy of Avatar and Michael Jackson’s “This is it” movie. Later that evening I also got to show off my Scattergories skills!
By the grace of God, after delays and canceled flights all over the place, we were able to not only make our flight out on Sunday, but it wasn’t even delayed!
On the flight back, Christian was a little bit squirmy and fussy, but it really was not as bad as we expected. I made sure to pump plenty of breast milk into several bottles prior to the trip. We also brought the Colic Ease and had at least 3 pacifiers handy for the flight. My husband had to change all of his diapers because I was too afraid of trying to hold him and change him in the bathroom during the sometimes turbulent flight. It was a real challenge for him especially one time where Christian really “loaded” up his diaper to the point where it was overflowing! I was very thankful that my husband held him for a majority of the flight back as my breasts were engorged after the long day of traveling. Christian was at a point where he did not take the breast directly and would only drink from the bottle. It could become very painful without having access to my breast pump for long periods of time!
We really had a great time overall. I’m always happy to see my family under any circumstances and can’t wait to make the insane trip again!