Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Intrepid little traveler

A trip home from Vermont by car shouldn't take more than 4 hours. When it takes 11 hours, you can expect a 2 year old to lose it at some point. Not our Phoebe. She was a travel trooper to make her Mama proud. We were about an hour into our trip south when the car started acting funny. Jeff said he could feel it jumping under him and thought it might be the transmission. We had just gone through the bustling downtown of New Lebanon, NY and quickly turned around cajoling the car to make it into the local gas station. From there, we called our road service provider. They suggested a flat bed truck to the nearest Audi dealership. Phoebe thought it was an "adventure" as we climbed into the cab of Frank's tow truck. Twenty squirmy miles later we landed in Pittsfield, Mass at their local car dealer. We unpacked our snacks and whatever toys and books we had on hand. The dealership had some puzzles and toys handy in their lounge and we settled in and waited to learn our fate. It could be worse. It could have been night time, it could have been further from our path. I could have been with anyone else or no one else. Phoebe was amazing. She made friends with the car salesman, played hide and seek around the cars and basically just amused herself. When we finally learned it was a wiring problem stopping the gas from reaching the engine, we were given a clean bill and sent on our way.

Back in the car, way past naptime, we drove through the beautiful towns of Lenox and Great Barrington. I've never really explored that area, but it made me want to go back someday. By dinnertime, (still no nap) we decided to stop in Westchester for some food. Jeff knew a local Italian place near where he used to live. He called some friends nearby and they came over to say hi. Peter and Julie were impressed by how grown up Phoebe seemed. Our little one had noticed that she and Peter were both wearing stripes. She said they were "Similar, but not the same." (yes, a proud moment for Mom.) Back in the car (still not sleeping) we made it all the way into the city and all the way upstairs with a fully awake girl. We had left Vermont at 10:30am and arrived back in NYC close to 9pm. It reminded me of our 5 hour delay flying out to LA last summer and the very first trip we took together from Vietnam to Hong Kong to Home. 22 Hours with my Intrepid girl. If she could handle that, she can handle anything. I can't wait to see all the places we will go in the future– hopefully with fewer delays and a lot more fun.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Holidays Cheer

Lots of Horowitz's, Yates' and Birches to go around this holiday season. We put some miles on our borrowed car (thanks Debbie!) making our way up to Connecticut where Christmas celebrations were hosted by Chip Yates and family. Despite the fact that they had to leave the next day to go to a family wedding in Baltimore, Chip and Kris and Caitlin and Wyeth put on a beautiful meal and filled their house with trimmings of the season. How nice it it for my Jewish/Vietnamese child to also get to experience Xmas with her father's side of the family. I say, the more to celebrate, the better. The overload of gifts for Phoebe- between 8 days of Channukah and Xmas made me worry she would expect presents every day for the rest of the year. (I have been known to hide things in the closet to save for a later date, but that's our secret.)

We piled Phoebe, Justin, Michael and me and Jeff back into the car to proceed onward and upward to Vermont where the Horwitz's would be waiting. We got to spend time with our California cousins, Aunte & Uncle J in our lovely country place. I often thought of how precious these moments are- especially with the Grandparents. The dark side of my brain knows too well that we won't have them forever, and while I try to keep those thoughts a bay, I can only flip the picture to see gratitude in the moments we have. Phoebe is only 2 and 4 months old. Will she remember anything of this time? My great hope is that this time will last a good, long time. One thing Jeff and I have in common is we both really enjoy time with our parents and look for opportunities to get us all together. With my parents going ot Florida for the whole winter, I have to adjust my thinking and just look forward to seeing them in a warmer climate when we visit in Februrary.

But back to Vermont. The weather was kind of mild and a little rainy, but we did get one day of sledding off the back steps in. I love seeing Phoebe interact with the girls. She knows them as "Chlo-Jo" and loves the attention she get from them. Having Justin and Michael there too filled out the picture for me. It's fun to have the house filled with kids of all ages. We played You-Don't-Say and Spite & Malice and Michael's favorite- Cranium. The day we left, a real snowstorm began. We drove in it for a little while with Jeff at the wheel steering us back to our humble abode, safe and sound.