Friday, January 05, 2007

3 days to go!

Still no stroller--and ebay seller provided no UPS tracking number--but I hope it arrives tomorrow. If not...well, I hope it arrives tomorrow.

Final shop today for the carry-on, a bit of lotion, hand sanitizer, wipes in case of girls' digestive upset, and we'll try Airborne fizzy immune boosting stuff to see if it works. I tried "No Jet Lag" tablets on the China trip and honestly don't think they did a thing, but I have a friend who swears by Airborne so we'll see.

Also bought my walking shoes. I went to the Sole Source ( and tried on some Merrells but finally decided on Earth shoes which I have never tried. They're GREAT - my arches always fall when I walk a lot but these feel very firm in the support. I'll let you know how they work out. I got red, figuring they'll go with black or brown, and also as a nod to my mom, who always has a pair of red shoes in her arsenal.

That's all...we're spending a quiet weekend at home, resting up for the big trip. SO EXCITED.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Packing has begun + ebay suspense

The girls and I packed for them today. I had them choose the shirts, pants, pj's etc that they wanted and put them in a laundry basket. That way I can divvy things up among the several suitcases we're bringing, so if any one piece gets lost, we all have some things in other suitcases until the lost piece arrives. I also got a new hard-sided suitcase to keep more fragile things from getting busted. Still, I was clear with the girls that they shouldn't pack anything they wouldn't want lost or broken!

The ebay plot thickens with the stroller - fixed the payment situation and left for dinner at church, then returned to find a message "did you want red or grey?" ARGH! I swear I put red when I ordered the thing, but anyway thank goodness he's in California. Let's hope he made the UPS deadline so we can receive it Saturday. Otherwise we're looking at MONDAY (yes the day we are leaving).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

slogging through details

The last-minute to-do list is on the fridge. I borrowed some of JieJie's PostIt paper and I think she has forgiven me. "Is that my paper from my pad, mommy?" " time I'll ask, ok?" "Ok..."

So we now have someone to mow the lawn, shovel the snow (if we ever get any), rent our house, we've suspended magazine and newspaper subscriptions, had dentist appointments ("I was so BWAVE!"), and we're slowly eating up the food at the back of the pantry. I sometimes wonder what garbanzo beans and crushed tomatoes and vegetable soup mix and pasta would taste like, with the leftover pickle relish, bacon and sundried tomatoes languishing in the fridge. The girls turn their noses up at the things that show up on their plates. "I not wike dis mommy!"

And there's a snag in the stroller solution. The suspense is building. Apparently I have my PayPal account set to default to an e-check, which takes several days to clear. Seller is in California and (understandably) reluctant to ship without payment clearing. I ended up sending a redundant payment with a credit card and asking for a refund of the e-check. As I type this, the UPS deadline for the west coast is fast approaching. Will he email that he has shipped it, so we get it Saturday? Or will he email that my payment came too which case I'll either be paying hefty shipping to get it Saturday or biting my nails hoping it gets here Monday before we leave for the airport?!

Well, there's always something I suppose. And I actually feel better knowing that this is probably what it is.

Meanwhile, all laundry has been diverted from the usual dryer-fold-drawers flow. All folded laundry is waiting in baskets for Packing Day, because the girls' favorite outfits are in those baskets and I'm Not Washing Them Again!

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Stroller Decision

After realizing that waiting til we get to Europe to buy a stroller may cost us significant bucks (the kind I like is over 500 Euro and the exchange rate takes that up to $660) I found an almost identical stroller on ebay for $279+shipping. It's a BeBeLove Dual Shock Z all-terrain stroller and it looks great. Unlike a jogging stroller, with one fixed front wheel that can make it hard to steer, this one has a pivoting double front wheel. And who knows, we could sell it before we leave Europe and make a profit...bonus! British Airways will allow us to gate-check it. It's got room for groceries underneath, it folds down for storage and has a huge canopy for sun and rain. Behold...the school bus!

One week til departure

We are getting excited because in about a week, it's time to go to Antwerp. I just looked at information about British Airways' baggage and check-in policies and found some really promising information. Because we are traveling with children under age 11, we will be able to find out our seat assignments three days in advance. I hope we get a bulkhead row so I don't have to keep nagging the girls not to kick the seats in front of us. Yeah, I know this is partly done so BA can isolate the screamers in one area of the airplane, but I still appreciate it.

The other thing I liked is that we can request kid-friendly airline meals that come with little amusements for the girls. We do have high hopes that they will of course sleep the whole way over, but I've been around enough to know that hoping is nice and all but not nearly as valuable as having a plan B and C and D. And not looking at people who are staring at you while your four year old has a fit. Not that she will. (please!)

We had an unanticipated dry run yesterday because our ex-cat Morty, whose personal hygiene declined along with his overall health, left us with some lovely fleas when he departed this life, may he rest in peace. So we decided to "bug bomb" the house and head to friends' in Williamsburg. The girls traveled very well in the car both ways. This morning we strolled around Colonial Williamsburg looking at the lovely holiday decorations. The girls did a lot of walking with very little complaining and their big fascinations were the crushed oyster shells that covered the paths, as well as the horse poop on the roads. On the way back to the car, though, JieJie reminded me of the importance of being prepared at all times with a little something to eat, drink, and do. She started complaining of hunger, and was soon chanting a mantra as we walked down Duke of Gloucester Street: "HUNGRY THIRSTY TIRED! HUNGRY THIRSTY TIRED! HUNGRY THIRSTY TIIIIIIIIIIIRED!"

Note to self: snack, small bottle of water, stroller!

You can search FTJ for past posts, e.g. China info...