Friday, December 19, 2008

Noah in NOLA

Happier times once we arrived in NOLA... albeit, we had quite a short weekend (our version of 'planes, trains & automobiles' story below)....THANK YOU Aunt Carly for taking such good care of us (you even felt nauseous most of the trip but still showed us all around and made us at home!)
***And, tomorrow, we are off to Canada for Christmas - wish us better luck on this flight (not to worry, it's not Southwest!)***

Munchin' on a free sucker (broken) in the Jackson Square Area

Noah in the Butterfly Garden at the Insectarium

Connor arrived Friday night - so I, errr, we thoroughly enjoyed his help, errrr, company on Saturday!
Do I need to mention that Connor's hair was a titch sticky after this outing?

Audobon Park was beautiful!

Bug soup at the Insectarium!

Things were looking up on the return flight! Noah had his own seat!

And, forgot to mention Thanksgiving. We spent the week at my parent's house in NC - family, food, Noah's first haircut, and other good memories. This pic is just before that trip - last of the goldy locks...

And, Noah being Noah (or "no-nah")

Planes, Minivans, & Kind Strangers (one toddler & a chain smoker)

Have you seen the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles? We had the real-life reenactment last Thursday. And, let me tell you, it was not nearly as funny as the movie.

Here goes the saga of Noah and my trip down to 'Nawlins' to see Aunt Carly and Uncle Matt....

4:00 am - Thursday, December 11th: Alarm goes off. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, get dressed, and finish loading up the SUV.
4:30 am - Time to wake up Noah, get him dressed and ready
5:00 am - Noah and I (***important note - just the two of us - Connor is on a business trip in California***) load up in the SUV, brave the storm, and head for the airport.
7:00 am - Noah and I load up into our SouthWest flight. All is on time and smooth sailing despite the inclement weather at BWI.

The flight smoothly sails south. It embarks on its decent. The captain comes on and says we have 10 minutes left until landing. At this point, I take out the precious water bottle I have been saving for this exact moment. I have drank nothing all morning. I down the whole thing in a few big swigs. We will be there soon! And, I can go to the bathroom by myself!

At this point, I feel the plane ascend out of its clear downward path to landing, and then, a sinking feeling. Strange. The pilot then comes on and informs us that our flight has been diverted to Nashville, TN. We will land in Nashville in 1.5 hours. They have no details, but we will know more once we land.

Noah is really holding it together nicely - I was so proud! We finally land, about 4 hours later, and a 'spokeswoman' for SouthWest boards our flight. The potent information she soon tells us is enough to bring tears to a grown man (and certainly myself). Our flight has been canceled. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are two flights departing Nashville that day, heading down to MSY (New Orleans). However, further bad news is that one of those two flights is completely full, and the other one only has space for 20 people - the first 20 people who would have boarded our flight (coincidentally, I was #55). The majority of the plane, then, including Noah and myself, were out of luck. Stranded in Tennessee for the foreseeable future. This is the part where I really try to suck it up for Noah's sake, but the tears are just too heavy and they are splashing out like a waterfall.

At this point, the gentleman sitting next to us announces he is getting a rental car and is driving to New Orleans. Without hesitation, I shouted, 'We'll go with you!!" Did I stop to think that my two year old, who had woken this poor man up from his sound sleep at least 6-8 times over the last hour, pulled his hair, kicked his boots and driven him crazy, would really want us to join him? No. I was in survival mode. It seemed like our only hope.

At that point, the couple sitting in front of us asked if they could join us, and a caravan was born! No one complained about having a nap-less two-year old joining...but I was nervous as could be! Matt, our fellow passenger and driver of the caravan, carried my bags for me through the airport - I even caught a bathroom break (thankfully) before we hit the highway.

We head to Enterprise, rent a carseat (which took them 20 minutes to find), and embarked on our 9.45 hour road trip. We hit the highway, full of steam and hope, at 11:00 am, and raced right into a ...parking lot of traffic. This was the point at which the driver lit his first cigarette. I calculated soon after that, that they were coming about one every 30 minutes. Thankfully, he was a fast smoker, and who could complain? He was a true blessing to us that day.

Aunt Carly also loaded up in her car, and she began driving the opposite direction up to meet us. Life saver! Right around the time we connected with her, Noah started loosing his composure. He had held it together allll day! I also was at my wits end... We arrived into New Orleans around 9:00 pm.

In case you were wondering, the story we were told was that the one piece of snow equipment (coincidentally, it snowed for the third time, in the history of New Orleans, the morning of this flight) broke upon use. Oddly, though, Carly watched flight after flight land into MSY right around the time our flight was to have landed....also troubling is that the snow was widely forecasted. It struck me as grossly incompetent that the decision to not land was made 10 minutes prior to landing. I also could not believe they could not help helpless me. Noah fit the bill perfectly when I was talking to customer service about finding other flight options - he was screaming and rolling around on the carpet behind me. It was great! Still, nada - they could do nothing for us, except to assure me I was stuck until at least the following day.

Lest you all think I took this lying down, I wrote a nice long letter to SouthWest. Hopefully it was not too impassioned. I truly felt that traveling alone with a dependent toddler would qualify us for some type of help. Apparently not at SW - where you may not pay any hidden fees, but you also may not land in the city of your choice.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Noah on the Tube

Dancing in The Villages's Main Square, FL

Better than raking...

Other interesting news...

- The Watershed of Words event has occurred! We counted over 100 words Noah is saying now and that number grows everyday! Now, not allll of them can be understood, especially when the voice is whiny, but this is big-time in the Bates house!
- He is also pairing together two word phrases ...even if most of those go something like 'No, mine!' or 'Mama, move!'
- He is counting! Well, he can count 1-2-3....then, 9-10 (4-8 not so much yet).
- He knows three colors: pink, blue, black.
- He continues to be SUPER affectionate. He loves sitting on laps of even total strangers - especially pretty girls. Go figure. He will cuddle right up and give out hugs very generously. He knows no stranger!

Older vid's - about 19 months...Being silly

Connor: "...oh, so that's what happened to my buttons..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

So, a Monkey and a Turtle Walked into a Bar...

***Caption coined by Monkey's Mommy***

Tick or teeting was fun had by all - monkey (Luca-pop, Noah's buddy who is one week apart in age) and turtle (Noah) tore up the neighborhood! Thankfully we were able to do a quick bait and switch maneuver with the candy bags... The grown-ups had a blast too (as evidenced by photo below).

Turtles, monkeys, mommies - all had a great time!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Orange, Yellow, Red....Purple...

Fall has many colors for us this year... Noah was a hit at our recent neighborhood party. Our next door neighbors were kind enough to have several couples (and our "low-key" party of 3) over for drinks and food last weekend... Noah was kind enough to 'refresh' everyone's drinks for them.

Entertainment comes quite naturally for him...

Kisses for You

Bathtime Bliss

In case you were wondering - it is a total party every bath we take (and now, he's really into showers more than baths - he can wash himself and is quite self-entertaining)! He is a hoot to watch!

Fallen for Fall

We have thoroughly enjoyed this season! Time together in NC at the Shelby State Fair, time in Maryland leaf romping (errr, raking), firewood stacking, and taking colorful family hikes, also, time with family in Florida for Wayne's passing. I am in love with this refreshing season. It is my favorite time of the year! As much as we adored California, I always missed the Fall season (California really has two seasons - 1)Rainy and 2)Not Rainy (Utopia)). Fall is all about vivid colors, crisp air, slowed-down pace, cozy fires...Many More Fall Photos here.

Shelby State Fair - having BBQ'ed corn with Pa.

We are having a total blast riding the Choo-Choo (especially Mom)...until we have to get off the Choo-Choo and it is a big Poo-Poo so to say (will spare the photos)

New baby goat

"Helping" Nana in the kitchen.

Cord of wood ordered and dumped in driveway for cozy winter fires...

Done during naptime (now, a yearly tradition)

Building Noah's Toddler Table

Fatherhood - the real deal

Spending time with family in Florida with Wayne's passing away.

Our dancer in the Villages Square, adding hope and laughter to a hard time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Asheville, So Beautiful

UNC-Chapel Hill Days are over, but our friendships go on forever. Here are a few pics of our recent rendevous in the NC Mountains...