Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Greetings from the Dominican Republic!

We are in the Dominican Republic this week to attend a cousin's wedding and we arrived a week early to do a little vacationing.

We are sharing a condo with some family members, which is much cheaper than staying at a resort, which is $300-$400 per person per night!  Food and entertainment is included but there is no way I can eat my money's worth in crappy resort food, and with an infant in tow, I wouldn't be taking advantage of the entertainment either.
We haven't left the condo that much since I'm pretty beat from the flight (5.5 hours from LAX -> JFK, then 4 hours from JFK ->SDQ, then 3 hours car ride from SDQ to our condo in Bavaro), and we need to stick around in the afternoon so Caitlin can take her afternoon nap.  I don't mind of course, I don't think vacations should be cramming a million items into a tight schedule and hating every waking minute of the "vacation".
At the beach, 30 meters from our condo

Yesterday, we finally emerged from our "air conditioned" condo (it is in quotations because the AC sucks, but still better than no AC!) to go to the beach.
The beach was lovely, and the water was warm (unlike the Pacific Ocean).  The water is not crystal clear the way it was in the Bahamas last year, which was kind of what I thought it would be like (Bahamas, Carribean, the gulf, same thing).

It was Caitlin's first time touching the ocean, and unfortunately, she hated it.  She looked worried at first, then started whining.  So I just held her, and I felt Caitlin cling onto me tighter every time the waves came in.  Maybe after a few more tries, she will get used to it.

Bonding time for the cousins! 
Photobombed by the Infantino Horse
on the lower-right

And what was Caitlin's first airplane ride like?
Let's just say... if I had a choice, I would NEVER do it EVER again.
On the plane ride from LAX to JFK, it was a red eye flight and the flight was at 9:30pm, which is about 2 hours after her bedtime.  Caitlin was exhausted and pissed.  While people were still boarding and getting settled in their seats, Caitlin was bawling the entire time and inconsolable.  Maybe if we were able to get up and pace up and down the aisle, she would have been ok, but we needed to stay seated in preparation to take off.  Everyone seated around us were very polite and kind to us, but I can tell they were a little worried they would get no shut-eye on the flight.  I offered ear plugs to our neighbors and gave a bag of chocolates to the flight crew.  I held off on nursing Caitlin until take-off since you want the baby to suckle during take-off and landing to clear their ears when the air pressure changes.
Once the plane started taking off, we laid Caitlin across the Boppy which was on my lap, latched her on, and placed a nursing cover over her.  Caitlin's body spewed across my lap onto Jeff's lap.  Caitlin quietly nursed for several minutes then eventually dozed off and she slept the ENTIRE flight! woohoo! Both Jeff and I were too scared to move during the entire 5.5 hour flight, fearing we would wake her.  Caitlin eventually woke up after we landed, when people were getting their carryon items from the overhead compartments and leaving.  She was all in smiles.

I wore Caitlin in my BabyBjorn during our 2 hour layover and we enjoyed breakfast at one of the restaurants.
The flight to SDQ sucked a lot.  We were unable to get our seat assignments until right before we boarded the plane.  All 3 of us (Jeff, Connie, and me), were all split up on the plane and we were all assigned window seats, which are incredibly cramped.  Once again, Caitlin started crying before take off since she didn't want me to be seated.  The old man next to me spoke zero English and kept staring at me and Caitlin and also kept staring at me as I pulled out my breast to nurse Caitlin during take-off.
Como se dice "F*ck off" en Espanol?
Poor Caitlin, there was no room in my window seat to accommodate her laying down to nurse.  The Boppy is already wider than the width of my seat.  With Caitlin laying down to nurse and nap, her head partially went onto the other guy's area so she kept getting her head bumped.  Caitlin's butt hit the window of the plane, so I had to wrap her legs around my waist, bending her in an "L" shape. Since the Boppy didn't fit in my seat, I kept squishing it in my seat to make it fit, but the Boppy still kept sliding out from beneath Caitlin.  It was all a disaster.
Caitlin fell asleep while nursing before the plane even took off since it took like 20 minutes taxiing the runway.  Caitlin slept maybe 45 minutes, due to the terrible cramped conditions.  I'm pretty sure if she had the freedom to stretch out like on the first flight, she would have slept the entire duration of the flight.  The flight was 4 hours so she spent the majority of the remaining 3.25 hours of the flight crying.  Towards the end of the flight, we thought it would be good to try nursing Caitlin again but there was just no room to nurse in my seat. Connie asked the flight crew if I could sit in one of the empty 1st class seats to nurse and the flight crew said 'yes'.  So Caitlin nursed for a bit but then cried because she didn't want to nurse anymore.  This was right about the time we were landing!  Uh oh! Babies need to suck to clear their ears from the change in air pressure!  Now what?!  As it turned out, Caitlin didn't even notice we were landing.  She sat around smiling at the faces Jeff was making a few rows back, and it was a very easy landing. phew!
I wore her in the Bjorn again to get off the plane , through baggage claim, and through customs.  Caitlin slept a grand total of about 6 hours that "night", which is about half of what she usually gets.  We were so busy traveling to our condo and settling in that it was too much stimulation for Caitlin to sleep again later in the day.  Because Caitlin got half the amount of sleep she needed, AND she missed her nap that day, that night, she was too overtired to sleep and cried for 1.5 hours in her crib before finally falling to sleep for the night and it was close to midnight.  (Overtired babies are too wired to sleep!  You don't want an overtired baby...)

I really don't want to fly ever again.

-----EDIT: 10/18/2012-----
I completely forgot to post up the video of Jeff "taking care" of a giant cockroach that was in my bathroom in our condo.  It was such a fiasco since we weren't sure how to dispose of the cockroach without having to touch it or risk it getting away. 
In the end, it was a great success!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We are *so* LA

How are we *so* LA?
We just hired a gardener to come mow our postage-stamp-sized lawn twice a month.

My husband came from a place (New Jersey) where his backyard was over an acre in size and they mowed their own dang lawn.  Him and his mom came out to LA and both laughed at how everyone in LA hire gardeners for their teeny tiny lawns.

After 3 years of trying to maintain our lawn ourselves, we gave in and hired a gardener today.
It is not the size of the lawn that makes lawn mowing on the regular basis hard.  The hard part is finding the motivation to pull the gardening appliances out of the garage (which is located in our backyard), then push them through our driveway, which is completely blocked off by our 2 parked cars, to the front yard.  This motivation wasn't extremely hard to find before we had a baby, but now that we have baby Caitlin, when we have a couple minutes to ourselves, dealing with the lawn is the last thing we want to do.

The final "push" that caused us to hire a gardener, is that our neighborhood is not entirely thrilled with our "overgrown" lawn.  Last week, the guy that maintains the church grounds (across the street from us) politely brought up the topic of referring a gardener to us.   And this morning, he was banging our front door at 8am wanting to introduce us to his gardener.  After a quote of $40 per month (pretty good!) we hired him on the spot.
Our "overgrown" postage-stamp-sized front yard that our neighbors have a problem with.
There isn't more to our front yard.  That is seriously how small it is.
We previously had a gardener for 1 month, when we first moved into our house (apparently he was hired and I didn't even know about it).  He charged $90 per month and he came once per week, which was completely overkill.  I canned him as soon as I realized he was hired and draining us almost 100 bucks every month.
Based on that experience, I am more than happy to pay $40 per month for this guy to come twice per month and not have to worry about our lawn (and neighbors) anymore.