The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Pregnant and Traveling … with a Toddler March 24, 2010

Tuesday, 7:30 pm – We pull out an hour behind schedule (the imaginary one in my head). Proceed uneventfully to the Fairfield Inn and Suites near Chicago’s Midway airport. Cai kept up a constant stream of jabber that we assume was his commentary on crazy Chicago drivers, weird highway smells, and the drab scenery.

In the car on the way to Chicago

9pm (now Central time) – Josh brings back cold, unsalted french fries and CRISPY chicken instead of grilled from McDonalds, bringing down a hungry pregnant woman’s wrath on his poor almost-bald-now head. Cai tries to see how many times he can almost fall off the bed before mommy has a heart attack and screams I’M HUNGRY SO YOU BETTER WATCH HIM at daddy.

10pm – Cai’s not impressed with the hotel playpen, and knows that since he can see mommy and daddy, they can see him, too, and surely they won’t leave him in there?! Mommy remembers why Cai has his own bedroom at home. Everyone finally falls asleep and he only wakes up a couple times.

Wednesday (barely) 3:28 am – The hotel phone rings, letting us know that breakfast is served from 6:30-9:30. Still haven’t figured out why they needed to tell us at 3:28 am, especially since we won’t even be here for breakfast. Mommy’s bladder is now awake.

3:30 am – Josh’s alarm goes off and the day begins. We somehow manage to leave not one, but both phone chargers and our car charger at the hotel.

5:30 am – After waiting in the cold for 20 minutes or so to check our bags and carseat, we make it through security, redress and gather our stuff, and hike to the furthest possible gate. Once I’m settled, Josh takes Cai and re-hikes back to the food court at the  other end, giving momma a chance to alternately stare vacantly into space and get annoyed with her phone’s Facebook temper tantrum.

Sleepy boys waiting to board

6:30 am – We enjoy special boarding privileges as parents of a young child. A very exhausted Cai seems to enjoy looking out the still-mostly-dark window and handles takeoff like a pro, then falls asleep for the first 45 minutes of the 2 hour, 45 minute flight. Although tired and fussy, he does pretty well the rest of the flight as well, switching between mommy and daddy and emptying the seat pockets as fast as we can refill them.

Naptime comes early when you're up at 3:30 am!

9:30 am – After deplaning in Houston, we walk briskly to, again, the furthest gate, sit for 5 minutes, and board our connecting flight to San Antonio. No potty break. Cai sleeps the entire flight this time, and doesn’t awake until I walk off the plane. Poor kid!

10:45 am – Mommy’s long-suffering bladder finds the nearest bathroom.

11:00 am – We snag our luggage with no difficulty, meet up with my Dad, and maneuver out of the confusing, construction-laden tangle of airport traffic. After a delicious lunch at Tiago’s, a cabo grill, during which we speculated on the meaning of “cabo,” Dad deposited us at his room in the Residence Inn and returned to work. We returned to bed.

4:15 pm – I rouse from my exhausted collapse to take a warm bath. Ahh! Time to tackle final planning for the next few days! House hunting, job interviews for Josh, zoo visit, and waterpark are all on the agenda.

Stay tuned for more!


December Days 9 and 10 December 11, 2009

Filed under: Journaling,Life in General,Photos — michellehuegel @ 8:11 pm
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Dec. 9th

Winter set in with an attitude today. I think we’d all become a bit complacent with our nice fall weather (remember that 8″ snow deficit in November?), and Winter had to remind us that we do, in fact, live in Michigan! Now it’s making up for lost time with extra nastiness. Fifty-mile-plus winds today, plus a few inches of snow and cold temps equals icy roads and a noisy mobile home. Cai and I took refuge from the things banging on our house and visited my parents. Real houses are much quieter. He’s still feeling icky, but hopefully is on the mend. Seemed a little better today than yesterday. Last night was very rough, he finally ended up in bed with me after mommy got tired of getting up and down. So neither of us slept well.

I just realized that we leave for Christmas traveling in a little over ONE WEEK!! EEEEK!! I’m trying to kick my calendar-gifts production into overdrive, which meant I got three pages done today. Woo-hoo. I figure I have at least 36 different pages to do, more if you count just switching out photos. Then go buy the paper and ink. Then print. Then embellish. Then assemble. Then wrap. Then stick on these cute little photo gift tags that Picture People gave us for free in the hopes we would buy more but we didn’t because we’re cheap and besides I won’t use more than 20 or so anyway.

I have a long ways to go. It would help if I’d ban myself from Facebook, but the problem with banning yourself is that it’s been historically proven to be a bad governmental model. If the same person is judge, jury, and executioner they’re not likely to pass or enforce the death penalty (read: no FB) on themselves. When’s the last time you read about some old-time king finding himself guilty of treason and ordering himself executed? Not in my history books. So, since it won’t work anyway there’s no point.

This week when you see me on Facebook give me a shout and tell me to get back to Christmas presents, because I don’t have the self-discipline to tell myself. 🙂

Dec. 10th

Today, for the first time in weeks I think, Cai and I stayed home all day. We didn’t shrivel  and die or turn into shy, maladjusted human beings from the lack of contact with other people. It was actually rather nice. We snuggled and played, and Cai napped (yay!). I finished several more calendar pages, and made sure to keep up on cleaning “maintenance.” Of course, we kept Christmas music playing! That is, when Cai wasn’t changing the station, turning the radio off, or switching to CD (he loves the stereo). Josh came home early from work, unfortunately, because they didn’t have enough to keep him busy. He finished sealing our door to keep out the bitter cold sub-zero-wind-chill temperatures, and braved the cold to pick up a few essentials at the grocery store for me. I need to embark on a serious grocery shopping excursion this week, but not sure the budget will allow me to. I hate money, especially around Christmas time. Such a spoilsport.

In case you’re curious about how the calendars are coming, here’s a sneak peek at one of the pages ready to be printed:


I Can’t Escape It! July 13, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 9:07 pm
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When I went on vacation with my parents into the middle of the Black Hills, I never expected the wedding fever to follow me. Not that I’m complaining. On the other hand, maybe it’s just that I’m overly perceptive of matrimonial obsession that my life seems to revolve around. I’m not sure.

For example, the first day we were traveling around Deadwood, South Dakota, getting a feel for where we were staying, I noticed a sign for “Deadwood Weddings.” That I chalked up to the fact that I tend to notice a lot of advertisement for wedding-related services and didn’t think twice about it until a few days later.

That’s when my dad and I decided to take a hike up Crow’s Peak. Who would have thought that I’d run across a group of girls climbing this 6.5-mile, 1,500-foot-elevation-change hike for one of the girls’ bachelorette party!? How crazy is that? I mean, I go hiking in the middle of nowhere, and I am still followed by the brides. (It actually sounded like a pretty fun bachelorette party to me, considering bringing along alcohol would just be stupid and a minimal number of people could embarrass the tiara-bearing hiker.)

And to top it off, the night before that, while I was about to take a photo for a girl and her mom at Mount Rushmore, my phone starts to ring in my pocket. It was my friend Lissa. I felt awful when I answered and said, “I’ll call you right back!” and then forgot as the lighting of the carvings ceremony began. I remembered on the way back to our lodge, so I sent her a text to see if she was awake. Unfortunately, reception is so spotty in national parks/forests that I didn’t hear her call back. To the other people in the car, I said something to the effect, “It’s got to be wedding related! I just know it. Who wants to take a bet?” No one took me up on it.

I called her back the next day after the hike, apologizing profusely for not getting to talk to her the night before. I could tell by the way I could hear her smiling over the phone what she was going to ask me when she said, “Erin, I have a question.”

“Oh?” I couldn’t help but smiling myself.

“Will you be my bridesmaid?”

Even though I was standing in the middle of a grocery store, I immediately turned and pointed to my dad, who had been in the car the night before, and yelled, “I knew it!” And then I turned back into the phone and said an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Of course, this just means I’ll have to keep up my at-least-one-wedding-a-year ratio going after she and Jeremy are wedded. So, who wants to be married in 2011?


Road Trips and Camping and Baby, Oh My! June 24, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 5:07 pm
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It’s official, I’m crazy. Cart-me-off-to-the-psych-ward crazy, according to my friends with children. Tomorrow we leave for an 8-hour roadtrip (not counting restroom breaks, nursing stops, and emergency i-gotta-pee-NOW stops, so more like 11 hours), and by “we” I mean me, my husband, my 13-year-old brother, and my 5-month-old son. The Motley Crew Travels to Iowa, Volume I.

What’s the destination? Not a comfy hotel in some nice metropolitan city with museums, zoos, and indoor pools. No, we’re camping. In a tent. On a lake in the middle of Nowhere, Iowa. Did I mention the tent part? Sadly, I’ve been told that tents do not come with built-in AC. Or built-in bathrooms. But I bought a 12-inch oscillating fan from Wal-mart, which I’m confident will protect the four of us from the 95-degree heat and humidity in a small nylon-enclosed space. (Stop laughing, it’s rude. Let me keep my delusions as long as possible, please.)

But before we can embark on this thrilling voyage of bonding, discovery, and excitement, I have to pack. I hope you noticed the pronoun usage in that sentence, starting with “we” and ending with “I”. Because I’m pretty sure my husband believes that a magic genie lives in the suitcase and coughs up shirts, underwear, swim trunks, and deodorant on demand. Although really, what else can I expect from a man who still swears that he has no idea which side of the closet is mine or what drawer to put whose pants in (there’s only one for each of us, and it’s been the same drawer for the entire time we’ve been married), so he can’t possibly put the clothes away. I am 100% serious. Apparently finding clothes to wear and putting them away are two entirely separate and completely unrelated skills.

Rant over. Back to the packing, which I’ve been working on for the last two days and still have not finished. I never dreamed how much stuff babies require for a 4-day trip. And I’m paranoid about forgetting something crucial, like my cell phone charger or diapers. I have a list (actually multiple lists) on my phone, which I refer to obsessively every 5 minutes because my brain is about as reliable as our older-than-me van with 200,000 miles on it. I’ve gathered almost everything into our living room, so if Josh wants to watch TV tonight he’ll have to perch on top of the pool floaty, towels, diapers, paper plates, and various clothing items. The main issue now is fitting everything into our Pontiac Sunfire (with freshly repaired AC – YAY!!), while leaving 10-inch-wide spots for our behinds. I hope Tim (my brother) is okay with holding a cooler on his lap…

Wonder why I’m attempting this? My mom’s side of the family has a big family-reunion shindig every year and this is the 5th anniversary with t-shirts and everything, so we’re the Michigan family branch ambassadors. Doesn’t really answer the question of why we couldn’t reunite at a nice Marriott hotel in Florida in, like, February instead of a blazing-hot Iowa campground in June, but that’s my family for ya.

So there’s the when, where, why, and how of our weekend excursion. Pray that we all return in one piece, don’t leave the baby or my brother, and remember everything important. I’ll try to update while we’re there, or maybe even in the car if I get bored.

I truly hope to talk to you all again, but if I disappear permanently, call the Iowa National Guard and tell them I’m lost in a cow pasture somewhere on Highway 80…