Everybody works hard in our house 

  

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Vacation travel: Parents vs Toddlers

Travelling to British Columbia is always fun, we get to see a bit more of the beautiful province and we get to see a lot of family, win-win situation.

I have made this trip sometimes solo and sometimes with Zahi several times since she has been born. And the older she gets the more ‘challenging’ these trips become.

  
The flight itself tends to be quite fine because she has our undivided attention, she enjoys chatting up with people (they are stuck sitting close to her), and she still naps pretty well.

The problem is being spoiled by grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Teta and Jiddo Mansour   
There might be changes in attitude such as going from being the best eater to the pickiest there ever existed.

Blue cotton candy sneaked to her by aunts Hana’a   
There might be some jealousy from baby cousins that result in only accepting milk in a bottle…and that being the only source of food.

‘If you touch the baby I will disown you’ 

And then you arrive back home from a jam-packed ‘vacation’ and deal with jetlag, a cat with fleas, pest control, and a toddler with molars growing and a full on food protest.

Yes, west Canada has a valley..and it is spectacular 

British Columbia is certainly a beautiful place…and it is magical in the summer. This year Zahi and I had a chance to summer here and sneak a short trip to the Okanogan Valley baby free with a sweet sister who is a self proclaimed third wheel aka wheelie.

First step…leave babies behind and hope for sun

  
Second step soak in the glamorous view of West Kelowna and totally make plans to move there someday 

  
Stop for lunch and a little bit of wine at some ‘little shacks’

 

   
 Then to East Kelowna to a pretty cool distillery with the worst drunken cherries I have ever tasted 
  

And the best non-drunk drunk-acting face around town

   

Frou frou breakfast and then ready to reunite with baby girl   

See you soon Okanogan…we shall be back 

  

When parents take a short break 

Visiting family is always fun but the extra fun perk is being able to do adult things without paying a baby tax (babysitter fees).

Perhaps we went on a date night 

  
Perhaps we visited a winery or two

  
Perhaps we went on a short road trip 

  
And came home so ready for some ‘wheels on the bus’ for the umpteenth time. 

I never thought I would know that many kids songs…or that I would sing them on our adult only road trip to the valley…face palm

Reading to toddlers is like Groundhog Day

The movie is about a weatherman who relives the same day over and over again…reading to a toddler sure feels like that.

Last night I was folding laundry (yup that never ending story) when I overheard this conversation between Sophia and Zahi in her room

.S: bla bla bla (yeah nobody can quite understand her yet)

It sounds like she brought a book to him…

Z: Great habibi (darling) sit here. ‘In the great green room’..

goodnight moon
And he read the ‘goodnight moon’ book to her. When it ended there were some loud babbles and she must have gotten her point across because book was read again.

Babbles…book read…babbles…book read…lots of babbles…very heated babbles…

Z: you can’t possible want to read this again. This is the 10th time we have read this story. How about this one. What does a cow say?

BABBLES…I heard a sound…I wonder if she slapped him

Then it is quiet.

Z: In the great green room…

Thinking about family

As we get ready to go visit family in Vancouver in a few days, I cannot help but reflect on the past year and half here in Houston. Living far away from family is hard, but it makes their visit or going to see them so much more exciting. And I know we will always drop everything and be there for each other..um…right?? I hope so…

Ever since we had Sophia, life has been a non-stop adventure. It is true our families live too far away, but they showed up and supported us during the new transition even before she was born. Zahi was in a tougher part of his fellowship and could not really take any time off. We knew he would get two weeks off but we had to be smart about that. Since it was a scheduled c-section we could at least plan our help…as planned as a first birth could be. First we needed to move to a bigger apartment..a 700 sqft apartment was going to be just too tight (we didn’t know we were going to be 3 when we signed the lease to our apartment). So first, little bro saved the day and helped us move to a bigger apartment when I was 7 mths pregnant before a 2 bedroom would open up in our complex (thank you little bro).

Then we knew Zahi would take one week off from the day of birth. Then work for one week. Then take one week off and then back to full work. So father-in-law showed up two days before she was born and stayed for two weeks. I like to call him a live baby monitor. He may not have known how to do a lot of baby things (maybe next grand-baby we can teach him to change a diaper) but he did hold her and let us get a few snoozes when she would fuss endlessly.

Then little sis came for two weeks (and thank you thank you for all the cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, and taking the 1-3am shifts). How did we get so lucky!

Then mama Mansour came to save the day. I can tell you for a moment there, it felt like being a new parent was a piece of cake when she was around. I got naps, we had delicious food, there were so many laughs, and I even managed to finish completing dissertation edits to submit and completed teaching my Spring semester course (online but still). Forever thank you mama.

Less younger but still little sis then came for two weeks. By then we had totally got this parenting thing (HAHA as if!) but we did handle life better. We hung out and just enjoyed the baby smiles, blow outs, and occasional staying up late. So many good memories stored in my bank…so many.

By summer Sophia Sophia’s smiles and appetite had fully emerged…just in time for Teta Mitri and Chadi to come visit. Oh man how many things we did and explored. It is true the best way to discover a city is by having visitors. Some of my best memories of that visit was playing cards at night once Sophia slept, getting my toe dislocated when Chadi ran into it with his toe, hearing stories about baby Zahi from Teta Mitri, and watching Sophia get so spoiled by grandma. 

We have been pretty lucky since we have already gone on visits to Atlanta, Vancouver, and Lebanon to meet up with family and friends and looks like another one is coming. And we get to enjoy dropping Sophia off at grandma’s house and doing a few adult trips without planning and worrying about who will care for the active little toddler.