Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

********************************************************************************************* Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers *********************************************************************************************
Lilypie Third Birthday tickers *********************************************************************************************

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice ice baby!

We are sorry to interrupt the ongoing trilogy for some breaking news (and to think it was going so well :-p). Since yesterday we the people in Lexington have been hit by a pretty bad winter storm. Not only is the temperature below 0 degree Celsius (right now it is -4 C), but everything outside our home is frozen. A few glimpses of the same..

Thankfully there have been no power outages in our area, though there were a few in other towns of Kentucky. The icy rain has stopped now and weather is hopefully going to be better from now on.

This has been a message from LWA - Live Weather Alert team of "Like Duck to water" :-D.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Subsequent travel with a baby..

Part 2 of the trilogy :).

My in-laws came here in July end. And as I mentioned, travelling with in-laws was a different experience altogether. One advantage was that it was a rehash of places we had seen before, so there was really nothing for me to "see". So I could skip a few sights and breastfeed Snugli when she needed it without getting frustrated that I was missing something. Also I had help in Snugli's cerelac eating, since my MIL and I took turns having lunch ourselves and feeding her (which served as a pointer in our recent travel). But it was a bit inconvenient for my MIL and FIL as such since they are not really used to sitting in the car for hours and driving to places (we are used to traveling overnight in trains/buses in India, which is certainly not a very feasible option here in US). The other inconvenience was the food here and my FIL is a bit particular about his :-\. Yet we did manage to cover quite a bit and yup, it was lots easier :).

The first places we covered were obviously the nearest ones, so we finished of the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln (yup, that, KFC - the origin of Kentucky Fried Chicken and horses are the only things to see in Kentucky :-p) and Cincinnati. These were all within 2 hours range of Lexington, so they were quite alright. Thats when we decided to attempt Chicago which is more than 5 hours away. We planned the trip for the first weekend of August for 3 days.

The trip had its ups and downs (basically Snugli's eating and sleeping schedules weren't schedules anymore :-D), but it was mostly a success. We were able to cover all that we wanted to - the usual Sears tower, architecture river tour (on which only my inlaws went), the millennium park, the magnificent mile and the Field museum. The success encouraged us into planning a big one - the Pittsburgh and Niagara Falls trip which actually became the Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls and Dayton trip (so yup, it was so successful that we could add another place on the go :-D).

We planned a 4 day trip, most of it was driving, but everything went as planned. First we drove to Pittsburgh, where we saw the SriVenkateshwara temple.

We had lunch there and left to Niagara Falls. Night saw the illumination and spent the next day there. Again, we sent my inlaws on the maid of the mist and the cave of winds. Obviously things went according to plan :).

God! I love Niagara falls, they were as amazing as I remembered them :). We ofcourse saw the horseshoe falls next..

After seeing Niagara falls, we drove for 5 hours and reached Ohio to stop over for the night. Since we had the whole next day, decided impulsively to go to Dayton to see the Air force museum and the place where the Wright brothers first flew a successful flight (Sounds familiar? Thats because I wrote about it 2 years back!)

The trip was successful to some extent, but a few days later Snugli fell ill and that kinda put us off travel for sometime. So we sent my inlaws to Washington D.C in September (my MIL has some relatives there). But we did manage to go to Fort Knox and Louisville in September end; Fort Knox to see the famous bullion depository and Louisville for the Balloon festival. First we saw Patton museum in Fort Knox which is a museum of tanks..

Sri and I hadn't seen this museum before and it was really something interesting - full of tanks inside and out ranging from all wars. Next we drove to the Fort Knox bullion depository which stores all the gold of US. Visitors are not allowed and cars are not supposed to stop anywhere there, so we drove around and took photos..

Later went to the balloon festival. It was wonderful but still a few of the balloons the previous year were not on display and I really missed mom even more, since she was with me in 2007 :(. But Snugli did love gazing at the glowing balloons, so it was worth it :).

Later in October, we did visit a small reptile park nearby, which wasn't that big of a deal ;-). In November you know that we set off to Smokies, for I did tell you that. During thanksgiving weekend, we sent my inlaws to California to visit Sri's cousin and they were able to manage a Los Angeles trip from there. And I still haven't seen California :( (Sri are you listening?).

That was it, since December got too cold to go anywhere plus we had things to setup for Snugli's birthday party. My inlaws left to India shortly after that. Sri had some Christmas holidays and we didn't feel like spending them here in the chill. And it had been a long time since we saw some good fireworks. So we headed to Jacsonville, Florida. All that and more in the next post :).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Initial travel with a baby...

This post is going to be a set of 3, so please bear with me (atleast you have a promise of 3 posts coming back-to-back :-D).

Flashback to somewhere in mid-2007. One of the things usually newly pregnant women think about is whether life will ever be the same again. So in the same trend, I was wondering whether we'd be able to travel as much. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I wanted to still keep going. I was certain adventuring wouldn't be feasible, unless Sri and I would go on them individually, but I thought travelling should be fine..

Fast-forward to June-2008. Certainly travel was not a problem, since we had travelled to India and back. Wanted to talk about the journey back as a guide to some new parents (sorry for being so late about it, but I hope it helps atleast a few). We had booked an infant seat for Snugli so that we'd get a bassinet and some luggage quota for her. We were told that we'd have to reserve the bassinet for each plane which we did. There were no problems while travelling to India as such. While coming back too, the plane from Bangalore to Paris wasn't an issue as we reserved a bassinet and got one. In Paris the first thing we did was ask for the bassinet. But when we climbed onto the plane, I noticed that there was no slot in front of us to attach the bassinet, but thought that it must be a different sort of bassinet and didn't worry. Even after the plane took off, nobody came to attach the bassinet. Thats when we had the doubt and asked a hostess about it. We were told it cannot be attached as this particular hold didn't have a slot and the one which had was occupied. They refused to move us to the other slot as the people sitting there didn't agree to. The air hostess actually said that I could lay my baby on the floor in the walking path if I wanted to! I was outraged, but there weren't any helpful suggestions. It was only after about an hour later that I noticed some seats were empty in the back and asked to be moved there so that we could sit in a 3-seat stretch and keep the baby in the middle seat. This was in Air France, but I'm sure this story will be the same in other airlines.

We complained to the airlines and thats when we found out that taking a ticket doesn't automatically mean a bassinet. The ticket price of about $500 is only for the extra luggage and the bassinet is on a first-come-first-serve basis. You know what was worse - we were the only ones on the plane with an infant, so where was the question of first-come-first-serve? There was a bassinet available and despite us telling them in the beginning, they didn't have the sense to issue the seat-numbers for us. Even after complaining to both Delta and Air France, they said they were sorry but they could do nothing about it. We went as far as complaining to the Federal authorities, but there was no response. So new parents, if you are travelling on a plane with an infant, you don't need a ticket for the baby unless you want to carry extra luggage. Please make sure you have the bassinet slots in the hold as soon as you see your seats. If not, inform somebody immediately and maybe they'll seat you correctly. I hope no other parent with a young baby goes through such a bad experience. We were tired from the travel we had done + a cranky infant + we had to face this predicament + no help whatsoever from the air hostesses or anyone.

Anyways, getting back on track, despite the harrowing experience, our trip was a success in all other matters. After all, I had travelled with a baby on planes, trains, buses and cars. So we thought sight-seeing would be a breeze. But boy, were we wrong!

In June 2008, as a trial run, we headed to Pine Mountain state park, just for a day. It was just go in the morning and come back in the night. Still, it kind of became a circus atleast for me. Snugli's sources of food were cerelac and breast-milk then. The cerelac was only in the morning, so that was done before we left. But she refused to breast-feed around her usual time, so when we wanted to "sight-see", she wanted her food. Its not that we didn't have any fun at all, we still managed to see what was there to see, fit in a mini-golf game, but it wasn't the same. But you'd never guess it by the photos..

we did learn a few pointers about taking it easy, but we still hadn't learnt our lesson.

Fast-forward to July 2008. We drove to Putin Bay (or Put-in-bay as the map calls it :-D).

In retrospective, we didn't plan it well at all. Since its about 6 hours drive away and there wasn't much to see, we thought 2 days (half a day each for driving to and fro) would be sufficient. The lesson we learnt was that when you have a baby with you, keep atleast another extra day than you'd otherwise. Again, its not really that we missed everything entirely. We enjoyed a nice ferry ride to Putin bay on lake Erie. We were able to see the Perry memorial.

and we did take a nice stroll beside lake Erie..

We also visited a crystal cave and a winery. But didn't really enjoy the whole experience. Firstly, we reached Putin bay in the noon, what with Snugli's morning routines (bath, breakfast etc) + the ferry timings (we reached the ferry at 11 PM, but the wait and travel on the ferry took another hour). Next, Snugli was too distracted for breast-feed and later her afternoon cerelac (because she was having it outdoors and even trees were distractions!). She was having fun, but was not eating and that frustrated us, especially me to no end. Her afternoon food got so delayed that it in-turn delayed our lunch to 2 PM. The lunch we ordered took more than 30 minutes to arrive, so it was time for another breast-feed by then. So we weren't able to have our lunch until 3. And we had to drive all the way back that day!

So believe it or not, we finished our "sight-seeing", if you can call it that, in 2 hours!! Got back on the ferry at 5:30 PM and drove all the way back with breaks in-between for Snugli's feeds. I think it was midnight by the time we reached home. It certainly wasn't worth driving almost 12 hours for! I guess we didn't need any retrospection to realize what a mistake we had made. In fact, we realized that then in Putin bay itself..

I believe we did learn from the 2 episodes - but some of the travelling we did after these was with my in-laws and to the places we had already been to before. So the rules obviously changed and it was a bit easier. How? Tune in again after a couple of days to find out in the next post..

Subsequent travel with a baby..

Starring - My MIL, my FIL, Sri, Snugli and me.

Where you'll be seeing places like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Niagara falls, Dayton and a glimpse of the Smokies!

Don't miss it :-D. Hehehehe (didn't you love the TV episode style trailer? :-D)