As promised, they're here! Photos of our trip to NY/NJ last month. I've been drafting this blog post for weeks now and adding bit by bit here and there...so I'm happy to be posting it today...sorry to keep you waiting, I know you've been checking my blog daily, sometimes several times daily just awaiting my photos. OK not really. But this post really took a long time to write because we did so much on our trip that I wanted to share plenty of it with everyone.
Wherever you live, you may be fortunate enough to see the changing of the leaves, and the beautiful colors of Autumn. Well, if you've ever read my blog before you'll know that we live in Orlando, Florida - and we miss the gorgeous Fall colors and trees from up North:
This was our very first time traveling by plane with 2 kids. Do you know how long it takes to get thru security with a toddler and an infant, along with all the stuff we need to carry for them? It takes a reeeeeally long time. As in a half hour, and that's with skipping to the front of the line - thanks to my handy dandy baby sling and my baby-wearing which doubles as my "please let us thru, and as I walk by you get to look at the most beautiful baby in the whole world."
And no, going through security is actually not the reason why we missed our flight...but just thought I'd mention that anyway. Yep, we missed our flight. It was the first flight we ever missed. We actually only missed our flight by 20 minutes. Although we were at the airport, and at the counter checking in our bags, the ticket agent said we couldn't go to the gate because there was only 40 minutes left til our flight would take off...and the required time is one hour. What kind of sillyness is that? We could've ran through the airport. Doesn't anybody do that anymore? A nice run through an airport would've been just the exercise I needed after a sleepless night sewing in my little studio.
Anyway, no biggie though, plan B was to eat breakfast in the airport and hop on the next flight a couple of hours later. And so we did. Plus it was fun to watch the Hubbs Joe chase after Joey in the airport since we let him run free..and afterwards I loved taking pics of his cute and tired little face:
We got on the plane a couple of hours later.
So does anyone else find taking pictures out of your window seat fascinating? Maybe I'm just way in love with my camera, and taking photos, and the sky, and the clouds, and the amazing beauty around us just in general which is easily taken for granted when you're not forced to sit still and stare at it...but I took approx fifty photos from my window! I always do that on airplanes.
Every few minutes, if there were more clouds, or less clouds, or more color, or less, or if the horizon was more visible, or less, or more blue skies...etc...you get the idea. Anyways, so here's the sky over Orlando. Please try to contain your excitement:
And lots of photos especially because this was Lily's very first time on an airplane. Doesn't she look nervous...like she's biting her nails?
She was fine, happy actually - and she did so well, nursed upon takeoff and then napped pretty much the whole time! She was a super happy camper during the two plus hours, snoring away, and then she nursed again upon landing which avoided any ear troubles or fussiness when the cabin pressure changes. I feel so bad when I hear babies crying during those times on the airplane and wonder if that Mama knows to feed her baby upon takeoff and landing. Bottle, nurse, binky, food, whatever ya got!
I nursed my son Joey until he was 23 months old, so now that he's 29 mos, Joey has been on an airplane 8 times already and this trip was the first trip that he wasn't nursing. And lemme tell ya...takeoff and landing was about to get kooky...but snacks made it a whole lot easier. The same way some people would chew gum on a flight.
I think the airlines should mention that as a friendly reminder upon takeoff - because there were a few babies that weren't so happy. And since I've already begun to ramble and because I am of course an expert on this subject I suggest this announcement by a flight-attendant: "For any families with babies flying with us today, please remember to put something in your baby's mouth during takeoff and again upon landing, to avoid your baby being super uncomfortable and to help keep your wee one from screaming so that your fellow passengers won't want to come over, get in line, and spank yer mama behind, mmmmkayyy? Thaaaankssss." It would be a nice tip and a friendly reminder, yes? It would be a needed wake-up call for some too, like that one lady on board our flight! While hearing her poor little guy squeal I seriously envisioned that scene in the movie Airplane when the passengers got in line to slap that woman.
I was a obviously a bit bothered by that baby's cries. But ok rant over...where was I...
So we made it to NJ and the first thing we did? We ordered Greek food and we went out to play! Here's Joey in the backyard with his Aunt Theresa, "Titi" and lil security pups:
Look at that colorful Autumn beauty! Joey had so much fun playing with his beautiful Aunt/Godmother. That's his Titi! She has a swingset/jungle gym thingy out back and he couldn't have been happier!
I was also able to get some really nice shots of Lily with her Daddy. I really love these shots. Alot:
And Lily enjoyed playing on the lawn:
Here's me and my baby girl:
Take a look at Lily's face in the above photo. (Yes and while you're at it please try very hard to disregard that second chin I've got going in in that picture.) Lily's eyes look so different than usual in that photo, I'd never seen that expression on her face before...yet it seemed like a familiar expression.
So I went to find some old family photos. And I found one of my father when he was a little kid in Greece. And I put the photos side by side. So now look at the below photo of Lily next to my Dad's photo from 1940.
What do you think? Does Lily look like her Great-Grandfather in this photo or what?! I wonder if he would think so too.
So after playing in the backyard, we ordered Greek food from a local restaurant in NJ.
For some reason the Greek food up North taste so much better than the Greek food here in Florida.
We ate Greek salads with extra feta cheese, moussaka, and we dipped warm pita bread in tzatziki sauce.
The image on the left shows moussaka, an eggplant dish. That's not the actual dish we ate, I borrowed the photo from STIGMES, the magazine of Crete and it is just a completely yummy image.
If you'd like a recipe for moussaka just click on the image.
During our trip Joey entertained us by tickling the ivories...and then banging on them a bit...but mostly tickling them:
And as always he spent many moments talking with and kissing his baby sister:
How sweet was that?? Joey kisses Lily's nose all the time.
Here's Joey at the park in NJ yelling "Ladies and Gentlemennnnnn!"...
That's his new favorite thing to do - and it's the cutest. He announces us yelling, "Ladies and Gentlemennnnnn!" followed by "Introducing Mamaaaaaa!! tadahhh!!! Introducing Dadaaaaaa!! tadahhh!!! Ladies and Gentlemennnnnn I give you Babymoooooooo!!! And Aleetheaaaaaaa!!!! tadahhhhhhhhh!!!" The Hubbs Joe and I respond with humble yet obligatory bows and "thank-you, thank-you very much." Yep, it's just a regular 3 ring circus around here. Or would that be 5 rings?
The best is when Joey hands me a mic - or whatever toy he has handy that he wants me to speak into, and then tells me who or what I should announce. Just today I was instructed to introduce..."The kitchen!" And later on it was "Little Bear!" And then it was various random things in his toybox, and "the ladder on Joey's firetruck! Tadahhh!!" Busy day on the mic for me today.
And how adorable is Joey in that Monsterlicious lounge set I made for him? He's really been into cars and trucks and airplanes lately, so he's loving that outfit. And if you ask Joey what's that on his shirt, he responds with "It's a monster!! Raaarrr!!!!" with his hands out like he's gonna get ya:
The main reason for our trip was actually to see Lita - my Grandma Lily - and of course to also see all of our family and have them meet my baby Lily. My Grandma's sister passed away recently, she was my Tia May, and now out of all her four brothers and sisters, Lita is the only surviving sibling.
So I was glad that Lita finally got to meet her newest Great-Granddaughter, my 5 month old baby girl Lily Alexandra who was named after her. I wasn't sure what to expect since we hadn't seen Lita in 18 mos, and she's 96 years old! But Lita knew we were there, she was awake, and she turned her head and made a sound as if to say hello when I was saying hello to her and introducing her to Lily. Then when I reached over to kiss her while holding Lily in my arms, my Grandmother looked towards us and then she moved her head as if to lean in and kiss us back. I leaned my baby Lily in to give her Great Grandmother a kiss on the cheek, (more like a little drool on the cheek) and then Lita just kept looking at Lily, as if studying her face. Or maybe she was saying I can't believe you let that baby drool on me. Either way, it made me smile and cry. I think she knew we were there, and who we were too. I am so glad we went to visit her.
Ooh and it was so nice and chilly up North, it really was refreshing to wear long sleeves and hats while on vacation. Joey even had a pair of thermals on underneath those Ankle Biters lounge pants. And socks! So unheard of in our house. The babies are usually barefoot around here. Ah who am I kidding. The Hubbs Joe and I run around the house barefoot too. We're silly like that. Real rebels we are.
Speaking of rebels, here's our Lily Alexandra, almost 5 mos, happy and sweet...and teething too:
In the Super Fun Biker Babies set that I made for her:
With super cute matching bloomers...
Yes, the color is off on the above photo - Lily is not that tan. :) But I love love love it!
I made her that outfit so that she could match my Father-In-Law...another rebel...her "Grandpa Biker." hehe! How cute is this pic? Lily was happy in her Grandpa's arms. We call him "Papoo".
And here's my baby girl playing. Lily loves to laugh. What an infectious sound...
We had dinner with one of my dearest friends Meena and her husband Kosta in Teaneck NJ, and she cooked the yummiest Greek dinner for us. Yes we had Greek food two days prior...but this was a home cooked and super special. :)
The stuffed peppers and stuffed eggplant were scrumptious, and the tiropita cheese pies were so delicious, Joey loved them too. Meena and I were sure to also stuff our faces with a whole bunch of our favorite Greek cinnamon spice-cookies, some amazing honey-soaked melimacronoma holiday cookies.
We hadn't seen Meena and Kosta since Joey's 1st birthday party which was 18 months ago. It was really great to see them again.
Back at Titi's house we're having some fun with our niece and nephews:
Then the next day - from Mahwah NJ we traveled to Queens:
That's more of me taking pics out of windows. You can see the NYC skyline way in the distance.
There we were at my Aunt's house in Queens NY, I knew we'd see my Aunt and Uncle and my Grandma and my Mom and Sister and her kids...but I wasn't sure if my cousins would be there.
But there were a bajillion of our relatives there!! That's my lovely cousin Ruth holding my baby.
And here's my super sweet cousin Yolanda! Shout out to Mofongo and Chicarron! It was so wonderful to see everyone!
Here's another cousin who I like to call Yolanda the Greek. :) My Mom is on the left below. Joey was so happy to see his Grandma and Lily got to meet everyone!
Here are some of my my (silly) nieces and nephews and "little" cousins:
The food was delicious as always, and the leftovers that my Aunt packaged up for us almost didn't make it all the way back to NJ...because we snacked on them on the way home.
And we received a bunch of gifts for our baby Lily! It was really thoughtful for our family to bring gifts for her. Oh and Joey got some stuff too! It was like one big party. :)
We also went to the Hubbs Joe's Grandma's house where Joey had a ball. Look at Joey's cute little pose in this photo! I don't know what made him do that -- but it's so adorable!! My face is a result of wondering if my camera was going to actually take this photo! I was saying "Did I set that timer right??" haha.
The Hubbs Joe with his cousin holding Lily:
It was a beautiful week with our family.
Goodbye NY and NJ...
Goodbye family...til we meet again.