Oscar at Sea

We are back home after traveling to Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands with Oscar. The trip was both wonderful and exhausting (if you’ve ever traveled with an infant you know what I mean). I’m glad to be home!

We had so many adventures that I decided while writing this up for my blog that I would break it into four parts.

Part I: Planes, Boats, and Taxis

This trip was Oscar’s first time on a plane (except when I was pregnant), on a boat, and riding in a car without a car seat (easily some of the scariest moments of my life). It was fun traveling with him; he’s so curious about everything around him and he’s so good natured and fun. He attracts a lot of attention. However, it’s also very tiring because he never stops moving except when he’s sleeping. He’s a baby on the go.

Last Saturday we flew from Tucson to San Juan, Puerto Rico. For Darin’s 40th birthday, Darin’s parents took us along on a cruise with them and their family. As part of the trip we got to fly first class. We’d never flown first class before and it was pretty fun. No little foil packages of peanuts! Instead, they give you a real glass and a little dish of warm mixed nuts.

As you can see, Oscar was pretty blown away by the whole experience.

We arrived in San Juan and went straight to our hotel. Getting the luggage from the airport to the hotel was something of an ordeal. Let me tell you, babies need a lot of stuff. Oscar really needs a personal assistant. Oh, wait, that’s me. Luckily, the hotel had a pool, and the next morning we went swimming first thing after breakfast before it was time to head over to the boat. Oscar loves the water. He’s like a fish that’s been living in the desert for years and finally gets to come home.

Look how green it is. This ain’t Arizona.

On Sunday we boarded our boat, the Carnival Cruise Ship Victory, and I learned something new. You don’t simply board a ship. Oh no. Boarding is for losers. You embark. And when you get off a ship, that’s right, you debark. More on that in Part III: Debarkation Is Not a Word.

Here I am with Oscar in the Ergo carrier. More on that in Part IV: Stuff You Need When Taking a Baby on a Boat.

It rained in San Juan but after that we had beautiful weather for the entire cruise, except for the fact that it was a little too hot. One of our taxi drivers, who spent his life on the island of St. Kitts, told us it was hotter than he could ever remember it being. I knew we were in the tropics because my skin felt dewy soft but my hair turned into something I don’t want to think about.

The first night on the boat there was a big party on the deck (Carnival is the party cruise line), but we mostly hung out in our little windowless room with Oscar. Oscar was pretty disappointed that I didn’t let him sing karaoke.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, let me tell you, they are geared toward people who get bored very easily. I’ve never seen so many activities in my life. There’s dancing, drinking, magic shows, bingo, trivia contests, water slides, and shopping. They even have a club for Scrabble players. Oh, and eating. Have I mentioned the eating? You can literally eat 24 hours a day.

Here I am studying the room service menu while Oscar investigates the shore excursions.

In addition to buffets, room service, and the 24-hour pizza and ice cream station, they have fine dining every night. Two of those nights you even get to dress up. Here are Oscar and me before dinner. Don’t we clean up well? Of course, after dinner we were both covered with mashed potatoes and soggy teething biscuit crumbs, but it was fun to be dressed up while it lasted.

On Sunday night we set sail for St. Thomas and the Caribbean. Over the next week we would experience some of the happiest moments of our lives, and also some of the most stressful. I guess that’s the nature of travel and the magic of leaving home.


Stay tuned for Oscar at Sea Part II: Caribbean Dreamin’

When Tragedy Becomes History

Oscar wasn’t alive on September 11, 2001. For him, it will always be a date in a history book, the way the attack on Pearl Harbor is to me. One day, he will come home and ask me, “Where were you when it happened? What were you doing?” the way I asked my parents about the Kennedy assassination.

Oscar doesn’t know about September 11. To him it is just another day. I will come home today and feed my son and know that he is still oblivious to the fact that there is evil in the world.

Oscar, this is where I was and what I was doing that day:

I went to school. I was an eighth grade teacher. My friend Diana came to my classroom and told me what happened, but we didn’t have access to television that day. My students were filled with questions, rumors were flying, and information was still uncertain. I felt very frustrated and helpless. The teachers told the principal, we need to all go home and watch television, this is history. He disagreed. I went back to my classroom and cried in front of my students. Then I read to them, from a book called Holes, because I couldn’t teach, and we all wanted to think about something else.

In between classes I went to the teacher’s lounge to use the phone (this was before everyone had cell phones) to call Darin. I just needed to hear his voice, to tell him what happened, because I knew he wouldn’t be watching television. Later, I finally got to go home, and I sat on the floor in Darin’s office, both of us glued to the television for the rest of the night.

I will always remember that day as so very real and unreal at the same time. It wasn’t possible, and yet there it was, again and again, on the television. My emotions that day were raw, and still seem real to me, as if it happened yesterday. It will never be history to me, but some day it will be a long time ago, and to Oscar it will be simply a collection of images and a story from his mother.

Perfect Moment Monday–Cuddling

Oscar was (finally) asleep and our (late) dinner had been eaten. Darin and I decided to watch the rest of the movie Watchmen, which I couldn’t sit through the night before. So we sat on the couch and cuddled, which is something we’ve rarely done since Oscar was born, usually because we are playing with Oscar, or because I am too busy or too tired.  It was wonderful to just rest my head on Darin’s chest and feel his arms around me, because that’s always been “home” to me, and I love it when we sit on the couch together and watch movies. There’s a line in one of my favorite songs that goes, “When Friday night arrives we’ll let it pass outside the door…” That’s my favorite way to spend time with Darin, no reservations needed, no lines to wait in, and I can pause the movie anytime I want to pee, make popcorn, or sneak upstairs to watch Oscar sleeping, placing my hand gently on his chest to feel him breathe.

I Capture Perfect Moments.

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