Monday, July 03, 2017

Waterfalls, fishing, and airplanes

An article of mine recently went online at the Jewish Independent in Vancouver, it's called Good relationships matter.  Around the same time, I was packing suitcases for three of us (two boys, one mom--the professor does his own..) and 2 dogs to go to dog camp.  (the kennel)

All the humans in our immediate family flew to Virginia to see grandparents, family friends, cousins, and aunts and uncles.  We do this a couple times a year.  It's a huge undertaking, although considerably easier now that both boys walk on their own, and don't need bottles or a double stroller.

 The travelling takes two planes, international border crossing, and all day, each way.
The biggest victory this time? We took 2 taxis, 2 rides with relatives, four planes, two each way, and no one threw up on me.  This, we think, may be a first, and I am very grateful.  (I engineered it through careful underfeeding of snacks, encouraging people to take deep breaths, and in one case, a kid had his head on his knees, taking deep breaths. We did it.  Whew.

On our trip, we mostly focused on experiences:  Each boy caught his first fish with Bop (grandpa), at Lake Fairfax in Virginia (heavily stocked with fish, btw).  We saw a waterfall for the first time.  For kids who live on the prairie, Great Falls is indeed, a 'great' falls.  One twin asked about fossils, and the other one focused on learning about George Washington, soldiers, and the educational movie at the visitors' center.

We experienced a lot of heat (highs in the mid 90s, maybe 35C, with high humidity) and lush green summer weather in Virginia.  We ate out a lot, and 'tavernas'--a Greek one, and a Lebanese one, remained big favorites.  We played with cousins and saw friends.  We went to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum because one twin plans on being an "airplane driver" when he grows up.

However, experiences aren't everything.  Souvenirs are important too!  Kids recall a lot about their experiences when they play with something small that they got.  My kids picked up sticks in the yard for my father and 'earned' a trip to an old fashioned hardware store/5&dime that I used to go to as a kid named Ayers.   Choosing toys that they earned by doing chores was a very exciting part of the trip.

While visiting Great Falls, they chose coloring books of US national parks and backyard wildlife, which they have worked on nearly every day since.  This included coloring at our gate with new friends named Mustaph and Leila in the airport on the way home.  (I wish I had a photo of that one, it was amazing.  Three bottoms lined up, heads leaning over the coloring on a window ledge, while planes took off right in front of them)

At Udvar-Hazy, the boys each chose one small toy: a space shuttle and an airplane, which have been in constant motion and creative play since then.

My father also built wooden motorcycles with the help of one twin, and the other colored his to personalize it.  Those are also precious.

In one airport, we chose dinosaur (for the future paleontologist) and plane (for the pilot) sticker activity books, and we met an adult twin who worked at the bookstore.

On that twin topic: on another plane, we met a flight attendant who was a twin.  We played with twin two year olds in the Minneapolis airport playground, too.

I suspect that we may remember fishing (and hooking grandpa, OUCH!) forever...but the coloring books will last a long time, too!

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