Technical trouble, why will the photos not post? Try #3

The post title should actually be no more unsupervised scissor time for Jane. Until today, she has been good with children's craft scissors. Our kids LOVE to cut paper for art time so I thought nothing of letting Jane sit at the table with safety scissors and some paper. I went upstairs to talk to Brian on the phone since he has been gone for a week and I thought I had a few minutes kid-free. This is what I found when I came to check on them:

So I had to fix it.

I think her little bob is very cute, but we will miss the cuteness like the following. Oh well.

Sibling photo, easier said than done. And finally, cute kids. Below, Jane before her self haircut. She looked very smart today in her jacket that is still a little too big for her. We had snow on the ground (again) this morning so good time for a jacket.

Still a lot of Rome to document. . . I can do this post without the guide book as above is St. Peter's Basilica. We rented an apartment about a ten minute walk from the Vatican and while I came here on walks all the time with the kids, in our last few days in Rome we finally took the kids inside.

Poor Colin had a fever for a couple days, and I think had a fever while we were looking around on this very day. He was a good little sport. We had meant to go to the Basilica the day before but his fever made him sleep that afternoon (which is very strange for Mr. Colin). No strollers allowed in the Basilica, be ready.

A little Michelangelo.

This former Pope or Saint seems to be threatening us to be good or else.

View from outside. Brian read that that obelisk has been in this spot since AD 37, thus likely witnessing the martyrdom of St. Peter. I think he said it is called The Witness. Rome does LOVE obelisks, can hardly turn a corner without seeing yet another one! I wonder how that makes Egypt feel.

I was amused to see Brian talking like an Italian to the Swiss Guard. Way to use your hands!

Above, another guard on duty.

And below, a nice little view from the wall that leads out of Vatican City. Follow this wall right down to the Castle as there is a playground AND carousel there. Good times.

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The following website, encourages sharing travel photos on Friday. Here is baby Colin in a back alley of Jaffa, Israel way back in 2007. This is one of my favorite photos and it is hanging in our room. Jaffa seems to have a great artist quarter. We had a fun afternoon wandering. From our apartment in Tel Aviv, it was an easy walk along the ocean to Jaffa. We loved our time in Israel, back when life was so easy with only one child.

Did I ever link to the very lovely and clever website Brian made me for Christmas? He included a section of favorite travel photos:

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(So, I'm still a bad blogger recently and still have many things to post from Rome. To post things from Rome I need to crack out the guide book and that seems so hard! I am also a travel blogger for phil&teds and wrote the following up not too long ago. Early pregnancy hit me hard and it literally took me close to 3 months to finish this post of surviving on a plane with kids. Here is link to the actual phil&ted blog but thought I would also post it here. I am so happy to not be traveling with my kids any time soon!)

We have logged thousands and thousands of miles flying with our kids to several continents. Maybe someone with a history of traumatic flights with children would be better qualified to write this post. Really, our kids are such good travelers that I would say we have only had a couple bad flights, but I would like to think it is partially because we try to be very prepared to keep them happy (and to keep the other people on the plane happy also.) I know traveling in general is stressful, even if you are just traveling alone as an adult. That said, I do get so annoyed by adults who are overly put out with little kids who also travel. Everyone was once a child and just a little patience and understanding goes a long, long way.

With infants:

I did not fly with either of my kids until they were about 5 months old so I don’t have experience with really little ones on flights. What has saved us on many flights is breast feeding. It is so convenient not to pack tons of bottles and formula but instead just to have instant food and comfort. It is also helpful to nurse for take- off and landing to keep little ears more comfortable. For those who don't breastfeed, I would think having a bottle ready to go at those times would be very valuable.

We have kept our kids as lap children as long as possible to save from the extra expense of a whole other ticket. (Domestically in the USA there is no extra charge for a lap child under the age of 2, but remember when traveling internationally, there is a charge. It is usually around 10% of the adult fare or the taxes. On international trips airlines have required our lap children to have an actual paper ticket.) A lap child gets tricky as kids get bigger and squirmy. On all international flights we have been on the airlines have supplied an additional seat belt or belly belt that attaches your baby to your seat belt for extra safety. I have liked additionally having a baby flight vest that does the same thing but secures the baby more efficiently since I feel the belly belts tend to come undone. The flight vest is long enough that an older baby can also stand in front of you while seated, still allows nursing while attached, and it give the parent of the lap child the use of two hands! It also protects your lap baby in the case of turbulence.

We flew from the middle of the United States to Israel with our son when he was 14 months old. It was a long day, made longer by about a 3 hour delay on the jet way in London. Our son was a very busy 1 year old and we were nervous. We had recently celebrated Easter and he was very entertained by plastic eggs and jelly beans. We would break the jelly beans in half to make them last longer. My friend had mentioned that oversized pill boxes (you know, the ones with all the days of the week) were fun for little kids on flights as you can hide little things or snacks in them to find and they are great for shaking. Our son was also very entertained by left over ice from the beverage service. I know some people say just to expect to walk the plane with your kids but we have chosen to limit that option for our kids. Once you open up that option, you better be ready to wander the aisles non-stop. We much prefer keeping the kids entertained in a confined space rather than letting them roam the plane.

Things we have found to be helpful:

-Bring a change of clothing for the kids and maybe even for yourself (and your neighbor). I sat by a lady once who was telling me how her baby threw up on the stranger sitting next to her. She said the person was very understanding but the mom obviously felt horrible. All she could do was hand over some wet wipes.

-Don’t forget to bring lots of wipes, diapers, plastic bags to put any gross clothing, soiled diapers etc after you have used the extra change of clothing. We once flew across the Atlantic the day after our son had diarrhea. I had him double diapered and in plastic pants the entire trip and brought tons of extra supplies just in case. Thankfully our son was fine on the flight, but my husband spent a lot of the 10 hour flight sick in the restroom, poor guy!

-A flashlight is fun, as you can send your preschoolers under the seats to look for things that are going to be dropped. I once was flying alone with my kids and most of the flight I was telling them to not shine the flashlights in my eyes. I am sure there was a great light show on the ceiling in our row but people assured me if the kids were being quiet, they did not care. Glow sticks are fun too. It can also be fun for older kids to make a fort with the flash light and the in-flight blanket over a tray table that is down. Whatever is fun and semi-quiet is great.

-Portable dvd player/ipod/mp3 players can help keep kids entertained. (Make sure everything is fully charged the night before.) We have found that sometimes even on 12 hour flights to Japan or Paris there may not be individual movies screens in the economy class, which is crazy!! If your flight does have individual movie screens, there is usually a kids channel which is very, very helpful.

-I always try to bring little surprises to open along the way. I have spent up to $40 at the Dollar Store getting ready for a trip. I don’t mind cheap surprises because some of them may be left behind on the airplane anyway. (I try not to bring favorite small toys on board to ensure not losing them.) I find lots of things my kids are entertained with in the party favor sections too. Kinder eggs are very fun, a little chocolate and a toy, awesome! Space out surprises every 30-45 minutes or longer if you can. It makes me sound like a mean mom, but the surprises are good for curtailing misbehavior. I am sure I have threatened “no more surprises if you do not stop that right now!” on more than one occasion. We have found great Dollar Stores as we travel also in Japan, Canada, and Israel.

-I find it handy also to keep candy treats in smaller portioned snack bags so as to space out the candy. We make gummy candy go further by making it a game of breaking off little pieces and sticking them to the back of our kid’s hands. We try to make it a goal of not making our kids sick to their stomachs with too much candy. When we were traveling for a wedding once, our son’s babysitter accidentally let him eat an entire bag of gummy candy. He got very sick (everywhere!) and it was not fun, especially as he had eaten hot dogs for lunch. Maybe hot dog vomit is a rite of passage for parenthood?

-We have had a lot fun recently with dry erase markers. My son has a couple activity books that use dry erase markers and my husband realized they can also be used in little photo albums. I make my kids their own photo albums of their pictures and now they are extra fun as they are a place to draw and add funny details to their photos. Wipes clean with your finger or a wet wipe. The dry erase markers are also fun with the inflight magazines and Skymall. (Is there Skymall outside of the USA? Most of our international travel has been based or going to the USA so we always have Skymall. Check out all their ridiculous things here- they have everything you did not know you needed.) With young kids, it is fun to find the doggies and kitties in Skymall, and as my kids get older, they like to look for what they want. We hope to not raise totally mindless consumers, but if Skymall can keep them happy for a few minutes I think it is great.

Trying to relax will also go a long way, you will get there whether you are stressed out or relaxed! I love the feeling of finally being on a plane because I am done packing and even if the flight is a disaster, we will get there! Just a few weeks back we flew from Rome, Italy back to the Western United States and the whole very long travel day was really much easier than we expected. Good luck to all of you in your travels!

On Monday night, we got a good 10 inches of snow. Tuesday was a beautiful day and in the 50's so an ideal day to sled. We are very spoiled to have this great hill, but it is technically my sister's.
Brian got this big tube at the tire store, it was a good time.
It was super bright with the sun and the snow.

Jane above, exploring the field and below, the tracks she left.

Our kids LOVE sledding! I was feeling a little blah and pregnant, I just took photos.

And today, we said good bye to Colin's first baby tooth! We did not even know it was loose until his 5 year doctor's visit when our pediatrician pointed it out. It was very exciting, and we hope the tooth fairy comes tonight!