I love flying with Ella. I love to travel with her because she is *so* excited bout it….and so well behaved!
Both my kids are awesome travel companions and I really, really appreciate it.
…or…the Internet is a wonderful place!
As you all know, we are here in Copenhagen, Denmark for our annual trip for J’s job. I love this city, and have since the first moment I set foot here 4 years ago, but now I have reason to love it even more: friends!
I’m sure many of you read Astrid’s beautiful Connecting The Dots blog, and you have seen her beautiful creations, most notably her beautiful children! We “met” through the yahoo sewing group ottobre-english.
Well, I was fortunate enough to have spent the day with them yesterday at the Copenhagen Zoo. It was cold and rainy, and the girls were a little shy at first (I have to admit, so was I!) but in the end, coloring books, snacks, and the sweetest little Frida has us all come out of our shells to have a lovely time!
Ronja and Ella held hands periodically as we walked. (It’s too bad I’m not a very good (or quick) photographer, because it was really, really darling!) I just loved watching them interact, and they really seemed fond of each other.
Ronja is so beautiful, and a loving big sister to her little Frida. Sweet Frida had a nap after her sparkle, shiny, smiley lunch. She is probably the happiest baby I have ever met, and so beautiful, all the time! She really has a twinkle in her eye….as if everything is amusing to her.
Ella and Ronja also taught each other the names for the animals in their respective languages. It was so sweet to see them talking to each other, only briefly pausing from time to time for Astrid’s translations.
Ronja made Ella the most beautiful drawing! I cannot wait to frame it and hang it in her room! (And seriously, how on earth could any fabric be this beautiful? Astrid gave me the loveliest collection of Danish fabrics and now I miss my sewing machine.)
When it was time to leave, Ella asked if Ronja was coming to our “hotel-house” to color some more with us. If that isn’t an endorsement of a budding cross-cultural friendship, I don’t know what is!
Wow, Ella is a wonderful travel companion. She listened at the airport, behaved well on the plane, is generally a lot of fun. J’s seat was moved and we had a bit of drama. His claustrophobic self was not going to get on the plane if they didn’t move his seat back to an aisle (as I originally arranged after being on the phone for almost an hour with the frequent traveler desk). J has traveled over 150k miles with Northwest this year, and yet the gate staff elected to give him a hard time about moving him back to an aisle seat. Once that was straightened out, he was on the opposite side of the plane from us, but at least he had an aisle.
Ella watched Sid the Science Kid on my Zune for a little while and then slept once they (finally) turned out the lights. Of course, there was not enough room for us to lie down, so I sat on the floor in front of her and let her sleep across the two seats until my legs went numb. Then I ended up holding her on my lap while I sat on my (broken tailbone) seat. The armrest in the new KLM plane does not completely lift between the seats, and that was rather annoying. I couldn’t complain much, though, because I had a perfectly behaved child. (What a pleasant surprise!) Here she is having a snack of her favorite crackers (Trader Joe’s Multigrain mini crackers with soy sauce) and she also drank a liter of water and two glasses of apple juice. The most hydrated of all of us once we left the plane!
When we arrived at Schipol Airport, we headed straight for the KLM Crown Lounge. One benefit of having a frequently-traveling husband is to have access to the nice lounges. Too bad I’m on so much medication, so I couldn’t avail myself of the mimosas, but a coffee and some cookies were a nice treat before I took a 40 minute nap. Ella licked the salt off of some pretzels and ate some packages of Jam before coloring and reading with Daddy:
That red shirt she is wearing is something I made for Peter when he was FOUR YEARS OLD. I guess I never fully realized how little he was! He certainly has grown!
He emailed me yesterday. What a sweetheart he is.
When we arrived at the Hotel FRONT, we were exhausted. In fact, Ella ell asleep almost immediately, so J had to go out to dinner with our friend who’s in town by himself. Oh well.
I awoke the next morning for the sunrise:
And the Ella and I slept through breakfast until almost 2 in the afternoon. Now THAT’s vacation!
Today we were supposed to spend the day shopping with J, but it’s cold and rainy outside. Ella discovered that she loves the kind of shower you can hold, and is really loving the stones on the floor in the shower of our room. Here she is enjoying a little more Sid post-shower, in her towel:
Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s only TWO!
We were lying in bed with her to get her to take a nap the other day. We pretended we were asleep (sometimes works) and she said “SHHHHHHHHHHHH” really loudly and slid off the bed, opened the hotel room door into the living area where the boys were playing (quietly) and said “HI!” as she closed the door behind her, leaving John and me in bed.
Goodbye baby, hello toddler.
Legos with the brothers.
After an uneventful (thankfully) trip on the plane, we arrived in DC. None of the kids have been here other than Peter in 1999, so it was an adventure the boys were really looking forward to.
Our first night here we chilled at the hotel and ordered in Indian. The hotel staff is not helpful, so we had some major sorting out of sleeping space to accomplish, but once settled in, and after a gentle reminder from our 10 year olds that “We’re lucky to be on vacation, so let’s make the most of it!” we did. Nice to be reminded of my own teachings from time to time.
On Saturday we traveled to VA to meet our little nephew, Reed. Ella was thrilled, but not as thrilled as Jack was! We all went to eat at a neat diner and pick up some food from TJ for the kitchenette.
The entire time we have been here, Ella has resisted naps. It usually takes her a couple days to adjust to a hotel, but she has been so active in mimicking her brothers and sister and simply excited to have all 6 of us together, she’s not made time to rest…even under duress. Finally crashed at 8 until 7am on Sunday and is like a wild animal all day long!
Snuggled into bed with her brothers:
We met with the parents-in-law and Stephanie and baby Reed on the National Mall and began our patriotic adventure.
Peter couldn’t WAIT to see the Lincoln Memorial, but we walked from the Capitol side of the Mall. Ella couldn’t wait to walk, herself, so she walked from the Washington Memorial to the WWII Memorial, ran really, and then danced after seeing the ducks in the reflecting pond and sped like like a Wild Animal toward the Lincoln Memorial.
We paused to reflect, and look at the reflections. Steph and Reed are beautiful, aren’t they?
Grandmom has a conference with Ella after we bribed her back into the stroller with an apple.
Peter and Jack went with Grandpa into the memorial so the babies could have a quick nursing break. Naturally, Ella wanted to join them, so she walked with us up the steps.
Learning a little etiquette:
Ella and I had a discussion about Freedom on the way out.
I love that we live somewhere we can say what’s on our minds and not fear retribution. I love that the tradition of this country is revolution. I love that our kids can speak their minds, even when I disagree.
Peter and Jack behind the White House.
Ella suddenly has a French accent. She’s picked up her brothers’ desire to push the button (I meant Boo-TONG). She also likes for us to Poo-TONG the lights, and her clothes. She especially likes to poo-TONG the buddha light in the hotel room.
Another new treat is her insistence that she sign the receipt for anything we buy. This is actually quite funny at restaurants when we can oblige her with the customer copy. No so amusing however, when buying fabric or coffee…
We’ve been in San Francisco for a week now. I miss Peter terribly, and I think Ella misses all of her siblings, as well; stuck here with boring old mom and dad. She is just settling in. Its too bad we’re leaving Tuesday. We havent had the best time in our hotels, however. The Palace Hotel was AWFUL. Service was terrible, the rooms were bad. We moved to the W and I have to say, the room is fantastic. Again, however, the service is not worth the stay in the nice room. Starting with the concierge recommending a restaurant two miles away for us to walk to, but neglecting to mention that we need reservations (or heaven forbid actually making them for us!) so that when we arrived, baby in stroller and a bit tired from the uphill, we were turned away….finishing with room service that was 30 minutes late and incorrect. (They did remove the room service charges from our bill, but not without a fight. We’re switching tomorrow to the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. Hopefully it will be better there.
We have enjoyed our time at the Yerba Buena Gardens –
She’s here in the waterfall, which is her favorite feature. She’s mesmerized by it and was delighted that she could walk behind it (as you can see!) The first time we went, I was watching how cute Ella was…making silly noises at birds and pointing at the waterfall while J was carrying her when I had a comedy moment; flipped right over a cement bench. It would have been comedic on television or in a movie, I suppose. I have a killer set of bruises on my knees and my jaw even hurts from the fall (yes, on my face). Otherwise, Ella runs around, J chases her and I get to relax (in a manner of speaking) at the delightful Samovar Tea Lounge. I wish I’d have known abut this place when Tracy was here, but perhaps she’ll visit on her own sometime.
We love Hayes Valley because of the shops, the park on Octavia Boulevard,
the bluebottle coffee stand, stitch lounge, and of course, J’s new favorite comic book store: Isotope. Ella likes it there, but has a hard time spending that much time in a stroller. She’s just not used to it, I guess. It is hard on us, because there is so much to do, and one would THINK that a 16 month old would love a nice relaxing 2-3 mile walk each way in a comfy, giant stroller, but nooooooooooooo.