Category: Travel

Tiffany’s Wedding Week: Hinna

While in Florida, my family and I attended my cousin, Tiffany’s Hinna party.

IMG_4064A Hinna is a Moroccan style party before the wedding. It’s quite a party! From beautiful colors to Moroccan music. It’s a non-stop party for the bride and groom’s family and friends. Here is the tent where the bride and groom will later sit.

IMG_410610865942_10152915320678749_4916974595271489719_o(pictures are from my uncle’s company, Amazing Events.)

The table decoration were gorgeous as well!

IMG_4058Close family members and the bridal party dress in bright colored cafatn’s during a special ceremony. We also wore gold chain headwraps on our heads that I bought from Claire’s. Here are my mom, sisters and Sarah.

IMG_4076They didn’t have a caftan in Sarah’s size so we improvised and wrapped a wrap that had gold coins.

IMG_4086Me and my Sarah.IMG_4081Here is the beautiful bride and groom in their carriers. To the right is a picture of them with their Henna. More about it here. 10300265_10152944548956257_5409277539686983050_nSarah and I got some henna too.

IMG_4087My sister, Oshrat and I with our hennas.IMG_4089Sarah had so much fun! She loved playing in the “house” with her cousin Daniella. IMG_4042IMG_4044I’ll blog about the wedding in the next few days…

Oshrat’s Visit {2014}

I love it when my family comes to visit!

Last month my sister, Oshrat came to visit.

It’s so fun when my sister comes to visit! We get to do a whole bunch of things I wouldn’t normally do.

Here are some of the highlights:

While Sarah was at school one morning we went out for breakfast, got mani’s and just hung out.

breakfast

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Later that day I took her to my mommy group event, Halloween Pictures.

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For dinner we invited my sister’s high school friend (who lives nearby) and made this scrumptious dinner.

IMG_2886 - shabbat dinner

The next evening we took a ceramic painting class. We both picked out a chip and dip plate to paint.

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The following day we headed to the Pumpkin Patch.

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Before dropping her off at the airport, Oshrat and I went to our first LA Galaxy game. We sat in the busy LARS section, but had lot’s of fun! I even caught a scarf!

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Thank you Oshrat for all the fun memories! I hope you had as much fun as we did. Love you!

Vegas {2014}

Being a stay at home mom I don’t get a lot of time to myself. So for the past few years, I’ve gone away for a day or two during the summer.

The first year my sister and I went on a sisters only trip to Palm Springs.

The following year a few of my mama friends and I went on a girls trip to Manhattan Beach.

This year I met up with my mom and aunt for a girls trip to Vegas!!
IMG_0818Even though it was a different Vegas experience for me, I had lots of fun! I had all these fantasizes before we left that I would lay poolside with a drink, wake up late and even go to sleep late. None of that happened, but that’s ok. Instead I got to spend time with two amazing women who I love and adore.

I also took a 45 minute flight to Vegas. In the past we’ve driven to Vegas or flown to Vegas from Florida. That was quick and easy!

I was kid free for 3 days! It was nice to be responsible for only me. I ate when I was hungry, went to the bathroom uninterrupted and focused when speaking to adults. It was great! Although I missed my Sarah and hubby when I got back. However I didn’t miss all the home responsibilities!! PS Thanks to my hubby and MIL for watching Sarah while I was gone.

I also got to sit in the airport while we waited to board (something I don’t do when flying with Sarah).

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Although it was sweltering hot most of the time we still did everything we had planned to do.

The first day was spent traveling to Vegas and walking around our hotel, Luxor. I checked out the Bodies exhibit while my aunt went to the Titanic exhibit.

Since I probably wont be able to visit the birth place of all FOUR of my grandparents any time in the near future I was really excited to check out this Egyptian themed hotel.

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The second day started out really early. Our alarm was set for 5:30 am so we could take the 6am shuttle for our day of adventures. Both my mom and aunt organized a trip for us to visit the Hoover Dam and The Grand Canyon. I’ve always wanted to see both, but I had no idea how far each destination would be. It took us an hour to get to the Hoover Dam and then another 4 hours to reach the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The Hoover Dam was really cool! We drove over the bridge where we went from Nevada to Arizona.

picstitchIt wasn’t like you see in the movies, but it was cool to be in two states at the same time.

After a few pictures, our shuttle parked on the Arizona side so that we could see this beautiful structure.

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We stopped many times through out the trip to eat, use the bathroom and to get fuel. One of our rest stops was Route 66. Some of you might know it as the most famous road in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California. As a mom of a 3 year old toddler, all I could think about was the scene in one of Sarah’s favorite movies, Cars! I imagined her jumping up and down with excitement as she saw where Mater and Lighting were from. After visiting the gift shop I bought her a few souvenirs.

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The final stop for the day was the Grand Canyon. I’ve seen the pictures and I’ve watched the educational movies in school, but walking towards the rail to view the enormous mountain was absolutely breathtaking! The colors, the size and the stillness was all so beautiful. To think g-d and water created this was super crazy! After we took a few pictures we walked around some more.

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I kept finding myself just starring. I silently stood there and took it all in. I was so happy to be there. Just standing there, taking it all in.

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A few minutes later it started to rain. We headed for shelter and put on our ponchos (given by the tour guide) and continued to walk around some more.

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It rained on and off for a few more minutes. After it stopped raining the canyon looked even more picturesque! We enjoyed our view for a little longer and then headed back to our shuttle.

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The drive back was long. Less stops, more rain and a super crazy wind storm.

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We finally got dropped off at our hotel around 9pm. We headed to our room changed and made our way to view the strip at night.

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After a few minutes on the strip and some cranky moments we headed back to our room for some much needed sleep.

The third and final day started with a delicious breakfast at our hotel cafe. I had this delicious Strawberry Shortcake French Toast with strawberry purée. Yum!!

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After breakfast we headed to the strip again. We walked through the hotels, saw some interesting characters including Sarah’s favorite Minions, met Johnny Depp, bought some loose tea and ate lunch.

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To give my aunt the full strip experience, we walked from the Luxor hotel ALL THE WAY to the Wynn hotel. If you know anything about Vegas you know how far that is.  Not only did we walk 4 miles in 109 degree heat, we walked back another 4 miles to get back to our hotel!! Needless to say our legs and backs were in a lot of pain when we arrived at the hotel. Therefore we just sat for a full hour and enjoyed our last drink together.

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Thank you Aline and mama for such a great trip! I might have been cranky at times, but know that I really enjoyed spending 3 uninterrupted days with you. Thank you for the adventures! Love you!!

Oshrat’s Visit {2013}

There is something peaceful about having your family come to visit. I can’t put my feelings into words, but everything just feels right. Things makes sense. It’s like I feel complete.

Sure my family and I argue from time to time, but we always make up. Family is everything to me!

This past weekend my sister, Oshrat, came to visit us for the weekend. Our jam packed weekend was filled with many outings and late night sister sessions. We had so much fun! It was really nice to have her visit us for the weekend and bond again. With less then a 4 year age difference we always got along growing up, but not seeing her on a regular basis has changed some things. Already missing her I wanted to share some of the fun we had.

The first day of her visit, Sarah and I took her to our Tot Shabbat class. Later that day we took her to our mommy group’s Holiday Craft and Potluck.

1509062_10100555803736985_893609882_n 1471096_10100555803966525_700588292_nThe following day we took her to play at the mall. We checked out a new indoor play place, ate ice cream, rode the carousel and went shopping.

1472961_10100556522591395_790737696_nphotoThat evening we went out for some Mexican dinner.

1463969_10100556865693815_428204505_nLater that night we took Sarah on her first Ice Skating experience. Between hubby’s back and my fear of falling on my butt we had Oshrat take her on the ice.

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She did really well! I was really impressed!

photo(2)The third day we went to the Santa Barbara Zoo.

1510024_10100557662112785_1087454406_nMy sister had a flight booked for later that evening, but after she received an email alerting her that her flight was canceled we decided to take it easy and hang out at home. In the mood for something sweet, we made these yummy cookies in a mug via My Kitchen Antics.

1506005_10100557989821055_1361788949_nGood thing we chose to stay in that evening as Sarah came down with a head cold. After a rough night, hubby drove her to the shuttle stop. We were all feeling the jam packed weekend and the sleepless night due to Sarah’s inability to sleep with a congested nose.

Finally at the airport, she calls to let me know her flight was delayed an hour and a half! Yikes! With a day of work already missed, she just wanted to get home. Geesh!

Thanks for coming to hang out with us Oshrat! We had a lot of fun! xo

Florida Vacation {2013}

Sarah and I just returned from our annual trip to Florida. When she was a baby we would go a couple times a year, but now that I have to pay for her plane ticket we only go once a year.

Our trip consisted of 10 days, 2 Jewish holidays and 2 family birthdays. To sum it up, we were really, really busy!

My tools for flying with kids were once again successful. I checked out the dollar bins at Target and Michael’s for a few weeks before the flight. I purchased new toys, new craft supplies and new snacks.

Flying to Florida was a breeze. However Sarah didn’t nap like I thought she would. She only asked to get up once, 30 minutes before we landed.

A few weeks before we left, I went on FB to ask my Florida friends for help. I needed a car seat (so that I didn’t have to lug mine along with the stroller and luggage I needed to bring) and a crib. After confirming both items, my friend started having contractions and went into early labor. Therefore it turned out she needed the car seat after all. I’m happy to say her baby girl was born early, but healthy.

The crib was a big headache. After securing a crib, my friend went to pick it up from her friend’s house. She then told me that it barley fit in her van. With my mom’s 4-door car in mind, I knew it would not work. I started to search online for rental companies when my mom told me she put a FB status like I did. After securing a twin-sized pack’n’play I was relieved the headache was over.

Surprisingly Sarah slept in the pack’n’play the first night. The second night she fought me, but I knew I needed to establish a good sleeping routine or otherwise we would have a difficult vacation. After only a few minutes she fell asleep (I knew she was tired with the time change and short naps). Then during the night, she spotted me and cried out for me. From then on she napped AND slept with me in my bed.

Once again I was very surprised. She does not sleep well when we bring her into our bed at home. However she did really, really well! There were a few times during nap where she got out of bed and called for me, but between 10 naps and 10 bed times I call that a huge success! I simply did our bedtime routine, laid her down and told her I would come back soon. A few times before I left the room, she would ask “You coming back?” As always I assured her I would be back soon and kissed her goodnight.

Now I’m not going to lie, keeping our routine while on vacation was very difficult! Sarah went to bed later so that means she woke up later and even took her nap much later then usual. Everything was messed up. Routines and our norm went out the door. Some of our clothes were still in suitcases, while others were in our room. Then we showered in my parent’s bathroom, but had our toothbrushes in another bathroom. Both Sarah and I are used to sleeping with blackout curtains. Bless my mom, this is what she thinks black out curtains should look like.

black out?

The weather also didn’t help much. Whoa was it hot! With 80-90 degree days and 65% humidity (by 9am!!) both Sarah and I were miserable! We just couldn’t hang!! Sarah disliked being outdoors for long periods of time. She would get really cranky, whiny and hard to handle. It became difficult as her mood would then make me cranky. Bottom line we missed our Cali weather. Sure it get’s hot here too, but it always cools down (a sense of relief after a hot day).

Regardless of routines and hot weather we got to do a lot of fun things!

Miami Seaquarim with my parents.

miami seaIMG_0217Visiting Safta (my mom) at work.

IMG_0365Food Truck Alley for dinner w/my mom, sisters, and cousin Mor.

food trucksBreakfast w/my friend Mariana (she used to live in CA).

maru

Young Art Museum w/my cousin Mor, Oshrat and childhood friend Corrie.

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art

art corrie

Disney On Ice w/my sister Oshrat.

disney on ice

Synagogue and Simchat Torah celebratory dinner at my uncle and aunt’s house.

No picture due to the religious holiday.

Breakfast w/my sisters to celebrate Oshrat’s birthday.

breakfast

Beach w/my dad, and sister Germaine.

3 gen beach

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MNO w/my cousin Mor’s mommy group.

mnomno mor

Fall Harvest Festival w/my mom, sisters, cousin Natalie and friends.

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Oshrat’s birthday dinner w/family and friends.

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Cousin Night Out at my sister Germaine’s home.

IMG_0813 IMG_0812Paint and Cocktails w/my sisters.

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IMG_0860Many visits to the duck pond w/saba.

IMG_0598Lot’s of fun w/second cousin’s!

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Other then naps we were never really home. There was always something for us to do/see.

Growing up in Florida was the same. With lots of family and friends there was never a dull moment.

Goodbye Florida! See you next year!

Flying back to Cali was a little less fun. I woke up at 4am the night before multiple times to vomit. At 7:30 am my mom came into my room to wish us an easy flight before  heading to work. After explaining my condition she and my dad started to pack for me as I was in no condition to pack for my 11am flight. After vomiting on the side of the road while at a red light I was in no mood to fly. Finally getting to the airport I sat with my dad for while as I contemplated on what to do.

My stubborn self decided to fly. After going through the long security process with a stroller, electronics, liquids, etc, I needed to sit down. I was winded, nauseous and exhausted. As I was calling my dad to tell him I made a mistake and to come pick me back up, Sarah started running away. I dropped the phone and ran to get her. After holding her in my arms, I let it all out in the middle of the airport and started to cry!

I was in no condition to fly, I was in no condition to take care of a enthusiastic toddler and I was in no condition to take care of my self. Then my little angel looked up at me and said, “It’s ok mommy. Don’t be sad” With tears streaming down my face I hugged her once again.

She finally pulled back and said, “Mommy you want a smoothie?” I looked up and realized where we were. While I was balling to my dad on the phone I remember her saying something about being hungry, but as I asked her to wait for a minute she ran off. After going back to security to get our stuff we headed into Jamba Juice. I bought Sarah a smoothie and a green juice for me.

After a quick conversation with my mom I decided I needed to get back home. I needed my hubby, my bed and my life back. 10 days was a long time. Maybe too long? I said a quick prayer and got on the plane.

The Flight was bad! Real bad! I consistently filled up the vomit bags in the front pocket of my chair. At one point the stewardess took Sarah so I could get some rest as I wasn’t looking really good. After she returned Sarah back to the seat. A passenger came up to me and asked if she could take Sarah to play with her son (whom we said only hello to before taking off) to the back of the plane. Since I was in such a bad state I let my daughter go with a stranger to the back of the plane so I could dose off for what felt like a long time. Thank you to the mom I never got a name from. Thank you for being a mom and understanding motherhood.

With water, animal crackers and vomit bags in rotation, Ami the stewardess was my hero! Like a worried mother, Ami constantly came in to check on me. She was never grossed out when I handed her yet another filled bag of vomit. She was never upset with me when I was laying passed out with one eye open while my daughter dropped another crayon that rolled down the aisle or making a mess of her snack on the plane. In fact she was so good that towards the end of the flight she became my cheerleader. She would come up to me to let me know how close we were to landing “Only 1.5 hours left ma’am” “We are almost home, only 45 minutes left ma’am.” Without Ami and that mom, I wouldn’t have survived that flight!

After gathering most of our stuff (I’m sure I left something as I was not in a state to look) I headed out of the plane. All I could think of was, thank g-d I made it! 10 lbs lighter (if only), but I made it home.

Obviously a detailed letter will be written to Jet Blue’s CEO as Ami was a perfect example of how a stewardess should be.

Until next year’s adventure!

Florida Vacation {2012}

I recently flew with Sarah for our bi-annual trip to Florida. I always have mixed emotions when visiting. As the date nears, I get excited to see my family and friends, yet feel anxious!

I hate packing, whether it’s for the weekend or an extended stay! I never know how I’m going to feel, what the weather will be (I tend to run warm), or what dressy occasion might come up. So I do what most females do — I over pack. Usually that works, but now with airline baggage fees and sharing a suitcase with a toddler, I no longer have that luxury.

I browsed the internet for any new and useful tips and came across an article titled, “Tips for flying alone with kids“. It had some interesting finds that I planned to use.

Days leading up to our trip, Sarah and I got a horrible stomach bug! It was real bad! Hubby and I questioned if we should defer the trip. Then hubby got sick and so did MIL.

I somehow manged to pack us both and wear my nurse hat. I don’t know how I did it, but I succeeded. I made the flight and arrived in one piece!

Getting to the airport was anything but boring. My MIL drove with us so she could return the car to hubby. I told her we were flying Virgin and she quickly pointed to the terminal. We unloaded and quickly headed to ticketing. No lines and no employees around so we managed to find a TSA agent and ask where my flight was located. We quickly returned to the car to pack it up again because I realized we were flying Virgin AMERICA, not Virgin ATLANTIC, and they are in different terminals. I learned something. I thought that Virgin was split into two parts: Virgin for continental U.S. flights; and Virgin for international flights.  Actually, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic are two totally separate airlines. I hope this saves some of you from the same error and extra work! Unpacking the car for the second time, we finally made it to Virgin America’s cool lounge and checked in.

Since I have flown alone with Sarah four times already, I have a certain “system.” First, to tire her out (which helps her remain seated for most of the flight), both Sarah and I run around the terminal singing and dancing :)

Once we board, we get in our seat and I start to bargain with the passengers around us. Ultimately, I just want a free seat next to me so that when Sarah is finished hanging out on me, she has a seat all of her own to sit in. I’m happy to say that I was successful, and Sarah had her own seat both ways! Next time we fly she will be an age where I need to buy her a seat. Not looking forward to that extra expense!

Upon take off, I gave Sarah some new crayons and a new coloring book. As we took off, I gave Sarah a pouch of pureed food (this is great and healthy option for kids as the sucking motion helps relive any ear pressure).

A quick 45 minute nap, some iPad Sesame Street time, and some playing around, we finally made it to Florida safely. Phewww!

I always plan ahead, at home and on vacation. I make itineraries and share them with family and friends. I rarely have time with nothing to do. I do this so I know what to expect (and pack) and make sure to see the people I want to see. Sometime it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Here is the itinerary I had planned:

  1. Saturday, October 27th
    1. Arrive
    2. Pick up rental
  2. Sunday, October 28th
    1. Family beach day
    2. Saba’s SURPRISE 80th birthday party @ Betty’s
  3. Monday, October 29th
    1. Day at the zoo
  4. Tuesday, October 30th
    1. Halloween Lunch @ Melissa’s
    2. Drinks w/Ally and Corrie
  5. Wednesday, October 31st
    1. Halloween Party @ Natali’s
  6. Thursday, November 1st
    1. Hubby arrives
    2. Dinner @ Oshrat’s
  7. Friday, November 2nd
    1. Shabbat Dinner @ parents’ house
  8. Saturday, November 3rd
    1. Pool Party at the Hyatt
    2. Drop off rental
    3. Flight to LAX @ 6:55 p.m.

Between seeing my extended family and Sarah’s nap schedule, I knew things would be tight. To make matters more difficult, my parents and sister got the stomach bug and everything went downhill from there.

My mom and dad would watch Sarah in the mornings while I slept in a little bit, but after only a few days of this, THEY needed ME and so did Sarah, so it was exhausting to say the least.

All in all, it was fun! Exhausting, but fun! I got to celebrate my grandpa’s 80th birthday with him, spend the day with my family at the beach, visit the zoo, celebrate Halloween with childhood friends and most of all, I got to see my parents on a daily basis for one week straight!

Here are some of my favorite highlights of the week:

Pool time with Daddy!
Drinks with my childhood friend.
Sarah and Maizy
Trick-or-Treat
Family day at the Zoo
Family Beach Day
Most of my Grandpa’s grand kids and his great grand daughter on his 80th Birthday!
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