Category Archives: Trips

Traveling experiences.

Traveling to Hong Kong

On Thursday morning we woke up bright and early at 2:30 am in order to reach the airport for our 6:00 am flight to LAX. When booking the tickets, Jaeger had the option to choose a flight with a one hour layover in LAX or one with a three hour layover. To be on the safe side, we chose the three hour layover. When we woke Calvin up, he kept insisting that he didn’t want to go to Hong Kong until it was morning.

We made it to LAX without any delays and had a fair amount of time to wander the airport before our flight to Tokyo left. We ate breakfast at a cafe that had a splendid place to sit and watch airplanes taxing back and forth. Calvin was entranced. After breakfast, we found our gate and I eventually convinced Calvin to expend some energy by promising to play tag with him. We found a fairly deserted spot and amused the window washers by running around after each other. One window washer suggested that Calvin may be wearing me out more than I was wearing him out.

Ever since we decided to take Calvin with us to Hong Kong I have been panicking about the long plane ride to get there. I have spent hours (days?) reading every bit of long-haul travel advice I could get my hands on. I carefully packed and re-packed our carry-on bags to try to maximize the amount of entertainment I could carry. However, in the end, it turned out that all the entertainment I really need to bring for Calvin was the iPad. We were very fortunate to have power available for the longest leg of our journey so I never even had to pull out our spare batteries.

On our flight to Tokyo, Calvin happily watched movies and played games on the iPad for at least 5 hours. However, a little over half-way through our flight he stated getting really cranky so I took the iPad away from him and told him it was time to sleep. He feebly protested but was asleep within minutes.

I had worried a little bit over when to let Calvin sleep in order to reduce jet lag. However, one blog I read suggested that it was best to let your children sleep on whatever schedule makes them happiest and only worry about changing schedules once you arrive at your destination. This advice seemed to work surprisingly well for Calvin, at least for the trip here.

Approximately eleven hours after leaving LAX we arrived in Tokyo. This time, we only had an hour layover and I was a little nervous once I learned we had to go through the international security checkpoint before we could continue to our gate. However, security was less painful than I have grown accustomed to in the US. They did specify no liquids were allows through the checkpoint. It was unclear to me if there was a similar exception for 100mL amounts like in the US and I stressed over it enough that I complexly forgot about the water bottles full of water I was carrying. My quart bag of liquids went through without a snag but my full water bottles were flagged. I felt kind of silly. However, once they saw I was traveling with a child they just did a perfunctory smell test (opening up a bottle and wafting any sent towards there nose) and when it smelled like water, they passed me through without any hassle. We actually got to our gate with around a half-hour to spare and got to checkout the nearby children’s play area for a couple of minutes.

I had been especially dreading the Tokyo to Hong Kong part of our journey. Unlike our eleven-hour flight, this five-hour flight didn’t have personally entertainment systems. Calvin played happily with the iPad and I continued reading a book I had been saving for the occasion. However, about half way through the flight I gave up and snoozed the rest of the trip. Calvin also fell asleep shortly after I did (I woke up enough to rescue the iPad from his hands) and stayed asleep until we landed. Apparently Calvin had seen enough airports for one day and we were unable to get him excited over anything we saw outside while we taxied to the gate.

I thought our long journey was almost over. We got through immigration and customs and headed off to find our hotel’s shuttle bus. We successful found the hotel representative and, with a group of people, followed our guide to the hotel shuttle area. Our shuttle bus serviced at least five hotels and we were unfortunately the last ones to be dropped off. However, we did arrive and managed to drag ourselves upstairs to bed. I was very relieved when Calvin climbed into his bed with no fussing at all. Our 30 hour trip was finally over.

Our Hong Kong/Taiwan Trip:

Traveling to Hong Kong

The First Day

The Second Day

The Third Day

The Fourth Day

The Fifth Day

The Sixth Day

The Seventh Day

The Eighth Day

The Ninth Day

The Tenth Day

The Eleventh Day

The Twelfth Day

The Thirteenth Day

Traveling Home

Family Beach Vacation


  • Jaeger’s mother, her sister, and their offspring made plans for a family vacation this summer. As mentioned by Jaeger, hail at the Denver airport disrupted our original plans so we ended up flying in two days late. Not only were we late, but the only flight available left at 6:40am which means I had to wake Calvin up at 4am. He seemed excited by the adventure but I wasn’t happy to deprive him of that much sleep.


  • All things considered, I think the vacation went pretty well. We stayed at Oceanside, near Tillamook, OR. I think I might have been the only one to appreciate the weather properly. I’ve been dying of heat in Colorado so it was wonderful to get back to more misty climates. However, it was never quite cold enough that I could justify pulling out the hot chocolate.
  • We got back yesterday but I took today off in order to unpack and recover from vacation. I got most of the items on my “to do” list checked off including taking Willow to the vet to get her teeth cleaned and cleaning out the car.
  • My herbs didn’t die while we were gone. I was worried about leaving them that long outside without water. While they did look awful when we got back, I watered them yesterday and they look like they’ll recover. In fact, the Thai Basil went a little wild while I was gone. Prior to going, I had harvested as much of the herbs as I could and froze the leaves just in case our trip killed them. Hopefully I’ll get another harvest out of them though. I also have two tomatoes plants. Given that I general grow herbs, not vegetables, I’m having to remind myself not to nip the flowers off the tomato plants in order to promote more leaf development :-)

Calvin Moment

  • Calvin enjoyed playing with the three other children that were on vacation with us. They were all older them him but they were very good in helping him play and he ran around in an excited tizzy most of the time we were there. He also appeared to bond with Jaeger at the air museum “the men” went to and afterwards would worriedly ask where “my daddy” was anytime Jaeger left the room. Jaeger went climbing Mount St Helens on Tuesday but Calvin was distracted by a visit to the cheese factory. I’m not sure how much he was able to process of the visit but he was mesmerized by the cheese packing process which we could see through the glass walled balconies. He also highly approved of the ice cream treat afterwards.
  • Upon arriving in Portland, we made a quick stop at Target to pick up a booster seat (it was more cost effective to buy a new one then try to pack it in our luggage). I had brought Calvin’s sand shovel but couldn’t fit the bucket in so I thought I’d pick up a cheap bucket at Target too. However, on the same row there was a plastic sand dump truck which Calvin fell in love with. After consultation, Jaeger and I decided it would be an appropriate buy for Calvin to have on vacation. Calvin loved that dump truck. The first day we were there he pushed it all over the beach and kept running into the ocean with it. I was following closely behind and several times had to scoop Calvin in one arm and the dump truck in the other to prevent them from being washed out to sea. Unfortunately, it was a very cheap dump truck and the wheel broke off after a couple of days. Calvin was devastated. Upon returning to Colorado, I stopped by Toys R Us and picked up a sturdier Tonka dump truck which hopefully will last longer. However, even this dump truck has a large number of plastic parts so I’m dubious it’ll last as long as I think it should.

2nd Camping Trip

We just arrived back from the second camping trip Calvin has been on. Last summer was the first one. This one went great during the day but was disastrous during the night.

Wednesday night I had created a list of what I thought we needed to bring. Thursday I gathered most of the food-related items and precooked some meals. Jaeger worked a half-day Friday and then came back and we both finished packing. The idea was to pick Calvin up from after his nap time and head out to Stillwater Campground. Our trip up went mostly according to plan except Calvin hadn’t slept at daycare so ended up with a very late nap on the way up.

We arrived at the campground around 5:30 and wandered around a bit looking for a suitable site. It’s pretty early in the season for camping at that elevation so we had a lot of sites to choose from. Our first nomination turned out to be a bad idea as it was extremely windy. It was obvious that it was often windy as the campsite explicitly came with rings to tie down the tent with. We ended up with a campsite on the other side of the hill where it was less windy. It wasn’t quite as scenic. However, we got a great view of the boat ramp area which Calvin might have found more interesting than just a lake anyway. Unfortunately, due to the pine beetle infestation, almost all the trees in the campground had been chopped down.

I had opted for spendy freeze-dried meals our first night that just required boiling water. It always takes a while to setup camp and I wanted to make sure I was able to feed Calvin in a timely manner. We still didn’t end up eating supper till around 7:00pm. Calvin was excited by everything around him. He roamed up and down the hill several times, found the tent fascinating and basically was having a blast. He did not like the idea of going to bed. His normal bedtime is around 8pm but we didn’t get him to bed till closer to 10. We also found out that while he was enamored with HIS sleeping bag, he didn’t like the idea of actually being cocooned in it. Eventually Calvin fell asleep nestled on top of me in my sleeping bag. This left my arms exposed which was pretty chilly.

Calvin sleeping on top of my wasn’t ideal. However, it got worse. Around 1am he woke up screaming. We had no idea what was wrong but he kept creaming for at least 10 min (which feels like an eternity at 1am in the morning at a campsite). I kept expecting someone to come by and demand to know how we were abusing our child. However, there weren’t any other tents near us. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. One, of many, theories I had was he was having night terrors Another thought was that he was feeling suffocated being in the sleeping bag with me. Eventually he fell asleep with the sleeping bag partially open and another small child’s blanket draped to stop the worst of the draft. I was exhausted but apparently Calvin was fine as he woke up cheerfully at 7am.

A couple of weeks ago I started researching ways to make food while camping without all the mess associated with it. I’ve tried using heavy duty zip-lock-like bags before. These are kind of like the freeze dried meals you buy that just require adding water except you put your own dried ingredients in. It worked ok but I thought the commercial freeze-dried meals tasted better. Plus, I’m a little dubious about adding boiling water to the plastic bags, even if they are technically rated to be able to handle that much heat. This time, I discovered Dutch Oven Liners. I have a cast-iron skillet that is very similar to a dutch oven and it turns out that the 10″ liners fit fine. Then I prepared our meals at home and put them in zip lock bags in our cooler. To prepare, I just placed the skillet with a liner over the camp stove and poured in the food to reheat it. It’s easy to lift the liners out and replace with another one so you can heat up several things without having to clean in-between. The only thing I might do differently next time is bring aluminium foil to place on top to keep the heat in better while other items are being heated. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for backpacking but it was great for car camping. For breakfast, we had scrambled tofu, pastries I had bought a couple of days before, applesauce, and hot chocolate/milk/coffee.

After breakfast, we headed out to a visitors center. Jeager asked a ranger for suggestions of good hiking trails that weren’t covered in snow. The ranger offered two suggestions that she thought would be relatively snow-free the first 3 miles. We ended up trying the East Inlet Trailhead. Jaeger carried Calvin and our food in our kid backpack carrier and I carried toileting supplies and some other stuff. I brought along our little potty chair which is small enough to fit in a backpack and that worked well for Calvin (I didn’t think he was advanced enough yet to learn the other outdoor potty methods :-) ). Calvin really seemed to enjoy the hike, especially when we went by the waterfall. We decided to stop for lunch about 3 1/2 miles in. Since the ranger didn’t think we’d get much farther without running into snow, we decided to turn around. Calvin walked a little bit of the way back. However, he soon gave up and went to sleep in the backpack. It looked uncomfortable but he slept for almost an hour that way.

After returning to the trailhead, we decided to head back to Grand Lake and grab some ice cream. Upon driving down the main tourist street, Jaeger and I were surprised to hear Calvin suddenly call “ice cream!” from the backseat when he spotted the shop with a picture of two large ice cream cones out front. When reviewing flavors, I asked Calvin if he would like strawberry. He said, “No!” I tried a couple other flavors, each getting a negative response, until it occurred to me to specify I was asking about ice cream flavors. I rephrased and asked if he would like strawberry ICE CREAM and he immediately agreed that was a great idea.

It was extremely windy when we got back to our campsite but fortunately it calmed fairly quickly. We all headed out to the lake where Calvin played in the mud/sand mixture and occasionally splashed in the water. I read a book for a bit on the “beach” while Jaeger made sure that Calvin didn’t drown. We headed back for an early supper in hopes that eating earlier would inspire Calvin to go to bed earlier.

For supper, I heated up the rice and dal I had made Thursday as well as an Indian-flavored peanut tomato sidedish. Calvin ignored the tomatoes but ate a large serving of the dal and rice. After supper, we went to see Smokey the bear at the camp’s small “auditorium.” Calvin seemed to find the bear mascot fascinating but was even more excited by the forest-service fire pickup (equipped with a hose and a generator to allow pumping of lake water onto a fire).

I thought one reason Calvin might have taken so long to settle down the previous night was because I was in the tent with him. Jaeger often has better luck getting him to sleep than I do. So, I encouraged Calvin to run-off some of his excess energy and then turned him over to Jaeger for bedtime stories and bed. I sat in our car and finished reading my book. I was in the car for quite a while but kept hearing the murmur of Calvin’s voice. Finally, around 10, I decided Jaeger wasn’t having anymore luck than we’d had last night and went back to the tent. Eventually Calvin did fall asleep, sans any blankets. After he was asleep, I put a blanket and his sleeping bag on top of him. This seemed to work pretty well until he once again woke up in the middle of the night. It wasn’t as bad as the night before but he absolutely refused to have any blankets on top of him. He got quite hysterical whenever I tried. This was a problem as it was in the 30s outside and not suitable weather for just sleeping in one’s pajamas, however thick they may be. Eventually, he fell back asleep and I successfully snuck the blankets back on him. I woke up multiple times during the night to make sure he hadn’t shaken them off and had avoided freezing to death so far. Fortunately, Calvin slept in till 8:30 so I ended up with a lot more sleep than I had the previous night.

We had a slow start but eventually had breakfast and then packed up our campsite. On the way home we stopped at a trailhead to stretch our legs. Calvin really got into the hiking, especially when we encountered snow, so the whole hike took longer than expected. We decided to eat lunch there which delayed us further. Jaeger’s initial plans were to stop by the Alpine Visitors Center but we were running late by then and Calvin and I were both almost asleep. I napped until we exited the park and Calvin napped almost the entire way home.

Overall, I think it was a good trip. However, Calvin’s problem sleeping in the tent make me less than thrilled at another camping trip in the near future. We might try some camping in our backyard to get Calvin more use to sleeping in a tent. At least if he starts scream in the middle of the night in our back yard, it’s easy to come back inside for the rest of the night.

Calvin Updates


  • I haven’t exercise consistently for the last two weeks. First I was in Washington, then I was catching up to the (minor) timezone change, and then I was too busy. The good news is I did manage to get up early and exercise the last three days.


  • Potty training is going extremely well at the moment. During our trip, I only put him in diapers for naps and nighttime. The last couple days of the trip, including our flight home, he didn’t have any accidents. He’s been doing fairly well at daycare too.
  • Jaeger’s mom and sister were here over the weekend for a wedding. They had lots of fun playing with Calvin who, of course, greatly enjoyed the extra attention.
  • Finished listening to A Civil Campaign, by Bujold, which I found to be a lot of fun. I’ve started listening to One was a Soldier by Spencer Fleming. The Clare Fergusson mystery series is very good but much more serious than the Bujold book. I’m also reading The Red Wolf Conspiracy, by Redick, for book club. It took me several chapters to get into it but I was hooked once I met Thasha. I’m trying to decide whether Jaeger’s dislike for fantasy will outweigh his enjoyment of naval fiction :-)

Calvin Moment

  • Calvin is talking in multiple complete sentences every day. His single words are still very unintelligible but his saying whole sentences help interpret meaning better. However, he has a very annoying habit of pointing at some random thing and saying, “this! this! this!” either when he wants it or he wants to know the word for it. Then I have to get down at his eye level and try to guess where his finger is pointing.
  • Not surprisingly, Calvin is having a lot of fun playing in the water with the hotter weather (he probably wouldn’t require the hotter weather to play in water but wasn’t given the option before). I’m hoping the herbs I planted last week don’t die from him over-watering.
  • Everything is “mine, mine, mine” now. This has been coming on for a while but it’s very prevalent now. We’re planning to go camping this weekend and I went to REI to buy a sleeping bag for him today. He was SO excited when I told him this was HIS sleeping bag. Once we got home he insisted on me zipping him up in it even though it was around 80 degrees in the house. He also shoved all of his favorites toys in it.


  • Shredded a whole bunch of junk mail that had been piling up. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus. The shredding never ends . . .

Visiting Grandma

In July we’re all going to the Oregon coast to meet up with Jaeger’s family. Since this is near where my family lives, relatively speaking, I was hoping to be able to see them at the same time. However, the timing didn’t work out so instead Calvin and I flew out to Washington for Memorial Weekend.

We left Wednesday right after breakfast and got to the airport 2 1/2 hrs early. However, since we weren’t in a dreadful hurry, I let Calvin walk a lot of the way and stop and gawk at every plane we passed. In addition, I decided to keep Calvin in training pants instead of diapers so we also had to make a couple of stops on our way at various bathrooms. By the time we got to our gate, I only had enough time to feed Calvin a small snack before it was time to board.

The flight was fairly uneventful. Thankfully, Calvin refrained crying, screaming, and joyful shrieking. He didn’t nap but neither did I expect him too. He was entertained a fair amount of the time by watching a couple of videos and playing with his new Duplo Motocycle that I had bought specifically for airplane entertainment.

Because Calvin didn’t nap, he was extremely hyper when we arrived. He literally ran in circles while Grandma watched in bemused fascination. Eventually we made it to the car and Calvin fell asleep on the way to my parent’s house.

That evening I was very tired so I decided to go to bed at the same time as Calvin. Now that Calvin is too big for the pack ‘n play (i.e. he climbs out) we weren’t sure what to do for his bed. Eventually, I decided to just have him sleep in the big bed with me. This turned out to be a very popular decision with Calvin. I laid down on the bed next to him. Calvin closed his eyes, then popped them open with a wide smile delighted that I was still next to him. He repeated this for about the next half hour. Eventually he did fall asleep. I had been worried about him falling off the other side of the bed. However, that turned out not to be an issue as he stuck to my side like a little magnet. In fact, several times during the night he felt the need to crawl over and sleep on top of me.

Thursday we left for the beach. On the way we visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria. Calvin was getting cranky due to either hunger or sleepiness, sometimes it’s hard to figure out which, so we didn’t see much of the inside of the museum. However, he did seem to enjoy touring the Lightship Columbia. I also managed to buy a souvenir for Calvin in the form of a picture book titled A is for Astoria, by Karen L. Leedom and illustrated by Sally Bailey.

After the museum we ate pizza and then continued to the beach. I hoped Calvin would take a nap but that turned out to be too optimistic. Calvin has trouble falling asleep in the car now that he can point out all the different kinds of trucks on the road.

Once we settled in to our rooms at the hotel we went and explored the hotel pool. We lucked out in that there was a reasonable sized shallow area in the pool before the steps descended the rest of the way. The shallow area came up to Calvin’s thighs so offered a good area for him to play with some bath toys I had brought along. Every so often he’d ask me to take him and we bounce around in the deeper parts of the pool. Calvin especially enjoyed it when I twirled around with him making large waves.

The day must have really worn Calvin out as he fell asleep within 5 min of me putting him to bed. I don’t recall the last time that happened.

We started off the next morning by picking up pastries and then returned to the hotel to supplement them with scrambled tofu and strawberries. After breakfast we decided to venture out to the ocean. In case you haven’t visited the Oregon coast before, it’s not a very warm experience, particularly this early in summer. The weather was very windy and overcast. However, this didn’t stop Calvin from enjoying the ocean. Dad took Calvin out to the ocean and held him up when waves came letting them wash over his boots. Calvin also enjoyed shoveling sand into his sand sorter.

When the adults decided they had enough, we went inside. Calvin was completely soaked on his lower half so we gave him a warm bath and then 1/2 a cup of hot chocolate. I think this is the first time Calvin has had hot chocolate but he really enjoyed the experience.

We then decided to head to Seaside to check out the aquarium. However, Calvin looked like he might fall asleep so we took a long detour and to my surprise, he fell asleep. I don’t remember the last time he fell asleep before lunch. Maybe this means I don’t usually give him enough exercise in the morning . . . In any case, by the time he woke up it was time for lunch. After lunch we went to Seaside and Calvin got to ride a carousal. We then planned to walk to the aquarium but Calvin seemed much more interested in the beach. We hadn’t brought beach clothes with us (in this case, fleeces, boots, and rain coats) so we returned to the hotel before heading out for beach part 2. Like before, Calvin greatly enjoyed the beach and ended the experience with a bath and Hot Chocolate.

Unfortunately, Calvin didn’t go to bed as easy last night. I sat in his room for a long time waiting him to go to sleep while listening to A Civil Campaign by Bujold. By the time Calvin fell asleep I felt droopy so followed quickly afterwards. Unlike prior nights, Calvin didn’t insist on clinging to my side the entire night but I noticed that he always had a hand, a foot, or a head touching me.

We woke up this morning and squeezed in a bit more beach time before packing up and heading to Astoria for church. Mom was a little over-optimistic in how long cleaning Calvin up and packing would take so we got there just in time for the sermon. I didn’t hear most of it being preoccupied with helping Calvin put a puzzle together. The puzzle set I brought was unfortunately configured so you could easily put pieces together that didn’t belong. I got one puzzle finished before realizing I needed to swap two pieces.

After church we went to the Astoria Column for lunch. We ate at a picnic table there but didn’t actually climb the column. It’s very toddler unsafe. However, the hill itself still provides a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

Magically, Calvin actually napped on the rest of the way back to Longview. I think the beach trip was a success and I learned some pointers for our next beach trip with the Tramblie-Logan side in July. Specifically, I should make sure to take along wool socks so they can still keep his feet warm even when completely soaked.

In the next couple of days we’re going to attempt to see my grandparents and show off Calvin some more before going back home.