Friday, January 24, 2014

Felix's First Christmas

After surveying everyone that we met that ever had a baby about how a 13 week old would handle a plane trip while I was pregnant, we booked Felix's first trip back to the US for Christmas.
We quickly learned that despite their assurances that it would be a breeze, everyone had clearly forgotten what a 13 week old is like.
After a 28 hour journey that we hope to never think about again, we blearily stumbled off the plane and handed Felix over to his ecstatic Grandma and Abuelo who couldn't be happier to see all of us.
The next morning Chris's Aunt Bernice flew in from Florida for her chance at a cuddle for a few days, and then we packed him up for his first trip to the Brooklyn Brewery to meet our friends.  Aunt Bernice also treated us to the traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal of pernil and her special rice, and finished an amazing quilt for Felix.
For our Australian baby who hasn't seen temperatures below 70, the weather was a bit of a shock, but thankfully we had some clothes to keep him warm outside.
We spent the next few days at Chris's parents house as they hosted a rotating cast of family and friends who wanted to meet Felix (and see us).
Aunts flocked to the opportunity to capture a smile at every chance.  I'm sure that an Uncle must have held him at some point, but it doesn't seem to be caught on camera, those Aunts are sneaky!
In a rare occasion, Chris actually got to hold Felix for a bit as well.  Thank goodness I had to take him to feed him or we might never have gotten him back!
Despite his early fears of holding the baby, over a few days Cousin Peter moved a bit closer every day and finally managed to capture his smile.  Cousin Francesca also got a quick cuddle, her first since she'd seen him a few months earlier in Sydney.
Cousin Lila wanted to make sure that Felix was well entertained and was happy to hold his favorite toy up for him.
We were worried that Santa might not know that Felix had made the trip from Australia to the US, but Aunt Gloria made sure that he wouldn't be missed with this amazing stocking and a Christmas kangaroo.
Before we knew it Christmas day had arrived and we opened up the special Christmas outfit that Aunt Bern had sewed for him, keeping the tradition of Grandma Governalli.  I'm not sure that it would have been possible for Felix to look any cuter than he did in his vest, plus his first pair of real pants!
Relatives started trickling in and the pass the baby game began.
Felix's cousin Ian was especially excited to have a chance to hold him, and unfortunately the first two times he tried Felix wasn't too pleased.  Thankfully he persevered and had his opportunity later in the evening.
Cousin Lila was also super excited that Felix came to visit and got her chance to hold him as well.
As the evening wound down Grandma Fran took over and made sure to get her Christmas cuddle in.
On Christmas morning we bundled him up and made the drive to my parents house in Massachusetts where more excited grandparents were waiting.
Grammy and Pepe were thrilled to finally meet their "skype baby" and have a chance to hold him and see his smiles in person.
The LeGrand family posed for a holiday picture, although someone seems to have forgotten to tell Felix that he should be smiling!  I guess the ridiculously cute Christmas outfit totally makes up for it.
The Milos/Burdick clan came by and we were able to introduce the kids.  Will and John wanted to make sure that Felix was having a good time and made sure to play with him on his play mat.
Felix also got to try an exersaucer for the first time which I'd say was a success.
With fewer Aunts in competition in my family, my Aunt Pat also had a bit of a chance to say hello.
Felix also had a chance to meet my Great Aunt, so his Great Great Aunt Stasia who couldn't believe how heavy he was.
Grammy made sure to keep him clean with a few baths in the kitchen sink, bet he won't fit in there the next time we're home!
James and Julie were nice enough to keep the fire roaring for a few days so that we could sleep at their place, which meant that Felix and his uncle James got to have a bit of quality time every morning before heading to Grammy and Pepe's.
All three generations of the LeGrand family men.
After a few days in MA we packed up again and headed to upstate NY to visit our friends from college. Lisa takes the prize for getting Felix to sleep on her unexpectedly so that I got to enjoy a relaxing dinner.  On our way back we stopped by Phranque and Jackie's to have a bit of a feeding break and hang out for a bit.  Despite Lila asking if she could make a deal for us to stay longer, we pushed on back to White Plains.
Our last few days were a bit quieter and we had a chance to read some books and have some quieter play with a lot of his new toys.  Just before we left we were treated to some snow outside the window while we hid inside.
Felix had a great Christmas back in the states and can't wait to see everyone in the summer!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cheap Flight of the Week

So, it's January which means you probably haven't already blown your all your vacation days at work.  Sure, you could go to the same places this year around and take the same pictures.
Do your vacation photos look like this?
OR you could do something totally awesome like fly across the world and visit beautiful Australia.  No one has ever regretted this decision.  Even the original convicts who were the first non-aboriginals to settle here were overjoyed to come over.

The cheapest flight we could find was $1472 on Fiji Airways.  Come say hi down under!

These guys want to meet you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Felix's First Kingfish

Chris recently ventured out in the waters around the Barrenjoey Headland to try to recreate a charter experience that he and Felix had when they were visiting.  It entailed going to one spot and catching small baitfish called, "Yakkas" and then bringing them to another spot, hooking them through the nose and then trolling them around hoping that a BIG fish comes and thinks they are an easy meal.  This technique is called, "livebaiting".  It has been effective in the past under the guidance of a charter guide and Chris was hoping that he could duplicate the success on his own.

Gerrie was enlisted and the two would-be fisherman set out at the ungodly hour of 4am to be set up and ready to launch at first light.  We pulled up to the bait grounds amongst several other boats that had the same idea.  At least they showed us where the yakkas were.
Yakkas frolicking
After a short time the boys had about a dozen yakkas on board in the live bait tank and off they went to the fishing grounds.

Once we started trolling we didn't have to wait long, it was only about 5 minutes in when we heard the zzzzzzzzzzzzzz of line being stripped from Chris' rod.  We were on!

As Chris fought the fish and Gerrie desperately tried to steer the boat away from the rocks they were met with an additional zzzzzzzzzz as Gerrie's rod went off.  Apparently Chris' fish had a friend.  Double Hook Up!!!

Once clear from the rocks Chris fought his fish to the boat.  Once he saw us looking down on him he got a second wind and zzzzzzzz he was off again!  After a struggle the boys were able to get both fish in the boat.  A careful measure showed that Gerrie's fish was just under the 65cm legal limit but Chris' was about 67, keeper!

We trolled around for a bit longer with Gerrie catching a 45cm tailor for his efforts.

They were about the same size
The fisherman arrived home midday to cheers and joyful weeping, sashimi and fish tacos were to be had by all!!!
Mmmmm...kingfish sashimi

Felix was at first puzzled by the commotion and then happy.  Then he ate his hand for a bit and then was happy again.

The kingfish was devoured with smiles all around, here's hoping it is the first of many for the summer!