Monday, September 1, 2008

Shalom!!!! We're at the end of our 5 week long trip to Israel and we're having such an amazing time......

Before we flew to Israel we stopped by Miami. We had a wonderful time in Florida despite the horrible heat and humidity - unfortunately it prevented us from spending a lot of time outside. Our main purpose for the visit was meeting up with Emiro's family - since he rarely gets to see them, we decided to take advantage of our vacation time to go see them.

My friend Michal was very kind and took Emiro, Aviv and I to the airport early in the morning. I was not so much stressed about flying with a baby as much as I was stressed about all of the STUFF we had to take with us (2 large suitcases, 1 stroller, 1 car seat-intended to leave with my parents, 1 backpack carry on, 1 diaper bag carry on). We woke up super early (5am) after only going to bed at 3am since we cleaned/packed for about 24 hours straight. It was pretty funny - at 5am I woke up before Aviv, woke her up to nurse her, and then put her in the swing while Emiro and I ran around getting last moment stuff ready. Suddenly her swing ran out of batteries, and Aviv was a total angel watching us run around for the next 1 1/2 hours while we got everything ready. Seriously. She just sat in her non-swinging swing while we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off. She was so quiet we almost forgot her *wink*.

We had some issues figuring out how to install the car seat in Michal's car which led to us leaving for the airport a bit later than expected. We arrived at the airport a bit late, frazzled, running with our suitcases to the curb side check in. Luckily we were able to check in and send off our suitcases, leaving us with the stroller, car seat and two carry ons. Whew! We hurried through security and were the last ones on the plane. The flight was about three hours and went pretty smoothly - I breastfed Aviv during take off and landing, and she was very calm and/or sleepy the rest of the time.

We landed in Miami at noon, picked up our rental car (Toyota RAV 4 which we actually really liked!!) and drove to our hotel.

Waiting for our luggage while everything else was piled on the stroller & Emiro had Aviv in the Bjorn:

Our hotel was GREAT - a big hotel but with a boutique style - and I scored a ridiculous price for it on We had a balcony overlooking the Marina, but it was so damn hot and humid we never used it - even at nighttime. We spent the next four days hanging out with Emiro's family during the day, and ordering movies on demand at the hotel room at night. It was really cozy spending time with Emiro and Aviv every evening in the room - Aviv sleeping peacefully next to us while we saw movies we've been wanting to see for a while.

I was a bit nervous how Aviv would react to the change in environment - up until now, the swing has been priceless and helped us by rocking her to sleep every night. What I ended up doing was swaddle her, nurse her, and put her to her bed (flush with our bed) while she was drifting off. She would move her head from side to side for a couple of minutes, and then fall asleep and sleep 8-9 hours straight each night. Unbelievable.

With family:

More family, different day:

So, as I mentioned, we spent a lot of quality time in the evenings just hanging out at the hotel:

Also spent some time exploring the area and taking in the beautiful views....

Aviv staring at the mobile Auntie Rachel bought her:

We sat at a cafe outside in the shade and this was our amazing view - totally made the sweating worth it :)

We joked that people could probably guess we're from the NYC area because we were both wearing black

The view from our hotel window:

Hotel lobby

Outside lobby area

It was SO friggin' humid my camera FOGGED UP when I stepped outside :-/

Our time in Florida very quickly came to an end, and before we knew it we were re-packing and heading off to Miami airport to catch our flight to Israel!! I was so excited about shortly seeing my entire family and introducing everyone to Aviv.

Checking in:

After we boarded the flight and the airplane started leaving the terminal we stopped, then turned around and went back to the terminal. It turned out one of the engine's starters wasn't working (eeek) so we waited in the plane for 2 1/2 hours while they fixed the problem. Aviv slept the entire time, but woke up during take off (I nursed her) and I groaned at the idea that we STILL had another 13 hours of entertaining her. Luckily she was really good - she slept in spurts of 2-3 hours and ended up sleeping about 7 hours out of the 15 hours we spent on the plane. We had bulkhead seats and the airline provided a bassinet for us that hooked up to the wall in front of us, and she slept there. Honestly, I was not so much stressed about traveling with a baby (maintained my relaxed, laid back approach) but I was more stressed about how damn uncomfortable I would be during the flight. Those economy seats are a KILLER! I watched two movies and even managed to snooze for one hour.

Tidbit - what we did to help her sleep on the flight - swaddled her and laid her on top of an airline pillow in the bassinet. The airline requires you to hold the baby whenever the seatbelt sign was on (often). By laying her on a pillow, I was able to lift her and put her in my lap/ lift her and return her to the bassinet without waking her up. And we always swaddle her at home when she's sleeping, so that was a big help.

So cute I can eat her!!!

We finally landed in Tel Aviv exhausted and a bit cranky (can you blame us? after 15 hours?) but I quickly forgot my snappiness the closer we got to seeing my parents as we went through passport control, picked up our luggage, and prepared to exit the baggage claim............