I have been Busy...with a capital B!
I went to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. It was a very short trip...not that it was supposed to be but well sometimes things don't go as planned. It is what it is.
So anywho...we got home and dove in head first to all the busyness that leads up to Christmas. Lots of baking...lots of parties...lots of shopping. And for us...lots of packing! We left in mid December for a 2 week trip to Seattle to visit my family. It was crazy and hectic but so much fun to see everyone. So here is a recap and some travel tips for those that may be looking at traveling with their baby.
First and foremost...the actual booking of the airfare. I had several options of where I was going to fly out of...Raleigh, Wilmington or Jacksonville. They all had pros and cons but ultimately I decided to go with Jacksonville because regardless of price it was the closest and would be the easiest for us to get to without making Madison mad. So once I decided that I had to decide what time to do the flights. For us, it made the most sense to choose the latest flight possible. I wanted to try and do the bulk of the flying during a time that Madison would be tired and wanting to sleep. So our flight left J-ville at 4ish pm and then we flew to Charlotte and that flight left around 6:30 pm. Madison did really good overall. She did have a melt down on the first flight but it only lasted at the most 10 minutes and then she fell asleep. I think it was because the cabin kept pressurizing (is that a real description??). My ears kept popping so I am sure hers were not feeling good. Poor baby. :( The flight from Charlotte to Seattle was 5 1/2 hours and she slept for about 3 1/2 of those at least. And no melt downs. Yay!
**flying tip** I brought with me a large suitcase that I checked. For a 2 week trip it is (in my opinion) impossible to not check a bag. There was no way that I would have been able to pack just Madison's stuff in a single carry-on let alone my stuff too. So suck it up and realize that this is the new normal until you have to buy them their own seat. Oh and speaking of seats...if I could do it all over again....I would have bought Madison her own seat. Maybe I would have been able to actually sleep on the flights myself instead of trying to keep my arms from going numb.
So we got to Seattle and my mom met me at baggage claim. Thanks Mom! I highly recommend that if you are traveling by yourself with your baby, try to have someone at your destination meet you at the airport to help you. I rented a car and without my mom there was no way...even with a luggage cart...that I was going to get me, Madison and all of our luggage up the elevator, across the sky bridge and down the elevator and across the road to get the shuttle to the offsite car rental place. I am exhausted just typing that out! We got settled with our rental car...a Chrysler Town and Country, yeah baby!...and got to my mom's. We pretty much went right to bed. I was hoping that Madison would transition fairly easily to the time change but that was not the case. She was awake at 4:30 am...which would have been 7:30. In the end it took about 3-4 days for her to get on track with the time. What finally worked (I think?) was that when she woke up early, instead of giving her a bottle, I laid her in bed with me and she fell asleep again. I think she finally got it after a couple of morning of this.
During our trip to Seattle, we also did a side trip to Boise to visit my brother, sister-in-law and nieces. It was so awesome to see Madison with her cousins! I hope we can continue to get all these girls together so they become close. Madison did great for both the flight there and back. On a bit of a weird note...we flew Southwest and they do not do assigned seating, you pick your seat. So when I got on the plane, I looked for an open aisle seat and found one quickly next to nice looking middle age couple. We talked most of the flight and the wife was babbling with Madison...who smiled and giggled at her! So 3 days later on our return flight, imagine my surprise when I am again searching for an aisle seat and there they are again! I sat next to them again and the 3 of us enjoyed a glass of wine. Too funny!
We also celebrated my grandfather's 87th birthday. It was awesome to see a lot of my aunts and uncles and for them to meet Madison for the first time. But I definitely missed my hubby! It was my first visit to Seattle in many years without having him with me. And not having him with us for Christmas was hard...but we did skype and that made up for it a little. Kind of. But we did have a nice Christmas with my mom and brother and Madison loved tearing up the paper.
Our visit came to an end and it was time to head home. For the flight home I did a red-eye. Again trying to bank on the fact that Madison would be tired and want to sleep. We got checked in around 10:30 pm for our 12:45 am flight...mainly because I needed to get the rental back by 10 pm. We went to the USO...but we did not stay long. It was super crowded and there was literally nowhere to sit. In order to give Madison a bottle I had to sit on a kids chair in the family room. One family was taking up 2 couches...grrr! So I said screw it and we went to our gate. The flight was great and we even had a row with an extra seat so I could lay Madison down on it to sleep. Not that I slept because I was too worried about her rolling off!
We got home and settled in for the rest of the day. Madison fell back into east coast time very easily. Literally one day was all she needed. So it has been almost a week and I am still trying to get things organized from the trip. I'll get there....eventually.
So the travel tips...
- book flights during a time that your child would normally sleep.
- bring gear that you know you will use - I brought my B-Ready. It is huge but I did not mind because I had lots of space to stow the baby carrier, diaper bag and my coat. I could have brought my umbrella stroller but it would have been harder to stow everything I had with me. I also brought my floppy seat because I knew I would be doing some shopping and I am one of those that does not like putting my child in the shopping cart without it.
- buy your child their own seat
- get bags for your carseat and stroller - Even though it was a total pain in the ass to cram my carseat into the bag, I glad I did. It protected my expensive carseat from potential damage. I also got a gate check bag for my stroller. While I am glad I got it and used it...my stroller still got damaged. In fact I had to call Britax and they ended up 2 day shipping me a new frame for my stroller.
- try not to stress about meltdowns on the plane, as long as your are trying to comfort them people will understand
I know I sound crazy but I am actually looking forward to our next trip. I have no idea where or when that will be but for sure it will be with BJ!