travel with a baby part II

We did it! We got from our house to Florida and back through the use of air transport. Woot Woot! It was just as hard as I imagined but also smoother than I could have anticipated. Does that make sense? The visit was really great. We were able to spend a long weekend with family and cherish the moment when Henry met his cousins. It was not only special but well worth any headache that comes with upsetting a baby’s usual routine in order to travel by plane.

Of course, traveling with a baby changes right alongside that changing baby. While we felt confident with our recent journey, Henry won’t be like this the next time. He isn’t crawling yet so that is a game changer I am sure. But, for now, we nailed it and got everyone home safe and sound. Did we learn anything this time about getting a family through the airport?  Sure, pack efficiently, do your best to squeeze in a nap, and relax it will all be fine!

(1) Pack efficiently: We thought about this part of the trip a lot! We wanted to make sure that we had on our person everything we would need to keep little man happy, clean, and fed and have a checked bag that contained everything else we would need. We flew with JetBlue which made checking a bag perfect since they don’t charge for the first bag. We divided our checked bag into thirds. David packed his third, I packed my third, and we packed Henry’s third. What did we pack for Henry?

  • 24 diapers, 6 night diapers
  • 12 pouches of baby food
  • 3 bibs
  • 2 spoons
  • 1 hat
  • 1 coat
  • 1 zip up hoodie
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 5 pants
  • 5 onesies
  • 2 pjs
  • baby shampoo
  • Tranquil Sleep Turtle

The rest of Henry’s gear was carried aboard with us. David wore a travel crib as a backpack so Henry would have a place to rest his head at our destination. We were really happy with this purchase. While it was a bit of an investment, with all the travel we have coming, we felt like it would be worth it in the end. Henry was very comfortable and the crib could not have been easier to assemble, carry, and disassemble. I carried the diaper bag packed with:

  • 3 diapers, wipes, butt paste
  • Toys
  • Nursing cover
  • 2 pouches of food, 1 spoon
  • 1 empty bottle, 1 sleeve of formula, 1 nipple (just in case)
  • 2 binkys
  • 1 bib
  • 4 books (Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, Everywhere Babies, The Going to Bed Book, Baby Loves Summer)
  • ErgoBaby 360
  • Blanket

I also carried my pump aboard. Note to all mommy travelers: Make sure that if you plan to  bring an ice pack with you to keep the milk cool that it is frozen through and through. The TSA almost confiscated mine, but thankfully it was mostly frozen and the supervisor permitted me to take it through (ignore that government if you reading this). And, we cruised through the airport using an umbrella stroller for lightweight, easy travel. I know, I know it sounds like we packed a ton but seriously it all came together and there was absolutely nothing we were lacking. This helped make the transition to the new space easy and we were able to truly focus on spending time with our family.

(2) Do your best to squeeze in a nap:  It was not easy to get Henry to nap on the flight. There was just so much to look at and experience, how could one sleep?  Henry had fun looking out the window, babbling to the flight attendants, and peaking and smiling at the other passengers around him. Everyone near us was super friendly toward him as well. And, when he did get a bit fussy, David held him close and rocked him as best he could to sleep. He only slept for about 30-40minutes which isn’t nearly what he is used to doing, but it was enough to take the edge off and he remained pleasant for the duration of the flight.

(3) Relax it will all be fine:  Traveling with a baby is a bit unpredictable. But, it is also really fun. Everything is so new for them and you get to experience the wonder of flight through their eyes. And, each time he flies over the next few years this wonder will only increase. Yes, he may fuss and yes we will probably forget something next time, but what can you do?  You just have to throw up your hands and enjoy the ride as best as you can. If the people around you freak out because your baby is upset, do your best to relax, breathe, and know that you are doing the best that you can. It will be fine, they will be fine, and most importantly the baby will be fine. As long as the flight is safe, you’re perfect!

new year resolution…sort of

I used to love making new year resolutions. It always seems like a fresh slate on my bad habits and sluggish ways. Somehow January first promises to bring everything anew. Typically my resolutions or fresh starts are unimaginative: eat better, exercise more, save money. This year, while I will probably still hold those as important, I also just want to take this year more slowly. Each year feels like a race to the next step.  So this year, I am going to adopt a new mindset around time and family. Instead of racing between events and scurrying between appointments and packing our weekends full, full, full, I am going to ease up on all of this. My priority, love, and attention will be focused on my new family unit.  Henry is this little for such a fleeting moment that it is important for us to savor, enjoy, and prioritize our time with him and as a family. I want to enjoy this year of first for us and this year of being a new family. It feels right to turn a bit inward this year and ensure the tranquility, love, and happiness of the home front. This doesn’t mean that we will forgo all relationships with friends but it does mean that we will be more discerning of our time in a way that perhaps forgoes our more flippant scheduling of the past.

K comes to town!

A week went by too quickly! Auntie Kaelin came to town this past week and we had quite the visit.  From shopping, to sharing cocktails, to playing with H, to eating way to much food, to lounging together on the couch and catching up, it was a lovely visit. I wish Madison and Boston were closer so that Kaelin and I could hang out throughout the year. Thank goodness FaceTime is so easy, but it is still not the same as a face-to-face.

Auntie K was an excellent auntie. H loved singing his repertoire of baby tunes with her, rolling around on the floor with her (showing off his new move of sitting independently), and snuggling and laughing with her.  After a week of us, I am sure K is excited to be back to life without baby chaos but she definitely enjoyed the chaos while here! I am really looking forward to our next visit and restarting the series: ‘Drinking with Baby.’ No one mixes into our life here in Boston as seamlessly as Auntie K, but every time she goes, it breaks our hearts!

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lion man

I am not sure what Henry’s first Halloween will look like exactly. Since it falls on a Friday, David and I will both have to work during the day.  Once we get home, it might be either too late or too cold to take the lion man out. Of course, if these two concerns do not present themselves, then we are aiming to taking the little lion out on the town (for at least a few minutes) to “trick or treat.” It will be funny bringing him by our neighbors homes or bringing him over to close friend’s. If nothing else, he will don his little costume and we will observe the holiday through photographs! I am sure Henry is psyched about it!

Regardless of how we celebrate on October 31, Henry was able to spend a little afternoon with his friends recently at a pumpkin festival in costume!  It was adorable seeing his little buds dressed as a strawberry, cow, and astronaut. And, of course I loved seeing their parents as well. It is nice being a part of a little group of moms to share stories, insights, goofy moments, and, most importantly, to watch our babies grow up, thrive, and begin to reach out and “play” with one another. It is such a fun part of mommy-hood. To me, this was our Halloween celebration!

favorite things: right now

Since gaining more adequate head control, Henry has really become a little person. Obviously, he was a little person without head control, but now he is SO much more interactive and playful. As a result of this, “play time” is no longer me sitting in front of him and showing him things while he stares through the items. Now he reaches out and grabs for stuff, puts everything in his mouth, laughs, squeals, and bats at things. With this new skill set, we opened up some of the boxes we had stored away as “toys for later.” One of our newest favorite things is the door frame jumper. When I was little, my mom said my Jolly Jumper was my absolute favorite toy. I would sit in it for hours hopping and bopping about. My mom could move it from room to room and my favorite place to bounce was near the kitchen so I could watch my family prepare a meal while I did my “exercise.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you can buy the original Jolly Jumper any more. Canada seems to own the market on the super cool original harness.  We had to settle then for an imitation version, but it will do. We set Henry up near the kitchen and while he was skeptical at first, he batted his feet about on the floor and was able to stare the pups straight in the eye from the comfort of his harness. I can see Henry really enjoying this odd device in the upcoming days.

Similarly, he has been enjoying his stationary bouncer. He goes in here everyday for about 10-15 minutes and just plays and plays and plays. He knocks the little vegetables off their posts and turns the pages of the sensory book. If you take him out sooner than he wants, he fusses until you realize, “Oh hey, I think he wants to go back into that bouncy thing!”

And, where would a new mom be without her diaper bag. We went with the skip hop duo and didn’t really know if we would end up liking it or not. When you are new to this whole parenting business it is really hard to know what you need and what is just excess. Thankfully, the bag we selected worked out. It is small enough that when I carry it around I don’t feel like I am carrying around Henry’s nursery but big enough to actually store diapers, cream, wipes, changing pad, 2 blankets, change of clothes, 2 hats, socks, a monkey mat, a mommy hook, pacifier, emergency bottle, Sophia, and also my personal items as well. While I am not sure what we will need as Henry gets older and his needs advance, I am happy that this bag is working out for us right now (and fingers crossed will continue to work out). Lastly, let’s talk about the Merlin Magic SleepSuit, otherwise known as MY FAVORITE ITEM YET! Henry was struggling with being un-swaddled and rolling over all in one night. Sleep was hit or miss and by the end of two weeks David and I were reeling from exhaustion. We checked out some blogs, talked with our pediatrician, and also met with our mommy friends. With these powers combined we chose to start a gentle sleep training program and included using this sleep suit. We followed our usual sleep routine: bath, books, snuggles, pjs, nurse, pacifier, and bed (this time with the suit on). We were prepared to let him cry for one minute then go in and comfort and repeat this process up to 5 times.  But, once in the suit there was no need for a second of crying. Henry passed out in his comfy suit and slept a 5 hours shift followed by a 4 hours shift!! YAY Merlin Magic Suit!!! Best purchase ever as it bought us the more precious gift of all: Sleep!

chopped salad

This past long weekend was refreshing. Something about having that extra day turns a regular weekend into a vacation! David and I enjoyed a mostly quiet time at home. We both took off Friday to take Henry to his pediatrician in order to discuss strategies around sleep and sleep routines. Our little man is consistently inconsistent which makes sleep a question mark in our house. Our meeting on Friday was not earth shattering in the information she presented but it did confirm some “best practices” we were beginning to implement. So we will have to give you an update on Henry’s sleep in the days and weeks to come. Fingers crossed this little man breaks through his sleep wall.

We spent a lot of time just being together as a family though and we even rekindled some of our favorite crafts and hobbies. I am currently working on a mustard yellow scarf for the winter and David in elbow deep in books about chess. When we weren’t playing with Henry, we were either crafting or cooking. It was a perfect way to spend these Fall days.  One of the recipes we tried for the first time was this chopped salad. It was  quick and easy and the prep time was practically non-existent. The flavors are super subtle but it was a light meal option for us on a day when we whipped up a significant brunch and crock pot beef stew for dinner!

 

Ingredients:

Roast chicken (we bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)

5 strips of cooked bacon

1 head of romaine lettuce

1 tablespoon ground mustard

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts

1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese

Toss everything together and enjoy! (especially if your husband dons a sexy apron  while mixing this up =)