Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Few Tips

Last time I traveled alone that is what I had to carry.  And this was in addition to needing my tickets and license out and ready. Needless to say it was quite a challenge just getting from the car into the airport!   It normally takes around 10 hours from start to finish to get from point A to point B when we fly somewhere.  The first time flying alone with a baby seriously ranks as one of the most stressful days I have had as an adult.   I was exhausted by the time I made it to LA and seriously could have cried with relief when I saw Ryan waiting for us. 
I had someone ask me recently if I had ever flown with James before and if so did I have any advice.  The poor girl probably got more than she bargained for after I got on a roll!  I’m almost embarrassed of how many times I have toted this child along with me on flights.  However when you live as far away from home as we do you just figure out a way to make it work.  Our first time flying with JT was when he was less than two months old (pediatricians want them to have had their second series of shots before being on a plane) and since then we have traveled a lot.  Considering that it takes us at least 2, mostly 3 flights to get somewhere and you have a lot of experience in what to do and what not to do. I have put together some of my top tips for flying alone with a child under one year.  Now these do not include what to do if you are a nursing mom- call me if you are in that situation because that’s a whole other situation! :)  Thankfully we have not had one of my most dreaded nightmares yet: being stuck overnight at the airport.  However we have endured several other small issues: diaper blow outs on both mom and baby, JT throwing up on the aisle where every single person on the flight has to walk on, JT tossing a cell phone that belong to another passenger down the airplane,  JT sneezing a huge amount of nastiness on the passenger sitting beside us, delays, and the list goes on and on.  So I decided to compile a list of my top tips for traveling alone with a child one and under in case anyone else is in this situation and to remind myself for the future! 

What to wear is a very important decision for both you and baby.  Invest in some of these sleepers with the zippers.  First of all you want their feet to be covered because yes the TSA will make you take their shoes off.  The zipper is a must have because when you have a diaper blowout at 30,000 feet and you are changing a crying baby on your lap in that tiny bathroom you are not going to want to fiddle with snaps.  Some planes claim that they have changing tables but I have yet to see one! 

Bring at least one change of clothes for baby per flight leg.  So when I fly to NC I bring 3 changes of clothes for James.  I learned the hard way that one extra set was not sufficient when James had destroyed all his clothes and we were only in Texas with 2 more flights to go! 

 Wear closed toe shoes with no laces.  No laces because trust me you will need your hands free going through security.  Laces are just one more hassle.  Closed toe because it is really difficult to collapse a stroller with flip flops, etc. 

Shirts with patterns are good for disguising throw up, spit up, diaper accidents, etc.

Use a backpack.  Yes I know a diaper bag is more attractive, but trust me when I say you need your hands as free as possible
These little rings are great for toys.  I only bring toys that can be attached to them and then you can attach it to your tray table so it’s harder to lose.  Also only bring toys that can be easily cleaned- airports are gross. 

Food- bring lots of it.  Don’t worry if you overfeed your child.  When it doubt or in panic mode just feed them

However beware of eating and drinking yourself.  Do you know what its like to hold an infant while trying to go to the bathroom in one of those tiny airplane bathrooms?  To add to this Ryan gave me a great tip that first time: wear pants with no buttons or zippers.  How can you do them when you have the baby in your arms?  I know, too much information but you need to think about these things if you are in this situation! :)
Get a window seat.  There is more leg room and you can lean against the window to try to keep your child from grabbing the passenger beside you.  Beware the very front seat.  Yes it has extra room but you can’t keep your bag with you!

Sometimes people will take pity on you.  People have helped me with the stroller, a pilot has gotten off the plane to help me up the stairs, and a sweet man held JT so I could drink my complimentary diet coke.  That man was an angel!  All this being said it’s amazing how many people will NOT help you, who close the door on you, won’t let you through the crowd when they call for people traveling with small children, etc.  It’s best to not expect any help and then it’s a pleasant surprise if you do. 

Without a doubt the two most stressful times during flight travel is getting through security and then getting on/off the plane.   You cannot keep a baby in any kind of carrier, stroller, etc.  I have also noticed that this is the time no one will help you and all the people are super intense and stressed. Always collapse the stroller (make sure you practice doing it with one hand)  first before you take your shoes off!!!  Don’t ever wear a jacket- another thing to take off.  It’s a juggling act to collapse the stroller, get your shoes off, put the backpack and stroller on the security belt, and hold your infant all at the same time.  Oh yeah, and you also have to have your ticket and license in your hand at the same time!  Have your liquids at the top of your book bag.  Bring a copy of the TSA policy on liquids for children.  You can bring more but sometimes the people are so clueless you have to get them straight.

Worth the $

Forget about the expense and get these ready- made bottles.  All you have to do is attach a nipple, shake it, and give it.  If you are alone holding your child how are you going to get the powder and shake it into the bottle?  Trust me, these are the way to go and then you can just chunk it in the trash! 
Remind yourself frequently that you don’t know these people and will never see them again.  On the four hour flight from St Thomas to our connection my child cried almost the entire time.  The people beside me didn’t even speak English but I just kept apologizing to everyone around me.  Yes they were miserable, James was miserable, and you better believe I was. 

And finally my number 1 tip for traveling alone with a baby is………don’t do it!  Bring a husband, friend, mother, etc.  Having another person makes SUCH a huge difference.  
Overall traveling has gotten less stressful.  Easier? Not so much.  However knowing what to expect and how to prepare goes a long way.  I look forward to the day where James can watch a movie on the portable dvd player for the plane ride! :) As I write this I am gearing up for another round of flights in the near future.   Look out Delta fliers, here we come!  

Can you see JT's wings?  He earned them on our last flight adventure!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Feeding Breakthrough!

Well I guess James heard me complaining that he would not feed himself and we even prayed for that skill yesterday at lunch time!  That combined with the fact that I kept giving him green beans instead of bread last night helped the light bulb come on.  Your dad and I are so proud of you! (and thankful that you are becoming more independent)

Before anyone complains about this video yes I realize that this bread is in really big chunks, and I would not have let him have it if Ryan hadn't been home and ready to intervene if it got stuck.  The kid probably would have fed himself earlier if I didn't chop his food up so small all the time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!!

Father's Day 2011

Even though Ryan was only 16 when we started dating I knew early on that he was going to be a great father.  Fast forward 11 years and I have seen every day since James arrived that my early assessment was correct.  James loves his Daddy SO much.  One of my favorite moments of the day is when I hear the garage open and James and I go to meet Ryan.  As soon as he sees his dad’s face James starts grinning, kicking, and going crazy.  No matter how long his day has been or how many times he got paged the night before Ryan always makes time to play and spend special time with his son.  I also must say that by Ryan being such a great dad he makes me a better mom as well.  He encourages me, calms my many fears, makes me laugh every day, and leads our family in a godly manner.  He brings many wonderful qualities to our family, and I am so thankful to have him help me figure out this “parenting” thing.   Thank you Ryan for loving James and I so much.  Happy Father’s Day!

First time holding James

 I wanted to do a special present from JT to his dad.  I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to put paint on my 10 month old child’s foot.  In my mind I was going to print off a sweet poem, put JT’s footprints painted on it, and frame it.  Well after about 10 attempts I scratched that idea and made a smaller copy to put in a magnet frame.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Getting ready

A little bit of paint went a long way all over the kitchen!

Father's Day lunch at Yeero Yeero!

This is to keep JT in one place :)

Watching the US Open together

Watching Daddy mow the grass out the window

Holding onto Daddy's hand

This is the book I gave Ryan last year for Father's Day when I was pregnant with JT

I have been triple blessed to have not only Ryan as a wonderful father to my child but to also have an amazing dad of my own and an awesome father-in-law.  My dad  and Ryan’s dad have both set the bar high for what a father should be and have been wonderful examples for their children throughout the years.  Wish we could have been in NC to celebrate Father’s Day with both of you!!!  

The Tenth Month

Stats: no doctor's appointment this month, but you are so heavy! You wear some 12 month clothes but mostly 18 months and are in a size 4 diaper.  

Likes:  sticking your tongue out at your dad, food, milk, playing with your toys, waving to people, talking as loud as possible, climbing all over everything and everyone, pulling on the blinds, taking the trash out of the trashcan, playing with your toys (especially balls and your ring stacker), grinding your teeth (which drives your mom crazy!) all food but especially Italian

Dislikes: being told to feed yourself, drinking from a cup, teething, having to take a nap, not being given an unlimited amount of Italian food

I cannot believe we have a ten month old!  That sounds so old, and I can't believe my sweet baby will be one in just a short while.  James, this has been the month of mobility.  You started crawling just a few days after your nine month birthday and haven't stopped moving since.  You are into everything and can crawl fast.  You normally crawl the fastest when you want to go see your Daddy, but when you want your mom you just sit still and scream for her.  You also are pulling up on anything you can find and have started walking when holding onto furniture.  The sweetest sound you make is when you call for Mama, and I love to hear it!  You love to eat and I can't believe the amount of food you consume each day.  So far you have 8 teeth and the drool associated with teething has been unbelievable! You get excited when we say, "milk, breakfast, lunch, and dinner" and start kicking and laughing with excitement. Every morning you wake up bright and early so you can hang out with your Daddy while he gets ready for work. Your dad and I love you more than you will ever know, and the time we get to spend together all three of us is both memorable and precious. We love you James!

Here are some of the memories from the past month. We have been trying to stay busy during the hot summer months here in Louisiana.  One of our new activities is going to story time each Wednesday at the library.  The kids do sign language, sing song, read stories, watch puppets, blow bubbles, etc.  James loves looking at the other kids and trying to participate.  Ryan got out of surgery early one day and got to meet us at the library.  We were so surprised! 

Story time

We also went to Barnes and Noble to try to beat the heat and read some books.  After destroying one area of the store and JT throwing up on the floor I decided it was time to move on. 

Ryan has had a little bit more flexible schedule this past month so we got to go meet him for lunch in between surgery and clinic one day at the hospital.  James and I went to clinic to meet all of his nurses.  James was the talk of the clinic!

We also had our first play date with our neighbor's twins.  We tried to take a walk, but we started to melt from the heat and Jack decided he was not so happy.  Instead the kids just played on the floor and had a great time.

I don't let JT watch television yet, but one day I was desperate.  I really needed a little break. I finally caved and let him watch a Baby Einstein.  However the joke was on me because after 5 minutes he was done being interested! So much for that plan.  

TV time!

One of our issues this past month has been what to do about the car being hot.  Since James is rear facing and we don't have vents in the back of the car, it is really hot.  It also has been almost 100 degrees or over the entire month of June so far!  So....this was Ryan's solution.  James was pretty surprised the first day, but he likes his fan now. 

As mentioned earlier James is officially into everything, and our house will never recover.  Here is some of the evidence of that!

Taking out the spices
The fireplace is a cool toy


We continue to have a strong-willed child who will touch, pick up, and put food on floor but refuse to put in mouth!
A few other memories from the tenth month:

Breakfast at Chick-fil-a

Taking a break from playing
Life is tiring around here!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Super Saturday

I wanted to title this blog entry “the market, a makeover, and a meal” but Ryan informed me that boys don’t get “makeovers”. So anyway today was a special, jam packed Saturday. Ryan was off work which is always a great thing and we decided our game plan for the day. We were going to go to the Farmer’s Market as soon as JT got up from his nap and then I was going to get dropped off at the gym for Zumba while Ryan and JT went to Home Depot. Well…things didn’t go exactly as we planned. We got to the Farmer’s Market and it was packed!!! It was about 3 times the size from last year and there were no close parking spots. We ended up parking about as far away as possible and due to the fact that we got a later than planned start it was baking outside! I also had the bright idea that since James hates his stroller Ryan should carry him in the backpack carrier for the first time. Have we mentioned that our child is in the 90th percentile for weight? I put him on Ryan’s back and I though Ryan was about to fall out. The market had all sorts of neat food and things to purchase. Ryan got an awesome breakfast burrito and I bought the world’s largest zucchini. After walking to all the booths we were sweltering and still had the mile long hike back to the car. By the time we got there it felt like we had run a marathon. We were all sweaty…even James and he wasn’t even doing anything! I turned my car on and the thermometer read 109 degrees. At that point I knew I had to scratch the gym and somehow we talked ourselves into going to the boardwalk for pizza.

Starting the walk to the market

Finally back to the car

Is it time for lunch?

We finally made it back home and it was time for a monumental step in our life: JT’s first haircut. Honestly I did not want to cut it. For some reason I was sentimental about it, and it made me sad that my little baby was grown up enough to have to have a haircut. But here are some of the reasons why I caved in:

1. His front hair reached his mouth when wet and combed down

2. His side burns reached below his ears

3. He was developing a cross

between a mullet and a rat tail in the back

4. From the time he was little

everyone has thought he was a girl.

Maybe shorter hair will help this issue!

5. He was running into things

because his hair was blocking his vision

Since moving from NC I have not found anyone I trust to cut my hair which sounds ridiculous but my hair is not easy to cut and I have had the same hairdresser since I was 7. Most places won’t even cut a baby’s hair until they are 1 so Ryan and I decided he would just cut it. My main goal was for it to NOT look like a big boy haircut. Just a little tiny trim. We had to bribe James with a bottle to stay still but we got it done.


Getting ready...


The attempt at a mohawk

James showing off his new haircut and his new trick: the wave
Ryan got a haircut too- but not by me!
Finally we decided to grill up some of the veggies we got today along with shrimp kabobs. I also made some sweet potato chips. The veggies were awesome!!! Too bad we don’t have anyone to come eat with us- we had way too much!

In between all this excitement today I also managed to go to the grocery store, do laundry, unload and load the dishwasher twice, made a coffee cake, Ryan got a haircut, remounted the video monitor, and I got a nap! All in all it was a fun, somewhat productive, family day. A "super Saturday" indeed! :)