Friday, December 13, 2013

Advice for Traveling With a 9-12 Month Old

We've been blessed enough to have flown a lot in Bennett's little life! When he was a newborn, we took a trip to Seattle and then a trip to Georgia and both times I was SO nervous. I thought the world might actually end the night before our trip. Well.. here's a little secret. Traveling with a little baby is REALLY EASY! You put them in the Ergo, they sleep. You fly. They sleep. You feed them, they sleep. You don't need much with you, an extra burp rag or two and an extra outfit. And those nifty scented bags for the dirty diaper. But everyone helps you because your baby is so tiny and precious and they feel bad for you having to brave the airport alone.

Then we took a break from traveling (also known as summer when you work at a camp) and when it was time to fly again my baby was all grown up into a BIG baby! We flew when Bennett was 9 months, 10 months, and will have another trip tomorrow and he is 11 months! Flying is different when they're bigger so without further ado, I give you: Advice for flying with a big Baby!

1. Bring your husband if at all possible.
Just kidding. No but really, bring him. We've had Zach on three out of eight flights and oh, it's wonderful. It's so much easier to have a 2nd seat for the baby to spread out in, but also help with feeding and diaper changes! And carrying luggage..

2. Do not be afraid to ask for help!!!!!!
Going through security with a baby, stroller, diaper bag (that they have to sort through and swipe your bottles, etc), AND having to remove your shoes, is just NOT easy. Last time, I couldn't figure out how to get my Ergo back on and my shoes back on, and hold B (I didn't have a stroller that time) so I just looked at the TSA guy and said, "Can you hold him for me?". And he did! Made it a lot easier and probably brightened his day a little ;) Now, obviously don't do that if they're super busy or cranky looking. But there was no line and he was just standing there watching me. Also, I always look for someone who looks about my mom's age to sit next to in the terminal and airplane. Works like a charm. They totally want to hold your baby while you re-organize your bag or find your ticket and ID.

3. Wear your baby.
I tried pushing the baby and wearing the diaper bag, and the other way is just easier. If you are taking a stroller & carseat, put the diaper bag in the stroller and push it, and wear the baby. It's easier on your back and it is nice to have both of your hands free. I also feel safer having Bennett on me, like people are less likely to touch him. Please don't touch him, I don't know you or what kind of germies you're carrying around with you. I love our Ergo, and keep my ID, cell phone, and ticket in the zipper pocket on the front of it.

4. Pack light.
I typically check our luggage (thank you Southwest for free checked bags!) and just carry the diaper bag. When I was breastfeeding, it was especially easy. Now that we do bottles, I take 2-3 empty bottles, and a bottle of water to fill them. The little formula container that's pre-measured. An extra outfit for baby. A small thing of wipes, and enough diapers for a change every 2 hours (you just never know!). And a ziploc bag and a target bag. I bring Lysol wipes to wipe down the seat, tray table, etc. Chapstick and hand sanitizer for mama. A flannel receiving blanket to use as a burp cloth or blanket.

5. Sit in the window.
On one airline (Alaska or Delta, can't remember) you have to sit in the window seat because that's where the infant air masks are. Originally, I thought I would have chosen the aisle so I'd have more room. Well it turns out the window really is best. You have a wall to lean against instead of a person, which is great for napping. Also, if it's light out, your baby can look out the window! And if you breastfeed, you can totally cocoon into the window and no one even knows what you're doing. Win-win.

6. Rough schedule
Be easy going when you're traveling. Your baby's routine is going to be completely thrown off. I usually try to change Bennett's diaper RIGHT before boarding, so that if it's a 3 hour flight or less I won't have to change him in the airplane. Well.. unless he poops. Then I just pray it stays in the diaper until I can get outta the seat and into the itty bitty disgusting bathroom they expect you to be able to fit into with a wiggling child.  I feed him extra snacks in the morning to hopefully keep him full, and the bottles when he wants them. It hasn't worked out for him to eat as we take-off yet, but he takes a binky so he's fine. One really awesome thing about airplanes is that they're like giant white noise machines! Bennett typically takes REALLY good naps on the plane. I usually get everything settled, feed him, etc, and once we're up in the air I put him back into the ergo, give his binky, and rock back and forth or bounce in my seat until he settles down. Then we both sleep for a long, long time. It's the bomb.

7. Use the gate check option for your stroller/carseat.
The first time I flew, I gate checked my stroller and carseat. It was super easy and nice to have somewhere to put Bennett down in in the terminal. You just fold it up when you get down the tunnel, and then magically it's in that exact same place when you arrive at your destination. Cool, huh? Well the 2nd time I flew, I saw the lady in front of me checking hers at the ticket counter. So I asked the ticket agent and she said, "honestly, I don't recommend doing it this way. It just gets thrown around with the luggage and often times gets damaged." Then I thought about it, if you are supposed to replace carseats even in the tiniest of automobile accidents because of hairline fractures in the plastic, isn't this like way worse? So now we always gatecheck ours. Its safer, and it's nice to have through security. If you're flying alone and trying to get your stroller/carseat/shoes/diaper bag/carrier on the belt through security, please refer to point #2! :)

8. Dress you and baby in layers.
You never know if you're gonna be freezing or having hot flashes. Much easier if you can add or remove layers! Also, slip-on shoes make the security check much easier.

9. Take a deep breath!
You can do this! I have heard many stories of people being rude on planes, but I've never experienced it. People have generally been very helpful and kind! Take a deep breath, give yourself a mental peptalk, and enjoy your travels :) A happy mama = a happy baby!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Being in the Picture & a Photo Canvas

Have you guys seen the articles about moms being in the pictures more? I've been reading them since Bennett was born and I think it's really important! There are a few awesome one geared towards new moms, but this one is my favorite.

I did gain more weight than I'd have chosen during pregnancy, and since having Bennett I haven't prioritized getting back "in shape" (I say that loosely because I'm pretty sure I've never been in shape, haha!). All the mama blogs and articles have really helped me accept my post pregnancy, post c-section body. 

We had some newborn photos taken by my amazing friend Breanna, and this fall I REALLY wanted to get family photos done again! Bennett has changed so much this year and I love having family pictures up. We had our photos done just around the corner from the camp we work at :)

Signazon contacted me at the perfect time! They asked me to choose a product from their website, and I was originally going to choose some business tools for my essential oils team. Then I saw they had photo canvases! I've always wanted one :)

I love having the blown up family picture to look at! It was so easy to order and Signazon shipped it within 24 hours of placing my order. I am excited to print smaller pictures to put around it!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Truth About Me

So lately I've been trying to get myself back in the blogging habit. I really miss it, writing is an amazing outlet and helps me to find my voice when I can't make sense of my thoughts. It's also brought forth some incredible friendships, which has been awesome.

I bought myself a pretty new blog design, I've made more of an effort to get posts up semi-frequently, and I've been trying to redo my "About Me" section. I need to redo all my pages at the top, because my life is not beauty-full or crafty anymore, but I want to focus on the About Me page. That's where I click first when I visit new blogs so I thought it needed an update.

The thing is, I can't quite figure out what to write. I've been a mom now for 11 months (tomorrow) and I'm finally coming out of a kind of newborn fog, turned busy summer, turned pouty fall because I felt so sorry for myself.

I'm finally feeling normal again but motherhood does something to you. It's very humbling but also eye-opening to reality. There is no hiding anything. It's the most real thing I've ever experienced.

In this very real time in my life, these are the things that come to mind when I try to think of what to write "about me":

  • I usually forget to pay my credit card bill. It's a really (really) bad habit, and I have reminders set, see the emails, and still just forget. Luckily I don't put much money on it, otherwise it would get ugly fast. Anyways, I'm working on this. 
  • I'm 25 years old and I still don't know what it's like to just be me. I envy people who are so comfortable in their own skin. I don't know if it stems from moving so much when I was growing up or just a lack of confidence, but I feel like I have to morph into someone else depending who I'm around. Be gentle and sweet around the meek type, be loud and funny around the boisterous type. I hate that. I'm seriously praying and working on it, and also on figuring out just who I am.
  • I do not look cute very often. I'm a stay at home mom, and not one of the ones who wakes up before the baby, puts on new clothes, and a little bit of make up to freshen up. I wake up after my baby's been crying for long enough, brush my teeth with him in my arms, and usually wear the same ponytail and pajamas I slept in until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. You better warn me before you stop by because I probably haven't put a bra on yet.
  • I don't think I'm a very good friend. I really love having close friendships, I thrive off that intimacy. I just don't feel like I'm good at being that friend! Love me through it..
  • I like to be surrounded by people. I love when my house is full of friends, family, acquaintances, etc.
  • My house is ALWAYS messy. I don't get it. I promise I do pick up and clean. It's just a mess all.the.time.
  • I'm soooo hard on myself. Like, in all aspects of life. It's hard for me to admit or accept when I am actually doing well at something. A few months ago, I started using Young Living Essential Oils, and subsequently became a distributor. I am having serious financial success with these, yet each month I think, "I'm probably done. Anyone who would want some EOs has already bought them, so this is the month that it ends." Well thank you friends, because this has yet to happen. As hard as it is for me to say, I'm doing really well with this! And honestly, the best part is, these oils are dramatically helping people and their families with their health! *pat myself on the back*
  • I have learned more about LOVE in the last 11 months than in my entire life. I understand when people say "Jesus can never love you any more or any less than he does. He just loves you." I get it now. I get why my parents did so much for us. You just do. You just love them.
  • I usually have good intentions. With my words, with my actions, whatever. I have good intentions. My biggest frustration is when people assume I have bad/mean intentions. I don't. 
  • I'm really good at talking about things. Talk about them all the ding dong day. Doing them? Not so much. :)
And there ya go. I'll wait awhile before re-writing my About Me section so as not to scare anyone away :) Also, I went and paid my credit card before publishing this post. Phew.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bennett's First Halloween!

Most people don't know this about my hunk of a husband, but he's actually a real live cowboy. He even has a degree in cowboy. Like for reals. 

Anyways, when I saw this little costume I just COULD NOT pass it up! I thought I would do something clever and/or creative but this little moo-cow just takes the cake :)

and he's off.. this baby is just not into sitting still anymore!!