It’s the day of travel and the car is loaded up! Remember that when traveling fashion should be the last thing on your mind, however please don’t forget the deodorant for your neighbors sake. A splash of mascara and lip-gloss is alright, but if you’re traveling with kids chances are one will end up in your lap and anything will just get smeared so might as well take a few extra Z’s and skip it. Do apply lip-gloss if you’re like me and airplane air dries you out. Wear clothing that doesn’t have metal, straps on shoes, ties on shoes if you can(depends on where you’re going and weather), avoid anything low cut or you may end up providing a show you didn’t plan on, and skirts may not be the best idea for the previously stated reason. I wore jeans (no belt), crocs, a tee shirt, with my hair in a pony tail, and no jewelry other than my wedding ring because if it sets off the sensor than that’s additional time I have to spend at the security check point. My husband wore shorts no belt needed, crocs, and a tee shirt. Our son wore a shirt, socks, and shorts. My daughter wore her flip flops with socks (easy off and on with no metal) and a dress because her dad dressed her, but she looked cute and it travelled well.
First, we dropped off the dogs at the dog sitter and unloaded their items. We said good bye and to be honest I felt like I was leaving 3 of my kids behind. That said in no way would I be loading 3 dogs on a plane without moving somewhere that driving isn’t an option. That is one task I’m not ready to explore or conquer without knowing it was a onetime deal or there would at least be months before attempting it again. I do admit to tearing up at leaving them. It is amazing how a furry animal can become such a close family member and friend that our hearts are pulled when we must be away.
Next, find parking. We brought towels to cover the babies car seat and tried to park as close to the airport bus stop as possible in economy parking. It is Arizona and heat is still heat so if you live somewhere hot expect hot when you get back. We loaded up and trucked over to the stop just in time for a bus to pull up a few seconds later. My husband loaded the big suitcase, a travel bag, and my daughter onto the bus. Remember that my daughter is now in her car seat with the GOGO BABY attached and Fold and play tray. My son is in the front loader carrier and strapped to my front with a bag on each of my arms. We have a fairly smooth ride to the main building and unload last to save our fellow riders the wait of our unloading process.
Next stop is checking in inside because we have a lap baby. We are both loaded down and the kids are nicely quiet taking it all in. Once we get to the counter, birth certificates and shot records are given along with our ID’s. The bag is checked and we get the lap baby boarding pass, ID’s, and records back. Ah, one bag lighter we go into the security line. The kids love all the attention and craziness going on around them. My daughter is playing hide and seek with everyone who looks at her using her fold and go tray to hide behind, my son is just staring and randomly exploding with wiggles in the front loader and my husband and me are ready to be sitting and not in line for a few minutes. We get to security and the unloading begins. Unload the toddler from the seat which has to be hand checked, take out all fluids and they go to the testing table to meet us, shoes off, baby out of front loader so front loader can go in a tray, everything in trays and finally we walk through the detector. The reloading starts again, putting shoes back on, baby back in front loader, making sure everything is back in the bags(laptops etc), and my husband goes to retrieve the car seat to reload the toddler who is loving the moment of freedom. Once reloaded, we go to the testing table to witness the testing. All the food, bottles, medicines, tubes of cream, and even the wipes were tested. Once cleared, everything is put back and we are ready to find our terminal!
A quick check of the screens and the terminal is found! Yeah, now to put all the bags down and change diapers before we load! The hubby smartly grabs us some breakfast which we share with the toddler and no sooner do we stuff the food down, but our plane is boarding! Up again, bags in place boarding passes and records in hand we give the ticket taker the documents. Records are given back and we are allowed to enter the tunnel to the plane. At this time bags are transferred to me except one since my husband will have to lift up and carry the car seat holding my daughter which up to this point has been wheeled.
We choose a seat in the back and as I walk by apologizing for any bags or discomfort I may be causing those on the isle I also warn of my husband coming behind me with the car seat so people can watch their heads since he can’t see them over the seat. We pick a seat in the back, close to a bathroom and to allow us to exit last disturbing as few people as possible. I move aside so my husband can set the car seat and daughter in her seat by the window as required. I put the bags in one seat, unstrapped my son who goes to dad and squeeze in to unstrapped the GOGOBABY and than attach the car seat to the airplane seat using the method shown in my car seat owner’s manual which I smartly put in the green folder. Daughter situated, I go to organizing bags, food bag under seat in front of her, diaper bag under seat in front of husband and toy bag in front of me. Son is handed to me and my husband puts his carry one and the GOGOBABY in the overhead before finally settling into his seat.
Sippy’s and bottles are brought out and we get ready for a cramped and long flight to Maryland! During the flight I did my best to keep my daughter who isn’t used to napping sitting up quiet and entertained with what we brought, made sure she didn’t kick the seat in front of her, and did what I could to respect those around us. Some passengers were kind and would later say our kids did amazingly well at travelling. Others gave looks of annoyance before they even sat down telling me they were either just rude people or had bad experiences. I will admit to a slight temptation to allow a kick to occur, but the desire to have a child who is well behaved overruled my desire to remind people to not judge a book by the cover.
There were other children on the flight, mostly older than mine with one other infant and compared to most of them my kids did amazing. There were some older kids who were very well behaved, but their parents also seemed to have preplanned and made sure to work with the kids before the flight as I heard may of comments regarding previous plane talks and noticed plane oriented toys and books. I’m hoping that early discipline, training, and preplanning will allow for my kids to continue being in the group of little breakdowns and misbehavior.
The flight back was very similar. Naturally, we were so glad to be back home mainly because that’s where our puppies were. We also like having our own beds to sleep in as do most people, but did not enjoy finding that our gas tank was mysteriously empty (was one quarter full when we parked it I know because I literally checked the night before to make sure we had enough gas for the trip to drop off the dogs, airport, back to dogs, and home! Can you say siphoned!) or that a dust storm resembling something off the Mummy pulled into town about an hour after we got home.
While the plane rides were hectic and stressful I was glad we had the foresight to pack, talk, create, and strategize like we had. It made for an easier transition and smoother travel. Of course travelling to be with family does make you think about how much easier raising a family is when there are extended family around to share moments with and to help out. To close, like anything that takes time, energy, planning, and a few bumps in the road there is always a reward at the end. For example: Getting to meet family for the first time, see amazing parts of this country’s history come to life in a reenactment, visiting our great capital and being amazed at how big and little it is at the same time, finding out who your spouse is by seeing where they grew up, and of course the Maryland blue crabs from E J's Restaurant in Union Bridge, Maryland! Seriously, their Old Bay is amazing and the crabs are so taste if you get the chance, get some! I wish I had some now! At the end of every journey we find ourselves expanded and our taste buds hungry for more!!!!
The picture is of me enjoying some crab at the crabfeed!
The video is of my husband and I talking about the dust storm and what we saw out our window and on the news. Ignore my exhausted look, we just got home and are unpacking from our trip, you can see just how crazy the storm is by the look on my face and the tone/words my husband uses to describe the storm. The storm left clean up of about a week for our pool vacuum and my husband since it kept clogging the pool vac and sticking to the sides of the pool! It is about ten minutes long.
I definately recommend getting this product to help you travel with kids in the upright car seats!