we're finally back from our extended thanksgiving holiday break and are settling back into the routine of our daily life. i think that the three of us would be content spending every day on the beach and that's pretty much what we did for the duration of our trip. there's something about being by the ocean that brings my soul to rest. i spent the majority of my evenings during pregnancy walking along the surf and just the smell of the ocean immediately brings me back to the days when holden was swimming in my belly. i think holden can feel the magic of it and gets so excited that he can't quite make up his mind on what he should do when we're there. he's got fistfuls of sand and then he's emptying them into the air, he's jumping in the waves and then avoiding the water all together, he's collecting shells and seaweed and then leaving them behind.
on this particular day, we stopped by the wave house and watched some surprisingly good surfers take on the man-made wave. holden was in complete awe and when they stopped, he kept signing again, again. perhaps we have a future surfer on our hands.
i love sharing holden with family and showing him off to the people we don't get to see as often. these days my little boy is filled with so much joy. he used to be quite shy, but he has turned into an outgoing little guy who loves putting on a show for those who will watch. he's really funny and i think he knows it. i'm pretty sure that he enjoys his own jokes as much as everyone else does.
we flew to san diego yesterday and let holden bring his own roller backpack. he's pretty obsessed with dragging and pulling things around the house at the moment so we thought that he would love getting to carry his own bag. it was honestly one of the cutest things in the entire world...although trying to herd a 15-month old in the direction of the gate in a timely fashion when you're running just a tad late wasn't easy, so next time we will have to make sure we have a little more time before the flight takes off so he can really enjoy it.
although i am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that they are here already, the holidays are quickly approaching which means the busiest travel season of the year. we have made a few trips with holden so far and we seem to learn something each time. i always love hearing what works for other mamas when they travel with little ones so i thought i would share a few travel with baby tips that i've learned from our experiences (and would love to hear yours too!). it can sometimes seem a bit daunting, but flying with a baby or toddler doesn't have to be stressful. below are a few different tips on how to make traveling with little ones easier...
1. buy your baby a seat. if you book early enough and have the extra money to spend, this is something i highly recommend. now that holden is older, it is pretty much impossible to contain him on my lap for more than five minutes and anyone sitting next to me is going to get a fist or foot in their side at some point throughout the flight. if you can find other ways to save money on your trip, i definitely think that spending the few extra hundred dollars on a seat for your little one is worth it because nothing can wreck a trip like an awful flight. if you can't afford it...remember that the gate agents are your friends. we have been lucky in that almost every time we have travelled, we have been given an entire row to ourselves. if you find yourself onboard and you've had no luck with the gate agents, but it looks like there are a few extra seats throughout the plane, ask the flight attendants (or even the passengers) if you can switch. no one likes flying with a fussy baby so most people are willing to help out.
2. check your luggage and your carseat. a lot of people bring carry-ons and gate check their carseat, but we like to get have as many hands free as possible. when you're chasing after a little one, the less stuff you have to keep track of the better. so when you arrive at the airport, check as much stuff as you can at the ticket counter.
2. wear your baby. the first time we flew, despite the fact that we were going to the grandparents house who own a stroller we could use, we thought that bringing our stroller was vital to efficient travel in that it could haul our baby and everything else. but the truth is, it made flying a lot harder than it had to be because emptying out the stroller, taking off a stroller wheel to make it fit through the x-ray machine (yes, they made us do that), and then putting it back together and re-packing it again made us that family that nobody wants to be stuck behind in the security line. we have since left the stroller at home. i now wear holden in our favorite carrier, the boba, through check-in and security (they let you wear your baby through security which makes it a breeze). once we are through security, i let him down to roam free and get out any extra energy or if it's during his nap time, i nurse him to sleep in the carrier. either way, i love when i can get through security faster than the frequent fliers.
2. bring an easy to carry diaper bag. over-the-shoulder diaper bags always seem to slip off the shoulder when you are carrying a baby, luggage, and for us, a dog, so finding a diaper bag that could be worn over the shoulder or on our backs made life a million times easier. dustin has the storksak jamie diaper bag and being able to wear the bag across our bodies instead of just hanging off of our shoulders gives us a few extra hands.
3. bring lots of snacks. now that holden is older, he's not as eager to breastfeed during take-off and landing. he is way too excited about being on the plane, the remote that is nestled into his arm rest, and all of the new people around him. so to help his ears, we bring easy-to-eat finger foods, like cheerios or sliced apples, that we can pop into his mouth throughout take-off and landing. we love the itzy ritzy reusable snack bags because we can use them throughout our entire trip and they double as a toy. we have the funky monkey bags and holden pretends to feed the monkeys on the bag and make them talk.
4. bring lots of water. although the plane has water onboard, you can't always get a bottle of water before take-off and this is another item we consider necessary for take-offs and landings. helps wash down his snacks and in case he isn't hungry, we can offer him sips of water to help pop his ears.
5. bring a handful of toys you don't care to lose. we try to bring a small handful of new toys to entertain holden throughout the flight, and we learned after our first flight to bring ones that we didn't mind losing (because you can plan on losing one or two throughout your trip). i usually like to bring bath toys (like these or these) because they are small and can easily fit in the diaper bag, they are cheap so its no big deal if we lose them, and they come in a variety pack so each one is new and exciting. another great option are the animals from the dollar store.
6. bring a few favorite books. i don't know about your child, but holden is pretty picky when it comes to books. he can read a book he loves over and over and over again, and sometimes the books i think he will love, he loses interest after the first page. so instead of going out to buy new books for the trip, i always bring a few of his favorites for the flight.
7. have a few emergency iphone apps. we generally keep holden on a strict media diet, but there are times that we need a quick form of distraction. we have a few iphone apps and youtube videos that we use when nothing else seems to work. if you don't have it already, you must download elmo calls. a guy at the apple store recommended it to me when i was pregnant and it is the best 99 cents i have ever spent. who knew facetiming with elmo could be so entertaining? that app and this video of baby monkeys are my last resort when holden is done playing and done reading and we still have a half hour left on the plane.
8. book an airbnb. if you're not staying with family or friends, book an airbnb over a hotel room. hotels are fantastic in that you have bellhops and room service and indoor pools, but unless you want to spend the hundreds of dollars to upgrade to a suite, you will most likely be stuck in one small room. this means that once the little one goes down for the night (for holden that is 7 PM in the evening), you are stuck whispering to each other for the remainder of the night or hiding out in the bathroom. we have had wonderful experiences with airbnb. we have usually found we can book a place with similar pricing to hotels and even if we book a one bedroom apartment, we know that we will have a separate bedroom and living room.
9. download a white noise app. since he was a newborn, holden has always slept with white noise. i think he could sleep without it, but having the comforts of home in an unfamiliar place is always helpful for acclimating a little one to new surroundings. instead of lugging our noise machine with us, we bring along an old itouch and download this app.
10. use the evoz baby monitor. we have a video monitor at home, but it can be a pain to travel with so when we travel, we use the evoz baby monitor. you just need two phones (or an itouch), one will act as the monitor and the other will act as the receiver. and you can even set it so that it sends text messages to different phone numbers when it detects a sound.
11. get baby necessities delivered to your destination. on diapers.com you can get diapers, wipes, and any other baby necessities delivered right to your destination. delivery is free and usually arrives the next morning. it's a great way to save on space when you pack and not have to worry about forgetting an important item.
what you have found to be most helpful when traveling with your little one? i would love to hear what works for you.
over the weekend, dustin headed down to santa barbara for his lacrosse alumni weekend so as not to miss out on a getaway, i decided to take holden on a little trip of our own and so we headed down to the monterey aquarium with my mom. holden hates (as in hates!!! my kid and being confined just don't go together) the car, so making the two hour drive down to monterey was a big deal for us. i'm not quite sure what i was expecting, but i just thought it was going to be bigger, or grander, or just something more. i thought there would be killer whales or great whites or dolphins the way that the museum is hyped (am i thinking sea world?), but it was oddly similar to the (much smaller) sf aquarium by the bay or the scripps aquarium in la jolla.
holden's first reaction was amazement and for the first 15 minutes or so, he was completely mesmerized by the floor to ceiling tanks, pointing and oooing and aaahing over the brightly, colored fish that swam by. but after the two hour drive and the 15 minutes of newness, my little wild child was ready to run free. being veterans weekend, it was a pretty packed and there was no way i would be able to keep track of him in the crowds so i couldn't let him down and he was frustrated with being confined to the carrier or the stroller (i attempted both).
luckily the museum had an open balcony that looked out over the ocean and i spent the majority of my time playing chase with the little man outside. we also spent quite a lot of time at the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser by the touch tanks that was just low enough for holden to reach (he's kind of obsessed with washing his hands).
i suppose the little man always finds a way to be entertained one way or another....even when it's what i least expect.
this weekend seemed to last forever. it felt as though we did a million different things and it almost felt like a mini little vacation for some reason. we were pretty much out and about the entire weekend and holden was so happy the entire time. i love days where all he does is laugh, smile, and be silly. after such a fun-filled weekend, i'm exhausted and looking forward to climbing into bed right now with my boys, but first i wanted to share a few pictures of our weekend. holden is obsessed with pumpkins and airplanes at the moment so here are some pictures of his favorite parts from the weekend...the pumpkin patch and watching the blue angels during fleet week.
also, at the pumpkin patch holden tried to pick up every single large pumpkin that he saw. he would bend over and make a grunting noise as he attempted to lift 40 pounds of pumpkin. we tried to appease him with a small pumpkin, but all he really wanted was to carry a large pumpkin. his efforts at lifting were so cute.