Posted in Two Cents Worth of...

Traveling Tales

We recently took a trip out west to Colorado to enjoy skiing the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They’re a favorite place of mine to visit and stare at since it looks like a postcard every way you turn. I was so excited to take our son because well, it’s Colorado and a vacation with the family!

Our travels bring a list of things I can share with you. This is not a blog about “travel tips” per say, but more of a relation to not sweating the small stuff. At the time, they weren’t small, but looking back on them as I write this, they were.

I plan. We’ve determined that in other blogs I have written. This past year I have become much more lax in that regard and simply am learning to go with the flow of things the best I can without being hypersensitive to planning every single detail because realistically, it was messing with my anxiety and I could not continue to live like that.

Well, that caused some turmoil for our tip. Whoops.

Let’s start at the beginning. My best friend met us to take us to the airport and drop us off with all of our luggage. I stuffed my rear end in the back seat with my kid and all our crap while we drove out. I was so confident we had all that we needed for this trip and we were ready to go.

Meanwhile, I was panicking inside since the night before because of all these mask rules still and my son is 2 years old, meaning he’s legally required to wear one in airports. This was also a 4-hour flight for us and I was concerned about how well he would do.

We had practiced wearing a mask at home the week before and talked about how we would wear it. He is a great kid when we give him prep time for anything. If we don’t spring anything on him, he’s game for it!

We hop out of the car at the curbside check in and begin to gather out stuff. That’s when my husband and I realize we forgot my son’s winter jacket. In the middle of January, on our way to Colorado for a ski trip. I forgot his winter coat.

We had both assumed the other had grabbed it on our way out of the house. He was dressed in a t shirt and a warm zip up sweatshirt for the flight as we did for ourselves too. He wasn’t naked.

It gets better.

As I begin to check us in curbside, the employee asks, “how old is he?” I tell him he is two. Panic comes over his face for us. My dumbass failed to understand he rules of the “magic of 2” for flights. He was required to have a seat and my understanding was that he could still be a lap kid on the flight.

That whole “go with the flow” attitude just bit me in the ass. I booked these tickets months ago assuming it was all ready to go!

My poor husband was already stressed about the coat, and I see his face shift from calm to “oh, shit” as I watched him peel his layers off from sweating. I was now sweating and panicking even more inside, hiding it from him and my son trying to keep things calm like I have control of the situation.

Fast forward a touch and we had the kindest employee inside at the ticket counter help us. He was able to book him a ticket and match our price, so we were not gauged for an honest mistake. I am so very thankful for his patience and kindness in that moment! He was a dad himself and was so understanding with us. I’ll be forever thankful for his calmness and helping us out at that moment!

Now we get into line for the security checkpoint. My son is rocking his cute dinosaur mask like a champ. As we get closer my husband and I pull out our boarding passes and our IDs. My husband freaks out looking for his driver’s license. *face palm*

Here is where some of my overprepared-ness did come into play! I always pack our passports for travel in fear of needing them. I looked at him and told him calmy, “I have the passports, it’s fine.”

He continues to freak out on where his ID is. Finally, he finds it. Somehow, he tucked it in behind another card that he has never put it behind before. Either way, it was all good.

We are three for three on issues and not even to our terminal. However, that was the end of them!

A refreshing moment while all of this was happening was when a mom and her young son were ahead of us. My son and hers became quick friends over what he was watching on the tablet. It was a cute and quick friendship that helped them both go through security easily. They were also on our flight when we had passed her and she offered me a kind, “good luck!” for the flight.

We survived the airport and flight with no major issues at all. In fact, he did amazing on the flight! The best part of the day was when we arrived at my friend’s home and enjoyed a beer after that anxiety driven day, celebrating that we made it.

Now I have no real fun stories during the week in Colorado to offer. The trip was great. We all enjoyed our time out there making memories and skiing the beautiful mountains. We had even purchased a new coat my son absolutely loves at Walmart that he’ll probably fit into next winter.

The next story again comes during the travel part!

We had packed up with my parents in their rental car and stuffed all of us into it to begin our excursion back to Denver for our flight. My son had his chocolate milk and asked to watch his tablet. It was a 2 hour drive, so no problem!

Well, we have a tablet holder in our car at home that holds it to the headrest, so he is looking up at it and not down. Apparently, he gets car sick looking down. We never knew until this drive.

Picture this, the back seat was me, my mom and my son in that order in the car. As I’m talking to her, looking at her in the direction of my kid, I see everything unfold in slow motion.

Vomit projects from him and goes everywhere. He has not spit up since he was an infant. Honest.

He begins to freak out because it scared him. My husband was driving and he is trying to find a safe place to pull over on the highway. My mom and I begin looking all over the tightly packed car for anything to help us begin cleaning up. I’m hopping out of the car as he is still coming to a stop to get to the other side to begin consoling my kid.

Here is where I wish we had video surveillance of the situation unfold.

My dad was not sure what to do or where to go as we all began to scramble. I had only asked him to open all the windows because I started gagging from the smell of rotten milk puke. My husband quickly finds new clothes in the trunk for my son. My mom is pulling out wet wipes to begin cleaning up. I am unclipping my son and getting him out of the car. We stripped him as quickly as we could and put new clothes on him.

We must have gone through a half pack of wet wipes cleaning the car. To boot, this was a rental. It was everywhere!

In a matter of less than 10 minutes, we had this whole situation under control. I had placed my son in the front passenger seat for a few minutes too while my mom and I had finished finding what we could to clean up the rest. Realistically, there is only so much you can do on the side of a highway, in a rental car, with wet wipes to clean a car.

I had to sit next to him the rest of our drive so he would remain calm because he was pretty scared from what had happened. I mean, I dislike puking more than anything and it hasn’t happened to him in a long while! But we made it without any other issues. We found a great restaurant in Denver to enjoy lunch at and all settle again.

Our flight home was uneventful but perfect for our little guy. We made it home safely and all in one piece!

The moral to this entire blog is simply that, shit happens. Planning or not, you have to roll with the punches thrown at you as a parent. I’m not even telling you to remain calm because well, I didn’t for that last event on our trip and yet we made it out fine!

They’re all memories in our minds that we can finally laugh about. Every moment is not the best but, they’re moments we make it through!

If they didn’t happen, our vacation wouldn’t have been nearly as eventful! I wouldn’t have anything to tell you other that was worth of being told in this blog. It would have sounded like an Instagram post of perfect pictures not showing the reality of traveling on a family vacation!

What fun is that?!

Posted in Mom life, Two Cents Worth of...

Traveling with a Toddler

We recently went to Florida to visit my in-laws for my father-in-law’s 60th birthday and given everything going on, I certainly thought about driving there.

Once I accepted the actual reality of putting a 20 month old into a car for an 18 hour, give or take, car ride we decided against it and went with the option of flying on a 2 hour and 20 minute flight.

Mom brain makes you think all the worst of course. So rather than explain every single one I had, let’s fast forward to how we did for his very first flights to and from Florida.

I asked friends on Facebook for their best traveling tips for a kiddo on the plane and I went to the ever trustworthy Pinterest. 😉

I gathered all of the fun tips that truly did allow us to have a pretty awesome trip with our little dude.

Below are a few of them that maybe will help you or you can store for the next trip you take. Thank you to all of my friends who shared the wonderful tips for us to use and now pass along to others!

  • If you are traveling with a car seat, it flies free. This was for Spirit Airlines.

  • Said car seat is also NOT weighed by the airlines. Use this to your advantage. Strap in your bulky items. We packed his diapers, life jacket, wipes and our jackets into the car seat. This saved room and weight in our baggage. (This was my favorite tip given to me so I had to share it because I would not have thought of this!)

  • If you have a diaper bag, I’ve recommended this before, but get yourself the backpack types. They’re much easier to carry with a child than a bag over your shoulder.

  • Arrive roughly 1 ½ hours before your flight. Here’s my thought on it and it worked PERFECTLY for us both times. You always board about a half hour before the flight. This gives you about an hour to check your bags, go through security with a little cushion due to checking the snacks & drinks, and a bathroom break for everyone on the walk to your terminal. We spent no more than 15 minutes waiting in a seat before we could board. BOOM. Less time for him to be bored. This was in the Pittsburgh & Tampa airports that are rather large.
  • Bring the saving grace items. Ours is his binky (pacifier), that he is slowly getting rid of, but it’s used for naps and bed time. Well, it’s great for any panic moments on a plane too! Pop that baby in and you saved a mild meltdown for 20 minutes. Every minute counts. 😊 We used this both ways. No shame.

  • Pack an extra set of clothes & more diapers than you expect. Wouldn’t you rather be prepared than up a creek without a paddle?
    (I legit forgot the wipes in Florida for the trip home to save weight, thinking I had them. We also left the house at 4:30 am, sooo tired! Thank god for having the tiniest pack in his diaper bag from a sample and we had no poop incidents!)

  • Kid’s snacks and drinks are welcome. Pack them in a clear Ziploc bag to make security checks easy on yourself.
    To be sure of the snacks and drinks, check the TSA website. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips/kids-rule-airport 
    Clear containers for drinks are allowed. I brought him a sippy cup of milk with us as well as Capri Suns since they have a clear bottom. Now, in Pittsburgh we had no issues with them but in the Tampa airport she told me Capri Suns weren’t allowed but she would allow us to proceed. (I call BS). They were all nice to us but it took a little more time in security for them to check those items. I’d still wait that long to ensure he has all his snacks on the flight!
  • You get priority boarding if your children are under 2 years old. This was golden for boarding and situating ourselves as we were first to board on both of our flights.
  • Allow them to snack while taking off and landing. Give up your mama rules people. He had a bit of trouble on the first landing with his ears, even while eating, but it wasn’t too bad. He grabbed and pulled on them but didn’t cry. I chalk that up to being his dad’s son. His father has trouble with his ears on every flight as well.
  • Keep it fun for them. Bring activities that fit within your diaper bag/backpack. We used his tablet for Netflix and Disney+ as well as the Melissa & Doug water wow books. He even had playdough that is allowed through since it’s less than 3 ounces and another board book. Bring what they like!

At the end of the day, make sure you keep yourself calm and the child as happy as you can. It’s a lot for you all on those travel days! You all will be tired once you arrive to your destination.

For us, it did offset his schedule for a solid day once we arrived in both locations. That’s a simple fact of changing their daily routines but as usual, you roll with the punches and adapt along with them. That’s your only option when it comes down to it.

Don’t overthink it, while I know you probably will. I did too. 😊

Happy traveling everyone! We have our first flight travel in the books now!