Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday -- Tips for Flying with a Toddler

As I mentioned yesterday, we traveled to Boston last week and to say that I was nervous about flying with a toddler for the first time would be the understatement of the year.

I scoured the internet, asked friends/coworkers/strangers on the street for advice and read just about everything I could find to get tips on how to make the experience as easy as possible.

Here are my top 5 tips:


{One} Let your toddler run wild before you get on the plane. Obviously, be respectful of others, but arrive early if you need to and use your layover time to let your kid get out as much energy as possible. I did lap after lap with Hadley walking up and down the hallways, circling the seats in our gate, going back and forth to the restroom to wash our hands (her new favorite thing) and walking from one drinking fountain to the next. You're going to be confined to your seat for the majority of the flight, so don't waste the precious time you do have when they can be expelling excess energy. If you're lucky, this will be your view for the flight:


{Two} If you're bringing a stroller, you'll need a gate check bag. They manhandle your stroller once you hand it off, and the area under the plane where they store them is dirty. I read the tip somewhere to buy one of these bags and I was so glad I did. It was covered in a black oily substance by the end of the trip and I'm so thankful it wasn't on my actual stroller.


{Three} Bring snacks -- and lots of them. Swallowing helps relieve the pressure in little ones' ears during takeoff and landing, so have a sippy cup with water handy (bring it empty through security and then fill it up in the terminal), along with other treats (we did pouches of applesauce -- you get to bring "a reasonable amount" of baby food through security-- along with suckers, fruit snacks and cereal bars). Hadley was happily snacking during each of our takeoffs and landings.

{Four} Be prepared with entertainment. I brought a few board books, a coloring book with crayons, stickers and several new toys that Hadley had never played with before to keep her occupied. I ordered this magnetic zoo set from Amazon that bought us about an hour of quiet time (a.k.a. the holy grail of parenthood):


I also ordered these finger puppets that I put in a zip-top travel pouch. Had took them out of the pouch and put them back in for a good 40 minutes while we talked about what sound each animal made:


I also loaded our iPad with movies and episodes of her favorite shows (and don't assume every flight will have Wifi -- only one of our four flights did and you had to pay extra for it). Pre-downloaded movies and shows are your friend. I also recommend the following apps:



{Five} Remember to relax. Everything is going to work out in the end. You can't plan for everything. If your child has a meltdown on the flight, it's not the end of the world. I recommend a glass of wine to help take the edge off . . .


Hadley was so good that the pilot came out after we landed to give her a pair of wings.


Now, I feel much more prepared for our trip to Disney World in the fall. Does anyone have any tips that I may have missed?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Beantown!

Last week, my dad was attending a conference in Boston and invited the family to tag along. I've never been to Boston, so that was an easy "Yes!" and I thought it would be cool to take Hadley on her first little trip.

My mom and sister Halston flew with us out of Memphis and, as an extra special treat, my sister Hope flew up from Virginia to partake in the fun.

I was a nervous wreck to fly with a toddler for the first time (post coming tomorrow on that experience) but it all went surprisingly well.


In fact, Hadley slept for a good bit of each flight.


We did the requisite touristy things -- visited Trinity Church . . .


went on a Duck Tour . . .



that Hadley slept through . . .


stopped by Fenway Park . . .


walked along some of the Freedom Trail and explored Navy Yard (complete with ship selfies) . . .



took a tour of Harvard, that -- you guessed it -- Hadley slept through . . .


and ate some really, really good seafood, Italian and cannoli.




All in all, a great little trip. Boston is fairly easy to navigate -- especially by foot. I think my Fitbit hit 17,000+ steps each day (so I felt slightly less guilty about all that aforementioned food).

Hadley thoroughly enjoyed the parts she was awake for and I was thankful for the break from work and extra time with my family.

I'll be back tomorrow with my top five tips for flying with a toddler, you know . . . since I'm an expert now. Happy almost-Friday, my friends!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Five Years

Five years ago this week . . .

We gathered up our family and friends, and hopped on a plane to Ireland. There were a few bumps along the way. Some of us were rerouted through London, and others through Frankfurt. The bride, groom, best man and an aunt were stuck in Chicago overnight. And one of my sister's pups back home ran away. But we eventually made it to The Emerald Isle in high-spirits (the free airplane champagne definitely helped).


Five years ago today . . .

I walked down the aisle of a 200-year-old Galway abbey (before abbeys were chic) . . .


To marry a man who makes me smile bigger, laugh harder and love more than I ever thought possible.


Sweet Northface/kilt combo

We took lots of pictures . . .


Drank lots of Guinness . . .

(well, one sissy drank Heineken)

Drove around the country (on the wrong side of the road). Visited Cork, Killarney and Limerick. Saw some of the most beautiful and amazing places . . .



Celebrated St. Patrick's Day with 675,000 people on the streets of Dublin . . .


And made memories that will make me smile every single day for the rest of my life. 

In the five years since . . . 

We've survived lots of highs and lows, made our house a home, traveled a little more and set out on the biggest (and hardest) adventure yet . . . 


Happy Anniversary, Sean -- I love you more than you'll ever know. In this adventure we call life, there's no one I'd rather have as my travel buddy and co-pilot.

Friday, March 7, 2014

I've been busy . . .

Working like crazy, and decompressing however I can at night . . .

No toddlers were harmed during the consumption of this Pinot Grigio

Catching up with old work friends . . .


Enjoying a snow day . . .



Laughing until I cried at my mom trying on a pair of high-tops . . .


And dreaming of vacations . . . Hadley and I are joining some of my family on a trip to Boston next month and we're going to Disney World in the fall to celebrate Sean's 40th/Hadley's 2nd birthdays.


So if anyone has any tips or resources for flying with a toddler for the first time -- or planning a trip to Disney World, I'm all ears . . . so say cheers! (What? I've also been watching way too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.)

Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but I couldn't take another day in this week.

*This post brought to you by my Aunt Lisa's constant text harassment . . . you know I love you, Lise!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Toddler Valentines


I partnered with Tiny Prints to make these easy (and healthy!) valentines for Hadley's class. All you'll need is:


I threw a couple of clementines into each cellophane bag, tied them closed with twine and used a hole punch to attach the valentine cards. 


Hadley's personalized valentines are from Tiny Prints and I love how they turned out. So precious! (And if you use the code VALFEB20, you'll receive 20% off your Valentine's Day order through tomorrow.)

For her younger classmates and friends -- who aren't eating citrus fruits just yet -- I attached the cards to pouches of orange yogurt. 


And you can't forget the grandparents! We used orange paint (to go with the "orange you glad" theme) to make heart-shaped footprints on card stock. Then I used a red Sharpie to decorate. I know they'll love getting these in the mail this week!


I also got to break in my new custom self-inking address stamp from Tiny Prints. The font and layout are so unique and the stamp quality is great so I know this is going to get a lot of use this year!


Are you ready for Valentine's Day? Are you planning any special crafts with your little one?