I’ve been missing for a bit around here. Last week, we took a little family vacation. I planned to schedule some posts before I left (ha!), but that never works out for me. I’m always just a blog in real-time type of person and in real-time, I was running around like a looney doing laundry and making packing lists.
Where did we go you ask? Austin, Texas.
I went there with a completely empty head. I didn’t plan to get any sort of blog material or take pictures. This may be the first time we’ve gone on vacation where I wasn’t looking for cool things to blog about. I think maybe it’s because a very popular blog was just in Austin and once something’s been done, it ruins the blog post appeal for me. I don’t want to be a copy cat despite the fact that this trip was booked long before Young House Love ventured to Austin.
But, you guys, Austin is awesome. It has earned it’s own post (though this is not necessarily a sightseeing post). On everyone’s blog…go to Austin and blog about it.
I guess I should start at the beginning? We planned to leave for the airport at 4am on Thursday. I woke up at 3:30 with an awful case of mastitis. Really, really awful, and I’ve done this many times before. I couldn’t stand up straight and I was shaking from the chills. How I was supposed to get myself straightened out, wake up Easton and get us both out the door in a half hour was beyond me. I knew that in a few hours I’d likely be okay, so Mike got on the phone with the airline and tried to move us to a later flight. The flight change fees were ridiculous (over $500), plus we wouldn’t sit together and the flight wasn’t direct. Plus for our second flight (Houston to Austin), we’d be on standby. I popped some Motrin, made a poor attempt to pump, then woke up Easton to see if he could fix my problem. He helped a little and I made the game time decision to head to the airport rather than cancel our whole vacation.
We hauled all of our stuff, which was a lot when traveling with an 8 month old, to the airport. We got there a half hour before our flight and they told us they couldn’t let us on. Newark airport requires you to arrive 45 minutes before your flight. So now we were at the airport, baby in Ergo, bags in hand and no flight. I was on about an hour of sleep, no food, fighting infection and… no flight. Mike asked if I just wanted to go home and cancel our trip and I was like oh no, we are here, we are packed, we’re going somewhere.
We talked to the airline and got on the later flight without change fees (woohoo!). But, we were still sitting 5 rows apart, each in middle seats, and we were on standby for our connecting flight. We figured worst case scenario, we could rent a car and drive from Houston to Austin. So we did it.
By the time we dealt with all of that, made it through security, hauled to a distant gate, changed Easton, fed Easton… It was time to board and I was still exhausted and starving. We got on the plane and Mike very nicely asked the woman sitting next to me if she’d trade seats with him so he could sit next to Easton and I. She not so nicely said that she was not sitting in a center seat for 4 hours, then proceeded to be the least helpful person for that 4 hour flight. I did not get up once because she wouldn’t move. Combine that with lack of food, sleep, infection and the fact that I’m flying with an infant and it was not something I’d want to do again. Thankfull the easiest part of this whole experience was….. Easton. He was a saint through it all and didn’t cry once all morning. I’m not lying.
We got off the flight from hell and hauled it to another terminal to pick up our connection. We were told there were no seats for us and we’d have to wait. I was actually relieved because I had to pee, eat, change Easton and feed Easton. I started to take things out of my diaper bag when surprise! They DID have seats for us, if we get on the plane right that second, without even closing up our stroller, with a baby dangling from my arms in a dirty diaper. I think I would have preferred to walk to Austin at that point.
It was the shortest flight in the history of the world (20 minutes) and I was able to change Easton on my lap, feed him and he passed out until the plane stopped moving. We finally made it to Austin many foodless and sleepless hours after the whole fiasco began. We met up with our friends and headed to our hotel, where I ate french fries and collapsed for 2? 3? hours.
Thankfully, the rest of our trip was smooth sailing, even though we were traveling with two 8 month olds and a 2 year old. Easton loved meeting his friends and he and Hadley are only 10 days apart. They somehow stayed on basically the same eating and sleeping schedule, so it made our outings easier.
That being said, we hit up the kid circuit of Austin. And ate lots of food inbetween. I had so many breakfast tacos it is embarassing, but they were unbelievable. I love a city that’s full of brunch and non-chain restaurants.
Easton had a week of firsts, which he mostly slept through. First was his first trip to the zoo.
Then we went to the children’s museum where he was due for a nap, but I made him play in the infant section for 5 minutes. His face says it all.
Then he went to sleep, but woke up just in time for brunch.
Note to self: Dolman sleeve shirts add 100lbs.
We also took Easton to the park for the first time that he could actually enjoy it. It was 75 degrees in Austin on Sunday so the fresh air felt wonderful.
He got to experience swings for the first time. I’m pretty sure he loved the 5 minutes he was in it.
This is pretty much the only time all vacation that we busted out the big camera.
Naps and feedings in the van made up most of our trip (we rented a giant church style van to accomodate 3 car seats and 4 adults)
We really just went with the flow and enjoyed the weather and city. I didn’t shop because I knew I couldn’t bring anything home. I just ate a lot because I knew my belly had a large storage capacity…
We reluctantly came back to NJ and it’s 15 degree weather on Monday. Our flight home was thankfully uneventful, but both Easton and I ended up with colds. Easton’s popped up just yesterday, so he’s still fighting it more so than I am. It’s his first time being sick and even though the doctor said it’s just nasal congestion, seeing him uncomfortable sucks. All of those Clorox wipes on the plane failed me!
My advice for those flying with an infant?
1) Don’t miss your flight and get stuck sitting alone, in a center seat. This was my carry on…
I was able to reach down and grab Sophie, with Easton on my lap, not bumping into my reluctant neighbor and that was it. I couldn’t get into my bag. Easton didn’t get changed (because I couldn’t get up either). Thankfully Mike came up and got him and entertained him for a bit.
2) Get an Ergo, it’s a lifesaver. Even boarding a plane is much easier when you have two free hands. You don’t realize how long it takes people to get situated in their seats until you’re waiting behind them with a 22lb infant on your hip and a carry on in your other arm.
3) Pack hard toys and Clorox wipes.
I didn’t bring any stuffed animal type of toys because I wouldn’t be able to clean them on the go. On the way back, Easton did play with his books and toys and I kept the disinfecting wipes on hand.
4) Puffs work wonders.
Maybe it’s just my kid, but he’ll do anything for a single puff. It worked well on the way back, until Mike dropped the entire supply I packed all over the floor. Whoops.
5) If you use a Boppy, get a travel one.
Easton is a big guy so I couldn’t imagine nursing him 6x a day, for multiple days, without one. It was also great for the plane and adding extra lap space, especially when I had to sit next to a woman that would not move. The travel Boppy zips up into a shoulder bag, which was easy to clip onto another bag or throw over the stroller handle. I kept it in the hotel once we were there and wished I brought it everywhere!
6) Gate check a stroller.
We originally weren’t going to do this and got the travel bag for our UppaBaby Vista. But the airline was going to charge us to check the stroller at the desk, so we kept it with us to save money. When we had to haul ourselves across the airport to pick up our connecting flight, we were thankful we had it to give our bodies a break. We still put it in the bag to protect it and took the wheels off, but at least we had it right away especially after the long day we had getting there.
7) Less is more.
I really packed minimally for both Easton and I and it worked out well. We brought our car seat and stroller, so the last thing we wanted to do was have more luggage than the two of us could carry. We still had a lot of crap but we were able to manage it well.
8) Be flexible.
Things will go wrong, naps will be missed, bed time will be screwed up and your kid will poop at the worst time, but none of that matters. As long as you’re all happy and enjoying your trip, you’ll be fine. And we were and we did.
I’m so happy that we managed to actually make it to Austin despite my rough start. Easton was phenomenal through the whole trip. Good thing, because guess who is going to the Haven Conference in Atlanta in August? Yes, Mr. Easton is Well, I’m going to the actual conference and Mike and Easton will be tagging along. At least now we have some flight experience under our belts. Which means the next trip will be a living hell, right?