Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In November, I learned I can survive a solo flight with two kiddos.

It's not incredibly fun, and I kind of break out in a cold sweat envisioning going through it again, but I CAN do it.  We can leave North Carolina and arrive across the country half-a-day later alive.  We might look pretty ragged, and I might be in desperate need of a Dr. Pepper buzz, but we'll be breathing.

Here are my top five travel tips for a mom preparing for such a nightmare  an adventure.  

1.  Buy lots of food in pouched form.  I don't know if it's only because I rarely buy this for my kids, but they get so excited about applesauce in pouches.  For the flight I splurged and added in yogurt pouches, too. (Everett + tube yogurt = disaster; Everett + pouch yogurt = a mess baby wipes can handle).  We ran out of pouches about two hours in (I'd brought eight.)  I wished I had more pouches.    

2.  Don't hold back on the food dye.  An assortment of lollipops in various sizes and colors can do wonders for a baby's sore ears, especially one who doesn't take a pacifier or a bottle.  The preschooler will want one every time the baby has one, even though he will also down an entire pack of gum because his "ears hurt." (P.S. Don't skimp on the gum, either.)

3.  Every dollar store purchase you can possibly make and stuff into a back pack before hand will be worth its weight in gold.  Never underestimate, in particular, the value of a package of stickers.  Buy multiple packs.

4.  Whenever possible, let your children walk up and down the aisle of the airplane.  If other passengers have de-boarded, let them RUN.  (I only recommend this when flying Southwest, since the flight attendants encourage such behavior.  I can't vouch for other airlines, since I've experienced some pretty snooty folks in uniform on Delta and American.)

5.  Pray, hope, and pray some more that the flight isn't full.  We lucked out and EVERY leg of our flight we got a row of seats to ourselves.  I honestly cannot imagine how terrible it would have been if Everett hadn't had his own seat.  Scratch that.  I can imagine it.  I would have needed shock therapy or something to bounce back from that experience.  

We stayed for almost two weeks in Utah this go around, and we had a great time.

There were visits with old friends.

Everett and Alex, my friend Jamie's little girl:

(In hindsight, I think he was pretty worried about his neglected PB and J when these photos were being taken.)

Kaden took probably a dozen photos of Jamie and me together, and these were the least blurry:

 Love this girl forever and always!

We met up with our former neighbors, the Howards, at a park in Pleasant Grove.  They live in Utah now.  I sure love them and miss living right next door!  You can read a previous post about my love and adoration for their family here.  

My friend Steph had us over to play one morning, and Kaden again used his budding photography skills to take some pretty poor photos of us.

It was sure fun to see our cute boys together!

I squeezed in a way too short visit with Callie.  Love her! 

And Cameron, Jess, and Samuel came down for a dinner visit the night before we flew home:

 The boys sure love their Uncle Cameron!  We are so excited about his recent engagement to the lovely Jessica.  

Everett tormented Maestro every second he would tolerate it, and some seconds that he would not.

We made pizzas and grilled them on the Traeger.  The kids went with boring pepperoni, but we had some exceptionally delicious varieties.  

We ate lots of popcorn and watched lots of Christmas movies.

Addy helped me make the rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.

Grandma helped the kids make an edible Thanksgiving craft.

Everett's materials were consumed before the project came to fruition.

The cousins bonded over lots of art projects . . .

and  disaster projects . . .

And Kaden spent hours, and hours, and hours building with Legos.

The zoo was free one day, so we embraced the crazy crowds of cheap Mormons who can't resist free admission and went.  I think the kids had fun.

 They watched a gorilla through this window for a good twenty minutes.  He was sleeping under a blanket.  They could only see his gigantic foot peeking out from under his covers, but they were CERTAIN he was about to wake up.  Every time he twitched, they became more hopeful.  He never awoke.  

 It was so fun to bump into my good friend, Brigette, while we were there!

This was the closest thing to snow we saw the entire trip.  So sad Utah can't deliver for me when we visit there in the winter.  Yet it plagued me with the stuff when I was a freezing BYU student and was desperate for it to stop!

 Carousel ride with Aunt Laura and Uncle Bryan:

Everett instantly passed out on the ride home:

 Love this kid:

I got to spend a fun late night out with my little brothers.  All y'all need to go see Interstellar.  Seriously.  

We went to Temple Square, saw the amazing light display, and got to check out all the bedazzled Christmas trees my dad helped create.

Kaden got to take a spin in Gram's wheelchair until Bryan dropped her off for us to pickup:

So glad the boys got to spend time with Gram this trip, since she was still visiting Mom and Dad.

Everett, "sharing" a treat with Grandma.

Not pictured:

Getting to see Uncle Jim, who flew in for Thanksgiving from AZ.  How do I not have a single picture with Uncle Jim in it? Lame!

Getting to see my beautiful cousin, Anya.  How did we not take a photo together?  Darn it!

Both my kids puking.  Again.  Because the four times we did the puke rounds at home weren't enough.

The delectable Thanksgiving feast we devoured on heirloom Spode china.

Everett waking up at two and three in the morning for a week straight.  And not going right back to sleep. That was fun.

Going on one of our epic DI runs with my cousin, aunt, and chauffeur Bryan.  (Thank you for putting the practically brand new J. Crew jacket back, lady I might have been stalking in hopes that you would do just that.)

Post-DI In-N-Out burger, fries, and shake run.  

Taco Time.  I know.  It's weird that that bears mentioning, but it most certainly does.  I craved crispy meat burritos like a fiend during both my pregnancies and got no relief.       

Me being a terrible single mom.  Seriously.  I learned on this trip that I am not cut out to go it alone. Particularly because Kaden turns into a demonically different child after about four nights away from home. It's true.  (He did it again when we went to Gigi's for Christmas.)  And without Chad's calm personality there to counter balance my intensity, there are a lot of emotional breakdowns.  It isn't pretty. (They happen when he's there, too, but he's there to pick up the pieces and make it seem like my kids might not be growing up in a completely inept and hostile environment.)  I realized on a whole new level on this trip how much Chad does to help me at home.  Not that my family isn't helpful, they are, but I needed a Chadwick.  And I begged him when I came home to please never die or leave me, because I fear for my children should they only get me.

The kids making gingerbread houses, because my mom hasn't sent me the photos yet.  (I'll add them in later.)

Hitting up Kohl's on Black Friday with Jared.  $30 boots, baby!

Cafe Rio.  I'm salivating as I write those two words.  Pork burrito.  Now I'm drooling.  

It was a fantastic trip!  I love spending time with my family, and I seriously wish they didn't live so very far away.   

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