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Archive for Travel – Page 2

My New Mexico Travels

I can’t tell you how happy I was to see that Apple holiday ad showing the kid “constantly” on his phone during the family gatherings. I’m that kid. At family functions, trips, parties, or whenever there are one or more of us gathered I am guaranteed to hear my mom say, “Christi, get off  your phone.” Well, thanks to Apple I’ve been vindicated. I’m on my phone because I’m taking pictures. And your welcome. Because one day when you’re searching for memories or want to make a slideshow my photos will appear.
Okay rant over. On a recent trip to visit my twin sister in Albuquerque, New Mexico I pulled out my trusty Canon and go to snapping. She had a great little weekend planned with visits to Santa Fe, the Santuario de Chimayo, and the Sandia Mountains (watermelon in Spanish if you didn’t know). We stayed in a great vacation rental house in the Corrales area that had great decor appeal and comforts. Way better than some two bed, four towels, one chair hotel. So maybe I was on my phone a lot taking pictures, some that turned out better than those on my Canon, but it’s worth it when I can add one of these beauties to my computer desktop screen and sit back for a moment and take in the memory.

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Flying with Baby and Toddler Travel Tips

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Usually the first interaction your child has with an airplane is the one you so brilliantly create to get food into their mouths (including sound effects of course). When it comes to riding on an real airplane with your child, well that could cause you to lose your appetite. But fear not, with some creativity, planning and a barf bag (to make into a puppet of course) you’ll be flying high. I first took my daughter on a plane at six-weeks and she’s since flown eight times. I’m by no means an expert, but thought I’d share my tips and tricks for flying with a baby or toddler.

Dress appropriately.
Yes, that’s right you’ll need to care about what you wear. I mean no one is going to be looking at what you’re wearing when you board the plane (you’ll either get the “awe look at the cute baby” look, or the bowed head, darted eyes “please don’t sit here” look). What you wear is meant to give comfort for you and your baby. Don’t wear something that will get yanked down easily or anything you care about because you will get spilled on. And since you’re probably packing a heavy load of hormones and a monkey is sitting in your lap, dress light. When your baby is crying and you’re stressing, the body heat is gonna go up and you don’t want to have that hair smeared across your forehead look – it ain’t pretty.

Arrival.
If you’re like me, you always think you’re going to miss the flight. Even when your husband reassures you that two hours is plenty of time, don’t listen to him and give yourself plenty of time. The best is if you have friends or family drop you off, but if you’re parking your car you can either have your better half drop you, the baby and all their stuff at the curb to go inside and wait for him to get back from parking the car to check your bags (go curb-side). Or you can all unload to re-load, to unload together (part of the experience I guess). *Make sure you have cash to tip the driver and curbside helpers. You can check your car seat and stroller there if needed which lightens the load (a little).
photo(1)We travel with our City Mini Stroller and it fits right through the security belt. Plus, the guys at TSA think it’s such a cool trick when I pull the handle and it folds in a snap!

Check-in.
Most airlines require you to bring a copy of your baby’s birth certificate to verify their age and occupancy so have that ready to go with your own ID. I like to bring a folder to keep the certificate, boarding passes, and any other travel documents so I don’t lose them or my mind.

Baby on. Shoes off.
Going through security with bundle of joy can be daunting, but it’s doable. If you’re taking a stroller don’t take the baby out until the last second. Take off your shoes, unload your bags, pull out your bottles of milk and liquids and load everything on the conveyer belt, then take the baby out and put the stroller through. When Chloe was only six-weeks, I flew home to my parents and they had a car seat and stroller at their house so I flew with her in a sling. It was easy to keep her bundled up and make my way through the airport and on the plane.

Terminal Twos.
You’ve probably seen the kid running through the terminal, that one is mine, but really it’s okay to let them get those legs loose before sitting on the plane for what will feel like an eternity. My daughter is now an “I get my own seat” gal, which starts at age two. I think the airlines do this for your sanity because flying with a baby is a beat down! You’ll feel like you’ve been to a kickboxing class after the plane lands (you probably did burn some calories though). Make it a big deal they have their own seat and that they must stay seated.

Baby on Board.
You’re almost there. You made it to the airport, through security, picked up your claim ticket at the gate counter for your stroller and made the most of that hour or more you had roaming the airport (because you just never know) and now you’re at the gate. Game time. If you’re flying on Southwest and you don’t have an A boarding pass, you get to board after the A group. Do this. Wait until you get to the bottom of the walkway before you take the baby out. Oh and if someone offers to help you fold up that stroller say yes (more about embracing stranger danger later). I like to go to the middle-back area of the plane because it’s past the wing and offers great distraction for the kid to watch bags go on and off the plane. Also, it’s near the two-foot bathroom, which is key if you have a potty-training toddler (take lots of anti-bacterial gel, spray, foam whatever you can). If you already have a seat assignment there is no harm in boarding last. You’ll be more comfortable and so will that baby. The people sitting next to you might think that’s a dirty trick, but it’s for their own good too. The shorter no-personal-space-somebody-turn-on-the-air time, the better!

“Soothe” landing and takeoff.
We all usually go for the gum when the plane goes up and comes down to keep our ears from popping. Well, our little ones are obviously not down with that, but they still need something to comfort their little ears so be prepared with the nipple (yes, I said it) or the pacifier (yes, I said it). Your kiddo may not need a dang thing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In-flight food and drink.
Since most airlines now charge for beverages and snacks it’s a good idea to bring your own stash. I like to get a bunch of twist-off smoothie things because they’re not too messy and you can throw them away after your munchkin munches down. Goldfish in a reusable baggie are always a favorite and flight attendants will love cleaning up the crumbs. For babies if you’re breastfeeding you obviously have open-bar beverage availability. If you’re using formula bring plenty of bottles with pre-measured formula and then get the water on the plane to mix and you won’t have to worry about keeping them cool or spilling.

Strangers are like Family.
Sure we tell our kids not to talk to strangers, but when there’s nowhere to run and everyone is going to the same place they’re not really strangers…right? So take the help when the big man offers to put your bag up in the storage, or when the college kid sitting behind you wants to play hide-n-seek with your baby…just go with it. Strangers are your friend…for the duration of the flight.

In-Flight Entertainment.
Beyond the strangers entertaining your little one there will be a real need for activities. For babies, bring plenty of teething options but don’t overload your bag because there is a good chance they’ll just want to play with the drink menu and barf bag. For toddlers, make sure the iPad is charged up and you’ve got colors, puzzles or books. Again, don’t bring too much because you’ll be that girl with your head in the foot room area the entire flight looking for another toy option, your cell phone or the tops to something that Captain Toddler keeps throwing to the ground.

Prepare Not to Sleep or Read.
Yeah those things you used to anticipate enjoying on your flight will be a long-lost memory my friend. In my flying experience, as much as I pray and try to convince my daughter to sleep it doesn’t happen…until 30 minutes before we land. So don’t stress or expect your kid to sleep on the plane, even if you plan your flight during nap time. There is a lot of stimulation going on up in the sky. And as for that magazine you so looked forward to reading on the plane, better leave that at home.

So those are your tips and tricks for the day. And by all means if you have some ideas, please include them in the comment section below. May the force be with you!

What you need to pack:

A diaper bag or even a backpack that can also serve as a complete carry-on with multiple easy-access pockets.
One dollar bills y’all to tip the rental car guy or the curbside check-in guy.
Folder with copy of your child’s birth certificate
On-the-go veggie or fruit smoothies
Dispensable spoon (this is good for babies)
The Mommy clip
(great to put bag onto stroller so you don’t have to carry it)
Anti-bacterial gel
Wet Ones Wipes
(you’ll use them for yourself more than you think)
Extra set of clothing (don’t learn this the hard way like I did)
Favorite blankie or stuffed animal
A Smile…because everything is better with one!

California – Live to Travel, Travel to Live

Family vacations always have a little mix of chaos and fun, with a side of alcohol, and a good helping of memories. Since we have family scattered across the country our vacations typically mean visiting family, but lucky for us they live in some pretty rad places. Our summer vacation took us to Newport Beach in Southern California. My husband’s 92-year-old grandfather has lived on Balboa Island for over 40 years so family always tries to gather there once a year to share in some new memories and reflect on the old. This year his family rented a home for our growing family so we tried to pretend it was real life (so far from our reality). We played at the beach, took runs around the island, ate Dad’s famous frozen chocolate bananas and Balboa bars, rode bikes on the Newport peninsula, took a trip to Sea World in San Diego and drove North to Santa Monica to hang with cousins at the beach club. I’ve been told when you go on a vacation with kids it’s really called a trip, but this truly felt like a vacation from the stresses in our real world.

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beachBeach time on the back bay.

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Evening boat ride around Newport bay.

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Our little traveler had her own seat for the first time and did great!

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The Newport Coast is one of my favorite areas to visit, especially the Big Corona beach!

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Our rental house for the week. Every house on the island looks different. There is a ton of charm and character.

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The Beach Club in Santa Monica is every kid’s dream.

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Every trip to Balboa Island must include a frozen chocolate banana with sprinkles!

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Sea the World through a child’s eyes.

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Taking the beach cruisers for a ride along the Newport peninsula is a must.