A few months ago, I threw the idea out to my college friend Laura (who also lives in Eugene and has a 2-year-old) that we should go visit our friend Audrey in California together with the kiddos. All of a sudden, the trip was here, the minivan was booked and we were off!
And some things were different: I had to pack diapers and baby clothes as well as books, toys and snacks that would hopefully keep him entertained on the flight. And I didn't pack a single thing to entertain myself (i.e. books or magazines).
[Being the parent of a small human means you never have enough hands.]
Henry did pretty well on his first flight considering he had barely napped all day and our flight left at 4:00 p.m. He was awake and active the first 45 min of the flight looking out the window, peaking at other passengers and grabbing the in-flight magazine, and then he finally nursed and fell asleep for the second half.
We picked up our baggage and sweet minivan with no trouble and grabbed a quick dinner at Chipotle before heading on to Audrey's house.
[Life with a busy baby means cleaning up approx. 20 black beans from the floor of the restaurant and nearly having your drink and food dumped on the floor multiple times.]
During our visit we stayed both in Santa Cruz and in Monterey. The key to sleeping success for us was bringing the sound machine from home (familiar sound, small, easy to just plug in), a few books he likes and as his cuddly chick blankie.
One morning, he woke up at 6:00 a.m. so I kept him entertained in our room waiting for everyone else to wake up. By 7:30 he was rubbing his eyes, so I just asked him if he wanted to cuddle and all of a sudden, he laid his head down on my arm and conked out.
[These are the moments you just feel your heart exploding again and again. It really can't get much better than taking a nap with your little one, especially now that this type of thing is so rare.]
I tried to take it in stride when he didn't get his usual naps. Some of his naps were shorter car naps, but he stayed surprisingly happy even when he was tired.
THE FUN STUFF
The highlights of the trip for both Henry and I were beach time and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is amazing and great for kids of all ages as well as adults. My favorite parts were seeing the penguins swim and toddle around and the huge fish tanks with all kinds of crazy fish in them.
I decided not to bring our stroller on this trip, so I carried Henry everywhere in the Ergo. Being that he's now over 23 lb., my shoulders were a bit sore by the end of the weekend.
The Santa Cruz boardwalk and beach is much busier than Monterey, but also fun. Henry was determined to shove handfuls of sand, sticks and other junk in his mouth while we were there, so I had to be on my game!
I'm bummed we didn't get a group photo of all of us together, but I guess we were too busy having fun and keeping track of the kids.
Who needs toys when you have sand and a measuring cup?
Our flight home left San Jose around 7:30 p.m. and security was a nightmare. Thank goodness we arrived a few hours early because it would have been awful to be rushing or have missed our flight with kids. Henry and I shared a Jamba Juice green & ginger smoothie for dinner and then he had about five minutes to crawl around before we had to board the plane.
The flight itself was less than ideal and resulted in me basically wrestling Henry for 1.5 hrs because he wanted to crawl all over the plane and make a mess of everything. By the time we arrived in Eugene, Laura and I were both a bit delirious and I was relieved to hand Henry over to Pete.
Would I do anything different? Next time I would bring a small travel stroller (we don't have one yet) as well as smaller luggage and fewer clothes.
What are your keys to smooth travel with a baby/small child?