Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What A Trip!

We're back! 

If you've been wondering why there's been all of ONE post for this entire month, the above image should explain why. Pretty much right after Benjamin's birthday party (okay, for the past few months) I've been thinking NY-NY-NY non-stop. This is because....

a) I love NY.
b) I was nervous about flying to the other side of the country with two toddlers under the age of 3.
c) We are otherwise pretty boring.

Correct answer: All of the above! 

While traveling, I composed (in my head) a couple of potential blog posts about this trip, like what I would recommend packing, tips to successfully maneuver around in an airport with kids, how to not go crazy in a small hotel room with a family of four, but now all of that seems pretty irrelevant, and I don't think there could ever be one fail proof way to do it all. Now all I want to think about is how much fun we had, how incredibly beautiful upstate NY is, how talented my husband is at navigating us around in a foreign place (when it comes to directions, I'm a "we'll find it when we find it kinda gal"), how good I got at putting Grant to sleep (usually Bart is the closer for him), and how memorable and special my brother and now new sister-in-law's wedding was.  

I realized that's the thing about traveling. You're there one moment, and the next moment you're not. What seems like THE most dire situation in the world (ie 16 month old little boy who wants to do everything BUT sit still on an airplane) eventually passes. You'll never see the people (highly unlikely to anyway) who give you those looks (parents of small children know what kind of looks I'm talking about), but you feel incredible satisfaction from accomplishing even the simplest of tasks....finding a bathroom....food (doesn't even have to be good food, just food)....a place to rest...and you learn that life CAN be lived easily. Okay, somewhat easily (toddlers are still in the picture).

At first this was a hard concept for me to grasp since I RELISH in the details. But, after day one of our five-day-East-Coast-Journey, I quickly learned the details don't matter as much as I thought they do. Okay, who am I kidding, I'm still me and the details STILL matter. Just not as MUCH while traveling.

About a week before our departure I made packing lists, a things to do before we leave list, and shopped around for cute little travel supplies so that all of our liquids would fly right through those security cameras. Then a few days before our departure, I started making decisions like mad. Not just decisions like should I bring my red pair of shoes, or my black pair, but BIG decisions like....

1) Leave our amazing, never-thought-we-could-live-without double stroller at home. Buy a cheap-o $40 umbrella stroller and call it good. Btw- we now LOVE this stroller (plus I found it when it was on sale!). It's sturdy, easy to fold, lightweight....overall perfect value for the $.

2) Leave our amazing, never-thought-we-could-live-without camera at home. This one took a lot of convincing to my husband. I know you're probably thinking the same thing too....wouldn't you want to capture amazing photos of your brother getting married, your oldest in a tux, your youngest in a darling seersucker ensemble, the beautiful Finger Lakes, fields of flowers, and miles of lush green trees? Yes, but we also only have two hands each, hands that would be much more useful to grab children with (our own of course).

3) Check some bags. Worth the $25 cost. We again cared more about keeping track of our children than our luggage....however, I do have much sympathy for that mom in the movie who realized that she left her child Home Alone. I never thought I would do so much counting over and over and over again in my life....1-2-3-4-5-6 bags, 1-2 kids. All set!

4) Bring the pack-n-play. It was a big lifesaver for us. I know most hotels offer cribs, but ours has handles, is easy to pack up, (yes, it does weigh a ton) but if you don't check-in before arriving at the airport (we did going out because Bart had to put our car in long term parking, so we therefore needed the curb side service) then you have a chance at them waiving the cost since it's a baby item (what we were able to do on our return flight). Plus, I loved the peace of mind of knowing that it was clean, safe, and there right when we needed it.

5) Rental car seats are not always that bad. For this trip we had to rent a car (loved the Ford Fusion btw!) but had heard many bad reviews about the ones offered by car rental companies, so we were planning to just pick up a couple at the local Walmart once we arrived. Surprisingly, ours were in brand new condition (although they weren't the brand we would've purchased), and had nice 5-point harnesses. Go Avis! This made us very thankful for our decision to skip out on lugging them through the airport...plus, it was nice to have a row of three unobtrusive seats on the airplane. 

Ha, ha, I guess I did share a bit of a travel list with you all after all. That's just the organizer in me! In addition to being organized, I also value practicality which I learned means giving up a bit of control. So we don't have the best photos (brought our old point and shoot or used our cell phones), but there was a wedding photographer there, who I'm sure we can buy some good ones from. Those perfect little toiletry bags that I spent forever packing? Left in those plastic bins at the SLC security check point (which just for the record, did pass with flying colors!). I later decided all those mini tolietries weren't exactly necessary since our first hotel had nice free ones (Bath & Body Works!) and we had to go to the Walmart for other necessities (hello diapers and wipes!) anyway. Those two adorable but rowdy boysies of ours? Overall, both did really well given the demands of traveling. And hallelujah for those TV's on the back of the seats. Go Delta! Bart and I? Completely wiped out. But proud. So thankful for my wonderful parents and sister, free HBO and HBO Family channels for some ever so needed down time in our hotel, and for the chance to take-in beautiful upstate NY. 

On the flight home I caught parts of the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It wouldn't consider it the best movie in the world, but it had some moments that I enjoyed....

Evelyn: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.
Muriel: Most things don't. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.
Jean: As long as such a fall happens to occur right next to the panic button.
Evelyn: We dunk biscuits into it.
Sunaina's Brother: Dunk?
Evelyn: Means lowering the biscuit into the tea and letting it soak in there and trying to calculate the exact moment before the biscuit dissolves, when you whip it up into your mouth and enjoy the blissful union of biscuits and tea combined. It's more relaxing than it sounds.
Sonny: Everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right, then it is not yet the end.

Funny little travel happenings:
  • No problems with kids' ears during air pressure changes at take off or landing...didn't do anything special other than repeatedly yawn at them to try and get them to do the same (or fall asleep). They just stared back at us. So we tried giving them a little food to keep their jaws moving (too young for gum) but most of the time they scarfed it down too early. ;)
  • Conversation between my flight attendant and our son:
Flight Attendant: Would you like something to drink sweetie?
Benjamin: Yes, an orange juice.
Flight Attendant: Okay, but what's the magic word?
Benjamin: Oh yeah, and some peanuts.

He knows his manners. Promise. He had just woken up from his nap though, and to his credit, those flight attendants don't come around all that often, so it's always best to stock up on goodies when they do right?

  • Grant learning how to make the Home Alone face when prompted by the phrase "Oh no!" Which is what I said one morning at breakfast when he decided to pour syrup down my arm. :O
  • Benjamin wearing his sunglasses. All the time. Gotta look cool while in NY!

We're now all safely home and have adjusted back to our proper time zone. All that's left to do is the never ending un-packing + laundry part. :( These last sentences are how we know that our East Coast Journey has officially ended, but we can still all smile about it all and say...what a trip! :)


  1. SO glad you guys had a great trip! :) And you make traveling with 2 sound VERY easy! I am sure it has its moments!

  2. Oh no, Bart and I definitely needed a full day to recover after each day of flying! :O Keeping track of both kids at full speed was A LOT, but eventually they tired themselves out too. ;) Bart and I both agree that we learned a lot about how to pace things, enjoy the beauty in simplicity, and capture little moments for ourselves whenever possible. It was no doubt a trip to remember!

  3. I am glad you had a fun trip! I can't wait to see pictures of your two little cuties all dressed up for the wedding - I'll bet they were adorable!!!