We headed out to our backyard early one evening to capture Parker Campbell at one-year-old. We dressed him in the same outfit and shoes that Max wore for his one-year pictures 30 years ago! Parker was just taking his first steps at the time, and we captured how he would toddle with his arms reached way over his head; it was precious...
Parker walking to mamma (I love that that happy little face was just for me!)...
Flying with a baby and without your partner (and his or her two extra hands) makes travel more challenging, yes, but still totally doable! Parker and I have now flown four flights by ourselves, so I thought I would share what's worked for us.
First, having someone (in our case Max) drive you to the airport, park and help you inside is a must. You'll have your suitcase and diaper bag, car seat that you'll need on the other end, and possibly a stroller. Add all this to the baby you'll obviously be carrying, and a second person to handle luggage and gear will be a life saver. If you are renting a car on the other end, I've read that you can also rent car seats, however when Parker and I flew by ourselves we always had family pick us up on the other side so we needed to travel with his car seat. We used this gate check bagto cover the car seat and offer protection before checking it. We put in on after parking in the parking lot since it also provides a handle to make it a little easier to hold (it's still quite awkward to carry).
We learned the hard way to not check our fancy, expensive stroller. Our stroller damage (again from checking it on a family flight) was fixable, however we realized we shouldn't roll the dice again. Instead, I ordered a stroller similar to this onefor $19.99 and had it shipped directly to our family in California so it would be waiting for us there. It was pretty tiny, but worked for what we needed as we weren't doing a ton of walking around. It was inexpensive enough that I didn't mind buying it and leaving it with them, and I'd definitely buy-and-ship again for another destination as it eliminated the need to travel with the stroller.
After husby helped us check-in, he would sweetly walk us to security. Since the cheap-o stroller was already waiting for us at our destination, I was able to go through security each time without it. Sure, I could have taken a stroller through security (and some people might like to have it with them and just gate-check it before stepping on the plane), but for me it was worth not having something extra to look after (and something to have to fold and place on the x-ray belt while also holding my infant). Here's what I looked like before heading through security:
To me, this was perfect! I was comfy and hands-free. I recently switched diaper bags to this back-pack version from Vera Bradley (though mine was on clearance!) and I wore Parker in the Baby Bjornso I was able to move very easily. You might notice that Parker was very comfy as well, as he was still in his jams! Both of our Phoenix flights were early AM ones, so I woke Parker up early, changed and nursed him, and headed right to the airport (I changed him to real clothes once we arrived in California).
I am enrolled in the Global Entry program which gives me TSA pre-check, allowing me to keep my shoes on (very helpful when wearing a baby) and usually gives me a very short line. I would recommend it to anyone wanting a break at security! Since I wear Parker in the carrier, they do need to perform a hand-swipe on my palms after I walk through the metal detector, but it only takes an extra maybe 10-15 seconds.
As for what I put in the diaper bag, here are my must-haves (aside from diapers and wipes of course):
1. I am in love with these yogurt packs. Parker will no longer eat the pureed packs of baby food (such a big boy now!) however little man loves his yogurt and will happily slurp these babies. I freeze one or two of them and then put them in my quart-size zip lock (since they fall under liquid restrictions). They thaw pretty quickly - they are usually perfect by the time we are in the air.
2. Parker actually finds about a million things to be fascinated with on a flight... the pull down tray on the seat in front of us, the buttons on the seat dividers, just looking out the window (we choose a window seat whenever we can)...
However, I do like to pack a couple items to entertain him. I love soft booksfor this purpose since they are extremely lightweight (perfect for flying) and usually offer some sort of interactive feature. Little man loves, loves, loves books, and I used to pack board books until I realized I was lugging around lots of extra weight - so now we do these, and pack a few board books in the checked suitcase.
3. Snacks will also keep Parker entertained, so I make sure to pack lots of crackers, puffs and yogurt drops into one of these snack cups. I love that they are virtually spill-proof, and also have a lid. I pack extra snacks in the checked suitcase so I can refill the cup for the flight home.
4. Parker never took a bottle (he outright refused them) so he has been using this sippy cupsince five months. Having something to suck on while the cabin is being pressurized helps relieve ear pressure, and cups of water are perfect for this.
I actually pack it empty so I can breeze through security, and then I purchase a water bottle near the gate to fill it (I realize that there are exceptions for baby items when going through security, but this involves TSA bringing you over to the side, calling in additional help, and testing your baby products. For me, it's worth it to have to buy the water if it means I can go through security easily).
5. Finally, I feel like I am constantly wiping Parker down with these baby face wipes. I professed my love for them here, but really any sort of wipe will do as long as it's a moist one.
In addition, Parker loves to eat banana so I usually toss one of those in as well. I also always have some empty ziplock baggies stashed in the diaper bag - they take up almost zero room and they are great for storing messy trash (like those face wipes and banana peels) until the flight attendants can collect. Trust me, you'll want them.
After eating and entertaining, Parker has given me a nap of some sort on almost all the flights...
Once we land, family has met us every single time at baggage claim. Again, if flying alone, this is crucial to have extra hands to carry things! They help carry the suitcase or car seat or little man out to the parking lot, where we install the car seat and then we are ready to go!
I won't lie, I look around at the other travelers when we are waiting to board, and I am jealous of their coffees and their magazines (especially if they are leisurely sipping on a coffee while reading a magazine!). There is nothing leisurely or relaxing about flying solo with a baby, and you will probably be exhausted on the other end, but it can totally be done! Good luck and happy flying!
Parker's Nana and Grandpa flew out to Scottsdale to celebrate his first birthday and the celebrating continued! Parker is one very loved one-year-old!
Parker got to practice his best manners out at a special birthday dinner and he was the perfect little diner. He had his first taste of ice cream at dinner, yum! Parker even received a special menu that the chef signed after dinner and sent home with us!
So much fun continuing to celebrate Parker's first trip around the sun!
Happy Earth Day, y'all! One of my favorite companies, Yes to Carrots, is celebrating by offering all of their products for 40% off today! Just enter the code EARTHDAY2014 at checkout. I definitely stocked up on these babies:
They are my favorite face/nose baby wipes. We've been using them with Parker since Day 1 and they are always in his diaper bag (we go through them like crazy when we eat out with him). As a bonus, Parker just loooves to play with the packages, ha! Happy shopping!
This Easter marked Parker's FIRST second holiday, ha! Little man actually woke up with a cold, poor guy, so he was not his usual self. We still went ahead with Easter celebrations, though, starting with his basket that the Easter bunny filled with books and snacks.
Same baby, same basket, one year ago!
Parker also received lots of sweet cards and goodies in the mail!
We headed outside to look for our colored hardboiled eggs that the Easter Bunny hid!
Little man could actually care less about those eggs, though, and walked right past all of them! He was more interested in looking at the flowers and bee-lining for the swimming pool.
Parker took a nice long morning nap and then was ready for more fun!
Parker is all about walking these days, and if he's awake, he's on the move!
Or eating, of course. His second favorite thing to do.
After Parker's afternoon nap, we headed to his nursery for a little photo shoot.
Mommy and Me pic!
Daddy is such a good sport!
Parker with his special Easter egg from his Grandpa Jack & Nana:
Same baby, same egg, one year ago!
Our little bunny has changed so much since last year!
We went on a neighborhood walk before heading out to dinner. Have I mentioned what a great sport my husband is?