Saturday, July 11, 2015

Traveling Baby Chapter 2 - Getting on the Plane

It was finally here, the day before our trip to NYC for my brother’s wedding. I went through my packing list for baby boy a few (10) more times. If you are curious, my packing list is at the bottom.

After dinner the night before, hubby double-checks the flight loads (for those of you who don’t have to play the standby game, this is what tells us if we have a chance of getting on our flight, or if we should just give up now) and made a few back-up recommendations. We will likely get there on the flight we want. YES!

Then we discuss our plan of attack for the morning.
  • Step 1 – 3:15 a.m. hubby wakes up (barf!)
  • Step 2 – 3:30 a.m. I wake up (those 15 minutes help)
  • Step 4 – Hubby makes breakfast, packs snacks and I pump
  • Step 5 – We run silently around the house like crazy people. Side note, I think parents could carry out all kinds of burglaries or special ops after living your life to not wake your sleeping baby.
  • Step 6 – WAKE THE BEAST! Quickly put him in his flying outfit (yes, I had a special outfit for flying and it said something about being Daddy’s copilot) and get him in the car. You have three minutes to do all of this while he is still groggy before the meltdown starts. It’s only 4:30 a.m.
  • Step 7 – Pray all your stuff is in the right bags and load them in the car. Don’t forget the baby!
  • Step 8 – Feed your screaming child as you drive to the airport. Start the countdown until he needs to eat again and pray for no massive messes before you get on the plane!

At the airport I feel like I’m carrying out an intricate balancing act. Baby is in the stroller I’m pushing in front of me, my roller suitcase is behind me and my diaper bag is on my back.

WARNING – Make SURE your boarding pass says “Infant in Arms” or they will NOT let you into security. I don’t even want to talk about that.

Weave in and out of the security line ropes with all your crap in front of and behind you. Have fun!

When you get to the part where you take out your stuff for the x-ray, collapse your stroller, load your bags on the x-ray machine belt, take off the car seat, and grab your baby people will glare at you! It doesn’t matter if you are trying to disarm a bomb people, everyone behind you (all 2 of them) hate you for taking 10 seconds longer than they think you should. Meanwhile, you feel like inspector gadget with all your crap and like a serious badass as you take care of business alone.

Get through that metal detector (that’s right, no weird body scanners for you!) and then reassemble all your belongings. But this time, you do not care one bit that the people behind you are annoyed. You are just beginning your trip.

Say “Hello” to hubby who managed to park the car, ride the terminal bus from the parking lot to the terminal, go through security and get your boarding passes while you accomplished only one thing.

Then, get on the plane and hopefully fly peacefully to your destination.

My packing list
  • Birth certificate
  • Breast pump and pieces
  • Ice packs
  • Bottles
  • Bottle cooler bag
  • Baby carrier
  • Eight onesies
  • Three swaddle blankets (one for each night)
  • Three bibs
  • Five burp cloths
  • Four pairs of socks
  • Dressy outfit
  • Three plastic laundry bags
  • Ten diapers (buy more when you get there)
  • Wipes (buy more when you get there)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Traveling Baby Chapter 1 – Preparing for our First Family Flight

I love to travel. I love my new son. Therefore, I must learn how to travel with this little adorable nugget of mine.

I’ll be honest, the thought of traveling with my nine-week-old son gave me anxiety. I can see why other people opt not to do it. However, when your little brother is getting married in NYC and you are in the wedding, oh, and your hubby is a commercial pilot, you must suck it up and get on the damn plane!

Probably four months before baby boy’s arrival, I started asking other pilot wives and reading other blogs like Have Baby Will Travel about the adventures of non-rev with a baby. I got great advice, like:
  • Take zip lock bags in case a diaper/spit-up explosion happens
  • Buy diapers when you get there and just pack what will fit
  • Get a cover for your car seat so it doesn’t get damaged when you gate check

Once little man was in our lives, though, other questions and concerns surfaced, like:
  • How the hell am I going to keep this little guy on his sleep schedule?
  • As his source of food, how do I do this? Should I bring my pump and tools (yes, yes you should!)
  • He hasn’t had all his vaccines!! What if someone sneezes on him? (you punch them in the face!)

All that craziness rolls around your head, and then you think about all the passengers who will automatically hate you for procreating and bringing your child on the plane. Ugh! The anxiety is back!

I made a list of everything I would need, from his birth certificate (this is a rumor, you don’t need it – check with your airline!), to how many onesies he could destroy in a day times three. My hubby wanted me to practice feeding him in public with my cover. I opted not to and regret it. It wasn’t easy, but he didn’t starve!

We ordered the car seat cover (definitely do this!) to protect it from being totally destroyed, or worse, dirty, from being stored with the luggage.

Check, check, check!

Now all that is left is getting on the damn plane! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rapid-Fire Recap -- What the Hell Has Been Going On?

Woah…did you miss me? Did you notice I was gone? Ehh, no biggie!

The world of travel changed for this pilot wife and her hubby over the past year. Let’s recap:
In January 2014, we moved from Arizona to my home state of Ohio. Sold one house, bought another, I changed jobs, hubby transitioned to a new aircraft, and life was all around chaotic.

We took a trip to Chicago in April of 2014, which was a blast! I saw family, explored the city on my own (I’ve always wanted to do a trip alone so this kinda checked that box) while hubby was still flying.

Then, in late-August, we went to Arizona to see friends and family, and then up to the San Francisco-area to see more friends and family. My heart ached because I miss the West so much, but that is another story.
We had a blast and no real non-rev issues! (virtual high-five!) We also had the opportunity to tell a few friends and family that we were going to have a baby! It was early so we didn’t tell everyone, but we had to tell some (ahem…most) of them! My husband’s grandparents, both in their mid-90s, were still living independently at the time (more on that a few paragraphs down) so it was great to spend time with them. After that, we headed north to wine country and to stay at his cousin’s guest house and relax, and to learn that our baby would have a new cousin! Hubby’s cousin was expecting their second two weeks before our little one was due!

Once we got home, the fact that we were becoming parents really sunk in. No more weekend trips on the fly, saving money for baby boy or girl was a priority, and life was going to change big time. We were excited, but I get VERY stir-crazy if I don’t have trips planned. I felt a little trapped in Ohio and with a very cold, grey, long winter, I was really exhausted by the time the sun finally came back. There were even times I would take the dogs for a walk in 10 degree snow (with my massive belly) because I had to get out of the house!

In November, hubby’s grandfather had heart surgery. They weren’t sure if he would go for the surgery or not. Being mid-90s with other medical concerns, it was either risk the surgery, or enjoy the next few months that would definitely be his last. I am glad they risked the surgery and gave him more time, but it hasn’t been easy. He suffered a few strokes during the surgery, but it was an overall success considering. In mid-December, it was decided that my hubby needed to see his grandfather ASAP because it wasn’t looking good. I decided to go with him. It was exhausting. We left early one morning, two leg-trip, and got into San Francisco as planned. We saw his grandparents and dad. Despite the exhaustion, I’m glad we both went. About 24 hours later, we headed home on our cross country trip. Going home was WAY harder and after a three hour nap in a Charlotte hotel (from 1-4 a.m. -- practice for baby!!), we finally got on a flight home. After that, I didn’t go anywhere for the duration of the pregnancy. Thankfully, grandpa is back home, but they have full-time help (which they hate), and have lost some of their spunk. But they are amazing people and I can’t wait to see them again this fall!

April rolled around and our baby boy made his arrival one week late, but healthy as an ox…and about as big as one too!

So there is this pilot wife’s year in a recap! Obviously, many other things happened, but these are the biggies and I’m sure this next year will be just as exciting, minus the baby. We are good with one child and two dogs for now! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear Non-Pilot Wife Friends: We Are Not Blowing You Off

A few months ago I experienced something I seriously dislike; having to tell a friend I couldn’t do fun couple activities, repeatedly, for several months! Every time this sweet friend and her husband had something fun in mind, I had to sadly say that the hubby was working. He was working ALL weekends at the time. And, I am NOT someone who likes to turn down social engagements…at all!

I don’t necessarily think that my friend thought we were blowing them off, but I sure felt like we were. So it got me thinking about the fellow pilot wives out there also trying to maintain some sort of social life with couple friends.

Everyone and each lifestyle comes with its own challenges to living the life we want, but how are we supposed to build relationships (particularly if we move every five or so years because of changing bases) with couple friends and family-type friends when we have the kiddos, when we are always flying solo?

I’m grateful for friends who understand, and particularly those who are fellow pilot wives when no further questioning is needed as she explains they can’t do dinner tomorrow because her hubby just got done with a 4-day, has one day home, then leaves for a stand-up. Gross!

There is also the added layer of them being gone all the time and trying to get them to leave the house. My husband does not want to leave our home, even to go out to dinner (he would prefer take out) when he is home. He doesn’t spend that much time in our house anyway, so on the few days he is home, he isn’t leaving unless it is life or death. Try explaining that to everyone!

Being comfortable doing things solo is a must when your husband is gone almost half of the time. Thankfully, there are friends who understand, don’t mind us being the third, fifth or seventh wheel, and never leave us out because we aren’t the full package every time.

I’m just grateful I’m past the point where friends and their significant others thought I was making a man up because he was never around!