Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Minnesota Milo: The Story and Tips for Travel

Buckle in. This is gonna be a long one.

Yesterday we got back from a fun weekend trip to Minnesota! Our friends got married on Saturday and we decided to take the trip. We knew traveling with a babe would be a challenge, especially after accidentally booking a 7 hour layover, but we did our research and I prepared prepared PREPARED.

I wrote out list after list after list to make sure everything got packed and we got everything done that needed to be done (I'll share these on a second blogpost for those of you wanting some tips). I'm a pro list-maker so it was great. I'll just go through how we did things and give tips along the way. Ready?


Security & First Flight

We started out our first morning of travel with an upset Milo. For some reason he wouldn't eat. He ate as much as he could (without screaming...) and then took a nap while we finished packing up and getting ready. We got to the airport early and found a parking spot.

Tip #1: Sean had Milo in the Moby which was perfect because then he could do everything with both hands. If you have any hands-free baby carrier USE THAT. It was so non-bulky and everything went more smoothly.

We checked our bag and our carseat, which I was told would be better with a garbage bag but they had one for us. When we go again, it would be nice to have a carseat cover so we could stow some more blankets or coats.

I was sure security was going to be a nightmare but the line went quickly and we got to go through the simple metal detector and Sean only had his hands checked and that was it, simple pimple. We grabbed our stuff and went to feed Milo.

Tip #2: Talk to your doctor before you go! They will probably have some good ideas for you or (like ours did) give you the 'okay' and dosage for some sleepy medicine. 

Milo was well asleep for the first 3 flights, but the last one came at an odd time so we couldn't give him the sleepy meds for it. It was definitely more of a struggle, but Milo is an honest-to-goodness trooper.

The Layover

We got to Denver at about 1:30 and ate lunch then set up camp near our gate. We found an open spot by the window and laid out a blanket for Milo to roll around on and we got out his toys. He took 2 naps at the airport (one with me and one with Sean) and it was just fine. We watched some Netflix, ate some food, and read some books. It was honestly not as bad as I thought. 
Naps rock

The camping spot

Tip #3: Check your layover time BEFORE YOU BOOK.  This is probably an obvious one, but sometimes it just goes under the radar. If you only have the option of a layover, try to choose the shortest one. My ideal layover would be about 6 hours after your first take-off (because that's how long sleepy meds last). It was good to have some time to feed and play with him though.

Tip #4: Pack good distractor toys! and enough food (if you formula feed). Check out my list-post! It was seriously a lifesaver having Milo's favorite toys. 

Tip #5 (for formula feeders specifically): Make sure you have food prepared before you board. If your plane was anything like ours, there won't be enough room to properly portion and mix food. 

Tip #6: If you have a baby, you can board first. Do that. This might just be obvious, but listen for the first boarders and go with them. Get comfy before the single business man comes and sits next to you and looks disappointed that there's a baby next to him (because that happened on 100% of our flights). This.

Flight #2 was just fine and we got to Minnesota safely. Sean's parents were there just in time to pick us up. MSP was so much easier to navigate and find all our stuff than SLC... but it's fine. We made it, all is well.

The Stay

I really do love Minnesota and would love to live there someday. We stayed with Sean's parents for our trip. They had a pack n' play ready for Milo to sleep and an air mattress for us and we were all comfortable. Milo's sleep schedule was a little weird, but he still got enough naps and always slept through the night (with only 2 night-feedings the whole trip). He even slept through all the noises because he was just in the dining room while the rest of us were around the corner watching TV. I'm just really impressed with that boy. As are his grandparents.
 Milo and Grandpa

Reading with Grandma

We left Milo with them while we went to our friend's wedding and he was just fine and got to bed without any worries. I'm never really worried about him because he's a good baby. We had tons of fun at the wedding and got to catch up with some good friends and dance to our hearts' content. My voice was gone and my knee hurt by the end of the night, but it was well worth it. And my legs would be killing if they weren't already being regularly exercised by the stairs. 

 Sean dancing with the groom

Family photo!

We had a family/friend get-together on Sunday night and it was nice seeing more people and finally meeting Miss Parker (Milo's future girlfriend ;) )
The lovebirds

Monday we were in Mankato and hung out with Bloom while Missy was in school and then I got a haircut by our friend Kate (Yeah, my stylist is in Minnesota). The rest of the day was just relaxing and getting re-packed.  

Going Home

Tuesday, we headed for home. This was probably the hardest day of it all. Bloom took us to the airport (with a Hardee's pitstop) and we got there nice and early. Security was fine - about as easy as it was earlier - and we found our gate. Our flight was delayed an hour, Milo ate and fell asleep, we boarded, I watched a movie on the flight, it was not bad. The layover that time was only a couple hours. We all ate, we played a little, and then prepared for boarding. This time though, because of the hour delay, we couldn't give Milo any sleepy juice. 

Tip #7: Wait to feed until takeoff if your baby is awake. This was one I wish we had paid better attention to for the last flight. He ate before we took off in an attempt to get him asleep before take-off but that was in vain. Save the food for take-off. I think if we had done that, he would've fallen asleep at the right time anyway. It's fine.

We boarded while Milo was tired and he fell asleep pretty easily without any help. However, people on our plane who were on a delayed flight from Houston made us late and Milo woke up. So basically, that flight was the worst. We got to Salt Lake eventually and got off the plane. We went and waited for our luggage for forever, then eventually had to go find our carseat at some other baggage claim thing and Sean went to get the car because it was freezing out. 

20 minutes later, Sean called. The car wouldn't start. So not only did we have to deal with a distressed baby for the past 2 hours, but now we were trapped. Plus my phone was dying. So. Sean eventually found a help phone and someone came and gave us a jump and we were all good. 

One more problem. A flight from LA to Paris had a bomb threat and was diverted to SLC. Yeah. So Milo and I waited out in the freezing cold for like 10 minutes while Sean had to come around again. We got home, took care of  business and all of us crashed hard. There was no midnight feeding, no bathroom trips... In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't even roll over until like 7. Milo slept in until 8:30 and we're just readjusting and putting things away today. 

Tomorrow, Milo gets his 4 month shots and Sean has his first eye doctor appointment. Then we're not doing ANYTHING until Thanksgiving. And even then, we'll stay relatively close to home. 
See you again in July, Minnesota!

Thanks for reading! Check out my packing/to do lists and ideas HERE.

Love, Miss Ellen 

Travel Lists!

1: Make one of your carry-ons an all-inclusive diaper bag. We used an Oakley backpack like this one:
Here's what was in it:

  • 12 diapers - We also bought a pack of diapers while we were there so we were sure not to run out.
  • 1 pack of wipes 
  • 2 receiver blankets - we use these for changing pads and burp cloths, whatever is needed at the time. 
  • 2 burp cloths
  • 3 Dr. Brown's 9 oz bottles
  • 1 sectioned formula rubbermaid - enough for 8 oz. of formula per section with 3 sections. These are at Baby's R' Us.
  • nursing cover - just in case. Or if you use that. 
  • bink/bottle wipes
  • 1 first aid tote with
    • 3 spare ziplocs of 2 sizes
    • 2 spare binks
    • diaper rash cream
    • lotion 
    • 2 bibs
  • toys in a ziploc - We had:
    • Sophie la girafe
    • Dr. Seuss books/Veggies with Wedgies book
    • Elephant crinkle toy
    • chain toys
    • Mickey crinkle book
  • swaddle blanket
  • plushy Blanket (the one with baseballs from the pictures)
  • spare outfits/jammies
    • Tip: If traveling in cold weather, find long sleeve/pants onesies with easy access to diapers. These were the best outfits.
2: We also had a carry-on backpack with things for Mom & Dad:
  • ipad/ipod (charged) and laptop - these were all easy access for the security check. 
  • chargers - wrapped and in a ziploc
  • earbuds - these were in with the chargers, also wrapped/stowed
  • gum and chapstick
  • book - I'm reading Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
  • list book - I'm a list freak. Plus it was helpful for when I was repacking so I didn't miss anything and leave it there.
  • baby's birth certificate - we were told they might want to check it like they do adult ID's but they didn't. It was still good to have just in case they did.
  • wallet - this also needs to be easy access for them to check your ID or in case you need money or something.
  • any additional information - we needed to bring some extra paper work and we kept it in the list book so it was easy to find. 
  • any other entertainment items

3: Then we checked a suitcase:
  • Mom and Dad
    • any specific outfits needed - dresses, ties, etc.
    • enough underwear and socks for the trip - all in ziploc bags with the air pushed out
    • 1 pair (or 2) pants per adult
    • enough shirts to last the trip
    • 1 hat for all (including baby)
    • 1 spare pair shoes per adult
    • any jewelry or other accessories (scarves, belts, etc.)
  • Bathroom - in a travel bag
    • toothbrushes for all/travel toothpaste
    • make-up 
    • combs/brushes and hair products
    • deoderants
    • q-tips
    • other necessities - you know you... pack it.
  • Baby
    • jacket and 3 pairs pants - in a ziploc
    • onesies - enough for 2 per day, be sure to pay attention to the weather (in a ziploc)
    • socks - in a sandwich bag
    • swaddle wrap - or not if your baby is too old to swaddle
    • shoes - or not. 
I always love coming home to a clean house, no matter how long I'm gone. It takes the stress from the trip and makes it easier because there's one less thing you have to do. 

To Do list:
  • clean
    • vacuum and sweep floors
    • dust and pick up trash
    • keep up on dishes and laundry
    • put away all that crap that's just around - turns out, having a baby is automatic stuff everywhere always
  • make sure there's enough food for animals
    • also make sure there's someone to care for the animals!
  • pack! - I do this gradually over the course of a couple days so that if I remember something, there's still time to put it in. 
  • load up the entertainment - make sure you have all the music, games, and movies you could want. You can always delete things later.
  • take care of yourself! - I made sure to have my nails done, everything shaved, washed, and trimmed before we left.
  • take care of the baby! - duh. just duh. but I also had to make sure Milo's nails were trimmed before we left and that we got his face rash under control before we left.
  • talk to your doctor - they can tell you things you might not know that could help ease travel (i.e. the dosage for benadryl, what to do to take care of rashes, etc.
  • double check and triple check - airports have almost nothing for babies so be prepared.
  • make a game-plan for travel day - When will you leave? Where will naps be? Who will get ready first? Who's going to carry what? 

Here are some tricks I use when packing:
  • If you can't already tell, I LOVE ziplocs. I always label them and then sit on them to get the air out before closing. Everything is organized and easy to fit.
  • If you have any travel totes (first aid totes, travel kits, etc.) use them. Again, things are organized and easy to find.
  • Wrap the cords and put them in a ziploc - cords are the worst and the less you have to hassle getting them out to be checked or used, the better.
  • Make sure your electronics are easy access so getting them out and shoving them back in is quick and easy during security check.
  • Make your tee shirts into burritos. Here's how:
    • Put your shirt on the floor front side down and fold the bottom under about 3 inches.
    • Fold the arms over on the top, like you would to fold it regularly.
    • Roll the shirt up from the neck down.
    • Flip the folded part of the shirt over the burrito.
    • Pack.

Good Luck and Happy Travels!
Love, Miss Ellen