February 10, 2018

Tips On Flying With Babies & Toddlers

Flying with a baby or toddler terrified me when I become a mother, so much so that I didn't sleep for a week before our first flight with Abby, who was four months old at the time. And the night before we left, I called my mama friend in a panic. If this story sounds like you, I typed up this blog post for you!

Tip For Traveling With A Baby

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Early Bird Gets The Worm: 
Making a list and checking it twice is a tip I borrowed from Santa. Babies need a lot of stuff! So setting things aside and packing early has really helped me stay organized and not forget anything!  I quickly realized that 80% of the space in my suitcase was Abby’s and that I needed to wear one pair of jeans instead of my planned three. To give you an idea, I normally start cleaning and packing everything four to seven days ahead of our flight.

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It's All About Timing: 
Airline ticket prices can vary across flight times, but if possible, schedule the flight around the baby’s nap schedule. We did this each trip with Abby and our efforts always paid off because we didn't need to adjust her schedule. If you can make this work, wonderful!

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That's A Wrap
Babies need a lot of stuff and we only have two hands. So holding our little one in a sling, carrier, or wrap worked great while checking bags and going through security because it allowed me to keep my hands free.

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Choose Your drink: 
Babies always cry during take-off and landing and now I know why: because of the air pressure changes. So consider bottle or breast-feeding, whichever one you’re doing, your little one during take-off and landing to relieve pressure on their ears. A binky can work too!

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Double Up: 
Our very first flight with Abby included a two-and half-hour delay (on the runway), which meant we were not allowed to stand up or leave. A two-hour flight quickly turned into five hours. (Yes, it was awful.) The terms "frazzled" and "panicked" defined my day, especially when we were two hours from landing and only had one diaper left. I learned my lesson. Now, I always try to double-up on the number of items I think we’ll need for a flight.

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Tag Team 
If you want a "break" for a long flight, sit across from your partner. Steve and I did this once to switch off holding Abby every other hour. It was wonderful! We each had a break on a 6-hour flight. However, on our very first flight with Abby, I needed and wanted Steve by my side. Having him right there next to me was far more important than getting a break! This tip is one to keep in mind as you get more comfortable with your baby flying skills.

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Nothing To Wear: 
Spit up. Do I need to say more? Pack an extra shirt in your carry on and maybe an extra outfit for baby. It's ok! The spit up stage doesn't last forever.

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In the beginning of my baby flying days, I dressed for the destination rather than the flight. But I've found that I’m happier and more comfortable while traveling when I dress for the flight and then change in the airport bathrooms after landing. To make this easy on yourself, while packing, place those clothing items in the top part of your checked bag or carry on so they’re easy to grab once you've landed.

Tips For Flying With A Toddler

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At this age, sometimes she naps while flying and sometimes she doesn’t. The chatter, noise, and TVs on the plane are often too distracting for Abby to fall asleep, let alone stay asleep. Since she’s been turned 1, we’ve tried to schedule flights for when she's already awake.

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It Takes Two Baby: 
I took the advice from a journal article about taking no more than you needed when flying with a baby. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t account for the fact that flights can be delayed or canceled. As I mentioned above, on our very first flight with Abby, we spent just as much time stuck on the runway as we did in the air. I'll never pack for just our flight time again. Double the items you think you’ll need for the travel time and thank me later!

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 More The Merrier 
I was surprised to see how much Abby ate. And ate. And ate. So the more snacks you pack, the merrier everyone will be. To give you an idea, I purchased a twelve pack of organic bunny cheese crackers and Abby consumed almost all of them during our six-hour flight. She didn't cry once!

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Check Please: 
Some airlines ask that you bring a car seat on board, but check online or call to be safe. We have always checked ours because children under two years of age are considered a "lap child" and are generally allowed to fly for free. A good mama friend of mine made me promise to never bring a car seat on board because toddlers won't stay in it and you end up paying for a seat you didn't need to pay for in the first place. We've took her advice and have been very pleased with the results.

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 If you’re comfortable, sit in a seat across from each other on either aisle. It's a cheaper option than having your "lap-child" take up entire seat that they don't really want to sit in and that you paid for. But you know your kid best, if they seem like the type to sit and color in their own seat, go for it! You know your family's needs better than anyone else!

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Back Pack:
I always used a diaper bag until our third trip in with Abby, when I broke down and bought this diaper bag backpack. But since that trip, I’ve only traveled with the backpack. Hands free with my toddler sounds amazing!

In the end, whatever happens is only a moment though the memories you make with family and friends at your destination will last a lifetime. I try to remind myself this on every flight. The greatest gift we can turly give one another is time. 

I hope this helps you as you venture out and fly with your baby or toddler. If you have any questions let me know! I'm happy to help!

Warmly, Steph

February 2, 2018

Ikea Hack: Dip-Dyed Table & Chairs

dip-dyed table and chairs, Ikea hack table chairs, DIY Ikea table and chairs

For Christmas, Steve and I designed our own DIY ungraded play kitchen for Abby. So I knew this time around for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to surprise them both by personalizing the coordinating table and chairs set, all on my own! 

Since I already had spray paint left over from the play kitchen, it was a very cheap upgrade. 
The table and chairs are from Ikea, with a very reasonable price - ($25). Surprisingly, it was really easy to assemble because it only requires an Allen wrench, which Ikea helpfully provided. It took me about 15 minutes to put everything together! So, if you’re a beginner builder (like me), this project is completely doable!

I brought the surprise to the next level by putting together a little daddy-daughter Valentine's Day brunch with a few balloons, donuts, and fresh flowers. Since I wanted to make sure both were truly surprised, I did my Valentine's surprise early! Maybe too early, although it's never to early to celebrate the two people who make my world go round.

Below are a few sweet moments I captured between them as they brunched, along with a tutorial on how I personalized the dining set.

Flower Felt Headband C/O Fancy Free Finery
Heart Garland by Sheep Felt Farm

What You Will Need:
1. Wooden table & chairs 
2. Primer spray paint (2x)
3. Silver metallic spray paint (1x)
4. Clear sealer (1x)
5. Painters tape
6. News papers / Paper
7. Self-adhesive tape (white recommend)

What To Do:

1. Spray paint all parts (except for table top and chair seats) with primer. 
2. Let everything completely dry. Then spray again, for a second coat. Let dry.

3. Measure 5 inches from the bottom of each leg up and mark with painters tape.

4. Cover the rest of the table and chair legs with newspapers and tape.

5. Spray metallic silver on the bottom of each leg to create the dip dyed effect. Let dry.

6. Remove all tape and newspaper, completely uncovering all parts.

7. Spray all spray painted parts with clear sealer. Twice. Let dry.

8. Follow the directions for placing spoon flowers wallpaper properly (took 5 minutes). 

    Then secure wall paper down with white self-adhesive tape underneath the table top.

9. Follow Ikea's instructions for building the table and chairs.

Total Timeline: 3 Days

Painting: 2 days to paint & dry each coat of primer, metallic silver (the dip effect) & sealer. 
Details:  3rd day, a total of 15-20 minutes for adding details & assembling.

Many thanks to Fancy Free Finery for Abby's darling headband. 

Happy Early Valentine's Day! 

XO - Steph