life lately

I've been trying to blog for a week, but Gracie picked up a terrific habit of napping no more than 30 minutes at time. Literally, 30 minutes on the dot. I've timed it. I have gotten absolutely nothing done. I have lost all sanity. I went to the grocery store Saturday afternoon and it felt like paradise. You never would've heard me say that a year ago.

The times, they have changed.

Anyway. Last week started with Gracie enduring another growth spurt. There was a lot of nursing, a lot of fussing, no napping, and one morning she woke up and her clothes didn't fit anymore. Her onesie straight up wouldn't snap. She jumped a size overnight. It's true, I'm telling you! I jumped a size overnight too, but that's from the cookies I ate in order to cope with the 'spurt.

As soon as we got through that, I found out that my grandma's cancer is back, and it looks really bad. We don't know all the details yet, but suffice it to say, Gracie and I will be flying to California (more on that in a bit!) soon so my grandma can meet her and I can see her one last time. Prayers are very much appreciated. That news has put a lot into perspective for me lately.

There's also this bird. I don't know what it is or where it is, but it has been keeping me up for days now. It chirps all night long. Never during the day! But all night long. You know that scene in Failure to Launch where Zooey Deschanel has a nervous breakdown while buying a gun to kill a bird that won't shut up? That's where I am right now. Last night we had a fan on in our room and I turned my white noise app to the loudest setting and I COULD STILL HEAR THE BIRD. I laid in bed and seethed with rage for longer than I care to admit.

I'm having a severe case of stroller lust lately. My mother-in-law bought us a Graco travel system right after we told her I was pregnant. It's not what I would've picked, but it worked great for the first few months. Anyway, now that I like to go on long walks, Gracie's almost out of her infant seat, and we are out and about much more, I'm seeing the flaws. Poor Gracie must feel like she's in a vibrating chair strapped to a bucking bronco whenever I'm pushing her on a surface that isn't 100% smooth. I spent all weekend researching strollers and have several all-terrain strollers picked out that I love more than anything, but with a price tag somewhere between heart attack and stroke, I'm not sure I can justify it. But it's a good investment, right? We'll use it constantly for years, and then for even more years if there's another baby (LOL). I am continually talking myself in and out of it. Strollers consume my thoughts. I've even dreamed about them the past two nights.

News about my grandma has given me a lot of nervous energy, and I've poured into stroller research. I am a woman possessed.

Back to our trip to California. Please allow me to unload on you all as I've already sent my mom 15 emails and annoyed all my mom friends. FELLOW MOMS, HELP ME. I NEED HELP. Even if you don't have kids, I'll take any advice you may or may not have. I've done and am doing tons of research, but I am stockpiling tips. Listen, I consider myself a somewhat expert traveller. I've been flying my whole life. I have systems down pat. I have favorite booths in coffee shops across the nation. I've flown internationally by myself. I've slept on the floor of a Jamaican airport when the workers went on strike and we were stuck there for days. I have run through an airport with my head in a barf bag in order to make a connecting flight. I've done it all. But flying with a baby? I feel like I'm back to square one. I am spazzing. Thankfully, my mom will be with us to help, but I need your advice. We will be staying with family, but there will not be any baby gear on the other end for us to borrow, so we have no choice but to bring a carseat, pack 'n play, and stroller.

I know. Lord help us.

I know we can gate-check the stroller (please don't get broken!), but the carseat is where I have issues. We haven't decided if we should buy her a ticket so we can have the carseat on the plane with us, or if we'll check it and have her sit on my lap. I know a carseat can be damaged if checked which could be the equivalent of it being in an accident and therefore rendered unsafe. Obviously I don't want that, and I don't want it to get gross, but is it worth buying an extra ticket? She'll probably be in my lap most of the time anyway to keep her happy. We're renting a car, and I know we can rent a carseat, but that makes me nervous about the condition it will be in. And the pack-n-play? Can it be checked/gate-checked? I DON'T KNOW. I think a lot depends on the mood of the ticket and gate agents that day. At least that's my past experience. I've heard of some airlines checking baby things for free. But it could also be damaged. We all know the airlines toss luggage around like a woman scorned hurtling things at her ex.

My biggest concern is a 3 hour time change. I finally have her on a bit of a schedule and I could die at the thought of ruining it. Do I dare even mention my sordid past of delayed flights and missed connections? And the fact that I can't fly without drugging myself with Dramamine (this is necessary if I don't want to puke on the person next to me)? And then I have to care for a baby when I most likely won't be able to spell my own name? Every trip in the last 5 years (there have been many) have been riddled with horror stories. The last time I flew back from California our first plane was delayed, which caused a missed flight, which caused us to literally fly all over the US from 11am to 8am the next morning. My parents flew there a few months ago, and their plane caught on fire and made an emergency landing. And what if I'm the person with the screaming baby? And some planes don't have changing tables?! What if her ears don't pop during take off and landing?? I know nursing can help with that, but I'm just looking for things to worry about at this point.

What am I saying is, will you please travel with us and help me out? I'll need all the extra hands I can get. Mostly for holding coffee, which I will need gallons of.

I am dreading the actual travel and taking Gracie away from James for awhile, but I am so excited to introduce her to my family and my homeland. I can't wait to stick her toes in the sand take pictures of her in the same places my mom took pictures of me at her age. It will be good and it will be worth it.


Maybe a new stroller will help me feel better.


  1. So, so sorry to hear about your Grandma, Michelle :(. I don't have any advice about traveling with babies-- but you're in my thoughts and prayers for a calm and safe trip west. Love to you and James and Gracie! xoxoxo

  2. My thoughts on travelling with a baby (as someone who has never done it, but is planning to very shortly): I know that in Canada WestJet lets you check two of the three baby items for free (car seat, stroller, pack n play). Air Canada only lets you gate check an umbrella stroller. Weak. If you haven't already, maybe see what different airlines offer?

    As far as the car seat is concerned, I think that if they damage it they replace it. I'd check with the airline. You could also put it in a clear garbage bag so they see what they're dealing with but it doesn't get grossified. It seems like a lot to buy Gracie her own seat when she probably won't even use it. Car seat safety standards are pretty high, so I'm guessing that if you rent one it will have to be in good enough condition or it won't be legal.

    Is it possible to find a super cheap used pack-n-play on the other side? It might be cheaper than checking it both ways.

    I'm so glad Parker takes a soother. I'm hoping that he's sucking on that thing in full force while we're taking off and landing. Would they even let you breastfeed while doing that?

    Hey, if they don't have a change table, you can always practice the lap change. With your mom there you can have double the room. Just pray for no explosions.

    If you end up being the person with the screaming baby, just own it. Maybe start crying, too, and people will feel bad for you and give you cookies.

    My biggest heartbreak about flying solo with Parker is that between maxing out my allowed amount of carry on luggage (I'm cheap) and manhandling a wiggly baby I won't be able to have a coffee, too, unless it fits in the baby carrier somewhere.

    As for strollers... I love our Phil and Ted Navigator. Yeah, it cost almost as much as a first car, but it's got a ton of different ways it can be used and has an option to put a second kid in it. I also think that if you have something you love you'll get more use out of it.

    I'm really sorry about your grandma but I'm glad you get a chance to go visit. Babies need oceans. And visits with great grandparents.

  3. So sorry about your grandma.

    My first thought was buy items on Amazon and have them shipped to where you will be. Then you can decide if you want to bring them home or have them ups'ed back home or donate them to family or something. Less hassle at least for the way there?

    Never traveled by plane with any of our kids, so I'm not much help.

  4. Hey Michelle,

    I've flown with my daughter a number of times and here is what I've learned.

    1. Most airlines check a lot of baby things for free (ie; car seats, pack n' plays, ect). You can call the one you are flying and ask them how many baby items they allow. It's also VERY helpful if each of the items being checked is in a bag of some sort so they do not get anything gross on them. Plenty of companies make canvas bags that actually have a zippers and such so you know your things are secure and stay covered. Others make covered with draw strings and those are good too. Any sort of covering works.

    2. I'd recommend checking the car seat and pack n play, but using the stroller in the airport. You can gate check your stroller once you get to your gate and it won't cost you a thing. Gate checking means that you take your stroller to the bottom of the gate and set it to the side before you get on the airplane and they put it in the storage area for you and then once the plane lands, they bring the gate checked items back up and you get them right when you step onto the ramp off the plane. Again, I would put your stroller in a bag so it's covered since it is going under the plane.

    3. Wear that baby! Baby carrier! When you are boarding and de-boarding, use your baby carrier to walk onto the plane with your kiddo. I used an Ergo with daughter and carried her on my front or on my back. This way you have both hands free (hello for coffee!). Plus with your mom there she can help you put the baby in the carrier for you or take the stroller down the ramp? This means you are hands free when boarding and can carry whatever carry on may be.

    4. I wouldn't buy a seat for your kiddo since she's a lap infant. Save that money girl! Believe me, she'll be 2 before you know it and will require you to buy her a seat. Plus you have your Mom to help so that's an added bonus if you are doped up on Dramamine.

    5. Slip on shoes or flip flops. Makes having to take off your shoes WAY easier than wearing tennis shoes and having to get them on and off when you are going through security.

    6. Baby's birth certificate: some airlines check and some don't. But bring a copy just in case.

    Sorry this ended up like a novel, but it can be very stressful flying with your kiddo for the first time. I get it. Don't stress too much. You'll be fine.

  5. OH, Michelle, I'm so sorry about your Grandmother. That is simply the worst thing in the world, having to face the mortality of family members. My dad has been going through cancer treatments since January, so I have some understanding of what you're probably feeling right now. Sending lots of good thoughts your way right now.

    Flights I've been on where the mom has nursed during take-off and landing are so seamless. The baby just seems to pass out and want nothing to do with anything after take-off.

  6. I read this blog all the time and she has traveled with her daughter a few times solo and put out some posts on the topic. http://www.malsmiles.com/2015/04/flying-with-baby-101.html This one seems pretty helpful and I bet you could even contact her If you had more questions.

  7. I will start out by saying i don't have a baby so I am intimately useless. But I do love your writing and thought it only fair to tell you. And girl ,you get that new stroller. Years of use is totally worth it & plus if another babe comes into the picture then there you go. More use. I'd like to say justification of shopping for things is one my my biggest talents. You should check out the barefoot blonde blog for traveling with a baby tips! She is prego + her babe just turned 1 and they literally travel the world every other week. She wrote a whole post on traveling with an infant! And because I think you're cool and that we could be friends, I looked it up for you! This is the link:

    Hopefully that helps you! Have so much fun!!

    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    1. whoa remind me to proof read before I post comments, I am ULTIMATELY useless, intimately useless too but like wow. i'm not a creep.Love you, auto correct!

    2. ahh sorry 3 comments but I forgot to mention, so sorry about your grandma :( I just lost my grandpa and it is so hard! I hope your grandma is okay and is in as little pain as possible!

  8. So I know that this is the complete opposite of what you're talking about here, but... I have to travel alone on Wednesday. As in... SANS PRESLEY. I mean, that's worse than traveling WITH her, right? I'm so screwed. Four days without my baby. Let the tears flow. :(

  9. I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. Mine passed away from pancreatic cancer a few years ago and it was hard. I'm glad you get to fly to see her. I would be nervous too! Good thing you'll have your mom. They know everything :) I'm sure it will all be fine, and if not, imagine the hilarious blog post that will come from it! ;)

  10. I am praying over your grandma and family. May the Lord heal her and comfort her and you and your family. I am also praying that He gives you all the info you need to travel with Gracie smoothly and that He will take away your anxiety. I also sent word to the Big Man about your stroller situation and Gracie's crazy growth spurt, that He will be with you guys physically and emotionally during this tough phase. Love you, girl! Let me know if I can help you ANY way. Just know that in the meantime, I am lifting all of your worries up to Him in prayer!

  11. I know that scene in Failure to Launch-- one of my favorite parts of the movie!! "What kind of devil bird chirps at night??" MY FAVORITE.

    I wish I had flying advice for you. I have seen people check all three of those items, though. I've had to climb over a fair share of car seats to get my luggage off of the carousel. There was a baby on the plane home (or maybe to) Denver and I didn't hear a peep out of it the entire time-- I hope that's how Gracie is for you!

    I'll be thinking of your grandmother. I'm so sorry to hear that :(

  12. I'm so sorry about your grandma! I am thrilled you get to finally take another trip out to the Best Coast but I do wish it could be under better circumstances. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

    No flying advice here either...I've flown with cats before though, does that count?

    Get the stroller. Those are definitely one of those "will pay for itself over time" items.

  13. We've gate-checked carseats a whole bunch of times with no issues. I suppose it's a chance to take... but we take it. Because we're cheap.

  14. I'm glad your grandma will get the chance to meet Gracie, but it's got to be hard under these circumstances. Living far away from elderly family when they get sucky diagnoses--that's the worst. You can't be with them and you don't get any hope for ever getting to see them as their 'normal' selves again, and it's just really sad.
    Hopefully the flight flies by! Have her favorite things around to distract her--keep in mind the most uncomfortable times when the plane ascends and descends. At least there are two of you adults flying together, right? That will definitely make things easier than if you were all alone!


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