It goes without saying that an infant requires A LOT of stuff... one would think that the smaller you are, the less stuff you require; however, they would be wrong. For the past 7 weeks my DS and I have been away from our home. (DH has been away too, just on the opposite coast for a USMC class.) We flew back to California to visit family & friends and we stayed at my brother & sister-in-law's house. We had a great time and it was such a blessing to stay with family...but it's still not home. You don't have all the things you are used to so it throws off your routine a little. We adapted well to the change in environment, DS barely even missed a beat with the 2-hour time change! We didn't have everything in our normal routine at home (including daddy!) but Granny helped make us feel more at home by purchasing a few items for us (like an entertainer, a booster seat, toys, a COFFEE maker, etc). AND we had some extra hands when we really needed them with Granny, Aunti and Uncle around!
To make this 2,100 mile journey for 7 weeks, I was able to pack us in two suitcases, a diaper bag, and computer backpack. We did also have the stroller and carseat that we had to check at the gate every time we got on a plane (held DS in my lap - yea for free fare!) but I carried DS in the sling and pushed the stroller with everything in it to lighten my load. In our two suitcases (and I have the matching set where they nest in each other and the smaller one is considered a carry-on) I packed enough clothes to only have to do laundry every week and we really stretched it longer, I think I did laundry 5 times while we were there (not including diapers, but we'll get there). I packed us plenty of clothes (all of DS' 3 month, 3-6 month and 6 month clothes), some smaller toys, a few books to read, toiletries, 3 pair of shoes, 18 cloth diapers, fabric to make more cloth diapers, shopping cart cover (we used it a lot!), towels & more. You name it and I probably packed it, haha! On the return journey, we had significantly more because DS got lots of new clothes and toys from Granny. Even with shipping TWO 14x14x14 boxes home (mostly with the fabric and clothes that DS doesn't fit in anymore), I still had an extra bag at the airport! It was so nice to not do laundry every two days like I do at home; I really don't mind doing laundry, it's way better than dishes, but it's still nice to get a break!
DS did GREAT on the plane! I flew with him when he was 1 month old and that went well too (he mostly slept and ate!). But these last two flying experiences, he was much more active and bouncy. He was such a good traveler! He nursed or slept for every take-off and landing except the last one coming home, and even then he never complained and just happily sucked on my finger as we changed altitudes. He was happy laughing or bouncing or playing or happy-squealing the entire time when he wasn't nursing or sleeping. Everyone commented on how good he was, how cute he was, and how happy he was... made this mommy very proud! I am also SO grateful for all of the wonderful people I met along the way who helped me navigate the airports with all my luggage and DS. At every point in my journey, someone was offering to help me. It truly was refreshing to know that there is so many helpful and generous people out there! And it is also so nice to be able to chat with them while they are helping me too! The flight attendants were also very helpful and kind too. It really was a great experience traveling, the only thing that would have made it better is if I was traveling with hubby too!
I did became a little lazy with cloth diapering (we used sposies for most of the trip, scandalous, I know! But even the biggest Fluff Fanatic might not CD 24/7)... however, there was another reason for my laziness with using cloth: we've got some major stinkies going on! I stripped the diapers before we left Alabama, but it didn't work. So once we got to California I rocked a soak with some Rockin Green Classic, then soaked in Funk Rock and then washed in Classic and triple rinsed, but it didn't work out so well, we still got ammonia smell after using the diapers. Admittedly, I should have been using Hard Rock because the water in California is soooo hard, but I didn't think about it at the time. After much research online, I've decided to try rockin another soak once we get home (we have more to our vacation, won't be home for another 10 days or so, yea! - that's part 2)... I'll be using Rockin Green Soft Rock (because that's what is recommend for where we live), more funk rock and LOTS of water. I'll tell you how it goes and if it gets rid of our super stinky mess!
I'm sitting in a hotel room waiting anxiously for DH (and passing time by blogging =P). His flight came in a day later than ours so we just stayed close to the airport rather than having to take a shuttle 2 hours home just to come back again the next day to start our vacation (of which, I still don't know where we are going or what we are doing! DH has kept it a surprise!). It was great being in California with friends and family (and we will miss them) but I'm so ready to have my hubby back! We didn't do "tourist" things while in Cali, we really just hung out with friends & family, went to church and went to a couple of street fairs.
Oh! DS did fall in love with doggies! My bro and sis have 3 dogs; a Boggle, a Pit Bull and a German Shepherd-like dog (the latter two are both rescue dogs!). The GS-like dog was his favorite because he would come up and lick DS' toes and hands and face (which mommy compulsively washed afterwards, haha) and would then lay his head across DS' lap and go to sleep, it was too cute and we have lots of pictures to show for it! The Pit Bull is the princess of the family; she is not only one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met (and the biggest kisser!) but she is also a trained Therapy Dog. She regularly visits nursing homes and slobbers all over the patients while they love on her and tell her how beautiful she is. The Boggle is the most well behaved (surprisingly so, he was the MOST rambunctious puppy I'd ever seen!). Mr. Boggle is also the sneakiest one of the bunch.... he can steal a bone from the others without them knowing it or steal a muffin out of his mommy's purse without disturbing the contents; he's a regular Houdini! DH and I have talked about getting a dog for ourselves, and we would LOVE to do so, but since we live in an apartment we are just worried about the amount of care we could truly give the dog while we have a 6 month old too... we'll see where God takes us on that one!
Enough of my long-windedness, DH is due any minute! YEA! After we finish our vacation, I'll blog about the rest of our journey. I wish we would have been able to try out some cloth diaper traveling systems (like Flip or gDiapers) rather than sposies, but we didn't really plan to change our normal CD routine...maybe next time. In the end, I guess it's really all about being flexible and doing whatever works best for you in the situation you are in.
Anyone have any great travel stories to tell with their LO? I'd love to hear them!