Mommy Monday: Flying With An Infant

Happy Monday!

As you know, we recently traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii. It was our first time flying with James, and Ben and I were more than a little nervous. (James was 5 1/2 months, FYI.) The flight to Hawaii is around six hours long and we were scared that it would potentially be six hours of James screaming his head off. We didn't want to be those people on the flight - you know, the people with the screaming baby. We also didn't want our little guy to be uncomfortable. It's the worst when you hear those poor screaming babies on airplanes and you just know that they are in pain from the pressure changes and their ears popping. :(

We did some research online about flying with babies, and I also called James' pediatrician and asked for any tips. The main thing that we picked up was to feed James during take off and landing to help his ears pop. And also to ignore any rude people on the flight. ;) We also packed a lot of different types of toys for him to play with while we were in the air.

James did great in the airport as we went through security and as we got situated on the plane. We checked his car seat at the gate which was handy. But, we realized that we might as well have checked it before going through security because it was just an extra thing to lug around through the airport with us and we didn't need it for James because he prefers to be held in our arms anyways. So, on the way home, we checked our car seat before going through security and it was SO MUCH BETTER.

We also didn't check any bags on the flight over. Ben and I always try to travel with just carry-ons and not check any bags. When we flew to France last year, we did it all with carry-ons, but then on the way home we checked bags and it was way easier. Same thing happened with this trip to Hawaii. We carried on all of our bags for the flight over, but on the way home we checked a bag along with the car seat and it was such a better experience.

Lesson number one for traveling with an infant: check bags AND check the car seat BEFORE going through security. Make it as easy on yourself as possible and don't have too many things to carry. Just carry-on the bare minimum. Juggling bags, a car seat, PLUS a baby is just more trouble than necessary.

Take off went great. I fed James his bottle and then he played nicely with some of his toys. He took a few little cat-naps on my lap. But, honestly, the flight over to Hawaii was ROUGH. We were absolutely those people. haha Our flight left in the morning - around 10am I think. We thought that would be a good idea because James would be awake but then he would take his usual naps at around 10 (when we took off), noon, and three. But no. He barely slept at all. There was too much going on and too much newness for him to sleep. Ben spent a good portion of the flight walking up and down the aisles of the plane with James in his arms. As soon as they would sit down again, James would cry. Poor little guy.

During landing, James was crying too much to eat so he wasn't a happy camper. Luckily, the people on our flight were nice and we didn't have any rude people. The flight attendants were so sweet too. And Ben and I were able to laugh about it and keep a good attitude, although it was a very stressful experience and we basically swore off ever traveling with James again until he was a teenager. haha

Lesson number two for traveling with an infant: feed your baby during take off and landing to help his ears pop. You can also give a pacifier. The idea is just to get that sucking and swallowing motion going.

Needless to say, Ben and I were DREAAADING the flight home. This time, our flight left at around 3:00pm (Hawaiian time, which was 5:00pm to James...his bedtime is between 5:30pm and 6:00pm). You guys...NIGHT. AND. DAY. I'm not sure if it was because of the time of day, or because he had already flown before, or what...but he didn't cry at all the entire flight. He was so happy the whole time, playing with his books and toys, and he actually ended up sleeping the majority of the flight!

My theory is that it was his bed time, so he played a bit and then went to sleep. It was such a relief! The flight home was a dream, haha. So, now Ben and I are willing to try flying with a baby again. Which is great, because we have quite a few trips planned that involve flying.

Lesson number three for traveling with an infant: plan flights during the hours that your baby usually sleeps.

The flight over was rough, but the flight home couldn't have gone better, so I count that whole experience of flying with an infant for the first time a win! And as with all things as a first time mom, I learned A LOT.

Lesson number four for traveling with an infant: keep a sense of humor!

I am only minorly afraid to fly with James again, haha, but overall I'm optimistic!  I think even if he is upset on a flight in the future, it will be fine as long as Ben and I keep a sense of humor! Being able to laugh about the situation makes the world of a difference! And having a partner there to help out and share soothing duties with is so so so nice! I have a whole new appreciation for Ben - he is SUCH an amazing, caring dad.

Lesson number five for traveling with an infant: bring a variety of toys to keep your baby occupied.

I hope this was helpful for any of you other parents out there who are nervous about flying with a baby for the first time! As Ben and I fly more with James, I'll update this and let you know of any new tricks that we figure out. Also, I'd love to hear any other tips that those of you with experience have!

Travel Diary: The Big Island

Four Generations!

Where the heck have I been the past week or so, you may ask. Well, I was in paradise.

My little family and I jetted off to the Big Island of Hawaii!

My grandparents live near Kona, and we went to stay with them. It was our first time seeing their new house, and it was a DREAM. The views were out of this world and they have the best little jungle pool in their yard. Seriously...the entire trip was heavenly. My mom was even there for a few days, which was so fun! And it was SO nice to get to spend time with my grandparents!

I had only been to Oahu and Maui before, so the Big Island was new to me. It is SO different from the other islands that I've been to, and I LOVE it! There are so many different types of terrain and things to do and amazing features and places to explore!

This was our first time flying with James. I will write a blog post soon about our experience flying with a baby and some tips I picked up, so check back for that...probably next Monday!

Anyways, James did so well traveling such a long distance, and although there was a bit of an adjustment for him with the time difference and new place and everything, (PLUS he's TEETHING), he was such a little trooper! We had the best time adventuring with him!

Ok, I could ramble on and on, so let's dive right into it:

First things first: coffee.

Our first morning in Kona, we found the. best. coffee shop. Seriously. Look no further, next time you're in Kona. Just head to Green Flash Coffee. Every morning (except two mornings when we made the mistake of trying different coffee shops) Ben, James, and I headed to Green Flash Coffee at the crack of dawn. I fell in love with their croissant breakfast sandwiches with ham, and Ben and I got coffee cake to share. And we got coffee...of course.

Some mornings we enjoyed our coffee and breakfast at the coffee shop in their outdoor courtyard, and some mornings we brought it all with us to the beach. Regardless, every morning we headed to the beach and swam, laid in the shade, and watched the body surfers. James LOVED playing with his toys on our big beach blanket. Ben took James into the ocean for the first time. We made such great memories.

After our morning outings, we would head back to my grandparents' house and my grandpa made us his special oatmeal and we would eat fresh papayas and read and relax...it was the best.

We did so many fun things while we were there! We took a tour of the Kona Brewing Company, Ben and I went out for a couple of date nights in Kona, we went and watched a dolphin show with my grandpa, and we went on a snorkel tour!

The snorkel tour was amazing! James did so well on the boat, we saw humpback whales, and SO many gorgeous fish. I highly recommend this tour if you're going to the Big Island. Click here for all of the info!

One day, Ben, James, and I drove around the entire island. It was such an amazing day! We went to Rainbow Falls, fell in love with the town of Hawi, (go get sandwiches at Kohala Coffee Mill!!!) and we saw SO many beautiful sights, including this black sand beach.

I had never seen a black sand beach before and it was so pretty! We were going to stop by a green sand beach, but the parking area was SO crowded, so we decided to continue on our way.

We also went to the southern most point in the United States of America. For a few minutes, we were the southernmost folk in all the land. Which was a pretty cool feeling. And very neat for James, at only 5 1/2 months old!

On our way back home after our drive around the island, we stopped at this cute, nice restaurant called The Strawberry Patch. It was some of the best food I've had - I had the Spring Salad, and Ben and I split the Rustic Roasted Garlic Bread. So yummy. BUT the service was reeeeeaaaallly SLOW.

That night we saw the most unusual sunset as we were driving back to my grandparents' house. I didn't manage to get any pictures of it, but it was magical.

We saw so many beautiful sunsets while we were on the Big Island. One evening, my grandpa took us to this beautiful spot where we had pina coladas and watched the sunset over the ocean. Our last night, my grandpa took us to another beautiful place...a rocky beach where you could wade out and look down and see fish swimming around. And the sunsets from my grandparents house were unreal.

Our last morning, we got our coffee and breakfast and headed to the beach for one last family beach morning. It was a gorgeous day.

After that, we headed to Huggo's On The Rocks for a farewell drink and to soak in the view. It was such an incredible trip and I'm leaving out so many details because there is just no way that I could get them all down in one blog post. But it was just the best and we love the Big Island and can't wait to go back some day!

We really want to go to the volcano and the space observatory, but we couldn't this time because James is too little. Next time! There is so much more to do and explore!

This trip was the BEST way to kick off 2017...this year is already shaping up to be one heck of an amazing ride! Soo many exciting things in store!

Travel Diary: Ocean Shores

For New Year's weekend, Ben, James, my parents, and I went away to Ocean Shores. It was cold, but so so fun! PNW beaches are wildly beautiful, in a dark and mysterious way, and I love walking along, looking for shells and other treasures washed up from the deep.

This was James' first time to a beach, and he seemed in awe of the big waves and the vast expanses of sand. It is so fun to take him new places and give him new experiences!

We spent the weekend relaxing. We didn't have an agenda; We strolled to the beach and back; We read by the fire; We ate tasty food; And we went to bed early. It was lovely! I love little getaways like that! They are the best. It was such great quality time with my family!

Ben and I picked up these rain boots at a local grocery store once we got into town, because, as usual, I packed improper footwear. Typical. I mean, high-heeled suede booties are appropriate for the beach, right? I don't know what I was thinking, but this seriously happens more often than I'd care to admit! For some reason I just never think about what kind of shoes I should bring on a trip until it's too late! These rainboots worked great though and I'm so glad that we got them!

Being at the seashore with the ones that I love was the PERFECT way to end a wonderful year!

How did you spend your New Year's weekend?

Oh! And here's a little quick video from our weekend:

Tomorrow, we jet off on our first adventure of 2017 and I am SO excited!! Although, I'm nervous about flying with a 5 1/2 month old baby!! Any tips from you other mamas would be SO appreciated! :)

Travel Diary: Babymoon In Paris

The most handsome man in the world! <3

In January, Ben took me to Paris and it was the best trip of my life! Let me back up a little bit and give some background. We had had a trip planned for almost a year, and it was to Cabo. We were going to go with two of our best friends and spend a week in paradise, drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa in the sun. Our tickets were booked, all the details were set, shopping had been done, and we were ready to go and SO excited. 

Then, in November I found out I was pregnant (YAY!!)! This didn’t change our Mexico plans, other than ruling out the margaritas, and I was excited for a tropical getaway and to debut my little baby bump in a bikini. The WEEK that we were supposed to leave for Mexico, the CDC issued a notice advising pregnant women to avoid traveling to Mexico because of the Zika virus. The Zika virus is pretty harmless to everyone else, but it is thought to cause brain deformities in unborn fetuses. Ben and I were sick about it - we didn’t know what to do. The advisory was for all of Mexico, and for awhile we went back and forth, wondering if we could just go and keep me dripping with bug spray and swathed in long sleeves and pants. But ultimately, (and at the encouragement of our doctor), we made the difficult decision to cancel our Cabo trip a day or two before our flight. It was so hard to cancel and to bail on our friends, but we knew that we would be worried about our baby the WHOLE time we were there, and that if something ended up happening to the baby we would never be able to forgive ourselves. 

We were pretty depressed after canceling our Mexican getaway. We moped, I cried, we were stressed out, and just SO disappointed. Then we realized that Ben already had the time off of work. We started playing with the idea of trying to find somewhere else to go for the next week. To make a long story short, Ben ended up booking us a flight to Paris! He booked the tickets at around 9pm and our flight left the next morning. It was SO exciting!! We packed hurriedly, and tried to get a few hours of sleep, despite our excitement. 

Our trip was (however cheesy it may sound) an absolute DREAM. Seriously, the best week of my life. It was so romantic and exciting and beautiful and fun. I had never been overseas before so the whole experience was just so meaningful and special. We saw so many incredible things and places: the Eiffel Tower, the louvre, Belleau Wood, Champs-Elysees, the catacombs, the love lock bridge, Notre Dame, and SO much more! We ate the most INCREDIBLE food at the best little restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops - we didn’t eat at the same place twice, there were SO many amazing places to try! We had so much fun together, experiencing a different culture and a new language and all of the amazing sights! It was the most magical week. We also met some amazing people! Everyone was SO incredibly friendly, helpful, welcoming, and nice! We stayed in two different flats during our week in Paris, that were both so nice and in amazing locations. The manager of one of the flats gave us a tour around the city and bought us pastries and took us to this little museum that we never would have found on our own because it was so tucked away. It was SO nice of him and so fun and interesting. 

It was also SO special because it was our babymoon! We celebrated hitting the second trimester and we got to spend such amazing quality time together! It was just the best most perfect most romantic most fun trip EVER! Paris made for the absolute best babymoon destination! We even got some photos of my baby bump by the Eiffel Tower, which was so cool and those pictures will be so special to have!

About 14 weeks pregnant - 2nd trimester, woohoo!

Our babymoon in Paris was a magical, dream-like blur. I am so blessed to have such an incredible husband to share all of life’s adventures with! :) I know that Paris is such a beloved destination for SO many people. But somehow it feels like Ben's and my special place...our Paris. It will always have a place in our hearts and the memories we made in that beautiful city are priceless and will stay with us for the rest of our lives! 

Have you gone on a babymoon? If so, where did you go?

xo, Anna

Leading a Life of Adventure

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I am lucky to be able to live an adventurous life and to be able to write about it. I live for long weekends of backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, or heading East to go fly-fishing on the major rivers of South West Montana. And I am fortunate enough that whether I am swimming with sharks off the North Shore, or spending a lazy day at home, my husband is right there by my side. We are the perfect adventure buddies.

I am blessed to be able to go on so many adventures and to have so many amazing experiences with the man I love. I am also blessed to be able to inspire others. Especially when it comes to other women. In my opinion, fly fishing and backpacking and pushing one's self beyond what is comfortable or normal is important for everyone, but in particular for women. Whenever I hear a friend of mine talk about needing to go hiking more, "like Anna", or try fly fishing out after seeing photos of me gripping a big Brown, it gives me a rush. Because these activities have changed my life. They have opened new worlds up to me, and to see others show interest in trying them is thrilling and satisfying.

[Adapted from the article 'An Adventurous Life' By Anna M. Cohen. Check back soon for more details on where you can read the full article.]