The Good and the Not so Good of Our First Flight with Kids

This past weekend we went on our first flight with the boys in order to attend my cousin’s wedding. We had our good moments and our not so good moments. Here’s the breakdown…

Good: Clint and I took Friday off from work and got ourselves packed up for the trip. Having the time we needed to pack made the day so much nicer.
Good: I read this post from Micaela just before we left for our trip. I didn’t have the time to order the bags she suggested before we left, but I loved the concept of having bags within the suitcase to separate out everyone’s stuff, so I just used some small cloth bags we had at home (one for each boy). It worked really well! It made it so much easier to find stuff, keeping the suitcase from becoming a complete disaster the second we had to get out something that wasn’t on top, and it made it so much easier to repack too. I highly recommend it!

Good: I’m still on my library kick, so we stopped by the library on our way out so that we could return our books that were due and pick up some new ones. Parker is really getting into going to the library. He loves books and this has become a good way to give him variety without spending money. We just take him to the kids’ section and let him pick out any 5 books he wants (this seems to be a good amount and having the number of books we checkout be consistent makes it easier to keep track of them). His favorite book from this last batch is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? It’s not the most exciting story line, but apparently it’s a classic for a reason– because kids’ love it!

Good: We managed to get all our stuff in one suitcase. We normally operate under a packing philosophy that involves bringing everything we could possibly need for the kids, so this was good practice in the art of minimalism. Thank goodness we did this because there is no way we could have managed two suitcases on top of everything else.

Good: Another thing that worked well was the travel cart for Parker’s car seat. We actually bought it at the same time we bought Parker’s car seat a while back because there was a significant discount for buying the two together. Since that time we had used it to wheel around other items such as our cooler, but this was the first time we used it with the car seat. What a miracle! It made it so much easier to transport the car seat. We just piled his car seat high with other stuff and basically had a built in luggage cart.


Good: My brilliant strategy for Austin was to have him ride in the Bjorn. This kept my hands free for Parker (who we let walk as it was a small airport).

Good: One thing that surprised me was how nice security was. They made everything easy on us and talked us through the whole process. No one seemed to be impatient with us, and it wasn’t the complete disaster I expected.
Are you starting to think, “Hey Jennifer… seems like things are going a bit too smoothly here. What’s the deal? You’re going on a trip with kids, right??” Oh, don’t worry. All in good time people. 

Good: The airport actually had pretty decent food, which was great since we needed to eat dinner there.
Not so good: It was $3 for a small milk. We could buy a gallon of milk for that price!
Not so good: While Clint was grabbing dinner for us I decided to change Austin’s diaper. I took off his overalls to find the inside of them covered in poop! So we’ve barely gotten to the airport and already we’re having an outfit change. Oh my. Meanwhile Parker has discovered that there is a space between the back to back seats where he can fit but adults cannot. So this means he’s bumping the backs of the seats of the nice people around us, and I can’t even remove him from the situation because I can’t reach him and I have a half dressed baby on the ground. I finally talk him out of there and then as I try to finish up with Austin he takes off to his secret hiding place again. Ugh! I get him out again and then he picks up Austin’s dirty diaper and chucks it across the airport. Really?
Good: Shortly thereafter my mom and brother arrived. They were nice enough to book the same flight as us so they could be there to give us a hand if needed. So my mom immediately grabbed Parker so we could eat. Awesome!
Good: The airport had a nice outdoor area that wasn’t too crowded, and it gave me a chance to run Parker around before we got on our flight.
Good: We all had fun showing Parker the planes. He was super excited to be at an airport and get to ride on a plane. He actually squealed and laughed when we finally got in the plane and it started to speed up for takeoff.
Good: I fed Austin and we had Parker eat a snack as we took off, and we didn’t seem to have any ear issues.
Not so good: We were able to entertain Parker for a while with books, but eventually we made the poor decision to let him out of his car seat. He started playing with the lady in the seat behind us and somehow this play led to him spitting on her! This was a real low point. You should have seen the look on her face and who could blame her? Several apologies and Parker was sent back to his seat for the rest of the flight.
Not so good: Austin got tired of sitting still so I spent a portion of the flight standing in the aisle with him.
Good: I can’t complain too much though because he was happy with this arrangement and wasn’t the crying baby on the flight.
Good: I’m not a fan of letting kids watch TV, so Parker almost never gets to watch anything and is super excited when he gets to. Thus, when Parker’s patience with sitting still was running short as were our ideas for entertaining him, we busted out Clint’s iPhone with an episode of Sesame Street on it and made it through that last half hour unscathed.
Good: Back at the hotel I put the boys down and then headed over to my mom’s room to hangout. It was nice to get a chance to visit with my mom. I’ve always enjoyed talking with her, but that time seems especially important now that I’m a mother and a wife, and we can relate in so many ways.
Not so good: I was up way too late talking to my mom, and then Austin (normally my good sleeper) had trouble sleeping, so the little sleep I did get was not as restful as I would have liked.
Good: The next day we drove to the wedding– enjoying the view of beautiful Oregon– and had a chance to visit a little with family before the ceremony began.
Not so good: Austin needed to eat during the ceremony and Parker who was sitting still just fine before the ceremony began was suddenly ready to move around and make noise. Clint was trying to take pictures (he’s a photographer by hobby), but I had to interrupt him because it’s hard for me to manage a restless Parker and nurse Austin in a public setting without ending up flashing someone (or some other such disaster).
Good: Apparently people were generally unaware of what seemed like too much noise and movement to me.
Good: There was delicious breakfast food served at the reception, including pancakes, cheesy bacon potatoes, omelets made to order, and a refreshing salad. I don’t think I’ve ever been served breakfast food at a wedding, and I loved the idea. It’s also rare to find good food at a wedding because so many people have to be served at once, but this was actually good. Yea!
Not so good: My dear son wanted to explore. Understandable, but it makes it hard for one to enjoy the reception when your’e following a toddler around.
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Good: The reception was outside which gave Parker plenty of opportunities for exploring, including a fountain that he loved splashing in. I must have loosened up in my old age because I didn’t particularly care that he was getting wet. He was happy, and I even got to hear the toasts… hurray!
Good: Various family members volunteered to help with the boys so that I could have a break. I even managed to dance a little!

With my brother

Bonding with my brother 🙂

Austin with my mom (left) and my aunt/ mother of the bride (right)

Austin with my mom (left) and my aunt/ mother of the bride (right)

Parker hanging out with his uncle

Parker hanging out with his uncle

: It was a lovely wedding and a good opportunity to be with family.
My cousin (sister of the bride) and flower girl... adorable, right?

My cousin/ sister of the bride/ flower girl… adorable, right?

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Good: After the reception was over, we got to go back to our hotel and catch a short MUCH NEEDED nap.
Good: We had a lovely family dinner at a nice restaurant by the water. The food was REALLY good, and it was fairly affordable too!
Not so good: The boys could only sit still for so long making it challenging to eat and visit.
Good: Parker enjoyed playing with his cousin and as it was a nice outdoor setting, we even managed to do a little visiting while allowing the kids to explore.
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Good: We went back to my aunt’s house after dinner and got in more visiting time. Trying to squeeze in as much visiting as we could on our short trip!
Not so good: Another late night and another night of Austin not sleeping well, and we had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning for our flight! Can you say tired? So tired!
Good: Our airport strategy worked well once again. Austin was able to sleep in his car seat until we got to security and we had to take him out. Then we just transitioned him to his Bjorn. Once again the car seat travel cart was a life saver. It made it easy to get Parker through a busy airport– like having a stroller without the nightmare of trying to transport that too. He was able to ride barefoot in his pajamas and cuddle with his blanket– perfect for an early morning!
Good: Austin ate and then slept the whole flight, which allowed me to rest a little. We allowed Parker to watch a little more Sesame Street… not my first choice, but Clint was in desperate need of a nap as well.
Not so good: As we exited the plane Clint had his hands full of our stuff, and I tried to wrangle the boys as well as a couple small items, and that was a mess. Parker decided to run off and hide under one of the seats, and I found myself dragging him out while trying to balance Austin and the luggage. It wasn’t pretty and both of them ended up screaming.
Good: At least no one was on the plane except for us at this point.
So 28 “good”s to only 10 “not so good”s, so I guess it was a pretty good trip. 🙂 The not so good’s largely involved the natural curiosity of boys and their need to explore. It’s a good thing– just not always convenient. If anyone has tips for these types of situations, please share. The other major issue was sleep, but fortunately Monday night I was able to catch up a little (I don’t think it was even 8 hours, but Austin finally slept, and it was the most sleep I had gotten in a while, so good I guess, lol).
P.S. In case you missed it on Facebook, we now have a new niece and nephew. Welcome to the family Jack and Aya!! We can’t wait to meet you!

2 thoughts on “The Good and the Not so Good of Our First Flight with Kids

  1. So glad the idea of packing cubes worked for you, even if you couldn't get the actual things. Hey, you saved money, so I consider that a big win for you!

    Your list of not so goods had me cracking up. But only in the, "oh, I feel you, sister" way. I've had at least 2 toddler/preschoolers for 6+years now and weddings/flights/eating out are never never easy. So glad you could make it though. 🙂
    Micaela @California recently posted…Askew: Theme ThursdayMy Profile

    • Thanks! It was a great tip! Little things like that can make a big difference in keeping your sanity while traveling with kids. Now I just need your list of tips for how to get toddlers to sit still when needed…

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