Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dreaming of Sun and Sand

We're going to the beach!

In less than four weeks (three weeks from Saturday) we are flying out to a sunny beach in Florida to CELEBRATE with my family. My nephew has completed chemotherapy and has beat leukemia. There is no doubt - he has beaten the beast for good. So his finish line? The family spending a week at a beach house. 8 adults/9 kids.

So we're flying. Hubs and I haven't flown for seven years. Definitely haven't flown with kids. Aren't even sure how. We all have a seat on the plane (no lap sitting) and the kids will have car seats. We'll bring an umbrella stroller for Little Man.

But I'd still take any advice, tips, lessons learned. I'm just not sure what I even need to know. I want it to be relaxing and a true vacation. But the thought of a four-year old and a two-year old in the airport and then at the beach is not all that relaxing to me.

Help. Please!

14 comments:

Beck said...

Oh my GOD, really? He's all better? That's wonderful.
Um, airport tips? Little dvd players, new toys from the dollar store, the patience of a saint... I dunno what else you'll need.

Mimi said...

Hooray! What great news. I'm so glad.

As for travel? I think B will be probably enchanted with the flying part--she's old enough to be impressed by the specialness of it. And M? Snacks. Lotsa snacks. Bring the umbrella stroller right to the gate, is my advice also.

Hm. What Beck said is good. Do that too!

Mama said...

Remember those ratios- 8 adults/9 kids. Some of those kids can be adult-like, too, so pick a child and hang with them. Tell them they are yours. Each of the other kids get an adult, too. Then you "block out" the others, you are not responsible for everyone's happiness, just help your child get through the trip (you will have a different child for different activities). I know how young mom's operate, they think it's their job to make everyone happy, not true. So, pick a kid and go on a dream trip. Don't worry, be happy! Oh yeah, teacher tip, "prep set". In the weeks before the actual trip draw pictures/find pictures/take pictures of things that will happen and how the kids need to look/act/talk. Show them what you've got packed for them and when they'll get those treats. I know that sounds simplistic but I know it works. AND don't forget the sun screen!!!!!!!!!!

Alpha DogMa said...

Yeah for your nephew and his healthy body! Oh, I love a HAPPY ending!

Is your flight going to have complimentary cocktail service? Because the answer is really Jack Daniels. If not for the kids than for all the people sitting around you.

What Beck said, plus sheets of stickers. Sheets and sheets of stickers -- my kids will happily stick stickers on blank sheets of paper for hours and hours.

And when you go through security: they'll ask you to remove all the electronics for scanning. BUT what they really mean is anything mechanical. I once had my carry on bag trashed as they searched for an item containing several springs, two sharp metal rods and some ball bearings. AKA a fisher-price firetruck. I admit that when x-rayed it did look like a bomb.

Good luck.

nikkis30by30 said...

I agree with Mama. Everyone else's happiness is not your problem. When I fly, I know there will be kids there and that their parents are more stressed than the rest of us on the plane. You're kids are GREAT kids. ENJOY IT! B is old enough to understand WHY you are going on the trip. Tell her about it. Tell her to remember this is "Bret's present". She'll get it. And really, I am not so sure M won't get it too. You can do this. It's gonna rock! I AM EXCITED FOR YOU!!

And.... YAY GOD for answered prayers!!!!!!

LoriAnn said...

Hurray for answered prayers. It's time for a celebration!

My helpful hints: Slip on shoes for everyone - even kids have to remove their shoes at the security gate. Favorite sleep items in carry on bags - even M is old enough for his own backpack. If your children don't get hyper with Benydryl (some do) a dose of that is good to take the edge off and make them a tad sleepy for the trip. And yes, stickers are the best, a deck of cards, Crayola ColorWonder paper with ColorWonder markers and snacks - the newer more exciting the better!

Finally, I would suggest EarPlanes for everybody. They are little ear plugs for kids and adults that will definitely help equalize the pressure when you're taking off and landing in Florida - you'll be landing at sea level then and it can be painful. You can still hear what's going on around you, so don't worry about that. You can find them at Walgreens - probably Walmart, too. EarPlanes, yep.

Midwest Beach Girl said...

OM- What beach are you going to? perhaps you would like a visit from an extended family member?
Tips for flying with kids: Benedryl. It's not actually to make them sleepy as much as it is to keep extra fluid in the ears at bay. (Trust me, I've got the major sinus issues to prove it.)
Sippy cups/water bottles they can sip from. Sipping equalizes pressure more quickly. It works better than gum like they use to recommend (Just remember that you'll have to fill them with something purchase after you get to your gate.)

I hope you enjoy Florida!!

California mom said...

Mel,
I'm so happy to hear about your nephew!!!!
As for flying with kids, it's not as bad as you might think. I've been flying with my two boys by myself since Liam was 6 weeks old. I agree with the recommendations you have received. Especially the umbrella stroller right to the gate. (the airline will gate check the stroller and when you land the stroller will be brought to the gate for you right as you get off the plane. Also, special snacks that you might not otherwise give the kids work great. Also, a change of clothes for EVERYONE in the family is a good idea. (I learned that one the hard way after being thrown up on and having to sit in those clothes for a 3 hour plane flight). Let the kids use the bathroom on the plane if they want. Liam loves the airplane bathroom, plus it gives him a chance to get up and get the wiggles out. And the most important tip I can give you is to relax and enjoy the trip with the attitude that it is an adventure and things might go wrong, but remember why you are going. Special rules apply for my boys when we are flying...and because they are allowed to be kids they are better behaved and I am a lot less stressed!!!!
Have fun.

Jenifer said...

That is great news!

I think just about everything I was going to suggest has been covered in the comments:

A backpack for each kid or they can share with new small toys, books, stickers, the Crayola markers that only work on the special paper, tons of snacks, a DVD player if you have one would be great too...we didn't though
-changes of clothes for all or at least a shirt for the adults...it is easy to spill stuff with the kids around and those tiny trays are easily bumped
-we brought our Pliko stroller right to the gate, but be prepared for them to check it thoroughly at security and to empty everything off/out of it, including Mason!

We had to leave the sippy cups empty and the flight attendant filled them before take-off - we were told the only thing allowed in the cups/bottles onto the plane was formula, breast milk or milk and the parent had to taste it to confirm it wasn't something else.

Since we had water in our cups we were forced to dump it at security. Luckily, the flight attendants were fine with filling them.

We got really lucky and both girls slept all the way just about since we have early morning flights. I had all this stuff to entertain them and they slept the whole time. You might get lucky and find that they doze off for a bit.

Sounds like a wonderful trip! Oh and pack a few large ziploc style bags they come in handy for many things and put your sippy cups in one then put them in your bag...the pressure from the plane made one of ours leak a bit.

Aliki2006 said...

He has beat it! I am so very happy for all of you--what a cause to celebrate...

I have flown many times with the kids in tow, and even across the Atlantic TWICE to boot. I can't improve much on the other advice, but really, flying with kids is a lot scarier in theory then it turns out to be in practice. We always brought a bag of "surprise" goodies the kids hadn't seen before--stickers for little ones, an interesting pocket game. Travel light and remember that kids are often entertained with small, everyday things, rather than feeling like you have to stuff your bag with larger, more glamorous toys, etc.

Also, bring lots of snacks and changes of clothes. Airplanes are great places for spilling. AND, bring a change of clothes for yourself too. My kids often stayed neat, but then *I* was the one with the grape juice down my front, or the applesauce in my lap.

Mama said...

OM- 2 comments

1- I just read an article about a man who's written how to pack in one bag. It's amazing!

2- We brought A back to Lincoln and she put her Crocks and hat on and off all the way from Trumbull to Lincoln. So I agree with Aliki2006, pack light and kids enjoy the simple things.

Heather said...

Just stopping by to say have a blessed Mother's Day.

thirtysomething said...

Happy Mother's Day!

So glad to hear about your nephew. Such scary business when a child is sick like that.
And the trip sounds wonderful!

Michelle said...

Such wonderful news about your nephew! Whoo hoo!

I'm going to save this post to read the comments later because I need this advice too! We're flying to Boston in July. We've flown w/Kayla once when she was 9 months, and then I flew with her when she was almost 2...but this time will be much different since she'll just about be 5, and we'll have a 2.5 month old...so I need some advice too :)