Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

Top Family Friendly Hotels in San Francisco

A metropolitan tapestry woven with public parks, exotic curio shops full of kid-friendly treasures, and an eatery with dumplings on almost every corner (and what kid doesn’t love dumplings?) San Francisco is a natural choice when selecting your next big city family vacation.

But, the question of where to stay is often the stumper when trying to find well-situated and family focused lodging in the city.

Using my family as a metaphorical guinea pig, I’ve discovered five of the top San Francisco hotels that will set your family up to have the ultimate vacation in one of the world’s most cultured concrete jungles.

The Inn at Union Square

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Tucked between a fine art gallery and Morton’s Steakhouse, this hidden gem hotel is freshly renovated and less than a block from Union Square where your family can roam in the grass, inspect public art installations, or sign up for Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine (a walking tour).

Because all rooms are situated off the street, and look out onto a small courtyard-esque corridor, you can enjoy the convenience of being in the heart of downtown, without hearing the constant beat of that heart: traffic. But, even if quiet wasn’t readily available you’d still settle into serenity as this hotel features the most comfortable beds I’ve ever sunk into, and a nightly wine and cheese reception that does wonders for that fore-mentioned serenity.

A short walk to Chinatown and a hop, skip, and a stroller push to just about any culinary option your child’s particular taste buds might desire, this hotel will pour a large helping of simplicity on your trip.

Read more on Vagabond Family!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

How to Have an Epic Family Vacation in Squaw Valley

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After traveling multiple hours on ground or air, with restless children in tow, many parents want a one-stop shop for fun, food and accommodations, happy if they never have to look at their crumb filled vehicle the entirety of the trip.

Squaw Valley has answered this prayer, crafting a village that offers nosh for all palates, ski runs for every level of courage, hotel rooms with a mix of luxury and minimal breakables (I’m looking at you mischievous tots) and live music that makes even the tiniest of feet burst into dance.

If family vacations full of equal parts thrill, relaxation and simplicity are your jam, use the following guide to relish the goodness of Squaw Valley.

Find Your Peace at Wanderlust Yoga Studio: This studio has multiple classes geared to prepping your body (and mind, and spirit) for a stellar day of skiing, and for restoring your muscles after that last run. The variety of offerings sprinkled throughout the schedule allow flexibility for you and your fellow child-sitter to each catch a class.

Entertain Your Kids at the Children’s Program: Because most children loathe being taught sports (or anything) by their parents, let a trained instructor ignite your child’s passion and skill for skiing or snowboarding. This program accommodates children three to thirteen years of age and ups the fun ante by utilizing kid-specific tools and games during instruction. And because we parents are nosy, the instructors provide a post-lesson report card detailing your little skier’s skill and cognitive-based progress.

Read more on Vagabond Family! 

Airplane Travel, Travel

My Mama Mint Experience

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I nestled into a JetBlue Mint seat the morning after the 2016 election results rolled in. I was tired, and in need of nourishment. I was ushered to my space by a flight attendant who smelled like a fresh-linen candle and quickly handed me a “refreshmint” (hehe, good one JetBlue) cocktail.

My first twenty-ish minutes in a plane are usually laced with anxiety, but not this time. As I settled into my cushy airplane nest (a Mint “seat” is much more than a seat) I felt safe, cared for and free of my usual need to wring my hands and breath deeply (in a kind of creepy way) until we reach cruising altitude.

The alchemy of the following Mint elements is what made my experience so… well, minty.

The Nest

I walked onto this flight with a bone deep yearning to bury myself in blankets and check out, and was hoping I wouldn’t be met with the standard itchy, thin and strange-smelling airplane blanket. My nest came with a comforter-esque blanket and full-sized pillow. “Oh yeah,” was on repeat in my mind and body as I laid my seat flat (!), sunk my head into the pillow and cocooned myself into the blanket that easily covered my entire body.

And the partition between myself, and the kind lady seated next to me, saved her from being exposed to my drooling-sleep-face.

The Food

As I slid my seat out of the supine position, my candle-scented flight attendant re-appeared to ask what food I wanted from the small plate menu created by the NYC restaurant Saxon + Parole. The menu read like an ode to edible art, each item unique and begging me to have a try.

After an embarrassing amount of time hemming and hawing (and salivating) over the menu I ordered the Tuscan kale salad, goat cheese tortellini soup and pan-seared halibut with roasted cauliflower.

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Then I ate, and it was everything.

The Drink

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Most wines served on airplanes make me feel hung-over before I reach the bottom of the plastic cup. But JetBlue’s wine-service, curated by wine expert Jon Bonne, only offers the good stuff, like really good stuff; the stuff that makes your taste buds happy, body warm and fuzzy and mind strangely more creative and capable. And the bubbly is just as lovely. (Yes, I tried both. And had them put Bailey’s in my cappuccino.)

The Entertainment

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The blue glow of the large screen situated in my nest knew how to tickle my fancy. Unlimited access to programs I could watch without conferring with another adult and my three-year-old? Yes, please. Although I usually sink my airplane time into work, I let my laptop stay in its case and binged on movies with ratings naughtier than a G, as I took tiny bites of Blue Marble Ice Cream.

The Gifts

My persona can usually be summed up by the words “stale, tired and cranky” halfway through a long flight. So, I wanted to bear hug the flight attendant when she handed me a Hayward “designed for her” kit right as I was entering the “stale” realm. The denim clutch (that is so chic I now use as a clutch) was filled with an orange towelette, lip balm, breath mints, screen cloth, earplugs and a non-itchy eye mask.

Oh, and then there was the farewell gift box of chocolaty, buttery, uber-yummy treats from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery that served as my dinner when I arrived at Hotel Commonwealth. The apple was nice too.

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The Lack of Arrogance

I adore the “Mint Experience” term versus “business class” or (bleh) “first class.” The lack of snootiness in the terminology employed by JetBlue conveys the message that they offer a special experience I can choose to treat myself to, not an area of the plane I deserve to be in because I’m somehow “better than” the folks sitting in the more affordable seats (the seats I’m usually sitting in.)

As a mom, my alone time usually equals being squished in my car during traffic, but no more. This mama is skipping those daily fancy coffees in favor of saving up for a Mint experience on my next solo flight, because I deserve it, and so do you.

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Travel

Best Musical Festivals in New Orleans

Did you know that the yum factor of coffee and beignets ramps up exponentially after grooving your groove thang to a few sets of live music?

Do your taste buds, and ears, and eyes, and heck, your everything a favor and head to New Orleans for one (or all!) of the following music festivals, sure to leave you blissed-out and figuring out how to extend your trip by a few days.

“Sorry boss, (cough cough) I think I pulled my hamstring doing a wicked version of the Cajun Jitterbug and couldn’t possibly sit on an airplane.”

The following festivals offer audible treats for every palate, so pick your pleasure and book your flight.

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Uncategorized

How to Mix Adventure with Relaxation on Your Cabo San Lucas Vacation

Have you ever gone on a vacation and felt a need for a vacation when you returned home? Or, gone on vacation and arrived home feeling like you missed out on memory making during the trip? Cabo San Lucas, Mexico offers a lovely alchemy of relaxing and adventurous opportunities sure to send you home feeling rested, yet electric with memories of stimulating experiences.

Cabo’s desert climate, warm waters, luxurious yet playful accommodations and activities in water, sand or spa, create ideal conditions for vacation magic to grow. If you’re looking for a destination that will “magically” strip your inhibitions, and give you a tender loving massage (or mud bath) in between your bursts of adventure, get on the next plane to this land of milk and honey (and tequila.)

The following activities will help you and your Cabo getaway develop undeniable chemistry.

Margaritas Beach 4×4 UTV Adventure

Burst your “safe zone” bubble right out of the gate by hopping in a UTV and exploring the desert that flows onto white sand beaches. You’ll feel much more deserving of that margarita by the pool after coating yourself in a few layers of thrill, and dirt.

Read more on Huff Post! 

Airplane Travel, Travel

Where to Dive, Sleep and Eat in Roatan, Honduras

The world’s second largest barrier reef surrounds the island of Roatan, a tropical rock located off the coast of mainland Honduras. Roatan’s warm waters are pulsating with life so colorful, playful and exotic your curiosity and lust for discovery could have you swimming in the water for hours.

While lauded as one of the most appealing destinations for scuba divers, Roatan also offers physical intrigue and mental solace for those content with a snorkel, goggles and fins, or even just a cocktail, beach chair and “I just can’t quit you” book.

Come one come all to the island you might not be able to leave; I moved back to Roatan three weeks after my initial visit, and stayed for three years.

When (not if!) you make it to Roatan, here are the top spots to dive, sleep and eat.

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Travel

Virginia City Is the Ex-Metropolis You Must See to Believe

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Did you know there is a quirky haven tucked in the mountains above Reno, Nevada where you can watch camels and ostriches race, spy on ZZ Top bearded locals sipping pints of brew under colorful chandeliers and explore mines where millions of dollars worth of gold and silver were precariously pulled from the Earth in the mid-1800s?

All this goodness is living in Virginia City, Nevada.

When the mining industry went bonkers in the 19th century, Virginia City provided the means for forlorn prospectors to become mining-millionaires. Subsequently, many of their wives became widows- the average life expectancy of miners in this time was 45 (if they breathed some luck in with all the dust.)

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Career, Mind-Body-Spirit, Self Love

5 Bali Destinations that Will Nurture Your Creativity

Every Creative is perpetually searching for the “it” spot that will unlock all the juicy ideas, and resulting creations, waiting to blossom from their mind. While there is no magic elixir for inducing creativity, being in a location ripe with sacred structures, water pulsating with life, and landscapes that not only astound your eyes but cause your heart to smile, will offer you the key to your inner world of inspiration- all you need to do is turn it.

That key is waiting for you in Bali.

Here are five locations, nestled in Bali, that will encourage your expressions of creativity to flow in directions they never before had permission to explore.

Read more on Huffington Post

Airplane Travel, Parenting, Travel

Your Guide to a Luxury Family Vacation in North Lake Tahoe

If you’ve been looking for a watering hole in the sky, whose waters are swirling with unpretentious grandeur, family friendly thrills and mega-yummy food, pack up your swim suits (or snow suits) and hoof it to North Lake Tahoe.

To minimize the stress pangs birthed from figuring out the logistics of a vacation (especially when humans under the age of 21 are involved!) I’ve collected my North Tahoe faves, and those of my nearest and dearest who called North Tahoe home for over ten years, so you can slide into this haven with nary a worry in sight (just a bunch of pine trees in sight.)

Where to Stay: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Read more on Huffington Post!

Airplane Travel, Travel

Top Stops for Families Vacationing in the Florida Keys

I find the Florida Keys to be synonymous with simple living, tranquil vibes and landscapes so hypnotic you’d be happy to just sit and stare for a few hours- maybe even days. Because traveling with children breeds a special brand of stress, you might as well travel to a land where everyone (children included) can’t help but chill out- in warm waters.

Here are a few Florida Key destinations sure to infuse your family vacation with a unique blend of easy-going fun and introspective ponderings.

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Travel

Why Reno Should Be On Your List of “Must See” Cities

Reno has been percolating with opportunity that is now being realized in community-focused gentrification- and I’m loving it. I used to think of Reno as a gateway to Tahoe, but a recent trip to “The Biggest Little City in the World” has flipped my script. I now view Reno as a trendy and entertaining stand-alone destination that allows me to carry a cup of wine around my neck as I walk along the river flowing through its center. I struck gold when I “discovered” Reno.

Here’s a few reasons you should shimmy into a plane seat headed for a Reno vacay, or maybe even score in their real estate market before it’s gobbled up by hipster Millennials.

1. Community Work Spaces

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Travel

A Collection of the Best 82 Tips for Traveling With Children

*I did not write this entire piece but contributed many of the tips. Happy travels!

You never know how easy solo travel is until you have kids. Family travel numbers are lower than you would expect considering all the great benefits to traveling with children. The top reasons why families aren’t traveling with their children are the cost and not feeling comfortable and confident. This collection of 82 tips will help travelers be prepared and confident to take their children on a vacation regardless of their age.

But traveling with kids doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you’re imagining right now, and travel can be extremely beneficialfor your kids. In fact, there are families — with kids as young as infants and as old as grumpy teenagers — traveling around the world every day. These 82 tips are compiled from travel bloggers and parents that have become experts on the topic of traveling with children, and they’re guaranteed to improve your family travel experience.

Read more on FlyFar!

Airplane Travel, Travel, Uncategorized

How to Travel to Costa Rica With a Baby

IMG_3651Warm water, magenta sunsets, giant plates of nachos, and monkeys (loud free-roaming monkeys that don’t mess with your stuff)- me thinks I found heaven in Costa Rica.

You know this place is incredible if I can call it heaven after traveling seventeen hours, via airplanes and cars, with a baby. Yes, I had the support of my partner, parents, and brothers, but I’m the mom with the boobs full of milk.

The magic of Costa Rica made every ounce of anxiety-ridden travel worth it. I even plan to eventually follow in my wanderlust cousin’s footsteps and move my family to this eco-friendly paradise for six-ish months.

If you have the desire to explore the gem of Central America (and why not?) with your baby, here are a few words of guidance from one parent to another.

Read More on Huff Post Parents!

Airplane Travel

I Never Had A Fear Of Flying —​ Until I Had Kids

IMG_4349So sorry to anyone who has to sit next to me on a plane.

It used to be so easy for me to fly that I could fall into such a deep state of sleep, I’d wake up drooling on the kind yet disgusted stranger next to me. I’m now the one being drooled on, as I have a series of hidden panic attacks with every jiggle of the plane (and non-jiggles, because it means a big one is coming).

What changed? I had a baby.

Mortality wasn’t a big topic in my inner dialogue until I became a mom. Control has always been a headline in my life — I like control. My need for control, coupled with my newfound preoccupation with mortality, has equaled mayhem when flying in a metal death trap.

Before arriving at the airport, I now take screenshots of statistics to assure me the metal death trap I drive in is much more dangerous than the one I fly in. But I have control over the car. I obsess over those screenshots until my conscious mind is convinced that flying is safe, statistically.

Read more here!

Airplane Travel, Mom Humor

Taking a Baby to Costa Rica- Part 2: Airport Maze Maneuvering

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The parking shuttle spared our lives and we made it to LAX International check-in, expecting to fly through the process, seeing as how we had just wracked up so much good airport karma from not rioting against the bucking bus. But no, there was a seemingly endless line of weary travelers who had organized themselves, and their conglomeration of stuff, in between the moveable rollout partitions mischievous children love to move, when their frazzled parents are looking elsewhere.

I shuddered thinking of our group of eight (a baby counts as two people,) and our baggage of eighteen (the lumbering surfboard bag counts as five hunks of luggage,) maneuvering through those tight turns. My mother, an inspired genius sent from above, noticed an official looking lady sending a family to the gloriously empty line to her right, which I naturally assumed was reserved for people who had shelled out twice the amount for their ticket to have the luxury of fast lines, a jumbo seat, and a free glass of champagne; at that moment I could see their logic. My mom nudged her slim figure through the masses of confused travelers and inquired as to why that family got to go in that line?

Official Lady: “Well ma’am, they checked in online.”

Mom: “What?! We checked in online! We get to bypass that line for this line?!”

My mind did the happy dance my external body was too wiped-out to perform.

This bit of good karma was not the bad bus’ doing, no, I had stayed up until 2am the night before, with two computers simultaneously logged in to our airline’s website so I could frantically try to wrangle us a gaggle of seats together, our flock had to stick together. My early morning, bleary-eyed stay-up had paid off and we were flying in the fast lane, or at least lugging our mountain of stuff through a much shorter line. Why hadn’t all those people in that line embraced the power of the invisible forces of the Internet and checked in ahead of time?

We pulled to the front and started pulling out our heaps of travel paperwork we had spent the last few weeks frantically compiling; expedited passports, original copies of birth certificates, notarized parental permission forms, death certificates, pleas of insanity, and more. The only thing the silently efficient man looked at was the passports, and our credit card to charge for the board bag of course. “But, what about the tree that had to die to supply all these other documents?! At least look at them.” Nope, Murphy’s Law at it again.

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We got the boarding passes, carted the checked bags over to the piles of other checked bags, and made our way to security. My premature sense of ease should have been my signal I was bound for impending doom.

We arrived at the front of the security line and the uniform wearing woman was nice, she was actually nice, and she smiled. “Where am I?!” We passed Go, and started to pull our electronics out of our bags, remove our shoes from our feet, and attempt to wiggle out of the underwire containing bra I was afraid would set off the alarms. As the normally stern faced officials cooed at my thankfully smiling baby, I breezed through the metal detector. “Now we’ve made it.” But no, I was then escorted over to the Level Two security check, that I was certain was just a random “lottery.”

Security Guard: “Ma’am do you have weapons in this bag.”

Me: “Only some baby nail clippers.” (Yes, I actually said that, no, he was not amused.)

I continued to watch him weed through my meticulously packed bag, certain the most scintillating item he would find was a liquid-less breast pump. His hand then slid over a back pocket I had ceased to notice while packing. This was not my backpack, this was the back pack Eric usually took camping; I was not familiar enough with this backpack, not at all. The security guard swiped his hand through the “hidden” pocket and pulled out a pocketknife. A knife, there was a knife in my carry on. A knife. He held it out and just looked at me.

Yours Truly at Warp Speed: “It’s his bag, that guy over there, yes we’re together and it’s technically my bag today, but he usually takes this bag camping, and just went camping last weekend and he must have put it in the bag to take camping because he uses the can opener in the pocket knife to open cans, and beers, wait no, he doesn’t drink beers, and I had no idea it was there. I swear I checked the bag and I had no idea the knife was in there, no idea. I have a baby, so I’m always so distracted. Did I say I have a baby? I do, he’s right here, isn’t he cute? I’m so sorry; I promise I had no idea. Did I say I’m sorry? So sorry?”

Internal Dialogue: “Please don’t arrest me and take my baby, please don’t arrest me and take my baby, please don’t arrest me and take my baby.”

Security Guard: “Ma’am, we can either throw it away, or you can go back to checked baggage, check it, and re-enter the security line.”

Me: “You can throw it away, thank you.”

Internal Dialogue: “What?! I’m not going to be arrested for attempted international espionage. My baby isn’t going to be turned over to the government?” (Enter biggest sigh of relief that has ever left my mouth.)

When I recounted my harrowing tale to Eric, after we were far and away from security, he said, “What? You let them throw my pocket knife away?”

Yes, that was his response, really it was.

We made it to the gate without any more brushes with the law and had to wait an un-painful amount of time before they made the call for passengers with babies to pre-board. ‘What? I didn’t even know they did that anymore. I thought courtesy to the tuckered out souls traveling with ‘heavy non-speaking boob suckers’ was a thing of the past?’

It took some time, and some “baby coming through” name dropping, but we were able to squeeze through the masses of the child-less Tom, Dick, Harry, (and their significant others,) piled in line, making it near impossible for us with child and with piles of bulky baby bags peeps to pass.

By the grace of the Greek God Atlas, we made it to our seats unscathed, and Hudson promptly decided to get pissed, likely because he prophesized that he was about to be trapped in a confined space for 8 straight hours. When I was able to refocus his gaze on to the full-mom-boobs by his face, he was quickly consoled.

Hudson began to nurse, and I immediately yearned for water. I had purposely dehydrated myself before the flight so I would not be stuck in the torturous position of holding a ‘thank God he’s sleeping’ baby, and having an ‘I’m about to wet myself’ full bladder. As soon as we took off Hudson effortlessly fell into a milky real sleep, while I crawled my way into a less than ideal dehydrated, kind of sleep; but it was much better than wrestling with an abnormally strong baby in a tiny seat for eight hours.

Part one of flight one passed fairly quickly and we descended into the lush hills of Guatemala. We didn’t have to deplane, but we did have to spend an hour listening to a chronic cuss-er, as a fresh load of passengers were ushered on to the plane.

Chronic Cuss-er: “You should have f***in been there that one f***in time I did that totally f***In awesome thing. You f***in remember dude, I know you f***in remember, I’m so f***in dope.”

He was cool, and so were his huge gold-rimmed sunglasses and ‘fad-tabulous’ headphones. The eventual sound of the plane drowned out his stream of consciousness cussing.

Oh yeah, Hudson slept through Guatemala and was stuck in slumber until we landed in San Jose, Costa Rica. Verbal happy dance!

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Airplane Travel, Mom Humor, Uncategorized

Taking a Baby to Costa Rica- Part 1: The Hydraulic Parking Shuttle From Hell

Them: “You’re taking a baby to the middle of the Costa Rican jungle?!”

Us: “Yes.”

Them: “Are you crazy?!”

Us: “Ummm, maybe?”

Yes, we did it, and lived to tell the tale. We booked the tickets, reserved the house, bought a bag full of expensive sunscreen, and coaxed a bunch of other family members into going with us, before we could change our minds.

Tropical plants, cheeky monkeys, warm water, magenta pink sunsets, no need for pants, shirts, or shoes; sign me up.

But, first things first, we needed to get there.

Packing, driving the two hours to the airport, and finding a parking spot at the long-term parking concrete-jungle was fairly easy, but the easy ended there. We were shocked when a shuttle appeared mere moments after we schlepped all our shtuff over to the nondescript shuttle stop. Usually, we have to wait an hour, then frantically run after the passing shuttle that “didn’t see us.”

We entered the miracle shuttle, parked our traveling tushies in the back, and rolled along on our merry way, for about 50 yards. At this 50-yard mark a woman-with-wheelchair needed to make her departure from said shuttle, and the necessary ramps were lowered to accommodate her safe descent. Part of this ‘ramp lowering’ consisted of special hydraulics, which caused the right side of the bus to tilt towards the asphalt below; very disconcerting, but at least this guy “knew what he was doing.”

She was able to exit without much fanfare, and the shuttle driver attempted to balance out the listing bus. We slowly raised back to “right,” had a fleeting moment of ‘yay here we go!’ then persisted to tilt down on the other side. We were the only people on the bus now, and there was no one waiting in the wings to enter; “why the heck are we now sloping so far to the left I need to hang on to a stability pole to stay in my grafittied blue plastic seat?”

As I attempted to steel my nerves against the unease I felt at being a passenger on the ‘Unintentional Carnival Ride Shuttle,’ he started to drive! “You can’t drive a tilting bus! My baby is on board! Do you have a liscense to drive a shuttle, or any car?! Who are you?! Are you trying to kill us?! Let me off!” Before I could verbalize any of my neurotic internal dialogue, the shuttle bug Gods smiled upon us, and he STOPPED THE BUS. Good idea.

He then persisted to right the tilt…. and tilted it back to the other side. This ‘up, down, down, up, errrgg, crunch, and ‘other unsettling noises’’ carried on until my nervous mama asked the question on everyone’s mind, “Should we get off the bus?” That sentence is an anomaly in the world of airport shuttle buses, you NEVER get off the bus until you reach your final destination, out of fear that you’ll be forever trapped in the airport parking abyss, because another bus will never come; well, at least not until you’ve already missed your flight.

We attempted to ponder her inconceivable question as our non-traveling carnival ride continued, and flowed into the nervous shuttle driver moving to his last ditch idea of revving the engine of the non-moving bus for an inordinate amount of time. A mental image of the bus bursting into flames flashed through my mind as we all simultaneously made the silent declaration, “Okay, that’s it, we’re breaking the cardinal rule of airport shuttle etiquette, and we’re getting the F off this bus.”

The driver opened the doors without a word, and we stumbled out to the relief of fresh air, and non-tilting solid ground. AND, there was another shuttle pulling into the stop in front of us! HALLELUJAH! We are saved! We ran to Shuttle Number Deux, and sighed a breath of ‘thank goodness we didn’t get catapulted out of the Plexiglas windows of Shuttle Number ‘Oh Heck No.’’ As we recounted our harrowing tale to our fellow Shuttle Number Deux passengers, the new driver transported us to the end of the sea of cars, and announced he was done for the night, and we would need to transfer to another shuttle before continuing our journey on to the port of planes.

We dragged our gear out of the ‘Seemingly Savior Shuttle’ and trudged over the “new shuttle.” As I tilted my head up from fumbling with my straight jacket of a baby carrier, my mouth went dry as my gaze landed upon the new driver of our “new shuttle;” but he wasn’t new at all, oh no, he was the driver of the Hydraulic Parking Shuttle From Hell we had just escaped from. We were stuck in the Twilight Zone of parking lots, and I couldn’t change the channel.

In an unnaturally high-pitched panicky tone I exclaimed to the ‘I wish you were driving us’ shuttle driver, “You don’t understand, I have a baby, I CAN NOT get back on this man’s bus, I CAN NOT, did I say I have a baby?’ In an attempt to console me, he pointed at the menacing concrete ramp leading to the ‘LAX Departures,’ and explained, “You just have a two minute ride up that ramp to your terminal.” Hey buddy, it only takes a second for a bus to tilt and go careening off a steeply pitched ramp. He smiled, shrugged, and walked away; leaving me with a nervous looking ‘I’m quitting after tonight,’ shuttle driver. I felt just as bad for this poor guy as I did myself.

I held my breath, boarded the shuttle, closed my eyes, and envisioned a bottle of anti-anxiety-anything pouring into my body. We had a few wobbles on the ramp, but made it to the terminal catastrophe-free.

As the shuttle pulled away, the back tire flew off and left the shuttle incapacitated, with an angry stream of now-stranded “very important people” full limos in its wake. Just kidding.

Airplane Travel, Mom Humor

Airplane Travel with Baby (insert nervous shudder here)

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Before we reach our gate, everyone looks at Hudson with goo-goo baby eyes, and comments on how adorable he is. ‘Thank you.’ (smile) ‘Thank you.’ (smile) ‘If you think he’s so adorable would you mind holding him while I go pee?’ (smile) Everything is hunky dory until we arrive at our gate, and post up on twice as many seats as we have people; we have a lot of stuff, we’re traveling with a baby. The mood suddenly shifts, and we’re met with tense facial expressions and ‘Oh, well isn’t he cute.’ (grimace) These people are TERRIFIED that his current chilled out mood is just the calm before the storm. I think these fellow flyers would rather the plane go through a literal storm, than our baby let out a thunderous downpour of hysterics, when we’re all a mile high and trapped.

Hudson can read the room. He gives me a mischievous grin and let’s out a piercing screech, that he recently taught himself. He’s not upset, he’s just letting people know that he’s not just a pretty face, oh no, he has opinions too, and loud ones. The screech elicits even more tight-lipped smiles from everyone in our eye line; everyone else is rolling their eyes and silently grumbling to their travel companion, wondering if it’s too late to change planes.

Right on cue, Huddy let’s one rip. I wouldn’t even call this a ‘toot’, it registered as a TEN on the juicy baby fart scale. This was not a noisy, but scent-less, release of air; no, this was a vertigo inducing big poop precursor. ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’ ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’ ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’

Luckily, Hudson’s pre-diaper-blow-out blowout released some tension, and his mind was free to focus on non-fussy activities. He set his sights on the pretty lady with glasses two seats away, peacefully reading her book. He shimmied off my lap, and sat for a moment, taking in her awesomeness, or maybe contemplating how he was going to get those glasses off her face. He then sauntered, on all fours, over to her feet, and let out his cutest ‘coo.’ She looked down, smiled, and went back to her book. One smile was not going to please her newly devoted fan; he wanted more. He tapped on her foot and let out a ‘coo-screech.’ Still cute, but on the verge of annoying (to everyone but this adoring mama.) Ms. Red Shirt and Glasses then set her book down, and spoke some baby talk to him. He was impressed, ‘She speaksa meh language.’ He then dropped his most bewitching flirty baby smile on her, and I swear, she almost gave him her glasses. This kid is good.

Before he could grasp her glasses, and commence Mission ‘Snap These Glasses in Half,’ his adoration was suddenly diverted, when a giant shiny metal bird rolled by the huge windows. ‘WHAT is THAT.’ ‘Me want, now.’ He then speed crawled so fast towards the window, his legs progressed faster than his arms, and he was faced with three face plants (pun intended.) When he finally made it to the great see-through divider, he smacked his noggin against this invisible force field, not yet understanding the concept of an invisible barrier; Hudson, and birds. After his collision, a menacing looking purple welt formed on his forehead. I held my breath in anticipation of the incoming non-flirty, ear-ringing, screech. But, it never came, he shook it off, literally, made a little ‘ugh’ peep, and continued scrutinizing this bird plane with wide-eyed fascination. Should I be worried that my child is not the least bit concerned with what I consider cringe worthy head injuries? We’ll ponder that question on another post.

It was then time to board. I strapped my little screeching scrutinizer to my chest, and Eric and I began the process of piling ourselves with all our “necessary” stuff. We boarded the plane, and received genuine ‘aw what a cute baby’ smiles from all the first class passengers; they knew they would likely be far and away from any boisterous baby babbles, or odors, once we exited their premier cabin, and they received their complimentary alcoholic beverage/s of choice. However, the next batch of folks held their breath as we walked by, praying that we would not be the occupants of the spare seats in front of them. We were not, until we reached the folks that we were sitting in front of.

Well, Hudson spent a few minutes checking out the busy bees outside the tiny windows, made a miniscule ruckus, nursed, and fell asleep; for the ENTIRE plane ride. HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! Our early flight check-in and amiable cooperation with TSA must have pleased the airplane Gods. Now pass me a non-complimentary cocktail, my baby is asleep!