Saturday, June 4, 2011

Homegirl on a Plane

...only slightly less scary than Snakes on a Plane.

Hubs doesn't travel a ton, but from time to time it is necessary. A few years ago, B.I. (before Izzy), he was working on a job in London which required two 2-week long trips. We were hoping I could go with him, but the timining didn't work with my teaching schedule - stupid TAKS testing. One of the small perks I was looking forward to when I became a full-time mommy was that I would be able to travel with him if one of these great opportunities were to come along again. Well, wouldn't you know it, in the last two years, his travel destinations have included exoctic locations such as Tyler and Vernon, Texas. Needless to say, I've stayed home. But when he told me about a conference coming up in Scottsdale, Arizona, my ears perked up. This would be his 6th and last trip to Scottsdale for the same conference, so we decided it would be good timing for Izzy and I to tag along. It definitely helped that we'd be staying at this hotel. Supah nice! You'll have to check out the website for photos though. I was too busy chasing a crazy 2-year-old around, so I didn't come home with a lot of pictures...

This was the first time we've ever traveled with Izzy, never even a road trip, so the idea of putting her on an airplane was a little overwhelming. I headed to Target and loaded up on coloring books, stickers, a magna doodle toy thing, the magic markers that only color on magic paper, etc., and every imaginable snack. We even borrowed a portable DVD player so she could watch her favorite shows on the airplane. And our secret weapon was the pacifier. We broke her of her passy habit about two months ago, but we thought we'd bring it along for the flight in case she started crying. I pretty much had everything short of $20 bills to hand out the to passengers around us for having to sit next to our screaming toddler.

Getting through airport security is stressful enough as it is, but you add a toddler to the mix, and you've got a whole new level of stress. Even with our attempt to pack light, we had one bag to check, a rolling carry-on, Griff's backpack and laptop bag, my humongous tote (filled to the brim with toddler distractions), an umbrella stroller, and a car seat. Izzy was already screaming when we were at the check-in desk because she didn't want to be in her stroller. All of the other passengers around us were clearly thinking, "That kid better not be on my flight." I actually had the easy job when we got to the security checkpoint. I took off mine and Izzy's shoes, and we walked on through, leaving hubs to take care of the rest. Let's just say he was sweating and a bit frazzled once all of that was over.

I thought it would be a good idea to get one of those baby leash backpack things for Izzy because I knew she would much rather walk than ride in a stroller. I clipped it on to her and she took off with a big grin on her face...until she realized that I was holding her "tail," and at that point, she burst into tears and threw her self on the floor of the terminal. Fail. The backpack came off, and Griff took her to an area where she could run all of her energy out before boarding. Izzy -1, Mommy - 0.

Less than 5 minutes after boarding the plane, Izzy was out. This was her normal naptime, so we thought we were in the clear. Stupid parents.

About 15 minutes into the flight, homegirl woke up, and she was none too happy about it. I think it was just too bright and her carseat was more upright than she's used to, so her head was all over the place.  We blazed through stickers, magic markers, the magic doodle thing, books, snacks, etc. at lightning speed. But not to fear - we had the secret weapon. The passy. I whipped that baby out and tried to put it in her mouth. Boy, did that piss her off. She wanted nothing to do with it.

Rejecting the pacifier

Griff and I looked at each other with concern at that point. I mean, we had already used 90% of our distractions, we had 2.5 hours left in the air, and our secret weapon was a bust. Luckily, she calmed down, and I just continued to shove snacks in her mouth, and did everything I could to entertain her. The DVD player would have been perfect, aside from the fact that she refused to wear the headphones. The Backyardigans are a lot less impressive without sound...

Homegirl perusing the Skymall magazine
Needless to say, we were happy to land. We were taken by bus to the rental car terminal, where we waited FOREVER at the Dollar counter. I'm pretty sure Dollar is by far the cheapest option because none of the other companies had any lines. We finally got our killer Malibu and headed to the hotel. This place was super nice! They had awesome pools, one of which had a sand beach at one end. We spent most of our pool time playing in the sand with Izzy, and she had a blast! Keeping homegirl happy and entertained 24/7 proved to be a bit challenging when living in a hotel room for 4 days. The first two days were nice because Griff was on real vacation time, so we went to the Phoenix Zoo and spent a lot of time at the pool.

She loved the sandy pool.

More fun in the sand


We had our matching cover-ups on, so I wanted a picture.  Clearly, Izzy did not.


Izzy and mommy watching the ducks at the Phoenix Zoo.


Two little monkeys staring at each other


Izzy and Daddy


At the petting zoo



She loved this cute little play area

Hubs had a conference to attend the last two days though, and I was on my own. By that time, Izzy had gotten too much sun, so I wanted to keep her indoors. After she emptied the kleenex box in our hotel room, colored in her coloring books, and watched a few cartoons, we were pretty much out of options, so I decided I would try taking her to see Rio. This was her first movie, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was 11:00am on a Tuesday, so I figured it was a pretty safe time to try it out. She was perfect through the previews.  She sat in my lap, ate popcorn, and hardly moved. By the time the movie started, she had gotten used to the darkness and decided she wanted to stand in our row. I let her, and sure enough, it wasn't long before she was running down the aisle. There were only two other adults there (one by herself, and one with children), but I didn't want to cause a scene and ruin the movie for them, so we left. We lasted a total of about 30 minutes. So, after the failed movie trip, we headed to the mall. We walked around that mall no less than 5 times and checked out all the animals in the pet store before I gave in and paid to ride the stupid train around the mall. Embarrassing? Maybe a little. Worth it to keep homegirl happy? Absolutely.  She was so excited to ride this thing. Everytime it passed us, she said, "Choo-choo, choo-choo!" But when we actually got on it, she wasn't so sure. Here we are on the train. Ignore my blurriness and just look at her sweet face!

After the train ride, she played in the mall playground until her little heart was content.


Our return flight was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Due to some weather in DFW, we were delayed 3 hours. Luckily we knew about the delay by noon, but we couldn't just show up late because we still had to return the rental car.  So in order to mentally prepare myself for the impending disaster of keeping a 2-year-old entertained in an airport terminal for 4+ hours, I ordered up a nice cold beer with my lunch and popped a few advil. She hadn't napped all day, so I just knew we were going to be in for a melt-down. Much to my surprise, she was a very happy little traveler.  We hit the jackpot with the indoor play area in our terminal, and Izzy was busy playing the entire time.

When she got bored with the play area, she'd come over by me and color, play with stickers, read books, etc. She only took off a few times, so we'd take turns running after her. She never went too far, and she seemed to keep the other traverlers entertained. She slept almost the entire flight, aside for the last 15 minutes in which she cried profusely. At that point, I didn't really care who she was disturbing. I just felt bad for my tired baby.
hot mess:

She was so over it by this point.

In all, it was a fun trip. However, I wouldn't call it a relaxing trip - traveling with a toddler is a lot of work. I'd like to think she's at the worst possible age for traveling and it's only going to get easier from here. If I'm wrong, just humor me.

Oh yeah, my 3rd Mother's Day fell in the middle of our trip.  My sweet girl and her sweet daddy got me the pretty necklace I'm sporting in this pic.  I'm a lucky gal fo sho!

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