Adulting is hard. Parenting is harder. One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as new parents has been finding a way to balance all the things that are important to us, and one of those things we love to do together is travel.
Being the protective mama bear I am, I peppered Ryan with a million questions. How does it work flying with a baby? Is she going to get sick from all the germs? What doctor would we go to if she gets sick away from home? How will I know if her ears pop or not? What if she cries the whole flight? Will she stick to her schedule eating and sleeping? How will I keep her from getting sunburned if she’s not supposed to wear sunscreen until six months old? Are we selfish for wanting to travel with her? Am I crazy for wondering all these questions?
Ryan helped me work through my worries and before we knew it, we were heading to the airport for the first of several summer adventures. Here’s what we learned along the way.
Lesson learned: Traveling with a baby is totally doable, but be careful about setting expectations.
Our first trip with Willow was to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Willow was just a month old, but after consulting with her doctor and Googling “How to travel with a one month old” we decided to just go for it.
Okay, maybe it was a bit more involved than simply searching online for best practices…we actually did our homework and found that at least from a logistical standpoint, traveling with a baby wasn’t nearly as complicated as we thought it would be. In our experience, getting through security and boarding the plane were surprisingly a breeze. If you’re interested, here are our tips for traveling by air with a little baby!
What travel tips are you willing to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
By this point Willow was miraculously sleeping through the night, but we were still exhausted as we adjusted to new routines and schedules. One day we bravely attempted to introduce Willow to the beach, but she only lasted about an hour before she was over it. We returned to our rental and slept the afternoon away in hopes of putting that mildly traumatic experience behind us.
There were some small victories. Willow experienced her first dip in the pool and Dad captured some cool footage of Harbour Town and Sea Pines with his drone. Mom got a relaxing massage at the spa, Dad played tennis at the racquet club, and despite the fact that Willow hated being in her car seat, we still managed to venture out for dinner a few times and see different parts of the island.
Our time in Hilton Head was…a learning experience. We were able to relax a bit, but more importantly I think we proved to ourselves that we could travel with Willow…it just required a bit more planning and patience than before but it was totally worth it.
Check out some beautiful drone footage of Hilton Head Island that Ryan captured…it’s stunning!
Lesson learned: Family time is the best time.
Over the July 4th weekend, we headed up to Lakeside, Ohio, to be with Ryan’s family. Back in May, we made a similar drive to Blissfield, Michigan, for a high school graduation ceremony for Ryan’s nephew (congrats, Tucker!) so we pretty much knew what to expect with Willow (namely, she hated being in her car seat). Thank goodness this trip was a turning point for our little girl and we were pleasantly surprised when she slept for most of our time in the car. Praise Jesus!
The weather was beautiful when we arrived in Toledo, so Ryan’s parents invited us out on their boat. This was another “first” for Willow, and while the life jacket pretty much swallowed her whole causing a slight panic attack, she quickly fell asleep in her Nana’s arms and we had the most relaxing time cruising up and down the Maumee River.
The following day we made our way to Lakeside, Ohio, to spend the 4th of July weekend on the shores of Lake Erie. For the last several years, Ryan’s family has made a tradition of coming to Lakeside and it’s always such a sweet time with them. We do rock painting, play shuffleboard and stroll around the cutest little shops. More importantly, we spend quality time together talking, eating, and relaxing in a place that’s full of special memories in each one of us.
We want Willow to love and value the time spent with family, and Lakeside is the perfect place for us to show her what family is all about. As we drove away from Lakeside, we couldn’t help but thank God for a family that loves us and our little girl so deeply.
Lesson learned: An hour can make all the difference.
As it turns out, when you’re booking a vacation that includes a baby, you might want to pay attention to things like time zones as they just may disrupt months of hard work in developing a sleep schedule.
When we made the reservations for Seaside, Florida, we never considered the fact that there was a one hour time zone difference (from eastern to central time zones) but once it hit us we felt confident we could make small adjustments to compensate for the change. In reality, the difference had a noticeable impact on Willow’s bedtime and it took several days for her to recover when we got back home to Lexington.
Probably the most notable impact came the evening that we were scheduled to meet up with a talented photographer named Sarah who we commissioned to take some photos of us on the beach. Normally, Willow is allllll smiles and is able to ham it up on demand for the camera, but we could tell her sleep clock was a bit off so as soon as the shoot started she just wasn’t having it (dang you, time zone difference!). Thankfully, Sarah didn’t skip a beat and did an amazing job capturing our little tribe, but we now have a full understanding of what it’s like to take family photos when you have a kid who won’t smile. What a little stinker!
Willow’s saving grace came during the daytime, however. Unlike her first beach trip to Hilton Head, Willow was an absolute angel when it came to taking naps on the beach. This little girl would lay back and fall into dream land with virtually no fussing, and on several occasions I had to wake her up just to feed her. I suppose this means that we’ll just need to either move to the beach or take more vacations there, right Ryan?!
All in all, we had an amazing summer and loved getting to travel with our Peanut. Here are some photos from that shoot with Sarah and Paul Photography…we hope you enjoy them!
Sarah & Paul Photography, thank you SO much for capturing these treasured memories together!