Vacation with Grandparents

Flying into Kotzebue
A few weeks ago, during the height of the arctic summer, my parents flew all the way up from Alabama to Kotzebue, Alaska so they could spend their summer vacation with us. Anneliese was excited to spend time with her grandparents, and they were even more excited to see their grand-baby after being apart for several months. (We went down to Alabama for Thanksgiving last year.)
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Tips for Traveling With a Toddler

Traveling with a ToddlerTaking your toddler on a trip presents its own unique challenges. You’ll be taking them away from their comfort zone at home. You may be messing up their schedule. The added worry of your child getting sick or something else happening to them may have your head reeling.
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How To Enjoy Stress-Free Flights With Kids

Traveling With KidsMany parents dread the prospect of flying with their children.

Spending hour after hour in a confined space with kids that struggle to sit still for barely five minutes is in theory a recipe for disaster – but a little planning can change all that and give your family the freedom to jet off to all manner of exotic places on vacation.

To help any moms and dads preparing to make that first flight with their child, here are a few helpful hints and tips.
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Through Airports and Planes – Flying with Baby

smiling toddlerOur arctic adventure began with a long, multi-layover flight from Huntsville, Alabama to Kotzebue, Alaska with a baby in tow. Anneliese had never been on an airplane before, so I was not sure what to expect from her. I read all that I could find on the internet about flying with a baby, but it did not prepare me for what we went through.

I had heard that going through airport security with children was difficult and that they might not let me bring my baby’s milk in her sippy cup. I was a little confused about the policy concerning babies and toddlers and I felt unprepared when it was time to go through the TSA security checkpoint. After hearing so many horror stories of rude, thoughtless TSA workers, I was it would be a hassle with my baby.

They were actually very nice and courteous to us the whole time. I found out that you can bring milk for babies in their bottle or sippy cup and it is not a problem. Also, young children are not required to take off their shoes or jackets. Although Anneliese can now walk, she was intimidated by the metal detector, so I had to carry her through. TSA didn’t have a problem with that either. (They did get on to me for not taking my laptop out of the bag before sending it through the scanner.)

My baby was developing a slight cold so I decided to buy some infant ibuprofen before boarding the plane, hoping that it would also help with any ear pain during the flight. Take-off and landing seemed to go pretty well on the first flight. Luckily the flight was not crowded, so I was able to put her in the seat next to me even though she was technically a lap infant.

Our second flight did not have as much luck. It was overbooked and crowded, and Anneliese started screaming halfway through the flight. I was able to get her asleep for about an hour but she started screaming again after she  woke up. She decided she was sick of flying and her ears were hurting. On top of that, I had to change her in that tiny airplane restroom twice because she had diarrhea.

baby sleeping
Anneliese sleeping at the airport

Our third flight, which was delayed for  a couple of hours, took us to Anchorage and it was just as packed as the previous one. We were all exhausted, my baby even more so, and sick of feeling cramped in those tiny airplane cabins. Anneliese screamed less during that flight, probably because she was so tired.

We arrived in Anchorage around midnight and our final flight taking us to Kotzebue was scheduled for 6 a.m. the next morning. Since it was too late to get a good night’s rest in a motel, we decided to sleep in the airport.

Other than the bright lights, intercom announcements, and cold temperature; it was not too bad. Anneliese and I spread out on the benches, while Jonathan slept in a massage chair. It was not the most restful sleep, but I felt pretty good the next morning.

sleeping in airport
Sleeping with my baby in the Anchorage airport.

The flight to Kotzebue was not crowded, so we got to spread out a little and Anneliese preferred that to being stuck in my lap. Plus, we learned a new trick to help with ear pressure during take-off and landing. Holding plastic cups over my baby’s ears really helped to prevent ear pain and turned into a fun game that we played throughout the flight.

flying with baby
Flying to Kotzebue

Finally we arrived in Kotzebue! The temperature was low but it did not feel too bad. The snow was beautiful and the wide open scenery was breathtaking. I can’t wait to show you more!

Bittersweet Goodbyes and Packing Up

packing moving with babyA week from last Monday was filled with bittersweet goodbyes as we prepared for our new adventure in the arctic. All day long Jonathan and I sorted through everything, trying to decide what to pack. That night we had a mini going away party at Dairy Queen with all of our friends and family.

Packing for the arctic is especially difficult when you’ve never experienced anything near that type of weather. I am so glad for my family in Colorado, because they were able to teach me so much about dressing for cold weather. The most cold weather gear I have ever needed was a sweater, coat and gloves. Now we needed down parkas, wool sweaters and socks, snow boots, snow pants, insulated gloves, long johns, ski masks and goggles, wool scarves and hats, etc. All of this took up precious space in our shipping containers.

This brings me to the hassle of moving large quantities to the arctic. I could not find any moving companies willing or able to ship our things from Alabama to Kotzebue, Alaska without charging an exorbitant fee. We finally decided that the best and least expensive way to move our belongings would be through UPS. You can ship any container as long as it is less than 150 pounds. So we bought several sturdy totes and filled them up with basic living necessities, clothes and dry goods.

We took a much needed break from packing to say goodbye to our friends and family. It was difficult, especially for me. I hated to see my family so sad about our departure but at the same time I am very excited about moving to the arctic. It was a bittersweet goodbye filled with promises, hugs, kisses, pictures, and a few tears. I love my family. I will miss them, but I am ready for an adventure, a change of pace.

The day after our goodbyes had been said was filled with more packing, final preparations, and plenty of anxiety. We mailed the last of our things and packed our luggage. There was plenty more that we wanted to take but we ran out of time. Our flight was scheduled for 10:50 Wednesday morning and we needed to be well rested before embarking on our journey.

long distance moving with baby

I was so nervous but everything went smoothly the morning of our flight, but I will tell you all about that in the next post. I am really behind because I have been busy adjusting to my new job, but I am trying to catch everyone up. Also, the internet is slow, so I may not be able to post as often as I did in Alabama.