Grounded from Flight

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Getting ready to travel, or actually being on a trip feels normal for us.  We have decreased the frequency of travel for our family by a pretty hefty margin in the last several months, but it still feels totally normal to have something planned for the near or at least medium term horizon.  In fact, it feels so normal that I often don’t ever put my suitcase fully away since it is usually a pretty short period of time until I get it back out and load it up again.  Maybe that’s not normal for the world at large, but it is our routine and our version of normal.

Over the weekend we went on a quick getaway that started a little rocky, but turned out to be a great couple of days of family time in the sun.  Stay tuned for a full review as the Phoenician (SPG Luxury Collection) was a really fun resort for families!

Water slide at The Phoenician

Water slide at The Phoenician

I didn’t think about it much while we were in Arizona since we were too busy playing, but the reality is that the trip was booked knowing it would be the last time we traveled as a family of three before our second girl arrives this summer.  We squeezed the trip in basically to help tide us over until we were again able to take to the skies and explore.  We squeezed it in to try and carve out a couple more fun memories with just our first daughter.  We squeezed it in knowing it won’t be “that easy” to pick up and go again for quite a while.  We squeezed it in because we don’t fully know what travel and our family will look like next.

Soon to be 3 girls on our adventures

Soon to be 3 girls on our adventures

I’d like to say I’m 100% confident that I’ll be one of those moms that mere weeks after the baby is born will be putting on my old “normal clothes” and tossing the infant in a baby carrier to continue on like nothing has changed, but I don’t know that.  We didn’t travel for 11 months after C was born, largely because of some of her early health issues and the toll it also took on us.  We lived in a fog for almost a year, and travel anywhere other than to grandparents to get a little extra help for a night or two didn’t sound fun or feasible in the slightest.

There were amazing moments in it to be sure, but overall the first year of C’s life wasn’t our favorite year, and as evident by the spacing of our children, you can see we weren’t overly eager to repeat that level of worry, stress, and chaos in our lives.  Of course, she thankfully outgrew her early issues and became an amazingly fun and wonderful kid.  Slowly we realized that having another baby is just a phase on the way to having another amazing kid.  The baby stage, even if it is really hard, is just a passing stage and not an end goal by itself.  This sounds overly obvious, but it’s hard to remember that when the infant stage is really tough and seemingly never ending. 

Hopefully for everyone involved, especially for our second daughter, her first year of life will be much easier and comfortable than C’s was.  Maybe we will have one of those chill and happy babies that people claim exist, but that we have never experienced.  We certainly aren’t just assuming we will have a chill and happy little one we can toss in a carrier and carry-on, though our fingers are crossed.

The 28th and final flight with this baby in my belly!

The 28th and final flight with this baby in my belly!

Because of all of that, when it came time to settle in for the flight home to Houston after the weekend was over it kind of hit me.  Since becoming pregnant I had been on 11 trips, taken 28 flights, and gone to 4 countries, but entering the 8 month of pregnancy I was ready to be grounded.  Flying in small coach seats wasn’t comfortable at all anymore, I was acutely aware that babies don’t always wait for their due dates to come into the world, and it was time to fully get ready for this next phase for our family a bit closer to home.

The impending arrival of a baby is exciting of course, but it’s also a little sad in a nostalgic sort of way.  For 5 1/2 years I’ve had one little traveling buddy who has grown into her own person.  Things are now easy with her, and we get to primarily focus on fun while traveling instead of just spending our energy on logistics like carriers, diapers, bottles, naps, etc.  As we were all plugged into our own electronics flying home I laughed to my husband and said enjoy the movie because odds are we won’t all just be plugged in and zoned out on a flight for a long time to come!  He looked at me like I was a crazy person, but I know it’s true.

Traveling with a baby can be rewarding, but it’s also a decent amount of work (at least while they are awake).  Traveling with a toddler is sometimes even more challenging in terms of keeping them entertained and (quietly) engaged.  We won’t have such a simple flight with our whole family again for some time to come.


My self-sufficient traveler

So as we flew home I was a little sad knowing that chapter in our family’s book is ending.  I was a little excited knowing a brand new chapter was about to start.  I was a little scared having no idea what the next few pages would look like, but mostly I was grateful.  I was grateful to have had so made so many amazing travel memories with C in just a few short years.

With some luck we will be able to build more memories with both of our girls both close to home and in lands far away.  It may take a few years to get back into a groove that is comfortable for us, but we’ll get there.  In the meantime, we’ll just have to try a bit harder to make some things work.  Who knows, maybe we’ll even have one of those laid-back babies that I’ve read about in fairy tales.

Either way, I am now grounded by choice.  I’m grounded literally from any more flying, and I’m grounded in soaking up this moment and in my home.  I’ll certainly return to the skies and traveling adventures, but this next adventure is going to happen much closer to home.





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  1. Glad you enjoyed the trip! I remember before our first was born we were afraid that having a baby would take a toll on our travels, and we had the same thought before our second was born almost a year ago. The truth is, while how we travel has changed (we sometimes fly private and only stay in places where we can get separate rooms) , we travel even more than we ever did when we were just a couple. I totally agree with you that a toddler is much harder the travel with than a baby, so I think you’ll be plenty prepared to travel again when the time comes; I look forward to hearing the next leg of your adventure! Also, feel free to take some time away to just enjoy being with your new family, all your readers will still be here whenever you’re ready 🙂

  2. Beautiful post. As someone who was in your shoes about 20 months ago and is back to traveling like crazy, you will be back in the swing of things in no time. The travel with our first trained us to be more flexible and easygoing with our second. Travel now is definitely different for us (and for now, sometimes a bit harder, with a toddler) but it is also really special for our daughter to now have a sibling with whom to share all these great travel memories.

  3. Well, if you’re looking for a bright side: my wife and I had our third child last summer. In terms of travel, going from 1 child to 2 is not as big of a jump as 2->3. In particular, award seats get harder to find, and hotel rooms generally only allow 4 occupants. Even so, in the ~10 months since my third was born, we’ve been on a couple fairly long flights (domestic) and have another cross country one planned in a couple months. (As a side note, in many other ways, 1->2 kids is a much bigger adjustment than 2->3).

  4. “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it…” We need many things. Congratulations. 🙂

  5. I’m right there with ya! I have a little boy that is 18 months. Prior to him being born I loved to travel but he gets alot of respitory issues due to allergies and asthma. Living in Houston does not help!! Polution is cray! Anyhow, I almost booked a trip to the Phoenician this Summer and decided not to because of his allergies. I keep telling myself “this to shall pass”

  6. With my first, she flew from the time she was 6 weeks old and probably a dozen other times in her first year. But when we added her brother, he didn’t fly until almost two. That was in part due to the added stress of adding another child, but mostly to just changed life circumstances. Number 3 flew at two months(?) and number 4 will fly next month at 4 months. I find travel with infants to be considerably easier than travel with toddlers. 😉 I’m definitely in the throw the baby in a sling and get going kinda parent. I hope that you get to enjoy some infant travel time too! And best of luck with the birth and transition to a family of four. )

  7. Congrats on your new little one! Just keep writing, I love your blog and if you need to take a break, I understand. 🙂

    • Robert, thanks. 😉 Other than a small dip around the days she is actually born I still plan to be here writing even while I am not traveling. Thanks for your message!

  8. Lovely post! There is something so special about the experience with that first child, where it’s just you and your little buddy (I myself am a second child, and it kind of gave me an insight into my mom and older sister’s connection. Just different.). We’ve got two girls and it’s fantastic.
    Your second baby will probably be a much easier experience than you had with Little C (sounds like that wouldn’t be hard to beat – yikes). Keep in mind that a lot of babies have that 4th trimester difficult time. I called it “getting used to life on the outside”. So, if you do have a fussy infant and not one of those fairy tale angels, know that the difficult time will probably last more like 2 or 3 months than a year. And yes, that infant period seems like forever, but in the overall scheme of things goes by pretty fast.

  9. Good luck with the new edition! Each baby is so incredibly different. Our first daughter had health issues that first year and would wake up every two hours during the night. Our second daughter slept six consecutive hours from the day she was born. She knew we needed a break! Here is hoping your second is an easy baby!

  10. Lovely article!! Oh what the new adventures will bring! Once travel gets in your blood, you always go back. 🙂 we also have 2 young girls (8&3) and some of our BEST family memories have been trips with the both of them in tow (thanksgiving in Kauai, exploring the parks of London.. Doing a traditional “tea ceremony” at the imperial gardens in Tokyo (mostly on points, btw!!))..

    Right now we are in the process of moving the four of us from Denver to start a new life in Switzerland. Travel changes you forever, your perspective, where you find meaning… so does having children. Put the two of them together into a loving family, and I’m not sure that life really gets any better!

    Your blog inspires those who might otherwise think that experiencing the world and raising a family is an either-or proposition. That said.. I can’t wait to see where you go next!! 🙂

  11. I know the feeling of “normal” being travel and never putting away the backpack! Since moving to Europe 4 years ago, this is the first time that we don’t have a trip in the works…it feels so wrong! I better get to planning 🙂

  12. I hear you loud and clear here. I have a 7-year-old that has more frequent flier miles than most adults. He has been all over the world from first class to chartered private planes. He typically asks if the seats will lay flat and if he will get pajamas now. Lol….But my daughter entered our lives 2 years ago and sadly, my constant ease of travel tapered off. My son was the “perfect” baby on a plane and my daughter was the child everyone wrote on their blogs about. LOL. Night and day doesn’t come close to describing these two…..

    So, during these slightly more “difficult” years, my travel has been a bit more limited to long car rides where I don’t have to cringe as much when she throws here bottle and screams at the top of her lungs. And now my husband, who was not the biggest traveler with my son when he was a baby like I was, is now constantly on the go with our little boy. The “Boys Trips” are starting to feel a little rough on me these days as I have sat out on trips to Paris, Italy, etc…..But I know the future “Girls Trips” will come about too.

    A little patience….a little perspective on knowing my husband and son are experiencing the world together….and a mama who is giving her little girl the time she needs to adjust to this big earth before we take it on is what I have to do. I will sit back and treasure my time at home with her and dream about all of the places we will go 🙂

    Thank you for your blog. I certainly enjoy it! 🙂

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