Month: September 2015

Seton Speaks

Hello!!! Seton is beginning to talk more, and I am having a little fun with it…

Davey saw this and said, “She doesn’t know many people…”

Whatever, Davey!!! She didn’t say “Dada!!”

😉

The pope is in the US, and I am just loving it. I am so proud to be Catholic, and I love seeing people of all faiths coming together to welcome the Pope to the US.

If you’re interested in knowing what Catholics believe, PLEASE click on this PDF I attached in this blog post. It’s a list of 10 Catholic Beliefs that is a good summary of what we believe.

Click here:

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Airplane travel with a baby 0-13 months | Tips, tricks, and packing essentials

airplane, baby, travel with baby, airplane travel with baby, plane

I have taken Seton on 10 flights (!!) in 13 months, and thought I should share some of my well acquired knowledge to save you from some awkward arguments with airport staff and dirty stares from fellow plane travelers.

Let’s start with the basics.

–When checking in, make sure you have “infant in arms” written on your boarding pass or you will have to get out of the security line and go to “Special Services” to get your ticket changed.

–If security personnel see you get in line for security, they will usually redirect you to the “family” line. If they don’t see you right away, ask one of them if there is a certain line you should go in since you have a baby. It helps EVERYONE if you don’t stand in line for 30 minutes because baby will SCREAM if you do.

–Yes, you have to fold up your stroller to put it through the x-ray.

–The person who carries baby through security will have to get their hand swiped with a small cloth by a TSA agent right after walking through.

–You will have the option to board the plane before everyone else. DON’T DO IT. Thats 30 extra minutes your baby is stuck on the airplane, so 30 minutes sooner on the flight your baby will fuss. If baby is mobile, let him crawl/walk around as much as possible before boarding the flight. BE THE LAST TO BOARD.

–Don’t bring all the toys you own. The destination is so new to baby that he will be way more entertained in a new environment than by all the toys he plays with everyday. You can make things AT your destination toys (aka if you’re going to someone’s house, you can let baby play with a spatula or plastic bowl).

PACKING

Carseat: We have both checked ours and rented one. Some (most?) airlines allow you to check a carseat for free because it is considered a traveling baby item. If you plan on checking it, I recommend putting it in a giant garbage bag with the handles exposed so it doesn’t get ripped or overly germed. You can check it at the gate or at baggage. Renting one is easy and fairly inexpensive, so if you are traveling without another adult companion, it might be the better option because you would have less to carry in the airport.

Stroller: Useful in the airport for walking long distances, but if you don’t plan on using it once you get to your destination, a baby carrier would be nice because it’s less bulk. Depending on the age of your baby, don’t forget you have to put your baby somewhere (if not able to hand baby to your adult companion) to fold the stroller up. As Seton approached 13 months, we have used an umbrella stroller that comes in a travel bag and has a basket on the bottom for extra stuff. If you have a stroller that you can clip your carseat in, then you can gate check both.

Pack ‘n Play: Depending on the airline and the mood of the person who checks you in, this is NOT considered a “travel baby item” and you can not check it for free. (WHHAAAAATT?!?!?! I know. Insane.) If that’s the case, bring it to the gate. Ask the gate attendant for a pink tag to gate check it, without showing them what the pink tag is for. They’ll assume it’s a stroller, and you’ll check it for free. You did not read that here.

Milk: You can bring any kind of milk you need for baby (read: breastmilk, formula, whole milk). If you travel with it in quantities of greater than 3 ounces, you will most likely get pulled over in the security line to have it checked. They put it in a little machine that looks like it does nothing, then hand it back to you. A couple times when I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of security, I just spread the liquid out into 3 ounce bottles and was not stopped.

Diapers: Bring them for the plane because surely baby will have a blow out during take off.

Clothes: Duh. Bring extras.

Bibs, baby food, baby utensils: If baby is eating solids, bring one plastic bib so you can wash it after each use. If you bring multiple fabric bibs, they get gross. Don’t forget baby spoons.

Diaper bag: What is in your diaper bag is often the key to whether or not your baby will go crazy on the plane. I list some things to pack in the diaper bag below. I also want to mention that we always put disinfectant wipes in one of the outside pockets of the diaper bag so that as soon as we sit down in our plane seat, we disinfect EVERY surface around us, including the little laminated pamphlets. We remove any magazine in the seat pocket because GERMS. And baby will always want the germy magazine.

SOOOOOOO

Let’s talk about the contents of the diaper bag in regards to baby’s age! These are the ages I have travelled with Seton, and these are the tips that worked for us. Seton has done awesome on all plane flights, which I attribute to the fact that she is very entertained in new environments (like every baby known to man). I say that to encourage you to continue to travel! Every baby’s personality is drastically different, and you know your baby best. Do what you wish. Maybe these tips will give you some ideas!

8 weeks: Enjoy your trip! This was the easiest flight with Seton. Chances are you will start to nurse/feed your baby at take off as recommended to avoid ear popping and baby will fall asleep. Choose your nursing position wisely as you may be stuck in that position for the entirety of the flight. Make sure baby is fairly hungry when you board the plane so he WANTS to nurse. Timing with take off can be iffy…and there are always a couple announcements that wake baby up RIGHT after they fall asleep. Bring a pacifier if you use one so if baby refuses to nurse, he still sucks away at SOMETHING during take off and landing. (Diaper bag: blanket/swaddler, paci, bibs, nursing cover, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

5 months: You’ll still want to nurse/feed baby at take off and landing and he or she may fall asleep without promises of staying asleep for long. Pack a few small, noiseless toys that baby has never seen before and that are good for teething/gumming. NEW toys are the key. Baby will be way more interested in the plane seats/window/etc than his boring old toys he plays with all the time. I recommend the banana teether I have mentioned before on this blog. (Diaper bag: teethers, nursing cover, blanket, bibs, paci, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

6 months: Similar to 5 months, new teething toys are important. Seton didn’t want to nurse much during these flights because she was so interested in her surroundings. The new toys kept her attention. (Diaper bag: board books, teethers, nursing cover, bibs, paci, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

9 months: At this age, Seton thought the nursing cover was placed over her to play peek a boo, so THAT was awkward for the 12-year old boy sitting next to me. New books kept her attention during this flight as well as the movie playing on the 12-year old boy’s iPad. She loved snacking as well. (Diaper bag: books, new interactive toys, banana to snack on, Puffs, nursing cover, bibs, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

13 months: Interactive books. Pat that bunny, baby, if it keeps you quiet. We let Seton stand on the floor at our feet because she wanted to be standing and our laps just weren’t cutting it. We were also lucky enough to get a free upgrade to the Delta comfort seats that have more leg room. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you can get a free upgrade! Our favorite interactive books: Pat the Bunny, Farmyard 1 2 3, Airplane Flight. (Diaper bag: Fruit squeezies, mandarin oranges, bananas, interactive books, quiet interactive toys, nursing cover, bibs, diapers, wipes, extra set of clothes)

This may be my longest post ever, and I still feel like I have so much to say!! I love that Seton is a little traveller and although it may take us a little longer to prepare for our trips, visiting family and friends around the country is so worth it!

Oh, and real quick advice for traveling long distances by car: drive through the night. The only way….

Do you have any advice on traveling with a baby? Leave it in the comments!

#eatdrinkandbemerton | Alexander and Kathleen Got Married

I love when my friends get Merton….I mean, MARRIED….

Kathleen’s wedding festivities were a little too fun and left me wishing I lived in a neighborhood with all my besties and we ate ChikFilA every morning and drank champagne every night.

We arrived in DC on a Wednesday…only appropriate when we will be busy with massages, manicures, pedicures, luncheons. Gotta start the weekend early!

We shared an Airbnb with some friends. Isn’t she super cute sitting on the stoop and getting bit by mosquitos?

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Seton appropriately chose her Athens, GA shirt to see all her Georgia buddies.
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While the ladies prepped for wedding, Davey and Seton went on a LOT of walks…

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Seton had her first McDonald’s double cheese burger (go ahead, mom judge me!! I’M PROUD!)

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The weekend was a whirlwind in the best sense of the word, and there was the most fitting amount of humor, emotions, nostalgia, and excitement for the future.

On the night of the rehearsal, we had an open mic for the bride and groom per the tradition in our circle of friends. I always love an open mic at the rehearsal dinner because it gives us a chance to hear what the groom’s lifelong friends have to say about him. And they said such wonderful things that seemed to fit so well with Kathleen.

Of course, when it was my turn to talk I got emotional and had an immediate urge to abort mission and find my way back to my seat. What came out was just a quick, “I love you, Kathleen. Be good to her, AJ.”

What I would have said if my emotions and stage fright didn’t get the best of me was:

Kathleen– I know that God brought us together as friends because I prayed for you before I knew you. Before going to college, I begged God to send good friends my way in Georgia. I met you the first week of school, and you asked me to walk to church with you. It was like God was telling me, “Here she is. Here is the friend you prayed for.”

I connected with you over the service work you had done in the Bronx and recognized immediately that you were someone that had a firm foundation in your faith.

Eleven years have passed since we first met, and our connection is only stronger.

In knowing you, I have become a better person.

You have shown me what it is like to be generous, especially generous of time. You drove me back to Indiana for Christmas break that first Christmas I knew you. You helped me move into my apartment in St. Louis to start PT school. You visited me after Seton’s birth on a weekend Davey was gone so I wouldn’t be lonely. These are just a few examples. You have given me so much of your time.

You have taught me what compassion is. You love with your whole heart. You yearn to make people smile, and you can make ANYONE smile. We joke that you have a way with the elderly, but really you just have a way with everyone. Just being around you is to love life.

You have made life FUN. Parties didn’t start until you arrived. Every great memory of college includes you.

Marriage is such a gift. It teaches us to be selfless and leads us to sainthood. AJ, in marrying Kathleen you will find yourself becoming a better person each minute, hour, day, and year. Be as good to her as she will be to you–

Cheers to the Mertons!

Wedding day morning started off with a southern bride’s breakfast request…

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The girls got ready in the bridal suite. Check out the view:

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She is about to walk down the aisle!! I was a little emotional here. How many times did we wonder who you would marry? How will you meet him? What will he be like? I love you, Kathleen!

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I met up with my hubby after the ceremony for a fun kidless night!

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Dancing doesn’t stop for photos.

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See the White House to the right of my head? Thanks, Obama!

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We enjoyed breakfast the following morning with another great view of DC:

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Kathleen and Alexander, I love you guys so much and am so excited to see you grow in marriage!

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Labor Day 2K15

We had fun visitors over Labor Day weekend, but they left Sunday evening leaving just the three of us for a quiet family Labor Day. We are really cherishing any days that neither of us are working–it’s a strange season of life we are in with weird work hours (for me).

It was a beautiful day, so we wanted to spend it outside! We went on a beautiful walk around Lake Calhoun and stopped at a fun playground for Seton.

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Seton took a good afternoon nap and Davey and I enjoy a beer, good conversation, and pulled pork on our back porch. I loved our time together, just the three of us. :)

Chris, Lauren, and Skylar come to MNPLS!

Seton’s finally ( I say ‘finally’ but I guess it’s only been 13 months…) at an age where she can sit still and focus on something for a few minutes at a time. She loves to stack her blocks now rather than just knocking down MY stacks!

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And she gets very serious at our public library. She is in a phase where she takes one object at a time and moves it from point A to point B. It’s like she has a really important job to do–ha! (It was really cute until “point B” was once the toilet. ;))

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She has turned into quite the climber! We can’t turn our backs or she is on top of the foot stools or standing on her rocking chair.

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We had some fun visitors over Labor Day weekend! Chris and Lauren drove up from Chicago, and we had a blast showing them our town! We started off Saturday with a walk around our cute town of Hopkins, MN. After morning naps, we headed to Mall of America!

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The back seat babes:

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I only had about 5 heart attacks watching Davey and Chris on the escalators with the strollers.

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Chris is a great dad!

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After afternoon naps (during which the parents watched Ninja Turtles, much to Davey’s delight) we headed to Lake Harriet Band Shell for a little picnic, drinks, live music, and chasing of a one-year-old!

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I love that these girls are little buddies!

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Why is it that she cries when I leave the room in our house and doesn’t let me shower or use the restroom without standing outside the door yelling, “Mommy!” but she is VERY happy to walk-run away from us in a crowd of people?

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The Little Stinker.

I don’t have pics of Sunday (what was I thinking!?), but we took them out to the town diner for breakfast, played at our local playground and finished the day with Juicy Lucy’s at the 5-8 Club.

We were so sad to say good bye to them!

All our friends are probably getting a little tired of us begging them to move here.

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Easy Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

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Davey requested Aldi’s Chocolate Eclairs for his birthday, and since I make nothing easy on myself, I decided to MAKE him chocolate eclairs. Actually, I think he didn’t want me to mess up a cake, but whatevs. I bought him the requested eclairs so his birthday wasn’t too disappointing and also texted my mom for the easy-peasy yummy recipe she made us growing up.

Here’s the easy recipe I used from my mom.

Ingredients
2 packages instant vanilla pudding
1 9 oz cool whip
3 and 1/4 cup milk
1 can chocolate frosting
1 box graham crackers

9×13 pan, buttered

Mix pudding, cool whip, and milk.

Place a layer of graham crackers on bottom of buttered 9×13 pan. Pour half of the pudding mix. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding. Pour the other half of the pudding mix. Place a layer of the last graham crackers on top. Place in refrigerator.

Frost the top layer of graham crackers and enjoy!

Make low fat with skim milk, light cool whip, and sugar free pudding.

Davey and Seton love the yummy summer treat!

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