Friday, October 19, 2018

Flying with Baby

This summer, Kenny embarked on not one, but TWO air travel weekend trips!  He actually got to visit the West Coast and the East Coast in the same month.  I had already planned to fly to Los Angeles for a long weekend, to visit my grandparents.  My grandmother had a stroke back in May, and my grandfather is in his 90s.  I didn't plan on taking Kenny, but my grandfather asked and asked and asked... so finally Dan and I decided that maybe I should, so Kenny could meet his only living great-grandparents.

LAX, baby!

Overall, Kenny did really well!  I think my biggest fear was a blowout in-flight, but thankfully that didn't happen.  I changed him into a nighttime diaper right before flying, and he did great.  I checked his carseat (using this bag) and our suitcase (which included some homemade baby food and frozen breastmilk, using my previous travel method for transport).  I carried a diaper backpack and used our Ergo and super-compact Pockit travel stroller with a tote bag that rolls up super small.  A nursing cover also came in handy for when I couldn't find a Mamava pod or nursing room; I like the privacy in an enclosed space, but I fully support those who choose to nurse uncovered!

Our travel stroller is seriously one of our favorite baby things!  Strollers need to go through the X-ray machine at airport security, AND they need to be gate checked normally due to size.  So what I did was carry Kenny in the Ergo through security, as well as for boarding/unboarding the plane, but used the stroller otherwise.  Flying by myself the stroller was great for when I needed to use the bathroom.  I just stored the Ergo in the stroller basket when I wasn't using it.  The stroller folds up so small, I was able to carry it on in the tote bag and store it overhead.  No waiting at the gate for it to be unloaded!

Our travel stroller!  The downside is the sunshade is lacking, but we bought this one later which helps...

I was ultimately really glad that I took Kenny to L.A.  I was so fortunate to have help on both sides to make it happen!  Dan took us to the airport and helped us check/carry items, and the ticket agent gave him a pass to come through and assist us all the way to the gate.  Then in L.A., my two aunts were there to pick us up, and my mother and aunt were there to help us check items on the way home... and of course Dan was once again at the airport to help us on that end!  I had a lot of support, and Kenny got to spend quality time with the Korean side of the family (including two great-aunts and a great-uncle and cousins!); my grandparents are still talking about his visit.  

Was it stressful flying alone with baby?  Yes!  But the flight was direct, people were kind and helpful, and Kenny slept most of both flights.  I loved that people were willing to hold him and talk to him when I needed to get into a bag or whatever.  I found the window seat, while it sort of trapped me, was the best for keeping Kenny entertained and allowing him to spread out a little more in my arms.

Our second flight was to Florida, for a long weekend with my family.  This time, Dan came with us, which made things SO much easier!  It was another direct flight with Kenny flying for free as a lap infant.  We just had to get him checked in at the ticket counter with his birth certificate in order to get a boarding document.  We were lucky to have an empty seat between us one flight, which we sometimes used to entertain Kenny.  In the future, I may purchase a CARES harness so that if we have an empty seat, we can use it properly for him.

Honestly, our two flights were smooth sailing, and Kenny can claim four total flights in his first year!  I think it will be harder to fly during the toddler years, especially since he is a big guy.  But we'll take it one trip at a time!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Newport, Rhode Island (Momcation!)

Back in July, I took a "momcation" to Newport, Rhode Island to visit my friend Lindsey.  It was three nights away, and it was really, really great.  Kenny was about five months old at the time, and it was the longest I'd been away from him ever.  It recharged my batteries, allowed me to give attention to my friendship, and I had more energy and excitement about coming home at the end.  I highly recommend it!  It's also important to me to role model for Kenny that I'm independent and have interests and activities outside of my relationship with him.

Linds picked me up at the Providence airport in her gorgeous convertible, and from that moment on, it was top down, sunshine ON!  I flew in on the 4th of July, so some grilling out and fireworks were in order.

But first, we were HUNGRY!  So Lindsey took me to one of her all-time favorite nostalgic Newport spots: the Castle Hill Inn, est. 1875.  Gor-geous.

Castle Hill Inn

The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn

Their beautiful lawn and terrace have incredible water views, so we got a table to have lunch and a cocktail al fresco.  I enjoyed a wine spritzer, because they're totally underrated and perfect for summer day-drinking, as well as their chicken al mattone, with heirloom tomatoes, burrata, and a roasted tomato vinaigrette.

And of course, since it was my first visit since Linds moved to New England, we had to share a dessert.  It was some kind of incredible funfetti cake-inspired layered magic, with delicious whipped cream and raspberries!

Spritzers are underrated.

After that, we retired to relax at Lindsey's house, which had a rooftop porch with water views and the perfect fireworks vantage point too.  We drank rosé and grilled out for dinner, capping off a beautiful travel day for me.

Over the next few days, we took a road trip to West Hartford for some real estate shopping (spoiler alert: Linds lives there now!) as well as took in the wharf and seaside in Newport.

We had a delicious breakfast at the Corner Cafe; the portions were huge, and the menu was full of Irish, Portuguese and West Coast influences.  It's the kind of place where you find black & white pudding, chourico, and breakfast burritos on the same menu, and it works!

While at the wharf, I enjoyed seeing gorgeous yachts and adorable shops.  I even visited the original Alex & Ani storefront and bought two bracelets to commemorate my trip.  The pineapple represents my friendship with Lindsey, and the sun represents a song I like to sing to Kenny.  Together, they remind me the importance of love and relationships in many facets of life.


One of my favorite things during our trip?  Touring The Breakers mansion!  I love The Biltmore in Asheville, and so I wanted to tour at least one mansion in Newport.  The Breakers is part of the Vanderbilt family empire, so it was the perfect one for my visit.  These incredible mansions not only have ocean views, but the exteriors and interiors are luxurious and high-end.  I can't believe these were considered summer homes, versus permanent residences!  Very Downtown Abbey.

My getaway to Newport was perfection.  I enjoyed the company of my friend, the delicious food, refreshing drinks, beautiful homes and seaside, and overall New England charm.  I felt so refreshed and happy when I got home, and I'll always have these beautiful memories of my first real trip post-partum.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kenny's 100th Day Celebration

In typical new mom fashion, I'm posting something like three months after the fact, because my blog is no longer my baby...  forgive me!  But I wanted to share about Kenny's 100th Day Celebration from back in May.

In Korea, a "baek-il" celebrates a baby turning 100 days old.  Before more modern times, infant mortality was pretty high, so people often didn't show off their new baby until it was a few months old.  That indicated it had a better chance of survival, having made it to the 100-day milestone.

Now, it's an opportunity for families to show off their baby and have a party!  In Korea, many people now throw huge parties  for the baek-il as well as the "dol", or 1st birthday party.  We do plan to throw Kenny a Korean-American style dol next year!

Since Kenny came early, my original plan to visit Indiana with him during my maternity leave wasn't possible.  That meant most of my extended family hadn't met him yet.  So we planned on having some "open house" hours at my parents' house for people to come visit.  Well, once Gigi (my Mom's grandmother name) figured out she could show off her first grandchild, suddenly this was a bigger deal!

One of the traditions at a baek-il is to offer ricecakes to 100 people, to bring longevity to the baby and good luck.  Since Kenny is 1/4 Korean, we thought that maybe something like cookies would be fun!  We handed out cookies at the party, and the leftovers came with me to work.  We gave away well over 100 cookies, all individually wrapped and decorated by Mom and me.

The day of the party, tons of family and friends came to visit, including Mom's coworkers.  It was nice to show off Kenny, who behaved pretty well!  He wasn't (and isn't) at the "stranger danger" age, so he was content to be passed around.

I was really happy that my Mom could share this Korean tradition with Kenny.  I feel like she sometimes held back with us when it came to her culture, so my sister and I grew up very much all-American, English-speaking kids.  Now that I'm older, I want to embrace more of my heritage; I embrace my father's side through the DAR and genealogy, and I'm finding ways to incorporate Korean culture and language into my life where I can.

P.S.  Kenny's 100th Day weekend was also my first Mother's Day weekend!  Kenny did a potholder project at daycare (let's be real... his teachers used his feet as a stamp!) for me, and Dan gifted me a digital photo frame for my desk at work, so I could rotate photos of Kenny all day while I work.  I look at it every day!

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