long way home, OR: how NOT to fly with young children

as i mentioned, stephen left me for a WEEK a couple weeks ago for a once in a lifetime trip opportunity to alaska.
i had been planning my week flying solo for awhile...a few nights at home, maybe a few nights at my parents, maybe a beach excursion, definitely a few "rachel {youngest sis} will you stop by on your way home from work and give a momma a hand" nights.
however stephens plane had barely left the tarmack when we received word that his grandmother, who had been sick and battling failing health for years, had passed away.  its never easy to lose a loved one, but comfort was gained in the knowledge that, after years of discomfort, nursing homes, and emergencies, she was vocally ready for rest.  she was ready to go Home.

i thought about making the 6 hour drive to louisiana for all of two seconds, since with two children that drive would easily turn into an at least 8 hour trek with potty breaks, diaper stops, bottle feedings, snacks, and meltdowns.
no thank you.
of all times to skymiles it, this was the time.


i psyched myself into thinking this was going to completely be manageable...all i needed was a pantry filled with snacks, a refrigerator, a few jump houses/ball pits, a movie theater, a bottle warmer, and a crib.
ive SO got that.
seriously though, i packed as many snacks from all food groups as i could, formula, brand new puzzles and markers and paper, praise baby dvds, charged dvd player, baby sally cloud {emorys baby doll, named by big bro}, pacis, blankies, diapers, blah blah blah.
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i naively fully anticipated emory taking a nap on the first leg of the trip {hour flight to atlanta} bc, i mean, she would be tired. yeaaaaa no.
our first leg was...bumpy.  some predictable fussing and squirming and not sleeping by "infant-in-arms",
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but overall amazement and excitement by "traveling-with-young-child."
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baby sally cloud is quite the attention-hog {see feet in foreground}

phil and teds served us well this trip {still cannot express my undying love for this thing} and emory quickly fell asleep once we unloaded ourselves off the plane {bc it took some serious unloading}. i was fine, just a little flustered, until i got to the escalator to switch terminals and realized i was going to have to take an elevator.
and wait in a line behind no less, NO LIE, than 35 wheelchairs.
i started mumbling "im going to miss my plane" under my breath but noone really cared about the frazzled pregnant lady and the bright green stroller. *sigh*
we finally made it down to the tram, over one terminal, and back on the right level.  brother in law called to make sure we were there and went to stand in line for me at burger king so i had something to eat for lunch {kids had plenty of snacks, and i grabbed b a smoothie...i should have had a smoothie, too, but gross pregnancy feelings were leaving me lightheaded and weak and momma needed SUSTENANCE - if you can call burger king that...}
i got to the gate and met my other brother in law who was watching his and michaels bags.
and now, stage left, enters our devilish antagonist: queen imabitchflightattendantwhohatesmyjobandeveryonecanjustcrawltoyourdestinationidontgivearatsbehind.
for real.
first strike: basically told me in slightly fewer words that i was up a creek and there was nothing she could do about my "gate check in" seat status, even though i was traveling with a companion who had been placed four rows behind me, and even though that companion was THREE. she shoo'd me away and just told me to deal with it.
strike two: she starts loading up the plane fifteen minutes early, and zooms from "first class and medallion flyers" to "final call! final call getcho self up here or were leaving your a$$" faster than bennett could say "i like trains." the second half of this strike two was that david and i tried calling to michael, who was still waiting in line at burger king for me, but she told us we could not call him, leave any part of our individual luggage to run over to him, or stand there for one more moment or she was closing the doors. {there are still wheelchair passengers waiting to be helped on the plane}.
strike three: she literally pushes me and my baby-filled stroller through the door, david...with michaels suitcase...right behind me. and then she closes the door.
this may not sound very dramatic in type, but GAH it was exhausting.
michael and the burger king DID get on the plane - but not without some "blah blah wah wah"-ing from queen she-devil.
and i was able to get bennett and me on the same row.
and during take off emory may or may not have tee teed through the side of her diaper, all over me and my skirt.
i might or might not have waddled to the bathroom at the opposite end of the plane to change her diaper standing up, then drenching my skirt and legs in that tiny plane bathroom sink with my extra arm.
BUT, we made it.
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the funeral was in the tiny country town of coushatta, LA.  bennett was well behaved but emory started making happy "ptttttttt" noises during the actual funeral, so the kids and i opted for a "nature hike" around the funeral home, looking for locust shells {remember those? i thought they were SO cool when i was little}. 
we stayed with emory and bennetts great grandmother, mamaw preston, during the trip, and later that afternoon emory got to meet her great great grandmother mamaw thomas {shes 100 yall}.
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i LOVE this picture...mainly bc emory looks HUGE and more like her big brother at this age :) CHUNKY MONKEY
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and there is always the visit to hickory stick barbeque - funny how these traditions of my inlaw family are mine now as well, as ive almost known them longer than i havent.  i took and texted this picture to stephen.  so what if he was fishing on a pristine glacier lake in the middle of wilderness USA, i was in shreveport eating hickory stick. so THERE

we probably slept all of ten hours total those three days in louisiana, but i still wouldnt trade it.
even the part when i got to the airport on friday to fly home and didnt have my ID.  bags were searched and calls were made but i knew it wasnt just misplaced...it was gone.  out of a pocket of my purse at some point during the trip over.
it only took some haggling by my dear brother in laws, a few purposeful belly rubs {i mean sometimes you gotta milk this pregnant-lady thing for all its worth}, and some intense questioning by a TSA agent on the phone with Big Brother {who knew, besides all the expected stuff, my neighbors names, mother in laws birthdate and full name, how many kids i had, was having, and their ages, how long we had lived at our house, mothers full name including middle and maiden, and old address.}
im glad they needed to know all of that, but it was a little movie-esque.
but we got home.
tired, plane-dirty, completely out of snacks, and did i mention TIRED.

{kelley how did you fly to china with two small children...i kept thinking about you the entire time...i probably sound ridiculous :)}
it really wasnt that bad, it was just memorable and typical of flying with small kids by yourself.
and makes for a kinda crazy story.
but i got my ID back {thank you delta}
bennett got to meet the pilots {thank you delta}
bennett got to eat lots of biscotti cookies {but never soon enough...he asked me the entire taxi and take off "is the fight attendant coming now? are dey bringing me my cookies and apple juice?"}
emory got to see what life would REALLY be like if she did indeed live in my lap {like she thinks she wants to while we are at home}
and momma had intense bonding time with her two babies...and honestly, honestly, loved every minute of it.
even the tee tee part
ok maybe not the tee tee part.

and we were SOOO glad to return to the airport early sunday morning to pick up a weary daddy, straight off the red eye, exhausted from his week long visit to the frozen-at-times U.S. tundra.
poor guy
{insert worlds tiniest violin}



  1. WOW, what a trooper for all the drama with the flight! I've flown cross county twice solo with Harrison and have sworn the last time was THE last time...and that is just with one...and I wasn't pregnant...kudos to you and the kiddos!

  2. love. this. post!! all the pictures to go with your descriptive story tellin :) Love those with mamaw thomas.

  3. Oh my GAH! I'm exhausted just reading that. I think I would have cried during some part of that fiasco. Makes me very thankful I don't have to fly anywhere anytime soon (I've probably just jinxed myself).

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, Nat. Seems you made it back humor in tact:) You're too funny! I agree with Janice. Great post! xoxo

  5. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha that picture of em in mamaw thomas' lap. shes a biggurl
    and whew what a trip! that be-yotchy flight attendant shouldve checked her tude at the door!
    <3 you

  6. and HOW DID I NOT KNOW that babydoll's name was "baby sally cloud"?!?!?!?! that is awesome

  7. i seriously just had an anxiety attack for you!!!

  8. I LOVED this post! Loved the pictures, loved the pictures you had in my head of your brave adventure onto a plane with 2 kiddos, and loved laughing out loud as I read it all! I totally admire you... I cannot imagine trying to travel BY MYSELF pregnant and 2 kids. You are a strong woman!!! :)

  9. Only you could put a positive spin on that trip...loved reading every word. I agree the picture with MawMaw Thomas is great.
    Love you, Aunt Elizabeth

  10. I am soooooo glad you were there! But what an ordeal it was for you! This may be one of those "we're gonna laugh at this someday " things....! Great pics and post! Love ya'll, La

  11. So familiar! I flew with Liza and Turner by myself this time last year. While it also was not THAT bad, I still am not quite sure which is worse, flying or driving alone. However, I have never felt more like super mom than when we landed in KC after the trip and I realized... I did it! And we are all still alive! :) congrats to you, too, Super Mom!

  12. oh goodness what an adventure. i can justi magine watching you walk through the airport with all those chillins. brave brave you!


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