Mama Monday: Vacationing with baby

As you know from my previous posts here and here, we just had our first vacation. We just got home last night, and Larkyn is still adjusting to everything. I just thought I'd give a little (really not little at all, sorry) narrative of our trip to Bald Head Island and throw in some of my favorite pics. 

So, we began our journey at 4:45 am on Monday, with Matt driving us to the airport and dropping us off (he could not get the week off of work). I was sooo sure that some kind soul would offer some help to the counter, seeing as I was carrying a carseat full of baby, her carseat base, had a diaper bag on one shoulder, my giant purse on the other and oh yeah, rolling my suitcase behind me. And yes, Matt offered to walk me in, but we were running late (due to me hitting snooze, of course). No such luck on the helpful Columbusites (Columbusonians?) Anyway, at the counter, they had no record of me ever requesting a ticket for Larkyn, but luckily it was very easy to add her since she would be a "lap baby". I spelled her name twice, and her boarding pass still says "Larkyna". At the counter, the helpful (they really were) US Air agents suggested that I not check the carseat there, but check it gateside. A very kind grandfather-type man carried the carseat to the gate for me (I realized this worked well for him because he got to board first with us).

Cut to the airplane ride. We had an empty seat next to us and I took the suggestion to give her a bottle at takeoff. She slept and really didn't make a peep through this flight, which took place while she is still usually sleeping. We exited the plane in Charlotte and I booked it to gate E11 from C5. This is like a 3 mile walk...thank goodness for the K'tan!  When I was almost to E11, the nice man from Columbus said, "Where is your carseat?" Yeah. I had no idea I was supposed to get it and bring it to the next flight!  I would have never checked it gateside if I knew that, because I sure wasn't carrying that monstrosity through 3 concourses. Let me condense the rest of this story. Tell the agent at E11 that carseat is at C5. She calls handicap cart to pick us up. We zoom like rejects through the airport back to C5. Agent (who is packing up her purse and ready to leave) informs us that "Oh we thought somebody probably needed it since its a carseat! We waited but had to take it down to baggage." I ask her to have it brought back, she chuckles and says it is "impossible because we have thousands of bags". Agent calls handicap cart back for me. We zoom through airport AGAIN, but this time angry! Agent at E11 apologizes excessively, irritating me because it doesn't help. We are about to arrive at the next airport with no way to leave and get to our scheduled taxi and scheduled ferry to the island.

We met up with our family, arriving from Staten Island to Charlotte as well. This brightens my day, and the flight to Wilmington was just as smooth as the first. Larkyn made the teenage couple across the aisle laugh for the entire flight, smiling and laughing at them and trying to hear herself over the engine (just a few times, she let out a goofy bellow).

In Wilmington, the baggage claim agent made my day! She immediately called Charlotte, described the carseat, and it was on the next flight to Wilmington. In the meantime, our taxi brought an infant seat and we were on our way!

Monday was filled with introducing Larkyn to the family. My parents, sister, and brother in law were already there. I got my first experience with a Pack and Play (maybe the coolest invention ever). She was in a great mood, and I was glad to see how easily she let others hold her.

Tuesday, we tried the pool. I was so sure that she would cry upon entering the water that I wore my coverup as I walked down the steps. Then I realized that we could go further and I had no idea how to take it off while holding her. So, in I went with the coverup (just in case you saw the pics and wondered why it looks like I'm wearing my LBD into the water)! Since the pool is heated, she really seemed to love swimming and we had no issues (I was amazed). Our carseat arrived with our good friend. Natalie, and her husband Josh. They stayed for a few nights and brought an adorable ruffly outfit (seen in some of the vacation pics).

Wednesday was beach day!  It was so hot last week that we knew we couldn't take too much of the beach during the day. The men (Josh and Paul) set up the sun-proof tent for baby, and we were set. Now, this beach was where I would spend all day and part of the night (until someone literally came out to get me). I lingered for hours, picking through the sand for treasures, jumping the waves, and swimming out as far as I could go. So I was really hoping Larkyn would like it. Eh. I might have had lofty hopes for a 12 week old. She put up with the feet in the sand, and tolerated the water around her ankles. But when the waves touched her little butt and soaked her diaper, it was all over. So, beach time was mostly spent napping under the tent.

Thursday, we did our usual shopping trips to the boutiques on the island. I always find unique clothes there and bought myself a dress I can't wait to wear. We had our delicious Italian dinner that night, courtesy of our Staten Island Italian part of the family, who made amaaaazing chicken parm and baked ziti. Oh yeah, and homemade sangria that I must replicate immediately.

Friday, we took Larkyn to Old Baldy (the lighthouse that gives the island its name). It was a bittersweet day, as we knew Aunt Kristy and Uncle Paul (and Paul's parents) would be leaving. We call her Aunt Kristy because it is mind-boggling to us that she is actually Larkyn's cousin at age (almost) 31. There were tears all around, but we were excited to have cousins Kate and Julia come take their place at the beach house. It was adorable to see Kate with Larkyn, and it reminded me so much of the first time I met my niece Jamie. 3 year old girls make excellent helpers, I have learned. That night, I wanted to take Baby out on the beach just the two of us. I didn't want to take pictures, but just focus on mama-baby time. We walked forever, seeing only one other family on the beach. We stood and looked out at the waves, and the cheesy thoughts began in my head. It was so special to share the same beach where I grew up with my child. Showing her the ocean, the OCEAN, for the first time! Of course I regretted bringing my camera because the lighting on the beach in the evening is perfect.

Saturday, it was time to leave. We had a smooth trip off the island and drove to my uncle Earl's house in Jamestown. NC. This is about the halfway point back to Ohio. Cousin Hannah (7 years old) spent the night with us and was another good helper (and kept us cracking up all night with her thoughts about the world) Up until this point, Larkyn had behaved so well that I was about to burst with pride. As my family gushed about how quiet and smiley she was, I kept thinking "I hope its like this when we get home". Ha! She heard me and baby-giggled in my face. When we woke up from staying at Uncle Earl's and still to this afternoon, she is definitely letting us know how she feels about all this traveling. When we flew, it took 4 hours to get from Columbus to the beach house. When driving, it took us 6 hours to get off the island just to Jamestown. Then another day of driving on top of that. Ugh. It went well, but really has thrown her for a loop.

All in all, it was an amazing experience and I am so glad we decided to go at the last minute. Here are some of my favorite images I captured...
Enjoying her boat trip out to the island

Her beach accessories

Lulu and PawPaw

Baby Julia falling asleep in the middle of her breakfast

Cousin Hannah and Great Aunt Linda taking turns

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