Today the kids and I flew to Canada to spend the next 3 weeks... trying to split up our time amongst family so we don't wear out our welcome at one place.... we've been "homeless" now for almost a month.... Not only was I looking forward to visiting family and friends up North, I was looking forward to a trail run of traveling with 3 kids before our BIG trip to Saudi. I had some tricks in my bag I needed to try out to see what I can do differently or see what works for our August flight. One thing I realized, even without checking luggage (and car seats), I have A LOT of stuff between the 3 kids and our carry-ons and I need LOTS of help getting my stuff to the airport and watching the kids while I check in!!!! That was for this small trip... I need extra back-up for our BIG trip!
Today was manageable thanks to my helpers! Owen helped me take all of the bags inside to be checked in while Nammie parked the car with the other 2 and then brought them in. I love that my big kids can step up when I really need them to.... of course, other times they are asking me to do the simplest of things for them... and it was at those moments that I REALLY worried about how things would go.... but they are getting old enough and catching on when Mommy is stressed and/or is in need.... and they always come through for me! : )
For this trip, we didn't check bags... I know, I'm crazy! But, I wanted to save the $50 PLUS it was a good trial run to see how the kids would do pulling their own carry-ons. They are each going to have a carry-on when we go to Saudi... we need to maximize our suitcase space so we can bring as much as possible with us... and this was a good way to get practice and see what I would need to do in August when I have to change planes 3 times!!! I'm proud to say the kids did great... even Ethan wanted in on the fun which is good since he'll have a carry-on too when we go to Saudi!!! He is a little trooper and can pull a heavy carry-on for a long time and refuses help!
The other thing I tried out was a "leash" for Ethan. I wasn't really sure how I would manage him since he likes to run! He is okay to ride in the stroller as long as the others are riding in the stroller. If he see them walking, he wants to walk. If he runs, Addyson runs to catch up with him and puts her hands on him which usually makes him fall down and it is a HUGE mess.... so this was my thought process.... leash up Ethan so he can't run too far, have Addyson hold the leash so she feels like she is helping (and without hurting), put Owen in charge of watching Addyson since he is the rule follower, and I'll bring up the rear with the stroller loaded down. It worked for the most part... except when Ethan learned he couldn't really run and he wasn't a fan. My mom tried to hook the handle to the stroller and that was a bit of a disaster so we had to drop the leash idea for a while so he could get over being attached to the stroller! : )
I was really lucky, if that's what you call it, but since I had my "boot" on because of my heel injury, the airline gave my mom a pass to go with me through security. That was SO nice especially when I had to load up all of the stuff to go through the scanners and get out certain items out of our bags... this way I could do that and Mom could watch the kids. It was also nice to have help entertaining the kids during our hour wait at the gate... and I could get my last few moments of calm in before the craziness began!
And here is what is looks like traveling with 3 kids by yourself! Ethan in the Beco, stroller loaded down with my luggage, big kids pulling their carry-ons and Owen wearing Ethan's leash because I didn't have any where else to put it last minute! Off we go!!!
On the plane I was hoping Ethan would sleep but I wasn't counting on it... even though it was nap time... so I had some treats in my bag that I purposefully didn't give him for the past month! Those snacks helped keep him quiet as well as the novelty of flying... this was Ethan's first flight so there was lots to check out!!! These treasured snacks will go into "hiding" again for the rest of the summer and will be brought along on our trip to Saudi to help me in times of need!
The big kids were also great!!! They love flying and haven't done in in a long time so they were excited to get on the plane and play with the trays, turn on the lights, look out the window, and plan the drink they would order!!! Flying is SO much fun! I also had the iPad and had gotten each kid headphones for the flight!
I had gotten a couple of new apps for the iPads right before flying so
they had lots of new things to help keep them engaged!
Once in the air, they got all set up (including eating leftovers from breakfast)... life couldn't get better!
We had 2- 1 hour flights with a small layover in Chicago where I didn't even have to change gates. The kids were great! No one napped until the last 10 minutes of the last flight...go figure.... but it was actually fine. There were no melt downs, fights, or anything of that nature. I was impressed at how flawless everything went! It gave me the confidence that I needed to tackle the flight to Saudi by myself with the 3 of them!