We arrived home late Monday night from a 5-day trip to Keuka Lake for a family wedding. Although the last time we flew with Leila was almost a year ago, I felt confident our little traveler would handle the trip seamlessly. She has never been anything less than a trooper, and this brief voyage was no exception. Other than my ritual of mentally going through the packing list weeks before departure, I did little else in the way of preparation. As always, I came back with some notes for my future self.
– Fly from one large airport to another. Despite less than ideal weather conditions, our flight from Newark to Houston was only delayed by 90 minutes. Of course we could have just as easily been grounded like our Chicago-bound peers, but it was comforting to know that we had the best shot of getting home as soon as possible being at such a large hub.
– It is possible to pull off comfort with enough cute to feel put together. I found the perfect travel/playground/life outfit. A delicate necklace, a silk tank over a forgiving bralette, an obscenely comfortable pair of yoga pants with the veneer of slacks and my Vans. Although I planned my travel outfit around my security-friendly pair of sneakers, we were ushered through the line that did not require shoe removal both times. Still, comfort, so much comfort. I made it through the airport, the flight and the four-hour drive without even the slightest moment of wishing I was in something else. Or sweating. I made it through without sweating.
– Airports and airplanes and trains and buses provide a decent amount of excitement of their own accord. Where I completely dropped the ball in the entertainment department (I simply set aside all of our paper books and made sure Ben reloaded Daniel Tiger on the iPad…no miscellany from Target’s dollar bins), Grandma thankfully picked it up for us. It was nice, but Leila does not seem to need much. In the future our travel bag will always include a few TV shows on the iPad, a new coloring book, crayons and stickers. That seems to be all the entertainment necessary.
– Extra snacks never hurt. For the first time in my life, I was completely covered in the snack department. Peanut butter crackers, cheese crackers, banana chips, applesauce, squeeze smoothies, pistachios and cookie (granola) bars. It took up almost an entire carryon, Leila ate surprisingly little of it, but I had peace of mind knowing I had something to cover our toddler in the inevitable erratic gaps between meals, plus the adults seemed to appreciate the snacks during the car ride.
– Pack underwear first. I remembered underwear, finally. We made it a trip in Bastrop and an overnight at Grandma’s house with no underwear. Determined to break my streak, I started packing the crib with our wedding trip supply a week in advance. First in the crib? Underwear.
– Take fashion notes from your toddler. The first outfit I had mentally set aside for the wedding was a flouncy dress that could accommodate a real bra and flat sandals. Then I second-guessed my capsule wardrobe, and pulled out a top and skirt from the back of my closet. My final pick was high maintenance, and I do not wear high maintenance very well. Wedges and strapless bra…why did I do that to myself? Ensembles that easily wrinkle…what was I thinking? And yet, that is the only thing I packed. Sigh.
– No matter how minimally you pack for your toddler (5 tops, 3 bottoms), they will only want to wear the tie-dye shirt purchased by Grandma from the Bully Hill gift store. In other news your minimal packing (3 tops, 2 bottoms) will work out splendidly and fulfill your mission to finally only pack what you are actually going to wear. (Insert fist pump)
– If there is a park, everyone will be happy. Every single day we were there we went to a park. Not unlike life at home. What else does a toddler need?
– Apparently boat rides and swimming are also incredibly important. We did neither, and the only thing I could do to talk Leila out of running onto a stranger’s boat was to promise taking a ride on the paddleboats at Herman Park. Also, I countered her desire to jump into freezing water with the vision of daily swims in our inflatable pool. Thankfully there were plenty of rocks and the absence of sticks was overlooked.
– Rain may be good luck for a wedding, but it also makes for a spectacular view. There was a torrential Houston-sized downpour as the guests walked into the ceremony, but a tent protected us from the light shower that prevailed, and the wedding took place in front of a backdrop made more fantastic thanks to the quick shower.