Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Big Cottonwood Canyon + traveling with a baby

More mountains! Our last day in Utah we drove up through Big Cottonwood Canyon and did some hiking! Originally we were aiming for a mountain lake that was about a 2.5 mile hike each way. But we didn't plan too well and started a little too late in the day. It got pretty hot when there wasn't a breeze and there were some craaazy stinging bugs in the flowers (which were beeeautiful), so for Indiana's sake we called it quits about a third of the way in. I still got a hell of a work out, as the hike in was literally up a mountain. All uphill. And the views were amazing. I'd like to go back sometime and make it to that lake!

So much prettiness! Also so much work! Hiking with a baby is hard. But fun! She snoozed on the way down, she prefers going downhill. Me too. ;)

After hiking we kept driving through Big Cottonwood Canyon and checked out a few ski resorts. We also stumbled across some epic views.

This photo does this view no justice at all. You could see for MILES AND MILES. Mountains as far as the eye can see.

We meandered through Deer Valley and then back to Park City. There are so so so many ski resorts. We were trying to scope it out for potential winter visits, but there are so many to choose from it's overwhelming! Not a bad problem to have I guess.

And that was it! After our big hike and driving through the mountains we headed back to the hotel to get Indiana a nap and to pack up for our trip home the next day.

That's the view from our hotel room! Not bad huh? And here's Indiana on our big bed! We sleep on a FULL sized bed at home so a king seriously made us feel like kings!

And I wanted to talk a little about traveling with a baby! Not that I am by any means an expert with this ONE trip we went on, but I wanted to just touch on what we did/learned/now know not to do. Because I read blogs on this sort of thing to prepare, so I figure I'd return the favor.

I think in a previous post I mentioned we picked a flight that was less than three hours, sort of the time of a long nap. I think she could handle more, but we had to drive to Dallas to fly so that was an additional two hours of driving. Plus airport time. It basically turned in to almost a whole day of travel at the beginning and end of the trip. If we lived closer to an airport the whole thing would have been much easier. Luckily Indiana handled it well! Her nap schedule basically went out the window with vacation, but we tried to get her as much nap time as we could.

We picked a hotel and room that was suite style, where the bedroom was separate from the living area. So worth it. We put her crib in the living room so when she went to bed at 6:30 we could stay up in the bedroom without waking her. We also picked a hotel with a crib. This is where I'd do it differently next time. We called when booking to see if they had a crib, and they said yes! We assumed full size normal crib. We even brought our own sheets and stuff. But we were wrong. They had a pack-n-play and a mini crib, but no sheets! They tried to give us just a regular BIG bed sheet, but duh not safe at all. It was a mess. The manager's wife ended up running to Walmart to buy us a fitted sheet. This was by far the most stressful part of the whole trip; we had been traveling all day and it was WAAAY past Indiana's bedtime. But it ended up working out well once we got it all settled. In the future I'd be clearer about what was available or bring our own travel crib. We did bring what we could to make her nap/bedtime routines as similar as possible to home, which I highly recommend. Routines are your friend! We brought our video baby monitor and our white noise machine. We did the same boob, bath, book, bed routine we do at home and it worked like a charm. No sleep issues at night! Naps were harder, because we were basically gone all day. Luckily Indiana sleeps pretty good in the car seat and took some naps in the ergo. We tried to make sure she got at least one decent nap in the crib at the hotel. She's a tough little thing. She definitely didn't get as much rest as she did at home, but she didn't seem to mind too much! She did so good. Endlessly proud of the little monster.

When preparing for this trip I read something online about picking up a pack of the cheapo white onesies and just using those for the trip. So if there's a blow out you can just toss the thing and it wont be too much of a loss. I wish we had done this. We brought quite a few onesies and a couple dresses and outfits, but really, all you want to deal with on vacation is a onesie. Changing your baby on the fly is a crazy enough without an elaborate outfit to deal with. Real clothes are silly. Indy only had one major blow out, but we did lose the onesie to the trash in the process. And it was a cute Harry Potter onesie. So that stunk. In the future I'd just snag a pack of plain onesies. Or at the very least, bring more. She ended up wearing the couple dresses I brought only because we ran out of onesies due to messes, and I had packed extra. Obviously a vacation in the winter would be a whole different ball game.

As far as flying goes, I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know if she'd love it, hate it, whatever. I nursed her during take off in case her ears hurt, but she seemed completely unbothered by the pressure changes. My ears always hurt! We didn't buy her a seat so on the way there she sat in my lap. She napped a little but mostly just hung out and played with us and her toys. We brought her a variety of things to play with. Too much actually. She really liked looking out the window. On the way back it wasn't a full flight and we were able to bring her car seat on the plane, which was awesome. She fell asleep before take off and stayed asleep until we landed. And she slept through the second most awful turbulence I've ever experienced. I thought I was gonna hurl, Brendon had the barf bag ready. But Indy just snoozed. As we were leaving a lady a few rows behind us said, "I didn't even realize there was a baby on here, she didn't make a peep!" Success! Taking the seat is the way to go, if you're able to. It was awesome. And they'll check your stroller and car seat for you at the gate which is nice. Your goodies are waiting for you when you get off the plane so you're never really without them. Oh and we flew Southwest. I love Southwest and refuse to fly any other airline unless Southwest doesn't fly to that destination. They're just sooo nice! And free checked bags!! Southwest forever. Getting through security/the airport wasn't nearly as stressful as I thought it might be! Having Brendon there though definitely made it easier. It would be a whole different ball game alone, but I think it would be doable. Everyone was nice and helpful. People love babies, even in airports.

I think that's pretty much it! The biggest thing we had to do was just respect Indiana and her limits. We really wanted to hike more, do more in the evenings, swim, etc, but it wouldn't have been fair to her. And we have a pretty happy baby so often we had to remind ourselves... it's been this long since a nap, we should probably make that happen. Respect the naps! Oh and I nursed everywhere. On the plane, in restaurants, coffee shops, on the side of streets, on the side of a mountain, in Temple Square... everywhere. Breastfeeding is hella convenient.

Anyway, I hope this was helpful if you're thinking about taking a trip with your little one. Every baby is different. You know what your baby can handle. I think mostly you just have to be extra prepared, extra flexible, and try not to get too stressed. That last one is my biggest struggle! Obviously vacationing with a baby means more work and sacrificing some stuff, but I think it's totally worth it because... duh, you have your baby with you! And before we know it Indiana will be older and able to do more and stay up later. And then she'll NOT want to be on vacation with her parents... But we'll drag her anyways, because memories!! :)

Oh and ask strangers to take your family's picture!!!

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