As an extra plus, a couple of my mom side cousins live in San Diego so we got to meet up with my cousins on my mom's side as well. My dad is one of six kids and my mom is one of eight kids... so I have a ton of cousins! All in all, the trip was especially meaningful to me... I hope it was also for the rest of my family.
Being 3 hours jetlagged, it took us some time to adjust back to normal East Coast time. The first morning back we all slept in to close to 11am! I'm glad for this week before school starts up again.
So! Different things I can blog about... but first I just want to throw in a plug for pre-boarding planes while pregnant. Note to self and to readers out there travelling with small children who plan to fly while pregnant... ask airline if they will allow pre-boarding for being pregnant. Especially if you are going to fly on Southwest where there are no assigned seats, it makes a world of a different to get on the plane first so that the kids can sit with you. Plus if you are bringing a bulky carseat... you don't have to hold up the rest of the line trying to buckle it in.
Here's a glimpse of our airport experience.
Thankfully my mom dropped us off at the airport so I didn't have to be alone with the luggage and kids waiting for my husband to longterm park the car.
What we had to manage before we checked in bags:
- large roller suitcase
- large roller dufflebag
- large carseat bag (filled with 1 carseat, 1 booster, and bunch of diaperes and other stuff we can stuff)
- stroller (where we strapped 2 of our 3 kid)
- older child with her bookbag that we had to carry or give back to her everytime she took it off
- larger bookbag that dad had full of electronics (mainly to entertain the kids w for the 7 hr flight)
- diaper bag
They changed the rules and we no longer have to take off kids shoes if they are under 12 years old... this saves time! Can you imagine travelling on a business trip and being the annoyed adult who is behind my family in line? I have to say though we have done this so much that we are pretty fast now and have a system down.
Now whether or not the security folks care to wave a stick over the sippy bottles that we brought depends on the airport and maybe person working security. In our case... Phillly airport did it but San Diego did not. I'm just thankful I did not have to bring a pumpbag this time around!
So back to the issue of pre-boarding while pregnant. I did not know and did not ask about this. Therefore, even though Southwest allows families with small children to board "early"... "early" means after all the pre-board folks, elite folks, and then all of the folks who are in zone A to board! So by the time we were boarding, there was already a ton of folks ahead of us. The challenge is folding up the stroller to check in at the gate, then to put the bags overhead... then finally to get the carseat buckled in place... all the while making sure the kids do not get into trouble or get hurt or lost. Being 28 weeks pregnant just makes it harder for me to do a lot of the lifting so pre-boarding definitely would have helped my husband. Too bad the agent didn't just allow us to just board with the other pre-boarders... instead she just commented to my husband that we could have pre-boarded if we had asked and gotten a blue slip. Why follow the letter of the law instead of the heart of the law? Anyways, I was annoyed and would have rather not known that fact... but I guess now I know. So here's a tip to you other pregnant or pregnant to be mothers out there because I do not plan on flying anymore while pregnant! No more pregnancies for me!
The actual flight itself was not that bad because the older two kids can be distracted with coloring, sticker activities, ipad stuff and movies. The youngest had his own carseat and snacks was probably the number one distraction for him... I think I was much more stressed making this same flight out to San Diego 3 years ago when I only had two kids but under the age of 3. I blogged about flying after that trip here.
So yes, it was a little nuts travelling cross country with three kids ages 5 1/2, 3 1/2, and 2... but personally I think it was worth it.
Hey cousins... let's plan a future family reunion in the East Coast please =)