Bean didn't sleep the best on the last night, meaning neither did we! I think she ended up in bed with us when she woke up a little after 3. Since I had my alarm set for 3:45 to finish up packing, I went ahead and got up early. Once Steve woke up, we could put the last things in the suitcases and order up an Uber car. It's like a private taxi service, but all the ordering and paying is through the app. It was very convenient!
While we waited for the car, I successfully transferred a sleeping Bean into her carseat while Steve took our luggage outside. I waited for the car with Bean asleep in the carseat next to the luggage while Steve did a final sweep of the apartment and locked it up. The car came quickly and the driver was super nice and helpful. He loaded up the luggage while I tried to put the carseat in. Once he was done, he crawled in the backseat and helped me secure Bean. He was very talkative and told us all about his little girls on the way to the airport.
Once we got there, I had to wake Bean up and transfer her to the carrier. We then had to wait in a very long check-in line to check our baggage, carseat, and stroller. It ended up moving quicker than I expected and we headed off to security. I got held up at the ticket check because the attendant thought I needed to have a note on my ticket saying I had a baby with me. After checking with his manager, he finally accepted that we didn't need any special clearance and we made it through security without anymore issues. I was all worried about flying with a baby because of the whole security process, but it actually was quite simple. I was able to just keep her strapped to me in the carrier and walk through the regular metal detector. I had to have my hands swabbed for explosives, but that was the only difference between me with the baby and Steve (although, on the way in, we both had our hands swabbed).
We didn't have too long to wait for our plane. We were able to do bathroom stops, I changed Bean, and Steve got us some breakfast to share. We loaded up on the plane and Bean fell asleep as we waited for our plane's turn to take off. I was trying to time it out that she would eat as we took off so that it wouldn't bother her ears, but apparently being asleep didn't bother them, either! She took a good nap for the first part of the plane. When she was awake, she was touching everything, but at least stayed quiet. She ended up falling asleep again at the end of the flight, too. When we landed and were gathering up everything, the people in front of us turned around and said they didn't realize we had a baby with us! Then of course, everyone was gushing about what a good (and cute) baby she is. We know :).
We were surprised about how hot it was in Detroit when we got to our car! We had left sweatshirt and jeans weather behind in CA and came home to 80+ degree heat. Bean slept the entire car ride back to our house. I think she slept more in that one travel day than a couple of days in CA combined. Since coming home, Bean has really been struggling in the sleeping/napping departments. We were hoping she just needed to adjust to being back home, but 2 weeks is long enough to adjust!
Thoughts on travelling with Bean:
She did way better than I had anticipated. I know she has an easygoing personality, but she still exceeded my expectations. I had prepared for Bean and I to have to spend some time alone at the apartment in the afternoons and let Steve venture out, but that was never needed. In fact, we left Steve int he apartment while Bean & I ventured out (even if it was for a quick mini-mart stop).
I do think that not having her on a schedule helped, but it definitely screwed her up when it came to bedtime. I tried to also keep the bedtime routine the same and around the same time, but I could always tell the days she didn't nap well by how she slept that night. Missed naps always catch up to you!
Things I learned:
Next time, I'd have a better sleeping arrangement planned. I don't really know what that entails though, ha. I guess we could have taken the quilt and some pillows and made a bigger bed on the floor for her to roll around or maybe even try to bring a small air mattress.
I'd also have a better way for her to play. We didn't feel like the floor was the cleanest and didn't have access to a vacuum. I thought if only I had a very large blanket or sheet for her to play on! That would be something easy to pack and bring (now the fight will be to keep her on it!).
Using both the stroller and carrier worked out great! She was able to nap in the carrier and it made it easier to keep her contained while going on and off buses. The stroller was nice to be able to put our backpack and coats on and to also keep her contained when we stopped for breaks. The stroller was also very convenient during eating times! She was able to sit in that while we ate dinner, and I was able to feed baby food in it. Since coming home, we've kept that small stroller open in the house and I often put her in it to move her from room to room.
This vacation was definitely different than our other vacations in the fact that I never felt like I was on vacation. I realized while on the trip, that my job as a mom is 24/7. I don't get to step away and take a vacation from that, which has its positives and negatives. I probably worked harder while we were in CA than I would at home, but it was worth it. I enjoyed getting to see the sights and especially enjoyed getting to soak up all that family time with Steve. He's already starting to research the next trip, while I'm just trying to survive our current normal with a very cranky baby.