Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tips for Flying with Baby

Traveling is something my husband and I have always enjoyed since being together. 
 A trip to Mexico, home for every Army leave, two trips to DC, 
a couple of vacations to the beach and even to New Orleans. 
When we found out we were pregnant,
 I always wondered how we would manage trips with a little one. 

After my eighth flight with Cooper, sans husband, 
I can officially say traveling with an infant is no big deal. 
(Ask me about this next month when we try to drive 12 hours to AR with him.)

After posting about my sweet little traveling baby on Instagram last week, 
I had quite a few interested in tips and how we made our flights successful.
Mind you, Cooper just turned two months so we are still at the point where he isn't 
effected by a lot including loud noises or being jostled through security.

The key to success in this situation is time management!

Make sure when you book your ticket you have plenty of time between flights. 

On the day of your flight, make sure you arrive at the airport at least an hour and a half early. 
I recommend that you check all bags other than your diaper bag. 

In my diaper bag I made sure I had enough diapers 
and a spare change of clothes for the both of us, just in case of layovers or missed flights.

In my diaper bag I had:
10-12 diapers
changing pad (airports are gross)
spare change of clothes for me and baby
extra blanket
2 burp cloths
2 bibs 
diaper ointment
pacifier (helps to keep ears from popping)
 snack (for me)
water bottle to fill up inside of airport
nursing cover
one bottle of milk

Side note: I breast feed. So of course you may need to pack formula and bottles for your little one. 
Make sure you have enough for layovers and such. 

When we travel I bring our stroller and car seat with us. So when you go through security you have to take your little one out of the carrier to go through. 
They will ask you to step aside to get a swab of your hands. 

Once through security things are a breeze. 

Once you get to your departure gate, if bringing a stroller or car seat make sure you get a tag to gate check your items before you get in line to board. 

Most airlines also offer family boarding so you can take your time. 
I also recommend if you have a wrap or baby carrier that you use it during your flight especially if you didn't buy an extra seat. 

The airlines won't let you use it during take off and landing but it definitely helps to not have to hold your baby for a flight over an hour. 

On our last flight the plane only had 80 people on board, the plane held well over 200.
I hadn't bought a seat for Cooper (for obvious reasons) but I asked the flight attendant if I could possibly get his car seat back and let him sit in his own seat since it was a 3 hour flight. 

Most flight attendants are very understanding and will work with you. 
In this case, Cooper got his own seat and slept the entire time. 
Making one happy, less tired momma. 

Also, if you need to keep your milk chilled, for whatever reason they will store it for you in the front of the cabin.

Overall my experience with traveling with my 2 month old has been very forgiving. 
People seem to help when needed and are completely understanding. 

Feel free to ask any questions. 
Hopefully this was somewhat useful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nursery Reveal & Big News


As soon as we found out we were having a boy, I knew I wanted to show case our patriotism & my husband's Army career. 
And honestly I don't think anything screams little boy more than red & blue. 

I love that it isn't baby blue and is something that he can grow into. 
I even found a sweet little collection of "baby" history books on Amazon that tells of our nations story in a way that kids can understand. 

This is by far my favorite room in our house & often find myself sitting in the rocker while Cooper is asleep & just taking it all in.

It's so sad that in just a few short months this house will be rented out while we head down to Fort Benning. But I am so glad we are just renting it. This house will always carry a special place in my heart as the home we moved into just a week after we got married & brought our sweet bundle of joy home. 

So bittersweet. 

Can't wait to see what the Army has in store for us next! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Bucket List

Spring Bucket List

With each season comes traditions & new adventures to look forward to..

Here are just a few things I'm looking forward to marking off my list & enjoying some sweet simple family time in the process.. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Newborn Photos

All photos featured were taken by Whitney Duggins Photography. 
If you are in the central North Carolina area, I definitely recommend her. 
Check out more of her work here.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baby's First Easter


I'd have to say that Coop's first Easter went by without a hitch other than the fact that he peed all over the both of us before church even ended & we had to leave before communion. #priceless 

Other than that I believe it was the perfect day! Lots of Easter basket treats, learning about God's love, family time & new traditions.. Can't wait for more holidays with my little family. Hope your Easter was as blessed as mine! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quinoa Salad

I came up with this recipe after realizing I needed to clean out the fridge. We had kale, lemons & carrots that needed to be used up. I think this salad would also be perfect with some plain greek yogurt for some extra texture & balance. Hope you enjoy! 


1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded kale leaves 
1 15 oz can of chick peas (drained & rinsed) 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon squeezed 
Salt & Pepper 

Mix everything together & serve cold. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cooper's Birth Story

I guess since my son is officially one month old today I should write his birth story before I forget any of the dramatic details.. And believe me it was full of those.

If you've been following along you know that it's pretty amazing we made it to 39 weeks.

I starting having preterm labor around 26 weeks & was in and out of the hospital the rest of my pregnancy.

On March 2, I was supposed to go I to the hospital at 8:00 pm and all was set for me to be induced the following morning. But my sweet little boy had a mind of his own! Looking back I should have known something was up when I got up that morning full of energy at 6:30... I made my parents (who had drove down the day before) breakfast. I cooked a ton of food & I even cleaned the kitchen.. Something I always try to pawn off on someone else. My mom & I ran some last minute errands & got everything ready for Cooper to arrive. 

My grandparents were supposed to arrive at our house around 5:30 from Arkansas & my mom suggested I lay down & get some rest before I head into the hospital. I had been having back pain all day but didn't think too much of it considering I had had it a lot during my pregnancy. As I was trying to nap the pain got so bad I could barely stand it. My mom got an ice pack for my back as well as rubbed it off an on. But nothing really worked. 

My grandparents finally arrived & we all left to go have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in town, The Dairy Bar. We had just gotten a table and placed our order & I was having the most painful contractions. I could barely talk or even sit for that matter. 

My family kept asking if I wanted to go into the hospital early but since I had been so frequently I felt like I should just wait. The contractions ended up getting so bad I had the waitress put my food in a to go box & I left immediately. 

My husband, mom & I arrived at the hospital around 7:15 & checked in. I could barely sit still while they wheeled me up to labor & delivery. They asked me to change clothes & get in a gown. 

I was hooked up to the moniters & asked the standard questions.. Medical history.. So on & so forth. They came in & checked me & of course I still hadn't dilated past 4 1/2 cm, & I had been there for about 5 weeks. Go figure. I literally felt like that baby was never going to come out. 

Fast forward about 30 mins.. I kept having the worst contractions. I wouldn't let my husband leave my side. I was bawling. Wouldn't let anyone touch me. And overall hot mess. I was in true full blown labor. 

After much debate, several screams & a bucket of tears later, we decided to go against my birth plan & get an epidural. 

My dad & grandparents, who had arrived somewhere in my midst of pure agony, were asked to leave the room while it the epidural was administered. 

I cried & screamed & felt like I shouldn't even get it after I heard all of the side affects. I just knew I was going to be leaving the hospital paralyzed or something.. I was going crazy. Somehow.. With the help of God, all his angels & my husband I was given the epidural. & was relaxed for 15 minutes when I was checked again. 

This time I was at 9 cm. My parents  & grandparents were back in the room & I was screaming again. At the end of a contraction I asked my dad to buy me a pair of shoes, as a push present. Of course he said yes anything to distract me even for a second. 

I was finally having some relief so I asked my husband to run to the car. Of course we forgot the camera. As soon as he walked out to get it the midwife walked in & said it was time to push. I told her no way not until Mr. Army Man was back in the room. 

A few minutes later he was back & I pushed. And I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and I pushed.. And I pushed for 48 minutes until my sweet little boy arrived and peed all over the midwife as soon as he came out. 

We were immediately united & he kept touching my face. I cried while he kept caressing my face. I was a mom. It was the most beautiful moment I've ever experienced. & my love for him grew so big in that one precious moment. He would always be my little boy. We spent the next 10 minutes or so, awed by that precious boy. My husband cut his cord and I snuggled my baby once more. 

I was exhausted beyond belief but that small little boy was everything I had ever wanted and better than I could even imagine. Cooper Harrison Neal had finally arrived & stole my heart forever. 

A little while later after he was cleaned up & passed around for everyone to see. After I finally ate my dinner from the restaurant & a huge peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. I fed my baby for the first time. 

Breastfeeding your child is like nothing I've ever experienced before. It's a bond I'll never share with anyone else. (Unless I have another baby.) You are all that baby needs. I can calm him with a single touch. It's pretty magical. 

We were later moved into our room where we would stay the next two days before being released on Tuesday. Those few days were exhausting.. Becoming new first time parents, learning about our new son, my "new" body & adjusting. 

Everything was a whirlwind of exciting little moments that I will remember forever. It is such a sweet blessing having a child & it as if he has been with us forever. I can't wait for what is all ahead & to document it all here.

Check back tomorrow to see what else happened this first month of Coop's life. Believe me it's been pretty crazy!