Trip review: 4 airports, 3 continents, 2 kids, and 1 mommy

Trip

Last week, the girls and I embarked up on our annual trip to the U.S. As is usually¬†the case, I flew alone with the two girls, and Jesse will join us later in the summer. Flying alone with two kids is always daunting. I was particularly nervous about this year’s journey, because Heidi is no longer interested in being worn. I was terrified about making my way through four airports on three continents with two mobile, overtired, jet lagged children. But the trip never goes just as I think it will go! This year was no exception – the parts of the trip that I was worried about went surprisingly well, and the parts that I thought would be easy were the big challenge!

trip

We left Nairobi at midnight, which I thought would be awful. I put the kids to bed early on the day of departure, and woke them up 3 hours later to head to the airport. The late departure wound up being great – not only was traffic not as much of a concern at that hour, but the kids both got three solid hours of sleep in their own beds! Win!

trip

I assumed that the first flight – our overnight long haul flight – would be easy. Last year, both girls slept really well on that first flight (Claire had an extra seat to lay down in, and Heidi nursed and slept in my lap). This year, Claire fell asleep quite easily, but Heidi just refused to go down. In the end, she slept for about 3 hours, which wasn’t ideal. Even with an extra seat to spread out in, I just couldn’t find a way to make both kids comfortable to sleep.

trip

Our transfer in Amsterdam was nicer this year, as the bulk of the construction in the terminal was complete. Nonetheless, we still spent most of our time hanging out at our gate, with the girls eating M&M’s and watching Sofia the First at 8AM, because WHATEVER IT TAKES… ūüôā

trip

The second flight was our daytime long haul flight. I always assume this flight will be easy, because the kids can zone out with all the child-friendly in-flight entertainment. I also packed them both a backpack full of games, toys, and entertainment for the flight. Claire was great on this flight, too (she’s really my travel superstar!). She watched her movies, played her games, and even had a nice nap after lunch service.

Tantrum because I wouldn't let her pull THIS. Seriously.

Tantrum because I wouldn’t let her pull THIS. Seriously.

Heidi, on the other hand, was dreadfully overtired from the previous flight, and just couldn’t keep it together. We suffered multiple tantrums and meltdowns over absurd¬†things – not wanting to go in the airplane bathroom with Mommy, not wanting to come OUT¬†of the airplane bathroom with Mommy, not wanting to sit in her seat, wanting water, NOT wanting water, getting indescribably angry that Mommy wouldn’t let her pull the lever that opens the emergency exit and activates the emergency slide. I KID YOU NOT. You get the idea. The poor kid was exhausted, and so was I. Not a great combo.

trip

Arrival in JFK was my biggest worry. I was afraid Heidi (especially in her overtired state) might bolt in the middle of the U.S. Customs & Immigration queue chaos. But, to my surprise and delight, both girls were absolute angels as we wove in and out of the endless lines, as we were quizzed by the U.S. Immigration agent, as we collected our bags, and even as we made our LONG way to our next departure gate (I swear we walked about 20 kilometers from plane to plane!).

trip

The last flight, a short flight of less than 2 hours, is always my biggest worry. By that point, the kids are way exhausted, and we have to board a TINY plane full of commuters who have zero sympathy for my tired, cranky children. (One day, I’ll print T-shirts that read, “Cut us some slack, we’ve been traveling for more than 24 hours. WE ARE ANGELS.”) This flight wound up being easy, much to my surprise! Both girls watched a bit of TV, and managed to stay awake. No fights. No tantrums. No comatose kids to drag off the plane. YAY!

trip

Now we’re safe and sound at my mom’s house, and already starting to get over the jet lag. (It’s incredible how much easier jet lag is when your child is well rested! Yet another benefit of working with a sleep consultant!) Thanks for all your messages of support as we embarked upon our epic journey! More from our U.S. trip soon! ūüôā

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Away we go! Summer travel to the U.S.

travel

Heidi, Claire and I are off on our¬†epic trip¬†to the U.S. to visit¬†family for the summer. We’re leaving the cold, damp weather of Nairobi to enjoy¬†some summertime heat and sunshine for a few weeks! Continue reading

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Anxiety, a lost tooth, and the tooth fairy

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As you guys know, Claire had her first loose tooth a few weeks back. Shockingly, the tooth took almost 2 weeks to finally fall out! Claire was very careful with the tooth, afraid of potentially swallowing it and losing the chance to leave the tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy to collect. Continue reading

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A playdate and a wonderful, unexpected break!

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I love to¬†schedule lots of playdates to keep¬†the girls busy during school holidays. The kids¬†love to have playmates over, and I always find that having an extra child or two in the house makes parenting that much more manageable.¬†Today, Wanja¬†and¬†her 9 (almost 10!) year old sister Isa came over to play. Wanja is a good friend of Claire’s from school, and Isa is one of those wonderful kids who doesn’t mind playing with the little ones. All four girls get along famously, and they had the most wonderful day together. Continue reading

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Childhood drawings

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Claire is becoming quite the artist, so I recently decided to show her some drawings that I had made when I was about her age. My grandmother included them in this wonderful book she filled out for me, Grandmother Remembers. Continue reading

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Weekend treats – CUPCAKES!

cupcakes

I decided to treat the girls to cupcakes this weekend. Full disclosure – I did not make these! As much as I love baking, I’m in my second week of solo parenting, and my energy levels are pretty low. Since I have been craving something sweet, I¬†decided to organize¬†a Saturday afternoon surprise for the girls and order some treats from Sugarpie Cupcakes. Continue reading

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Who is your parenting guru?

parenting guru

Do you have a parenting guru? Someone you go to with all your questions every time your child reaches a new stage? When Claire was an infant, starting to go through the many milestones of her young life, I always sought answers from my own mom (of course), but it was also really great to have friends with kids just a bit older than mine, who have gone through all those milestones recently. For me, those parents were my friend Lindsay and her husband Leith. Continue reading

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Travelling with Toddlers – Roasted Montreal

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I‚Äôm over at Roasted Montreal today, writing about what it’s like to travel with kids in Kenya.¬†I was so excited when Michelle contacted me about her summer series featuring parents traveling with their kids all over the world! Continue reading

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Whew!

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Wow. I’m solo¬†parenting for the first time in a long time, and this weekend pretty much took it all out of me. Heidi has started taking her diaper off during naps and at night. Most of the time, she takes it off and then she poos somewhere. Continue reading

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A sea change on gun control: World Moms Network

Gun Control

I’m over at World Moms Network* today, writing about a topic very near and dear to my heart. History is being made in my country, and I am feeling incredibly PROUD to be an American right now.  Continue reading

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