In the last year we've been very blessed in getting to take several family vacations at a discount. My husband travels for work often and sometimes he ends up going somewhere that I would like to take the girls along with too. Pretty much anywhere warm. Ruby flies as a lap infant, which saves us a little bit of money, and my husband's flight and hotel is covered so that leaves flights for Penny and I. Last October we took our first plane ride as a family of 4 to Long Beach, CA (a mere two hour flight from Seattle) and this past month we flew to Dallas for the week.
We stayed at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, which is connected to the convention center where my husband spent the week talking up natural gas in semi truck applications. I'm an independent gal; we expected hubby to be busy all day and past dinner while schmoozing with his contractor contacts so I had a list of ideas of what we could do while visiting. I've never been to that part of the country before so I was excited primarily for the food (if I'm being totally honest) and learning a little bit about the culture.
Let me start with the flight. Well, how about our TSA experience. No, let me back up to the day before.
The day before was my nephew and sister-in-law's birthday celebration. We went to the local indoor trampoline park and had a lot of fun being ridiculous. Well, the grand finale was a suggested moms vs dads dodgeball game (yes, on trampolines). There was a designated area just for dodgeball and there was a group of tweens playing first so we waited our turn. When the tweens were done, the ref, who was honestly just a high schooler babysitting that part of the park, ushered the kids off and allowed the adults to get into place. Somehow, the tweens came back to play and put way to many players on the court. I don't know why the ref didn't say anything, she just kind of shrugged it off and said it would be ok. Apparently not worried about an 11 year old getting pelted by grown man playing dodge ball, or the fact that there were two people to a trampoline which was against the rules in the rest of the park. I'm not even sure why none of us said anything, we definitely looked at each other like "is this a good idea?" but the game started quickly before anyone could say anything. The whistle goes off and we dash to the middle to get the 6 balls that were meant to be shared between probably 16 players. Let me preface that I am not athletic. Really, I'm not. So it was no surprise that it took less than 3 seconds of game time for me to be disqualified. Not because I was hit with a ball, instead because the 11 year old girl that was sharing my trampoline with me double bounced me and gave me a sprained ankle. Yipee! Our flight to Dallas was leaving the next morning. Ain't no body got time for that. So I tried to heal it as quickly as possible, but this was a bad one and even 3 weeks later I still can't walk on it correctly.
Ok, so that brings us to our flight experience.
Because of my sprained ankle, we opted to babywear both kids at the airport and use our double stroller as the transportation for our carry ons. This helped a little bit, but ultimately it was still very painful but I just had to tough it out. Can you guess why there is only one picture of our airport / airplane experience??
I'm always on the look out for experiences in what to expect from TSA because it seems that each time I fly that there are new policies. I've flown internationally while pregnant, twice domestically with newborns and now twice with a family of 4. I had a few bad experiences, but they weren't at SeaTac, thankfully. Adam and I both wore our children as we got to TSA and they were happy to allow us to opt out without asking us to remove the kids.
On the plane Penny had her own seat because she's 3 years old. I was given some super great advice on how to fly with littles ahead of time, and I am oh-so-thankful that we opted to have Penny fly in her car seat. We had checked it when we flew to Long Beach and it was a hassle trying to contain two wiggly kids. This time around, Penny comfortably settled in and ended up falling asleep quickly because it was no different than a car ride for her. Ruby was pretty restless. She had just learned to confidently walk and wants to do it all the time now. But we made it through and got checked into our hotel at 10:30p local time. We all settled in to the king sized bed and the next morning my husband said his goodbyes as he took off for his conference, then the girls and I prepared for our day.
Because of the sprained ankle, I really had to take it easy on the first day. It was a big bummer, it took out our day trip to the Perot Museum. Instead we relaxed in the hotel room, went down and had our first meal of many at Texas Spice and later visited the hotel's pool. Just like our visit to Long Beach in October, the locals seemed to be surprised that we are excited to go to the pool in Texas in May. Whatever, it's 80 degrees outside and that's when we play in the water in Washington! Getting into the water with my sprained ankle helped relax and stretch it a little bit too. I used my extremely handy-dandy BeachFront Baby water sling, which allowed me to play in the water with a toddler and infant!
I wasn't going to let this sprained ankle stop me from enjoying our much anticipated vacation, so regardless of how puffy and sore I was, I knew that the following morning we'd be spending our day at the Dallas Zoo. That's a blog post of it's own, because A) you know how I love to drag out blog posts into a series of stories and B) I love zoos.