Flying with an Infant

11 Jan

Willy Wonka has crossed the Atlantic Ocean six times and he’s just 6 months.  Before my first flight with Wonka I had major anxiety as he was just one month old.  To cure my anxiety I read over blogs and forums on the best way to fly with an infant.  Surprisingly (sarcasm) not too many people offered good information about flying with a four week old.  Yes, I’m the crazy lady who took her new bundle of joy on an international flight at such a young age.

After flying six times with Willy Wonka I’ve got a few tips.  I’ve done my trips in multiple ways: alone, with help, with a lay over, with a direct flight, with a stroller, without a stroller…

Jet Set Baby Boy

Jet Set Baby Boy

DO… pack extra clothes for the baby and yourself.  Pack lots of extra diapers and wipes. For some strange reason Wonka enjoys having a nice blowout diaper right after passing through security.

DO… bring ziplock bags for dirty clothes and bottles

DON’T… put all your things in one giant diaper bag.  It gets disorangized no matter how hard you try to keep things tidy.  I found having two smaller bags works better.  One bag for imediate needs (a few diapers, wipes, a bottle, a toy) and one bag for surplus items(more diapers, pump, forumula, clothes).  The bag with surplus items stays in the overhead bin until you need it.

DO… plan ahead and reserve the baby bassinet in the bulkhead area.  Also call and confirm with the airline a million times (I had a horrible experience with Luftansa and wonderful experiences with Turkish Airlines).

DO… bring a toy or two. Even at one month I brought Willy Wonka a book with bright colors just for looking.

DON’T… be afraid to say what you need on the plane.  If you need to adjust with another passenger, ask.  If you need help from the stewards, ask.  Don’t wait for them to come take your meal tray 45 minutes after you’ve finished.  Just take it to the kitchen.

DO… buy these wipes.  They are wonderful for the plane.  Things drop and planes are DIRTY

DON’T… forget baby pain meds, gas meds, gripe water, ect

DO…  look for opportunities to pass lines.  Everytime I’ve flown with Willy Wonka I’ve gotten help from workers.  I’ve moved up the passport line, been checked in at comfort class, passed long lines at immigration, moved to the fast track security lines.  When people see a mom with a young baby they want to make it easy and fast for you.  Just give them the “I’m a mom face.” BAM you’re at the front.

DO… baby wear if possible.  I used my Ergo carrier for 2 of the 3 trips.  It’s much faster than using a stroller.  At times it got a little sweaty, but after exiting the aircraft you don’t have to wait for your stroller.  You also don’t have to search for elevators.  Plus airport workers are more likely to feel sorry for you and bump you ahead in lines!

Baby wearing at the airport

Baby wearing at the airport

DON’T… worry about liquids (breastmilk, water for formula).  You’re allowed to carry them through security.  I’d suggest printing this in case you encounter a difficult TSA agent.

DO… consider ready-to-feed formula.  It was so helpful when Willy Wonka got hungry in the the passport line.  Sometimes you’re just in a place where you can’t nurse or make a bottle.

DON’T… stress about a crying baby.  Willy Wonka’s first flight the baby next to us cried for 8 of the 11 hour trip.  It was horrible.  But we all survived and now it’s just a distant memory.

Getting used to Business Class

Getting used to Business Class

On our last trip back to Turkey Willy Wonka was a true jet set baby because we flew Business Class.  The easiest, most relaxing flight EVER!  We were able to lie down completely.  We slept for 5 hours together.  Sadly he didn’t get to enjoy any of the champagne, but I, clearly, did not pass up the opportunity.  It’s going to be very difficult getting used to riding in coach again.


Christmas Cookies

22 Dec

One thing I love about being in the United Sates is having lots of yummy ingredients for baking. Butterscotch chips, condensed milk, marshmallows, chocolate chunks, sprinkles, peanut butter . . .  I am not a talented baker but I do enjoy attempting new recipes.  Here  are two I good ones for Christmas.

Snowmen Cookies

Snowmen Cookies

These little guys require no oven.  Thanks goodness I don’t need to worry about burning them.  You simply dip Nutter Butter cookies into almond bark.  Use M&Ms and Tic Tacs for decorating.

These cookies taste like the holidays. Mine aren’t as perfectly round as the ones from the recipe.  But I’m no professional and I’m just impressed that nothing was burnt.  We did have a small oven fire earlier in the week.  It’s not the holidays if something doesn’t start on fire.  Isn’t that a saying?


Willy Wonka and THE TREE

18 Dec

We’re in the USA! Willy Wonka has now crossed the Atlantic Ocean five times in his five short months of life.  I didn’t take my first international trip until my senior year in high school.  Here we are enjoying our Christmas tree.  Look at that adorable vest and baby boy.

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

I’ve Returned

12 Nov

I’ve been missing lately from the blogging world.  My computer’s hard drive died. Suddenly one night while I was working on a mind-blowing blog entry the screen froze and that was it.  Sadly I’ve lost my pictures, writing, and bunch of other junk.  After a month my computer is back in my possession.  Empty.  I’m starting from scratch.  Back-up your computer people!

The Next blog will be about flying with an infant.  Willy Wonka and I have done two international trips.  We’re getting good at navigating airports and security.  For now here is an adorable picture of the Wonks.  Also the link to his new favorite song.  He can’t get enough.

My Little Little

Ten Minute Salsa

3 Oct

Oh how I’ve missed delicious salsa.  In America I can always count on my local Hy-Vee to have a large selection varying from hot to chunky to peach.  In Turkey I’m lucky to find one jar of “salsa” at my local market and the taste isn’t worth the price.  So the other day when I found jalapenos at Kipa I snagged the large prepacked bundle and froze them.  I had to go our more gourmet market Macro Center to purchase cilantro.  It isn’t easy to find jalapenos, limes, and cilantro all the same market; in fact it’s never happened which is why I put of making salsa until today.  Willy Wonka was napping so I needed to move quickly.

Make sure to wear rubber gloves when working with the jalapenos.  I had a horrifying experience where I thought my face was going to melt off.  Gloves are also a must if you’ve got an infant at home.  I don’t need Turkish CPS called on me 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • one large clove of garlic
  • cilantro – to your taste
  • half a red onion
  • juice of one lime
  • at least a tsp of salt
  • 1 jalapeno (I leave some seeds because I like spicy)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes drained

Ten Minute Salsa

Roughly cut the garlic, onion, and peppers into chunks.  Add all the ingredients except canned and fresh tomatoes to the food processor.  After those ingredients are mixed well add the drained tomato and a chopped fresh tomato into the mix.  Blend again.  Taste. BAM Ten Minute Salsa 🙂

So fresh and yummy!

Wonks and Halloween

3 Oct

What’s Willy Wonka going to be for Halloween?  Nothing.  It’s sad, but the holiday just doesn’t exist here.  Grandma made sure he has a few halloween things.  When he gets a bit bigger he’ll be wearing his skeleton or pumpkin sleeper.   I am planning to take  him out of the house as a skeleton.  I already get stared at for speaking english or just looking super foreign;  why not dress my chunkers as a skeleton and scare people?  Isn’t that what Halloween is all about?  Here are a few photos we took yesterday:

Golden Boy

2 Oct

When Willy Wonka was born we received a few typical baby gifts from the Turks; Nike running shoes, clothes, more shoes, and blankets.  We also received gold coins. Something I won’t be letting Willy Wonka put in his mouth.  I would have been surprised had I not been married in Turkey, an event where you also receive gold.  There is a long tradition of giving gold.  When a couple gets engaged the family gives the future bride jewelry.  At weddings, the bride carries a small pouch to collect jewelry, money, and gold from the guests.   The guests can also pin the gold coins and money onto the newlyweds.  Forget registering at Crate and Barrel, because you’re getting gold!

Cute baby boy themed pouch for the gold.

Recently gold prices have skyrocketed and people are having difficulty affording gold. Prices have tripled since 2008.  Instead of just giving couples a fancy serving tray or a blender, people have resorted to buying fake gold bracelets.  This new trend sadly led to a groom beating his bride before the wedding ceremony.  The bride informed the groom that his aunt had given her a fake gold bracelet; that’s when the shit hit the fan.  Read more here.

A gold coin 🙂 with Ataturk’s head

We are appreciative of all the wonderful, fun gifts for Willy Wonka.  There’s just something about the tradition of giving gold that still intrigues me.  Of course I won’t turn down a gold coin. It’s an extremely generous gift.  But is it too impersonal? Or practical because the receiver can use it as they wish? Or does it put too much pressure on the gifter to spend outside his or her budget?  What do you think about giving gold?

My Life

Postcards from Istanbul

Istanbul Experiences and Insights

OkobojiCreaseys Community Site

Growing Up Willy Wonka