Tips for Traveling with a One Year Old

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I recently was flying by myself with the Wingman.  Traveling with children can be pretty unpredictable.  I was pretty nervous about it, and could just see us being “those people” who make the flight miserable for everyone.

I did my best not to worry about it, though I will say that I stuffed my backpack full of anything and everything that the Wingman might enjoy.

  • Snacks.  I had an old Puffs container with Cheerios and the Wingman loves taking the lid on and off.  He enjoys that more than he enjoys eating the Cheerios, so it was a two-for-one…snack and a game! 😉  Fishy crackers in a Munchkin snack catcher (again, two-for-one as he loves eating them and also spent a lot of time trying to reach in and get them out).
  • Dollar Store.  I went to the Dollar Tree and scoured the aisles for things that might be interesting to him.  I ended up with a pair of sunglasses, measuring cups, and duct tape.  The first two were huge hits and the duct tape was enjoyable but not quite as mesmerizing.  I would take pieces of the tape and stick them on the tray in front of us.  He had fun pulling it off and sticking it back on.
  • Anything in our house.  I found an old wallet, a dinosaur toy he was given for his birthday, this Fisher Price flashlight (also a birthday present), two birthday cards that played music, etc.
  • And as a last resort, I downloaded some apps on my tablet.  His two favorites were Baby Toy (especially the screen with all the animals) and Ballon Popping (Yes, the balloon is misspelled…no idea if that’s on purpose. lol).
  • Books.  I packed a lift-the-flap book, a touch and feel book, and several “regular” books.
  • Change of clothes.  Wingman pretty much never needs a change of clothes during the day, so I didn’t think that we would need it.  But…..I am sure glad that I packed it because we did end up needing a change in the airport!
  • Gate check.  It is so simple to gate check items.  I kept our stroller with us in the airport and took it right to the gate with us.  Then when we got off the plane it was immediately ready for us.
  • And of course diapers and wipes.  Way more than I thought I would need.
  • When the steward/ess comes to take a drink order, ask for an empty cup.  This can provide some much-needed entertainment!

And I kept thinking that if all else fails, my tricks go out the window, and the baby doesn’t like anything I brought….it would only be for a few hours.  It will only be a few hours out of our trip.

He ended up doing really well!  We didn’t end up being “those people” although I’m not quite sure how considering the fact that Wingman was so exhausted and of course he wouldn’t fall asleep until 5 minutes before we began the descent.  But somehow we made it!

What are your tips for traveling with young children?


Baby toys – The Necessities


There are so. many. options. for things to purchase for your baby.  So many ideas on what is appropriate and necessary for baby to play with.  So the question is….what do you REALLY need for baby?


Microsoft Image

During the first year of the Wingmans life, we did buy him some toys.  He had a couple stuffed animals, a couple toys that had the big rings for babies just learning to grip, some books, etc.  He had an exersaucer and when he was 10 months old I won a wooden block set in an online giveaway.  A friend gave us this fun dinosaur toy hand-me-down that has different slots to put some balls, which then bounce down stairs, swing a pendulum, or roll down a slide.  It’s pretty fun and I am very thankful it was gifted to us, because it sells for $80 brand new!

But his favorite toys were not toys at all.  His favorite toys have been…

  • Water.  He loves to touch and splash in water, whether it’s in the kiddie pool, the bath, or a bowl I fill for him.
  • Water bottles.  He loves to crinkle them and shake the water around.
  • A spatula.  I don’t know why this is so fascinating, but he loves it.
  • A shaker.  A friend got a small clear medicine bottle, filled it maybe a quarter of the way with beads, and glued the lid shut.  Wingman loves it!!!
  • An envelope.  You know those envelopes that come with the clear window to see the address through?  Wingman had so much fun with this, crinkling it and turning it.  It doesn’t even need the clear, crinkly window….he likes to play in general with the mail.  We often give him the junk mail to play with.
  • Anything outdoors.  He loves grass, wood chips, rocks, etc.  Just be careful of course with what goes in the mouth.
  • Tissue boxes.  If we let him, he would pull tissues out all day.  This only happened once though. 😉  I have plans to make him a tugging box like this one.
  • A bottle brush and nipple brush.  He loves the textures on it.

It really is true that sometimes the best toys aren’t even toys.  Personally, I think that not only does it save money, but it can develop the child’s imagination and cognitive skills better than a lot of marketed toys.  I have been really surprised to see how so many non-toys hold his interest a lot more than some of the developmental toys we have bought him.

Of course there have been manufactured toys that have helped him in reaching milestones or working on hand-eye coordination.  This stacking train, for instance, and this Sit-to-Stand Walker.  So I definitely give manufactured toys their place, too!

What did or do your babies play with?


Disney Planes Birthday Party


Birthday parties these days can get crazy expensive.  What with it being the Wingman’s first birthday, I wanted to do something special, but didn’t want to go overboard.  For one thing, he wouldn’t remember it anyway.  For another thing….funds are not unlimited here. 🙂

I am pretty pleased with the results!

Since I am not a very crafty/artistic person, pretty much all of my ideas came from Pinterest.

Based off of this post, we created a runway on one of the tables.  The Pilot did a great job creating it with a plain black plastic tablecloth from The Dollar Tree and some masking tape.


Inside the basket I put some party favors.  Walmart had a package of 36 favors for $10….score!  The disc shooter was the favorite, but the mini frisbee got some use too.


For $12 we got a kiddie pool from Walmart.  This was quite the hit!  Our little Wingman loves the water and he had so much fun splashing away.  A friend loaned us their water table as well.  Birthday Express (which has 6% cash back on ebates) had a Planes balloon bouquet for $12.  It came with six cloud balloons, and four mylar baloons.  There were two Dusty Crophopper mylar baloons and two red star mylar baloons.


This is one of my personal favorites.  I found this on Pinterest and sent it to my Mom.

“Do you think we can pull this off for the party?”

“Sure, we can!  It will either turn out great or be an entry on Pinterest Fails.”

I am so pleased with how it turned out!  My Mom and Grandmommy did an excellent job!

For additional snacks, we got peanuts and individual snack pouches of pretzels, which were supposed to be reminiscent of airline snacks.  I wanted to somehow incorporate Cheerios, since those are the Wingman’s favorite thing to eat.  He adored these little frozen banana snacks!

Since cakes can be quite expensive, we ended up getting a sheet cake from the local grocery store as well as a single serve slice of cake for the Wingman, which we decorated ourselves.

While it wasn’t an elaborate party, it was lots of fun planning the details.  And the Wingman had a blast.  I can’t believe he has already had his first birthday!!


One Year of This Incredible Love


Last week our sweet son turned one.  It is so crazy to realize that we no longer have a little baby.  We have a toddler!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over one year since I was posting pregnancy updates. One year since we made the announcement that our son was born.

365 days since our lives were forever changed.

12 months of figuring out our new normal.

52 weeks of sleeplessness, tears, joy and love.  So much love.

It is through being a Mom that I have learned so much about so many things.  Things like prayer and the nature of God.  Several times I just looked at the Wingman and my heart literally swelled with love.  Is this the love You have for Your children, Lord?  The kind of love that doesn’t change and never leaves?  “Yes,” He whispers to my soul.

During this past year I have taken hundreds of pictures and videos.  I don’t want any moment to escape our memories!!  And yet the past 12 months have just sped by and now here I am….a mom to a toddler.  Where did my baby go??

One year!!  One year of that precious smile and that adorable giggle.  One year of watching him “wrestle” with Daddy and chase each other around the house.  One year of seeing him examine a new object, with a look of pure concentration on his face.

I am beyond thankful for the privilege of being the Wingman’s Mom.

Dear Wingman,
You are now one year old.  It has

been such a joy watching you during this year,
as you have learned how to smile,
how to hold things, how to crawl,
and how to walk.  You are so precious to us and words
cannot even describe how much we love you.  We are praying
that you will continue to grow up healthy and strong.  We pray
that you will grow to love the Lord and serve Him.  You are 
created in His image and He has incredible plans for you.  
We can’t wait to see where He ends up taking you!  
Daddy and Mommy


From the Wingman


Well, I figured it was time for me to make my debut in the blogging world.  Mom seems to like posting here, so thought I’d give it a shot.

So, what do I do all day?  Pretty much whatever strikes my fancy.  I figured out that if I move my knees and my hands…I can actually go somewhere!  It’s pretty nifty.  Mom must think I’m pretty smart for inventing it, because after I showed her how to do it, sometimes she now crawls over to me while talking to me in a funny voice.

I like to explore.  I like finding new things.  Mommy and Daddy say that I like the non toys better than the real toys.  I don’t quite know what they mean, but I sure do love playing with water bottles, spatulas, spoons, and lotion containers.  My other favorite is a keyboard.  I liked to use Daddy’s, but he decided I was big enough to have my own, so he got me one that I play with all the time.

I also like to pick up any item of interest.  Leaves are particularly interesting.  (I love the outdoors.  So many things to look at and listen to.)  Today I found this amazing little brown thing and it kind of crinkled.  Mommy came over and said, “Yucky, yucky” and quickly took me to get my hand wiped off.  She said something about a dead moth.  I don’t know about that, but it was interesting!

Mommy keeps talking about something called “first birthday.”  She seems pretty excited about it, so it must be fun.  I heard Daddy and Mommy talking about how my grandparents are coming.  That will be fun!

Well, that’s all for now.  I think I’ll have a little snack and take a nap.


College is Done!

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Finally! After 5 years, I have finally completed the requirements for my Bachelors Degree, and will officially be graduated on 24 May. Over the years, I have learned a lot and I am thankful for all the people who God put in my life. In many of my classes there were of course, group projects. During these projects, for the most part, I was fortunate to have great peers to work with. We pulled off many “all nighters” at CSUN. These projects taught me a lot about team work, and above all, about people. These lessons will definitely be helpful to me in my Air Force career.

I am thankful for Bonnie! She has supported me these past few years, and especially since we’ve been married. She has been a huge blessing to me, and helped me get through my last few semesters. From making me lunch for when I’m rushing off to class during lunch hour, to giving me moral support, to the simple things, like when she says she is “proud of me.” It all goes a long way, and I am indeed thankful for you honey!

I am also thankful to my parents, who have helped out a lot during the years. Mom is always helpful, and I am thankful for all the teaching Mom did during our homeschool days, preparing me for college and life. I am thankful for Dad too. I remember a particular time he saved one of my projects. I simply showed him an 80 page database research project for him to see. Mostly just to “show off” my work to dad.  He immediately recognized an error in my entity relationship diagram, one that I should have seen, but of course, couldn’t. lol

I am also thankful, as I said above, for all my peers, who have worked tirelessly with me through the many nights (Until 4 – 6 am) at CSUN. Thank you Josh, Alex, Chris, Luc, Alex C, Moriah, Sunita, Tania, and many more!

I am also thankful for my co-workers and managers who have helped me through the years. Kelly and Catherine have put up with a lot of my weird school schedules, such as this last semester when I took a 2 ½ hour lunch, right during the middle of day, every day, so I could go to school, and then came back to work, only to rush back to school at the end of the day!

This list would not be complete without being thankful to God. He allowed me to be in ROTC, go to Moorpark, go to CSUN, and put all these people in my life.

Now, on to the next stage of life, which for now, is waiting until February 2013 for Pilot Training!

-The Pilot