Kamden’s First Trip to Kentucky

Preparing for our trip to Kentucky, I admit to being nervous about traveling with a seven month old. I wasn’t as worried about going to Kentucky with Kamden because my Mom was with us, but I would be alone with Kamden on the return flight back to Texas. How would I get through security? Would TSA pour out my breast milk? Where would I pump? How would I maneuver Kamden in the car seat in his stroller with a duffel bag and carry-on luggage? Would Kamden cry, fuss, scream, or be an angel and sleep on the flight? Would his ears pop due to cabin pressure? How many ‘mean looks’ would I get from fellow passengers because I’m traveling with an infant? All of these questions, plus a million more, clouded my mind. But, Husband and I are blessed beyond measure with the most awesome of awesome child who is happy, content, and social and now we can add PERFECT TRAVELER to his resume because Kamden was a rock star on the airplane! In all seriousness, and bias aside, Kamden really is an amazing traveler. Going to Kentucky, with my mom on board, he slept from Dallas to New Orleans, fussed about three minutes while we were at the gate loading and unloading new passengers, and played or chewed on Sophie the Giraffe from New Orleans to Nashville. On the return flights, when I was by myself, he was sound asleep from Nashville to Houston, woke up during the crew change in Houston, and snoozed another half-hour from Houston to Dallas. Once we landed in Dallas, we had to wait 15 minutes for a gate to open but Kamden was content looking out the window. He began to fuss when everyone around us stood up to retrieve their luggage and exit the plane. Overall, I could not have had a more wonderful first experience traveling with an infant … I don’t know what everyone else is complaining about, this was easy-peasy!

I tried to pack anything and everything Kamden and I would need for a week in as little space as possible. We could have done the trip with one bag if I had not packed as many toys or two blankets for Kamden and my breast pump.

ky.luggage.small1. Diaper bag
2. Cooler bag with bottles of breast milk
3. Duffel bag with toys, clothes, blankets and misc. items (CHECKED)
4. Small suitcase with breast pump, camera, a change of clothes (CARRY ON)

Initially, I chose Southwest Airlines because it was the cheapest, but I now realize they are the best in customer service and convenience for families traveling with children. In addition to free checked bags, passengers with small children can “gate check” their stroller, car seat, and car seat base. In other words, I pushed the stroller (with Kamden in the car seat and the base on the bottom) right to the door of the airplane where it was waiting for me at our destination. The convenience and ease of this worth driving 13 more miles to Dallas Love Field and flying Southwest than any other airline at DFW International. Take note, other airlines, you could treat your customers so much better!

Mom, Kamden, and I sat in the back of the plane and were the last three passengers to exit in Nashville. The pilot was waiting for us with a set of wings for Kamden. Because I’m a blogger, of course we took a picture!

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Whomever thought to install FAMILY RESTROOMS is my hero. They are especially convenient for this exclusive pumping mama collecting breast milk while traveling! Once we got through security in Dallas, but before boarding, I pumped while Mom pushed Kamden and the stroller through the terminal. The only hiccup of the entire trip was my lack of putting the lid on tight and 15 ounces of milk leaking in my bag. Thanks to free wi-fi available in both airports, I surfed the Inter-webs while pumping!

ky.pump.small

Speaking of pumping and collecting breast milk, I am officially a milk sharing mama! This is Morgan (four months) and she is pictured with six bags (36 ounces) of my milk, she and I are third cousins and we’re both allergic to cow’s milk. Weeks before this trip, I had several families contact me about my excess milk. I didn’t want to hassle with shipping 100 ounces or less back to the milk bank in Fort Worth, so I gave the bags away to babies dear to my heart.

morgan with milk bags

While visiting with friends in my hometown, I got to meet two of the most adorable baby girls in the whole wide world. I’m convinced one of them will be my future daughter-in-law! Raney is four weeks and a coal miner’s daughter. Hanna is two weeks and a farmer’s daughter. Kamden has been approved as date-worthy by their dads, so it’s just a matter of time before bells start ringing for a Kentucky wedding. I should probably tell Husband to start saving for the rehearsal dinner.

ky.babygirls

Going to Kentucky in August means Dad’s garden is in full swing and sweet corn is readily available. This trip, though, I escaped hard labor by using Kamden as a pawn. We start’em young and raise’em right in Kentucky, I wonder what Kamden thinks of Grandaddy’s garden and sweet corn patch?! I’m hear to tell you this year’s corn is the best my Dad has raised in a LONG time. Let’s not talk about the number of BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches or ears of corn dripping with butter I ate. I am NOT looking forward to returning to the gym and stepping on that scale.

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Kamden.Corn.SMALL-3

Every day of this trip was a highlight and special moment, for sure, but it was incredible to watch Kamden interact with people he had never met but warmed up to immediately. He has so many people who love him and couldn’t wait to see him in person. His second cousins, Brian (24) and Noah (13) were especially smitten with the Chunky Monkey. I was glad to see both of them too, especially since Brian returned home in April from a deployment with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan!

Brian.Noah.Kamden.WEB-1

Brian.Noah.Kamden.2XSMALL

Brian.Noah.Kamden.3XSMALL

The main reason Kamden and I traveled to Kentucky was to attend the Thompson Family Reunion. My maternal grandmother, Nana (Rose), is one of 13 and we’ve had reunions for as long as I can remember. There are eight surviving siblings, five of them attended this year’s event, and a host of cousins. Over the years, it’s amazing to watch my extended family grow and the generations expand. There were very few children at the last two reunions but this year there were several, including Kamden! To me, one of the funniest things about our reunion is family pictures. When I sat down for our family’s photo, I counted 11 cameras staring back at us. But we’re not looking at the same one! It’s a shame, with all of the photography talent in our family, that someone doesn’t bring their tripod and become the OFFICIAL photographer!

Thompson Family Reunion 2014 SMALL-4Back Row: Eddie (uncle), Noah (cousin), Belinda (aunt), Brian (cousin), Kathy (aunt), Cris (uncle) and Georgia (aunt). Front Row: Me holding Kamden, Charlotte (mom), Nana/Rose (grandmother)
Whomever took this picture cut out Grandma and Grandpa Thompson in the framed portrait!!!!

I feel like a mom-daughter-granddaughter FAILURE because I realized about three minutes after landing back in Dallas that I forgot to take a picture with my dad, his mother (Neenie), and Kamden to show the four generations on the Edwards side of the family. We took a four-generation picture at the family reunion in Louisville though.

Thompson Family Reunion 2014 SMALL-5

Another great thing about family reunions is reconnecting with this cutie-patootie, Chloe, my third cousin. She was a tiny little thing at my baby shower in Louisville last September and next week she turns one. She’s got the prettiest smile and loves to show off her two teeth. Miss Chloe is going to be a big sister soon too, the Thompson family tree keeps growing!

chloenicole.small

Kamden and I had such a wonderful trip to Kentucky, but it sure was nice to get home and sleep in our own beds. We both need a vacation to rest! Thank you, Grandaddy and Nana C, for letting us crash your house with all of our stuff … and the BLTs and corn on the cob!

Kamden.Grandaddy.NanaC.XSMALL

By |2014-08-08T06:50:40+00:00August 8th, 2014|Blog, Kamden, Motherhood, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized|24 Comments

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24 Comments

  1. Georgia McDaniel August 8, 2014 at 7:24 am - Reply

    I love the pictures! I just read this to Nana Rose. We loved having you all here and we are hoping to see you in November for Thanksgiving! We love you. Kamden is such a good baby, just like you were always a good baby! I am so proud of you. You are an awesome Mom!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

      awwwww, I’m hoping to be there for Thanksgiving too. Southwest is having a special, a promotion for their direct flights, so I need to check Husband’s schedule and find out what he wants to do. I’m eating a bowl of oatmeal, made with instant steel-cut, and it’s much better. I added more milk and cooked about three minutes longer. Yummy!!!!! Thanks for everything, it was a wonderful trip. 🙂

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 7:24 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  2. Alli August 8, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    What a fun trip! I remember how nervous I was the first time I traveled by plane with just my baby (now 26). Looks like you were well equipped!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Alli, it was a really fabulous trip! I’m glad I had other mamas to guide me on what to pack, but it also helps to have such an AMAZING child who’s happy and content 24/7!!!!!!!

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 7:47 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  3. Celeste Zachry August 8, 2014 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful family with us! You look so fabulous in all these photos, Auntie Neecole. I can’t wait to get my arms around y’all. Been too long!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:42 am - Reply

      Ohhh you’re too kind and sweet for your own good, Auntie C, but I love you for it anyway! I feel like we’ve been away from you and the gang for-everrrrrrrr. Can’t wait to see you. 🙂

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  4. Paris at My Big Fat Happy Life August 8, 2014 at 8:21 am - Reply

    It sounds like you had a great trip! We have enjoyed flying several time with Southwest and have always had great experiences.

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Southwest really IS a great airline. Last fall, when I flew to Kentucky for my baby showers, I posted a Tweet about being hungry and wishing the flight included breakfast. When I landed in Nashville, a Southwest gate attendant had a hot breakfast in a to-go bag waiting for me. BEST. SERVICE. EVER.

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 8:22 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  5. Logan Can August 8, 2014 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to go to Kentucky! I’ve heard it is beautiful. I’m glad he did so well for you. I have flown with Hampton yet, but I am so nervous about it. I hope he does as well.

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

      Logan, let’s go to Kentucky! I’ll be your personal tour guide. It’s absolutely gorgeous, year round, and there is so much to see. I tell people the Kentucky Derby is a must-see at least once in your life from Churchill Downs, as is bourbon country, the Appalachian Mountains, and Cumberland Lake. And the food. And the farm land. Basically, I love my home state! 🙂

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 8:24 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  6. Julie August 8, 2014 at 8:46 am - Reply

    What a great trip! And I’ve never flown Southwest but you might have convinced me!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

      Oh my gosh, Julie, Southwest is the BEST!!!! Plus, starting in October, they are flying NON STOP to most cities from Dallas Love Field. I never understood The Wright Amendment but, thankfully, it expires soon and flying non-stop to destinations will be so nice. Definitely worth the drive to Dallas to fly with SW. 🙂

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 8:46 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  7. Shirley Wood August 8, 2014 at 8:59 am - Reply

    There was no shortage of babies on this trip! Looks like a fun time was had by all. I agree with you, we need a staycation after a vacation to recoup!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 9:09 am - Reply

      Shirley, you’re right!!!! I had lots of babies to snuggle with and we definitely need a vacation after our vacation. HA!!!!!

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 8:59 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  8. daisyandjuneshoppe August 8, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Great trip! I remember the first time I traveled and pumped – I was so so nervous. Im glad you had success!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      The entire trip was a major success, I don’t know why I was so nervous or apprehensive! But having such a wonderful, happy and content baby will spoil you. 🙂

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 9:18 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  9. MrsTee August 8, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

    What an amazing trip. I remember traveling with my Kiddies and you definitely need to pack smart and find the best airline for your needs. It looks like you did both!

    • Nicole August 8, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

      Southwest is amazing, but having such a great kid sure helps too! I could not have asked for a better experience flying with Kamden for the first time. He’s a rock star!!!!!

      On Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 9:54 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  10. Kristen V August 10, 2014 at 7:42 am - Reply

    There is something so precious about the photo of Kamden holding that piece of corn and (I’m guessing it was your dad?) having your dad’s hands in the photo helping him. I was so drawn to it and just think it’s such a special photo. Looks like you had a fabulous trip!

    • Nicole August 10, 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

      Awwww, thank you, sweet girl. Yes, that picture is one of my best and favorite from the trip. I hate that my Dad got cut out, but those are his hands indeed. We had a WONDERFUL time in KY and Kamden is a rock star traveler!!!

      On Sun, Aug 10, 2014 at 7:42 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  11. Beth August 10, 2014 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Loved the post. Thanks for sharing sweet Chloe It was great seeing everyone! Kamden is such a handsome lil fellow!!

    • Nicole August 10, 2014 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Thank you, Beth, it was great seeing you and the family. I loved seeing Chloe and can’t believe how big she has gotten. Time flies…….. 🙂

      On Sun, Aug 10, 2014 at 9:08 AM, Three 31 wrote:

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  12. Finish This #32 | Three 31 August 13, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

    […] so sorry my peeps. I promise to do better this week! Hey, did you happen to catch the post about Kamden’s first trip to Kentucky?! We had an amazing trip, but I’m sure glad to be home. We’re both still trying to […]

  13. […] While in Kentucky, Kamden saw lots of friends and family anxious to meet him in person. We spent half of our time at my parent’s house and on the farm, Kamden even toured the garden and rode on the ATV. As soon as he’s walking, Grandaddy (my dad) will have him in the garden picking green beans, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and squash! The other half of the trip was spent in Louisville and we attended the Thompson family reunion. More details from our trip here. […]

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