I spent Friday evening through Sunday morning in Jacksonville, Florida for the baby shower my mom and I teamed up to throw for my sister and brother-in-law’s baby! Their little one is due on September 25 (Leslie is 33 weeks pregnant) and seeing Leslie’s beautiful growing belly was so wonderful and so, so special to me. I cannot wait to become an aunt and love on their little one in less than two months! AH!
When we started thinking through the logistics of the shower, I figured it would be easiest for me to travel to Florida for the weekend with Ryder and since Leslie and Ross wanted to see their littlest nephew again, we booked our flight for Friday afternoon and headed south!
I was waaay less nervous flying this time since I had some baby travel under my belt thanks to Chase and made sure to keep my luggage and baby gear as streamlined as possible. (I had a few Instagram message requests for my baby travel tips, so definitely check out this detailed travel post if that is of interest: Flying with a Baby For the First Time.)
I gate-checked my stroller, car seat and suitcase, wore Ryder through security in my Baby K’Tan and only packed the essentials in my diaper bag backpack. I was so stressed by an overly full diaper bag on my first flight with Chase because I couldn’t find anything that I needed when I needed it, so I kept my diaper bag limited to diapers, wipes, a change of clothes packed in a Ziploc (<– key just in case a blowout occurred!), a pacifier, burp cloth and swaddle blanket in addition to my personal stuff (phone, wallet and Kindle). I carried my Boppy pillow on as well which was wonderful since it allowed me to comfortably nurse and hold Ryder during the flight.
I was seated in an aisle seat in the very last row of the plane which I LOVED since it allowed me to get up without feeling annoying. Ryder was an angel baby during the flight and slept most of the time — a huge perk of traveling with a very small baby! I was even able to read my book which shocked me because that would’ve been a pipe dream on my first flight with Chase.
To those who said it’s easier to travel with babies when they’re younger, you were SO right. I definitely think an 8-week-old is a million times easier than an 8-month-old when it comes to travel and I’m grateful our travel went as well as it did. (A super-short flight and sitting next to two young sisters who slept most of the flight helped, too!)
Leslie’s baby shower began at 11 a.m. on Saturday and my mom, Ryder and I arrived early to set everything up before Leslie and her guests arrived. (We set Ryder up in the bathroom with a noise machine and his Rock ‘n’ Play and he snoozed for a good portion of the shower.)
(Note: I owe a huge thank you to Leslie’s friend Kate for taking pictures of Leslie’s special day as a gift to Leslie! She is a professional photographer and did such an amazing job. I really appreciate her willingness to let me share her photos on my blog and encourage you to check out Balsam Photography if you’re looking for gorgeous photos in the Jacksonville area!)
My mom and I stuck to a baby animals theme for the shower since Leslie and Ross are going to be surprised by the sex of their baby and Etsy made the shower planning a breeze!
It’s been a while since I’ve planned a bridal or baby shower and Etsy has really exploded since then and made everything really easy with many stores offering downloadable templates, adorable themed banners and more. (We used a woodland animals downloadable template for the signs, favors and shower games and it worked great!)
We spent a couple of hours eating light bites of food and delicious desserts and I loved reconnecting with Leslie’s sweet friends and meeting some of her friends whom I’ve heard a lot about throughout the years. Everyone seemed thrilled to celebrate Leslie and Ross’ little one and they received so many generous and adorable baby gifts.
(The tiny Oreo onesie was a huge hit with our Oreo-lovin’ girl!)
After the shower, my mom, Ryder and I headed back to Leslie and Ross’ house to unload gifts and hang out with Ross, Ross’ mom and Leslie’s friend Colleen (they’ve been friends since second grade!) who flew in town from Chicago for the shower.
My dad joined our gang for a bit when he arrived back in Jacksonville in the late afternoon after a spearfishing trip to Key West.
I need to take a quick departure from the baby shower talk to tell you guys something completely insane: A BULL SHARK bit my dad’s hand during one of his dives last week when it came after him after he shot a grouper in 110 feet of water. He’s completely fine but how scary is that!?! He thinks the shark was around 7 feet and we’re incredibly grateful he is okay and only has some bite marks on his hand to show for the run-in. Isn’t that crazy!? So scary!
Clearly my dad’s bull shark story captured all of our attention but we also spent plenty of time talking about baby names, baby expectations vs. realities, etc. It was such a wonderful afternoon and the kind of afternoon where hours of conversation feel like minutes. I loved having some extra downtime with my family, Ross’ mom and Colleen.
Ryder and I caught a late morning flight back to Charlotte on Sunday and it was another relatively smooth travel experience. I had a pretty rough headache for most of Sunday so we spent the afternoon around our house and I worked for a bit so I could get this post up today and did my best to accomplish a little meal planning as well.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!!!