We just got back from our family trip to see family in Phoenix, AZ.  Our annual Thanksgiving trip west includes us three plus my in-laws, Rebecca’s sister, her husband and their 3 kids heading out to visit family in Arizona.  We had a great time, it is too bad we only see Rebecca’s Grandmom, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin once in a while.  Ben loved the trip…he got a lot of attention which always makes him happy.  I wouldn’t exactly say he loved the plane ride but he behaved pretty well, all things considered. 

Thank you TSA: OK, I can’t believe I am going to do this, but I feel the need to compliment the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) for a job well done over the holiday weekend.  What?  Yes, it is true.  When we departed from Philly, we were shocked to find out that they had implemented a family line!  The regular line wasn’t too bad but probably a 10-15 minute wait. But much to our surprise, we got to use the family line (thanks Ben!) and we moved right to the front.  Once into the screening area we found the staff to be friendly, courteous and very helpful.  Some of the TSA employees even helped us with all of our stuff!  I don’t recall it being like that last time, or ever.  Was it always staffed by TSA, or was it a private company before?  I don’t know what has changed but I say “Keep up the good work”.  Us bloggers are quick to complain on the web about things we don’t like, so we should also point out when things work well!  We found a similar situation in Phoenix on the return trip.

BOOOO US Air:  Speaking of complaining, it is time to do so.  US Air (and Airlines in general) have really gotten ridiculous.  OK, I get charging me for my luggage and even for a drink.  I don’t like it, but I get it.  But where is my movie?  We went on a five hour cross country flight and they couldn’t show a movie?  How about a few TV re-runs?  What about some kind of travel programming?  Even an infomercial would have entertained me!  How much does it cost to run that in flight entertainment?  There are commercials on it, so it can’t cost too much.  Don’t they know that if I had a movie it would have taken my mind off the fact that the flight stinks – the seats are too close together, the temperature is either too hot or too cold, they charge me for my meal, they charge me for a drink, they charge me for my luggage.  What’s next, a charge to use the bathroom?  OK, moving on…

Travel Tips:  Ben is 9.5 months old and isn’t the kind of kid who can sleep on someone’s lap.  So we got him a seat on the plane.  It is expensive but worth it.  So we brought his car seat on with us for him to sleep in.  It worked out pretty well.  The doctors say Benadryl is a no-no for kids his age.  Too bad, because it would have helped him relax.  Instead they recommend a dose of infant Tylenol prior to boarding the plane.  Ben is teething too, so that seemed like a good idea.  Remember that baby’s can’t clear the pressure from their ears like we do when the pressure of taking off or landing builds.  They recommend a bottle or nursing to help.  Timing is the key though.  It isn’t the actual landing or take off, it is the time when the planes altitude changes the most that counts.  That’s a big deal for a kid like Ben, who nurses pretty quickly.  If we time it wrong, he’ll finish and won’t be too happy with the pressure change.  Luckily that went ok.  During the flight he mostly slept.  We put the “hood” up on the car seat and covered more of the opening with a shirt, so it would be nice and dark for him.  By the way, the evening flight was much easier than the day time flight because the little ones expect to sleep more.  By the way, the last time we flew Ben was only about 3.5 months old.  That time, he slept great because we used the Baby Bjorn to keep him snuggled up with us for the whole flight.  We didn’t bother to get him his own seat because he was really little.  He was so happy on that flight lying on us!

Oh yeah, Arizona:  As I said, Ben loved the trip.  He got to sleep in a hotel, eat in a lot of restaurants, see Great Grandma, play in her house, sit by the pool, stay up late, and play with the whole family.  One night he got to go play with his Bubbie and Zeyda (Grandma and Grandpa) while we went out to dinner.  That was great!  The weather in AZ was not too great (cool and rainy) and over a few days there, we spent about 2 hours total at the pool.

I know, you just want to see Pictures of Ben.  Here you go: (Don’t forget, you can click the photos to see a bigger version)

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