Thursday, December 25, 2014

We All Have Stories: Our 2014 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas 2014

This year has been a wonderful year for the Gibson family, and we hope it has been for yours as well! Here's a run down on our family, starting with our smallest, newest member!

Samuel David

was born on September 28, only 22 minutes after his due date. He is, by far, the most loved on person in this house! He loves to coo, babble, & smile at all of us. In his two months, he's already started rolling from his tummy to his back, and has already had his first ER visit (a cold has been running though our family, and it struck the poor little guy pretty hard).


is growing up so fast! While he still doesn't have a ton of words, we love seeing the new things he is learning how to do... like, climb up the front of the fridge. He's a ball full of energy and dimples. This fall I started “school” with Nate. He always wanted to do what Nora was doing, so even though he's a little young (the curriculum I am using is for 2 year olds, and he'll turn 2 right before Christmas), I started him anyway. He loves sitting and “daw” (drawing) with us.


turned 3 this year, and many doors have opened for her. She was old enough to take a dance class. While she wasn't the greatest participant in the beginning, by the last class, she knew the whole routine for their dance (“The Wheels on the Bus”). She loved going to dance class, and we will probably sign her up again! This fall she was also old enough to start faith formation at church. I signed her up thinking that it would be nice for her to have a teacher other than me at home, but I have ended up being one of the teachers for her class. She has continued on in her “school” as well, and has been working on the 3 year old curriculum since late spring.

would have turned 4 this year. We had a birthday party for her. One of our good friends made a beautiful cake for her birthday, that when we cut into, we found out that Sam (who we had just had an ultrasound with) was going to be a boy. We still feel so blessed to have her as our daughter, even though we're not raising her.


(that's me!) worked as a Title I instructor at St. Agnes during the last school year. I've also continued working as a personal math tutor for a few different students. And, of course, teaching our own kiddos. In February, my mom and I took Nora & Nate to Oregon to see my grandma for the last time. She died shortly after we returned.


was officially hired on at Danfoss Power Solutions in March of this year (before that he was working there through a temp agency). He still continues to work early AM's at UPS too. He has also been working on losing weight, and has lost 25 pounds so far, mostly by working out, but he's also been watching how much he eats. I'm very proud of him for sticking with it for so long, and committing to lead a healthy life. He also “ran” his first 5k in June. He came in at 1:07:00 just behind his pregnant wife (who had to stop twice for a potty break), and our sleeping toddler in the stroller.

We hope your 2014 was as blessed as ours was, and that your 2015 brings you much more joy!

All our love,

The Gibsons

View our other Christmas Letters! 2010     2011     2012     2013     2015     2016     2017

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pertussis: Misleading Statistics

So originally this graphic came from the CDC. It looked like this.
It shows just what the CDC wanted to show, however useless it might be to the rest of us, it means something to them, I guess.

Then someone came along (I don't know the source of the beefed up graphic) thinking that it meant something it didn't (statistics are funny like that!), and tried to show that this vaccine doesn't work and you have a better chance of not getting it and reporting it if you're not vaccinated.


Enter a mathematician.

The original graphic from the CDC is showing a breakdown of the 6,235 reported cases in 2013. If you wanted to make the claims from the beefed up graphic, you'd need to look at the whole population, or take a sampling that included kids that did and did not get and report pertussis, including vaxers and non-vaxers, and you'd have to take a pretty large sampling for it to actually be an accurate statistic. 

So let's see if I can get a little more accurate view of what she's trying to show. There are 710 non-vaxed kids that got it, and 3,456 vaxed kids that got it. According the Census, there are 19,868,088 kids under the age of 5 in the US. According to the CDC 95.1% of kids entering kindergarten in the 2012-2013 school year had gotten the DTaP vaccine (the best number I could find, since before entering kindergarten vaccines don't have to be reported as received, but from other sites I've looked at, the non-vax rate is under 6%, so I'm thinking it's fairly close.) 

(This is where you should see a red flag go up... more kids have been vaccinated against pertussis, so there's more kids that could potentially get it. There's less kids that haven't been vaccinated against it, so there's a smaller population that can get it. So, it only makes sense that of the kids that got sick and reported it, fewer of them were un-vaccinated... there's just less of them to choose from!)

So with these numbers this is what we have...

With a population size of 19,868,088 and 4.9% not being vaccinated, that means that 973,536 were not vaccinated against pertussis. And 95.1% or 18,894,552 were vaccinated against pertussis.

Now, if we take the whole population of non-vaccinated kids and look at how many reported having pertussis (710 total kids that did not get any vaccination against it at all), we're looking at 0.073%.

Looking at the whole population of vaccinated kids and how many reported having pertussis (416 and 3,038 or 3,454 that got at least 1 dose of DTap), we're looking at 0.018%.

Both these numbers are incredibly small, yes. But it shows that the kids who did not get the vaccine were actually almost 4 times (3.984, to be accurate) more likely to get and report pertussis than those who were vaccinated against it.

Moral of the story: Don't let statistics scare you unless you actually understand them fully.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Pregnancy with Sam

**I was just going through my posts and found that I had written all this out from my pregnancy with Sam, but never actually posted it... now that he's a year and a half, I'll share it with you all!**
5 weeks 2 days
February 4, 2014 - Week 6
I highly doubt it is, and really hope, that it's not the case, but I can't seem to shake the feeling that we might be having twins. I don't know why or where I got this idea. Or, why it keeps coming back as something that my mind thinks is going to happen. But, I guess we'll have a couple weeks to wait and see. Around 8-10 weeks, we'll have a dating ultrasound, and they'll be able to see how many itty-bitties are in there.

February 20, 2014 - Week 8
We had the dating ultrasound and she only saw one baby in there... But I'm still not 100% convinced. Here's hoping she's right though! I also asked where he/she was hanging out, because I'm wondering if placenta previa will be an issue again. She said he/she was hanging out kind of low in my uterus. :(

9 weeks 1 day
March 11, 2014 - Week 11
We had our first trimester screening today. The kids and I met with Joan before the ultrasound, and I told her nothing had really changed about our family history. She loves seeing the kids! All went well, though the placenta is close/partially over my cervix. Krista (yep, I got her without even asking!) said there's a better chance it will move this time. Nora & Nate sat very nicely the entire ultrasound eating their lunch. Krista even gave each of them an ultrasound picture of the baby! So sweet! :)

March 21, 2014 - Week 12
I had an appointment with the new provider today. Jennifer seemed to think that a VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans) was something that the clinic wouldn't do. I told her that Dr. Mahan said with Nate, that I could likely try a VBAC again. So when I left, I made sure I could get an appointment with her next time. If she decides that I can't attempt a VBAC again, then I may switch to Dr. Hartung (though the baby would be born in Wisconsin, and that's no good!)
12 weeks 4 days

March 22, 2014 - Week 12
Someone in one of the Catholic Mom groups I'm in on Facebook posted about getting a relic from St. Gerard, who is unofficially the patron saint of mothers, pregnancy, and infertility. I had already found a prayer (below) that I have been saying everyday in hopes of the placenta moving so I can have another VBAC, but I sent a request for a relic from him that I can wear. I can't wait to get it!

O Sainted Brother Gerard, whose heart went out to the unfortunate; who relieved so many poor, healed so many sick, comforted so many afflicted; behold me worried and troubled as I kneel at thy feet. In vain to turn to men to seek consolation and help; therefore, do I have recourse to thee thou who art so powerful in heaven. Graciously assist me, Saint Gerard, that being freed from this trial or strengthened to bear it for the love of God, I may praise and thank God and serve Him with greater love and fervor. Amen.
15 weeks 2 days

April 29, 2014 - Week 18
The scripture I reflected on this morning was Psalm 5:3, "At daybreak, Lord, You her my voice; at daybreak I plead my case to You and watch expectantly." I've been saying that St. Gerard prayer every morning, in hopes that God will hear my prayer and I've been waiting and watching expectantly for His answer. I thought it was so fitting.

18 weeks 3 days

April 30, 2014 - Week 18
I finally had an appointment with Dr. Mahan. On the way in Nora said that we were going to get the baby out of my tummy. So I explained to her that after she turns 3, then the baby can come out. Dr. Mahan said what I thought she'd say about VBA2C: totally fine. She said I'd have to have continuous monitoring though (which I did last time anyway), and if anything went wrong I'd be in the OR right away. She listened to baby's heart beat (160 bpm), and Nora remembered our talk earlier about how we need to listen with our ears and tell Dada about it when he gets home from work. Nate was just perplexed by the weird noise and watched me and Dr. Mahan the entire time.
18 weeks 6 days
Dressed up for a wedding in my bridesmaid's dress
when I was 5 months pregnant with Nora

26 Weeks 3 Days
27 Weeks 1 Day
All dressed up for a cocktail party at my
friend Anna's home. 

29 Weeks 3 Days
July 23, 2014 - Week 29
All was looking good at my appointment, except that I was measuring small (just like I did with Nora), so Dr. Mahan said if I am measuring small at my next appointment that she would order an ultrasound. She also said she'd want one done anyone to check for placenta accreta.

August 7, 2014 - Week 32
I had my appointment with the nurse today. I was measuring small again, so she ordered a growth ultrasound. I'm sure we'll see in a couple weeks that it's just low fluids like with Nora. With summer pregnancies, I find it hard to keep hydrated enough. I thought I was doing better this time around, but I guess not! I was also supposed to see the lactation consultant they have on staff, but I guess the patient before me had a lot of questions. We had a play date to get to, so I said I'd just meet with her next time, but that I didn't really have any questions at this point (since this will be my 3rd baby nursing!)

37 Weeks 4 Days

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nora's Tea Party Birthday

I wanted to do something for Nora's 3rd birthday, but since I'm 8 months pregnant, I needed to do something pretty low key and easy. We decided to just invite grandparents and Godparents to keep it small (if we do a family affair, it's upwards of 30 people, and the idea of having a bunch of toddler running around and trying to keep them entertained seemed to daunting to me!). Nora's loved playing with a tea set that was mine as a child and being the "hostess with the most-est," so I thought a tea party would be right up her alley. Plus it gave me a reason to use my grandma's China for the first time. (Not something I would have wanted to do with a bunch of toddler running around! Yikes!) So here's how it went and what I did...

We'll start with the easy stuff... Tea! I made three "teas" for everyone to enjoy. I had a cold black tea with mom's garden raspberries, hot Tazo Zen tea with mint, and lemonade in a tea pot for the kids. I think both Nora and her "God-sister" Abby tried the teas, but Nate had a little lemonade in a toy tea cup, then decided that his finger food went better in the cup.

Silly brothers!

 Of course I needed to make sure that there was something my kids, and Abby (Nora's "God-sister"), would eat, so I used the flower shaped Pampered Chef baking tube (similar to these) to make homemade white sandwich bread in. I made half a batch of bread and had to extend the baking time in the tube. After I sliced the flower-shaped bread, I used a small circle cookie cutter (similar to the smallest from this set) to put a hole in the center of half of them. I spread peanut butter, then my mom's homemade apple jelly on the ones that I didn't put the hole in, then put the ones I had cut the hole in on top for the pretty flower effect. These were a hit with Grandpa Jack too since his favorite thing to eat is a peanut butter sandwich.

I made one batch of French baguette that I used for two different sandwiches. When I split the rolled out dough into two, I put cracked pepper and Parmesan on one before rolling it up, and dried spicy basil from my garden and cheddar on the other.

With the cracked pepper and Parmesan French baguette, I made cucumber ranch finger sandwiches. For these, I used a package of cream cheese mixed with a dollop of sour cream (just enough to make it a little more spreadable) and ranch seasoning to taste to spread on. I had Adam assemble these, so he spread the cream cheese mixture then put a slice of a garden cucumber on top.

With the basil and cheddar French baguette, I think I made the hit of the party: BLT finger sandwiches. (Maybe you can tell from the picture, Adam and Nora's Godfather, Dave, got to them before I could snap a picture, and they were the only ones we didn't have any left.) While Adam was cooking up the bacon, I spread mayo on each slice, cut up a piece of garden Romaine lettuce for each, and a slice of garden Roma tomato for each. When the bacon was done cooking I used a scissors to cut up each piece of bacon into thirds (which was roughly the length I needed to fit across the baguette). I put the lettuce down first, then the bacon, then the tomato, because I thought that order looked the nicest, but you can really put it in whatever order you want (though the mayo should probably go right after the bread ;) )

My lovely mother made her famous turkey roll ups, and Nora's Godmother, Theresa, made these super cute tea bag cookies.

Of course a Birthday Tea Party wouldn't be complete without mini cupcakes. I like to bake better than cook. But, oddly enough, I almost always end up using a box mix for cupcakes instead of making them from scratch. I think this was a chocolate chip chocolate cake mix, but I don't recall for sure. I know the frosting was called Strawberry Mist though. The only down side was I couldn't quite fit 3 candles on the little thing... but Nora enjoyed being able to eat 3 of them instead of just one. I'm pretty sure that made up for it, if she had any hard feelings about the two missing candles. ;)

My birthday girl!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Announcing #4: Eviction Notice

So I probably could have posted this a while ago, but life with two toddlers is pretty hectic! All of my friends and family know by now, and if they don't, they'll figure it out when they see me! But without further ado, here's the pregnancy announcement we went with for baby #4. I was going to have Nora wear Adam's glasses to make her look even more like a little business women with her tie & bun, but I forgot, and they were in no mood to try again!

I will put the disclaimer in here that this was totally Adam's idea again, just like Nate's pregnancy announcement was, but this time he let me pick from about four different ideas he had found. This was the one we agreed upon, so I set it all up and took the picture, with his help, of course!

Photography-wise, it's not the best picture, but we wanted to get it taken. It was a dreary day, so I needed the light on in the room to catch my fast-moving toddlers without a blur, but then I have a blue cast from the window and a yellow cast from the light in the room. My friend over at Stay at Home Who edited it a bit for me to get rid of some of the color casting.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Making T-Shirts Fit: Toddlers & Preggos

Yesterday, Adam brought home t-shirts for all of us from his work that we're supposed to wear on a company walk to raise money for Fill Their Plate. Of course they didn't have toddler size t-shirts, so we got the smallest they had for the kids, youth smalls. And, they were huge! Nate's could have been a ballroom length dress on him... not so fashionable, if you ask me... and I'm not really that fashionable.

I saw a couple different ideas (pretty much all of them were for little girls) on how to make t-shirt dresses and such, but I saw this vintage t-shirt dress from an Etsy store that I figured the pattern would probably suit my purposes close enough. I had to be careful to work around a lot of wording though, which was the trickiest part, and the reason I couldn't make several of the others I had seen for Nora. So onto what I did...

For Nate, I pretty much just sewed and cut to make the shirt more his size. I turned it inside out and put it on him (well, actually Nora, because he wouldn't sit still long enough to let me see how much to take in, let alone pin it). I pinned the top of the sleeves starting from the collar and working down to the end of the sleeve. (I could have used more pins, but I also needed to take it off a toddler to insisted on doing it herself, so two was good enough!)

I made sure the collar edges lined up and the end of the sleeves lined up, then sewed straight across using a jersey needle and matching thread. This brought the neckline up and kept it from hanging off his shoulders. 

Then I put it on him inside out again to try to figure out how much to take the sides in. The problem I ran into was that if I made it small enough to pit him properly, the beginning and end of the company name on the back and the end of if on the front would be cut off. So, instead of trying to wrestle a toddler who'd rather be sliding in the closet, I just took it off and free handed it. While it was still inside out, I measured in from each armpit into where the letters were, then left about a 1/4" extra space. I believe it was about 1 1/2" for this particular t-shirt. Then I measured in from the bottom 1 1/2" and sewed straight up until the armpit, at which point, I set my needle down, picked up the foot of my sewing machine, and turned the t-shirt so I could sew straight to the armpit. I did the same to the other side then flipped it right side out and had him try it on. It fit him, but it looked like I had tried some ruching in the armpit and side area since I hadn't yet cut off the extra material. Once I decided that it fit him and I didn't make it too small, I took it off him, flipped it inside out again, and cut off the extra fabric. 

When I had him try it on again, it looked much better, but the sleeves were still pretty big, so I figured out how much smaller I needed to make the arm holes the same way I did the top collar and arm part, and sewed it. The sleeves were still pretty long though, so I decided to just cut them off right inside the actual seam where the sleeve is attached to the body of the t-shirt. Since I was working with jersey knit material, I didn't have to worry about hemming it, which made my life much easier!

Now it was starting to fit him better, but it was still the length of a dress, so I figured out how much I needed to cut off the bottom to bring it up just below his waist. I took my rotary cutter (okay, so it's the one I'm borrowing from my mom for another project), and sliced it off. If you don't have a rotary cutter (like normal for me!), you can use a yard stick or straight edge to draw a line and a scissors to cut. Just make sure that when you are cutting and measuring that the bottom edges of your t-shirt are lined up. And, again, I didn't have to worry about hemming it since I'm working with t-shirt material.

With Nora's, I did pretty much the same thing, but I wanted hers to be a belted dress, and I didn't mind the longer sleeves on her. So I did everything I did to Nate's, but I didn't cut off the sleeves or the bottom. And since I was going for a dress instead of a long t-shirt look, I took the sides in a little differently. I measured in that 1 1/2" from the armpits, but instead of going straight down, I went to the corners of the t-shirt. (Hopefully the after picture makes sense!)

I was originally going to have her just wear a belt with it, but since I had so much leftover material, I figured, why not make a matching belt? So I used the bottom part of Nate's shirt and cut off a 1" wide strip using my rotary cutter. Since there's no seams, I just cut the circle of fabric at a random point so I had a long "rope" where I could pull both ends to make the edges curl in.

I even managed to put little belt loops on her dress so it would stay in place. I cut off about an inch of a seam and zigzag stitched it onto the sides of her dress. You're going to want to go back and forth several times to make sure it stays attached. One of the sides of Nora's came off at the walk. 

The final touch was adding a cute little flower to her dress. I used this basic Twisted Petal Flower tutorial as my starting point, and I put it on the upper right side of her dress.

As for me, I had to get a t-shirt that was too big for me, everywhere but my belly. So I took my shirt in under the arms and tapered it out to the sides right above my pregnant belly. Then to make it a little more fashionable, I found this dental floss ruching tutorial that I added in fairly quickly.

At the walk we got many compliments on Nora's dress and the ruching on my t-shirt. We also got a couple questions on how we got a t-shirt to fit Nate from parents of other toddlers. Hopefully we'll have another company event to wear them to before the kids outgrow their t-shirts!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

On January 22nd, Adam went to the Dollar Store and picked up a pregnancy test. I took it that evening before bed, and it was positive! So beings our 4th journey down this road...

I've been meaning to get on here for a while now and write down some of the pregnancy "symptoms" I've been having, some enjoyable, some not-so-much. Here are the top 3 that have been "ailing" me since about a week ago (about 5 weeks pregnant).

1. Tired. All. The. Time. Chasing around the two littles we already have, one of which woke up twice last night, and being pregnant... yikes! I go to bed when the kids go to bed and struggle to get up an hour or two before them so I can shower and get ready for the day. (That's like 10 hours of sleep!)

2. "Funny tummy," as Nora calls it. No matter when you eat or how often, you just have that "funny tummy" pretty much 24/7. (Again, chasing around two toddlers doesn't help matters any.)

3. This one I just started this morning, and it is always my favorite pregnancy symptom! My hair barely falls out! By the time I have the baby, my hair is so full and thick! I love it! Of course a few months postpartum, it all starts falling out in mass quantities, and I hate it, but at least I can have 9 months of beautiful hair!

Nap-Time Doings: Lids Rack

So I've had all these pins pinned on Pinterest (whoa, a little redundant!) showing different ways to deal with lids in cabinets. I've been sick of mine sitting on the shelf taking up a bunch of space that I could use for... well, probably more stuff I don't actually need. This pin is probably the one that most closely resembles (though it really doesn't) what I ended up doing. I wanted them tucked away in a safer place than on the cabinet door like I've seen in some pins, because I didn't want it to be easy for my kids to get at them and break them. So here's my version!

There are probably quicker, easier, prettier ways than what I did, but I was trying to procrastinate while putting the dishes away (but I still was putting them away, since I mean, look, the lids look so much nicer now!). So I used what I had: scraps from a tongue and groove board from my brother's basement remodel project that I am in the process of turning into one of those growth rulers that you also see all over Pinterest (yep, it's been re-purposed twice!). The two pieces that I used were the tongue side of the board that I cut off about a 1/4 inch into the board past the tongue. I measured the cabinet front to back, then cut the pieces just slightly longer -we're talking maybe a 1/16 of an inch- so that they would stay by tension (okay, so a tension rod would totally do the trick, but like I said, procrastinating instead of putting the dishes away, and I didn't have them on hand). I tried installing them by lining up the back side, then sliding the front side down until they looked level, but since they weren't both exactly the same size after I cut them, I had to rasp (or sand) the end of the longer one of them down just a little. It seriously took me less than 10 minutes to do the whole thing, and that counts two trips back to the garage to rasp the one side. Super easy, and I love it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flying with Toddlers & Babies

Art folio pictured from Two Little Gingers
I don't know how many times I've seen friends post on Facebook looking for advice on flying with their toddler(s) for the first time. Nora, who is 2 1/2, has flown four times now. Her first time was when she was 3 months old, then again at 9 months. Once Nate was born, we flew two more times. Nate was 5 months and Nora was 22 months. Then right before my grandma passed away, we went out to visit her one last time when the kids were 2 1/2 years and just over 1 year. So needless to say, we've had our experiences with navigating airports with all the gear and the children, entertaining two littles on the plane, dealing with ears popping, etc. So instead of trying to remember all of the things I have learned from our travels each time a friend asks for advice, I thought I'd put it all in one place and just share the link. Feel free to share with anyone you know, as well, or add any tips or tricks you've learned in your travels in the comments below.

Free Under 2 Years
Maybe most people know this, maybe they don't. If you have a child under 2 years, they are considered "infant in arms," and you don't have to buy a seat for them. Your kiddo will be riding on your lap the whole time, but most kids that age would rather sit on your lap anyway. (Even when they're over 2 years they do!) Just make sure when you buy your ticket, you put that down. Because of the number of oxygen masks in each row, only one "infant in arms" is allowed per row per side (so if you're flying with 2 under 2 and another adult, you can sit on opposite sides of the isle, but not on the same side in the same row).

Where to Sit
It's not always possible, but if you can, try to get seats towards the front of the plane. You'll be the last ones on and the first ones off, meaning less time your kiddos have to be contained. With that, when they first begin boarding, after first class boards, they'll allows people with disabilities and people with small children to board. Don't. Yes, it does take a couple extra minutes to get kids and gear down the tiny isle of the plane and settled into their seats, but then they're contained to a small space longer, and most toddlers aren't happy about it (small babies really care one way or the other though, as long as they're cuddled up with momma).

Car Seats
We haven't ever done car seats on the planes. It's a lot to carry through the airport and juggle with everything else we have. We check them with our luggage. The airlines check them for free. We've always put them in some sort of car seat bag, just to keep them cleaner while they are riding in the underbelly of the plane (the last time we stuffed 2 car seats in one bag AND managed to get our winter coats in it as well -less to carry through the airport and pack on the plane). The last flight I was tempted to bring a car seat for Nora (to actually keep Nate contained), but opted not to, and they both did just fine. The Car Seat Lady recommends that you do have your child in a car seat, and buy a seat for your child, even if they are under 2 years. It's not the law, so use your best judgement.

Carry-ons & Checked Luggage
With having to bring diapers, extra changes of baby/toddler clothes, and all the gear that goes along with small children, we've found that the $20 to check a bag is worth it. Plus, then you can check your toiletries without having to try to get tiny bottles in Ziplocs through security lines (read that as quicker & easier to get through security). We've only ever done one. We pack as light as we can. We each take a carry on and a personal item. Just think about who's going to be carrying the child(ren) or pushing the stroller, and how many hands/ backs/ fronts each of you (or just you!) will have. I have been seen walking through the airport pushing a stroller with one child and a small carry on below her, using a carrier to carry a child on my back, and carrying a backpack on my front. Anything you don't think you can carry/ push, try to check. The airports do have Smarte Cartes that you can pay to use if you need. We take a wheeled carry on that we can attach bags to, a stroller that we put a child (or two) in along with whatever we can fit underneath or over the handles (if it's light/small enough), and backpacks. (More on transporting kids through the airport in the section below.) The big thing is thinking about who's carrying what and if you'll have enough hands. If not, try something else, or check a suitcase.

Strollers & Carries
I think we've done this differently each time we've flown. It depends on your child(ren)'s age(s) and what makes the most sense for your situation. We've always taken a stroller. The first time (when Nora was 3 months old), I wore her in the Moby, and we used the stroller to help to carry our stuff. When she was 9 months she was in the stroller. When we had a 5 month old and a 22 month old, we took the double stroller. At some points Nate was in the fitted sling, and luggage in his stroller seat, other times we were carrying more luggage, and he was in the stroller. The last time, we just took a small umbrella stroller that we could put one small item underneath. I pushed the stroller with Nora in it, had Nate on my back in the Boba, and a backpack on my front. Nora held her small backpack (with her entertainment stuff - see below), and my mom had her backpack and a wheeled carry-on with another bag attached to it. Again, just make sure there's enough hands for everything you need.
Note on carries: I've used the Moby, a fitted sling, and a Boba. Going though security I've always had to take the child out and carry him/her through. You can keep the carrier on, but then your hands will be swabbed. The Moby was too much work to take on and off, so I opted for swabbing (doesn't take that long). The other two were quick on and off, so I just took them off and sent them through the scanner.
Note on strollers: They will be sent through the scanner, so fold them up and put them on the belt. Our double stroller did not fit though, so they had to hand search it, which does take a couple extra minutes, but not terribly long. Just keep it in mind when you're trying to reach your gate on time. Strollers can be gate checked (you push them all the way down the ramp and leave them right outside the plane door). Make sure that they have a tag denoting that you want it brought back up, so that when you get off the plane it's waiting right outside for you. Otherwise it will be down in the over-sized checked luggage baggage claim area. If that happens, ask for a wheelchair if you don't want to try to wrangle a runaway toddler and all your gear.

Sippy Cups & Bottles
While TSA believes that you would drink explosives, they are okay with you allowing your children to bring them on board. Bottles of water or formula, expressed breast milk, or sippy cups of water, juice, or the like for your toddlers are fine to bring through security. Just make sure they are either taken out of your bags or that you are in an outside pocket (like in the wheelchair picture above). Baby food is also allowed, (read more on this in the ears popping section), and you don't have to allow them to open it. Most airports just want to have it out of your bag (some don't care).

The shoes of small children do not have to be removed when you're going to security. Some airports don't even make you remove your shoes anymore, but if they do shoes you can slip on and off quickly are your best bet.

Depending on the age of your child, and if he's phasing out naps, or if he's very curious, he may not nap. We've traveled at all different times of the day with all sorts of disruptions to naps times and normal routines. We've only flew from Minnesota to Oregon/ Washington though, and that adds a 2 hour time change. Chances are the excitement of the airport with all it's people watching, places to explore, planes and ramp happenings to watch, they won't nap in the airport (you know your kid best, of course, maybe your kid will sleep anywhere... lucky parent you are!). The plane, I've found, is a toss up. When they're young and over tired, I've been able to put them in a carrier after take off (don't try before, they'll wake up when they're ears start popping... see below for more on that), and get them to sleep. I've used a Moby, a fitted sling, and a Boba. Use what you're most comfortable with and what your child seems to like best. Mine typically whined and cried for maybe 5 minutes until they passed out, or they nursed to sleep quickly.

Ears Popping (Equalizing)
Nora was a nuk kid. No problems there. If yours is, use it. Nursing babies (or giving a bottle) has helped as well. But, when they're a little older, I've found those squeeze packets of baby food or applesauce are amazing! Not only do they keep your toddler or baby busy and content sucking the food out and swallowing it, but their ears are equalizing (popping) the whole time, so they're not fussing about the pressure. I've heard other people suggest suckers and I've seen gum too. I rarely give my kids candy, and besides, they'd bite the suckers anyway. I don't think she'd quite know what to do with gum either, and would probably just swallow it. Just be aware that depending on what airport you're flying out of and the mood of the TSA person, they may try to open them to make sure they're not explosive. You can refuse. They'll swab your hands and your stuff, see that you're not trying to feed your children explosives, and send you on through.

Diapers and Potty Training
Diapers: Change your baby/toddler right before you get on the plane in hopes of avoiding a diaper change mid-flight. Though, sometimes, poop happens. A small baby will fit on the "changing table" of the teeny tiny bathrooms on the plane, that is if the plane has one. A toddler will not. On a plane that didn't have one, a flight attendant gave me a blanket to put across the seats. I've done changes a couple different ways. The changing table was the worst option (keep in mind we also hit some turbulence after the diaper was removed, but before the baby was wiped... not a pleasant experience for anyone involved). I did do a standing change with Nora on the changing table, and that seemed okay (if you don't hit turbulence). Otherwise, I've found the plane seats have been my best option. (Though if you're sitting next to a stranger, they might not appreciate it, so just be considerate!)
Potty Training: Yikes! You can barely fit one person in those bathrooms. Add a curious toddler, it's an interesting experience. This probably goes without saying, but make sure she tries before boarding the plane. Depending on where you are with it, and how your toddler is doing, you might want to consider using a diaper or pull up for the plane. I knew my daughter could handle the flight without an accident, and that she would refuse to wear a diaper for it. So we went for it, and she was fine.

This always depends on the age of your child. Books and small toys along with mom and/or dad's undivided attention is usually enough for a baby, plus chances are they'll take a small nap for you. Older babies and toddlers need a little more entertainment. Both of my kids have needed to just get up and walk the aisle at some point (or two) during the flight. My mom always held one of their hands in case of unexpected turbulence or unseen feet in the aisle. Books, again, are good for toddlers, and so is coloring. (The picture at the beginning of the post show my daughter using an Art Folio from Two Little Gingers, which are awesome for keeping crayons, markers, paper, stickers, etc. together, so you don't have to dig through your bags. But what kept my daughter the most entertained was some sort of electronic device like a phone or a tablet with games downloaded on it for her. Depending on your device, just Googling "toddler apps for (Android/ iPhone/ etc.)" will result in tons of apps. I always go for the free ones, but from what I've read from other blogs, there's some paid apps out there for toddlers that are worth the money. I just don't let my kids have really any screen time otherwise, so I didn't want to pay for apps that I'd only use on the occasional flight, but that screen time could have pretty well kept her entertained the whole time. So even if you're a "no screen time" type parent, I'd highly consider it for a flight where they're trapped in their seat the whole time. There are plenty of educational and book-type apps out there if you want to stick to that type (that's what I did).

I'd love to hear from you!
Did you take a flight with your little(s)? What tips/ advice would you add to this list? What worked and what didn't? Leave a comment below and share with everyone!