So it was requested (by several) that I blog about taking four children 6 and under through two airports two times. It really wasn't that bad, I assure you. But here's some things you have to know about me.
1) I start packing for most family trips at least two weeks in advance, including detailed lists
2) I plan. And we practice.
3) I'm not perfect and no matter how carefully I pack, plan, and practice, things go wrong.
Our good friend Kristin dropped us off at the airport on Dec. 6. Here we are with all our luggage. Not how I had planned it. I had each of us taking a personal item and a carry-on. When we did a practice we realized we couldn't carry that much plus carry kids. So we ended up checking a bag. BUT we did not have to check it on the way home as my mom gets a free checked bag when she comes to see us at the end of the month and all she'll need is a carry-on! Another thing you should know about me...I'm cheap. I HATE paying for checked baggage.
I put the kids in long sleeved t-shirts and a fleece to keep them warm, but able to take off some clothes if they got too warm. They also had to wear as much as possible so that we could take more stuff :o)
Everything has to be folded and put up on the belt. Including the kids jackets. But not their shoes thankfully. #1 would go through first after we had loaded everything on the belt. I had made mental note of exactly where our liquids or other "questionable" items were so I could whip them out and have them back in without holding up the line. If you are taking a baby you are allowed as much milk or baby food as is reasonable. Define reasonable. They didn't give me any trouble. Her cup of milk was tested with a little strip of paper waved above it. I froze all the breastmilk I took as it doesn't count as a liquid or have to be tested. Nice, huh? It also stays cold the entier flight. Although she was still nursing (still is) I was planning on putting wheat back in my diet so she was just about weaned by the time we left. (What little bit she's getting doesn't seem to be bothering her)
The kids would follow after #1 with me holding Sweet Pea in the very back. As soon as they got through the boys had to sit on their booster seats (these went under the plane with the baby backpack and stroller at the gate-all are free). Rosebud had to sit on her Trunki. This kept everyone contained while #1 and I reorganized and re-packed everything that had gone through the scanner. When we got done a TSA agent said "Wow. You guys are like a military operation!" I take that as a high compliment.
This was as we landed at home. These are TIRED boys! It was a great trip, even with airline travel. I'll post actual Florida pictures someday. But taking kids on a plane is do-able.
A thank you to friends who dropped us off/picked us up at the airport. It saved us over $100 in parking. Thanks also to my parents who helped us quite a bit with airline tickets. This wouldn't have been possible without so much help from so many people.