Six days to go!
I'm not sure if you know that I'm taking the last trip (in SIX days!) to pick Katie up by myself. I'm actually kind of looking forward to the flight over alone. One thing I'm not looking forward to? All of the stuff I have to bring!
In my head, this is what we'll look like walking through the airport. (Minus one kid. And one parent. You get the idea....)
In reality? Likely more something like this.
One of the best things I've gotten for these flights, and I would strongly recommend, is the Vera Bradley travel wallet.
I'm sure other companies have variations on the same idea if you're not a Vera fan. Basically, it holds your passport, boarding pass, and ID, money, et cetera. I do not recommend a passport cover - I had my passport in one on the first trip and ditched it after the first connecting flight. It's too much of a pain, and every TSA agent wanted it out of the cover. I love this wallet, because I have everything in one place and don't have to dig around for my boarding pass or whatever. And I can use the wallet everyday, not just for travel.
So what I've packed for this trip.....I thought I wouldn't have as much, because Chris isn't coming. Um, wrong. I will have two huge roller suitcases, a carryon bag, and a stroller.
This is the stroller I'm bringing.
It's the Chico Capri stroller, and mine is blue. And 8 years old. I got this as a gift when I had David, and it's the best stroller we've ever had. And we've had a lot of strollers. It's very lightweight, easy to fold up, and can be wiped clean. I'm also bringing it because it's eight years old - if something happens to it while it's checked baggage, etc., it's not like I've brought a brand new stroller that I spent hundreds of dollars on and it's broken. Yes, it's a bit pricey for an umbrella stroller, but it's lasted us EIGHT years, three children, countless trips to the zoo, the mall, walks around the block, the park, the airport, the grocery store.....this stroller has been in the back of every vehicle we've had since David was about 6 months old. And now it's headed to Russia.
This is Katie's suitcase. It's full. To my best recollection, I have packed the following for her: two packages of diapers (even though they said she's potty trained, she has been in a diaper every time we've been with her), 10 overnight diapers (we should only be "overnight" six nights there, but you never know what could happen), two large travel packs of wipes, two dresses, two pairs of pants, two sweaters, four shirts, four pairs of socks, two pairs of shoes, her "coming home" outfit, two pairs of tights, one coat, hairbows (duh), four pairs of pajamas, a small medicine kit with nail clippers, a medicine syringe, tylenol, benadryl, melatonin, miralax, shampoo, soap, lotion, and a hairbrush, toys including the Aquadoodle travel pack, color magic paints and markers, play doh, crayons and a coloring book, a blank notebook of paper, a small doll, a "spinner" with the lights that she likes so much, a deflated beach ball, a play cell phone, some small plastic animals, bubbles, a My Little Pony, some sticker packs, and I'm sure some other toys I cannot remember off the top of my head, I have orphanage donations in here, and some snacks for Katie as well. I also packed an Ergo carrier. This suitcase weighs 50 pounds, almost exactly.
In my suitcase, I have one entire side full of donations and gifts. That leaves one side for my clothes. It's much warmer now than on our previous trips, and we have a washer at our apartment. I am bringing one pair of jeans, one pair of black ballet flats, one pair of sandals (which I will wear on the plane), two maxi dresses (one of which I will wear on the plane), one pair of yoga pants, one t-shirt to wear around the apartment or to sleep in, one (or maybe two) cardigan sweaters, my favorite Gap denim jacket, a black maxi skirt, two tank tops for layering, two Gap essential tees, one pair of pajamas, and some "under garments" as my children call them. As I type that, it seems like a lot, but it's really not. It's for eight days. I will also pack my toiletries in my suitcase.
I'm also bringing some individual packets of instant coffee (no coffee pot in the apartment), some Crystal light packets, power bars, trail mix, Cheerios, gum, and an empty water bottle. I will go to the grocery store when I get there to get us some food for the week. I also am bringing a box of gallon size ziploc bags. I will use these for several things I'm sure, but the real reason I'm taking them is to do something along these lines on the way home:
My carryon bag will have to double as a diaper bag, so I'm planning to put snacks in one bag, toys in another, etc. I will also put one change of clothes and a diaper in individual bags so when she needs to be changed I can just grab the bag and change her, use the ziploc for the dirty diaper, and there is no rifling around in the backpack to search for stuff while I try to keep her happy on the plane.
In my carryon, I will also pack my laptop, my iPad, my camera, my makeup, my toothbrush/toothpaste, our paperwork I will need while I'm there, a few snacks and some gum, headphones, earplugs, melatonin, our convertors, and that's about it. I will also have a purse, which I will likely just stick in the carryon bag.
On the last two trips, I used a cute carryon bag.
I've used the Vera Bradley Get Carried Away Tote, which I loved. On this trip, I feel like I need to be as hands-free as possible, so I'm bringing Chris' backpack. Not my favorite, but far more practical.
Does that seem like a ton to you?! Chris' biggest concern is how I will manage at the airport with all of that stuff. Obviously I will check it in as soon as I get there, but getting through customs will be interesting. We'll figure it out!