A week of sunshine, 80 degrees, beaches, and memories. We all survived our first week long family vacation. After Maddox’s surgery and all the stress of it, Nick and I decided that we needed to get away and get some real Vitamin D. Our vacation was booked to Florida for the first full week of April. So, what does that mean? Mom gets to start making her checklists of everything. The packing checklist, the checklist for the puppies, checklist for the house and a checklist for the checklists (ok, just kidding on the last one ;)).
Traveling with a 3 year old definitely presents it’s own challenges and then you throw CF on top of that and you have a whole next level of packing and stressing of not to forget anything. Not having his medications will for sure be a recipe for misery. So for Maddox, his big ticket items to make sure we had packed was his vest (and accessories), nebulizer (and accessories) and his enzymes. Sounds like a piece of cake! Until you have to figure out how to pack everything for efficiency and where and how to get through security (my biggest stresser as you never know how long it could take).
His vest has its own traveling bag which fits; the vest, compressor, hoses and power cord, but it is heavy. Thankfully, it can be wheeled around. With this piece of equipment costing more than our first 3 cars put together, it can’t be checked as luggage so that needed to come on board with us. Next was the nebulizer. Thankfully, I found a site that has travel neb compressors so we bought a teenie tiny one that could fit in the pocket of his vest bag. Next hurdle was that his actual liquid nebs needed to be kept cold which meant we were taking a lunch box with an ice pack through security. His enzymes are easy and we just had a bottle in my back pack and a bottle in his suit case just in case one was lost. O yea, we had his latest antibiotic to take along too that we had to finish in Florida. At out last CF check up, I asked the CF team to write up documentation that I could show TSA just in case they had questions or concerns so I had to make sure I didn’t forget that either.
The week before we left was just crazy as we were both busy at work, Maddox was getting over his sinus infection and I was starting to get sick (awesome). We got everything packed on Thursday night and Friday after work we were on the road to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to drop off the pups and sleep over. Saturday morning we were up bright and early and on our way to the airport to start our vacation. We get to the airport, park the car and start to load everything up to start heading to ticketing and holy man did we have the stuff. 1 big suitcase, 1 carry on size suitcase, his vest, his car seat, mom’s backpack, dad’s backpack and Maddox’s backpack. As we make our way to through the process, it went actually pretty quick as all of a sudden we are on the other side of security with everything we need. Maddox loved watching the airplanes being pushed around and watching them take off. We talked about the baggage carrier belts, the carts of all the luggage, what the pilots were looking during their inspections and everything in between. Our flight was called to board and here we go.
Now, as I mentioned, Maddox was already on antibiotics but planes are still gross. As soon as we got to his seat, we were using cleaning wipes for everything around him; seat, tray, window, arm rest, and everything else. After a few minutes we quickly realized that our flight didn’t have Wifi so we were in for a treat of keeping him entertained for the next 2 1/2 hours. Thankfully, I had some stuff packed (including snacks) as a back up plan. As quick as we were seated we were taking off and landing as the flight actually went pretty quick.
We get to Orlando and wait at gate check- his vest is now where to be seen. We were told that it was taken to baggage claim, even though we gate checked it. Are you kidding me? We were livid! You know dang well they don’t treat luggage with TLC. Thankfully, it showed up there unharmed but holy man, what a learning experience that was for us. Never again for that. We get to our rental car and head off to start our vacation, which meant to find the nearest Walmart to buy a cheap stroller so we didn’t have to carry him all week along with other needed essentials; wine, beer, water, applesauce, peanut butter, jelly and bread (just to name a few).
One of the nebs that Maddox does every night is sterilized salt water so we did the next best thing and headed to a beach the next day so he could just breath in salt air all day (us too :)). At the beaches we were at, we packed our own lunches which meant we had to remember to take our enzymes before every meal so he didn’t have an upset stomach. Expert level – spoonful of applesauce without sand – for the win. 🙂
Throughout the week, we ended up visiting Venice beach and Cocoa beach. One day we went to Disney to Magic Kingdom and he had a blast looking for Mickey even though it was 60s and raining. We fed gators at Gatorland, had awesome food at Disney Springs and loved to be pool side on our other days. But CF doesn’t take a vacation, every day we had to keep up with our treatments which meant that we had to sterilize our neb cups without our steamer half way through the week. We were told by Laura that we could put them in the microwave with water for 5 minutes to steam them but my biggest fear was melting them. It was a tedious process to make sure they were sterile but clean. For the record, I didn’t melt them.
It was great to be able to get away from the cold and enjoy the sunshine and warmth of Florida as it helped us all to relieve the every day stresses and enjoy not being in our normal routine (for the most part). I think Maddox had such a sensory overload as he took a lot of naps whenever he could. But that’s ok, being a 3 year old on vacation can be exhausting.
We learned a lot from this adventure being that when we take a very energized 3 year old on vacation, there really isn’t much relaxing, but we knew that going into it. We have a ton of great memories and took advantage as much as we could because we never know the next time we could be back. He truly was a trooper and we all kept up with each other throughout the week. Until our next adventure, good night!