Boy, did we need a vacation. We had a few planned in 2021 but, due to pregnancy risk issues, we had to cancel. Those cancelations led to a $500 Sprit Airlines credit that had to be used by December 31st, 2021, so I had to book something. With our baby Harper on the way and no baby passport in hand, I needed to find a relaxing spot with a short flight that was in the US. Fort Lauderdale, FL seemed to fit all of our requirements for a long Memorial Day weekend trip with a baby.
The week leading up to our vacation ended up being crazy. We went on our first road trip to Houston; a combined a work trip with a visit to the in-laws so Harper could meet her great-grandmas for the first time. We got back Sunday and then I left early Monday for a two-day work trip to Minneapolis. I got back Tuesday, packed Wednesday, and we were off Thursday for Florida. I made our Florida packing list a week in advance and our Houston trip gave us traveling-with-a-baby practice, so we were good to go despite the jam-packed schedule.
Our flight was at 7:10 AM so we woke up at 4:50 AM (yikes!). I pumped while getting ready and Ryan fed Harper quickly before the Uber pulled up. We brought soooo much stuff and filled up the Uber’s trunk. We used to just travel with carry-ons and a backpack but now we’re fully equipped with strollers, carriers, checked bags, 3 backpacks, and a baby!
The line for bag check was already really long at the airport, but we got to skip to the attendant area since we had Harper and our bags were checked pretty quickly. We walked past the longest line I’ve ever seen to get through security to the short TSA Pre line. Somehow, Ryan’s ticket didn’t have TSA Pre on it, so Harper and I went through while Ryan ran back to the gate agent to get his ticket reprinted. Going through security was not too hard but, when people say “wear your baby through it”, do it! You need both hands to break down your stroller and car seat and manage all of your bags. Fortunately, a nice man helped me get everything into the scanner. Harper and I grabbed Starbucks while Ryan got through and then we went to the gate to check the stroller. I tried to board but the agent said I needed a ticket for Harper. I thought we had one since I booked the trip with a lap child, but we had to go back to the gate agent for 15 minutes of unchecking and rechecking-in. Thankfully, we kept our row 4 seats.
We were excited to sit down and relax after the stress of getting everything onto the plane, but then realized Spirit had no in-flight entertainment and we only packed things to do for Harper! Whoops! Thankfully, Harper fell asleep on me and didn’t wake up until an hour into the flight. She was so perfect, just cooing at people around us and being a happy baby. We fed her about 2 hours into the flight and we smelled her “popcorn” poop (yes, her poo smells like movie-theater-grade, buttery popcorn). I got the diaper bag out in search of diapers, and I searched, and I searched.. and no diapers. I had put a whole sleeve of diapers in the bag but moved them into a carryon and just assumed the diaper bag had its usual supply. Oh boy! Thankfully, it didn’t smell thaaaat much so we were able to power through until we grabbed our bags from bag check and found a bathroom. Harper was such a trooper! (But seriously, who forgets diapers!?).
We hopped on the shuttle to grab our rental car and then it was off to the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Our room was perfect for a little family because it had a living room and kitchen area which was great for cleaning bottles, pump parts, and making breakfast! We had a stellar beach view too. The only thing I would have changed is that we could not see the view from the bedroom so we couldn’t relax and watch the ocean as I would have liked. Other than that, the hotel was in the perfect location and the staff was so nice.
After we settled in, we took a short walk down the beach side to Wild Thyme for lunch . We sat on the patio and enjoyed the view and some fancy car watching (we saw a $1.9MM Bugatti Veyron). I had a delish Ahi Tuna salad and Ryan had buffalo style shrimp with these crazy crispy potato wedges. Yum!
After lunch, we went to Publix to grab baby supplies, drinks, and breakfast stuff. It was an easy and short trek but we had to wait for the drawbridge both ways because there were some mega yachts going through the canals! It was pretty neat to watch such insane engineering.
It’s amazing how time flies when you have a baby. After another feed and quick pump, it was time for dinner. We went to the S3 (Sea, Surf, & Sand) restaurant at the hotel and got seats looking at the beach. We were in for such a treat. We got local goal cheese croquettes (aka fried cheese balls) with this delish Peruvian sweet sauce. Ryan had never tried hamachi before and had apprehension to ordering it, but ended up loving the tender yellowtail with hints of truffle! We also split two sushi rolls and a ponzu old fashion. They were excellent! The funny thing was the wait staff also brought a kids menu and crayons for Harper. She was only 4.5 months and still only drinks breast milk so it was pretty funny thinking she could eat Mac and Cheese. It was nice of the staff to think of her though!
After dinner, we went back to up to the room and were asleep by 8:30 PM. We really needed a good rest! I still had to get up at 1:15 AM to pump as usual but I didn’t wake Ryan or Harper since we had have separate rooms.
6:15 AM wake-ups were never a thing on trips in the past but, with a baby and pumping schedule, now they are! It was really nice to get an early start with some coffee on the patio. After enjoying some muffins and cuddle time with Harper, we took off on a morning beach side stroll. It was in the 80’s but not hot. We walked to a CVS to get some additional supplies and came back to grab our massive beach bag to head to the beach.
There were tons of chairs and umbrellas set up. We picked one with a good ocean view, put Harper in a swim diaper, and headed to the water. While the water was pretty warm, Harper was not a fan. We tried a few different ways of testing the sand and water with her but she just didn’t want it… probably because she was hungry. Nothing can get in the way of this munchkin and her food.
After about 10 mins of ocean time, we went back to the chairs, fed Harps, and relaxed for 1.5 hours or so. It was so nice. And yes, I did get Harper and I matching swimsuits!
We had noon reservations at a Mexican place called Lona which was just down the beach from our hotel. We took a short walk over and got a table looking out at the water. We had some passion fruit margaritas and I decided to try something new. Instead of my usual carnitas taco order, I went with the lobster quesadilla. OH MY GOSH. This quesadilla was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was stuffed with huge chunks of lobster, pickled red onion, cilantro, the perfect amount of cheese, and this super yummy southwest sauce. Even as I write this, I want it again! (Spoiler, we went back so I could have it again). Ugh, so good! Ryan, a quesadilla purest who proclaims that the perfect quesadilla is just tortillas and cheese, even admitted that this one changed his mind! I you are close to Lona, you MUST go try it.
With full bellies, we decided it was time to test out the pool and see if Harper would like it more than the ocean. Ryan went back to the room to change her and grab the beach bag while I scored us a spot in the shade. There weren’t many so I had to be quick. It’s amazing how your pool priorities change when you have a baby from sunny spots with a good view to the most shaded area you can find! Ryan and Harper arrived and we blew up Harpers floaty and hopped into the warm water. The temp was perfect and Harper was quickly too comfortable in her floaty to stay awake. She passed out for about an hour while ryan, myself, and about half the other people in the pool obsessed over how cute she is and enjoyed floating around.
Eventually, our time at the pool was up. Being on a 4-4.5 hour pumping schedule does put a limit on things. We went up to the room and I took a bubble bath with Harper to get her all cleaned up. We took a family nap for about 1.5 hours and got ready to go to dinner. After a nice 15 minute walk down the shore, we arrived at Thai On The Beach, a tiny restaurant on the second floor of a shopping plaza overlooking the water. Ryan got a Thai boba tea and green curry and I had a Thai stir fry. It was really yummy and quite a cute little restaurant. We have been pleasantly surprised by how delicious all of the food has been on this trip!
After dinner, we went back to the room and got ready for bed. We had some birthday cake Oreos for desert and passed out around 9 PM.
Ps. If you are a new mom or dad and are traveling with a little munchkin, I put together a quick guide with tons of tips and tricks for traveling with a kid. Check it out!