We survived Hawaii!
First...any parent contemplating holding their toddler (2 and under don't technically need a seat) for a flight more than 2 hours....you're nuts. Don't "hope" for an empty seat either. Flights are very full these days (again I work for an airline)....not likely.
The flight out had 25 open seats...which were promptly filled by non-revenue (employee/employee guest) passengers.
Natali and Kelli had seats together on the 2 side (the plane was 2-3-2). I had an aisle seat a few rows up. They had real tickets, I was a non-revenue passenger.
On the flight out Natali wasn't happy. We thought she would sleep as it was her nap time. Nah.
Kelli installed the child seat to be forward facing. Natali , despite my best attempts at keeping her a baby, has been growing. Her feet can now touch the seat infront of her. Once the person infront of her leaned back..it was on.
Kelli fought with this issue for a while and became quite frustrated. About an hour into the flight I offered to swap seats. Kelli was very grateful. I then sat down...examined the issue...and turned Natali's car seat sideways with her legs facing me. Problem solved...for now. For the next flight it could be an issue. I think I might discuss with Kelli using the CARES harness for Natali and checking the car seat. The CARES harness will keep Natali further from the seat in front of her while securing her to the seat. We'd likely have to practice using it at home to get her used to it.
Once in Maui everything was good. Natali adjusted to all the family members in the house quite quickly. At it's peak there were 16 other people in the house besides us including 3 of Natalis' cousins.
There is/was an ongoing naming system with grandmothers in my family. Growing up I had a great great grandmother named "fat mama". My great grandmother was "mama eerie". My grandmother was "mama dear". My mother passed away before getting her "mama" name.
Natali has always been very good with my mother in law. While in Hawaii Natali really bonded with her. Natali calls Kelli "mommy". She began calling my mother in law, "mama". Natali says them very distinctly. I'm hoping for "mama yankee" but will settle for "mama peggy" or "mama richmond" or even just "mama".
Natali was very adamant about being held by "mama"....just about all the time. She was very insistent when any of her cousins was near "mama".
After a full week in Maui it was time to come home. Once again they had real tickets...I was non-revenue.
We left on a Wednesday. Normally a slower travel day. The flight was overfull. I had to non-rev to Honolulu on Hawaiian airlines (free for me as a pilot) and then grab a seat on a flight from there home. Natali and Kelli of course went straight home.
Lucky for Kelli Natali was tired and slept most of the flight (it helped it was an overnight flight).
Finally...photos from the trip. My mother in law rented an amazing house for the week. The house was named Prince of Polynesia....fancy doesn't even begin to describe it.