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For the Strange family, Christmas-time consists of multiple airports, hotels, rental cars and lots of delays. My family and my Husband’s family all live on the west coast, so if we want to see everyone for the holidays we have to pack up and travel. My husband travels nearly every week for work so adding on another five or six flights around the holidays should be easy right?

Last year was our first Christmas with Baby H. and our first time traveling with a two month old. We seriously over packed! We brought the Travel stroller and all of its parts, a bassinet, enough clothes (summer and winter) for a month, blankets, baby monitor, sound machine, toys – oh my this list is getting long. So through multiple travels this past year we have learned to pack better. However, no matter how seasoned a traveler you are or how good of a packer you are you can never plan for delays and sickness.

This year we started our holidays early by joining my parents on Grand Cayman island for a week. It was great having a week of sun, pool and beach time right in the middle of December. Baby H. can spend all day in the water splashing around. We split our time between staying on the East End with my parents and on Seven Mile Beach (just the three of us).  The island was very child friendly; it was easy to drive around, the restaurants had high chairs, the ocean water was warm and calm, the flight was only 4 hours from New York City and the resorts were about 40% full two weeks before Christmas.

Mema, Papa and Baby H. in Grand Cayman

Strange family beach time in Grand Cayman

We then flew back to New York City for 24 hrs. to re-pack from a beach vacation to a cold weather vacation. Everything was going smoothly until the taxi ride back to the airport when Baby H. projectile puked all over himself and me (we smelled great on that flight to Seattle)! It was so weird because he was acting normal then suddenly not normal then normal again. We assumed it was just bad food or car sickness and were not going to make it interfere with our Christmas travel plans.

(Sorry no photos)

The next day we had brunch with friends and spent the evening with my Husband’s family, visited the Zoo Lights in Tacoma, and had completely written off the taxi cab puke experience – until my husband suddenly got sick walking back into our hotel room. It was instant, no signs, no pains, we tried to figure out if he ate anything bad (no clues). However my Husband felt fine the next day, so we continued with our plans for the day. We usually only make it to Seattle once a year and our schedule is always booked full, so being sick is not scheduled in. On the third night we went out for a huge family “Christmas” dinner and when we got back to the hotel room I got the sudden-sickness and it lasted through the night. I was very fatigued the next day and after finding out five other people in my Husband’s family were also sick, I knew it must all be connected and a stomach flu! At this point we canceled all other plans to meet with friends because we did not want to keep spreading the sickness.

Tacoma Zoo Lights

Our next stop on our December travels (our fifth flight in two weeks) was to Southern California to hang out with my family. We had been sick free for three days now so we did not fear spreading it all the way down the west coast but then again this flu was like wild fire and could not be predicted or controlled. We spent a lovely Christmas “Eve” Eve, with my Family full of Mexican food and a highly entertaining White Elephant gift exchange. I truly miss living close to my family but still can’t imagine moving to the suburbs just yet. Then low and behold the next night four people in my family had the flu! By the time we figured it all out (through Facebook posts about spending the night on the toilet) we had already spent Christmas Eve with more family members who then were sick on Christmas day. The gift that keeps on giving!

Cousin time in California

Baby H. and I stayed on in California for another week after Christmas and had some great adventures. After being away from New York City for over three weeks we were ready to get home for our traditional New Years Eve lunch. However all trips can not be complete without travel delays and instead of getting back by 7pm we got home at 4am (because of West Coast weather delays). We still made it in time for our lunch but we were so tired we could barley keep our eyes open.

Baby H. watching airplanes while delayed

Oh and were were in pajamas by 9pm on NYE got to love getting older.

In the end over 20 immediate family members were hit with the stomach flu. I have no clue if it was one strand or multiple strands colliding together, but no one was safe and a flu shot can not protect you from this type of flu

Lessons learned you can never predict anything when traveling and to not get upset when plans have to be changed. Hopping, as always, for a smoother Christmas next year!