7 Quick Takes about Edel 2015, the impending doom of me traveling with a baby, and why there’s a man in a banana suit on the IP website

— 1 —


The official pictures from the Edel Gathering are up! You can check them out at my uncle Kevin Geraghty’s photography site here. My sweet uncle generously offered to come out and handle all the pictures, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out.

You’re welcome to use them on your blogs or social media  — just right-click on the images to save them (and I’m sure my uncle would love a link back to his photography site if you think of it).

— 2 —

Hallie and I have been flooded with questions about the next Edel Gathering. I think we all agree that we absolutely have to do another one, right?

We’ve actually already started working on it and should have details within the next few weeks. We’ve set up an email list here if you’d like to receive alerts when we have a location, a date for the event, and a date for ticket sales.

— 3 —

Earlier this month, I spent an absurd amount of time creating a playlist for the Friday night cocktail party at Edel. Absurd. There have been space shuttles designed with less precision than this playlist. I constantly listened to the music while driving, jogging, cooking, (and occasionally staring forlornly at the piles of conference boxes overtaking my garage), asking myself if each tune screamed “EDEL PARTY!!!” enough to be included in this prestigious group of songs.

…And then we didn’t end up using it.

I arrived late on Friday, and the Omni had already put on background music that worked better. We expected half the number of people there than what we had, and my music was designed for a more empty room where you can actually hear the songs. The smooth jazz the Omni chose was perfect for the packed, noisy room, so I left my iPod tucked in my purse.

At first I was disappointed since I thought all my work was for naught, but I’ve been listening to that Edel music all week as I get ready for our epic voyage, and it’s been largely responsible for the little will to live I have left. It reminds me of the fun we had and the camaraderie I felt — and it makes me excited to plan Edel ’15 when I get back home!

— 4 —

“What epic voyage?” you say? Glad you asked. Here is a rundown of everything you need to know about this trip:

  • I’m taking three of my youngest children to North Carolina for ten days because I have two cousins getting married on two back-to-back weekends.
  • We’re getting there by air travel.
  • I am not a person who generally enjoys air travel.
  • This involves bringing a car seat, a stroller, and two large suitcases. Other than the stroller, I’m pretty sure they each weigh 100 lbs.
  • My 16-month-old will be in attendance. He doesn’t walk yet. He doesn’t like to have his movement restricted. He doesn’t like to sleep anywhere other than his crib. When he has his movement restricted and/or is overtired, he screams at a volume that I’m pretty sure technically requires that all people within 50 feet of him wear protective ear coverings.
  • I’m counting the 16-month-old as a lap child so we don’t have to buy a ticket. This will give him better access to repeatedly smack me across the head during the flight. (Did I mention that he also likes to smack people across the head when his movement is restricted and/or he’s overtired?)
  • I am typing this at 11:45 PM. We leave for the airport at 5:30 AM.

I think I’m going to need Valium on an IV drip.

— 5 —

I just had the following conversation with one of my relatives:

ME: Don’t count on me being at that one event. Or the other one. Also, it’ll be a miracle if I can stay at the wedding reception for more than five minutes.
HER: Why?
ME: I’ll have a baby with me. Babies are overwhelming to me — cute, but totally overwhelming. I’m not good with them.
HER: Wait. Didn’t you just have six of them in eight years?
ME: Right. That’s how I know I’m not good with them.

— 6 —

You may have noticed that I mentioned in #5 that the baby isn’t walking yet. He seems to be physically capable of it, but he’s found a method of transportation he prefers to standing upright: crawling with shoes on his hands.

I don’t mean that he does this occasionally; I mean that it is how he gets around all the time.


When I took him to the pool recently I forgot to bring hand shoes, and I constantly had to stop him from stealing other people’s sandals to put on his hands.

I’m pretty sure it’s the cutest thing I have ever seen.

— 7 —

I got word that the marketing team at Ignatius Press added the book trailer we did to their official page for my book. It’s an honor to know that that humble video is on my esteemed publisher’s site.

And then I remembered that the default screenshot for the video — totally unplanned by me — is a picture of my husband in a banana suit.


Have a great weekend, everyone!


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  1. says

    Hi Jen! I had to comment on your son’s shoe-crawling. My 14-month-old does the exact same thing (he just mastered standing, but walking? Meh. Crawling is faster.) Only he won’t let me take pictures of it – if I point the camera at him, he’ll begin flailing his arms to get the shoes off his hands as quickly as possible. So I’m a little jealous of your photographic evidence! Also, are those roller skates? If so, that is awesome. Your son not only wants to protect his hands, but add efficiency to the crawling.

  2. says

    The shoe-crawling is hilarious! He probably just wants to be like big sisters and brother with shoes…but can’t figure out what purpose they serve on his currently-unused feet :)

    You’ll be in my prayers as you fly with the young kids, because, um, I would never ever in a million years do that! I have a 20 month old and I’m pretty sure if I stuck her on a plane I would also be smacked in the head. Does your toddler do that at church? Because mine totally smacks me at church because it’s the one place I’m trying to make her sit still in my lap for an hour. Not cool.

    And the banana suit is awesome, makes my day every time I see it, haha!

  3. says

    It’s too late to be of help to you, but I will say that my husband is a terrible flyer and I discovered, quite by accident, that if he had kids to obsess about he didn’t get nearly as freaked out about air travel. So now on the rare occasions we do fly, I give him the hardest children to handle. He’s much healthier for it. :)

  4. Erin says

    Hahaha! That image of the hand shoes will get me through lunchtime, at least. Thanks, and good luck with the travel!

  5. Martha says

    I just experienced the worst flight of my mothering life with my 15month old. Yes he hates movement restriction, is in a screaming phase, likes to slap me in the face and is flexing his temper tantrum throwing muscles, but HE was fine. Many of the other passengers however failed to match his emotional maturity culminating in the lady in the row behind me tapping me on the shoulder and informing me that I needed to keep the baby quiet as she was trying to sleep. Oh. The. Nerve. I wanted to let her know that I was doing double back flips to keep him scream laughing which is much better than the eardrum bursting scream crying but I settled for a searing glance and then hit the ignore button. After spending an extra hour in the air circling the airport in a holding pattern we finally landed and got to hear all the complainy phone conversations about my very well behaved for his age son and the especially insulting “you would think the parents would bring toys or something to keep the kid from screaming the whole time” HOLD ME BACK!!!

  6. Amy says

    Your son with the hand shoes had me laughing out loud! That is the cutest thing ever. I have late walkers too. My 14 month old never executed the traditional crawl either. Instead, she does this “scoot”, where she literally flings her body around the house by springing off from her right hand. We all call her “My Left Foot”, which seems kind of mean, but she looks so much like “Christy Brown” in the movie, that it’s endearing.
    Prayers for a smooth flight for you and palatable travels. We just took our gang on a 9 day trip to British Colombia. Navigating customs with 5 kids under 8 is like herding cats. It will be a while before we do any big trips like that again.

  7. Deborah says

    Jen, I SO understand your feelings about babies and air travel with babies!! I have had nightmare experiences with that too! Have you heard of the “BabysAway” baby supply rental company? I JUST heard about it and I bet Asheville (near Black Mountain) has it. They will come and set up a crib and rent you anything else you need baby related! Not that this helps you now, lol. Prayers for you and we are pampering you as much as possible while you’re here or at least that’s the plan!

  8. Claire in the UK says

    Fabulous photos from Edel- thanks Uncle Kevin. BUT who is the woman with the amazing tattoo on her arm of the Virgin Mother ? As a rule I don’t like tattoos but that one is wonderful.
    Love the hand shoes pictures – good luck with the flight.

  9. says

    your little one is SO CUTE crawling with hand shoes. That’s BEYOND cute, actually.

    and I have signed up for the e-mails for Edel ’15. I am going to go next year. I just have to. and…I don’t have any huge vaca plans for the family yet (that’s what kept me from this year — and the $$…but I have time to start saving the $$ now :) )

    Your conversation about the babies? Hilarious. I’m pretty good with babies, but as my kids are getting older, I realize that it’s not my favorite age/stage, by far. :)

  10. elizabethe says

    I am praying for you now. I think you are flying as I read this.

    Your mission is to get as many other people to hold that baby during your social gatherings as possible. Oh man.

    I flew with my oldest when he was 2. This child was never still or quiet and had a really hard time going to sleep. He had also just weaned about 2 weeks before this. A half hour into the 5 hour flight, after touching everything within in reach and moving every moving part back and forth about 100 times, he declared he was “all done airplane” (with sign language added for emphasis) and then, upon realizing that he was not, in fact, all done airplane, he started to scream at the top of his lungs for like a half hour. The flight attendants all cane over to look at us and ask us what was wrong until finally, in desperation I FORCED him to nurse and he eventually fell asleep for the rest of the flight. I’m still suffering from PTSD from that child’s babyhood (only slightly joking).

  11. says

    Edel ’15? Oh, yes please! I’d like some attempt at redemption for not attending even when I had the chance! Prayers for you on your trip!! While #5 made me laugh, I know I don’t handle lugging kids around well either, and laughing is NOT the first reaction I have. 😉

  12. says

    Thx as always for hosting! Feel like I am living your trip with you — i.e., I hope that passenger put their seat up that was fully reclined. :-(

  13. says

    The baby shoe-crawling is too, too cute. And I had to laugh at number five because I’m not good with babies at all and I just survive that first year each time. People just don’t believe me when I tell them (because I had five in nine years) but it’s true!

  14. says

    The shoe hands style crawling is pretty much the cutest thing I’ve seen all day. Wow – I’ve seen many varieties of pre-walking in my day, but that might take the cake. Happy traveling – I shall say a prayer!

  15. says

    Our daughter (17 months old now) has most of the same issues with restricted moving as your son. However, she was reasonably good about flying (though that was the 10-month-old version of her…). I think she was more interested in and distracted by the whole airplane experience to get too upset over being restrained to our laps.

    That is, until we landed at San Fransisco Airport and sat on the runway for about 2 hours waiting for our gate to clear. Maybe you’ll get lucky and your son will be similarly distracted, minus the runway part.

  16. says

    #5 made me literally laugh out loud. :-) Praying all goes well! Also, the shoes-on-hands thing is SO STINKIN’ CUTE!!!

  17. says

    A. Edel was awesome

    B. When I found out your uncle is from Emerald Isle I was going to tell you to hit us up whenever you need a potty break along 64 driving out to the beach

    C. Since you are going to be in NC if you are driving along 64 and 95 – and need the cleanest rest stop EVER with FREE snacks and a playlet, let me know. We are 1.5 miles from the interstate and we would love to host you even if it is for 15 minutes but you are of course welcome for longer!

    D. Here’s my email – leeandjoannekibbe@gmail.com

  18. says

    Thanks for being real! It’s very encouraging! I’m currently 3/4 of the way through your book and I’m loving it!

  19. Smoochagator says

    I died when I read the phrase “I forgot to bring hand shoes.” There are a million things that become necessities when you’re a parent that you NEVER EVER thought would be a part of your life pre-kids.

  20. Jamie says

    That made me laugh so hard I was almost crying. Your son is so adorable, and I LOVE that he crawls with shoes over his hands all the time. So funny.

  21. says

    LOVE IT! And, oh my gosh – would you share the playlist with your readers? Like on Spotify or something? Not sure how that would even work. But, I am always in the search for great music. Just an idea so your hard work would be too much of a waste, as you said :)

    Also, love that little guy!!! And #5…hilarious!!

  22. says

    I feel for you about the not walking, Jennifer! My first walked at a little over 16 months, so I thought surely our 2nd would walk earlier than that- and she walked at 17 months. I’m mentally preparing myself that our 3rd will start at 18 months. 😛

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  27. Jean L. says

    Not sure if you are aware, but the FAA recommends against lap babies. Even though the airlines allow them, it is much safer (and easier) to fly with a baby/young child in a carseat. Babies are used to being in car seats, often from just a day or two old, so they don’t fight being restrained. Then they’re safe in the event of an air emergency, and you have your space and lap free.


    I’m a longtime blog reader and I know you have a huge audience so I just wanted you to be informed.