Inconvenient Truths by an Outmanned Mommy


kids next to and in suitcase

The joys of packing with children (this is the 7th attempt)
Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved


I first met Mary Widdicks through her blog titled: “OutmannedMommy.” Other than the clever name of her blog, her byline was: “When fart jokes and belching contests just aren’t enough.” Hilarious! It made me laugh out loud. Some of us may not want to admit it to the general public, but we’ve all lived it, whether we tell anyone or not.  I admire Mary’s frankness and her great sense of humor. I’m guessing you will, too. Enjoy! Deborah

By Mary Widdicks

When traveling, everyone has to go to the bathroom. Sometimes at the MOST inopportune times.

When traveling with small children, however, it’s an unavoidable, unpleasant, inconvenient, and sometimes quite spectacular reality! To them, it resembles more of a pyrotechnic show than a bodily function. The best you can hope for is damage control.

Every parent who’s traveled with a child has stories that would curl your toes and make your hair stand up on end. They’re like notches on our belt. We show off our battle scars and compare them with other parents. We revel in our membership cards in the Mile High Parenting Club. At the end of the day, you just have to laugh so you don’t cry.

Instead of advice, I offer you comradery. Take comfort in the fact that I’ve been through the worst of it, come out the other side, and lived to travel again. Most of all, have a laugh at my expense. Trust me, it’ll make you feel better.

passport pictures
Necessities (no, I don’t mean the passports)

Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved

When my oldest son was six months old, we bravely took him on an international flight from the UK to the US. It was going to mean nine hours in the air. I’m still not sure what we were thinking. In a desperate attempt to feel prepared for the almost certain disaster on which we were about to embark, I asked everyone I knew for advice on flying with infants. One piece of advice that came up several times was:

Avoid the airport bathroom changing tables

It made sense to me.

This was my first flight since my son was born and I was very conscious of being seen as a good mom. I wanted to be cool, calm and collected: the three C’s of successful parenting.I didn’t yet have years of tantrums, food fights, explosive poops, bruises, and various diseases to teach me that parenting is more about survival than perfection.  I still washed my hands every time I went to the restroom.

When the flight attendants called for advanced boarding, I quickly whipped out my changing mat. This was as good a place as any to change a diaper. The gate wasn’t too crowded. There were plenty of empty seats to serve as changing tables. So I laid my baby on one of the seats with his head toward the back of the seat and his legs sticking out toward me. The other passengers noted my clever display of child-traveling savvy with mild interest.

As if he knew everyone was watching, the second I released the tabs on his diaper my adorable little baby let out a thundering fart and turned bright red. Anyone who has spent much time with a baby knows that this can mean only one thing: Code Brown (or Yellow).

kid runing with medal - kid wins 1 mommy 0
Heh, heh, heh…I WIN!

Photo: Mary Widdicks, All Rights Reserved

I turned, just for a second, to dig the wipes out of my diaper bag. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of chubby legs kicking wildly as my baby began to slide backwards, and headfirst through the gap in the back of the seat. Horrors! Time stood still. I could hear the collective “GASP!” from everyone around me as I grabbed him by one of his legs and pulled him unceremoniously back through the opening millimeters before his head hit the floor.

To add insult to injury, the contents from the now loosely-fitting diaper had spread across his little back.  As I pulled him back onto the seat, I realized it was now smeared all over the back of the chair! Absolutely mortified,  I looked up at the crowd. The shock had worn off and most of them were now pretending not to have noticed.

But I could feel the back of their heads judging me. I was no longer any of the C’s.

Fair enough.


Great family photo outmanned mommy


I can’t promise that reading this story will improve your experiences of traveling with children. But no matter what befalls you, remember that it could always be worse and someday it will make for a great story! (And remember to wipe down those airplane waiting area seats…)

I’m a 30-year-old mother of two boys, two dogs, and an ever-changing number of gender-indiscriminate fish. My husband calls me Honey, the three year old calls me Mommy, the baby calls me Milk, the dogs call me their Indentured Servant, and I’m pretty sure the fish have no idea who I am at all. I’m definitely outmanned. Coincidentally, I’m also the writer of the humorous parenting blog:

Outmanned Mommy (LINK:

Stop by and drop me a note!

[Unless otherwise noted, the text and pictures in this blog post are the intellectual property of Mary Widdicks and/or Outmanned Mommy. Please contact her directly for questions at  Thanks!]

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Weirdly Awesome Traveling


Big Ben Lucy Bre copyrightedBig Ben, London, England
Photo: BeingWeirdlyAwesome, All Rights Reserved

Today’s post is by Lucy Bre. I’ve only recently met her, but she has a wisdom beyond her years, and a keen way of storytelling.  I’m honored to have her share her personal experiences with travel and managing her diabetes, and I hope this post offers someone encouragement through her words. Enjoy! Deb

By Lucy Bre

There are approximately 371 million people in the world with diabetes.  As most of you know, there are two main types of diabetes: “Type 1″ and “Type 2.”

Type 1* results from “the body’s failure to produce insulin, and currently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”.

Type 2* results from “insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”.

90% of those people have Type 2 diabetes.

I have Type 1.

I have to inject myself each day with insulin for the rest of my life.  No sob story here, though!

Diabetics are affected in different ways when they travel. Heat, inactivity, increased activity, odd sleeping schedules, and different meal times are likely to cause a diabetic person’s blood sugar to go up and down like a yo-yo if it isn’t taken care of and monitored closely.

But I’ve learned a few tricks to use when travelling, as follows:

  • Remember to bring double the amount of your normal medication in case you experience the horror of smashed vials of insulin or jammed pens! You never know what might happen.
  • Test your blood sugar more often. I find that heat decreases my appetite and my blood sugars, so I have to keep a careful eye on my blood sugar levels.  Remember to test before any outings or participating in any sports, as well as at meal times.
  • Try to resist too many sugary treats:

Cakes -Lucy Bre copyrighted

Exquisite tiny cakes -
Bakery in Chinatown, London
Photo: BeingWeirdlyAwesome, All Rights Reserved

  • Carry your testing kit with you at all times!
  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance in case you need medical care.  If you live in Europe, remember to bring your free European Health Insurance Card if you are travelling within the European Union (“EU”). If you live in the United States, there are options such as MedJetAssist (temporary insurance while you’re abroad) that are a good choice.
  • Get a letter from your doctor explaining what medication you normally carry and why it’s needed. This will help you avoid hassles at airport security.
  • Try to keep your normal sleep and eating schedule.  Any diabetic knows that eating at random times and staying up all night contributes greatly to sugar highs and lows.
  • Bring plenty of glucose sweets for a quick sugar lift in case your blood sugar levels suddenly drop.
  • Adjust your insulin if necessary. For example, if you need to miss a meal.

 Fireworks - Lucy Bre copyrightedFireworks display on the slipways
Of the Titanic in Belfast, Ireland
Photo: BeingWeirdlyAwesome, All Rights Reserved

Above all, remember to enjoy yourself!
Don’t let diabetes get in the way of having a great time.

Bio pic

Hi! I’m the author of the blog:

An Irish girl who loves culture and hopes to travel the world someday, I’m also a perfectionist in denial, and have a great love for languages, music, food, drama, travelling and sleep. Oh! And of course, I’m diabetic, but that doesn’t define me.

You should follow my blog!


*Definitions regarding diabetes in this post were provided by Wikipedia.

[NOTE: All pictures and text in this post, unless otherwise stated or written, are the intellectual property of BeingWeirdlyAwesome. Please contact the author for more information. CLICK HERE]

Plane Tofino Photography

.”  –Julia Alvarez

Juxtaposition of Flight 

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Once in a while, I receive notes and pictures from readers I’ve never actually met, but who are kind, open-hearted, and seem familiar to me. Some might call it synchronicity. Others might call it fate, luck or providence. Some of these “strangers” become friends

20100815-IMG_4533-2Hidden Treasures
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

One such example is a person in Tofino, British Columbia.  Tofino is a place I probably never would have known about, thought about, or tried to understand if it weren’t for my Internet friend, “W,” who’s a brilliant photographer at Tofino Photography

He has some amazing photographs, so check out his site and make a new friend!

20110703-IMG_9268Skyward Bound
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Tofino has a small airport, the Tofino/Long Beach Airport, and floatplanes also land on the inlet in town. For those of us who’ve never flown in a floatplane, the only thing I can think of is: “How cool is that?”

But this post isn’t really about airports and airplanes.

It’s a THANK YOU to “W” at Tofino Photography for being one of those people who enrich the lives of others in a positive way.

Enjoy! Deb

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20100814-IMG_4459-2Sunset Plane
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20110824-IMG_4123Surprise Visit
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20090916-20090916-IMG_4513Up in the Air
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20090916-20090916-IMG_4493Skyline Chopper
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Workin’ Progress

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20110907-IMG_7416Onward and Upward!
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved 

20110703-IMG_9285From a Distance
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20120722-IMG_6524-2Fly before Night
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

Tofino Photography, All rights reserved

20130711-IMG_9213Makin’ a Splash
Tofino Photography, All rights reserved


NOTE: All photographs in this post are the intellectual property of Tofino Photography, and used with written permission from Tofino Photography by AirportsMadeSimple Magazine.

These photos are for sale, and to purchase any of these photos, or to view beautiful photos of Tofino, B.C., please visit the website of Tofino Photography.

Are All Round-Trips the Same? No…Here’s Why

dancing-lights-2014-airportsmadesimple-copyrighted.jpgSkyline of Dallas, Texas, 2013

With wireless technology becoming a normal part of our lives, do you know the behind-the-scenes players in history of this high-tech game?
One of them was Hedy Lamarr (author of today’s quote).  Never mind she was frequently referred to as “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” or was a regular in MGM films and worked with the likes of Clark Gable, Andy Warhol, Bob Hope, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, and Judy Garland. She was Cecil B. Demille’s “Delilah” in Samson & Delilah, the highest grossing film of 1949.
One of the most interesting things about her are as follows (Wikipedia):
“Hedy Lamarr’s most significant technological contribution was her co-invention, together with composer George Antheil, of an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, which paved the way for today’s wireless communications, and which, upon its invention in 1941, was deemed so vital to national defense that government officials would not allow publication of its details…At the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Sixth Pioneer Awards in 1997, she and George Antheil were honored with special awards for their “trail-blazing development of a technology that has become a key component of wireless data systems.”
In fact, as recently as 1997, “the boxes of CorelDRAW‘s software suites were graced by a large Corel-drawn image of Lamarr. The picture won CorelDRAW’s yearly software suite cover design contest in 1996…but Lamarr sued Corel for using the image without her permission. Corel countered that she did not own rights to the image. The parties reached an undisclosed settlement in 1998.”
Pioneer? Real Woman? Someone who pushed the boundaries of Life? You cannot help but respect her in a time that was less open towards forward-thinking women.
We cannot forget those trailblazers of yesterday.
Soon, they might be us.  ~Deb

by Deborah K., Editor-in-Chief

Many people (myself included) thought a round trip was, well, a round trip: you start at origin “A,”, you end up at “B,” and on the return route, you start at “B” and end up at “A.” That IS kind of true. But it’s not the whole truth.

Three (3) examples of “round-trips” when flying are: Circle Trips, [true] Round-Trips, and Open-Jaw trips.

Knowing airport/airline travel lingo can sometimes really help you. But you have to know and understand what you’re asking for.

Why Do You Care?

Public mural at Jacksonville International Airport, FL


DEFINITION: A journey of a round-trip nature: the passenger returns to the origin city; however, the routing in each direction of travel isn’t the same: there may be a connecting flight on one of the routes, and you may use a different airline.

EXAMPLE:  You’re late for a very important business meeting, and you’re the key speaker and presenter.  You have less flexibility getting to the meeting than you have getting home. You get to the gate and realize your flight is delayed and you might miss that meeting! What can you do?

If you know the proper terms, and explain them to the gate agent, it’s possible you can take another flight on another airline (most airline computers are all linked together). Request a “Circle Trip.”  You might end up with a non-stop route flying to your meeting (make that clear based on your timetable), and when you return, you might get your original flight or a connecting flight when you return, but your top priority is to get to that meeting to make your presentation.

SPRING 2013 MIAMI 112Miami International Airport Art Display, 2013


DEFINITION: A journey of a round-trip nature that will contain a non-air or surface segment within the itinerary.

EXAMPLE: You’re trying to catch your cruise in Fort Lauderdale before it departs the dock. You’re scheduled to fly from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

However, when you arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), you’re notified your plane was overbooked (“Overbooked”  or “Oversold” are the terms typically used–when all the passengers actually show up. So…someone is getting bumped, and it could be you! Remember, check in early!! The earlier you check in, the less likely you’ll get bumped.)

If you get bumped (more in my previous posts about that), and have the time, ask for free vouchers or miles, and take the next available flight. If you don’t have the time, ask if they have any flights into Miami International Airport (MIA), and if they will book you on another flight or airline. Then, rent a car and drive it to Fort Lauderdale. Yes, it will cost you more, but the airline will probably give you a dollar credit or voucher of some kind. And, you sure don’t want to miss that cruise!

[Special note: Typically, it's always a good idea to fly in the night before your cruise ship is scheduled to depart. I realize this isn't feasible for some folks, due to work and time constraints, but if it's possible, it will reduce your overall stress.]

On your return, you opt to fly directly from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), back to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Since you’ve driven a surface segment within your itinerary (from Miami to Fort Lauderdale), this trip is called an “Open Jaw” trip.

KEY NOTE TO REMEMBER IN OPEN-JAW TRIPS: The mileage distance of the surface segment must be equal to or less than the mileage distance of the shorter flight segmentExample: If you flew from Los Angeles (LAX) to San Francisco (SFO), drove to Washington, D.C. (IAD), then flew from Washington, D.C. (IAD) back to Los Angeles (LAX), this would not be an open-jaw trip because the surface segment you drove–San Francisco to Washington, D.C.–was longer than the surface segment of the flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Android 269Above picture: Ceiling in public space of
Chicago O’Hare International Airport 


This is the “round-trip” most of us normally think about.

DEFINITION: A journey via a continuously charged route that returns to the same city as the point of origin; however, each direction of travel must have the exact same routing and/or fare charged, and it’s usually (but not always) on the same airline.


  • Always allow yourself plenty of time at the airport. Use the time for a nice dinner/lunch, catch up on reading, and allow for a potentially long security line. It will greatly reduce your stress and make the experience much more manageable.
  • CHECK IN EARLY! Generally, if you check in 24 hours in advance, you won’t get bumped or deal with these situations, unless you voluntarily choose to take the free voucher, feel sorry for someone who seems in distress and has to make the flight, etc…
  • Know your options! Get creative. If you’re going to a wedding, graduation, family reunion, or even trying to get to someone in an emergency situation, be kind and nice to the gate attendants and reservation agents, and you might be surprised how much they can help you.
  • If you book through a travel agent, you will make their lives much easier because they’ll know you understand the lingo.

Remember, gate, ticket and reservations agents are as helpful and as accommodating as they can be.  They are under a lot of stress, and they have to deal with passengers who are frustrated and sometimes, infuriated. Be nice!

Be your own travel agent~
Make an effort to speak airline lingo.

You never know what situation will arise;
   Remember, driving a short distance
Can get you where you need to be.

Knowledge is power!


John Wayne’s Wings of Eagles


John Wayne Autograph Frank Hardy copyright

“Tomorrow hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday. “
–John Wayne

Photo: Pensacola Airport, 1950s
By: Frank Hardy Photo

Nothing says “American icon” more than actor, director, and producer John Wayne. His personal style, rugged bravado, and quiet strength made him loved by millions of people across the world.

Today’s article is by Frank Hardy.
Frank’s the author of the website: FrankHardyMadeMyPhotographsTwo.

 This is a tribute to John Wayne, along with some interesting history surrounding his fellow actors in the movie “The Wings of Eagles,” Dan Dailey and Maureen O’Hara, famous in their own right.

Enjoy! Deb

By Author and Photographer Frank Hardy

Back in the 1950s, John Wayne filmed a movie at the Pensacola Naval Air Station (also called “NAS Pensacola”) called “The Wings of Eagles.”  Only the first 10 or 15 minutes of the movie were actually filmed at NAS, but it was an opportunity for my father to get some photos of John Wayne and his fellow actors. Unfortunately, the movie itself didn’t do too well at the box office, but the history surrounding the film, along with the richness of character of the actors, was something my father found fascinating.

Dailey and OHara Frank Hardy Copyright

Dan Dailey and Maureen O’Hara
Co-stars with Wayne in “Wings of Eagles”
Flying Southern Airways, Pensacola, 1950s
Photo: Frank Hardy Photo

Many of you might be too young to know Dan Dailey and Maureen O’Hara, so here’s a brief history of their captivating lives:

Dan Dailey:

  • Served in the United States Army during World War II as an Army officer
  • A frequent and favorite co-star of Betty Grable
  • Recorded four songs with the famous Andrews Sisters
  • Portrayed “Jughead” Carson in the movie Wings of Eagles with John Wayne
  • He was the first person to receive a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Musical or Comedy for his performance as the Governor in the TV sitcom “The Governor and J.J.” (1970s)
  • His sister was actress Irene Dailey, who starred in Another World

Maureen O’Hara:

  • Initially enrolled in business school to become a proficient bookkeeper and typist, which skills transferred into becoming John Ford‘s transcriber. (John Ford was a good friend of John Wayne.)
  • With her red hair and Irish roots, she was a bit of a spitfire, and spoke her truth, commenting once after a wild makeover for a movie set “If this is the movies, I want nothing to do with them!”
  • Her first major film was Jamaica Inn (1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • She had a wonderful soprano voice, and did guest appearances with Perry Como, Andy Williams, Betty Grable, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
  • Her third husband, Charles F. Blair, Jr. was a pioneer of transatlantic aviation, a former Brigadier General of the U.S. Air Force, and a former Chief Pilot at Pan Am.
  • When asked about John Wayne, she said:I was tough. I was tall. I was strong. I didn’t take any nonsense from anybody. He was tough, he was tall, he was strong and he didn’t take any nonsense from anybody. As a man and a human being, I adored him.”

John Wayne leaving plane Frank Hardy Copyright

“I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted,
and I won’t be laid a hand on.
I don’t do these things to other people,
and I require the same from them.”
– John Wayne quote from The Shootist (1976)

Photo: Frank Hardy Photo, Pensacola Airport, 1950s

Sometimes, the story behind the story of a movie, film, or work of art is actually more interesting than the production itself. My father thought so, and he always tried to capture the element of humanity that we, as non-celebrities, may forget about.

We’re all human, we all deserve to be treated with respect.

John Wayne was the epitome of a man who portrayed that type of individual.

All the best, Frank Hardy

Frank Hardy Behind Camera _ 5x5 _ RTP _BW _ SFW


Frank’s a second generation professional photographer living in Milton, Florida (across the bay from Pensacola).  He attended the University of West Florida and graduated on March 17, 1977–moving immediately into professional photography on March 18, 1977.

A quote: “I thought I would give it five years or so and then move onto something else, but 37 years later I’m still working in the business of photography…I went digital in 2002,  and I’ve really enjoyed working with the transition of the entire digital process.  I consider myself a portrait photographer (since I feel I’m a people person), but I’ve photographed anything and everything.”

Drop him a note at his website: CLICK HERE!

He’d love to hear from you. 

[NOTE: All photos and text written in this post are the intellectual property of Frank Hardy. Please contact him for further information by clicking HERE.]