Operation New Orleans

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Hello from New Orleans! 


We’re so excited to be here for the Girls on the Run annual conference and for our first real family vacation.  Obviously, we survived our seven month old’s plane flight, so that means the trip is already a success.  Winking smile


Maybe I’ll do a post about the details of flying with a baby (if anyone is interested?), but it was about as hard as I expected it to be – Kristien said it was better than he imagined, so I guess that says something about Henry’s behavior.  I packed a big ‘bag of tricks’ – which mostly included random items from my kitchen drawers that Henry had never seen before, like an ice cream scooper and a bunch of cookie cutters – and sloooowly pulled them out throughout the flight.  The bag managed to hold his attention pretty well.  I just don’t know what we’re going to do on the way back – I’m out of cookie cutters!


We checked in late last night, and H got acquainted with his hotel crib while the adults crashed in a glorious king.  But not for long – I think Henry is still a little sick, his rhythm was off, and the crib was of course unfamiliar.  He ended up waking up five times, newborn style, all through the night. 


Good thing we’re on vacation!  You never get too tired (or too hungover) on vacation.  <— Isn’t it strange how true that is?


We didn’t have to be anywhere until noon, so we set off in search of breakfast.


I have to say, I’m so thrilled to be in New Orleans.  I’ve never been to this part of the country, and the city is so rich in history and flair.  Just seeing the Mississippi feels surreal.  It’s fun to imagine how busy the river must’ve been back in its heyday.



We wandered through the French Quarter until we reached…


The French Market.


The French Market was a combination of a farmers’ market, breakfast and lunch nook, and flea market. 


Upon arrival, we took a bottle break (check-check-check out my lovely just-fallen-out-of-bed look – I had just, well, fallen out of bed).


And then I drank a giant coffee.  Twice.


We found a place that did hemp protein smoothies (yum) and took some veggie jambalaya to go.



We headed back to the hotel, I got ready, and hit up the conference.


I spoke at the Girls on the Run conference two years ago, but this time, I’m here as a vendor.  I’m selling copies of the new OperationBeautiful.com book, One Note at a Time, which is targeted to 8 – 14 year olds and perfect for the GOTR teams.  There’s even a special message from GOTR founder Molly Barker in the back of the book.


Here’s a complete tour of the book, if you’re interested.  And here’s a YouTube of me reading a blurb from the book.


After four hours of chatting and signing books, I was so ready to crash.  I returned back to our hotel and the three of us took a long snooze together.  We entered that state of amazing hotel room sleep (yay, blackout curtains) in which you FORCE yourself to get back up because you know you have to… or you’ll be awake at 4 AM.  Or at least the baby will. Winking smile


We ended up going swimming in the indoor pool to pass the time before baby bed.  Henry loves baths, and pools are essentially giant bathtubs.  Right?  He thought so.

photo 2 (1)

Whew.  So, in summary:


  • Cookie cutters are awesome baby distractors.  Merlot continues to reign as mommy juice supreme.
  • There are many great things about hotels, but 1) blackout curtains and 2) the fact that you can eat in bed and get crumbs everywhere are very high on the list.
  • If you sign your name enough times, you forget how to spell it (I wrote Catlin more times than I care to admit… Meow).
  • My baby is currently sleeping soundly in his hotel crib, which means he will surely wake up screaming when I close my eyes.
  • New Orleans is a wonderful town, even when you can’t do the whole party scene.  I love it here!


  • Stephanie @ Steph's Miles January 13, 2013, 11:05 pm

    New Orleans is a favorite city of mine. I really can’t put it into words, but it has a special place in my heart. Have fun on your first family vacation!

  • Kate Dotson January 13, 2013, 11:07 pm

    I’m interested in a baby+plane details post! I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to fly with my daughter when she’s about 8 months for a wedding (in May), and I’m already hyperventilating about it, haha. I’ll be honest, I love love all of your baby posts. Henry is a few months older than my daughter Allison, so I feel so prepared for things because you’ve already went through them and talked about it. thanks for helping to make me a halfway sane mother!! 🙂

    • Caitlin January 13, 2013, 11:10 pm

      Aw you are sweet. Are any mommas sane?!?! LOL

      Do you have to take a car seat? I wrapped ours in a big trash bag with duct tape and checked it. I checked my stroller at the gate. I was going to just carry him in the boba but realized that I’d be able to stash all my carryons in his stroller. Which was very nice! Oh, and bring lots of yummy foods and whatnot. Food was a good distraction.

      • Kate Dotson January 15, 2013, 5:00 am

        Oooh, we will have to take a carseat, so the trash bag idea is great- better than spending money on one of the fancy travel car seat covers. (We don’t travel enough to really justify it.) While she’s not on solid foods yet, she will be then, and I have a feeling she’s going to love them, so that will definitely be in my aresenal. Oh, also in our arsenal? Freddie the Firefly, on your suggestion- she *loves* that thing. So I’m sure he’ll travel with us too. 🙂
        She’s generally a happy baby, so I’m hoping she stays that way through traveling.
        Thanks for the advice!

  • Ashley January 13, 2013, 11:18 pm

    I would love a baby + plane post!! I am so glad you are enjoying some work+Downtime, you guys so deserve it!! 🙂 xoxo

    Henry is so dang Cu-UUU-TE !!

  • Kayla @ Lovely Ride January 13, 2013, 11:21 pm

    You guys are superstars, I think! You still look happy and glowy even though you’re traveling with such a little guy. I’m tired just thinking about it.. I’m gonna start storing up my sleep now for when I have kids..

  • Emma January 13, 2013, 11:35 pm

    Whilst I don’t have kids, I saw this on the net a while ago and thought that it was the best idea ever!


    Hand out favour bags and a note apologising in advance if baby doesn’t fly well. I think that might help with your worries about Henry crying on the flight!

    Such an awesome idea.

    Good luck for the flight home!

    Adelaide, Australia

  • Cecilia @ MommiesRun January 13, 2013, 11:41 pm

    Oh my that Veggie Jambalaya looks divine. Your comment about the MS river really made me smile. I live in Memphis (well a suburb) and I’m always amazed by the mighty Mississippi. I’m running the MS River Half in February!

  • Christine January 14, 2013, 12:27 am

    A Cup Of Jo has tips for flying with a baby! she’s been all over the country and overseas with her boy and husband. http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2011/05/motherhood-mondays-traveling-with-baby.html might be worth checking out! 🙂

  • Nicole Dyan January 14, 2013, 12:48 am

    Babies have it so great these days! When I was four months old, my parents took a trip to San Francisco and the hotel didn’t have any cribs, so I slept in a drawer! Haha!

    Henry gives me serious baby rabies and I can only hope to have a kid half as cute as he is!

  • Angela January 14, 2013, 1:47 am

    So pretty!!! I’ve never been there but I would love to go one day.

  • Giselle January 14, 2013, 2:37 am

    I please want to hear more about flying with a baby. We are flying in March with a 9 month old and I’m pretty nervous about it!

  • Kristina @Run and Assimilate January 14, 2013, 7:05 am

    New Orleans is an amazing city! If you haven’t already, you’ve got to get to Cafe du Monde!

  • Nicole@ livingthesweetlifestl.wordpress.com January 14, 2013, 8:23 am

    Love the pics…I have never been to New Orleans but would love to go…looks like such a pretty place.

  • Carina January 14, 2013, 8:25 am

    Yeah, I’ll echo the above — are you even in New Orleans if you haven’t gone for beignets yet?

  • Sara @ fitcupcaker January 14, 2013, 8:40 am

    Veggie jambalaya, yum.. Hope you get some sleep 🙂 Never been to New Orleans, but its on the list!

  • Melissa January 14, 2013, 8:43 am

    I clicked to comment about Cafe du Monde as well. THE BEST!

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction.com January 14, 2013, 8:48 am

    Glad you are enjoying the city and the H is behaving! Can’t wait for the recaps 🙂

  • Natalie @ Free Range Human January 14, 2013, 9:26 am

    Have a great trip! It’s such a fun city to explore, and who doesn’t love Cajun food? 🙂

  • Katie January 14, 2013, 9:29 am

    We flew when Liv was 7 months old and I packed lots of new fun things for her to play with. I am pretty sure she played with an empty candy wrapper the whole time! Should have known! I think 7 months was a good time to fly, but Liv wasn’t crawling yet. Also I hear they have cheap carseat bags on amazon and you can stuff things inside of them if you need more room and they are checked for free! I didnt know that until I got back of course.

  • Danielle January 14, 2013, 10:15 am

    thanks for being so real Caitlin. As a new mom, your blog is my fave to read bc you dont always try to paint everything as sunshine and rainbows, but you also retain a good sense of humor about the curveballs motherhood throws you. Love it.

  • Anna D January 14, 2013, 10:37 am

    Was this Henry’s first swim??

    • Caitlin January 14, 2013, 10:47 am

      Second 🙂

  • Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls January 14, 2013, 10:40 am

    I’ve been on 30 something flights with my now 15 month old. Don’t underestimate the entertainment value in taking things out of the seat pocket in front of you, moving the tray table up and down, and stacking the free plastic cups. Good luck and don’t forget to give H something to suck on for takeoff and landing so his ears don’t hurt!

    • Rachel January 14, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Yikes! As the person who oftens sits in front of the child banging the tray table up and down and playing with the seat pocket I hope you mean when no one is sitting in the seat in front of you! I like kids and would honestly rather listen to the little one cry than have my seat messed with during the flight. That’s a surefire way to make the other passengers annoyed!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 14, 2013, 10:44 am

    I’m so glad you got to experience New Orleans, and go to the conference! I went to New Orleans for a weekend in college with my best friend and we like to refer to it as the Best 48 Hours of Our Life. Loved it!

  • Kelli January 14, 2013, 10:56 am

    love love love new orleans! i would love to read a baby flying post as well!

  • Dani @ Live Lightly Everyday January 14, 2013, 11:46 am

    New Orleans looks so cool! It’s definitely on my list of cities to visit.

  • Kerry January 14, 2013, 11:49 am

    I really want to visit New Orleans but I also am vegetarian, dairy, and gluten free! How did you get by while you were there? Was it pretty easy to find healthy foods?

    • Caitlin January 14, 2013, 2:22 pm

      So far we have had Thai 🙂 annnnd some random eats. It’s hard to travel veg and GF!

      • Hannah January 14, 2013, 6:44 pm

        I’m not sure about gluten free, but I’m vegan and often fantasize about and AMAZING meal I ate at Bennachin in New Orleans. It is traditional African food, I have never had anything like it before or since. And, Carmo Cafe- I had to look it up because I can’t remember the name and they also specifically label gluten free items! I think it’s only open for lunch. This makes me want to go back to New Orleans just to eat at these places!! Have fun!

  • Karen @ Runner Girl Eats January 14, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I am in love with New Orleans. There are so many no bourbon street things to do! Glad you are having a good family vacay 🙂

  • Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin January 14, 2013, 12:30 pm

    Hotels are one of the only places I can take good naps because of the way the rooms can get sooo dark! I would love to go to New Orleans sometime..maybe for Mardi Gras? While I still can 🙂

  • Heather January 14, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Dear Catlin –

    a) Benson says “meow!” [that means hi!]
    b) your “In Summations” are the best.
    c) Did you know I lived in Louisiana once? For like 5 minutes? [or months – whatever] Drink up that NOLA goodness 🙂
    d) Don’t feel bad about signing your name wrong. I’ve been written the date with 2011 about a dozen times this year. Apparently I want to be “better at forgetting the date” than anyone else is in the month of January of any new year. I went back in time. 😉

  • Tanya @ Vegan Faith January 14, 2013, 1:27 pm

    I so wish I could be in New Orleans with all of you right now! I am missing all the fun! Also, I love the short hair, even in your “I just crawled out of bed” photo, it looks great! And please write a post about the flight…but could you do it before Wednesday when we take Eleanor on her first plane :)?

  • Miranda January 14, 2013, 1:29 pm

    You need to be easier on yourself darlin “Just fallen out of bed” You look fantastic and so well put together!

  • Lili - Lirio Style January 14, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Never been in New Orleans, but would love to visit. Nice pics of the city ! And congrats on the opportunity!

  • Axel January 14, 2013, 1:51 pm

    I went to New Orleans (N’Awlins!) after I finished high school with a buddy to celebrate. I’ve always wanted to go back, and thought about using it as a weekend getaway destination with my wife when we think the kids are old enough to leave with their grandparents for a couple of nights. Nice to know it’s not just for wild partying…

  • Amanda K. January 14, 2013, 1:56 pm

    hey hot mama! way to rock a bikini in the pool!

  • Lauren January 14, 2013, 2:05 pm

    I’m flying with my 7mo old for the first time tmr and I’m so scared I literally don’t even want to go!
    Did Henry sleep on the plane? That’s my only concern, really, that she won’t sleep. She’s not really one to fall asleep on us, and turns into the devil himself if she doesn’t sleep. The timing of our flight is during her am nap, which is awesome, BUT it’s been super rainy and foggy here so I’m scared its going to get delayed. AHHH!

    • Caitlin January 14, 2013, 2:21 pm

      He did but he cried for a few minutes as he fell asleep!

  • Jess January 14, 2013, 2:07 pm

    You walked right by Cafe du Monde and didn’t stop in for beignets? That’s criminal. You have to have them…so delicious!

    My daughter’s first flight was actually to New Orleans at 5 months when she and my husband met me there after a work conference. Great food there!

    Now she’s been on so many flights we’ve lost count. I actually think it’s easy to travel with a baby. Much easier than it is when they start walking.

  • Pam C January 14, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Some day those books with the misspelled autograph could be worth a lot of money! hahaha Those girls should feel special 😉

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action January 14, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Are you finding it difficult to find veggie food in New Orleans? I’ve never been, but everything I know of the food there seems to be meat or seafood.

    Looks like you guys are having a fantastic trip!

  • Amber K January 14, 2013, 9:00 pm

    I’m so sorry, but I had to LOL at the forgetting how to spell your own name thing.

    I honestly once spelled my own last name wrong. I’ve had it for almost 30 years and I had to think waaaay too hard about it that time. I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before in my defense? ha.

  • Katya January 14, 2013, 9:38 pm

    I would like to read a post about flying with a baby!
    is Henry walking already or just pulling himself up onto things? he is very cute. What a lucky little guy travelling with his mum and dad!
    enjoy the trip.

    • Caitlin January 15, 2013, 8:30 am

      He surfs between furniture but no independent steps yet.

  • Sarah January 14, 2013, 10:34 pm

    Random comment, but you look so great with shorter hair! 🙂

    • Caitlin January 15, 2013, 8:29 am


  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 14, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Awesome! My boyfriend and I are going to New Orleans for a week this spring – I’m even more excited after reading this post!

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