Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cousins party

Last weekend, Nora, Elyn, and I went to Texas to attend a family reunion on my dad's side. It had been YEARS since I had seen some of my relatives and I thought it was high time that I make up for that.

Little did I know that I was in for a ROUGH traveling experience.

Keep in mind, I am not afraid to travel by myself and I am not afraid to travel by myself with children. Some people have anxiety attacks at the mere mention of traveling with small kids and no other adult to accompany them. It doesn't bother me too much.

I am pretty organized before embarking on the journey.

I use a backpack instead of a diaper arms are free. I take our portable DVD player with me...instant sanity. I keep both girls in the double stroller AT ALL TIMES, no matter how much the eldest insists that she can walk...I don't worry about them getting stolen. I take advantage of all help...if someone feels sorry for me, great, they can fold my stroller and put it through security while I am removing our shoes. I have tons of snack on hand...instant noise reducer.

And I have great travelers in Nora and Elyn, that makes a huge difference too.

When I got to the airport last Friday, I was prepared and a tad over-confident.

We boarded our plane (really, it was a puddle jumper...tiny) and got seated. Both girls were angels, looking around, taking it all in.

The flight to Houston was pretty uneventful. Nora watched The Bernstein Bears and after a few seconds of fussing, Elyn fell sound asleep. I was reading a book and was paying no attention to the time. I was enjoying my peaceful flight.

Then, the flight attendant gets on the intercom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you have noticed that we are already 40 minutes past our arrival time (um, no, I haven't noticed because I have been enjoying the quiet time in Row 3...what, we're 40 minutes past time? Has the pilot not had his foot on the gas?). Well, the captain has just informed me that we have been in a holding pattern over Houston for the past 45 minutes ([Elyn starts to shift in my arms]...Lady, stop shouting so loud on the intercom!). The airport in Houston has been shut down due to weather conditions and we are being re-routed to Baton Rouge (ummm...I am supposed to go to Austin, do you think the captain can re-route us there? Maybe I should let him hear my screaming baby and I'm sure he would happily go north). Once we land in Baton Rouge, you will all have to remain on the plane until the airport in Houston re-opens. That could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (Lady...hi, remember me? The one with the two kids...are you kidding me????? These kids need to MOVE and I don't know if the germ infested airplane carpet, that is only 6 inches wide, is going to cut it). Let me know if can do anything to make the trip more enjoyable for you (seriously.).

We waited in BR for 30 minutes before we took off for Houston. The nice people on the plane played with my kids and let me go to the Ladies' Room. I don't think the excitement of being on the plane had worn off yet for Nora because she was angelic the entire time. And once I let Elyn down on the floor of the airplane, where forwarded emails of "Things Not to Do on an Airplane or you will DIE" flashed through my head, she was fantastic too.

When we got to Houston, surprise, surprise, our flight to Austin had been canceled.

I went to customer service to wait in the 2 hour line to see when I could get a flight. You could tell that the people working at customer service were sad, sad, sad that they were on the schedule today. I think one was even trying to call in a replacement. Oh, to just be able to call in a replacement.

Some guy, who was on my first flight, saw me waiting in line and came over to give me a phone number to call instead. I called and within 5 minutes the faceless person on the other end of the line had me booked on a flight that left at 7:55pm.

I was supposed to arrive in Austin at 3:45pm.

I was not as prepared as I thought I was at 10am that morning.

I looked into my stroller to find both of my children fast asleep. I found the nearest outlet, plugged in my cell phone and our DVD player. Both were in need of serious charging...especially if mommy wanted to make it to Austin without some medication.

After Nora and Elyn woke up, we went to find something to eat. At least we were at a large airport and had many choices.

Guess what the airport did not have...a children's area. If I ever build an airport, that is a requirement. How can an airport not have a play area for kids? Our little airport in Northwest Arkansas has THREE kids areas. Ridiculous.

Here is something I like about the airport...the family bathrooms.
While I was going to the bathroom, I didn't have to keep an eagle eye on Elyn and make sure she didn't put something in her mouth. I think she looks hilarious in this pic.

And this is what Nora did the majority of the time we waited for our flight. I did not feel like making up fun games for us to play together or having quiet reading/coloring time. I was, again, too busy keeping up with active little sister, making sure we would not need to go to the ER because of something she picked up off the ground and ingested.

Our 7:55 flight did not take off until 10:30pm. We arrived in Austin at 11:30pm. My mom had been waiting at the airport since 2pm that afternoon. We were all exhausted! But, so, so, so happy that we had arrived!

On Saturday, we got to spend the day with my family. It was fantastic! I got to see my brother, Dave, his wife, Renee, and their little boy, my nephew, Wade. My dad wore a smile all day. I think he was proud to have us there. We were sad that my sister, Marty, couldn't be with us, but she was on vacation in South Carolina.

This is my cousin Shanna's little girl, Peyton. LOVE. THOSE. EYES. She turns one next week and is just the sweetest little thing.

Nora drove her absolutely crazy! She could not keep her hands off of her and was constantly wanting to hold her and pick her up. You would think that Nora didn't have a little sister.
This is my nephew, Wade. Couldn't you just eat those cheeks. He turned one in July. He is quite solid and so sweet and calm. My girls looked nuts next to him.
Saturday night, at the cousins party, Elyn only wanted to be with one person. Guess who? I guess the day of traveling before had caught up with her.
Here is my dad, with two of his kids (me and Dave), Dave's wife, and his three grandchildren. Three grandkids under the age of three.

My dad has 12 cousins. Each year, they have a "cousins party". I can remember these parties from when I was little. They were always so much fun. Sometimes it seemed like they lasted all day long. This year, it rained for the majority of it. But that didn't stop the good times. Nora loved getting to play with all the kids...and there were a ton! It was great seeing all my relatives, even though I couldn't remember the names of some. I hope the next cousins party we attend is in the near future.

Before we left on Sunday, we headed over to Kathy's house. Kathy is basically family and we have known her many, many years. It was so great that she got to meet my girls and play with them. We love you Kathy!

Our trip home was less eventful...thank goodness. No flights were delayed and we actually landed at our homebase 5 minutes early. However, half way through our journey home, I called Matthew and told him that I was probably going to kill Nora. Kill her or give her away. She had the meltdown of meltdowns on the plane from Austin to Houston. He encouraged me to not kill her and to bring her home. I found a chocolate chip cookie, inhaled it, took a few deep breaths, said a prayer, and took a very alive Nora home.

It took us about two days to recover from our trip, but it was totally worth it! We made great memories and loved seeing our family. Thanks for the trip, Dad. Thanks for being with us, Mom.

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Whitney said...

I probably shouldn't have read this, as we are leaving in 2 weeks to fly to visit my parents in Destin, FL... our first plane ride with Austin. Goodness, I hope it goes better than your trip to Texas! Glad yall had a good visit though- once you finally got there!

Love the pic of Elyn in the restroom too! Smart idea though!

Rachel said...

You are so funny Dallas!! You are also sooo much braver than me and your girls are such troopers!! Glad you had a great time and the picture of you Elyn, you look awesome!!!

Sara said...

Traveling is exhausting!! I've done two flights now with the kids by myself. Laura is the seasoned traveler and does awesome..she even knows to take her shoes off and on at the security checkpoint.

Glad Nora made it home alive!! HA!

Laura said...

Every time I read posts like this on your blog I think I had 6 months to the number of years I am waiting until I have children. I think I'm so far up to 9.5 years. :)

Chandra said...

See, this is why I haven't had number 2. I read through your post and even though you were a tad stressed out, you still have hair and you are smiling in those after pictures. I would've been committed!

Jenn said...

This post so reminds me of all the flying that we did when we lived in Alaska! Oh, the joys of airplane schedules!! So glad that ya'll had so much fun with your family. I love the family bathrooms, too!! We are glad that ya'll ALL made it home alive!! That part made me laugh out loud!!!!

Kim said...

Oh, Dallas. That was half funny, half scary reading of your airport/flight experience since I JUST booked a flight for me and Chandler Grace to Arkansas for September 18th! I forget about the delays!! I'm such a "schedule person" so, that is the enemy.
You did great and deserve a gold medal.
P.S. I will remember to bring chocolate chip cookies!!

TDavis said...

OK, I feel like a huge weenie after reading this. I hate flying with Clayton and I always have Greg with me to help out. I will never complain again.

The Rickard 5 said...

What a trip! You handled it well. We didn't fly with the kids until the youngest was 5.

The Rickard 5 said...

What a trip! You handled it well. We didn't fly with the kids until the youngest was 5.

Amy said...

That makes me tired reading it. Amen to your thoughts on portable DVD players. I'm over feeling guilty. Sometimes they're life-savers.
Hey, at least the girls looked adorable in their matching outfits.

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