20 November 2010

Adventures in flying

We have arrived in Minnesota!  The flight was pretty uneventful as flights go. But when you add two children you get an eventful flight. 

Our day started off ok, we all got up with the alarm so we had plenty of time to get ready for the day and finish packing up.  We were talking the trip and flight up with Kara in the morning. 
We explained that we had to listen to other people a lot; security officials, flight attendants and pilots. Kara asked "will they have eye patches?" We were very confused until we asked "will who have eye patches?"  To which Kara said "the pirates that fly the plane.  Will they have eye patches?"  My daughter apparently decided to emulate Ruth from Pirates of Penzance.

We had planned on leaving by 10 am so we could get through security, get lunch, and get to our gate with plenty of time to spare.   We hit a few small snags when Kara refused to get dressed, eat, or do anything we asked of her.  Once we finally got her dressed and fed we decided to use that dreaded and abhored of all babysitters- *gasp* the tv!  Oh no, not the tv!  She might actually learn something from some of the shows or, horror, leave us alone for more than 5 seconds.  We got out of our house right on time and, as far as we know, with everything we need.  We got to the airport where I dropped Adam, Kara, and most of the luggage at ticketing.  I then took Rowan and parked the car, then rode a bus to the terminal.  We went straight to security where everyone was quite helpful.  I was fully prepared to refuse the naked photo scanners and to see how they dealt with patting down a 3 year old.  My activist and mommy bear instincts were at full alert.  Thankfully they reserve all that for the people they want to give "special" treatment to.  Apparently a family with two small children didn't, at this time, raise their terrorist alarms.  Everyone at the check point was helpful and calm while we held up the line. Picture this; 2 adults, one 3 year old, one 4 month old, 2 car seats, 2 adult backpacks, 1 laptop, 1 child's backpack, 1 purse, 1 carryon size suitcase, our coats and shoes, and a few bags with liquids that needed inspecting.  Yup- lots of chaos and fun.  Even the other travelers were patient!  We got lunch, and waited a bit for the plane. Thankfully we timed things such that the wait was just long enough for Kara to watch planes and get excited but not get bored.  The attendants were very helpful in letting us preboard, and the flight attendants on the plane were helpful and nice.  I got very lucky and got a friendly woman who loved babies next to me.  We chatted most of the flight and she even offered to hold Rowan if we needed.  She let me set drinks on her tray since I couldn't get mine down while I was holding Rowan.

During the flight we had hoped the girls would nap.  Rowan took a few short snoozes.  Kara, on the other hand, took a few tantrums.  At points she didn't want to be buckled, wanted to go with Adam to change Rowan's diaper, wanted her tray down and her drink on it (despite being shown that it couldn't go all the way down and would spill her drink), wanted Adam's tray up (despite being shown that then her drink, mine and Adam's wouldn't have a place to be set down), wanted to play with my puzzle book but not hers, and who knows what else.  Adam had the adventure of changing Rowan's diaper in the small bathroom with Kara in there too.  But no one got sick, we didn't disrupt the other passengers that much- at least no one gave me the evil eye.

As we were getting ready to land Kara excitedly asked "are we going to jump out of the plane now?"  She had seen a video of one of her grandpas doing that and apparently thought that was how you got out of a plane.  We all laughed, even the flight attendant.  We explained that wasn't how you wanted to leave a plane like this.  Everyone was very nice and helpful as we got off the plane too.  The pilots were willing to engage Kara as she chatted to them.  We got our luggage, met up with our ride, and got to my dad's house.  Kara then got to play with two of her cousins.  They were loud, rambunctious, and had a blast!

Now we are settling into being in Minnesota.  Kara's loving all the snow and requests dishes of it to eat. 

Here's hoping the next flight goes as well! 

14 November 2010

Preparing for departure...

Oh the fun we all have around the holidays.  I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to have all these major holidays crammed into such a short space of time.  We start off with at the end of October Halloween (we call it Samhain). Less than a month later there's Thanksgiving, about a month later Yule and a week after that New Years.  Come one people is it really necessary to cram all these into such a short space and time?  This is why I prefer Pagan holidays.  Everything is evenly spaced out- 8 holidays over the year (and it would have been pretty evenly if you go by moon/sun cycles and not these random 30, 31 and 28 day months- but that's another rant).  Of course 2 of these holidays are the days we are expected to be with our family the most.  If you happen to have moved away from where your parents are, the expectation to return is even greater.  Add children to the mix and well.... yeah.  You can pull the "we want to start our own traditions" card, but they will most likely counter with the "but we want to see you for the traditions we had when you were growing up" card.  Or "but it's about being together as a family" card (I would like to point out that this is what it's become, but not necessarily the original reason for the holidays).

So, all that ranting aside.  Here we are, the Sunday before our departure for the first of 2 major trips.  We leave this week for a trip to my family in Minnesota.  We'll be gone for over a week.  Getting ready entails: all laundry being done, the house at least sort of picked up, a cat sitter arranged, packing, children prepared, and lots of logistics to be worked out.  I'm sure I'm forgetting things.  Oh yes: the fridge cleaned out and mail stopped (whew!  I did that one already).  Since weekdays leave me precious little time to get things done, we cram as much as we can into a brief 2 day weekend.  I have lists all over the place of things to get done and what to pack.  I have decided to let certain things go for the sake of everyone's sanity (if we forget something I will not freak, I will not freak, I will not freak, I will not freak.  If I say it long enough I might actually believe it!). 

We have to be sure that Kara is appropriately prepared for what's going to happen.  We'll drive to the airport, this is what security will be like, then we wait, then we get on the plane, then we wait.... then we take off, then we wait while we're flying (by the way, we can't get up and move around and we can't get off the plane).  Then we land and wait until we're allowed to get off the plane, then we walk to wait for our luggage. Note how much we have to wait?  If you have a 3 year old, you know that "wait" is not in their vocabulary.  So, we prepare ourselves with lots of fun snacks, toys, even videos.  And prayers.  Lots and lots of prayers.

We also are working out how to get 2 adults, 1 three yr old, 1 four month old, 2 car seats, 2 adult backpacks, 1 child's backpack, and 1 carry on onto the plane.  I'm not even going to think of the logistics of before we check our 2 large suitcases.  No wonder people used to live closer to their parents.

Don't get me wrong.  I am looking forward to seeing my family.  But man oh man, the things we do to travel with kids.  So, you will have to excuse this rather uninspired post- I'm now off to fold the first of 4 loads of laundry.