So, here's a re-cap:
4am on a Monday morning, we got up and showered for the drive to TF Green, loaded the kids and pulled up to the airport at 6:15 for a flight that left at 7:15. Yes, we were late. The line for Southwest snaked out the door and the tension emanating off J's person was palpable. I strapped Charlie in my newly acquired Ergo, got out my suitcase and loaded H into the stroller while J parked the car in the long-term lot.
H was not pleased to be in the stroller, as he had his Elmo backpack on and it was a tight squeeze for the two of them...but he wouldn't take off the backpack, so his decision had a fun consequence. He screamed through the entire line to the ticket counter that "I don't WANT to be in the stroller!!!" Great, way to let the folks know in advance that you'll be that kid on their flight.
Luckily the employees at Southwest were speedy as always and we made it through the line in no time. The security line was equally quick, facilitated by being allowed to have Charlie remain in the Ergo since the only metal pieces are the little snaps at the shoulder for the sleeping hood. (One more reason to invest in it!)
While J the Pack Mule took the car seat and H to the gate, I used my two free hands to get coffee and muffins for the flight from Starbucks. We got there just in time to board and settle in. My friends had asked me the night before what my flights were, and I told them I had two two hour legs. I should have known my math was off...I was not prepared for the announcement that our flight was 5.5 hours...for the first leg...
I got a mini lunge workout, as I spent the entire 5 hours that we weren't taking off or landing standing in the aisle swaying back and forth. Reason #2 I'm glad I invested in the Ergo.
After a brief layover in Vegas where H kept asking if he could play the 'fun games', we made it to the Boise Airport where I had a mini-tantrum at the Budget counter when the staff tried to convince me that the Toyota Camry was the same size as a Taurus. Whatev'. J insists that it's just because I'm a Ford fanatic and don't know what to do with myself without one. Or, I believe his direct quote was "You're a Ford Fundamentalist trying to bring a jihad on the foreign auto-makers"...I think that was a bit much.
As we sped along I-84, I took in the scenery of sage brush and rolling hills and felt a lightness to my soul...I'm home!
At my sister's house in Ontario, we were greeted with the smell of a lasagna dinner and had just enough time to eat before Milly and I headed back to Boise to get Sherri and meet Baby A for the first time.
Baby and Sister #3 in tow, we left the airport and revealed our plan to get ice cream on the way home. We weren't sure where to stop, so decided to head further into Boise...we were talking, talking, talking before one of us finally said "Wait! Why is there just sage brush and no city?" Yeah, for those of you familiar with Boise, we were just miles outside Mountain Home...oops!
Safely ensconced in Cracker Barrel, after a little detour, we ordered berry cobbler with ice cream and then made our way back to Ontario at the early hour of 11pm...I'd essentially been up for since the day before since I only got three hours of sleep the night before...I was suddenly exhausted.
The time at home was fantastic; all four sisters in one spot at the same time with all of our kids! Of course, it was punctuated by the usual family mini-drama which, when related back to J (he left several days before I did due to work), elicited the response "Wow. I'm glad I missed that." But it was nothing that couldn't be soothed by soft-serve swirl cones at the Cove Drive-In
A particularly riotous addition for a couple days was a cousin's pit bull named Chaos who was 'starving'. Oh, good thing there were several small children whose faces he could eat if the hunger pangs became unbearable. Maybe it's just me, but feeding a dog whose breed is known for violent attacks before exposing him to a group of little ones running around in bathing suits would be prudent. Despite my snarky outlook, the dog was very gentle, and wasn't allowed to romp with the kids so my apprehensions were for naught.
H slept like a rock in a tent in the backyard next to Granny each night after days filled with swim trunks, slip-n-slides and ice lollies from 6am to 10pm. Charlie kicked it in the pack-n-play in my parent's bedroom each night while my dad's Darth Vader-esque sleep machine provided the lulling white noise.
Sherri and I(and J while he was there) stayed in a room at the Union Hotel; The Garden Room which, in addition to wooden lattice laced with plastic vines as a border and a white picket fence headboard (kitchy-cute), had a 'greenhouse-like-atmosphere' as there was no a/c and the window in our bedroom didn't have a screen on it. Thank goodness for ceiling fans, right? But no matter how steamy, or free of children the room may have been, there were no vacation interludes...it's a little hard to be romantic with the doors to the bathroom that joins your room to your sister's are wide open to facilitate airflow.
My 30th year was rung out in style, with some drinks with friends, J, and my sisters at Benchwarmers where I finally learned my happy medium. I had four fantastic drinks, had a great night, and didn't have even the hint of a hangover the next morning. No having had much practice with the whole drinking scene in college or high school, this lesson has taken me far longer to learn than Joe the Plumber. Sorry Ms. Palin, I had to make a reference to you, since your awkward rambling resignation punctuated my vacay.
The solo flight home went much more smoothly than the one with both parents on deck, and I'll maintain that it's because people show far more sympathy for a single mother travelling with two under 4 than a 1:1 parent/child ratio.
As I nudged open the door to our apartment, and the familiarly-scented, cool air hit my face I rolled the luggage into my bedroom, deposited the kids and breathed a sigh of contentment...I'm home.