Monday, September 27, 2010

Ali Danger Flegal (*said with a Brittish accent*)

Eliza and Henry accrued a healthy dose of SkyMiles this past week.

Considering how well (meaning: I did not go into labor) our unborn daughter traveled, it's a shame she is ineligible to participate in said miles earning program.
DAD!?! Eliza!? ANYBODY!!
Stop my Mom!

(*Ignoring Henry completely*)

Traveling with children via airplane has become a mundane experience. Replacing my middle name with "danger," we thought we'd spice things up by throwing in a 35-36 week waddling whale of an expectant Mother.

The un-pleasantries included:
  • frequent trips to the undersized airplane restrooms,
  • the displeasure felt when ill-timed braxton hicks met a batch of unfriendly turbulence,
  • bending over to rescue rogue crayons
  • and a criminalistic desire to hijack the airport's golf cart type transportation vehicles while hastily making our way to and from each gate.
Each item listed is easily forgivable when looking at how fortunate we were to collect all of our luggage, pay NOTHING for our baggage (thank you very much American Gold Express cards), smoothly make each connection, watch happy children drift to sleep on our laps and earn the compliments of fellow passengers.

The only time I was tempted to scream my head off was after meeting the dragon agent lady at gate C7. It began with our family's cue:

"We'd like to invite anyone traveling with young children
or in need of special assistance to begin boarding now."

The entitled first class passengers didn't like the idea of being cut in line. Forgiving them, we stepped aside to let them board ahead of us. Zone 1, general boarding, was called. We made our move.

"Ahem. This ticket is for Zone 4" the agent sneered.

"Ma'm. These are my children." I point to our stroller. My focus shifts to my stomach. "And THIS is our special need." If we're not qualified to board early then who is? The lady with the horrid hair bow dished back a load of crap-a-tude. After all our travels, her snide remarks were definitely a first. And for the record, I was traveling with He-Man. His stroller collapsing skills combined with the precise execution of my motherly commands ensured our efficiency. We didn't inconvenience anyone. In terms of gifts and skills, I don't have much to offer; but I'm pretty sure I could teach Angelina Jolie a few things about traveling with kids.

Useless rant is over.

I'm returning to the travelogue that, sadly, hasn't moved past the airport. I should have listened to Henry.

Our week was spent with family. Rather than focusing on play-dates for myself, we did our best to hook-up with our siblings, grandparents and cousins. To my friends who are devastated (wishful thinking!!) that we didn't meet up, please know that our time was limited a.k.a I am vain. We'll get together next time. When I'm skinny.

Eliza was ecstatic to meet up with Emilee right away. Henry surprised me when he came up with the nickname, "Emee-cake." The cuteness of it melted my heart. The Mays crew soon joined in the fun.
Coincidentally, Andrew's sister Liz and her son Truman were wrapping up a trip of their own to Utah. What a lucky thing it was to get those boys together in Utah for a few days. The highlight of that visit happened at Aunt Becky's house. We were treated to a most delightful brunch. The kids loved catching up with their second cousins and I loved me some Belgian waffles. The 16+ chickens Aunt Becky has in her backyard were an added bonus.

The play-dates on the Mays side extended from Nana Marie's backyard to Emilee's house, to Jungle Jims Playland as well as a park play date with the Chamberlains. We were able to get together with Andrew's beloved Grandma Flegal on three different occasions. Seeing her eyes fill with tears as we said our "goodbyes" was one of the hardest moments of the week. Her capacity to love is simply amazing.

Speaking of amazing, my in-laws were super stars. They were so helpful in watching our kids, tucking them in at bed time, transporting them to where they needed to be and spoiling them with love and attention.Silver Lake was definitely a high point for the group.

I was happiest tagging along with my Mom on her wedding related errands. Her ability to stay on top of things really impresses me. Sure, she was the Mother of the groom this time, but she still had her fair share of To-do's. When it was up to me to decide, we found ourselves dress shopping at Target and getting a pedicure. I love having pretty feet.

Andrew was able to do a wee bit of off-roading in my brother's new jeep, butcher an elk or two (sad I missed out on that experience. not.), spend time in his parent's garden and hang out with his sister Katie (who is as thoughtful as ever) and her husband Brent. Playing games with them was a favorite.

As great as our outings were, Andrew and I are both in agreement that attending Matt and Allison's wedding was the pinnacle event. As I took in the site of my brother's beautiful bride, identified the emotion written on his face (I know Matt so well) and listened to the perfect blend of advice, humor and spirituality from Elder Sontag, I was filled with gratitude.

(Pictures of the bride to come. None of the ones I took do her beauty justice. Pictures of me to come = Never. Sadly, each one I have does my size justice.)

Living far away, being pregnant, the expense involved, juggling vacation days, etc... are all reasons why we could have missed out.

To be there with Andrew, to immediate welcome a new sister to my family and to see my kids strengthen their family bonds was a super big blessing. Hearing about it second hand wouldn't have come close (no matter the strength of detail) to capture that moment. Thank you Mom and Dad, Matt and Allison, the pilots at Delta, the strength of my amniotic sac (over share?), and a supportive Doctor's office for making it possible.

The wedding dinner (mmm, that food) was superb, the visits with friends and family at the reception and dressing my daughter like a princess were likewise wonderful experiences. Watching my stealthy husband hop in the back of Matt and Allison's get-away car was a great way to end the night. Allison's shocked reaction could be seen from the glass doors. It was hilarious.

"Hey guys! Where are we going?" he hollered.

It's a shame he opted out as soon as he did. Who knows what he would have been privy too. Lucky you, dear reader, Eliza's informed me that our game of Hi-ho Cherry oh is ready to go. Until next time.


A and M's Mom said...

I'm so glad you were able to go. I wish we could have made it out there. We are going to be taking our first flight with both kids soon, so I'm going to need some tips!

Ang said...

I love the picture of Andrew with the kids at the lake. Hilarious!

Serity said...

Great pics!! Definitely need the ones you took at my mom's house (so glad that worked out in your busy schedule). And can you teach me how you did the collage pics? Do I need something special for that? Email me when you get a min.

Michelle said...

I'm so glad your vacation was a success! We are glad to have you back.