Sunday, October 23, 2011

TBMAC - From California (MD) to California

A LOOK BACK ON HOW WE GOT WHERE WE ARE.... (This dates back to October 7-11)

The day after our household goods took off, Paul got into our mini-van and started his Trek (yes, with a capital "T") across the country.  Here is his timeline:
     * Saturday: California, MD - Little Rock, AR
     * Sunday: Little Rock, AR - Albuquerque, NM
     * Monday: Albuquerque, NM - Camarillo, CA

What?!  That's c.r.a.z.y.  But he did it and he made it there safely.  And I think, maybe just maybe, he enjoyed the peace and quiet. 

 Peace and quiet?! Who needs that? Not me. I got to fly with the three kids... for five hours. 

Ready to head to the airport
First and foremost, hats off to my mom who watched the kids pretty much all day for two days on her own while I cleaned out our house for the new renters.  On Monday, we headed up to Alexandria, VA, to stay closer to Reagan International Airport where we would be flying out of on Tuesday morning.  Monday was a good day and we had a nice time walking down King Street and letting the kids get some energy out. A good night's sleep at the Residence Inn in Alexandria was had by all.

With some strategic packing and organizing, and almost losing the rental van in the parking garage, we made it to Reagan at 7am.

7-7:05am: I take the three kids, two suitcases, a HUGE duffle bag with two booster seats, Sam's carseat, a diaper bag, a tote bag, Grace and Matthew's two backpacks into the terminal.  Mom takes her luggage with her and returns the van. 

7:05-7:20am: While Mom is on her way back from the rental place, I take the kids to check our bags with the help of a very grumpy Alaskan Airlines guy.  Thank you, AA, for letting military dependents traveling on orders check 5 pieces of luggage for free!

7:20-7:30am: Meet back up with Mom, corral the kids, walk all the way down to the elevators, go down one level, walk all the way back to the security checkpoint for our gates.

7:30-7:50am: Secuirty.  Yep. I knew that security would be the most difficult part of this whole day.  Trying to get our bags organized on the conveyor, telling the kids to take off their shoes (wore slip-on shoes on purpose), being told the kids do NOT need to take off their shoes, me trying to take the DVD player, the iPad, and the lap-top out of my tote bag, Grace FREAKING out (screaming "Mommy! Mommy! I'm scared!"), me trying to console her, my Mom trying to get her to go through the x-ray machine, Matthew looking back and forth not knowing what to do, Sam trying to catapult out of my arms while I lift the stroller onto the conveyor...... 

7:50-7:55am: Post-security Calm Down.  With all of our bags reloaded and our caravan walking down toward our gate, I am pretty proud of myself that we made it through.... and that I had thought ahead and wore a shirt that couldn't get "pitted out" because I was sweat-y!

7:55-8am: Mom and I herd the kids down to the gate; Sam in the stroller, Grace and Matthew holding on to the stroller and walking incredibley slowly while leaning forward because their backpacks were "sooooo heavy," and Mom pulling her roll-y suitcase and carrying Sam's carseat.  I can hear every person in the gate saying a prayer that we weren't going to be on their flight. 

8-830am: After arriving at the gate, we pick up a little breakfast for the kids and let them wander around for a bit.  I am hoping they burn off some extra excitement energy and are tired on the plane.  We get the tag for the stroller, talk to the nice lady at the check-in gate about getting all of us on the plane, and take one last bathroom stop.
Here we are... our last group photo in Maryland.
I think everyone around us was just trying to ignore the bit of circus that we were.
8:30am: We say our good-bye's and thank you's to Grandma Chris, and the kids and I get on the plane.  We have three seats right next to each other and then one across the aisle.  Sam is put next to the window since he is in his carseat, then it's supposed to be Matthew, Me, and Grace across the aisle.  Grace ended up having another bit of a meltdown and Matthew switched seats with her... what a sweet brother.  While Grace sat there shaking her head and whimpering, "I don't like this, I don't like this, let me go with daddy" Matthew just kept saying, "It's OK, Grace. You can have my seat."  Awww. Thanks buddy.

M is good to go!
G & S ready for take-off!
9:10am: In the air. Grace leans over with her hands on her ears and eyes closed, Sam kicks the seat in front of him, and Matthew looks as excited and terrified as I had ever seen him.  

9:15am: After holding Sam's feet and telling him not to kick the seat in front of him - and him just kicking it harder and smiling (I love that stage... grrrr) I decide to just apologize to the lady in front of him and offer to buy her a beverage of her choice if she wants.  Soon, the novelty wears off and Sam keeps his feet still.

915-10:15am: All's well; Grace and Matthew color, eat cookies from the flight attendant, Sam screams for a bit (more sweaty moments) and then falls asleep around 10am.  I pull out my magazine...nice.

10:20am: Sam's awake.  WHAT?! No. Way. Matthew has to go potty. So up we go to use the ever so user-friendly airplane bathroom. 

10:25am: Back in our seats and Sam screams when I put him in his seat.... if you know him, you know his scream... it makes my ear drums rattle. I do not kid about this.  I can't fight this on an airplane.  In goes the pacifier and there goes my magazine.

10:25-2pm EST/7:25 - 11am PST:  I am a jungle gym for Sam. He starts on the floor in front of his seat, climbs into his seat, into my lap, laughs at the lady behind us, then crawls out of my lap and starts again.  Grace and Matthew decide to take the two aisle seats and entertain themselves quite nicely with videos and the iPad.  Only problem arises when they are wearing their headphones and talk to me REALLY loudly.  Sam poops which means, of course, I get to change a diaper in the every so user-friendly airplane bathroom.  Matthew also needs to poop, so that's another trip to my favorite part of the airplane. Grace and Matthew eat 6 cookies each from the flight attendant.

2-2:20pm EST/11 - 11:20am PST: Pilot announces that we are beginning our decent. HOORAY! Grace and Matthew fall asleep. Seriously.

12:00pm PST  WE ARE IN CALIFORNIA. We made it!  I'm not confident that the people in front of us had a very good flight with all the jostling around, but honestly... I'm pulling the "Navy Family Moving Across the Country with Three Young Kids" card. There's only so much we can do.  

My motto for the trip was "Five difficult hours on a plane, is sooo much better than SIX LONG DAYS in the car driving from Maryland to California."

After the flight was over the kids had this to say:

Grace: "Mom, that wasn't so bad. I was afraid of my ears popping off, but it wasn't even a pinch. It was just like a little bird in my ear poked me. It didn't even hurt!"  (So, maybe I shouldn't have told her about ears popping during take-off and landing... I think it freaked her out.)

Matthew: "That was awesome. When can we fly again?!" (Not until Sam is a lot older, buddy.)


  1. You are AH-MAZING, Betsy. If we ever have to do something similar you will be getting a call from yours truly.

    Glad you are all in CA safely. If Navy wives early stripes, I think you got a Navy Star for this one ;).

  2. Thanks Jill.. from one crazy Navy Wife Momma to another. Ha! We should have our own sitcom. Your blog is inspiring me! Thanks. (HOW do you find TIME to blog so regularly????)