Raising a Blended Family

Christmas in the Rear View Mirror

on January 8, 2013

So I wanted to take a second to review: we’re home from California, safe and sound and in one piece.

Sanity in tact? That’s debatable. The plane trip home was wonderful, perfect, amazing. Both babies (and the seven year old) slept the entire second flight and a good part of the first one, and as a result we got to sleep too! It was amaaaaaazing.  And, if you can believe it, during their awake periods there were no crying jags on the part of either baby the ENTIRE. TRIP.  They were soooooo good.

The flight out to San Diego, unfortunately, was a nightmare.

The good news is, it was not a nightmare because of the babies (again, they were angels)- rather, because of the airline.  Remember that half hour layover that we had? The whole thirty minutes the airline alloted us to get from one end of our connecting airport to the other? Yeah.  That half hour turned to ZERO minutes when our plane out of Indy was late to begin with, and didn’t end up landing until 5 minutes after our connecting flight was scheduled to take off. Suck. Even more suck was that they gave us the impression that the plane was still at the gate, and that we might still be able to make it- and this seemed reasonable to us, given that there were twenty one people on our flight who were trying to make the same connecting flight.  It seemed plausible that, in this situation, the airline might hold a plane for 10 minutes in order to allow a third of the flight’s passengers to board… and so, well, picture the movie Home Alone- dashing madly through the airport, baggage flying everywhere, running into people… add two babies and a VERY reluctant-to-carry-anything-even-her-own-damn-backpack-seven-year-old and you’ll have a pretty accurate impression of what we looked like as we rushed frantically to the gate, only to find out that yes indeed the plane HAD departed! Ugh. They then informed us that we would need to go to customer service (which was conveniently ALL THE FRICKIN WAY BACK FROM WHERE WE’D COME) to get rebooked on another flight, and when we finally got there there was a line a mile long of all the passengers who had also missed the flight but who were not toting babies or reluctant seven-year-olds and therefore got there first. We stood in this mile long line anyways, the clock reading 8pm Christmas Night (the time our original flight was landing in San Diego), and listened in as passenger after passenger was told there were no more available seats on any of the flights going to San Diego that night, and that the earliest possible time to fly out was the NEXT night, landing at approximately 10pm. Are you frickin’ kidding me? Nevertheless, as we warily (and wearily) approached the counter, the customer service lady smiled brightly at us and how she could help us. She offered to put us on standby seating for the two (completely full) flights leaving that night for San Diego (because, you know, two completely full flights with 21 other passengers in line ahead of us for standby seating are totally going to suddenly have space for a family of five. Right.) and when we declined that, we were told that all flights were full for that night AND the next day, but that we might be able to get on one the next night.  Might. Ugh again. We scrambled to figure out our options, when all of a sudden it occurred to me that Los Angeles is not that far of a drive from San Diego. About two hours, give or take.  Desperately, and feeling suddenly hopeful, we asked the customer service agent if there might be any room on a flight to LA that night instead…. only to have our hopes dashed again as the lady told us that no, all flights into LAX were booked as well. Damn it all.  Shorty and I looked at each other, feeling completely dejected, while the agent continued pecking away at her keyboard.

Suddenly, she looked up, and as we started to get hopeful again, she told she had found a flight… to Ontario.

Ontario? We replied. Isn’t that in, like, Canada?

No, she told us, it was an airport in East LA- only an hour and forty five minutes from my parents’ house- and there were seats for us on a flight leaving in an hour and landing at 11pm.  SOLD!!!!!!

Flights were booked, calls were made, and we flew into Ontario where my parents picked us up for the drive home (we weren’t sure if the car rental place would be open or not so they drove up to get us).  When we arrived at the airport, we were completely exhausted but so relieved we were no longer stuck in the middle of Texas (sorry, Texans).  We were also, however, luggageless.  The airline informed us that our luggage hadn’t made it to Ontario and had, in fact, been shipped to San Diego.  We had checked our carseats, had a bunch of Christmas presents packed for the belated Christmas morning we were supposed to have the next day, and had virtually all of our clothes in our checked luggage.

The good news is, because we were so paranoid about that 30 minute layover and the probability of our missing it, we had packed plenty of baby supplies- enough formula, clothes, diapers, etc in our carry-on for an overnight stay. We also had a spare mom-shirt in the diaper bag thanks to Pax’s tendencies to spit up, and I had mailed two shirts I ordered for Shorty’s Christmas present directly to my mom’s- so when we got to the house she had clean shirts to wear.  We ended up borrowing carseats from the airline and drove home, following a VERY drunk driver the entire way (where are the police when you need them?) and arriving at 5am our time- we’d been up almost 24 hours by that point.

We all (including the babies, thank everything) immediately crashed when we got to my parents’ and even though I’m pretty sure Thing One still got up with the sun, I was not the one who had to get up with her- thank you, little brother- and so all was well. The babies woke us up around ten- all in all, not bad, considering that was around 1pm their time!- and the rest of the house was up by noon. My grandma arrived in the meantime and immediately took over cuddling babies, while we manned the phone lines searching for our luggage.  Luckily, it was delivered not even two hours later!

After getting over all the hurdles of actually getting there, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. My grandfather opted NOT to come (he was feeling sick) and so that was not an issue I had to deal with. My grandmother came down the day we did our Christmas and I am so, so glad she did. She got to meet the babies and as she was holding Pax, her eyes teared up and she got all choked up. She did it again as she was holding him to say goodbye, and she told us “thank you for my grandchildren”.  It was a touching moment and I don’t think I’m the only one who got misty-eyed. I’m so, so glad Pax got to meet her, even if he won’t remember it.

Later on in the week, my Aunt came down, and she also enjoyed holding the babies and meeting Pax (who she calls Moonpie… lol!).  We took the babies all over town, did a zoo trip, and dipped their tiny tootsies in the ocean. It was an amazing trip and so good to be back somewhere familiar surrounded by family and friends.

Also, you guys, I HAVE to mention my/our Christmas presents.  They were all so awesome!  First, my wife got me a family birthstone necklace- it has all our names engraved on it in a circle along with our birthstones. I love it and haven’t taken it off since.  My mom surprised us with silver engraved memory/keepsake boxes for each of the babies, with their names, date of birth, birth time, weight and length engraved. They were perfect, as we had been looking for something of the sort but hadn’t found anything yet. Pax also got a blue and silver engraved “baby’s first christmas” shoe ornament (Addie already had a pink and silver teddy bear from us but we hadn’t found anything special enough for Pax yet so this was perfect). Finally, my grandmother surprised both us and my mother with matching sets of gallery-wrapped canvas pictures of all three kids- she’d used photos we sent as family updates to do it.  I love them so much! I can’t wait to hang them on the wall.  It was a great, family-oriented Christmas present theme this year and I could not be happier with it. 🙂

So, that was our trip to San Diego! Memorable, to say the least. I want to do another post about lessons we learned about traveling with twinfants, but I’ll leave that for another day since this is already so long. And, since you made it to the end- pictures!


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