Hello from South of the Border

It's been a crazy, crazy, crazy week.

On Friday, Jason called me a slacker for not posting to my blog all week. Fortunately for him, I recognized the tongue making his cheek bulge out, because otherwise I would have had to dig out a baseball bat and lay down some smack.

Last week is a blur of short nights, overly-full days and last-minute preparations. On Saturday, we finished packing our bags and headed out to Edmonton, finally leaving Peace River around 1 p.m. The roads weren't great, but we made good time and got to our hotel around 7:30 p.m.--what would normally be considered "bedtime" for our children, but not the case that night.

Too much excitement and too much sleep on a van ride that was much too long all combine to equal children that are much too excited to sleep. Needless to say that the 4:30 a.m. alarm clock came much too early.

But, I suppose not early enough, since by the time we dragged all of our kids into the airport and got checked in, we were near the end of the line. I kept checking my watch impatiently as the hands kept ticking steadily onward to our departure time of 8 a.m., and we seemed no closer to the front of the customs clearance line.

Next time I travel, I'm going to wear pajamas through that line, I tell you. Could I have been wearing any more metal?!! They had to search me because I beeped every three inches with the scanning wand. Then they had to search my purse and my knitting bag. Apparently, although the American TSA is fine with small scissors as a carry-on, the Canadian security is not. (Later, as we were safely ensconced in our seats, Jason looks over at me and mutters, "Terrorist!")

The scissors had a very slight sentimental value, but there was no time to go put them in the mail, because by the time they finished all that, we were holding up the plane. The security lady and I were hurriedly shoving items back into my purse and bag, and in my fluster I dropped the bag with the passports in it and they went sliding across the floor. I scooped them up and we ran en masse to the gate, where I fumbled with the boarding passes and passports, only to have the gentleman inform me that we were missing one!! After several more minutes of desperate and hurried searching, one of the security officers found it underneath the conveyor belt where I had dropped them. Finally, we were able to board the plane and be on our way!

It was a long, long, long day. To top it off, the stress and not eating a real meal for most of the day combined to give me a nauseous stomach all day long. However, there were several upsides: the kids were fantastic. Despite the short night previous, hours and hours and hours of sitting, weird, upset schedules, and many other "perks" of travel, we really only had two melt-downs: one when Jude realized that he would have to sit across the aisle from Daddy on the second flight (it was a very narrow aisle on a very small plane, but it didn't seem to be any consolation that Jason could still reach over and help him with whatever he needed), and the second one at the restaurant where we ate supper when Jude was just waking up from a nap and Jason made the mistake of actually letting him choose what he got to eat for supper. All in all, not too bad.

Also, the airline staff were all very understanding and were wonderful with the kids.

And perhaps best of all, we made a new friend. On the second flight (on the small airplane) there was a brother in Christ named David that sat across the aisle from Jabin and I. His two-year-old daughter was with him, while his wife and five-month-old son were sitting near the front of the plane. (We were in the very back row, with Jason, Jude and Noah sharing the row in front of us with another Dave.) David was wonderful to talk with, and a total encouragement to us. Also, it was nice to "share resources" as parents for the trip--Rosario sat on my lap for a while, and Jude sat beside David and watched Ratatouille on his laptop for some of the flight. We shared snacks, colouring books, and swapped stories and e-mail addresses. What a blessing.

So, the end result is that we arrived safely at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport at 4:50 p.m., as advertised, were met by Mom and Mike, and a mere seven hours later were falling into bed at their eclectic ranch-style house near Mena.

Yesterday was spent doing little else but recovering from jet lag. (I know we only moved over one time zone, but the crazy travel schedule gave us jet lag anyway.) Jason took the older boys for a spin on the quad a few times, but mostly we slept. I have about two weeks of sleep to catch up on, so I might just take a nap today, too!

For the most part, this trip will be R&R, but we are planning to take a road trip to Nashville this weekend to meet up with Jason's high-school friend Devin, who has been living in Kentucky for eleven years, and whom Jason hasn't seen for twelve. It will be an overnight trip, so another long two days of driving (eight hours one way), but I'm just stoked to be able to say that I got to stay overnight in Nashville!! Whoo-HOO!

I will post semi-regularly whilst we are here. One of my few goals while I am here is to catch up on some personal e-mail--if you've been wondering why I haven't written you, trust me, it was nothing personal!

Take care, friends, and happy holidays!

(P.S. If you've been e-mailing me at my wintersdayin.ca account this weekend, I haven't been receiving it. I was trying to set it up with Google Apps so I could access it from the internet, since my current DNS service does not have the ability to do that. But GRR! It didn't work. I don't know if I will get any of those e-mails once I switch it around, but anyway. Sigh. Just re-send it, please?)