Jan 15, 2010

Our trip to Antartica (Missouri) and back

As I mentioned in my last blog post, we traveled to Missouri last week, so see Tone's parents and sister's family. Apparently it was not the week to be there. Every night the news reported record lows for the area, and it never got above 10 degrees. Just getting out there was a nightmare.

Here I am with one double stroller, two backpacks, two car seats, and one very very large rolling suitcase (it's a juggling act to be sure and quite a sight to behold). Pregnant. Two children. Alone.

My first flight out of Fresno to Denver was canceled due to fog. It was really handy of them to tell us that AFTER the time it was supposed to leave. So I got up at 3:30 am, got to the airport, got through the longest check-in line in the face of the planet, sat around until 6 am only to find out flights there for the day were, for the most part, canceled. Oh, did I forget to mention that Tone was stuck in San Francisco because his flight didn't get in the night before because of that same fog? So he slept on a couch in the crew room of the San Francisco airport for a couple hours because he couldn't get home to help me. Yes, I am alone. Pregnant. With two little kids. Lovely. Tone did not know our flight was canceled until he was already on his airplane from San Francisco to Denver and waiting to take off. Yes, we were supposed to meet up in Denver getting in at the same time. Fail.

So plan B: i.e. drive to San Francisco, 3 hours away. So...I run back downstairs, and go through a whole fiasco to get my bags back so I can be on my way in the car. If I don't hurry, I'll miss the flight in San Francisco. 20 minutes later, I have my bags, do the whole juggling act again to get to the car, load the car, get gas, and drive like a maniac to San Francisco to get to the airport in time. Now this is a fun part. Hunter gets car sick in major traffic going over the San Mateo bridge. Umm, you can't exactly pull over there with no shoulder and a huge bridge going over the bay. So we do a lot a driving with the back window down smelling all those car fumes from the 8 lanes of traffic around us.

Now, we have to park at the Embassy Sweets Hotel because that's where they have the pilots stay on their overnights in San Francisco and that equals FREE parking. Totally worth it. Parking is free, but we have to catch a shuttle to the airport. I arrive at the hotel to see the shuttle parked out front. So I park, jam the kids into the stroller, grab the bags, run to the lobby, only to see the shuttle driving away. So another 20 minute waiting for the next shuttle.....

Did I mention I am pregnant? With two little kids. Alone.

Anyways, I finally make it to the airport, check bags again, rush to the gate just in the knick of time....only to find...the flight is delayed. Wait an hour...only to discover...THAT flight is now canceled too.

I find out there's another flight to Denver leaving at a nearby gate. But because they dawdled around figuring out if they could put passengers from the canceled flight on the plane, they don't have time to process me, and that flight leaves without me. And with empty seats where I could have sat.

Tone calls. Here's where having access to inside information is great (pilots have access to the website that gives all the information on flights that they don't ever tell you).

There's another flight to Denver leaving in a half hour. It's not on the board and I can't find the gate. Finally, I figure it out, and realize it's a new flight they just made up to be filled with passengers from other canceled flights in the airport. I wait and wait and wait to see if they'll let me on, and manage to snag the last three seats. In first class no less. Is something finally going me way!?

It's 3:00pm by now, and Ainsley has had it. But does she sleep? No. For the next 2 hours on the flight she throws a complete fit. In first class. I am hated by all around me. She falls asleep finally right as the plane is landing and I have to wake her up.

Did I mention I am pregnant? With two little kids? Alone.

Never did I feel such relief when I walk off the plane and see Tone standing there waiting for me at the gate. Mind you, he has been waiting for us since 8:00am when his flight DID arrive in Denver. It is now 6:00pm. He's still in his uniform from the day before, unshowered, bored out of his mind, and looking beautiful to me.

Well, our next flight to Springfield, Missouri, doesn't leave until 8 pm, so we have two hours to wait. With two grumpy kids. We went to the highly overpriced airport McDonalds. Desperate times ya know?

We get on the flight to Springfield, and arrive at 10 pm to see Tone's parents waiting for us. Oh happy day! But we still have an hour drive to get to their house. We walk outside to 10 degree frigid cold and see....they brought their tiny little car. At this point not only do we have the baggage I have mentioned before, but we have added Tone's baggage, which is a laptop, flight bag, and small suitcase. Visions of clowns in tiny little cars were flashing through my head. We manage to jam everything in it with the kids feet propped up on suitcases in front of them. Jam the kids and one adult in the back, and three adults on the small front seat in the front shoulder to shoulder, and drive on curvy, curvy roads for an hour. I am in the backseat, sleep deprived, and feeling very sick at this point. Needless to say, though Mom and Dad were so happy to see us, and us them, they wanted to socialize for a while before bed, and I had to pass. Sorry guys. We'll catch up in the morning.

Morning dawned bright, early and cold. Though the kids were up, Tone and I were....not. Sleep, blessed sleep, claimed us while the grandparents enjoyed the kiddos. Hunter and Grandpa rode snowmobiles in the fresh snow that had fallen the day before. Ainsley bundled up and played in the gorgeous cabin playhouse that Grandpa made for his grandkids, complete with a porch swing and split log furniture.We were certainly kept busy even though it never got above 10 the whole week. Record temps were set, schools were kept closed, and the snow never melted. One night our pipes froze, but Grandpa managed to unfreeze them and get us water. No matter. Grandpa has a tractor. Hunter thought this was so fun! He got to work the front bucket and the back one with grandpa's help.

Every boy's dream!

No rest for the weary. On Wednesday, we drove 3 hours to see Tone's sister, Shari, who was getting back surgery that morning. The three cousins got a snow day from school (they got a whole bunch of snow that day, so the kids spent all Thursday playing together). Shari's surgery was a success, and the kids got to enjoy being a family together. Grandpa decided to do a two hour trek in the snow looking for icicles. Mom, Shari, and I passed and stayed at home catching up while the dads and grandpa took the kids. From the looks of the pictures, they had a blast and accomplished their goal. This one's as big as Ainsley!
All in all we had a great time despite the cold. We were treated to a restaurant in Arkansas that played bluegrass music while you ate. Just a local place with local cooking, and jokes thrown all around in Southern twang and redneck style. Ainsley bee bopped to it the whole time. Wish I would have gotten a picture.
Another good memory is one of Aubrey and Ainsley. I put the kids to sleep that night in their cousin's room, and I found Ainsley and Aubrey curled up on the floor around each other fast asleep. A book was above their heads because they had fallen asleep reading to each other. It was too dark to get a picture, but that's a memory I'll carry forever.
The kids got so much Christmas toys from the grandparents, we had to add a whole big box to our luggage to cart it home in. Shockingly, they managed to fit it in the teeny tiny car on the way back to the airport. The trip home was uneventful with two flawless flights from Springfield to Denver to San Francisco.
Hunter misses his grandparents and tells me everyday this week that he wishes he was there again. It might be something to do with the fact they got him cowboy boots and a fake rifle for Christmas. I don't know....just guessing. All I know is, he hasn't taken them off, except to sleep, in the week since.


  1. that log cabin is to die for. how fun!

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