Airport Adventure

February 22, 2014

I was tucking Ethan and Caleb in for bed the other night and as I kissed Caleb goodnight I asked, “What time is it?”

“Bedtime.”  Caleb replied as he snuggled down in the covers.

However, Ethan jumped up and shouted his answer at the same time, “It’s adventure time!!”

“No. No, it’s not adventure time.” I said to Ethan, “Caleb is correct, it’s bedtime.”

As I left the room I smiled as I thought back to my childhood and the fun adventures I had playing with my sister, Leslie. When we were little we enjoyed playing Barbie’s, making cookies, and playing games. In high school we spent many hours laying out by the pool, working on scrapbooks and doing each other’s hair and make-up.  I loved having a little sister and miss those times as we have both grown up, gotten married and had children of our own.  We live several hours from one another and it’s hard to find time to get together. On the rare occasion that we do see each other it’s usually at family holiday gatherings where there is so much chaos with all the kids that it can be hard to carry on a conversation.

IMG_6804Last weekend Leslie and I traveled back to our hometown of Bakersfield, CA for our grandfather’s 95th birthday party.  It was a great celebration and I loved seeing our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. However, my favorite part of the trip was spending quality time with my sister talking, laughing, and reconnecting.  When it was time to fly home I was excited to see my husband and kids but a little disappointed that I didn’t have more time to spend with Leslie.  The weekend had gone so fast and I really didn’t want it to end.

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We got up at 4:00 am Monday morning and my dad took us to the Bakersfield airport to start our trip home. The plane they put us on was “quaint and charming”, as our stewardess called it. I called it “teeny tiny” and I was amazed at how bumpy and loud the flight was.  We flew from Bakersfield to San Francisco to catch our connecting flight to Chicago and then home to Indianapolis.

However, when we got to the gate we were told the flight out of San Francisco was delayed. Apparently the Captain’s chair needed to be replaced. At least that is the reason they gave us over the loud speaker. First it was delayed 15 min, then 25 minutes, then 55 minutes. At this point we knew we would not make our connecting flight in Chicago since we only had an hour layover.

IMG_6884We decided to make the best of it and do what we always do when we are stressed – eat!  Even though it was only 9:00 am we had been up for hours and hours so we decided to go for a burrito with chips and salsa.

As we were enjoying our burritos and discussing what to do about missing our connecting flight, we looked up and saw the pilot and co-pilot walk off the plane with their rolling suitcases trailing behind them.

“That’s not a good sign.” I said to Leslie. “I guess we may have an interesting day ahead of us!”

The agent at the terminal desk came on the loud speaker again to let us know that the flight had been indefinitely delayed. She advised that if we had connecting flights it would be very unlikely that we would make them so they would suggest that we go to the customer service desk to re-book and find an alternate flight to our final destination.

I am not one of those go-with-the-flow type of people. I am a planner and I can get stressed when plans change unexpectedly. However, I found myself laughing uncontrollably as Leslie and I finished off our burritos and speculated on what went wrong with the replacing of the Captain’s chair.  A few minutes later we headed towards the customer service desk to see if they could help us get back home.

As we approached the desk we saw the line was very long and the faces in the line were not very happy. Leslie and I got in line and again found ourselves talking and laughing while we waited for over an hour in the line. The other customers in line were griping, complaining and getting angry and rude with the airline employees. Leslie and I decided we’d get a lot further by being nice since we both know what it’s like to be on the other side of that counter.  Not that we have worked at an airline as ticketing agents, but we have both worked in customer service and public service jobs and know how exhausting it can be to deal with upset and angry customers all day long.

While we were waiting in line my husband, being the awesome guy that he is, had researched and found a direct flight home that was leaving at 1:30 pm.  We needed to try and get on that flight since the next available flight out would not leave until 10:30 pm and had several connections on it’s way back to Indy so we would not arrive home until 10:30 am the next morning.  As we wound around in the line closer and closer to the ticket counter a stewardess came along offering all of those in line cookies, juice and soft drinks.  It was a nice gesture on the airlines part and it did seem to help bring a few more smiles to those waiting in line with us. As Leslie and I finished our Diet Cokes and cookies we finally made it to the front of the line.

We walked up to the ticket counter together and politely explained to the gentleman behind the counter that we both needed to get back to Indianapolis for work the next morning.  Leslie told him that we had looked online and saw there was a flight leaving at 1:30 pm and how perfect it would be if they had 2 seats available for us on that flight. She also threw in that she thought the stewardess should be serving steaks to the ticket agents since they were the ones working so hard – that seemed to bring a smile to his face.

The ticket agent typed some information into his computer and said, “It looks like we have 2 seats together on that flight in the economy plus seating so I will upgrade you to that level at no extra charge.  Do you have any bags you need switched over to that flight with you?”

Leslie and I had both checked suitcases and so we handed him our claim tickets and with a few clicks of the mouse he had re-routed our bags to accompany us on the flight home.  “Wow, that seemed to go really smoothly!” I thought to myself. I just hoped the rest of the trip home would be that easy!

We called our husbands and texted our mom and dad and let everyone know of our new flight information.  We still had a couple hours until our flight so we went and got some ice cream for $4.00 a scoop and sat down to enjoy it.  Although our trip hadn’t gone as planned we both said how thankful we were that it was just us, and not us plus all our children, stranded at the airport.  Not only would it have been a lot more stressful, but it would have also been a lot more expensive. With the high cost of food at the airport it would have probably costs us $100 for lunch!

IMG_6883The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. We enjoyed the extra leg room in the economy plus seating and passed the time watching Baby Momma on my iPad, talking, and reading books and magazines. Before we knew it we were landing in Indianapolis. The captain came on for his landing announcement and told us the current temperature was 9 degrees in Indianapolis and we shivered just thinking about the shock our bodies were about to experience! As we walked down the tunnel from plane to the gate we felt the frigid air against our faces and actually saw ice that had formed on the floor inside the tunnel. Welcome home to the frozen tundra of Indiana!

We were impressed that our suitcases were actually waiting for us on the baggage carousel. We grabbed our suitcases and braved the cold as we left the airport and headed for the car.

IMG_6793What an adventure we had been on!  It was an adventure that we could never have planned, but one that we will never forget. It’s funny how an unexpected change in plans can provide us with some of the most memorable moments in our lives. So next time your plans change or you have unexpected delays try to stop and enjoy the moment and remember that we all need a little adventure every once in a while.

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This year our Vacation Bible School theme was “Pandamania” and so the kids spent a week learning a lot about God and quite a bit about Panda’s too.  I was in charge of crafts and so we made Panda Masks, Panda Sand Art, Floating Panda’s on a raft and Panda Prayer Boxes.  VBS was the week right before our family vacation which was awesome because after it was all over I was REALLY ready for a vacation.  

We were sitting around talking with our four kids about things they learned at VBS when Ethan asked, “What does ‘Pandamania’ mean?”  I explained to Ethan that they were using a play on words and instead of “Pandemonium” they named the VBS “Pandamania”.  “Oh, I get it”, Emma said with a smile. “It’s ‘cuz of all the Panda’s, right?”  Ethan thought for a second and then asked, “Well, then what does ‘Pandemonium’ mean?” 

Since I am not a walking dictionary I did what most mothers do when their kids ask a question we don’t know the answer to : I Goggled it.

According to Google, “pandemonium” is defined as “a wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos”.  Hmmm ….. that pretty much sums up our summer.  

Those of you who were loyal followers of my blog hopefully have noticed that I haven’t posted for almost 3 months now.  Well, that’s because this summer has been so hectic and crazy and through all the chaos and “pandemonium” of summer camps, vacations, softball, baseball, swimming, etc.  I have hardly had time to shower, let alone write.  (those of you who aren’t mothers find that gross … those of you who are mothers know exactly what I am talking about!)

So I basically wanted to check in and let everyone know that “yes” the Parsonage is still standing and “yes” there is still playdough (and kids) in it.  We’ve had a lot of fun this summer, but now it is back to the real world. School started today most of the kids were happy to go back to school.

As you can tell from the picture, the degree of happiness is inversely related to the age of the child.  Notice that our oldest son, Drew, looks less-than-thrilled to be up before 10 am and is definitely not happy that he has to go and sit through an entire day of school with no video games, TV or iPod. On the other hand, our youngest child, Emma, was up, dressed and had her shoes, socks and backpack on at 6:30 this morning … a full hour before the bus arrived!

Sweet Treats

April 4, 2011

Ever since Emma was a baby she has loved to eat chocolate.  Chocolate candy bars and chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  She not only is known to eat chocolate on a daily basis, but also is known to wear it.  She has a special talent for getting chocolate on her face and clothes and, on at least one occasion, she managed to somehow get chocolate on the BACK of her shirt!  

While we were in Florida we stopped by the shops in Downtown Disney because Ethan and Drew wanted to go to the Lego Store.  On our way to the Lego Store Emma and Caleb were distracted by the Goofy Candy Store … Emma because she saw the word “candy” and Caleb because Goofy is one of his favorite Disney characters. They both really wanted to stop so I sent Dwight on with Drew and Ethan to the Lego Store and Emma, Caleb and I went into the candy store.  I have to admit I was much more excited by the candy store than the Lego store … I’m all about the candy and chocolate too!

Talk about being a kid in a candy store … Wow! There was wall-to-wall candy, cookies, cakes, and anything else sweet you could possibly want.  They even had a giant Rice Krispie Treat shaped like Mickey Mouse that looked like a cake.  The bakery was right in the center of the store so you could see and smell all the delicious treats throughout the store.

Emma went over to the bulk candy bins and found what looked like gummy  bears, but instead of being shaped like bears they were shaped like Mickey Mouse.   Mickey Mouse Gummies?? How could we not buy some?  Emma put a few scoops in a baggie and then also suggested we buy some M& M’s too since they are Emma & Ethan’s favorite. 

The cashier rang up the candy and said, “Your total comes to $9.78”  “I could have bought the same amount of M&M’s and gummies at Wal-Mart for about $2.00!” I thought.  I glanced back at that the sign above the bulk bins and saw that It said “Bulk Candy ~ $12.00/lb”.   After handing the cashier my debit card and paying for our candy, Emma and Caleb followed me out of the store.  As I looked back at Emma who was skipping happily out of the store with the two bags of candy in her hand and a smile ear to ear on her face,  I knew it was worth the extra $7.78 !

Spring Break With Mickey

March 31, 2011

“Wait! Before we go I have one important question.”  Emma announced as we were loading the suitcases into the car.  “Do they have ice cream in Florida?”  I laughed and nodded, “Of course they do Emma!  They not only have ice cream, but in Disney World they have ice cream cones with chocolate Mickey Mouse ears!”  The mention of ice cream and chocolate together brought a big smile to Emma’s face. “OK, great!  I’m all set and ready to go then. Let’s get this show on the road!”

We had all been looking forward to this day for months.  We usually don’t go anywhere for Spring Break, but this year was going to be special. We were flying to Disney World to spend the week and the kids could hardly contain their excitement!  The parents were pretty psyched too!  After all, who wouldn’t want to escape all the cold and snow for a few days of sunshine and warmth? We piled all the suitcases and kids into the car and headed off to the airport  (and only an hour behind schedule).

So for those of you who may have been wondering where we’ve been and why there have not been any posts for a few weeks, now you have the scoop.  Our family spent a week in Florida at Disney World and then we have spent this past week trying to get out of vacation mode and back into “real life” mode. 

School, work and laundry have consumed a lot of this week but now that things are settling down I hope to have time to write about the adventures of the pastor’s kids in Disney World.  Each of the kids had their favorite rides and activities but they all agreed that the ice cream in Disney World was the best they’d ever tasted!

Pretend Holidays

January 29, 2011

The kids are always excited about upcoming holidays, especially ones that involve candy, cake, and/or getting out of school.  Emma was looking at a calendar for February and said, “Wow! February has so many holidays!”  I could only think Valentines Day and Presidents Day so I asked, “Really?  What are the holidays in February?”   She started counting them up on her fingers, “Well, there is Dr. Seuss Day, Groundhog Day, Valentines Day, and Presidents Day.”  Emma was surprised that I had forgotten Dr. Seuss Day and Groundhog Day … c’mon Mom, get with the program! is what I’m sure she was thinking.  I asked Emma, “Do you know how many  of those holidays Mommy gets off work?”  “No, how many?” she asked. “Absolutely none!” I answered. “Well, that’s not fair.  It’s like those are just pretend holidays.”  Yeah, Emma it’s rough out there in the real world!

What’s That Smell?

January 27, 2011

Ethan came up to me the other night and asked, “Wanna smell my armpit?” I gracefully declined but he persisted and said, “C’mon Mom … it smells really good! I used some of that stuff Drew puts on his armpits to make them smell better.”  I chuckled and then said, “OK … come here and let me smell.”  I took whiff and told him he smelled great. “Yep”, Ethan said proudly. “Now I smell just like Drew!”

When Drew was a toddler his favorite show to watch was Jim Henson’s “Bear in the Big Blue House”. He watched it on TV and also had videos (VHS tapes at that time) and books so that he could visit Bears Big Blue House and hang out with Ojo, Tutter, Treelo, Bear and Luna whenever he wanted.  One of my favorite songs from that show was “What’s That Smell?”  The main character, Bear, would bring his big, brown fuzzy nose up to the screen , sniff and say “Do you smell that?” and then break into song.  “What’s that smell? Smells like cornflakes, or maybe pancakes, a glass of milk and something swell. What’s that smell? Smells like clean clothes, tickling my nose, warm pajamas and soap as well.” 

The song had a catchy tune but it also made me think of how smells remind us of certain people, places or times in our lives.  We may catch a whiff of a cologne or perfume that reminds us of a loved one or maybe we smell a food that reminds us of a memory from our childhood.  Some smells that bring back memories for me are the smells like the heavy chlorine from an indoor pool that reminds me of my days on the swim team in high school. Or the smell of Desitin that reminds me of when my kids were babies and I spent most of my days smelling of Desitin and spit up.  Then there are those smells that are just relaxing and calming, like the smell of fresh rain or the ocean breeze. Speaking of relaxing smells, when our kids are sick or they are having trouble sleeping I have found that if I give them one of my pillows it helps them to relax because, as they say, “It smells like Mommy!” 

Last Spring Emma and Ethan had a field day at school where they participated in lots of fun outdoor games and events.  They were, of course, very dirty and smelly when they got home so I gave them baths before bed.  Emma was in the bath to wash off all the sweat and sunscreen when she looked up at me, smiled and said, “I smell just like vacation!”

California Dreaming

January 4, 2011

  It’s been almost 2 years since our trip to California.  My Mom and Dad along with my brother and sister and I and our spouses and children (17 of us in all) took an trip to visit my Grandparents in Bakersfield, CA where I grew up. It was my Grandfathers 90th birthday and we all wanted to be there to help  him celebrate.  Also, our children had never been to California or to the beach and we knew it would be a great experience for them.

It was February when we visited so it was a little cooler than we expected, but still very warm compared to the weather back home in Indiana.  The cool temperatures didn’t stop the kids from enjoying the ocean … they were so excited by the waves and the sand that they wanted to spend as much time as possible at the beach. Since the temperatures were a little chilly after we were done at the beach we would all go back to the hotel, pile in the hot tub and warm up.  Seventeen people makes for one full hot tub but it was a relaxing way to end each day.

The memories we had on this vacation were priceless. I was so glad that our entire family got to enjoy this experience together because it’s been a trip we have talked about ever since we got back.  We love looking through the photos and talking about all the fun times and memories made on our vacation to California.  Of all the photos there is one in particular that makes me smile. It’s a photo of Caleb, Ethan and Emma with their little toes in the ocean water as the tide came in.   Everytime I look at this picuture I am reminded of the joy and laughter of one of the most memorable vacations of my life.

Of course for every story there is a cute quote, right ? Well the one from this vacation was when we returned home and Emma and Ethan were just about to start a swimming unit in gym class. Emma came home from school and said that she had asked her teacher  “Will there be a hot tub at the pool we will be swimming at?”  to which her teacher answered “no”. Emma was a bit disappointed and told me that she guessed she’d still have fun but she really thought the school should think about adding a hot tub like the one at our hotel in California.