It's catch-up time... remember when I had a glorious flight with the kids a few weeks ago? Here's the recap of the trip. We stayed with Ben's sister Heather, husband Rob, and their four kids, Abbie, Emma, Hannah, and Isaac.
First, the beautiful view from their kitchen in the morning:
Heather and I decided to drive up to Gardner Village to take the kids on the elf scavenger hunt around the outside of the shops. Her oldest two girls were in school, so we had Hannah, Isaac, Eli and Charlie. Here's cute Hannah:
Heather was hilarious and jumped behind Hannah to hold Charlie up in the picture. Otherwise he was off and running and not interested in being in a group shot with cousins.
Hunting for elves...
And running up and down the wheelchair ramps:
We enjoyed the pretty wildlife -
Eli was representing Chi-town with his baggy jeans (that child needs a belt!!):
People near us were feeding these poor animals popcorn. Heather and I were nervous they were going to choke!!
Back at Heather's house, here are some shots of the cousins being wild in their basement - they have an old king-size mattress that the kids have fun jumping, flipping, running, all over it.
You can view hilarious jumping/wild cousins in the following two video clips:
Heather was so wonderful and watched my boys while I was gone for an evening and a full day at wedding festivities at Sundance (pictures to come). The wedding was the main reason for my last-minute trip to Utah. Going out there gives me so much stress because there is never enough time to see and do everything we want to do. One of these times I'm determined to go for longer than five days so I can visit more friends.
However, I was able to see a few people on Friday up in Sandy, including my sweet long-time friend Natalie and her daughter Penny. We met up for lunch and ohhhhh my gosh. It was a TOTAL disaster on my end. Both of my kids were an emotional mess and were crying over any little thing. Charlie would not sit in the high chair and was moving all over the place. Eli bit his tongue at one point and was SCREAMING. In the restaurant. Screaming as loud as possible because he was in so much pain. They were both so incredibly tired from traveling that this pushed Eli over the edge. Natalie, I am so sorry for our chaotic lunch experience.
I also ran over to see my friend Mariah and her fun kids. Charlie miraculously napped in a pack and play at her house and we had some time to visit and catch up, which was a lot of fun. That evening, we met up with my Grandpa's wife, Judy at Cafe Rio. I think this was the third or fourth time I ate at Cafe Rio on this short trip. I love that place and eat as much as I can when I'm out there.
And of course, my kids were wild again. Charlie was screaming on the way in to the restaurant because he wanted to bring his blankie inside (we had the blankie with us because he had napped at a friend's house earlier that afternoon). There was no way I was letting him drag that blankie on the dirty restaurant floor!! Angry Charlie was thrashing around in my arms, throwing a huge tantrum, which caused my wonderful new camera to fall out of my bag and land on the hard floor. Luckily it just broke the filter on my lens, but nothing else. Yikes.
Charlie calmed down after about five minutes in line. Once we got to the table with our food, I ran over to fill up our drinks and left the kids at the table. Eli proceeded to knock his plate of tacos, rice, etc. all over the floor (it was an accident). Judy arrived soon after this and I was relieved to not have to juggle these guys by myself, because I was quickly losing my patience.
After Charlie ate a little food, he was busy climbing on nearby chairs at other tables. He would not stop moving and it was driving me crazy!! It was Friday night and the place was filling up with people. Judy was a saint - she didn't bat an eye at my wild kids and was so sweet with them.
Our flight home was not so fantastic as the way out there. It started off well - Heather came with me to the airport and hung out with the boys inside the entrance of the airport while I returned the rental car. She even walked through the security line with us, and then Rob picked her up at the curb after we were through security. That was a HUGE help!!
However, things went downhill after that. There was bad weather in Chicago, so we were delayed for an hour on the plane. I used miles for this trip, and on the way back we were in first class. Basically, I had booked the trip without much notice and was forced to use more miles for the flight back because it was busier, so it was either sit in coach or first class for the same amt of miles... but I was quickly regretting this decision when I was getting dirty looks from the other people in first class. My boys were fairly well behaved for the most part, but the last hour of the flight was tough. Charlie was tired and squirming and didn't want to sit in my lap. The flight attendant kept reminding me that he needed to be on my lap for the descent, but he would throw himself off onto the floor. Eli had to pee (for the third time on the plane) on the descent and the flight attendant wouldn't let him leave his seat to go really quick - we would have had to circle again, she said, and it would only be five more minutes before we would land.
TWENTY minutes later, we were taxiing over to our gate. In the meantime, Eli peed his pants, of course. We exited the plane with all of our carry-ons and tired, stinky kids and made it over to the baggage claim. Eli announced that he needed to go to the bathroom once again (in my head I was trying not to scream :) and a nice man standing near me offered to watch my bags so I could run and take him to the bathroom really quick. He even offered to grab our suitcase and car seats if they came around the baggage belt. I brought my purse and hustled the kids over to the bathroom, then ran back (I was a little nervous about trusting this guy - he really did seem normal and he had a Southern accent - he just seemed nice and feeling sorry for my chaos). Our bag and car seats had arrived! Ben called and said he was driving in to the terminal right then. I couldn't see a place to rent carts anywhere nearby, so the nice man offered to help me haul all of our junk out to the curb. Seriously, he was a saint.
O'Hare was super crowded and I was pretty stressed about keeping my kids near me as we walked outside, crossed the taxi lane and made it over to the second lane where Ben was waiting. I called for him to come grab the kids (who were running across willy nilly), so he did, but was promptly yelled at by the O'Hare traffic jerk near us (because he walked a few feet from the car to get his 3 and 1-year-old). Since it's a security risk to leave your car. Come on traffic guy, open your eyes!!
The nice man who helped me dropped our stuff off by the car and said goodbye. I started installing the car seats back into the car, which takes a little while, especially with two. Our kids were climbing all over the front seats and Ben was putting our luggage in the trunk... after a little bit, the traffic jerk started yelling at us for taking too long (as I am still latching the seats in). I yelled back that I was installing CAR SEATS for Pete's sake and I was not leaving until they were in properly. My blood was boiling.
I've had lots of unpleasant interactions with the traffic people at O'Hare (who basically bark at you until you move along when you're getting picked up at the curb). But this run-in made me especially frustrated. There is no need for them to scream at me as I'm installing car seats and buckling my kids in. O'Hare by far has the nastiest traffic/curb guys that I have ever come across. They are HORRIBLE. I called the City of Chicago the next week and filed a complaint about the incident. There is no need for them to be so nasty. And what a way to welcome people to Chicago!! It's ridiculous.
Enough of my rant! We finally made it home and I am so happy to not be traveling for Christmas this year. It's great to be home in our cozy house and spend time together as a family. We had a great time visiting family and I was so grateful to be there for Nicole's wedding.