More posts will come, but I think one blog post should be dedicated to the grand adventure of flying to California. Sorry, there are no photos on this post, as you read you will see how practically impossible it was to have had time for a photo. On Saturday the 20th we woke up nice and early at 2:20 AM EST (Friday 11:20 PM PST). We got to the airport and Charles dropped the two boys, me, our luggage, two car seats, and one stroller off.
At the check-in line a lady behind me helped me push all my stuff forward with me while we chatted. She was pregnant with her second child and sympathized with my plight of flying with two kids by myself. She then helped me get from the check-out line to the security line. While standing in the AMAZINGLY LONG security line the man in front of me helped me out. Charlie sat in his car seat and the man would pick up the car seat and carry him forward. At the security check point the man and his wife, along with the first lady helped me get through. They helped me throw everything up on the conveyor belt and then back off again. The man and his wife then walked me all the way down to my departure gate and then went off to their flight. We barely made it in time for our flight to take off at 6:10 AM EST (3:10 AM PST).
Charlie, Henry, and I all slept for the first half an hour to an hour. The kids were pretty good to play with toys, books, and blankets during the five and a half hour flight. We landed at 8:30 AM PST (5:30 AM EST). After the flight I put the two backpacks on the stroller, tied Charlie's car seat to the stroller, I then put our suitcase in Henry's car seat which I carried on my arm. Henry rolled in the stroller and Charlie had to stick by the stroller as we walked. We got lots of looks from people. We walked to the shuttle for the car rental, which of course their shuttle doesn't pick up at the normal car rental shuttle center so we had to back track.
At the car rental place a man made a "helpful suggestion" to me that I should just leave my stuff outside where I was so I wouldn't have to haul it to the car rental office. I told him that I thought it better to drag my stuff with me. I should have said, "I grew up in California. I am not that naive to leave my things unattended in LA."
The line in the car rental office was long and we waited around for over half an hour. The great thing was that the car rental people didn't charge me extra for being underage. They had my driver's license and everything. I guess they figured that no one could be under 25 and have two kids. Henry fell asleep in the stroller and Charlie ran around the office getting his wiggles out. The car rental people gave me some papers to give to a man at a booth so we could get our car. My hands were full with our things so I told Charlie that he was to hold the important papers. The people at the car rental probably though I was crazy to give my rambunctious two year old the papers. Charlie held the papers nicely and when we got to the booth Charlie obediently gave the papers to the man. I knew he was mature enough for such a task as that.
I know I am skipping the entire vacation between these two stories, but I thought that it would be fun to have both of the flying stories together. When leaving for the airport from Oceanside I planned for one and a half hours for driving, plus an extra half an hour for unpredictable traffic, half an hour to return the car, and two and a half hours to get through the ticket line and security. I needed every minute of that time right where I had planned it.
Our GPS didn't understand CA roads very well and we consequently added an extra half an hour to the drive. For the car rental place I completely forgot to put gas in the car. I loaded the kids back into the car and drove to the gas station with them screaming in the back since they were both ready to get out of the car. At the gas station I had no idea how to open the gas tank. I finally called Charles who was asleep and asked him to help me figure it out. He was so groggy at first he didn't understand why I didn't know how to open the gas tank since he thought I was in our car. Once he woke up enough he started giving me lots of suggestions of places where a lever could be to open the gas tank little door. On the way back to the car rental we had to get stuck in LAX airport traffic. We dropped off the car and headed to the shuttle and the airport.
At the airport Charlie didn't want to walk so he sat in the car seat as it was dragged behind by the stroller which it was tied to. We got through the long line for check-in with lots of people pointing out how funny it was that I was dragging Charlie in his car seat. At the check-in counter the lady there was quite incompetent about how to do her job. She didn't check my ID at all and forgot to charge me the $25 for checking in a suitcase. She didn't know how to check-in a car seat, "I can't do that, you have to talk to the lady over there."
Me, "Why can't you check-in the car seat? This is where they get checked in."
Her, "I can't. Sorry. Go talk to the lady over there."
Me, "What!?!?! Are you serious? This is stupid. I check it in here."
Her, "I can't. Go talk to the lady over there."
Me, "Fine. What lady?"
Her, "That lady."
Me, "Which one?"
Her, "That one."
Me, "This is ridiculous." I drag the kids over to the first airline person I come to and ask them to check in my stuff, "The lady over there says she can't check-in my car seat and told me to come talk to you."
New Lady, "What?!?! Who said that?"
Me, "That lady there."
New Lady, "Ugh. Here, I'll help you."
Me, "Thank you."
The security line was much less difficult. It wasn't long at all and I felt like I could take my time through it. The lady there did ask me if my children were twins (come to think of it, when I flew to CA someone in the airport there asked me if my kids were twins). I found the gate for our flight with no trouble. Charlie played with his ball as we waited for our flight to board. We flew out at 10:44 PM PST (1:44 AM EST).
On the flight both kids and I slept most of the time. We all did wake up quite a few times though which really hampered any really restful sleep. We were on the very back row of the airplane which was great for being right next to the bathrooms. We landed at 6:55 AM EST (3:55 AM PST). When we got off the plane though Charlie decided that he wanted me to carry him since I was carrying Henry. He just didn't get the idea that I couldn't since I was carrying Henry, his car seat and our carry-ons. I tried pushing him down the airplane isle with my foot, but that wasn't working. I finally just got off the plane with the things I was carrying. I set Henry and everything down and then went back to retrieve Charlie. Charlie would not stay seated in his car seat as I dragged it with the stroller. He kept getting out and crying on the floor since he was so tired and upset that he wasn't in his bed sleeping. I finally had to strap him in.
After getting our things into the car and heading home we stopped off for some food and then we fell asleep as Charles drove us home. I slept another three hours once back at our hotel while Charles took care of the kids. I did get up three times though to help even though I was pretty much asleep. I was so asleep one of the times when I got up to help that I decided to try to nurse Henry. Charles looked at me and said something like, "Uh Sweetie, you stopped nursing Henry over a month ago." I looked at Henry and he didn't understand what was going on. I gave Henry back to Charles and went back to sleep. Another time that I got up I asked Charles to get my bags from the car so that I could take a shower. I was back in bed asleep when he got back to our room. I was pretty tired to say the least.
Annette told me to make up stories for these pictures, so I will. The following picture is of Henry eating wood. Apparently we don't feed him enough.
This is Henry acting pleasant even though Daddy was trying to explain how one could use Calculus to figure out how much water the slide could hold at any given time.
This is Daddy telling Henry about how he gets to pay for all of his daddy's bills as the national debt goes through the roof.
This is Daddy telling Henry that his father has found an arranged marriage partner for him so he doesn't have to wade through dating someday (it was hard to find someone even close to as perfect as his mommy and that's saying something since little children are perfect).
This is me helping Henry do jumping jacks.
This is Henry looking deep into the camera to make sure you all understand how cute he is.
This is Henry admiring Charlie's mad jungle gym skills
This is the last time they will ever want to/be able to swing in the same swing.
This is Henry's violent side coming out. Charlie took that one in the chops like a man.
This is Henry laughing at Annette's difficulty in getting him out of the swing. I'm surprised his arms were dislocated.
Charlie's throwing stance is getting better all of the time.
His little brother is learning how to throw balls from him.
The throwing lessons did get put on hold so Charlie could chase a bunny under the tree. He didn't catch the bunny which tells me, his father, that running lessons are next. He's no Usain Bolt...yet.
Henry gets a free pass from lessons until he can walk. I will give him another couple of weeks.
This is Henry conversing with angels...like Annette.
I think Charlie doesn't understand the optical illusion that things that are far away are not really smaller. He kept running back and forth between the two hoops thinking that, for sure, the farther one will be easier to throw the ball into. Then he gets to the hoop and wonders how the devil it just got so big when it was just so small a second ago.
Everything grows plants here. If you sit down on the ground for too long, a plant may spring up out of the ground and wrap its vines around you and won't get away.
These next two pictures are Annette's positive proof that moss does NOT grow on the north side of trees here. It envelops the tree.
Big people don't do slides as well as little people. We have too much surface area (a fat joke perhaps) and the coefficient of friction is much higher on my jeans than it is on his athletic shorts.
This is my beautiful wife making sure our child doesn't end up in surgery again.
This is them returning from a jaunt through the jungle.
These are the killer vines I was describing.
This is Annette's creativity coming through.
In PA (we're cool enough now we can use the local vernacular to shorten Pennsylvania), you don't have to exercise to sweat. If you have a pulse, chances are good you're sweating.
The Hilton provides private swimming pools in each suite. They're a little too shallow to dive into, but they sure bring smiles to the faces of little kiddies.
I was talking to Charles and I asked him where he thought that Charlie learned to do this. He suggested that maybe one of us does it on occasion and we don't even realize it. I thought about that and then started looking through some photos. Here is what I found...
Note from Charles: I think there were a lot more photos than this, but you get the point.