So we took our first official family vacation last week. Like the kind where you pack bags, fly on an airplane and go somewhere fun. We’ve gone camping and backpacking and driven to Oklahoma but this was the first time as a family with Edric that we went somewhere out of state and not to a tent. (Prior to Edric we did go to Yellowstone 2 summers ago which was amazing, but this was our first trip as a family of 5).
Leighton and Caedmon were beyond stoked about flying on an airplane. Leighton flew when he was 8 months old and remembers none of it (obviously) and Caedmon has never been on a plane. Edric obviously has, but he slept almost the entire flights home from Seoul last September so I’m not sure he remembers any of it either. And with his limited speech right now it’s not like he could fill his big brothers in on any of it anyway.
And so a few months ago I booked our flights to San Diego and the day finally arrived that we got to leave. I happened to book our flight for 8AM (technically 7:59, but close enough) which meant we were up EARLY around here, luckily my parents volunteered to drive us to the airport instead of us parking the van and them picking it up later that day. The excitement made everyone pretty cheery despite the early hour Sunday morning and so before long we were loaded and driving towards the airport.
I actually did a pretty good job of packing, everyone had a backpack for the flight and then everything else fit into two bags both which weighed less than 50 pounds. For the car seats for the two little guys we bought car seat wheelie things that strap on and we could pull and wheel the car seat through the airport and then they folded up and fit in the overhead bin during the flight while the two youngest were strapped into their car seats on the airplane. It worked pretty well. And made getting through the airport a breeze.
Before we got to our terminal the boys were already amazed at the moving walkways and the underground tram that travels between the terminals. They all had big grins on their faces.
Because we were taking an early morning flight and it was an express flight it meant that we basically had to walk out to Kansas to get to our gate once we got to the terminal. I’m pretty sure I could have thrown a rock over the boarder from out there, and yes I throw like a girl. Nevertheless the boys thought all the moving walk ways on the way out to Kansas were beyond awesome and Leighton tried to race me walking on the walkway while I pulled Edric in his carseat walking on the main floor. Caedmon and Edric just grinned as they rode along in their car seats. As we approached Kansas there were big windows looking out over the runways and we had plenty of time to spare so the boys sat and watched the planes take off for quite awhile.
I finally pulled them away when it was getting close to boarding time and we headed to the gate. Being an early morning express flight it meant that there were mostly business travelers on the flight and I’m pretty sure I saw a number of eyes roll as we walked up. I think everyone was hoping that they were not seated anywhere near us. But again, small early morning express flight, there really isn’t anywhere on the flight that wasn’t “close to us”.
We got loaded and Clint got to sit behind the row that the other four of us took over. Looking back if I had to do it again instead of spreading out across the aisle I would have put us all behind each other so at least (despite my best efforts) when Edric kicked the seat he would be kicking his brother’s seat and not the cranky man’s seat. But all in all it worked out ok.
I think I only answered “mommy, when are we going to take off?” about 648 times before we actually took off. And when we did, the pure joy and excitement that Leighton and Caedmon expressed made everyone on the flight smile (even cranky man). Edric threw in his excited glee cry too, but only in copying his brothers, I think he was a bit disappointed that he could no longer see the “truck” and “cars” that he kept pointing out his window.
The boys did awesome. They thought that the orange juice and waffle cookie thing were amazing that we got served. They read books, did activity cards, played with dinosaur stickers, and looked out the window. Only a few times Edric kicked the chair in front of him, and I did all I could to prevent it but I only have two hands and arms and he’s two and all in all he did awesome (despite cranky man’s comments at the end….even the other passengers thought cranky man was out of line for pointing out the few kicks).
It was only a 2 hour flight which was just long enough and short enough for everyone. A number of people (beside cranky man…sorry I think I still have a bone to pick with him), said to us “you know, I dread flights with kids, but your kids were great and made the flight enjoyable”. I count that as a win.
And so our adventures in San Diego began. It was a great start to a great week. Now that we are home again, I walked upstairs after lunch to find the boys had built their own plane in our playroom and were playing “air plane”. Just fair warning, if you choose to fly on their airplane, know that at times there may not be a pilot as they all like to serve the drinks to the passengers. When I pointed this out, they told me “oh mommy, the pretend pilots are flying the plane right now, we are giving everyone orange juice”.