It's going to be difficult to describe our trip and share photos without going on and on for hours, but I will try. Maybe I can break it up into parts.
Part I. Traveling with Children
Oh, wow. It is hard. We had about 9 bags, total, including carry-ons and Mal's diaper bag. We checked 5 of them, for free, thanks to Adam's uber platinum kiss butt Delta status these days. After we lost the heavy gear, we were prepared for smooth sailing.
Why, I do not know...
After waiting happily at the gate for about an hour and a half, our gate was changed to one that's about 6 miles away. (ish). The airport was about 90 degrees, I had Mal in the Ergo, Adam was lugging Charlie, because he cannot walk without looking at his feet in a crowd, and we had all our carry-on bags. We were HOT. Pouring sweat, we joked about how good the 4 degree blast of MN air would feel later in the evening.
We had almost made it to the new gate when they announced that the flight had been cancelled. Ha. Thanks. So, we were rebooked on a 10:30 pm flight. It was about 3:30 at this time. Are you friggin kidding me? They wanted me to entertain these 2 (ahem, 3) for 7 hours??
Somehow, we did it. We had a campout, and Charlie never seemed to notice, other than to ask every once in a while if our airplane was lost. (We said yes.) Thank God for the Nintendo DS. I can no longer feel bad about letting him do something that has saved my butt this many times, it's just rude. We ate some junk food, played some games, and voila, it was time to go. Charlie did great on the plane, once he fell asleep. The first 30 minutes, he talked nonstop to the guy next to us, a nice man named Gary. Charlie insisted that Gary watch him play Mario, and then asked him 100 questions about the airplane, and his boots. Gary was a good sport.
We landed in MN at about midnight, and our friend Jason was there to meet us.
I was wrong about the cool, crisp air. It was damn freezing.
Part II. Minnesota
The next day we spent with our good friends, Suzie and Jason. They were part of our travel group, and we were so happy that they invited us to stay. Our kids are all about one year apart, and we were especially excited to see Zach and Charlie get together. It was adorable, even when they had their little moments. And sweet Nomi, who loves all things baby, was a total sweetie to Mallory. (And everyone, for that matter). The girl is pure sunshine....I don't believe the rumors that she gets feisty! Love those kids.
Jason helped me, the snow amateur, get CF bundled up for his first time out there. He really liked it, but mostly for the "foottraps" (footprints). The snow was amazing for all of us really. We kept asking about it, about the cold, about the shoveling...it's truly another way of life. It's beautiful scenery, and the holidays definitely look more festive there, in the endless white snow. It was different to see people functioning in it. There was even plenty of bread and milk, AND they had school!
Suzie was very sick on Thursday, which really sucked (I can truly vouch for that now). Jason was so nice to drive us around town with all the kids strapped into the van. We went to CHSFS first, which was a little surreal to me. Kristina (who is somehow even cuter in person!) met us and played with Charlie a little and we chatted. She showed us her office, where I couldn't help but picture her, on June 27th of last year, picking up the phone to call us. THE CALL. I also pictured her picking it up to call someone else I know very, very soon. It was a great visit, even if Charlie was acting a bit crazed. (I don't think he was acting.)
After CHS, of course we had to hit the mall. Getting 4 kids out and in strollers (thankfully, Jason and Suzie have lots of baby stuff!) was a bit of work. (Did I say I want 4 kids of my own??) Jason was awesome. He and Adam pushed the kids, like good daddies.
We met up with Sarah, another friend from Blogland, and her 2 cuties, Bennett and Amelia. Bennett was not shy for long. Once we broke out the Happy Meals, the boys went wild (in a cute way). After lunch, we headed for the best thing about the MOA, the amusement park. Imagine...roller coasters and rides and treats...and no heat, cold, or lines (during the week, anyway). Paradise.
The kids picked a few things to ride, which were enjoyed by all. By all, I mean, most. The Wonder Pet's Flyboat didn't um, fly, with our Chuck. He said afterwards that it was "toooooo bouncyyyyyy!"
Adam and I wanted to ride a coaster together, but Charlie refused...until I offered up the Nikon. He snapped photos while we rode. Jason was amused that he actually managed to get a blurry shot of us on the ride. My little protege...
We had a great time you guys! Thanks, Sarah, for coming to see us. :)
Part III. Wisconsin
Friday morning, Suzie and I went shopping for groceries for the cabin. The Targets up there kick our Target's asses. And the beer is cheaper. Then it was time to pack up both cars, 4 babes in car seats, 4 parents, and 2 dogs for the 3.5 hour trek to Wisconsin Dells. The drive was beautiful. Snow and farms. Snow and farms. Cheese. Mmmm...
When we arrived at the cabin, we scoped out rooms and unpacked. Soon, our friends started arriving. I have to say, it was kinda emotional, seeing them again. And, ohhhh, the kids. It was unbelievable, the change in them. I mean, you see it in pictures, but you can't really get it until you see them. Our travel group fell right back into our groove. Somehow, it feels like we were all meant to be friends. Someone even suggested communal living. Hey, it would be cheaper, too! We were all together when are children came into our lives, the labor and delivery part of adoption. The scariest, and most beautiful part. I couldn't have gotten through that week without them, especially the girls. Now, to get back together, without the fear of the unknown, just to celebrate, was incredible. Here are a ton o' pictures:
Lydia being sassy
The fabulous Miss Makenna, live and in person
Kari and her sweet little cuddler, Kya
Suzie, Beth, and me
This one's on the house, Zachie!
Kari introducing Makenna to Mallory
Dawn greeting Ada
This was a moment after Alemitu announced, "There's going to be a SHOW!"
The audience was captivated
The show turned into a dance party!
Maya, the kid whisperer
I didn't get many shots at the water park. There was too much going on, and I was having too much fun sliding and splashing around with Charlie. Yep, in a bathing suit, while outside, there was freezing snow everywhere. Bizzare. The water parks were unreal. So much fun, I can't wait to go back. Maya, Gifford, if you are reading this, I had a blast with you guys...I will never forget that Hurricane!
Here are couple I snagged from Dawn...a bunch of us floating in the river
Jackson, playing hard to get!
Alemitu and Nomi snag a snack at the park
Beth and CF
Kerry and me
Suz, feeding Mal
Someone wants to go out and play!
Best. Family. Ever.
Dawn and her Selame
Beth and her babes, Lydia and Toby
They like to move it, move it! (sometimes)
Adam is not crazy, I promise. Playing with his gal Ada.
How cute are these two? We didn't even plan it...
Suzie, all better!
Charlie, Zach, and the power of Spongebob
The kids, getting ready to say goodbye for now
Ron playing with CF
Beth with Lydia and Kya
Bye, Ken! We love you!
Me with Makenna and Selame
I was sad to leave the cabin. We said our goodbyes, with me begging everyone to come south next summer. (I'm not letting that one go, there WILL be a plan, soon!) The drive back was nice. We stopped and Suzie treated us to some fresh cheese curds....yum! I was worried about our flight home, since there was a snowstorm gearing up as we left for the airport, but we got out just fine. Charlie actually stayed awake for the flight. And had to GO TO THE BATHROOM twice...during takeoff. Fun times. What seatbelt sign??
We made it home just after 1 am. At about 8:30 when I went downstairs to make Mal's bottle, it hit me. I had the Suzie. Or the Toby. (Poor kid was sick on the trip, too). Either way, it was bad. Alice, the most awesome MIL ever, came right over to get the kids and kept them all day. Lifesaver #2, my mom, came and spent the night and did laundry. What would I ever do without those two? Thanks so, so much. So, even though I brought back great memories, cheese AND a nasty bug, it was worth it a million times over. I love you, Millenium travel group, and I cannot wait to see you again!