...and everything is going GREAT!! Unfortunately, I don't have a way to download pictures so stories will have to do for now.
First, the flights. We left Anchorage at 10:30pm on Saturday night for a 6.5 hour flight to Houston. We had a 2.5 hour layover in Houston and then flew 2.5 hours to Dayton. This is the girls first flight so we had NO idea what to expect and to say the least, we were a little nervous going into it. It wouldn't have been right if it wasn't raining when we left...and it was.
We bought an extra seat for the trip but for the first flight, we were never assigned seats even after I called 24 hours prior and tried to get seats together. When we arrived and checked in...still no seats. They said to "go to the gate and they'll be able to get you seats together". So we check our 5 bags...actually 4 bags and a carseat...we head up to security with the girls in the double stroller, 2 backpacks, another diaper bag, and the 2nd car seat. It took us FOREVER to get through security. I refused to apologize or rush but man, there was a lot of people waiting behind us when we were finally through.
Finally at the gate the agent was able to swap enough people and after asking me 3 different times if we minded if we sat separate, he managed to get us the first row behind first class...the bulkhead!!! Yea for us!! It was AWESOME!! Tons of room. Only negative was they were right next to a bathroom so people constantly were going in and out and flushing the toilet.
But the girls did fantastic. They were so interested in all the new sights. They were laughing at other passengers and pretty easy to entertain but after a couple hours they were still not asleep. It was probably around 12:30 or 1am when they finally got to sleep. Lisa was able to move Alyssa from her arms to the carseat without waking up and then held Katy until she fell asleep. Unfortunately, Lisa or I could not sleep. The girls got about 4 hours of sleep but Lisa and I slept for 30 minutes or less...2 to 5 minutes at a time.
The decent into Houston wasn't too bad. We heard to watch out for the decent because that's when their ears will hurt them. They did pretty good.
In Houston, we found a corner by ourselves...set up a nice barrier with all of our carry on luggage and stroller and played with the girls. Surprisingly, it went by really fast and they were boarding before we were even ready.
So this flight wasn't as great. The plane from Houston to Dayton was pretty small...2 seats on one side and 1 on the other. The plan was for us to be on the same row with me on the 1 seater side holding a baby with Lisa, the carseat, and the other baby on the 2 seater side. Great plan, right? Not so fast my friend.
Evidently, these planes only have certain rows that have enough oxygen masks for infants and the extra masks are all on the 2 seater side. In a mad rush to get settled, installed the carseat on the wrong row...didn't think it was a big deal...until the stewardess tells us we have to move up a row. So with the whole plane seated and ready, we all get up and move all of our stuff which included the carseat and 2 screaming babies to the next row. After the baby was buckled in and we were ready to go, the same stewardess comes back and says the car seat has to be forward facing. So again, I take the baby out and give her to Lisa (both obviously pretty mad and in a screaming fit now while the whole plane waits and watches us) and turn the seat around to face forward. FINALLY...we have everyone seated and ready to go. I was holding a baby and Lisa was trying to calm the other one and the same...now infamous stewardess...comes back to tell us that both babies have to be on the 2 seater side. The is the first we'd heard of this so we obliged and Lisa dealt with both girls while we took off.
A few minutes after departure, Lisa handed me a squirming baby. We were thinking (since we hadn't heard anything different) that the rule about the babies being on the 2 seater side was only during take off and landing. The stewardess...now getting a little annoyed with us...comes back to tell us that both babies need to be on Lisa's side of the plane the whole flight because "if there was a sudden loss of pressure, I would have to choose between my life and the life of my child". Later, we thought...then why are people allowed to standup and go to the bathroom...but WHATEVER!?!? We reluctantly obliged.
Later after the girls were having a hard time and it was obvious Lisa had her hands full by herself, the stewardess told me that I could take one of the babies up to row 3 where there was an empty seat and evidently an extra oxygen mask if I wanted to do that. So being a little desperate at this point, I took Katy up to row 3 and sat down next to a woman so I could calm her down. Funny thing, I sat down to a drunk poet. It was 10:30 in the morning and this woman was WASTED!!! She was sipping on something, shaking like she hadn't had one for a couple hour, and talked our ears off. Katy was actually mildly entertained so I didn't mind but she proceeded to get her "poetry" out and read us several of her latest masterpieces. Wow! Suddenly, I wanted to be back in row 8 with 2 screaming babies but I was nice and we listened to some excellent 9th grade level poetry.
In the middle of her 3rd poem, I get a tap on my shoulder from Lisa. She had gotten Alyssa to sleep and asked me to come back so she could work on Katy. I ran back there as fast as I could. Katy fell asleep in Lisa's arms (while she stood in the middle of the aisle...again, it's okay to stand up with a baby in the aisle but don't ever hand the baby across the aisle to a seat that doesn't have an extra oxygen mask!!)
The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. Lisa and I drifted in and out of consciousness since we had less than half an hour of sleep in 26 hours but again weren't able to sleep more than a half hour. The girls did great the last hour and a half of the plane ride until we started our final decent. They were getting a little cranky but since we had been admonished a couple times, we didn't dare push our limit. Lisa did her best to entertain both babies until we were on the ground. Here's where the story takes a turn....
While the same stewardess was giving her speach about "welcome to Dayton..local time..safe to use cell phones.." and we were taxiing to our gate (ON THE GROUND) I reach over and take Katy from Lisa. The stewardess...over the intercom...says "SIR, the baby needs to stay on the OTHER side of the plane!" We were in shock. I couldn't believe she was makind such a big freaking deal since we were on the ground and her whole argument was about the extra oxygen masks. We didn't get it. I said a few choice words for the people in the vicinity to hear and handed Katy back over to Lisa. Katy started SCREAMING!!! What can we do? Lisa just let her scream as she reached across the aisle for me and I had to just sit there. It was so rediculous.
Thank you Continental stewardess for making an ass out of yourself and making a first trip for an infant more stressful than it needed to be.
We got all of our luggage and rented a minivan...yeah, a minivan. It's a nice ride. I'm not saying we're ever going to buy one but I'll admit, it's a nice ride. We arrived to a very anxious Granny and quickly fed them their overdue lunch and got them down for a nap. They didn't sleep too well which bit us in the butt later.
At bedtime, they thought it was just their second nap and didn't stay asleep too long. I fell asleep on the floor while Lisa's brother and her girlfriend were over. When I woke up, it was time to get to bed. The girls woke up when we tried to sneak into the same room and it was on. 2.5 hours later we finally got to sleep at about 1 am. All said and done, Lisa and I were up for 36 hours with less than 2 hours sleep (Lisa had probably less than 1 hour sleep). Instead of trying to go back into the bedroom, Lisa slept on the couch and I slept on the floor. Bad idea. At 4am I woke up with the worst back ache and was ready to sleep head to toe with Lisa on the couch (10 points for the random Seinfeld reference). She ended up on the recliner and I slept the rest of the morning on the couch. What a terrible idea...my back still hurts from that bad idea.
Ok...so I'm sure noone is still reading because I haven't teased you with pictures and videos. We have plenty...just no way to share them right now. I was planning to tell more about all the wonderful people we've visited and met these last few days but this is already a pretty length post. I'll end it with this...we're all doing great and it's nice to have some nice warm humid weather (NAHT) and look forward to seeing the rest of the family.