Monday, August 18, 2008

where do I start?

I have no idea. So many stories, pictures, and videos to share...I don't know where to start. I will no doubt leave something or someone out so bear with me while I try to remember our whirlwind tour of Ohio, Indiana, Texas, and Louisiana.

First, let me show you some of Alyssa's first steps. This came while we were visiting Lisa's grandparents in South Bend. She had been letting go of us while standing but this was the first time she was actually moving her feet and taking a step or two. This happened on day 4 of our vacation.

Now let me go into some more detail about our flight home. Lisa read what I wrote and said that I made it sound like it was a breeze and it really wasn't. During the first 3 hour and 47 minute flight from Houston to Seattle, the girls were very hyper. After about hour 2, we tried to get them to sleep but they wanted no part of it. We tried all of our tricks but they wanted to be held upright and walked around. I had more luck walking the girls around although my back was paying the price. Lisa on the other hand was sitting in our seats, trying to rock them to sleep. In the process, she was getting slapped and scratched in protest. After 45 minutes or so of trying, we gave up. I just walked up and down the aisle and Lisa entertained the other one in the seats...letting them craw back and forth and up and down. As long as they were happy, we were happy.

The highlight of that flight for me happened while I was hanging out by the bathrooms toward the back of the plane. There was a 7 or 8 year old girl that fought with the door to get it open, kind of turned around at me and giggled as she went inside. A few minutes later, I hear the famous "vah-WHOOSH" sound of an airplane toilet being flushed and then seconds later a wild shake on the door. She finally opened it and looked up at me with a huge smile and said "that was my first time!" I laughed pretty hard at that. She scampered back down the aisle to her seat.

So our plane stopped in Seattle but we didn't have to change planes to continue on home to Anchorage. By the end of the flight, we had talked with several of the flight attendants...all very helpful and nice. Before we got off the plane to stretch our legs, we asked if we'd be able to try and swap with someone in the back of the plane so we could have a little more freedom to walk around. More on that in a sec...

So we get off the plane, take turns changing the girls diapers then decide we wanted something for ourselves to snack on since we never really ate during the first flight. By now, the girls were just crazy hyper. There was no way to coral them so we finally just gave up and let them craw all over the dirty airport carpet. At this point, we didn't care anymore. They were so excited to craw as fast as they could. We were lining them up and letting them race around the chairs. A few people were watching us and guy even took a few pictures of them.

So we get back on the plane and I remind the flight attendant if we could swap seats. We didn't hear back from anyone for a while so we were thinking they probably forgot when all of a sudden I get a tap on my shoulder and she tells me the very last row was willing to swap with us! Now all we had to do was gather all of our stuff, the girls, and the car seat and move it 25 rows back. Luckily, we had awesome flight attendants who helped us get it back there. Lisa took the car seat and I carried the two girls. It was funny to see every one's reaction as I walked by toward the back. That's about 150 people that were all seated and waiting to take off...everyone of them looked up to see me and the girls and gasped or awed or poked the person they were sitting with so they could see too. It was pretty funny.

We settled in the back but the girls still were not tired. Lisa nursed both girls but neither one would fall asleep. Maybe an hour and a half into the flight, the great flight attendant in the back turned of the light in the galley and let Lisa walk the girls to sleep back there. It took maybe 10 minutes per girl but they finally fell asleep. After I thought about it for a while, it was about 1:30 am Texas time when gave in. I can't believe they stayed up that late. They woke up from the afternoon nap at 3pm...that's 10 and a half hours without sleep!!!!! WOW!

During the descent into was one of the most painful that I can remember. My ears were really hurting. We saw several other people around us fighting with the air pressure and doing some extra yawning, trying anything to relieve that pressure. So you can imagine how the girls did. They both woke up and were pretty upset during the 30 minutes we were descending. They stayed awake all the way until we got home...not even falling asleep in the car, now about 3:30am Texas time.

The funniest thing about when we got home was the girls when we first put them down in the living area. It was pretty dark and quiet. They had become so clingy during our trip that it has become hard to put them down without them fussing. Not this time. We both put them down in the middle of the room and watched as they sat there quietly looking at all of their toys. Then they slowly started to crawl toward them, their eyes WIDE open. Finally they reached out and started playing with everything they could get their hands on. Too cute.

It ended up that we forgot one of the 5 bags we had checked in the mad rush to load everything in the car and get home as soon as possible. So I ran back out to the airport to find our last bag...luckily it was still there. On the way home, I stopped by Taco Bell (yeah, I know) and loaded up on the carbs. When I got home, Lisa was still awake...the girls were long we scarfed down our food at about 2am in Alaska, 5am Texas time. We were exhausted.

So that's the whole story of our last flights home. As always, I went on a little longer than I intended but if you know my dad it shouldn't surprise you that I like to paint the entire picture.

I don't have any pictures to share from that last day so I'll just tease you with a couple great pictures from earlier in the trip.

...and finally the pay off. We took this video of Alyssa on about day 19 of our trip. Check out how many steps she's taking now!

Pretty exciting, eh?! Plenty more to come.

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