Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Flight From...

Well let's just say it wasn't from heaven. We had an absolutely wonderful visit in Dallas with Matt's family. It was so much fun to introduce Madison & Avery to more aunts, uncles & cousins - and of course, another great-grandmother. Visiting with 2 little ones to take care of was definitely more work than vacation, but definitely worth the visit. (I'll post pictures soon) And then we flew home...

Talk about a nightmare. Other than a crash landing & catching swine flu, almost everything that could go wrong did. The day started at 5AM - packing up suitcases & kids, heading the airport. We got there only a little later than I'd planned, but it turned out we should've planned a lot more time to check in because the lines were ridiculous. I was getting nervous about making the flight but after rushing to our gate, our flight wasn't even boarding yet. In fact, the plane wasn't even at the gate. That morning there were severe storms over Dallas -- the ONLY place in the country that morning with stormy weather. So after a weather delay and a delay not having the plane at the gate for some reason, they finally started boarding.

As we neared the end of the ramp going down to the plane, people started walked back toward us! "U-turn," one of the men said. There was something leaking on the plane and they had to wait for maintenance to come - apparently they thought it would be better for everyone to wait off the plane. So after another wait, we again were told to board. I think we finally took off from Dallas an hour & a half late.

The flight from Dallas to JFK was around 3 1/2 hours. Oy vey, with a newborn & almost 2 year old. (I should note that our flights going down to Dallas were totally smooth, on time & even early, and the girls did exceptionally well. Restless but no screaming fits.) The girls also did very well on the flight to NY -- though I think it was harder on Madison than Avery. Avery slept almost the whole time in Matt's arms. Matt & I were each in different rows (since there is only one extra oxygen mask per row & we each had a lap infant). The Lord was gracious to us though and the seat beside me ended up being empty, so Madison actually had her own seat rather than sitting on my lap for over 3 hours. Madison didn't nap other than a quick 15 minutes, but watching the little dvd player kept her occupied much of the time.

We knew after our delays that we would miss our connection unless the connecting flight had also been delayed. We got into JFK about 15 minutes after our flight was supposed to have departed. It turned out the gate we came into was right next to the gate we were supposed to depart from! And the board even said it was 'Boarding'! However, upon going to the customer service desk we were told that, in fact, the gate was already closed & we could not get on the plane. We were rebooked on the next (& last) flight of the day into Rochester -- which was 5 hours later. While we were hopeful this meant we'd actually make it home & not get stuck overnight in an airport, we cringed knowing it would be a loooonnng day for the kids.

We found a section of empty seats near an electric outlet so we could plug in the dvd player and plant Madison in front of it. She was sooo restless but she just wouldn't nap. She looked like a drunkard - staggering, falling down, bloodshot eyes. Plus she'd come down with a cold while in TX, so she was coughing & sneezing & her eyes were watering. We felt so bad for her.

We moved our kids & bags closer to our gate when it was nearing time to board. The status said our plane was "at gate", so we expected to board in no time. And then the departure time changed. I went up to the desk and asked what the updated status was. I was told we should be boarding anytime - they were just finishing cleaning the plane from the previous flight. And then the departure time changed again - each time 15 or 20 minutes later. I was getting sick to my stomach thinking we might not get home. At this point both girls were way past their bedtime and both were melting down. What would we do about cribs, carseats & diapers if we were stuck in the airport or had to go to a hotel? I went back to the counter & again asked for an update. I was told everything was ready to go on the plane, they were just waiting for the first officer -- and he was here, somewhere, they just couldn't find him. (!) Um, excuse me? You can't find him? Yes, they'd been paging him but couldn't find him. I asked, "So what happens if you don't find him?" "Oh he's here," I was assured. Craziness.

So finally we hear announced "Flight 6222 to Rochester now boarding..." and we gather up all our armloads of stuff, pick up the baby which wakes her up & makes her scream, and we get in line... only to be told 'No, no, we're not boarding Rochester yet, get out of line.' "But it was just announced," people were saying - still they acted like 'no, no, not yet'. So we sat back down & tried to quiet Avery. Again. After another wait we again heard the announcement to board and really got on the plane this time. I was so emotionally shot at this point and after all the delays, still not convinced we'd actually get out of there that night. Sure enough, after getting loaded on the plane, we heard the person behind us call the flight attendant and inform them half of their seat belt was missing. So because of that, we couldn't take off and had to wait for maintenance to first of all come & check it out, then see if they could even find another seat belt section. If they couldn't, they'd have to bump someone from the flight or not depart. At that point I just starting sobbing. I was so tired & stressed & sick to my stomach with the fear that we would not be able to leave. It was after 9PM by then. (We were originally supposed to depart by 2:30PM.)

They finally got the seat belt fixed. Matt said, "See? It's OK; we'll be leaving any minute." And yet we continued to sit there, and sit there. We watched other planes parked beside us load up & depart... and we sat there. Finally the pilot came on saying they had had another problem, this time with the cabin's a/c, but maintenance had fixed it and we'd be on our way. After a long time waiting in the takeoff line, it was our turn, and we were in the air. I just kept crying though, thinking every turn in the air was us turning around to go back with another problem. (I have had that happen before - turned around after an engine went out & had an 'emergency landing') Matt kept reassuring me we weren't going back though - that despite all the turns, we were still climbing, not going back down.

We got in to Rochester sometime around 11:30PM -- over 7 hours after we were supposed to. We went down to claim our luggage... and to top of the nightmarish experience, our luggage wasn't there. We waited for a while with a few others who also could not find their luggage, but there was no airline representative there to get information and, despite being told they would come down soon, we finally decided we could not & would not wait any longer. We were all too exhausted & we needed to get everyone home & to bed. The luggage issue would have to be dealt with later.

On the drive home, I called Delta and was told, "Your luggage is there. It's been there since 4:20PM." (!) I was like, "That's impossible!" Then I realized, no, it wasn't... While they wouldn't let us on our scheduled flight out of JFK, they obviously kept the plane there long enough to get our luggage on. UGGGGH!! So we had to drive to the airport the next day to pick our stuff up. At least it was there though, and not lost somewhere over the Great Plains. :-P

So that's the story, in all its horrific detail. Needless to say, after that, both Matt & I are swearing off flying for the next 10 years. :-P

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Avery's Floppy Trachea

It's been 3 weeks since Avery got sick with a cold and since then, her nasty cough just won't go away. She's been continuing to have coughing fits & just isn't able to get a hold of herself. Since we are flying to Texas on Thursday, I didn't want to take a chance that it was something more serious. I took Avery to the doctor yesterday and, while he recommended an antibiotic since she'd been sick for so long, he also said part of the problem could be that she basically has a floppy trachea. Some babies are born with this condition that when they breathe in, their trachea sort of caves in a little - makes them a little more "spitty and chokey" as he put it. It takes care of itself and firms up like normal over time, but that could be complicating this cold of hers. The good news is that her sickness is not anything serious at least. The other good news from the doctor visit was finding out that Avery now weighs 11 lb. 11 oz. -- another pound-plus gain the past 2 weeks! I'm just amazed she can pack that much on from her short 4-5 minute nursing times every 3-4 hours!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday, Abby!!

This is a singing telegram for our dear niece, Abby, on her 8th Birthday from her Uncle Matt & Aunt Christa! We love you!

Little Bonnet

I dug into my 0-3 month clothing box one week too late -- I had hoped to get this bonnet out in time for Easter. Oh well. I can still use it for blocking the sun from her eyes outside!

T.E.A. Party

Had a great time at the Tax TEA Party on Wednesday. I ended up leaving Avery to sleep at my brother's house while Madison & I went to make our stand against egregious government spending. We weren't there for more than a half hour since it was nearing Madison's nap time and she only puts up with so much political activity for so long. In Waterloo where we attended, there were between 75 and 100 people -- a terrific turnout considering it's a pretty small town. There were signs, refreshments, people in costume and lots of people honking their horns in support as they drove by. And it was a beautiful day. All in all a great thing to be a part of.

It's been disappointing (but I suppose not surprising) to see the reaction of the mainstream media to the event. They've said it was rightwing radicals, only Republicans, anti-Obama, "astroturf" (well that wasn't the media saying 'astroturf' - that was our lovely Speaker Pelosi refusing to acknowledge a true grassroots effort), none of which is true. Here was an idea that got started with a small flame but spread like wildfire through the country drawing hundreds of thousands of individuals, everyday Americans from every walk of life, simply to peacefully gather and say "Enough!" to our government. And it was ignored (by the President) or lied about (by the media and those like Pelosi). How can they be so arrogant? So much for representing the people.

Here are a few pictures of us as well as some friends. If you want to see the rest of the pics (Nate ;-), I'll post them on Picasa.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Avery - 5 Weeks

Little Avery at 5 1/2 weeks. She was having a rare sweet 'n' happy moment (vs. her normal fussiness) and well, you see what happened - she turned into her normal ornery self. Madison was a rather fussy baby too... but she turned into a sweet little girl, thankfully. So when I get frustrated with Avery's fussiness I just look at Madison now & think there is hope yet!

Easter 2009

Had a lovely Resurrection Day at my parents' place with the family --

Little Easter Princess --
Aunt Alyssa made the dress from a vintage 50's pattern --

Couple photos of our family of 4 --

Grandma/Great-Grandma B stopped by for a visit --

Madison with her favorite friends/cousins --

Tax TEA Party Day Tomorrow

Should be a nice day for it! It's always fun to be a part of a historic nationwide grassroots movement. I'll be attending the Waterloo Tax TEA Party tomorrow at noon -- looks like by myself with the 2 girls. Hopefully I'll be able to manage on my own! Have to at some point right? They'll have signs available for those who don't have time to make up their own ahead of time (that would be people like me), but if I did make my own sign, this is the one I'd pick! (I think it would be especially fun if I had a onesie for Avery with this on it ;-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy 90th Grandma T!

This past weekend we had a 90th Birthday Celebration for my GrandmaT - Madison & Avery's Great Grandma. We had a big party and then several smaller family get togethers. All of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present. It was a fun time -- we hope to do it again for her 100th in 10 years!

As a side note, Avery is doing much better this week -- cold is getting better and she's been nursing better for me. Unfortunately, Matt & I came down with the cold over the weekend and Madison has been sniffly today, so we're not over it yet. Hopefully it will run its course quickly.
Grandma with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren -

Family (mom's side) -- Sorry about the camera strap...

Our family of four --

Madison, ready for church --
Tired little girl on the drive home --

Avery - 1 Month

Had Avery's 1 month doctor visit this week. She has gained over a pound in 2 weeks! She's up to 10 lb. 9 oz. and 22 inches long --
around the 70-80th percentile for each.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rough Week

Notice I haven't had any posts up in the past week? It's just been a really rough week -- so either I've had no time or just been exhausted. If Avery's not asleep or eating, she's been relatively fussy & a handful. Then over the past few days, Avery has come down with a cold. She has this terrible hacking cough & once she starts, she can't seem to get a hold of herself. She'll just cough & cough til she eventually starts crying -- it's probably both uncomfortable & scares her. It scares me! Please be praying -- I hate that she's sick being this tiny. I thought breastfed babies didn't tend to get sick... guess that doesn't mean that don't ever get sick... We have Avery's one month checkup at the doctor already scheduled for Monday, so I'm hoping I don't need to make another trip there before then.