Just after the New Year, we piled ourselves and our belongings into Grandpa Tim's minivan and headed north to Minneapolis, where we intended to catch our flight to Maryland.
The kids travel well. They've been travelling long distances by car and plane since birth and they've learned to entertain themselves with books, naps, songs, staring out the window, and peek-a-boo.
Once in Minneapolis, we stayed a night with Auntie Laura, Uncle Ryan and their clan.
|From lower left clockwise: Theia, Evie, Xandra, Cora|
Grandpa Tim, a very kind soul, met us on both ends of our trip. On the way into Minneapolis he brought us his minivan to use for the duration of our trip home and on the way out, he picked it up. He has to drive four hours one way to bring us this van, and we always appreciate it as it saves us lots of time, energy, and money. He got up before the crack of dawn with us (3:00AM, if I recall correctly), took us to the airport, helped us unload the mountain of suitcases, kids, blankies, and carseats, and then headed for home.
After he skittered off to North Dakota we made our way through clothes changes, bathroom stops, check-in, security, and onto the airplane.
Much of the beginning of our trip went smoothly, but in true Pull fashion, we eventually encountered a few messy adventures. Aliyah, who was battling a stomach bug, not a first for us while travelling on planes or in cars, left a big mess that leaked from her diaper onto the airplane seat at the end of our first flight. We had no idea the mess was there until I picked her up to exit the plane. Joe had left with Xandra and Theia and I was bringing up the rear (hah!) with Aliyah and Joey. I hastily cleaned up the mess with wipes and got off the plane, as fast as I could, while trying to hold Aliyah and Joey and minimize the transfer of Aliyah's mess to anything else in the vacinity. After a lengthy amount of time, lots of wipes, a new set of clothes, and many strange looks from passersby in the bathroom, I deemed her clean (enough) and ready to join the rest of the family.
With this messy episode behind us, Joe and I set our sites on breakfast. After collecting bagels and juice from a nearby shop, I sat down to get our breakfast out while Joe ran to the bathroom. In the two minutes (tops) that he was gone to the bathroom, I found myself in the middle of another mess. Xandra, an ever curious four year old, grabbed the sack from the stroller that housed our drinks. Just as I was reaching for the sack and saying, "Xandra, stop!" one of the glass bottles from within came crashing to the floor, breaking into a million pieces and spraying red liquid everywhere. Time stood still and every eye in the gate area was fixed upon us. Joe returned as I was picking up glass fragments, contemplating what to do with Theia's now soaked in juice blanket, and attempting to keep the kids away from the liquid and glass. His reaction was something along the lines of, "I leave for two seconds and everything falls apart." Not really a helpful or funny comment when I'm knee deep in a disaster. Although, now, it does seem a bit funny. One bright spot on the otherwise embarrassingly frustrating and completely humbling experience was that a Southwest Airlines employee had mercy on us. She stopped and asked us what spilled, found someone on the custodial staff to help us clean it up, and then brought us two free drinks. Once we cleaned up the mess and ate breakfast, the rest of our time in Chicago and on the next flight was rather uneventful.
Our plane landed in Maryland, just as expected, Aliyah spared us from anymore airplane seat surprises, we gathered our bags and carseats, without incident, loaded the van and took Joe to the metro so he could head to work. When we got home in early afternoon, ready for a nap, we were greeted as we came in the door with a terrible and overwhelming smell. This lovely pile of prized pumpkins from the Pull pumpkin patch
which Joe brought inside before we left to keep them from going bad or freezing, had rotted and turned into a pile of liquid, smelly goo. The goo had absorbed into the blanket underneath the pumpkins, seeped onto the floor under the bookshelves next to the blanket and reached all the way to the kitchen doorway on the otherside of the bookshelves. I spent much of the afternoon transporting these rotted pumpkin carcasses, some of which fell to mushy pieces as I attempted to pick them up, outside to the garden. That evening when Joe came home we unloaded books from the bookshelves, turned the shelves on their sides and used vinegar water to clean the floors and shelves. In a final moment of brilliance for the day, I left the bowl of water sitting on the floor in reach of Theia. Just as I was turning around to move the bowl, she accidentally knocked the bowl over and sent lots of water spilling into the books stacked on the floor nearby. This sent us into a tailspin of picking up books as fast as we could and looking for a safe place to deposit them to keep them from getting water damage. After some time cleaning up the floor and drying off wet books, we called it a day. We thought if everyone was in bed asleep, the chances of needing to clean up anymore messes would be quite slim.
Despite pumpkin goo, a few warped floorboards, rotten pumpkin smell permeating the house for weeks, and lots of unpacking and organizing ahead, it sure was good to be home.