Glow Sticks and Tea Parties

So who bet on my not posting for over a month since my last post?  If you did I think you should split your winnings with me…I did give you the special insider hint and that should count for something.

This past month (plus) has been a crazy mind spinning dizzy adventure.  Sometimes bad, but in a lot more ways, good.  I’ll start with the bad so I can throw in the literary equivalent of kittens and rainbows somewhere in the middle, but with the ending, there are no guarantees.  We shall call the bad Delta Demon Disasters, or rather, DDD for short.

My last maternity session of 2013.  What an awesome year it was for photography!

My last maternity session of 2013. What an awesome year it was for photography!

After finishing up with last minute photography sessions and editing like a mad woman to get client’s their photos back before leaving for the good ol’ US of A, we took off on the 18th of December and before we could even say “See ya later Germany” we were greeted by the first of the DDD.  When the minis and I traveled back home last June I was able to walk right up to the airline counter, checkin, and be on my baby totting happy way.  Imagine my surprise when we walk into the Frankfurt airport and can’t even figure out which of the several snaking ‘lines’ (more like a cluster of confused people attempting to make something representing order in random locations).   This was a definite buzz kill to our travel high, and the minis…were not so pleased.  Abram’s lovey and shoes ended up in my possession for the time it took to snake our way through the chaos, because when your mad wouldn’t you like to throw shoes?  Don’t tell anyone, but I was about to take off my shoes and start throwing them too.  It turns out that Delta’s computers were down all over Europe so everything was being done the old fashioned way.  Having arrived over an hour and a half early, to finally taking off over two hours late is just, well maddening.  We were so late taking off that the pilot feared he wouldn’t get the clearance to even leave (something about only so many planes in the sky for certain routes…yada yada, flying jargon I don’t fully understand in my naive ‘always a passenger, never a pilot’ state).  Thank goodness we had a four hour layover in Atlanta, because by the time we arrived and made it trough customs, we were left with 30 minutes before our next departure.

Exhausted, kind of a bit ripe (if you know what I mean), and with the reddest eyes you’ve ever seen, we made it to Omaha around 9pm.  What didn’t make it…the minis suitcase.  If you are a traveling mom like me, you know that one suitcase is the lifeline of kid happiness and wellbeing.  By the time we made a claim with the Delta agents it was well after ten at night so there was no hope for stopping to get the minis basic clothing needs, well other than stopping at Walmart, but in my current state of post travel delirium, Walmart was not an option.  To our benefit however, being that it was the Christmas season and I had told the minis’ aunt that they needed PJs, we had two little packages waiting for them outside of my parents house with some much needed PJs…even if there were slightly frostbitten by the time we got there.  My sister was an elf in a past life…if you look closely she still has a bit of the pointy ear thing going on.

My time spent at home, although most would consider it a vacation, is actually far from the truth.  Vacations are relaxing…being back home isn’t.  The only slightly relaxing portion is having a handful of willing family members to take the minis from time to time so Sean and I can do things that we need to do, or don’t get a chance to do regularly back in Germany (like I got a tattoo…yup, you don’t do that everyday).  Our list of things that we needed to do consisted of seven doctor appointments for myself alone, as well as last minute Christmas shopping since we completely slacked at doing this in advance this year.

However stressful being home is, it was nice to have a traditional Nebraska Christmas…with no snow (imagine me shaking my fist at a flake-less sky).  We spent Christmas Eve with family at the candlelight service of my childhood church.  This was a minor disaster considering I had forgot to pack wipes in the diaper bag and Abram had an epic blowout which resulted a wet paper towel cleanup attempt, and socks smelling of poo for the rest of the church service.  When it came time to ‘share the peace’ I got more friendly waves and head nods than hand shakes with a foul smelling mini in my arms.  At the end of the service the adults passed candlelight from one person to the next while the kids donned glow stick bracelets all the while singing “Silent Night”.  Liam decided it was more of something new and interesting to stick in his mouth which ultimately turned into a chew toy that bled glowing green stuff.  Nothing like having a kid frothing at the mouth with glowing spittle.  Alas, no exorcism was required.

Christmas Minis

It was a joy watching her open gifts on her first Christmas.

It was a joy watching her open gifts on her first Christmas.

Christmas morning was spent with my family at my sister’s home.  All the adults sat to eat breakfast but my nephew had ants from 1,000 hills in his pants, but with all those glorious gifts winking at me from under the tree, I would find it hard to focus on the plate of food in front of me too.  Lord knows majority of those gifts had been his doomed apple in a childhood Garden of Eden for weeks.  Presents waiting under the tree are essentially parental peer pressure at it’s finest.

Liam was excited about this gift...well actually all gifts for that matter.

Liam was excited about this gift…well actually all gifts for that matter.

That evening we made our way to Sean’s sister’s home to meet up with the other half of the family and exchange gifts.  It never ceases to amaze me how late his family events start.  If they say it will start at five…show up at seven or eight, there is a good chance there may be food ready and people there by that point.  We were a whole whopping 15 minutes late but walked into a eerily quiet house.  No worries though, eventually dinner was served, people arrived, and yet more gifts were given to bright eyed kids and adults alike.  The best part about his family gatherings is that everyone sticks around well into the early morning playing card games, and the game of choice this year?  Cards Against Humanity.  If you are one who is not easily offended and can take politically incorrect jokes to the level beyond ‘just plain wrong’, then this is the game for you.

You’d think after Christmas things would slow down a bit but in my world, slowing down just doesn’t happen.  If anything, it seemed to speed up.  Being that I am a major part of my best friend’s wedding, which is May, this trip back home provided a lot of making up time in the bridal planning events.  Bridesmaids dresses were picked, and a shower was thrown.  It took so much for me not to slip up with the details of the shower in previous posts, and especially on Facebook.  I had the idea for a ‘bridal tea party’ theme before my friend even got engaged so I was delighted that the other girls were okay with the idea and let me run with it.  The main aspect of the party were the favors, which I brought back with me from Germany.  For several months leading up to our departure I had been purchasing Bavarian china teacups with saucers at local flea markets.  I have to wonder what the TSA agents thought of all my teacups as they passed through the X-ray machine at the airport.  Although I am sure they have seen a lot more unusual things come through compared to a mass amount of china.  If you ever want to see a bunch of women turn into crazed vultures, have them sit down at a bridal shower, with a teacup in front of them, and then announce that the teacups are theirs to take home as a memento.  There were more dives and steals in two minutes than a whole season of baseball.  In the end, even with all the ups and downs that go with planning an event for your best friend, it turned out beautifully and the bride was happy.  Whew!

Now back to the DDD…attempting to leave portion of this adventure.  The Wednesday following the shower, on a sunny brilliant Nebraska morning, we made our way back to Omaha to prepare for our departure.  Coming into Omaha we hit a major traffic jam, and thankfully for me, my dad is type of person who gets nervous when they are running late and especially if they are running late and can’t do anything about it.  And why am I lucky that he is this way?  Because he took an earlier exit which allowed me to use a gas station restroom.  Here I am, quiet as a mouse trying to put my discomfort aside when I finally give up and ask “so…ummm…do we have time for you to pull over so I can use the restroom”, which resulted in a gasp of despair from my husband in the back seat with the minis and a “really?!?”.  Yes…really…unless you can come up with a good alternative…this ‘really’ must happen.  In and out, as quick as I can, I come back to find my husband with the most foul look on his face. “What? I thought I was rather quick?!?”, “No, this…” was his response as he shoves his phone in my face.  It was our flight details with the bright red letters reading “FLIGHT CANCELLED”.  Which now at this point I have a foul look on my face as well (but at least I personally felt better).  We continued on to the airport knowing we were doomed but were hopeful for an alternative option.  Want to know what their alternative was ?!?!  Fly to Atlanta, stay overnight, fly to Detroit, then to Zurich Switzerland, then to Munich Germany, then to Stuttgart and drive the rest of the way back from Stuttgart (roughly two hours).  When they told my husband this the green glowing frothing mouth image came to mind…  We opted for what we thought was the best for the minis, fly out on Saturday morning and endure a six hour layover in Detroit.

The layover actually wasn’t as bad as we thought.  There was a portion of the airport designated to military service members, veterans, and their spouses.  In this room there were giant comfy chairs, recliners, free food, a tv, toys for the kids, and even…a pack n’ play! The blessed pack n’ play allowed our kids to take a much needed nap, and allowed Sean and I to unwind a bit.  We were however, more than ready to be back in Germany by this point.  With a few minutes to spare before boarding we made our way down to our terminal…which had been moved…so we made our way to our new terminal, right on time.  Why the change in terminals?  The plane we were due to leave on had a mechanical problem so we needed a new plane.  45 minutes late for take off thanks to cleaning a recently used plane and having it gassed and ready for our departure, we were finally bound for home.  You will never guess what happened next.  No really, take a guess.  Are you ready for this?  More than an hour into our trip, about to cross the threshold between land and water, our pilot announces that we have no running water on the plane and have to turn back around to Detroit.  I think one of my eyes began twitching and I had the odd feeling that I was in a horrible traveling nightmare.  We sat for over an hour back in Detroit as the engineers fixed the water issue (and the flight attendants made their way off the plane for some much needed Starbucks…but us low life passengers aren’t allowed to leave.  No Mr. flight attendant, that little paper towel covering those four very tall delicious looking cups was not enough to keep me from seeing what you were hiding).  The one highlight of the trip, my minis.  They are pros at flying by this point and were perfectly okay with being stuck, and actually Liam slept for 95% of the trip and didn’t wake up until we touched down in Frankfurt.

You’d think my travel woes would end by this point…but no.  We got stuck with a taxi driver who enjoyed listening to tunes with horrible lyrics and wanna-be teen idols singing “it’s hard out there for a bitch”.  Shoot me now!  Can a mom not get some relaxing  Mozart for the last 45 minutes of her never ending travel despair???  Oh, and then when we got home we discovered that our only vehicle had a flat tire and was dead as a door nail.  And! Because we had to leave so late from the States, Sean had to turn around and drive 4.5 hours to Garmisch for work that same night.  Go figure…

*Deep breath in* *Deep breath out*

My Guys

My football loving guys.

The delay in travel did allow for us to take the boys to Memorial Stadium...and it finally snowed.

The delay in travel did allow for us to take the boys to Memorial Stadium…and it finally snowed.

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