Checking-in in Ohio gave us a great start. We didn't have to go to the airport until 5pm, which meant we had the whole day to finish packing and get ready. It was fabulous. Once we were at the airport there was no line and the kind man behind the counter graciously ignored the fact that almost every one of our nine check-ins was two pounds overweight. Some agents in the past have made us take things out until the weight is perfect. Not this guy! I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for his grace towards us. I cannot imagine trying to grab eighteen pounds worth of stuff out of my bags… that’s a lot of stuff and I would most definitely have been in tears if I had to shed some cheddar cheese, craft supplies or heaven forbid... my new Crock Pot!
I really need to remember to put a note on my luggage scale that it’s two pounds off! I tried so hard to avoid the overweight thing and look what happened… Bah.
Anyway, after some teary goodbyes and our last Starbucks for a while we boarded our puddle jumper to D.C.
She was pretty happy. Until we took off when she was in my arms kicking and screaming “No A-pwane! No A-pwane!!!” over and over and over. I was mortified. Could this be my child not liking airplanes? She's been on like a thousand of them in her short lifetime! (slight exaggeration) Luckily, this routine was a one-time thing and she was fine the other flights. Weird.
We had to purchase her an almost full-price ticket now that she’s two. It’s pricey, of course, but we have no choice. And traveling is so much easier when the tots finally get their own seat.
This easy hour flight was filled with stickers…
… and a new transformer. Fun.
We had a quick and simple layover in D.C. before we boarded our overseas ten hour flight to Istanbul. Ten hours isn’t too bad, we weren’t worried at all.
It was already midnight, but they don’t turn down the lights until the meal has been served (yes, always a meal served in the beginning of a long flight no matter what time of day/night it is) and that takes awhile.
The kiddos were pretty entertained by the little bag of comfort items that was handed out. Green slipper socks, toothbrushes, chapstick (half of which was smeared all over N’s face before we realized it… the girl loves her moisturizer)…
…eye masks and the like.
They also spent some time ‘calling’ their grandparents on these phones.
Phones which are also the television/movie remotes. Which brings me to the other activity that kept them busy… personal on-demand television screens. Glory halleluiah!
After the lights dimmed they both zonked. Sweet N on the chairs and my boy H on the floor in his normal position. They slept well, Mikey slept well and I did not sleep well… but that’s all par for the course.
We landed in Istanbul for a short-ish layover of three hours. We found the ideal spot. Criteria for an ideal spot to whittle away a few hours in an airport with kids include:
2. A big window they can see out of.
3. A corner of space where they can play and not be in anyone’s way and it’s easy to keep an eye on them.
4. And a Comfy luggage cart parked in front of a continuous-play infomercial for aqua-massage?
Check! Check! Check! and Check?!
We soon boarded our final flight. There are no pictures of this flight because Sweet N fell asleep in my lap during takeoff and didn’t wake up until four hours and two numb arms later when we landed. Miracle of glorious miracle. And in between Mike and I ate what we agreed was the BEST airline meal we have ever had. Chicken with a creamy eggplant sauce… you’d never guess it but it was absolutely delicious! I practically licked the little aluminum container.
At 1am we arrived on time in our home-city. After only one hour in the airport we had every single piece of our luggage and one-month visas. We had no chalk X’s on our bags, no custom checks and no crowds accosting us as we exited the airport… it was so great. Two friends picked us up and us and all of our stuff fit in the vehicle along with all of our bodies. That was another miracle.
And then we were home ten minutes later.
The whole thing was something like 26 hours start to finish, definitely a record for us. It’s taken us three days before to make this journey. Frankly, God’s grace and favor was written all over the whole thing.
The End. Amen! Glory to Jesus!!