Sunday, July 17, 2011

Off We Go!

After days of preparation, we’re finally ready to embark on our grand adventure! We’ve packed the suitcases, the carry-ons, and the cameras. It’s time to hit the road (and sky).

We got to the airport on time, checked in, and made it through security with very little fanfare. We had everyone wear orange shirts so that we could easily spot any straying children. An added bonus of the orange shirt method: no one broke in on our group, even when we weren’t quite as tightly together as we ought to have been.
The first short flight to Atlanta was fun for most of the kids. Justin decided watching the take-off was a little TOO thrilling and he pulled down the blinds so that he couldn’t see out. Steffen amused himself by saying, “Bye, ‘Tonio!” as we left. He couldn’t see out the window until I unbuckled his seatbelt once we were in the air. Then, he looked out, saw the houses way below and said, “Oh no! Oh no! We fall down!”

We landed and got through the Atlanta airport, picked up some lunch, and just barely made it in time to catch the pre-boarding. The kids actually ate on the plane while waiting to take off. It’s amazing how fast a 2 ½ hour layover can go in a big airport.

The flight over was, of course, long. The kids, though, were happy that the movies and games were free, and those, in addition to the DS games we had gotten them for the trip, kept them amused for most of the trip. Carsten and Justin slept for about an hour right at the end of the flight.

Steffen, of course, was our main concern on the plane. He’s not old enough to have any idea what is going on, and you just can’t reason with a toddler. I had actually continued nursing him, even though he was getting older, because I knew that that would calm him and put him to sleep on the flight. After all, we weren’t going to be landing until after midnight San Antonio time, so he would OF COURSE get tired. Well, he DID get tired, but he would not sleep, and absolutely refused to nurse! “NO NEWSE! NO NEWSE!” he hollered, with great emphasis. What a little stinker!

He entertained himself mainly by playing with our IPhones. He would play music and change all the settings. He had one meltdown that was bordering on catastrophic when Daddy stepped in and took him to the bathroom. He brought him back all calmed down. Then, just as another meltdown was getting ready to start, breakfast came!! Yeah for food! Steffen fell asleep with his bagel in his little hand, right about 30 minutes before landing.

When we got to Frankfurt, we were able to get our luggage and get through passport control relatively quickly. Customs was completely abandoned. Apparently, if you’re coming in at 7:30 AM, no one cares what you bring.

Then, it was on to the car rental pickup. Bryan did a great job getting us out of the airport maze (with a little help from Tom-Tom and my rusty interpretations of the signs) despite his post-flight exhaustion. After an hour and a half in the car, we were very happy to see Mutti’s house!! The street looked just the same. We ate, took a short nap, and then, we forced ourselves to get UP, and take a walk. The kids go acquainted with the dogs and Steffen and Lucy had fun playing fetch.

Everyone crashed at 8, and with the exception of Steffen needing to sleep with Mommy and Daddy halfway through the night, we all slept well.

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