Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Epic Journey Part 1

I have been dragging my feet on writing this blog post for 2 reasons. I lost my camera which means all my great pictures are gone and the other reason is that when you are gone for a month the post is going to have to be really long!
We left Anchorage on Saturday January 29th. The kids and I took a military space A flight as they are free and flights to UT were over $700 and that just wasn't in the budget. I loved the terminal here. It was all set up for families and kids. They have a special room for parents of young children with cribs, rocking chairs, leather couches and a big flat screen t.v. Out in the main area they had toys and things for the older kids and the remote to the t.v.? It was an airplane that you sat in. If all airports were that well equipped you would have a lot happier and less stressed out Moms and Dads!
The flight itself was interesting but traveling with kids the best I've ever been on! We were in a big KC130 cargo plane. It was filled with cargo and right in front of us was a big trailer with something on it that I couldn't figure out what it was. But the notation on the side said that it was 250,000 lbs. If that thing moved we were dead! Our seats were on the side of the plane, canvas stretched between metal was really all it was but it really wasn't that bad for sitting on. Just like on a regular flight they gave us blankets and pillows and you could buy a meal to eat if you wanted to. Unlike on a regular flight they also handed out ear plugs because it's rather noisy. But that was the great part for me. You can't hear your 3 year old throw a fit! She also doesn't bother the other passengers as they can't hear her either! Once you reach cruising altitude you are allowed to get up and walk around as much as you like, you can even lay down and take a nap. For these reasons I say it's the best way to travel with kids!
We reached Travis AFB (just outside of Sacramento CA) around 9 p.m. and it was gently raining. The first words out of Reagan's mouth? "Look Mommy, Mud!" She hadn't seen mud in months, just snow and ice. So that was a really big thing for her. As we walked the 3 1/2 blocks to the hotel they both loved jumping into the puddles. We were already soaking wet from the rain what was it going to hurt? Besides it was warm. I was warm in January while outside! Hallelujah! We stayed in the base hotel that night and I also can't say enough about military hotels. They are clean and nice and cheap! Great combination in my book!
Our plan for the next day was to drive to Ogden (Travis said they never had flights to Hill AFB in UT, but the week after I needed it they had flights almost every day!) so the kids could see Paul's Mom for a few days before we headed south for my Grandma's funeral. But I was awakened that morning by a phone call from my Dad saying to check the road conditions from the storm that had just come through to make sure I could get through. Guess what, I couldn't. The infamous Donner pass was closed to all vehicles but those with chains. In my car at home I could have made it no problem. With a rental car? No way. So we changed our plans and drove instead to my Aunt Diane (my Mom's sister) and Uncle Bob's home in Fallbrook CA which is just north of San Diego.
The kids had met Aunt Diane and Uncle Bob last winter at my Grandfather's funeral in Missouri and Reagan had fallen in love with her "Uncle Bobby". So she was really happy to see him again. He had to work a lot while we were there so Aunt Diane was happy she got to spend some time with her as well because when Uncle Bob's around she forgets there is anyone else in the room. Daniel had a great time there as well. They have a dog which I am sure was happy to see them go because my kids were so happy to be with a dog again they could leave her alone and followed (chased) her everywhere. Reagan couldn't have been happier just to be outside and she would climb through the dog/cat door and go outside all day long.
The first day after we got there my Grandparents (my Mom's Mom and Stepdad) paid for us to go to Legoland. It was a great place to take the kids and they were just the right age. Legoland is built for kids of a targeted age up to about 7. Much older and they would be bored with most of it. There was only one ride Reagan wasn't big enough to go on. There are all kinds of things made out of real legos, people, animals that actually moved and made noise. Reagan and I went on a pirate ship ride (Daniel said it looked too scary.) and Aunt Diane and he waited for us on a bench. On the bench was a guy made of legos. All of the sudden they heard a noise. They realized it was the lego man talking. He was saying, "I shouldn't have gone on that ride. I wouldn't stand there if I were you!" The ride was great by the way and Reagan is definitely our dare devil. She was giggling on all the fast and crazy rides.
If you ever make it to Legoland you MUST, I repeat MUST try their apple fries. They were amazingly good! They take Granny Smith apples and cut them up like french fries, fry them up in a batter, roll them in cinnamon and sugar and give you real whipped cream to dip them in. Heaven on earth!
We wore the kids completely out. On the last ride where they are riding their horses and going out to defeat the black knight with their jousts, Reagan was almost falling off the horse. Daniel still has the map and is planning his next trip to Legoland.
We drove over to my cousin Ryan's house that night for dinner. It was so fun to get to meet his son Sean, and get to play with him! We met his wife Kelly for the first time as well. Reagan was of course in heaven with a baby to take care of. She also got to help Ryan make dinner and he was so cute with her! (He needs a daughter!) He pulled up a chair and let her help him make the salad and put the pizza in the oven. She LOVES Ryan. Poor Daniel was so tired that of the 4 hours that we were there he spent most of it passed out right here. It was wonderful to see Ryan again. The last time I saw him was about 15 years ago, so a lot has changed in both of our lives, but it was good to reconnect and feel that feeling of connection that you only get with family. (Thank you Ryan for the pics. You just aren't in any of them :-(
The next day Daniel was having a sleeping day. He has been having problems where he will spend most of an entire day sleeping and still go to sleep the that night. So while he slept Aunt Diane, Reagan and I spent the day watching old movies. I definitely get my love of old movies from this side of my family. Shirley Temple, Doris Day, and Swiss Family Robinson were some of our movies that day. After Daniel woke up about 3 p.m. we dragged him to the park. On days like this he has a hard time dealing with things and really just wants to go back to sleep. Reagan was in heaven. She keeps asking to go to the park but our parks here are covered in ice and snow. She got to swing to her hearts content. She did not want to go back to the house, but after about an hour that was all Daniel could handle. We headed back and went to dinner with my Grandparents and Uncle Bob and Aunt Diane. They took us out for Mexican food that was SO yummy! I haven't found a really good Mexican restaurant yet here. Grandma and Grandpa got to meet Daniel and Reagan for the first time and I think Reagan wrapped herself around Grandpa's finger so tight I wouldn't be surprised if they went home and rewrote their will. Reagan has asked several times for "the other Grandpa", they are their Great Grandparents. Poor Daniel was so out of it he just wanted to go back to bed so they didn't get a good view of his personality. It has been about 15 years since I've seen Grandpa as well and about 6 years since I've seen Grandma so it was really good to see them. Grandpa looked exactly the same. Grandma came back with us and visited for awhile.
The next day we visited my favorite place the beach. Yes my Alaskan friends I went to the beach and soaked up the sun! Beautiful shimmering waves, the sand with golden specks it was wonderful! I so wish I had the pictures from this. There was a beautiful picture of Reagan making a sand angel with the biggest smile on her face, another of the 3 of us running away from the waves... It makes me so mad I am missing them but we do have the memories. I love the beach because I love just sitting listening to the ocean, it's so peaceful and rests my soul.
Next- On to Escalante UT.

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