Monday, April 10, 2017

Belles and Beaux Back in Brooklyn: Reflections on Getting Here and Getting Settled

Between my postpartum posts and my pregnancy reflections and such, y'all know how much I love to get introspective. I wanted to document my thoughts and feelings from our month long trip to New York during our trip to New York. Like our camping trip and most anything else, I'll have all the details in a Weekly Happenings post at some point, but for now, just my favorite pictures and the accompanying thoughts. 

So, it's now Monday, April 10th. We were supposed to arrive last Wednesday, but we didn't make it until Friday because of flight delays and cancellations. Anyway, here's what's been swirling around in my head since then. 

Last Wednesday, we literally sat in the plane, on the ground, from seven in the morning until close to noon. There were huge weather delays in Atlanta and they had weren't letting any planes land there. The flight kept getting pushed back more and more and we realized that with all the delays there was no guarantee there would be a flight into JFK and we might end up stuck in Atlanta over night. I'm pretty stubborn, especially with Sallie, about car seats, and it would going to mess up our car service booking, too. So, we called Peyton's parents to come get us, got our millions of bags "unchecked", and came home and set back up the Pack N Play. I'd been up since four that morning, which is like five hours earlier than my normal, and I was sort of exhausted. BUT, we were safe. 

(And I should clarify- we were allowed to get up and leave the plane but you had to take all your carry on stuff and go through the "reboarding process" and that wasn't very practical with all three kids and we had SO much carry on stuff for the baby and all that.)

And I can't say enough about the Delta crew. The big kids got to go up and check out the flight deck. A flight attendant got Sallie two little pouches of baby food which she loved, even though we told her she'd be fine just nursing two or ten times (which she also loved). And I heard another one offer a guy oatmeal from her own bag when he was complaining about not getting a "real" breakfast. One of the pilots was such a ham and they were both so sweet. And these children! They are NOT always well behaved but I made the comment to Peyton that Graves does how to hold it together when it really matters (which may be an indictment on our parenting and does show he has more self-control than we give him credit for). Annie did so well but by the end she was in tears and that was a determining factor in not risking getting stuck in Atlanta (P thought we could just sleep in the airport over night if we had to and WE could- we rode a Greyhound to a Save Darfur rally, for crying out loud- but we have to think about these little people and I think that would be pushing too hard). Anyway, I'm just SO proud of how well they did and they are not kids who are used to sitting in chairs much of the day.

Diaper bin has never been so full. Truthfully, while I wouldn't CHOOSE this, I loved having a bonus day. I got a bunch of clean laundry folded that was sitting in a big pile in our room and would have been waiting on us for a month, made a trip to the attic to hunt for some shoes (that I never found and will just have to turn up but I'm glad that's not on a list for when we get home), washed the high chair straps, and tidied Annie's unibrow. It reminds me SO much of when I was knocking stuff out when I was past my due date with Sallie. Not ideal but it sure has it's hidden blessings. 

Round two...

A little Herrington ProTip- when waiting for a flight, get near your gate but don't bother with the actual seating area. Just find a spot between two and flop yourself on the floor. Preferably where you have a great view of departing flights and a ledge for pulling up while watching them. Note: this is clearly for little tiny peanut airports like Jackson Evers or whatever they're calling it this year.

Found a quiet corner to nurse this girl, got her to sleep in the Tula, and our flight got cancelled completely with no options until the next day. (This time our plane was waiting and the pilot was there and we were ready to go but there was no crew (i.e. flight attendants)). Whew, I was every kind of exhausted and wishing someone would feed me and put me to bed? 

Peyton legit tried to convince me we should go ahead and get a flight to Atlanta and if we couldn't get on the flight into JFK, we could just spend the night in the airport. Um, no. It's no secret P has a STRONG personality, but I can be pretty spicy, too. I told him to go ahead and promise me he would remain calm the entire time and not have one stressed out moment because I could not carry the tension at that point. I also told him he was going to need to commit to me that if we did this, that he would be wearing Sallie in the Tula the ENTIRE time on his body. No way was I going to let her sleep in the stroller and and then us both fall asleep and then have my baby get human trafficked. I was like "you can just wake me up to nurse her; it might be one of the best nights I've had in a while". Clearly, I was feeling really feisty in that moment and he admitted it was not the best idea. 

I was so frustrated and tired but I did keep trying to tell myself to have some perspective. I mean, of all the people on our flight, we probably had the least to lose, being as we're here for a month. 

We actually met several people and talked about their tough days. One guy was a teacher and he was going doing some kind of PhD program remotely and had like three days of the year where he traveled to Washington D.C. for class and this was it for him. He ended up being able to get on a flight to Baltimore and was going to rent a car. There was this other guy who got held up the day before and decided to rent a car and drive to Atlanta and then right after he returned the car he realized he had left his laptop on the the plane he flew into Jackson in. So he turned around, re-rented the car, and drove back to Jackson. The plane was still here and he found it, but he had gotten no sleep and he missed this huge thing that he was basically the keynote speaker for. He was so kind and told us that our kids were awesome and that I had the hard job and then he told me about his boys and how the middle one had colic and and he used to walk him around the block in the middle of the night. It was so precious. We absolutely loved hearing all these stories- it was one of our favorite things when we lived in NYC. 

There were so many silver linings and ways I saw the Lord providing. Like I said, we have a whole month and I'm glad it happened on this end of the trip and we didn't get stuck in the airport in NYC where we couldn't just go home and sleep in our comfy beds. 

Not quite six am and back at the airport. Peyton (and multiple strangers) said " third time's the charm" and Annie said "You don't know that. It's not like you can tell the future. You just hope that's the case." I was really, REALLY hoping it was.

The boys had to sit in a separate area from us, Annie didn't get her coveted window seat, and I got super light headed and dizzy which is expected, but made me really anxious since I was caring for Sallie without Peyton. BUT the guys did fine, Annie was so sweet and adjusted well even though I know it was a deep disappointment. Sallie and I both fell asleep while I was nursing her during the pressure change and I felt much better when I woke up at a new altitude. Most importantly, we made it to Atlanta and I was excited to be SO CLOSE.

We had two hour delay in Atlanta- another plane without a crew. We were just hoping it would work out but Peyton went ahead and got us into a backup flight out of Atlanta the next morning just in case. I'm SO grateful it did and Sallie actually slept almost the entirety of both flights, which I highly doubt she'd have done if the second one had left when it was supposed to. And we made it!

I was cringing the whole time on the ride from the airport. Those straps. OMG. I also just made an executive decision that in the foreseeable future any time we travel within the continental United States (which is anytime we travel in the foreseeable future), we're driving. The kids did SO well on our big camping trip last Fall and the big ones did great when we moved home from BK. I love flying in theory- it's cool and fun and as a bad a driver as I am, it's never scared me at all- but it does a number on me physically every time and this time I realized how much it effects Graves (he and I are so similar in our sensitivity to pressure changes). He was squeezing his eyes so hard in so much pain on the descent and trying not to cry because his ears hurt so bad. And I took Annie to the bathroom in Atlanta and she was in the stall next to me...until she wasn't. She had gone to wash her hands but I had such a panicked moment. I was terrified someone had grabbed a her and she was about a to be human trafficked. At this point, you can probably tell that that's such a major anxiety trigger for me right now. And then those straps. I just feel so much more in control of the situation when we're driving. And yes, it's important to let go of control and God calls me to do it often. But in this stage of the game, I feel like I'm letting go of it in so many daily ways and this was too much. I know this is just the beginning of so many important things we'll learn this month!

We finally made it to our Airbnb-- about ten hours after leaving our house that morning. 

I love our Airbnb. Super bare bones and a little tacky in some places but it's really clean and basically baby-proofed. The first picture is of the big kids are sharing- so tidy because they each brought like six toys. I got everything unpacked and hung up/in drawers on Friday right when we got here and Peyton got groceries and it felt so cozy. Our stroller got broken on the plane (we decided at the last minute to check it because it's a "baby item" and as free) but P thinks he can borrow a drill and fix it and it's not our nice one and we have the Tula and had planned to use it for shorter trips anyway. It feels good to get settled!

I share more about our first few days in the next post. 

I'll probably share these every few days or maybe weekly! 

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