In May we took 2 weeks vacation and flew the crew to the States! The task was daunting. Packing, traveling, arranging transportation for all of us (aka 4 kids 2 and under) was unnerving. BUT, we did it! We survived, and now two weeks later I think I can revisit the subject Here was our itinerary:
Fly to Atlanta Tuesday (staying in my parents 2 room condo downtown) Tuesday-Sunday we spent time in Atlanta prepping and attending my best friend's wedding Sunday we drove to North Augusta (my parents house) and repacked Monday we drove to Folly beach, SC Thursday we drove back to North Augusta Friday we celebrated my Dad'd retirement (more than 30 years with the same company) Sunday Stella and my nephew (and now God Son) Charlie were baptized! Monday we drove to Atlanta Tuesday night we flew back to Germany.
It was NON.STOP. gogogogogo. We couldn't have packed more activities into 2 weeks if we tried. (and we tried). We saw SO MANY friends and family and celebrated so many great things. It was fabulous.
Ok, so how do we get through an airport with 4 kids (who are too unpredictable to walk) and only 2 adults? GOGO Babyz Travelmate. We took three. Two had a carseat and a kid on it, and we strapped two carseats onto the third. Child 3 and 4 were in front carriers (beco and toddler tula in this case). We carried on carseats because we figured everyone would sleep better on the plane. oh and STRAPS. we could strap those suckers in and not worry about chasing kids around a plane who managed to figure out the clasp of the airplane buckle within hour 1 of a 10 hour flight.
(don't worry, we didn't leave Stella at home. She was strapped to me HAHA)
The flight from Germany to Atlanta is 10hours nonstop leaving around 11am and getting in at 4pm (i think...) It was miserable. No one wanted to wear headphones or watch movies, no one wanted to be strapped into carseats OR walk around. they just wanted to be held. and when you're outnumber by 2, that's fairly difficult. But, we can do anything for 10 hours, right?? :/ haha so, the last hour and a half of the flight consisted of two crying and yelling "no airpwane NO AIRPWANE" and two crying themselves to sleep. It wasn't as great as I was hoping, but also wasn't the worst. What else can we expect from a bunch of two year olds?! The Delta Crew was AMAZING in handling us.
To get ONTO the plane, we roll everything to the side of the plane and Brandon just makes runs back and forth, kid after kid, carseat after carseat. A Flight Attendant stood by our seats as he just loaded everyone and their seat one by one. I stood on the walkway unloading and folding carts until everyone was on. By the time we were buckled in we were both profusely sweating. This was our set up going there. all 6, all the way across. Not ideal but it was the only way they could fit us together.
We had to do a couple of seat swaps throughout the flight to keep random passengers from murdering our children HAHA. Delta offered us Toddler meals for the kids that they were willing to bring whenever we asked. Overall the logistics worked out great. We also packed two snacks per kids along with 5 diapers per kid in a carry on book bag.
everyone had a blast in Atlanta. It's interesting what you come up with as "games" to keep 2 year olds entertained in a small 2 bedroom apartment, but we figured it out. Lot's of runs down the hallway and trips on the elevator.
As far as how the kids did walking down the aisle... Jack made it all the way down, Clara made it halfway and Olivia laid on the floor in the back SCREAMING until the wedding planner pulled her into the back. HAHA so 2/3 is a HUGE success in my mind.
We then spent 2.5 days at Folly Beach in South Carolina. Can I just say, each year we go to the beach with the kids gets easier and easier!! This year was AMAZING!
My best friend from college, Johanna, lives in Charleston and she came to see us and it was THE BEST. I've missed her so much, and am so lucky to have her as a friend. Wherever we are, she makes the best effort to come to us. Those are the kinds of people to keep around!
These babes are DEFINITELY beach babes.
We used this time as a dry run for future "cousin camp" with my parents at the beach.
From there we went back to North Augusta to celebrate my Dad's Retirement and Stella and Charlie's Baptism. We got to see Brandon's parents, Beth and Bob, our great friends The Bontragers , and sooooo many others who made our trip fabulous! Katie (Bontrager) and Patrick McGlade flew all the way from Colorado to be Stella's God Parents. <3
all 4 kids were together for the first time since 2013 with all of their kids, so LOTS of photoshoots took place. Some successful, some not so much...
I chopped all my hair off:
and half my camera's memory card is filled with pictures like this:
Overall we had an amazing trip, but It's safe to say these kids are staying on this side of the Atlantic until we fly back for good!
Oh, and they made up for the flight over there by sleeping 6 of the 8 hours on the flight home. So, I didn't completely lose my mind, but there is still time.