We left to come home early on Aug 11, 2011, to visit/surprise my family. The only person that knew about the trip was my Mom, and I guess my brother-in-law figured it out, since he was needing to work on my van. The day began at 5:30 am for the children, 4:11 am for me.
My children didn't even know we were headed home until Wednesday night, Aug 10, 2011. They were excited to know they would soon be seeing their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Our first flight was scheduled for take-off at 7:50 am, it took off pretty close to that time. I was sitting with my oldest and my youngest son for this trip, I was in the middle. My youngest son was asking when we were going to "blast off." I told him to look out the window and tell me when we "blast-off." When the plane started picking up speed all three of the children were looking out the window, waiting for that special moment when we were no longer on the ground.
The flights had in-flight television from DirecTV. It was free until about 10 minutes after we were in the air. Once we found SpongeBob SquarePants, the youngest got a big smile. This was while people were still boarding the plane. His smile brought smiles to faces of others that were boarding the plane. It was really nice!
My oldest two enjoyed looking out the window, seeing that we were in the clouds. They liked the idea of getting free pop. They don't get to drink pop very often, so it was a special treat. We packed a lot of snacks, along with their DS games and the laptop that would be used as a DVD player. We hit some turbulence about an hour into the flight. I saw my childrens' faces light right up. My youngest exclaimed, "Let's do it again!" Which made me laugh. The flight attendant appreciated his enthusiasm also. The older two exclaimed that it was like an amusement park ride. If only most of the adults could find the joy in the turbulence! We know that we should probably brace for more! About 2 1/2 hours later, we landed in Houston TX at around 11 am local time.
Upon landing, we had to walk swiftly to the next gate for our flight to DC. This would be another 3 hour flight. We had no time to stop and eat. Thankfully we had stocked up on the snacks. Snacks on the plane are anything but cheap! We had hoped to grab a burger between flights. We got to the next flight in just about enough time to start boarding the plane. On we go. This flight I was sitting by my daughter and my youngest son (they sat next to each other), my oldest was sitting with his Aunt, a row behind us. We decided to purchase the in-flight television, as this was going to be another 3 hour trip. It helped the trip go quicker. My two children that were sitting next to me took a little catnap about an hour before the plane landed.
We arrived in Washington, DC, with a 30 minute layover. Thankfully, the next gate we had to get to was right next door. It was a quick commute over to there. The plane was small and full. We had the first row, as there were 4 seats across, and then one seat on the next row. My oldest got about a half-hour nap at the beginning of this flight. It took 50 minutes, and we were in Cleveland.
It was wonderful to get off that plane and know that there were no more connections, we would finally see Mom and Susan, and head back to Western NY. We all gave each other hugs and kisses upon finally seeing each other after several months. Then we jumped in the van, found a McDonalds (which is a story, in and of itself), and headed home. The trip home was about 3 1/2 hours, there were lots of laughs, between hearing people try to count to 10 in Japanese and other stories we shared about the last few months. We found out when we pulled into town that my brothers won the Championship game for their bracket in the league. We arrived here at about 11 pm.
We hid in Mom's house, in the bathroom, and surprised people as they came in. We shared many hugs and kisses. It is wonderful to be home! We stayed up for a couple more hours, catching up, and enjoying the company of those we love, then headed to bed.
Oh, and yes, we did win a $100 discount on rent at the pool party on Wednesday. I will write more when I get on this computer again, tomorrow or Tuesday, but I am enjoying every minute with my family.