Jolly Holidays 2007 – Day 1 airport fun

Arriving at the airport shortly before 5:30, we check our bags curbside, put the baby in the stroller, and we head inside. I check Jim’s flight schedule and see that he’s delayed, and instead of arriving at 6:45, he won’t be here until 7:30. I can’t wait that long to feed the kids, so we go to the really nice food court area and get them a hot dog. As we grab our dinner, the girls see Santa. Yep, the man himself has a nice throne set up at Philly International, and a friendly – although disorganized – helper is taking complimentary Polaroid pictures of anyone interested. I figure Granuaile will never get closer than a football field length to the man, but Eilis might want to go see him. I start walking over in that direction, and Gracie BOLTS – like she has been shot out of a cannon – into Santa’s unsuspecting legs and clings on for dear life. Her happy little eyes plead with him to forgive the entire year of transgressions and focus only on her adorable little self, hugging his legs as if her very life depended on it. The “helper” is ooohhhhing and aaaahhhing over how adorable this is and how cute this is and oh my gosh Santa, don’t you think this is the sweetest thing ever?? Santa has apparently NOT been doing a bustling business here at the airport, and they are really hoping my kids agree to get their pictures taken – as if there’s any way NOT to take their pictures at this point. So we get a quick picture, and we go back to the food court to eat the dinner and wait for the picture to develop.

Following dinner, we find me a latte (ewwww – Java and Jazz, skip it next time), and head out to the gate to wait for Jim and our flight. No. We’d better not. It’s way too early. We browse the mall, turning Eilis down at every store for all of the things she claims we need, want, and gotta have. After 30 minutes or so of telling them “no” every 23 seconds, we are going to the gate. I will not suffer this torture alone – let them bother the other passengers waiting for a nice, peaceful vacation in Orlando.

We head over to the gate, and the girls are excitedly watching the planes come in and out. Granuaile, who has never been here before, claims every plane as her own, and shouts, “I SEE IT!!” every time red, yellow, green, blue, or any other color lights go by, followed by “I READY!” It’s so cute. 14,296 times. So cute. Really. It must be, because I’m noticing people moving away from us, and I imagine the cuteness must just be too much for them. Especially when she starts going right up to people, as they are reading, talking on their cell phones, and working on their computers, bending her head so that her face is right in their face, to tell them that she is going on the plane see it there it is outside that’s her plane and she’s ready to go are you ready to go are you going on plane to Disney World and see Mickey Mouse and Goopy (that’s how she says it) and stay in the hotel…I check my watch. Where the heck is Jim??

So then they make an announcement that they have to change our gate because there is a flight leaving to Tampa at the same time ours is leaving to Orlando, and the Tampa flight has arrived early, and ours has not arrived. We now move from gate B15 to C27 – a long walk. Eilis is complaining because her feet hurt. She elected not to wear socks with her boots, and I give her a thick pair of mine (all I had handy), and they are bunched up in the boots. We get to the other gate, and now I am praying for Jim to arrive. There are no TV screens here to tell me his flight status, so I ask the guy at the podium, who tells me there are no flights coming in from Milwaukee. Oh. This can’t be good. I’m getting a little freaked out, wondering if I should get on the plane or not, and quickly decide that I’d better just get on the plane and hope for the best. I take the kids to the bathroom, change the baby, and as I’m heading back, Jim calls.  WHEW.  He has landed and just has to wait for the shuttle to our terminal.  Thank goodness!  In no time, he is meeting us at the gate we have been moved to, and we are boarding the plane.

I Ready!!

Jolly Holidays 2007 – Our Christmas Trip to Disney Day 1, getting there

In true Skamarakas fashion, the details of this trip take on a life of their own. I am getting better at not planning things, because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. The semi, not set in stone plan is to leave at oh dark thirty Sunday morning and drive straight through to our 2 bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Then we start planning our summer trip – a 3 week trip to Europe, which includes a 13 day cruise to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is during this planning that Jim realizes we have oh so many frequent flyer miles, none of which can be used on British Airways for our trip to Europe next summer, so we might as well use them to fly to Florida for our Christmas trip. Alrighty then.

Jim works in Milwaukee all week long, and flies home to Jersey on the weekend. His plan is to just fly from Milwaukee to Orlando and I’ll fly with Eilis and Granuaile from Philly to Orlando, and I’ll try to coordinate our flight times so that neither of us has to wait too long for the other one when we arrive in Florida, and we can all ride to Jim’s mother’s together in a rental car. As it turns out, I have to go to Eilis’ mid-year conference at school, and we have tickets to see A Christmas Carol at the Walnut Street theater, so I can’t leave until late in the day. When I start looking to coordinate flights, I see that there is one from Milwaukee that arrives in Orlando at 11:30, and one from Philly that arrives at 11:30 – oh my goodness – the Milwaukee flight connects in Philly!! How cool that this is going to make it possible for Jim to get to fly with the baby on her first airplane ride! I know they will both be excited!! We book the flights – and for $15, me and the two youngest children will be in Orlando in 2 hours instead of 20 hours! I’m so excited!

So, Jim goes to Milwaukee for work a week before the trip, and I send with him a huge suitcase of all of our clothes so that it’s easier for me to take myself and the two kids. The day of, I am still frantically throwing things into a suitcase to take with me that I forgot to pack in Jim’s, and then I realize I have Christmas presents to take with me, too. I bring out another suitcase and fill that one with holiday gifts and some sugar free snacks I picked up for my MIL, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I go to the conference, we go to the show, and we come home and start putting stuff in order for Brighid to stay here with Nannie for the week. The window on my Navigator broke yesterday – in 18 degree, snowy weather – and my stepfather has offered to come early and take me to pick it up. We agree that he’ll come at 4 to avoid the traffic down to the car dealer, and we’ll leave for the airport at 6, so I’ll be there in plenty of time for my 8:45 flight.

Okay, so at 3, my stepfather shows up. We go down to get the car, and when we get back, he’s anxious to do something, so he loads the bags in the trunk. Then he starts asking what time I want to leave. Then it starts snowing. I figure he’s getting nervous about driving in the dark and in the snow, so I tell him whenever they want to go is fine with me. We are on our way to the airport at about 5 o’clock. Oh man, I’m going to be early.