Flying Outnumbered

When I told Roy that I'd just possibly had the worst night of my life he responded with, "Well, at least it'll be a good story for the blog."

While I prefer to focus on the positive, I think it's good to acknowledge that life isn't one big ice cream party.  I make plenty of mistakes.  Some are small, like when I put together Camden's lunch and the strawberries were touching the toast on his plate.  Rookie mom-of-toddler mistake.  Some are colossal, like when I decided to take my toddler and my newborn on an airplane by myself.  Huge, huge mistake!

But let's start at the beginning, the whole reason I got on the plane in the first place.  
Our annual Collett trip to Lake Powell was a bit short for us Buckmasters.  (Powell post coming later.)  Roy had a lot going on at work and couldn't take off too much time, so we were just there for the weekend.  While Roy went home and back to work, we thought it would be fun to have me and the kids jump in the caravan back up to Utah with Mom, Dad, and Mason.  The plan was to spend a week at their house in Heber and then hop a plane back to Arizona.  NDB.

Every time I drive into the Happy Valley I am shocked at how beautiful the mountain range is, and at how much I didn't appreciate it when I lived there.  We ventured to a pretty waterfall one morning and Camden transformed into a little daredevil with Papa's influence.  They climbed the waterfall and then crossed the river at the top while I hyperventilated at the base.

Hallie does best in the wrap when she's ready to sleep.  She'll sleep for hours and hours when she's snuggled in like that.  But she's growing out of that newborn constant-sleep-coma and awake more frequently, and when she's awake she wants to see what's going on.  So Hallie arches her back and her neck like crazy to check it all out.  She was a huge fan of the treetops.

The river water was freezing, so we didn't swim in it.  But we did go swimming in a temperature-controlled pool with the family.  My favorite moment at the pool was when I was explaining to Camden that Uncle Jake swam for a semester of college, hoping to show him how "cool" it is to practice swimming.  "He's really good at swimming," I said.

Camden shrugged and replied, "Well I'm really good at hopping on one foot."  And then proceeded to demonstrate.

In the meantime, Hallie took a nap poolside in her adorable swim suit.

My favorite was going to the Utah Symphony in Deer Valley.  The theme was DreamWorks Animation, perfect for a little guy who loves music and movies.  We spread a blanket out on the grass facing the huge stage and screens.  While we picnicked we listened to the orchestra and watched DreamWork clips they accompanied.  So fun, and glad my dad came with us.  Also- Camden was in an extremely silly mood.

One more funny Camden story that also happens to involve Uncle Jake.  So there's a walk-in closet in one of the guest rooms that we've made into a Mickey Mouse room, complete with a little Mickey Mouse toddler bed.  Camden insisted on sleeping in the Mickey room even though this time Aunt Alexa and Uncle Jake were sleeping in the adjoining bedroom, and not I.  So before he went to sleep that night I told him, "When you wake up come get me in the other room.  Don't wake up Alexa and Jake, just be very quiet and come wake me up."  He agreed.

Early the next morning Jake was sleeping when he felt a little hand rest on his arm.  Jake kept his eyes closed and stayed very still, hoping that eventually the little hand would go away and Camden would leave the room.  That didn't happen, the hand stayed on his arm for a long time.  Finally Jake opened his eyes to see Camden staring at him in the semi-darkness.

Camden leaned in and whispered quietly, "I'm not supposed to wake you up."

Hahaha!  What a kid, right?  We were so happy to spend extra time with family, even GG and Great Grandpa came up for a few days!

Our time in Utah came to an end and I found myself in the airport with too much luggage but high hopes.  Baby girl was happy and ready to fall asleep any minute.  I hoped she would just sleep in her stroller while we waited at the gate.

But the man at the desk said that American Airlines no longer allows you to check your stroller at the gate.  Why?  Because apparently workers have been injured trying to carry strollers onto the plane.  So I had to part with my stroller at check-in.  This was bad news, since Hallie still couldn't hold up her own head she pretty much took two arms to carry, which meant I would be useless helping Camden or carrying our bags.  Thank goodness I have my wrap, I thought.  Well, this is what Hallie thought about her wrap.

So I'm going through security with a writhing, screaming baby and a distracted toddler {"Cam, this way, this way, where are you going?"} and of course they choose me for the random security check.  Maybe they were hoping they could find a reason to kick us out of the airport and spare everyone's eardrums.  

After they do their thing and decide I'm not a threat, I find out that both of my carryon bags were selected by two different people to be rummaged through.  I had a bottle of expressed milk they had to test to make sure it was really milk, and they were weirded out by the breast pump, which was built into the bag.  Who knows what the problem was with my other bag, I was so distracted trying to calm Hallie and keep Camden close.

When they finally let me go I had to jam my feet back into my tennis shoes without retying them because if I bent over Hallie would undoubtedly find a way to abandon ship.  I thought it would be fine but by the time we reached the gate my feet were aching from the shoe tongues that were wadded up and jammed against the tops of my feet.

Flight delayed one hour.  Great.  I walked around the airport in an attempt to get Hallie to calm down and fall asleep, all the while madly watching after Camden to make sure he didn't get stolen or something.  He thought it was all a big game and was running around and around the rows of empty chairs I was circling.  I tried to stay as far away from crowds as possible to avoid those looks, like I must be purposefully torturing my baby just to be annoying.  

I hadn't realized how heavy the bags were until I'd circled chairs with them hanging on my shoulders for an hour.  Halie was in and out of sleep.  Heaven forbid I sit down or stop swaying.  When I paused to try to fix my shoes she woke up and shrieked her head off.  So much for that.  In that time Camden had gone to the bathroom twice, and he asked for a third time.  Not a good sign.

So while Camden was in the stall, Hallie was testing out the acoustics in the tiled bathroom and I was swaying like a crazy person.  Then I hear, "Mama, I pooped in my pants."


Like, really?  I was looking around for Ashton Kutcher, I had to be on TV, this was ridiculous.  Camden had been all but perfect for months and this is when he chooses to poop his pants?  I had to laugh.  

He shuffled his naked butt down to one of the handicap stalls so we could all fit in there together.  Again, I couldn't lean over, so I did about 100 squats getting out clean underwear, wipes, getting his shoes and socks off and carefully peeling the underwear off of him, etc.  Oh, and all one-handed, too.  My other arm was sore from wrestling Hallie, keeping her in the wrap.  I was sweating.  Hallie had never screamed so loud.

As I was wiping his bum and legs and cleaning him up, of course the automatic toilet was flushing over and over again, spraying my hands and arms.  So ridiculous.

I felt like I'd run a marathon by the time I managed to get Camden into clean clothes and shoes back on without having him sit on the nasty floor.  When we exited the bathroom I saw that the flight had been delayed another hour.  I was torn between laughing and crying, and settled for a hysterical laugh-moan.

We started the laps around the more deserted part of the airport again until I thought my shoulders and feet would fall off.  Camden told me he was thirsty.  I only had a 20 dollar bill, but inserted it into the machine for a $2 bottle of water.  Then $18 worth of quarters came tumbling out!!!  Exactly what I need, more weight!

As I fed Hallie the bottle of milk which I'd been saving for the plane ride, they finally began boarding.  Hallie fell into a sound sleep just after finishing the bottle when we got in line to board.  When we got settled into our seats I handed Camden the iPad and felt Hallie's steady breathing against my chest and thought, Okay, the hard part is over.  This is going to be fine.

Sadly, I was mistaken.  Hallie slept for 20 minutes and then when Cam accidentally dropped his iPad loudly in the aisle she woke up and fussed the rest of the plane ride.  Sorry, dude trying to sleep next to me!  And while Hallie was crying in my ear Camden wanted me to commentate his games for him for some reason, and was being quite insistent.  My patience was thinning, and I was sweating again.  So embarrassed, sure I was the most hated soul on the plane.  

I couldn't have been happier to hear that we were beginning our initial decent.  When even the stewardesses were buckled in, Camden announced that he had to pee.  Usually that means we have about 30 seconds to find a bathroom, and here we are with the seatbelt sign illuminated.  Yikes.  I gave him my best pep talk but inwardly planned on cleaning up a puddle.

To my amazement, the boy held it like a champ!  I was immensely impressed.  But as soon as the plane came to a stop on the tarmac and everyone rose from their seats I said loudly over the screams of my baby, "YOU NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM CAMDEN?  GO TO THE BACK OF THE PLANE!"

The aisle parted like the red sea, let me tell you.  People knew this crazy lady needed some help!  We shuffled back there and one stewardess hurried Cam into the tiny bathroom and shut the door for him.  The other stewardess asked me if I would like her to fix my shoes for me.  Ha!  I could have cried from gratitude.  People around me told me how cute my kids were, patting me on the back like they knew I needed it.  A small girl offered to carry one of my bags for me and someone else helped me direct Camden off of the plane.  

One of the biggest reasons moms fear taking their kids on airplanes is because they don't want to bother other people with crying/whining/etc.  During the flight I kept my eyes down, just knowing that if I lifted my gaze I'd be met with contemptuous glares.  But I was wrong to assume the worst in everyone.  The moment I actually lifted my head there were people, complete strangers, who were waiting and willing to help and sympathize.

People are good.

Even so, when we got off the plane and headed for baggage claim... well I've never been so happy to see my husband in all of my life.  And I'd never been happier to get home.

The Kirsten Weeks

Okay.  Hallie is three months and I wouldn't say I've "bounced back."  In fact, there's no bouncing involved, it's more like a slow awakening.  Occasionally I have to open my eyes to something outside of us that needs to get done, but then I roll over and nestle back into this baby mode with no intentions of rising from it.  Not yet.  Not too soon.  Let's stay here together a little longer.

Somehow everything outside of us is still flying by.  Today I ripped three untouched months off of the calendar.  Not one thing was written in any of the dated squares.  I crumpled up the empty pages, threw them in the trash and stared at the month of August.  Had to write a few things here and there, doctor's appointments and preschool open house for Cam.  I can sense that we are ready, that we could get up and get out into normal life if we wanted to.  But not yet.  Not too soon.

What I should be doing is keeping up on our family chronicle.  I want to remember these days.  They are slow-paced but they are still fun and adventure-filled, especially for our boy, thanks to friends and family.

Like Kirsten coming for a two-week visit.  Naturally, Camden was in Heaven having someone to pal around with.  Actually I think part of the reason he has done so well with the transition from only child to eldest child is because of Kirsten and others who have come over and continued to pay him plenty of attention when I'm with the baby.

Hallie loved Aunt Kirsten too.

Camden does love Hallie, but what's funny is how much she loves him.  She's always looking for him, and if he crosses her line of vision she breaks out in an extra huge smile.  Camden, on the other hand, is oblivious to this.  But he's a big helper, and doesn't like to see her upset.

He has a hard time picturing himself ever being like his sister, but...



Clearly they are surer siblings.
One more of sleeping Hallie because she gives me heart eyes.

On the fourth of July we went to the world's oldest rodeo.  Camden's favorite part was the "bucking broncos."  My favorite part was the one-armed bandit performance where he herds a bunch of Texas Longhorn up on top of a horse trailer.  Roy's favorite part was keeping Hallie asleep in the carrier.

What a good dad.

I love these American kids.

Kirsten and Roy took Cam to see the parade.  This boy enjoys parades.  I absolutely love how he waves at everyone passing by.

That evening we had a 4th of July picnic at the park with some friends.  The kids ran around and played on the playground while we talked and ate hamburgers.  Or veggie burgers.

By the time we got home we were all exhausted.  Although I was worried the others would think I was a party pooper I asked if maybe we should skip the fireworks this year.  Instead I was met with relief.  We were all equally consenting party poopers.  So we busted out some sparklers in our pajamas and called it a night.  Happy Birthday, America!

And Hallie slept through the night!  Hip hip hooray!!!

As always, loved having Kirsten here.
I'll be playing catchup throughout the week with these posts, but for now... nap.