Hello! We're back!
And... This is my 1001th post over the course of about five and a half years.
Anyway, I plan on telling you little by little about out trip with pictures and words over the next few days.
Let me say first and foremost, however, the kids did great. Absolutely fantastic. We had a few flareups, of course, but really no more than we would have had at home, and certainly no less than expected, given how much time the four of us spent together.
Also, let me say that we took nearly all of the advice offered to us in terms of helping the kids cross the Atlantic and while we used ALL of the tricks over the course of the two weeks while flying, eating out at pubs, and driving (a lot), the three indispensable items were as follows (in no particular order):
1. Suckers: three kinds.
2. Wrapped nonsense presents from Grandma (which may or may not have been broken and which often caused fights after-the-fact, but the anticipation for the wrapped presents helped so much).
3. Nintendo DS's (which I purchased at a major local retailer somewhat reluctantly, and spent WAY too much money on in terms of acquiring two and outfitting them. We weren't sure how they could possibly be worth it, but they allowed us to avoid hours of are-we-theres-yet while traversing the country).
So, here we go, the trip in words and pictures!
Here's our first flight: Minneapolis to Chicago.
It turns out that that flight was one of Big's worst moments in the entire trip and we get one of the best quotes from BioMom of the entire two weeks. Toward the end of the flight Big started kicking and pestering the seat in front of him, severely annoying the passenger in the seat. BioMom couldn't get him to stop freaking out and they battled all the way to O'Hare. We step off the plane and start heading out of the domestic gates area toward an extremely long security line and a three hour wait for the long flight and BioMom looks over at me (I can still see the gate we just came from, mind you, if I look over my shoulders) and says "I'm emotionally and physically SPENT!" with a sort of implication that she'd be of no help in the impending future of dealing with Big.
I thought to myself: Holy shit, we've just taken ten steps into our climb of Mt. Everest and I've already lost half of my SHERPA's and my oxygen tanks!!
This is my family, plugged in and satisfied during our three hour layover. Big's watching an episode of Batman on my iPhone, Ten is listening to music and BioMom is crackberrying.
Meeting up with my Brother. . .
Here we are exhausted but alive and well in Dublin. About to embark on a left-hand-sided drive to Omagh* (the fiance's hometown in Northern Ireland)! Notice the sucker in Big's mouth and the eye-cover on Ten's forehead-a first gift from Grandma.
*Omagh came into the international focus of the media on 15 August 1998, when the Real Irish Republican Army exploded a car bomb in the town centre. 29 people were killed in the blast — 14 women (including one pregnant with twins), 9 children and 6 men. Hundreds more were injured as a result of the blast.