Travelling for the first time with Judah was awesome! Okay, so I’m not going to say that he travelled like a perfect little angel…BUT he was pretty darn close! Although I kind of hate to admit it, I’m somewhat of a pessimist when it comes to certain things: things like taking Judah on a big trip like we just did and thinking “Oh my goodness, we are sooooo going to be the people everyone hates on the plane, I just KNOW it!” and “Ugh, this 3 hour flight is going to feel like 93 hours!” See, the advantage we pessimists have is that when the opposite of our expectations happen we are more than pleasantly surprised AND completely prepared for the absolute worst possible situation!
It is no coincidence that our baby loves our routine of daily life; we are planners and our life just happens to follow a schedule that we tend to keep to. Some would say that’s boring, but we like to live intentionally and this works well for us. We are flexible, however, and we just roll with it and enjoy the ride when the routine gets old or the schedule doesn’t work out.
Nathan and I knew our vacation visiting family in Washington and Oklahoma before actually settling here in Texas would be a major deviation from THE SCHEDULE and we welcomed it happily! We also wondered just how flexible our little Judah might or might not be during the deviation.
We flew out of Kenai, Alaska early July 23rd. Now, I’ve flown that little jot from Kenai to Anchorage and vise-a-versa many times and about half of those times I’ve been so unlucky as to get stuck on the tiny tin can of a plane that wobbles around the whole time en route and is so loud it causes near deafness; needless to say I was praying fervently that we would get on the bigger plane and as it turned out we did! I was shocked when Judah ended up falling asleep on that flight. For one thing, although it isn’t quite as loud as the tin can contraption, it is still REALLY loud and the entire flight lasts only about 20 minutes so it’s barely long enough to even fall asleep. But sleep he did, and for awhile, too, even after the plane ride was over and we were moving through the airport. I also want to add that we did not once give Judah Benadryl to coax him to sleep; his sleep was ‘au naturale’.
Nathan’s brother Dan came to Anchorage that day to see us off; he had been in Palmer for the 5 weeks prior to our departure and so we all enjoyed seeing him one last time before heading out of
state! Judah loves his uncles and he loved hanging out with Dan, if even just for a few short minutes before the flight to Seattle.
Going through security was fun. Or not. Any time you carry baby food on the plane it is an ordeal. I read this before hand, mothers told me before hand. I didn’t realize just how much of an ordeal it really would be. First of all, we were not just carrying the baby’s food; we were carrying the baby’s food, the baby’s toys, the baby’s activity blankie, the baby’s other blankie to be changed on, the baby’s extra clothes, the parent’s extra clothes, the baby’s books, the sanitizing wipes to protect baby against all the nastiness from people’s unwashed hands, the baby’s hiney wipes, the baby’s diapies, our important documents and things we don’t trust the baggage handlers with, oh, and of course, the laptop that also must be checked by a TSA security person. And the baby’s stroller must also be checked; which I rolled my eyes at, but hey, I suppose some crazy person has probably thought about renting a kid and buggie to try and blow up a plane, so I’m glad the security guys were watching out for us.
Let me pause right here and just say that although carrying all of this stuff (plus much more I haven’t even mentioned) makes for a total pain going through security, it was all 100% worthwhile and the entire reason that Judah was so wonderful to travel with, besides the fact that he’s just
wonderful in general. The preparation of gathering, packing and even designing and sewing Judah’s activity blankie was time consuming, but all of it together was our sanity!
But back to the baby food. These people are serious. They inspected each jar of food, wiped each one with a special cloth and put it under some sort of light and machine that basically ensured there was no explosive residue, I’m assuming. And they went through every carry-on item by hand. So then we had to RE-pack everything. Like I said, I’d rather them be overly invasive concerning our innocent belongings than let some nutcase on our plane and cause some sort of devastation, so oh well.
On the flight from Anchorage to Seattle we had to be shuffled around on the plane a little bit in order to be placed in a row with enough oxygen masks for us, the other person seated in our row and the baby. Suffice it to say the people displaced by this last minute change were less than pleased to find us sitting in their seats. But by then, we were just happy to be on the plane, seated and our carry-ons properly stowed.
Judah did very well on that flight and the man whose seat we had taken actually came around and chatted with the baby a little. Judah is great for confrontational purposes; he’s like a cushion because everyone loves his smiling eyes and sweet personality so much they can’t help but melt. To watch people look at him it’s amazing to see nearly everyone he smiles at soften in the face and reciprocate his friendliness. I so love that!
When we arrived in Seattle Judah came alive! His head was whipping every which way trying to take it all in. That airport, as usual, was full of people going every direction, having all sorts of conversations and it was like he wanted in on all the craziness. He started chattering instantly, hands and feet enthusiastically moving. Nathan and I were laughing together talking about how interesting it is in light of our personalities. Although we are not shy people, we’re quiet in general and we are
more introverted than extroverted…which suits us just fine! Some people feed off of being right in on the action of a large group of people and others like to stand on the side; it was fun to see Judah’s personality come out in such a strong way and see his extroverted inclination in comparison to ourselves.
While visiting Nathan’s brother Elijah and his wife Olya in Seattle we had a blast! We explored different areas of the city including downtown, Pike’s Place Market, Fremont and Seattle Center
where we ascended the Space Needle at night overlooking the city lights. Seattle is a beautiful city when the weather’s nice and we could not have asked for better weather for our visit: it was in the low 80s, perfect for walking our legs off all around!
The flight from Seattle to Dallas wasn’t quite as smooth as the previous, but it was pretty good. Judah had been off his schedule for about 4 days by then and it was starting to wear. He had a little bit of a fit at the end of the flight, but it didn’t last long. We arrived in Dallas right at midnight and it was another 2 and a half hours before we were able to climb into bed. Thankfully baby was in bed before us and we all slept soundly until the morning.
I was greeted that first morning in Texas by a tiny lizard about an inch long. I’m not scared of lizards necessarily, but I prefer critters like that
outdoors, not in my bathroom. Someone pointed out, however, that lizards eat bugs, so I guess I don’t mind them inside, just as long as they don’t jump out at me from nowhere. We proceeded that morning straight from the hotel to the Toyota dealership in Grapevine where we bought a bright white 2010 Toyota Corolla with tinted windows: the perfect car for city driving in the hot south. We thought we’d be in and out of there in no time, but even though we paid cash for our car it still took close to 4 hours without all the mounds of paperwork that would have come with financing it. Needless to say we were burnt out before we even got on the road to Tulsa that day!
When we finally arrived at Mimi and Papaw’s house it was after 8pm and we were so glad to be able to relax and visit before heading off to bed. When you’re staying at their house you can be assured of a number of things: 1. You will freeze your tush off if you’re anything like me. Even in triple digit weather I don’t want the house to be too chilly! 2. You will gain weight if you stay for long. Mimi is a great cook. 3. Your baby will get spoiled and quickly realize that if he just lets out a little whine here and there he will get to be held and cuddled constantly.
Our next little jaunt was to Oklahoma City to visit the rest of my family! We first went to Bricktown to celebrate my Aunt Sharon’s birthday, which was a surprise for her and so fun. We got to introduce Judah to a lot of the family on my dad’s side who had only seen
Judah on Facebook. They are such a fun-loving crowd and we were happy to actually be in town for something special.
Next we met my sister Karin and her kids Austin and Kennedi at Grandma Rosie’s beautiful new apartment in a retirement community before we went to Karin’s house where we stayed the next two nights. Grandma Rosie was so happy to get to meet baby for the first time. Her husband, Grandpa
Richard, just passed away a few weeks ago and I think the company of her granddaughters, grandson-in-law and great-grandchildren really cheered her up, although it created some jealousy in her schnauzer.
Nathan, Judah and I along with Karin, her husband Chris and their kids all went to church with Grandma Rosie the next morning. Nathan and I spent most of it out in the foyer taking turns with baby like most Sundays at church; church is the worst possible time as far as babies are concerned. It’s right at nap time and I’m sorry, but I’m not going to leave him in a nursery where every kid is screaming their head off. What fun is that for him? But that’s beside the point. I’ll be glad for the days when we don’t miss half the sermon every Sunday!
That night Karin and Chris made a wonderful, healthy dinner for all of us, including Grandma Rosie. It’s things like getting together with family kind of spur of the moment that I have missed while living in Alaska. After Chris took Grandma back home, Karin and Kennedi took Nathan, Judah and I to the pool in their neighborhood. Their homeowner’s association
has a great facility right down the road from their house. It was Judah’s first time swimming and he loved it! What great memories with family I haven’t seen in so long.
The next day they all took us to Edmond where we did a little exploring and shopping. Those kids are so polite and have such cute personalities. Oh and they also have the most adorable Southern accents. I love it!
That night we got to visit Grandpa John at his house, he took us out for a great dinner and we went back to his house to visit some more. It’s so fun to see my grandparents get to know Judah and see Judah get excited to see his great-grandparents! I love
making memories with family. The last night in Oklahoma City we spent with Grandma Rosie, which I think she really needed. She has had a few very tough weeks and having a lively almost 1-year-old helped her morale immensely.
The next day we headed back to Mimi and Papaw’s house to get the rest of our stuff we decided not to schlepp all the way to Oklahoma City and have to deal with loading and unloading all of it a few more times than was necessary. So we got to spend one more night there and enjoy a few more hours visiting with Mimi, Papaw and Uncle Mark.
Then it was one more 5 hour road trip from Tulsa to Dallas and we were home! For 5 weeks, that is. We are renting a furnished apartment through an awesome company named Oakwood for the duration of Nathan’s Aircraft Dispatching school. This place is beautiful, spacious and even better than we expected it to be. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out during Nathan’s school and where he gets hired. So until then, this is home and a wonderful home it will be because the 3 of us will be together living this adventure together.
From the moment we started making plans for Nathan to attend this school and make such a huge move, we have been unbelievably blessed! We see this as the blessing of a faithful God who orders our steps and we are anticipating our future with great hope and joy. I’m excited to continue writing as our new life unfolds!