It’s been almost a week since I posted! Well, there’s a good reason. After a crazy filled Thursday, we left bright and early at 7am for our 3 hours drive to El Segundo, where we caught a non-stop flight to Dallas! We’ve been planning this trip for months, as we still haven’t been out to visit our friends and church family since we moved in August. Virgin America offers great $99 non-stop flights, so it made the trip do-able, even with a toddler. We also used Easy Park LAX, parking our car for just $30 for the 4 days we were gone.

As far as flying with a toddler…well, it’s easier than the 4 times we flew when he was a baby…in SOME ways. In other ways, it’s a ton harder. Basically, there are pros and cons to every stage. In some ways, I prefer the infant stage, and in some ways I prefer this stage.

The pros, for instance? He can tell us what he wants. He’s very distractible when we have lots of treats and goodies. He loves to read books (yes, the same 3 that we were able to fit into our diaper bag, for 3 hours straight!!!).

The cons? Anyone who’s ever had a toddler can tell you that they love to MOVE. And when that movement is impeded by close rows of seats and they feel claustrophobic? Hysteria becomes their new best friend. And don’t get me started on how tough they are to deal with when they’re tired, bored and hysterical. I mean, we tried to get him a good nap earlier that day, but he was still a mess, kicking and flailing everywhere while shrieking. And, let me tell you, this 15 month old has got LUNGS!

So, parents with babies….fly while you still can!

Anyways. We made it to Dallas and had a great time. We stayed with the Folsoms in their spare bedroom/office, which worked out great. G and Fiona (their boston terrier) took a day to get used to each other, but after that it went smoothly.

The Unruhs drove up for dinner on Friday. It was so nice to see them again, and the boys all played together so well! It’s already apparent that G idolizes Topher…every little thing he did, G watched, eyes shining with admiration and wonder. Topher also clung to Jesse like a barnacle. They talked non-stop. When Jesse went to put G to bed, Topher ran to Courtney and said, “Mama, let’s make-pretend you’re Jesse and talk to me.” He didn’t melt down about leaving the Folsoms later until he asked if Jesse was “coming home with him” and Jesse had to answer that he had to take care of Gregory (um, and me?).

Saturday morning, Jenny, Courtney and I had coffee at a lovely little place. Courtney and I then drove to Buy Buy Baby to buy Jenny’s baby bash gift (alliteration! it was actually a baby “shower”…baby bash sounds psychotic, when you think about it…). After some afternoon naps, we headed to Vespers at our old parish, St. Seraphim’s, and then we headed over for pizza at the Unruh’s place.

Sunday, after church, was Jenny’s baby shower (she received a lot of stuff! wow!). Sunday evening, one of our old friends and her husband came over to have dinner with us at the Folsoms. After we were done and Lil G had been put to bed, Jenny and I went to Katie’s house for a “girl’s night” with Courtney and a few others. We watched the Golden Globes while Jenny and I stared enviously at all the girls drinking wine, whilst consoling ourselves with icecream and apple cider 🙂

And then Monday, our last day. The Unruhs came over for a yummy breakfast made by Jason (Dutch-baby pancakes and sausage! Yum!). At around 1pm, we all said our goodbyes. Jenny and I made a quick run to Target to return a few baby shower items and buy the organizer she wanted (to store all those new baby gifts!). Then, at 3:30, we headed to Southlake to see Julie and a few of my piano students. Out of the 4 families I contacted (there simply wasn’t time for all of them, so unfortunately, I had to choose), I was able to see 3. I even got to listen to one of my “girls” play her newest song for me. She’s advanced sooo much in 4 months, it’s incredible. It makes me feel deeply comforted to know that she still loves the piano and wants to excel!

And then, at 5 pm, we headed for the airport 10 min. away. There were absolutely no lines at all (even though we only brought one carry-on for the 3 of us, we still had to “check” our carseat), not even through security. The flight was…well, I already mentioned that. The headline for that flight should be, “TIRED TODDLER WREAKS HAVOC ON PASSENGERS”…or something similar. We made it to LAX at 8pm, found our shuttle right away, and made it out of our Easy Park Lot by 8:45. We arrived home at 12:35, after a few bathroom stops.

All in all, the logistics of this trip (er, the ones we could control!) went awesome. Jesse and were super organized and it really made a difference. We chose to do only 1 carryon, 1 personal item, and the diaper bag, simple because I start having Braxton Hicks contractions anytime I do anything that my body deems as physically exerting in the slightest.  After walking through the airport to get to our gate, pulling nothing but our carryon, I couldn’t stop cramping for nearly an hour. It was actually kind of worrisome, to be honest.

Luckily, I have a wonderfully strong, patient and selfless husband who not only wrangled G and carried most of the luggage a good deal of the way, but he also drove all but 30 minutes of the 6 hours to and fro from El Segundo. What a guy, seriously.

Aside from the logistics, the trip also went great. While we know that we made the right decision to live and be near family, it’s also good to be reminded of why we’ve remained such close friends with both the Folsoms and the Unruhs throughout the years 🙂



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