Friday, August 1, 2014

The long journey to Hawaii

Well we survived our first solo flight with all three babies and we were thankful that it was only an hour and a half! It was definitely a little more challenging to have three babies and only two adults. It was a teeny plane & we were in the last row because it had enough extra oxygen masks. One of the trickiest moments was installing the car seat which meant keeping three babies safe while I installed the seat. Michelle held two & I sat the third on my seat & we both tried to make sure that baby didn't decide to dive out of the seat!  I sat next to the car seat baby so for a lot of the flight I tried to keep two babies entertained.  We played musical chairs, rotating the babies through the car seat. The shuffling itself was a bit of a trick but we managed and I think it definitely saved us some screaming.
Heading into the airport in State College
Off to Chicago we went
Michelle & Avery getting ready for takeoff
Then after a couple of days in Chicago it was time for the long flights from O'Hare to LAX and LAX to Hilo. We could already tell from the first flight that this flying experience was going to be very different from the trip in April when the babies were only six months old. They are just so much busier now!  Thank goodness Michelle's mom joined us for this part of the trip!

The first flight went fairly well despite starting out with at least half an hour on the plane at the gate while they worked out a "small maintenance issue." The babies were reasonably entertained by our silly antics and the toys we'd brought. Denise made these great little contraptions Michelle saw on Pinterest that hook onto the tray table & let you attach toys via the little links. They worked great and helped prevent at least some dropped toys, which are very difficult to pick up in the minuscule amount of personal space allotted in an airplane! The babies really started to lose it during the descent, taxiing  and unloading. No major mishaps though we obviously should've done an extra diaper change on the flight because both Isaiah & Avery had diaper leaks even with the cloth cover on top. 
Ah...a rare moment of peace!
Note the tray table attachment Denise made
The hilarious part about that first flight was Michelle's seat mate. She was an older Chinese woman who was very sweet and happy to see the babies. About ten minutes into the flight she just reached over and took Avery from Michelle! She didn't speak a word of English but eventually figured out they were triplets and was very excited. That was also our first "stranger taking pictures" experience, which is something we've heard other triplet parents talk about. And then Michelle took my phone to show her a few pics of them when they were little and the woman proceeded to scroll through all the pictures on my phone AND use her phone to take pictures of the pictures of all three of them together! Seriously!  Definitely a cultural difference there and a serious language barrier that prevented any discussion, so we just laughed about it!  Our babies will make a good story for her and be famous somewhere in China. =)

staging a picture to get a picture of the picture-taker!
We were supposed to have two hours at LAX but thanks to our late start that was cut down to an hour. And let me tell you, that is not really enough time to change diapers & clothes, let the adults pee, walk to the next gate, & feed hungry babies dinner! We were rushing through dinner and then didn't get over to the gate until they announced the final boarding call. 

And then we get to the gate only to look at our boarding passes and realize that our online seat changes didn't take and we were still booked all in the same row. That might be nice if we could do it, but we can't because there are only 4 oxygen masks in a row. So then the flight attendant had to go ahead of us to move people to make it work.  Fortunately it did work and all three of us ended up with decent seats and nice seat mates. Michelle had a window seat, which she was dreading, but that turned out better than expected because she had an open middle seat! And Denise and I both got aisles, which makes it so much easier to soothe crabby babies and swap babies.  
Michelle took advantage of the open seat next
to her for a little baby break
I'd been hoping that maybe, since it was right around bedtime when we boarded the last flight, that the babies would just nurse or take a bottle and conk out for a few hours, but that wasn't their plan! They were much crabbier on this flight because they should've been sleeping, so we did a lot of rocking in our seats, standing in the aisles, and baby swapping. About two hours into the flight Denise said her arms were already sore from holding babies and she was probably questioning whether Hawaii was going to be worth it!  They all did sleep a little, but not for very long stretches like we'd hoped.  But eventually we did make it and my mom was doing a happy dance when she saw us coming down the escalator!  It was a long day of flying, but we made it. And waking up the next morning to this view made it all worth it!

The view from Mom & Dad's house!  So gorgeous!

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