Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Flying, Farewelling and Forting

There are certain life experiences I never ached to have. Like swimming with sharks. Or getting a tattoo. Or finding myself face to face with a grizzly bear. Or confining my children and I to a tubular sky cage, better known as an airplane.

There are so many unknowns! What will my kids do on an airplane? Will they be crazed lunatics? Will they be so enthralled by the experience they will be perfectly content? Will they spend the entire flight kicking the person in front of him? Will the pilot have to do an emergency landing because of the disturbance coming from row 13, seats A, B and C?

These are the thoughts that sprinted through my head as we faced one of my biggest parenting fears -- flying with children -- in an effort to make our way to Nebraska to babysit my brother's kids for a week.
We bought the kids backpacks for Christmas, and I stuffed them full of dollar store trinkets and candy galore. We had endless movie options loaded up on our computer, and freshly downloaded kid apps ready to be played on our phones. We felt prepared. We were determined to succeed.
We made it through security without a hitch, leaving us an hour before takeoff. I got antsy the kids would get bored before we were even on the plane, so we tried to keep them busy by watching the airplanes out the window.

Eli would correct you if you called them airplanes. Or jets. He would accept no term for the aircraft besides "Jet Airplane."
Safely aboard with no meltdowns or misfortunes. Things were looking good for us.
Eli studied up on his air safety while Carson began discovering the new games on our phones.
Would you believe me if I said my kids were perfect on the plane? Seriously. I think they only kicked the seat in front of us once. They were little angels. But the bad news was we had a four-hour layover in Denver, which was just enough time to leave my kids stir crazy, tired and over the newness of the whole flying scene.

We grabbed some lunch and found a place on the second floor to park it for a while. There were a bunch of charging stations, so we just threw Eli in front of a movie on our computer for a bit while Carson ran a few laps.

Then Eli got out a few of his toys. He thought it was awesome to put his cars on the railing of the escalator because it would make the wheels spin.
Carson had to get in on that too.
In no time, we were on the last leg of our flight. After only a minor 1-hour delay after we were already boarded, dying of heat on the plane, and waiting for a mechanic to change out one of the plane's computers, we were still doing great and managed to get through the entire day without one meltdown. From any of us. It was a dream!

We got to Jacob and Laurie's with just enough time to get a run-through of the kids' weekly routine, and then Jacob and Laurie were gone first thing in the morning. The kids bid their farewell to their parents through a text message Saturday morning with this picture:
And then (as Emma called us) the fake parents were running the show!
Jeff started the day off with bean bag launches.

And then it was time for Claire's nap. I was nervous Claire would refuse to sleep for me. I just put her in bed, hesitantly closed the door, waiting for screams to come, but I was able to make it downstairs without hearing a peep. I went up five minutes later to check on her, and this is what greeted me:
I had confidence the rest of the week would go smoothly after Claire was such a breeze to put to bed. The kids wanted to watch a movie while Claire was asleep so she wouldn't get into their popcorn. They chose Planes.

Then we had a very cultured lunch. Ramen with chopsticks.
Carson didn't even use the chopsticks and he still made the biggest mess of them all.
Luke the cutie.
After Claire woke up, it was time for a play -- Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My boys were not used to participating in plays, so I think they frustrated the girls a little bit with their lack of cooperation.

After the play, Jeff proclaimed he could untie any knot in the whole entire world. Well holy smokes. Who knew that was the best way to keep two kids busy for hours? Emma and Luke were bringing Jeff all sorts of tangled up jewelry and the like in an effort to dethrone Jeff of his self-proclaimed title.
Luke was cracking me up. He put beads on Jeff's head and then he said this, "Look! Jeff has a crown of knots! He can untie any knot! He's the QUEEN of KNOTS!" He then spent the next fifteen minutes referring to Jeff as The Queen of Knots.
Luke and Logan ran off together all day on Saturday checking out all of Logan's toys. They would really get playing good any time they found two toys that were the same, so they could each have one.
I think my favorite part about watching the kids was having girls around! It was so fun to have someone actually willing and excited to pose for pictures, or talk to me, or be in a music video, or giggle about boys with. They were so much fun.
When we saw the kids were starting to get bored, and it was only 4:00, we knew we had to take desperate measures to entertain them for the rest of the day. I saw all the blankets the kids had gotten out for their play, and I had the idea to have Jeff build the kids a fort. 
I was expecting one or two blankets laid over the couches, but I forgot Jeff is a fort mastermind. And I didn't realize Natalie and Emma would have such demanding requests after we got started.
The finished product included a sunroom, two secret doors, a sunroof, and a room for every kid. It took up the whole living room, and it was so much fun! We spent the rest of the day in it, and then we rented a movie that night to watch in it.
We had to take the fort down that night because we had used every blanket in the house -- including all the blankets and sheets we needed to sleep. So it was a short lived home. But the kids spent the rest of the week talking about that fort and trying to make their own versions of the blanket palace.
We survived flying and our first full day with the kids. But will we survive seven kids at church? Dun dun DUUUUUUUUUNNNN.


Rebecca said...

I love it. You guys are so much more fun than we would have been. I can't wait to hear more!

Kim said...

That is some serious fort making. Look at the height those kids got when Jeff threw them in the air. I just commented on the fun video you made with the kids. You two are some awesome fake parents, that's for sure! Love the picture of Logan and Eli playing so well together.