It still seemed so surreal as we packed up our suitcases and loaded them into the van for the final trip. We had finished up all the last minute details with selling the house, and saying our goodbyes. We landed at my parents house for the rest of the afternoon (my parents have been complete LIFE SAVERS these past few weeks during our transition...watching the boys without hestitation, even overnight; helping with things at the house; giving advice, etc.). There we loaded up on lunch and the boys packed their treat bags for the flight and we said our goodbyes to Granna and to Great Grandmother Madeleine and loaded up in the car with Grumps for the drive to O'Hare.
The drive there was fairly uneventful -- on false alarm puke stop for little Max -- dramamine hit the spot and calmed his nerves down. Before we knew it, we were there!
We attempted loading all 9 suitcases (plus 4 backpacks, 1 car seat bag filled with 2 booster seats, a stroller and Ben's car seat) onto one smart carte and somehow we managed to make it across the International Terminal with only minimal moaning from the boys and no broken arms/shoulders/fingers/legs. Small miracles DO happen! We checked our bags and started to head towards the bathroom when Max realized he had left his phone in the van! A quick call to Grumps, who turned around and we got to say a second goodbye and grab the phone!
Security seemed to be a bigger nightmare than normal at O'Hare -- we waited over 20 mins in line just to get up to the screeners. The boys were getting sick of waiting in lines by this point already - to which we just chuckled because we knew what was still to come... Getting 5 people, bags, a car seat and a stroller through a TSA checkpoint is no small feat. And, of course, the stroller needed special screening. It then failed the swab test for combustibles (or something like that...Max was giving me minimal information because I was starting to get fiesty from having to wait so long...plus Ben had leaked through his diaper and his shorts were now wet. Another 15 minutes later and finally the stroller (and Max) had cleared for their suspicion of sneaking in combustibles.
We grabbed a bit to eat and headed to our gate. The boys had fun with the moving escalators. Sam, true to his nature had to mark his territory at almost every bathroom we passed by... The kids proceeded to get more excited and hyper as the night wore on -- seeing the big plane we would be riding on was exciting.
In the process of gate checking our stroller, we got bumped up to Economy Plus! More leg room, more drinks! Wahoo!
We boarded the plane early -- which is one of the (*ahem only) perks of travelling with small children and got Ben's car seat strapped in and everyone settled in. Spirits were high!
About an hour into the flight the boys were still occupied with their iPads and Ben was starting to get grumpy -- they hadn't turned off the overhead lights yet and he was pretty sleepy, so we just put his blanket over his head and that seemed to do the trick...
The boys found their earplugs and eye masks in their special Economy Plus bags and settled in for the night as well.
The flight was pretty uneventful...even if the minutes seemed to be creeping by. Ben was unable to get in a comfortable sleeping position in the car seat, so after about 1.5 hrs of restless sleeping, we took him out and tried holding him. He'd get into a comforatable position for a few minutes and then try to stretch out (unsuccesfully). We tried a number of different positions until the stewardess suggested taking his seat out and letting him try to curl up on his seat. He was able to find a few comfortable positions that allowed us to get maybe another 2 hrs of sleep. I think we only got about 3-3.5 hrs total on our side.
Once in the Denmark airport, we tackled the hairy task of getting all our luggage out of the airport together. Somehow (barely), we managed. Max went to get the rental car and after a few re-directs, finally got us set up about 1.5-2 hrs later. To say the kids were getting restless was an understatement. Lucky me.
The kicker was when all our stuff wouldn't fit in the rental car (and I owe a huge middle finger to the 3 Danish gentlemen who just sat and stared at us in the garage and probably were making fun of us). So little Max and I took the stroller and one suitcase and went to find a taxi. We ended up arriving at the hotel around the same time.
We unpacked, explored the beautiful hotel a little bit and then headed to the harbor to get some streetdogs and stretch our legs.
Overall, the trip over might not have gone smoothly, but we all arrived in one piece, with all our luggage, and all in mostly good spirits. Though little Max has gone through quite a few variations of sentiments on his new home:
- Mom, I think we might not live the full two years here -- like we might die before we go home because I can't breathe here. (this was stated because of all the smokers around us and the lack of trees he could see at the airport).
- I don't like Denmark anymore, I want to live in Wisconsin for the rest of my life.
- It smells gross like fish here (when we got near the ocean)
- the water tastes like fish here
Luckily, he has turned his attitude around on day 2....but I can only imagine the variety of emotions that we will be experiencing (together).