Was going to include a few cute pics of the boys in the airport with this post, but the internet connection here is crazy slow, so I'll have to post them tomorrow. =/
On Tuesday morning, Pete (Greg's dad) picked us up from my parents' house and drove us to NJ to say hi and goodbye to my Grandma Roselle, Aunt Terry, Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bob. We had a lovely, relaxing lunch at my grandmas' and had a good visit.
That afternoon, Pete drove us on to Parkton, Maryland, to spend the night with Greg's cousin Chris, her husband Rob and their two little people. Even though our time was short there, we were able to visit together for a little while, which was fun.
The next morning Pete took us to the Baltimore international airport. Our travel was set up so that we were first flying to Chicago, then to Frankfurt, Germany. (This doesn't really make sense, but the Army sets it up, and they contract only certain airports or something strange like that.)
When we went to check in, we were informed that the first flight (to Chicago) was running at least an hour behind schedule. We origionally had 45 minutes to get from gate to gate, but it was now impossible for us to make the flight to Germany. They switched us over to a flight out of Dullas (an hour away), which would take us straight to Frankfurt with no stops. This sounded better, although it did mean another hour of driving in the car.
That flight left at almost 6pm, which seemed to be perfect for the boys. We figured that they would stay in good spirits long enough to eat dinner, then we could give them some Benadryl and they would sleep the rest of the trip. Unfortunately, by the time they served dinner at a little after 7, the boys were already making every passenger (probably even those on the top deck) hate life, and I remembered why I avoid extended travel like the plague. Screaming, whining, excessive complaining and Unreasonable Toddler-ness was the rule of the evening, thanks to exaustion on both parts, as well as a good deal of overexcitement.
Another unfortunate thing was that when they switched our flight, they were not able to give us all four seats together. One lady agreed to move, giving us a three-seat-row, but no one else near us was willing to move ahead a few rows to let us have four seats. We gave up, which ended up sucking, because it's very cramped in econimy seating already, and when you have a baby in the lap and a toddler hanging and whining/crying, it can get pretty hairy.
We managed to get the boys to each eat a few bites of dinner before giving up and sticking a strip of instant-dissolve, minty Benadryl on their tongues. I gave Elijah a bottle and set him up with a lambie across one of the seats, and he was asleep within a few minutes. Andrew took a little longer. I put his lambie on the floor, but he kept getting up and staring at Elijah with a dopey expression, obviously fighting the drowsiness. Finally he started jumping around, thinking that this was a good idea, and it took a bit of stern talk, etc. to get him to lie still. He was pretty mad at me, but after a little while he was asleep as well, and Greg and I ate dinner like we hadn't eaten in weeks.
Since we'd had a pretty full few days, we were both feeling pretty sleepy, so we settled in our seats soon after dinner. Unfortunately, I can never sleep sitting up. Elijah didn't help this any, since he kept waking up just enough to thrash wildly and try to roll off the seat onto Andrew. This was my life for a good 4 or 5 hours until we finally landed. Thankfully, Greg was able to sleep for most of the time, so at least he felt moderately rested.
When we were on the ground, I woke Andrew up to put his shoes on. The medication was probably still in effect, and also, in NY, it was around 1am, so he was totally out of sorts, and wailed loud enough to wake the dead. He then proceded to throw a fit so bad, that I was almost unable to carry him off the plane. (Screaming "I WANT TO LIE BACK DOWN ON THE FLOOR AND SLEEP!!!!!") A stewardess carried off the carry-ons I was responsible for, but still I thought that I might not get him out of the aircraft. It was that bad. We finally made it to customs (a mercifully short line -- somehow we were first), and then to baggage claim.
On the way to baggage claim (as well as from and to every other place in the airport) I had two carry-0ns and was attempting to carry Andrew, while Greg carried the bag with my spinning wheel, the computer breif case and Elijah. At this point I was feeling so exausted that I could hardly keep going, and definitely could not carry Andrew and the two bags. Suddenly, these two tiny, elderly German ladies who had been walking towards me stopped and said "You need help. We'll carry your bags wherever you need to go". Angels? Probably. They were on their way to catch a flight, but turned around to go the other way and bring the bags almost all the way to baggage claim. Incredible. I felt so relieved, I almost hugged them.
Some Army dude met us there and brought us to a bus. We loaded on with some other Army people and were drivin to a post that's about half-an-hour from Frankfurt for Greg to do something.
We were able to grab some breakfast there, and after that the boys were in pretty good spirits. There was a gorgeous little playroom and outside toddler area that they spent a few hours in. At noon (German time, so 5am NY time) we were loaded on another bus to Baumholder. The trip was 2 hours, but mercifully, I knew none of it. For this trip, we all slept.
When we arrived, a friendly lady helped the boys and I get off the bus while Greg went to a breifing, and brought us to our room. She's from the welcome committe, and told me about a series of breifings that I have to attend tomorrow.
The boys and I spent some time playing outside, then Greg met our sponsers (a couple that has been assigned to us to help us get set up here), and did a little bit of grocery shopping with them so that we could eat.
I'll give more details about the inn we're staying in right now another day. This post is getting incredibly long. I'm tired, the boys are tired, and I'm sure you feel tired for me. =)
Lots of love to everyone, and thank you so much to Pete who gave so much of his time and energy to see us off safely.