Sunday, December 25, 2011

December in California, Day One



Saturday morning started out just like any other, only instead of heading to the Y, Amy took us to the airport. Yes, we are off to California for a week. I've managed to fit all our belongings, plus gifts, airplane activities, and enough food for the day, into one carry-on bag and one personal item for each of the three of us (shoulder bag for me, kid-sized rolling suitcases for Aaron and Jada).

We breeze through security, partly because the kids are old pros and partly because it's not hugely crowded. We decide to go for a stroll to the next terminal over, where there's a play area for kids, and kill about 20 minutes there before heading back to our gate. We arrive just as they are boarding, and soon enough we are on the plane. After detouring into the cockpit, on the invitation of the two pilots, we take up our row, put away our belongings, and settle in for a long flight.

It has been a while since we did the trip without layovers, and the flight lengthens at the very outset as we are delayed 45 minutes on the tarmac. No worries, though, as the kids are well-behaved, excited by the whole scene, and generally happy. We kill time with books, drawing, and then our portable DVD player (which has about three hours of battery life, so being able to not have to use it the length of the flight was a must). Food packing went perfectly, as we make it through a combined seven sandwiches, two apples, two fruit snacks, two fruit cups, two puddings, and a bunch of chocolates.

My cousin picks us up at the airport and soon enough we are home. Even though we left our house at a reasonable hour (8:30a, not unlike when we head out for the Y on a typical Saturday morning), we are at my parents' house just after 2, because we have gained three hours. Immediately, my dad puts us to work, raking leaves and tidying up in the front yard. He snaps photos while the kids try to be helpful. My mom has wheeled her wheelchair out to the front porch to observe it all.

We spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking, packing (heading down to Southern California for the next couple of days), and wrapping Christmas gifts. My mom delights in the holiday photos we had taken in the studio last month. The kids play with toys and then settle into watching some Pink Panther (I had not let them watch this for a little bit so I figured I would let them indulge). I catch up some with my parents.

Dinner was excellent, a combination of my dad's cooking and some Chinese take-out. The kids pound the food, and not just because they're hungry; they really like the authentic stuff. Jada discovers she likes lima beans. Let me repeat: Jada discovers she likes lima beans. I call Amy immediately.

After dinner is baths, and after baths I bring the kids back downstairs to the kitchen table, where Jada can write in her journal and Aaron can work on his letters, all within close proximity of their beaming grandmother. Soon enough, I am yawning, even if the kids are not, and it is time for bed. It's always a wild card as to how insanely early they will wake up the first morning we are in California, so I always go to bed early myself just to make sure I can at least get a reasonable amount of sleep before the cycle begins all over again.
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