Sometimes I think that Heaven is a slice of the perfect chocolate cake.
But in the third week of May, Heaven was in North Carolina, where I was spending time with the three little southerners.
I left home at 4 o'clock in the morning on May 14th and made it (with my two suitcases full of clothes for the littles and carry-on full of my clothes) to long-term parking and then to the airport itself in good time, only to find out that the flight was delayed for a couple of hours due to the plane arriving from Denver (where they had a foot of snow) being delayed. This meant I would miss my connecting flight at Chicago Midway, but I managed to get a later one booked and, when I asked the ticket agent if she thought it would work out okay, she assured me that she was "absolutely sure that I would have no problem in Chicago."
That could go down as the most famous last words ever. We were re-routed to St Paul, Minnesota on the way to Chicago, where we sat for several hours wondering what the heck was going to happen to us. There was a small incident in Chicago (just a little smoke) that shut down traffic at both of the Chicago airports for several hours, effectively disrupting traffic across the whole country.
I won't bore you with the whole story, but it was a horrible day for everyone, like those awful stories you see on the news in the winter where airports are full of people being stranded for days. I was lucky enough to make it to Annie's place at 4 o'clock the next morning, but she had to drive almost seven hours round trip to pick me up in Charlotte.
The next morning, the parents left on a much-needed holiday while I held down the fort for a few days until Jeff arrived on Friday evening. Here's a smattering of photos from the week.
Elsie was preparing for a dance recital. Victoria puked all over herself and her car seat just before we pulled up to the dance studio, so that was fun. Hence the lack of clothes.
Somebody was fighting sleep. And it wasn't me!
Elsie and Gabe love to play the piano together. Elsie can turn right to her favourite songs. It's kind of freaky, considering she can neither play the piano nor read.
We gave the kids Radio Flyer tricycles a few months ago (thank you, Amazon) and I loved watching them riding up and down the path. Elsie is a vision in pink.
I took some bags of Annie's organic graham teddy bears with me for treats, and sometimes we just sat and ate them.
And one night we had cookies and milk for dinner.
Yes, we did.
Several times, we all piled into the stroller (except for me) and went for a walk.
One afternoon, we were very excited when a convoy of helicopters kept flying around in formation. The house is fairly close to Fort Bragg. Look at this beauty.
The older two loved all the clothes I took for them. I bought them all used through a facebook page to which I belong. One day, we had an impromptu fashion show.
Aunty Jenny sent some music CD's that had books with them, and Elsie sat and listened to every one of them, accompanied sporadically by her younger siblings.
Is this not one of the cutest smiles you have ever seen?
Nana and Papa only lasted through half of the dance recital (a sad habit of ours, but what can you do when they last for three or more hours?) so we took the younger two home for the duration. Edwin was jealous!
Here we are, saying goodbye.
The kids like to dance before bed while Annie plays something like "The Spinning Song" for them.
Annie took us to the park on base the day before we left. The kids had a blast. I was tired.
Victoria loves to swing and sits all the way up the front of the swing and wiggles her legs with glee.
Elsie is fearless and climbed the whole caterpillar, or whatever it is. Luckily, I took some little shorts for her to wear under her skirts, 'cause that girl loves her Janie and Jack outfit.
Gabe is smaller and couldn't quite make the whole climb on his own, but he still thinks he's pretty cool.
We stopped to see the planes.
And then it was time to say goodbye.
That face, I just want to cover it with kisses. All the time.
The plane ride home was uneventful, thankfully, and, even though Jeff and I were on different airlines and left from different airports, we arrived at PDX within minutes of each other.
And now I am missing them.