Our final week of vacation began on New Years Day. Ryan's flight was scheduled to leave at 5pm, so he spent the morning packing before we headed to my aunt and uncle's house for lunch. I know I say this for every family occasion, but we really do have so much fun together. There are now more "kids" than adults when we all get together, so we got to have the dining room all to ourselves this time. It is so much fun having so many cousins and siblings that all enjoy being with each other as much as possible.
We try to get a picture of all the cousins each year at Christmas, but somehow we forgot this year, so we took the picture on New Years Day instead.
Avery was sound asleep during this picture. She started to show signs of being tired during lunch, and I laid her down on the floor in the guest room and she slept for over 2 hours. In fact, I had to leave to bring Ryan to the airport before we woke up, so my sisters brought her home for me.
Just after dropping Ryan off at his gate, I got a call from him saying his flight was delayed which would cause him to miss his connection to Newark. The agent rebooked him on a flight for the same time on Wednesday, but it was a direct flight this time! So I happily turned around and picked him back up. It turned out to be such a blessing to have an extra day together. Rachel offered to watch Avery so Ryan and I could go out for lunch. And on top of that, I had to run to the DMV and he was able to go with me for that errand.
Finally on Wednesday afternoon, I brought Ryan to the airport for the second time, and he had an uneventful flight home. Avery and I had planned to fly home on Friday evening. But after coming home from church Wednesday night, I started to feel achy and was running a fever. My parents were at a conference in NC, but Rebekah took great care of me. I started taking Tylenol right away and drank lots of water. After a good night's sleep, I felt a lot better, but didn't have much of an appetite and was pretty weak.
We decided it would be best to postpone our flight home until I was feeling a little better. Ryan was kind enough to let me stay until Tuesday, so I could be at our church's ladies meeting on Tuesday morning. Avery and I loved having a few extra days with my family and church family.
As I was packing to leave on Tuesday, I realized there was no way all our stuff was going to fit into the one suitcase I had with me. I left a few things behind for my cousins to bring up in February. Mom and Dad brought us to the airport, and Dad walked us to the counter to get checked in. I was quite surprised to see that my suitcase was 15 pounds overweight. And on top of that, it would cost $100 to fly with an overweight bag. We walked back out to the car and started pulling things out of the suitcase to lessen the weight. After a couple tries, we finally got it back down to 50 lbs. Mom and Dad's trunk was now full of random clothes, books, shoes, and jewelry, but we made it on our flight!
This was my first time flying with Avery by myself, and I was a little nervous about navigating the airport and airplane with the stroller, car seat, and bags. But the experience went as smoothly as it could have, and the Lord sent many unexpected blessings.
First, we were a little later arriving, but that meant there was no line at security. A kind officer walked through with me and folded and unfolded the stroller and helped get everything to the elevator for me. When we got to our gate, everyone else had already boarded, so we didn't have to wait in line again. Another nice man folded up the stroller as we got the plane, and the flight attendant told me we had plenty of room, so I could bring the car seat on with me. We were originally booked on the last row of the flight, but she moved us up to row 7. There was no one within 2 rows of us, so we had plenty of room for both of us, the car seat, and our bags.
Avery was as happy as could be, and played for the first 15-20 minutes of the flight in her car seat. After I fed her, she was content to look out the window and try to get the attention of the man sitting a couple rows in front of us by staring at him then laughing and giggling over and over. As we waited for everyone to exit the plane, she thought she was the center of attention as people stopped to talk to her. She was happy to smile and talk to all of them. I think 90% of the other passengers were men, and most of them stopped to say hi to Avery. So funny!
As we exited the plane, another kind gentleman offered to carry my bags to wherever we were going. It turns out we were both headed to baggage claim, so it wasn't out of his way. He waited with us while I found out suitcase on the carousal and called Ryan to let him know where we were. Ryan pulled in at the exact moment that we walked outside, so once again we didn't have to wait. I was overwhelmed with the way the Lord worked out every detail of our trip. And the best part was being with Ryan again. Avery was extremely excited to see him and would have been happy to play all night (although we put her to bed soon after getting home). It was the perfect end to our wonderful Christmas vacation.