The Smiths Take Dallas (and sorry–this be long!)

16 Aug

It is hard to believe that we are already almost a week past our family trip to Dallas.  Really and truly, it was a pretty good trip.  As I sit and reflect, it is amazing that in less than 60 hours we flew to Dallas and back and participated in a wedding with 3 children ages 5 and under… and we all survived!  The trip was ripe with funny moments as well as some sweet and special ones, and I am so grateful that we were able to go celebrate the marriage of my baby brother and my new sister-in-law.  If nothing else was gained, I came away loving and respecting the two of them even more.

Ok, so last Friday morning we left our house around 6:45 am.  On the way to the airport, we prepped the kids on what to expect with the security checkpoints and the plane.  We got to the airport an hour before our flight, but it took 30 minutes to just get our boarding passes printed.  Because Isaac was a lap baby and didn’t have a ticket, we had to jump through hoops.  So, between 7:30 and 8 o’clock in the morning, McGee Tyson Airport patrons were treated to Cheerio juggling (which was successful only in Cheerios hitting the floor and rolling every which way), a dance party to whatever music was being piped through the overhead speakers, and a toddler tantrum halfway between the bench where Daddy sat and the counter where Mommy played 100 questions with the American Airlines employee.  We finally headed to security where I found the sign that children under 12 didn’t have to remove their shoes.  News to me.  What a waste of 10 minutes in the car discussing quick removal and retrieval of shoes.  (They ended up taking them off anyway, much to the chagrin of the agent who was trying to keep the line moving faster than small children will allow.)  Also, another time consumer was having to declare Isaac’s formula, and the fact that the stroller had to be fold and x-rayed, Matt’s laptop had to be removed from his bag, and I had to frantically find the hand sanitizer that the kids had moments before proudly told me they had stashed in my bag.  We had to basically force everyone to use the bathroom one last time before boarding because they kept insisting that they could use the one on the plane if they had to.  Matt and I both emphatically said no to that one and put a pull-up on Aaron as a back up.

Best I can remember, the plane ride was uneventful.  The kids started asking when we would be to Dallas about 15 minutes after we took off which reaffirmed our decision to fly for 2 hours instead of drive for 15.  More costly?  Yes.  But probably worth every penny for sanity reasons.  Isaac’s diaper did start leaking before we even reached cruising altitude so that was less than awesome.  The pull-up for Aaron ended up being a wise move though.  Thankfully the loudness of the plane was able to drown out his play-by-play of how badly he needed to go and couldn’t hold it much longer.  We were hungry, thirsty, and quite glad to finally get off the plane and head to find my waiting parents.

I must take this moment to point out that the Dallas-Fort Worth airport is like a gated city that was designed by a drunk man.  You can’t get in or out without going through gates, and there are signs and roads going every direction which is only made more confusing by the fact that there is ongoing construction with detours.  So, in just trying to find our pickup location, my parents got lost.  And then, of course, after loading up and trying to get out of DFW, we got lost.  As every adult strained to read the signs and try to determine how to exit onto the road that we actually wanted to be on, the children sat taking it all in.  And then out of the mouth of our 2 year old babe came a phrase that our family will probably quote for years to come.  Aaron very matter of factly said, “Dis doesn’t make any sense!”  Smart kid.

Norah, Mother, and I were going to meet my brother’s fiance and the women of her family at a nail salon for mani-pedis.  My dad, who was driving, was smart enough to make a stop at a Sonic on the way though.  (He is a very wise man because even though to get there he U-turned where there was a sign saying not to, he recognized that the potential wrath of a cop was far easier than the certain wrath of Ann and Beth Ann without Sonic.)  Us girls enjoyed spending time with Christel and her family, and it really was wonderfully relaxing.  The only time when I was on edge was when Matt would send me text messages.  See, being huge fans of The Big Bang Theory television show, my text alert from Matt on my phone is a clip from the show.  It is when an impaired Sheldon is singing the chemical elements during an award acceptance speech.  At one point, he encourages audience participation by shouting, “Everyone!” before a few minutes later shouting, “Just the Asians!”  As are the majority of the nail salons I have ever been in, this one was staffed entirely by Vietnamese people.  Um, awkward.

jay sees kids
The big kids seeing Uncle Jay for the first time!

Friday afternoon brought the rehearsal which went great.  Isaac clearly loved being pulled down the aisle in a darling wooden wagon and thankfully, neither of the big kids had to pull him!  I had been envisioning quite the disaster there.  During that night’s rehearsal dinner Matt’s sister Grace and her husband Bill had driven up to help by keeping the big kids.  They got to swim in the pool and have much more fun than they would have at the dinner.  Grace and Bill stayed that night in our room with us which was a tad comical.  They had Aaron in the bed with them, and Matt and I had Norah with us.  I think the children slept fine, but the adults all agreed that the arrangement left much to be desired.  At some point in the middle of the night, Bill was asleep on the floor next to Isaac’s play pen.

Saturday morning and early afternoon brought some great time with my almost sister-in-law and her other bridesmaids.  She has really precious friends, and I enjoyed getting to know them.  And like I said earlier, I think everything that day went as well as it could considering the kids were tired and thrown off schedule.  I think we managed to get some great photos of them in their wedding duds, or at least I hope we did.  I resigned myself to the fact that whatever the photographers took would be Norah’s 5 year picture and Isaac’s 1 year picture, so here’s hoping for some winners!  In the time leading up to the wedding, I was too distracted because I ended up with some small greasy fingerprints on my dress which were thankfully easily hidden by my bouquet.  I really stressed using the restroom to the big kids so as to avoid that problem mid-ceremony.  Isaac was in his wagon with a bag of Cheerios to keep him happy.  I had my brother’s ring on my hand to hand over at the appropriate time.  Everything was good to go.

smith 5
The Smith 5  (Aaron is clearly McGraw because he wouldn’t stop talking.)

isaac steps
If a more precious 1 year old exists, I sure have never seen him!

We lined up in the hall and I watched my brother trying not to cry as we waited.  It was so surreal… this kid who had annoyed the fire out of me growing up is now a man with real emotions.  As the best man and I were preparing to be some of the final ones to go down the aisle, I was trying to encourage my children to be on their best behavior.  I’m not really sure why, but Aaron decided that he didn’t want to walk next to the wagon like he was supposed to and he ended up following me down the aisle.  From what I hear he looked cute doing it, though.  The junior bridesmaids, Norah, and Isaac made it beautifully, but very quickly after the wagon made it to Matt, I realized something super important I had forgotten to do.  From my spot up on the stage, I watch Matt put Isaac on his knee, shoot me an evil eye, and mouth the words “Isaac has wet through.”  Oooooh, yeah.  I forgot to change his diaper.  There wasn’t much any of us could do at that point, but I would have felt worse had I not spent time the day before on an airplane with a wet spot on my leg.

jay kids
I am so proud of this man!

The ceremony was really great.  My dad officiated, and it was beautiful.  My brother cried which was so endearing to me.  From my spot as the matron of honor, I got to see his face for every minute of it, and I think my love for him grew 100 fold.  And except for Norah turning around to tell me she saw an airplane out the window and give me a thumbs up, my kids were angels.  There were a few photos left to be taken after the ceremony and my children may or may not have been bribed with money, candy, and cake in an attempt to get them to cooperate.  You do what you’ve gotta do, right?

The reception was a Galactosemic parent’s worst nightmare just because we had no idea what was in anything.  I fed Isaac some baby food and then gave him crackers to eat when he turned his nose up at fresh fruit.  Several crackers into it, Matt jerked them away and said he thought they tasted butter.  Fantastic.  I had never even thought of that.  Mothering fail.  Thankfully, Matt took the kids back to the hotel to go to bed once it started getting late.  I was grateful for the chance to visit some more and see my brother and his wife off on their honeymoon.  It did confirm to me my status as a true geriatric though because I thought I would fall asleep standing up towards the end.

Aaron’s reception funnies…
My brother came to find me and said, “The toasts are going to be in about 10 minutes,” to which Aaron excitedly replied, “Oh, I want toast!”
During the toasts, Aaron ran to me up at the front and said loudly, “Mom, do you amember when we wode on da pwane?”
“Yes, I do remember when we rode on the plane,”
“Dat was awesome!”  And then he ran to sit back down.  Two year olds are the Earth’s most random creatures.
During the Cha-Cha Slide, when the music said, “Everybody clap your hands!” he began crying and said, “Mama, I don’t want to clap my hands!”  He also spent part of that song with his shoes over his ears saying, “Dis is too wow-ed, Mom!”

Sunday morning came far to early, but I was so ready to be back home.  My cousin Sherrie took us to the airport.  She lives in Atlanta so she knows traffic, but in our efforts to get into the airport and to the correct terminal, even she exclaimed, “This is ridiculous!”  Aaron, of course, had to give his two cents and said, “Dis is da-ric-a-less!”  Another Aaron-ism that I am sure my family will quote forever!  Thankfully getting our boarding passes was much easier, and with plenty of time before our flight left, the big kids and I went to get Subway while Matt was at the gate with Isaac.  Aaron caused quite the scene over the chips to get with our combo before we finally walked down a few gates to Starbucks to grab a coffee for Matt.  They apparently had to grow the beans while we stood there, and at one point during the wait, I glanced down to see Aaron’s pants and underwear around his knees.  I have no earthy idea what he was doing, but thankfully, there was no peeing involved.  Isaac slept the first half of the flight home, and Aaron slept the last half.  When we had to wake him up to get off the plane, he went into full melt down mode and cried for 20 minutes asking for a banana.  Not sure what that was about, but he settled for a Sonic cheeseburger once we finally got in our car and headed home.

Our children are already asking when we can go back, and Matt and I are avoiding that question like the plague because we are fearing our family trip to Orlando next July to the Galactosemia Conference.  Disney World in July with a 5, 3, and 2 year old.  Yes, we apparently have a death wish, but you may all begin praying for that now.  Please.  Or you could choose to come and watch our circus go on the road.  🙂


One Response to “The Smiths Take Dallas (and sorry–this be long!)”

  1. Jen August 16, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    Disney next July?????? Count this babysitter seriously in! Keep me up with details! Love, Jen Val

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