Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting home. Northern style.

The boys and I flew out on March 13, Craig joined up with us April 2, then he flew back April 27, and we finally made it back yesterday.

It's just tooooo long for the kids to be away from their "stuff".

While we were in Florida, Canadian North so that on the weekends it was no longer a direct flight from Iqaluit to Clyde River, but an overnight stop in Pond Inlet. So we would be staying in a community with no food (no restaurants, cabs), where the hotel charges $250 per person. $750 for the 3 of us. Craig changed his flight so he was back a day earlier, and the boys and I changed ours to come back Monday.

Now, when we left Saskatchewan for Florida, we had my dad FedEx all of our winter clothes, etc to Ottawa. Unfortunately, I gave him the address for the express centre, but asked him to send it ground. So it arrived Friday, was refused at the express centre and taken to the ground centre to be returned to shipper. And the ground place was closed on weekends.

So, Monday morning, the kids and I are driving 1/2 an hour to pick up this package at 8 am. Our flight leaves at 10 am (so boarding at 9:30, plus check-in, plus all our luggage has to go to oversize. And we haven't really eaten). Package is there, plus the FedEx call centre actually communicated, and this lady knows exactly which package! Off we go.

With rush hour in both directions, we make it to the airport, drop off the rental car, struggle two kids and three 55+ lb cases inside, up the elevator, checking in at 9:10. The airline we're flying with is the only one of the three that has a 50 lb limit instead of 70 lb. I've completely forgotten this. Overweight bags are $100 each and I have 3. Extra bags are only $20. Run to travel store, buy largest bag they have. Lady at check-in counter is impressed that everything is either food that is packaged, or clothing that is packed in those vacuum bags. Easy to move stuff. Move stuff to new bag. Take it as carry-on. A really heavy awkward carry-on. My sweet babies have been so good, they haven't complained, questioned, or whined once.

Through security, where they inform me (like I should be upset) that our flight has been delayed by 15 minutes. I tell him that's the best news I've had all day. Through security without a single hitch. The guy there even tells my kids to leave their sweaters on. Bless his heart. With this 15 minute flight delay, we stop at Tim Hortons (NO LINE UP!!!) for breakfast sandwiches, which they give us even though they've just switched to the lunch menu.

Then we get to the gate as they call pre-boarding and walk right on. Hot, sweaty, and really tired from hauling stuff around all morning. Best part? The extra bag actually fits under the seat - with the kids' winter jackets inside! Of course there's someone sitting beside me, so I really hope I don't stink.

I'm not even concerned that our plane is leaving late (we're supposed to land at 1:10 and our connection leaves at 1:40) because the connections are always late because they wait for everyone. We land early, like 12:30, and go line up at the check-in counter to check in this extra bag that won't fit on the next little plane (we're allowed 2 bags each on the next flight). Get to the front of the line. And find out all flights have been cancelled due to weather. Our flight was the only one that went in or out all day.

So, having been through this once before (see last year's trip home), I ask if a room has been booked at the hotel. Which somehow gets me vouchers to pay for hotel and food because nobody told us in Ottawa (as I said, "I would have just stayed there!"). Go to pick up our luggage (can't wait to haul all that to a hotel in a cab - not sure it will even fit) and find out that ours, along with about 10 other people's, didn't make it. Hooray! I am, however, the only person in the lost baggage claim line that is actually happy about this.

We wait to fill out our forms, then go to catch a cab. There are none left by now. However, as I go back up to call one, a co-worker of Craig's that stayed with us a couple of weeks last fall walks around the corner. He offers us a ride to the hotel, and takes my incredibly overweight carry-on up to our room for me and makes sure everything is okay. Gives me his numbers in case we need anything.

Now, we're stuck in a hotel room until noon tomorrow, because it's not really safe for us to wander around. We don't have our winter boots or mitts, anyway. We venture down to the restaurant (thank goodness there is one here!) for lunch, but we've missed it. The kids want a drink from the vending machine but I refuse to spend $2 on a mini juice box. Water and the fruit bars I shoved into the carry-on it is! I wash the glasses in our room (call me crazy), and we snack away while the kids tear around and I let them (totally against all my hotel room rules!). Oh, I also have a much needed shower with a cup of tea, and a nap. At five we go down for supper and share a Brie appetizer and a main course of steak and baked potato and cheesecake for dessert. Which uses up our entire $69 meal voucher.

There are no blackout curtains in the room (just regular ones) but we're all so exhausted that we sleep right through (despite very little complete darkness outside). Let the kids watch tv, play DS, be loud, then pack and go down for breakfast. We share 3 pancakes, 4 sausages, 2 eggs and 2 toast, plus two juices, and use up our entire $27 voucher. The pancakes were big though. We grab our stuff in the room and head to the airport, check-in, and hang around for a couple of hours. The flight takes off, hitch-free, great flight, then about 1/2 an hour from home, I overhear the flight attendant telling the people in front of me that there was cloud cover earlier, and if it got any lower we would be flying straight on to stay overnight at Pond Inlet - the community we were trying to avoid in the first place!

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day here by then (Craig had been worried when he saw the clouds, too), Craig picked us up with lots of hugs and kisses and excitement.... And when the pick up truck came around with our luggage, it was all there - perfect!

The boys are so happy to be home, playing with their toys. Lots of Nerf gun wars today, and they played with their Lego (instead of just making a mess).

I know it's been a long time since I posted anything... Hopefully I'll be back with pictures sooner, rather than later!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Disney November 2010

These pictures have been sitting here for ages, ready to go. The captions, however, are brief so they actually get posted before our April 2011 trip.

On stage at the Children's Museum in Ottawa

Using the crane to load and unload on the boat

Tired boys

Autumn in Saskatchewan

Helping Mom

More help - we got warmer and warmer!

Lunch at the Berry Farm in Saskataoon

Grandma's retirement lunch

Hallowe'en - Clone Wars Storm Trooper and Optimus Prime

Disney World! Brunch with Grandma and Grandpa

On our fourth trip, Logan finally smiles!


Mickey ravioli on a Mickey plate

Relaxing by the pool

Artist of the Day at Olivia's

We all took turns "wearing" the Mickey hat at Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Light Show

In chronological order: Cutie #1

Cutie #2

Cutie #3

Our second time at Chef Mickey's

Remembered the ears!

Two Goofys - Oh, wait, that's Donald!

Say it with me... Awwww.....

Electrical parade at Magic Kingdom, right on Main Street

The kids really wanted to see the fireworks, so we stayed and had a great view!

Playing at the pool at the hotel

Smile, it's ice cream! With Mickey ears.

Giraffes at our resort

Our rental house

The kids' room

The pool

The car

Little fishies

They really wanted to try a real coconut. After finally getting it open, it was rather anticlimatic.

Liam wanted to ride a horse, so I found a place that would take him at his age. The owner rode behind him

It wasn't hard to convince me to go!

A day trip to St. Augustine

Sunset on the way home

Orlando traffic

Craig got to go to an NHL game

A quick stop with a random Santa at Wal-Mart. First smiling picture with Santa. You will notice there's no Logan....

Universal Studios for a day

Here we go!

This was fun, but really quick!

Dad and his boys

Used speech bubbles


Liam and Tim and I

Looks wet.

Very wet.

Hogsmeade in Harry Potter Land (insert real name of the HP area here!)

The Hogsmeade Post Office

A butterbeer stand

Rides for the kids!

Dr. Seuss ready for Christmas

Some X-men (X-women?)

We're so important, this was our escort to the airport. Just kidding!