Monday, May 16, 2011


I have been absent from blogging for the last week and a half. And for good reason. :)


That's right, I hopped a plane on Wednesday morning with the two kids and headed home 5 weeks early. And the best part? It was a complete surprise for my sister! So great! Kevin is still in Hungary finishing out the school year and will come four weeks from tomorrow.

So I was busy packing, saying goodbye to students who will be graduating/leaving and spending time with some friends before being away until August (although I didn't get to see everyone!), and trying to get everything in order before I left. And then once I got here, well, I was just busy and tired adjusting to everything. But a very good busy and tired. :)

We left the house Wednesday morning shortly after 4 a.m. (Tuesday, 9 p.m. Chicago time) and headed to the airport. We had a 6:15 a.m. flight to Amsterdam. Favorite moment at the airport? The man checking us in asked if I was traveling by myself with the kids, and when I told him that I was, he said, "That's not going to be any fun." Thanks. There were also big problems with Kate's tickets (which I had nothing to do with and spent 2 hours on the phone with Delta reps, so I don't know what happened), but they were gracious and got everything taken care of for least on these legs of the journey. I wonder what will happen when we go back.

Anyway, the kids did really well on the first flight. It was around 2 hours. Kate sat on my lap, but the seat next to me was empty so she got her own seat. Seth got the window seat. :) We read a few books, and I don't remember much else. Oh, except for the part when Seth was hysterical about having to sit in his car seat in the airplane seat. But fortunately that was only for a few minutes (although it seemed like hours at the time), and he was fine after that. Oh, and Kate did fall asleep for part of the flight. Yeah!

We landed in Amsterdam like 20 minutes early. Our layover was already 4 hours, so yeah for another 20 minutes in the airport. I wasn't sure what we were going to do with all of that time, but it was either that or a 40 minute layover in Munich...not enough time. There was an overpriced toy store that we spent some time in, and I ended up buying a little $13 airplane that wound up, moved forward, and made engine noises. Best $13 spent ever. That airplane entertained Seth the ENTIRE layover (and Kate slept in her stroller for an hour, too!), and he played with it for three quarters of the long flight as well. Awesome. We got a quick and early lunch at McDonald's in the airport as well. Kept them busy and full since I didn't know the food situation on the airplane.

I had a very nice Hungarian family (of all people in Amsterdam headed to Chicago?!) offer to help me on the plane with my carry-on and Seth's car seat so that I could just worry about the kids. SO nice...and a huge answer to prayer as my mom and Grandma told just about everyone to pray that someone would help me when I needed it. They gave me the bassinet row since Kate was a lap baby, but they weren't sure if she would be too big for the bassinet. So we went without, but with the extra leg room, I was able to lay down some blankets and a pillow to make a little bed area for her to take a nap. Seth fell asleep about 8 seconds after take-off.

When Seth woke up (an hour and a half or so later), he asked if we were almost there. I reminded him that it was a long trip and that we would be on the airplane ALL day, but he wanted to know how many minutes. I told him 420. He just looked at me and said, "How about just 4?" I answered the question a few more times over the next 420 minutes. :)

The first two hours really went fast, and the last hour and a half or so went really fast. It was the middle 4-5 hours that ddrrrraaaaaggggggggggggeeeedddddddddd. The family sitting next to us was from somewhere in Africa and didn't speak English, but she needed help with figuring some stuff on the airplane, so I helped her by showing and demonstrating a lot and even getting up and walking around the plane to get to her side and just did things for her. I had no idea how much of it she understood, but I do understand what it's like when you need help and are trying to understand and communicate but just can't...

We walked around the plane a bunch. There was an empty little area in the back by the kitchen and an emergency exit door where the kids played for a bit. The flight attendant on my side of the plane was AWESOME! She checked on me a few times to see if I needed something or extra drinks for the kids. When we were playing back there in their little area one of the times, she offered the kids some ice cream and then even fed it to Kate because Kate insisted on me holding her and I couldn't do both. Kate got a little cranky at the end of the flight, but it was right around her bedtime (Hungary time) so she was tired.

But we made it in all one piece at 2:00 p.m. (9 p.m. in Hungary), last ones off the plane. :) The flight attendants were walking off with me and helped me carry the car seat and the carry-on bag again until I got my stroller and was able to stack it all. They looked at me and said, "I see you've done this before." Yes, yes I have.

Customs was easy. Always nice to be welcomed back home to your own country where you understand every single thing going on. It's so weird. My immediate response to so many things now (when I'm out and about, not at home or at school) is in Hungarian. And I find myself apologizing to people in Hungarian when I bump into them or thanking them in Hungarian. That'll change soon I'm sure. The border control man did ask where "Dad" was since I was flying by myself with the kids, and he did welcome me "home." I don't know if they do that to all Americans or not, but it is so nice after being away for a couple years to hear in English "Welcome home."

My parents were waiting when we walked through those international doors with the biggest smiles and lots of hugs and kisses. The kids just didn't have a clue what was going on, but they did well and conked out on the car ride to my sister's house.

When we got to my sister's house, I knocked on her door and walked in, and she looked at me and said, "Oh, hey." And then a split second later said, "OH MY GOODNESS!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!!!!" It was so awesome. I thought for sure that she had some sort of inkling (thanks to some people *ahem, my parents, ahem*), but she said she had absolutely no idea. I got to see my niece for the first time (who, by the way, is the most precious and petite and beautiful little thing ever!), and Stefanie got to meet Kate for the first time, too. Ah, so wonderful!

For the past few days, we've been staying home mostly with a trip to a store here or there. I had anticipated it taking a week or possibly more for the kids to adjust to the time change. But the Lord in his infinite grace has given us such an easy time of it, which is so helpful as Kevin isn't here to help. Seth and Kate have been sleeping about their normal times since that first or second day. I have thanked the Lord so many times!

On Saturday we went to this indoor play place with all sorts of inflatable toys (bouncy house, small basketball court, climbing wall, slides, etc.) and got Dairy Queen afterwards. My nephew Daniel has been over to see Seth every day, and he is even spending the night tonight. Seth's first official sleepover! They are fast asleep in the same room, although not in the same bed despite their best efforts. :) Seth is in heaven with all of the new toys to play with here and playing with his cousin. He is loving Lego's like his mom.

Well, this blog post was mainly for Kevin since he complained that I haven't blogged. Love you and miss you, honey! I need to go to bed. I have no idea what time the boys will wake up tomorrow. But I do know that it will be wild and crazy whenever they do. :)

It's good to be home.

P.S. I took a bunch of pictures, but I can't get them off of my camera and onto my parents' computer. So until I figure out a solution, there won't be pictures until Kevin gets here with the laptop. Sorry. :(
(Is there a cord for that, Kevin, since they don't have a slot for the memory card in their computer? Help!)


Kevin said...

Thanks for blogging! It would probably be easier to use a computer with a card slot (does Josh or Stef have one) and upload photos on there. You could try USB 2 but I think you would have to install software. If you can't do photos then that's fine. I'm glad you guys are doing well. Four weeks sounds like an eternity.

Stefanie Schocke said...

I can help you get them off. I just learned how to do it with my video cameara- after 5 years.

BEST surprise ever!!!