On Friday the 15th of July, we finished packing up all of our belongings, turned over our keys to our house and flew to New Jersey. Our flight left at 9:30pm. We left for the airport sort of early since we wanted to stop for dinner on the way, plus I had made reservations for Peavey to fly as cargo, so we needed to figure out where he needed to be dropped off and then drop him off there, as well as return our rental car.
Josh called the airline in the morning to see what Peavey's "no later than time" time for arriving was and was told, quite surprisingly, that since we were traveling on orders, that Peavey could be checked as baggage. Sweet! Not only did this mean one less thing to do and take care of, but it also saved us the $200 cargo fee. And since we were allowed 8 pieces of luggage and only had 6 (including the bigger boys' 2 booster seats for the car) we had plenty of space for the cat. It was kind of funny though, as we rolled up to the check-in line, one of the ladies who was helping people to check in came over to us and said, "Please tell me you're traveling on orders, because there's a pet embargo for the summer and your cat can't fly as baggage." After assuring her we were traveling on orders she put us on a different line than everyone else so we were next to check in. Again, sweet!
After checking in and checking all of our baggage (and cat) we went through security. As we were waiting on line here, a security guard said, "Are you all traveling with that infant? You can come through here." This allowed us to skip the rest of the line and get through security rather quickly. Of course, getting through check-in and security as quickly as we did meant we were at our gate about an hour and a half before our flight was scheduled to take off. At one point I took Finn to the bathroom to change his diaper and his clothes (into pajamas) only to come back and find all 3 boys (Josh, Zeke and Deacon) playing Angry Birds. Zeke had my phone, Deacon had Josh's, and Josh had the iPad. At least they were occupied, happy and quiet.
The first flight went pretty well. It was one of those planes that has 2 rows of 3 seats (rather than 2 5 2 - you know). So we sat the bigger boys on the inside seats with Josh on the end on one side of the aisle, then I put Finn in the middle seat and I sat on the end seat on the other side of the aisle. The bigger boys were thrilled to be on an airplane and I'm sure Finn enjoyed it too.
Since it was an overnight flight, we had hopes that the boys would all sleep during most of it, allowing us to get some sleep too. For the most part, this worked out. Deacon was the first to fall asleep, using Josh's lap for a pillow, making it hard for Josh to do anything (he did get a little bit of sleep towards the end of the flight). After much flailing and thrashing and all sorts of monkey business, I finally managed to get Finn in a hold that prevented him from moving too much, allowing him to relax enough to fall asleep. And once Finn was asleep, I was able to fall asleep a little bit too. Zeke, on the other hand, didn't fall asleep at all. Well, he might have taken a 20 minute catnap at the end of the flight, but he pretty much stayed up all night long.
We landed in Minneapolis on time, but there was lightning going on so we had to sit on the tarmac for awhile until the lightning stopped long enough for them to let the workers out on the tarmac without fear of them getting struck by lightning or anything. But our next flight was also delayed by the same amount of time because of the same storm, so we had enough time to get to our next gate, grab some muffins and juice, eat said muffins and juice, and go potty before getting on the second plane.
Second plane had the same set up as the first, but this time no one slept. Since it was a shorter flight, it was fine. Sitting with Finn and me was a really nice lady who I had a pleasant conversation with. This flight also went smoothly. Really, the whole experience was smooth. All 3 boys did really well, I didn't get sick at all (whoo!), Peavey made it just fine, as did all of our luggage.
The only thing that didn't go smoothly was the drive from the airport to Josh's parents' house. Before Josh left Alaska to go to Alabama, he shipped his car. His car arrived at his parent's house a few weeks later. Since Josh had technically cleared the base in Alaska, the army wouldn't fly him back there, they sent him to NJ since that's where he's now being stationed. So, Josh graduated from his class in Alabama, flew to NJ, spent a week in NJ, drove himself to the airport, flew to AK, took care of things up there with me, then we all flew to NJ. And since he had driven himself to the airport, his car was there, waiting to take us away. Getting to the car was fine, loading it, getting out of the airport, etc. It was the drive. Oh, the drive! We sat in so. much. stinkin. traffic. Heading south on a Saturday in the summer in New Jersey is NEVER a good idea. Unfortunately we forgot this and sat there. And sat there. And sat there. I think it took us about 2 1/2 hours to do a 45 minute drive. Welcome to New Jersey indeed. At least Finn and Deacon used the time in the car to take a little nap. Zeke, on the other hand, STILL refused to fall asleep. He just stared, all glassy-eyed, so SO so apparently tired.
But we're here, we're keeping busy, and we're looking forward to getting up to Picatinney (most likely on Monday) and getting settled in up there.