Friday, December 01, 2006

There's No Place Like Home...

Returning to California late Wednesday night, I decided that there are few things more wonderful than returning home from an almost three week trip away, to a completely clean house and fresh sheets on the bed.

Once again, I'm extremely glad that I insisted convinced Charlie to stay up with me until 1 AM the night before we departed, so that we could get the house spotless.

On the plane ride home Wednesday, I decided that there are few things more horrifying than when my husband, seated a row behind me - asks whether or not I gave our two-year old son a piece of gum ... and when I responded "No, why?" I hear my husband groan and forcefully remove a piece of ABC (Already Been Chewed) gum from our toddler's mouth.

Apparently, William found this treat in the air sick bag he'd discovered in the seat pocket.

That's almost - no, probably more disgusting - than our children smearing snails out of their shells.

I need to do something to calm down my gag reflex because with the things that these children are getting in to ... and perhaps a smidge of queasiness from the first trimester ... I possess the ability to spontaneously puke at any given moment.

For a total of 6,000-miles flying with our two-year old triplets, they did surprisingly well.

There was very little crying - hardly no screaming - and the majority of fellow passengers were completely smitten with our trio by the end of our voyage(s).

The kids were absolutely adorable wearing their personalized backpacks stuffed with coloring books, crayons and stuffed animals.

They were exceptionally courteous and would wave "bye-bye" as they exited the plane and blew kisses to the pilots and flight crew. Without fail, as we would walk to our gate, they would turn around and run down the ramp attempting to get back on the "ahpwane."

Even though we wanted the kids to walk and stretch their legs after having been confined to a seat for the past several hours ... we realized (each and every time) that if we were ever going to make it to our connecting flight - or out of the airport - it was critical that we contain the kids in their stroller.

Once the children were free, getting them contained again was like trying to get a genie back in a bottle.

Fortunately, we had connecting flights - coming & going - at Dallas/Fort Worth, which has to be one of the most kid friendly airports I've ever visited. While the kids expelled energy tumbling over toys that were set up in the play area ... Charlie and I mentally prepared ourselves and would give each other pep talks for the next leg of our journey.

I will maintain that the hardest part about traveling, is not being on a plane for 6+ hours with three toddlers, but transporting all of our gear and luggage. We truly look like a band of gypsies meandering our way through the terminal.

The last time we traveled cross-country we were even more of a sight. We had to bring along our three pack-n-plays and booster chairs. This time, thanks in large part to my cousin Margaret, she was able to borrow most of the baby items we needed so we didn't have to lug that stuff along.

All told, it was a great trip and we had a wonderful time. But, it didn't start out that way...

Due to a major work computer malfunction that I experienced two days before we were scheduled to leave, I suffered my first bout of massive hysteria.

Charlie drove us to Los Angeles Friday morning so that I could get my computer repaired at my company's headquarters. As luck would have it - we were scheduled to depart from Los Angeles (as opposed to San Diego) first thing Saturday morning, because of my procrastination on purchasing tickets.

Our good friends Mark & Lorie put us up for the night and we left their house at 4:15 AM to catch our 6:30 AM flight. We arrived in South Carolina Saturday evening and had a fun 40th birthday celebration for Charlie on Sunday.

Sunday night, after I finished packing for my trip to Virginia first thing Monday morning, I logged on to my computer to finish up a special project I had been working on for the past two weeks (and which I was scheduled to present to senior management the next day) when I realized that all of my data had been erased when my computer was "repaired" in Los Angeles on Friday.

Another bout of massive hysteria, with hyperventilation, ensued.

With all of my seemingly back luck out of the way, the remainder of our trip was fantastic. We saw lots of friends and family and are extremely thankful to my mom and Jim for their amazing hospitality. Not everyone would be gracious enough to let a family of five move in for several weeks. Especially since three of the five are dead set on ransacking the place. But not only did mom and Jim make us feel comfortable, they called yesterday to say how how much they missed us already.

I fear they might be delirious.

This was a good trip for us, we needed the time away and a change of pace. My brother Wally, his wife and their 16-month old twin boys drove down from Massachusetts (how I did not get any pictures of his twins with our triplets is a mystery)... and my sister Eileen and her three children flew in from Michigan. We visited with Aunt Grace & Uncle Bill ... cousins Karen, Bill, George, Margaret and Lisa - and their kids.

We had the chance to visit with my highschool friend Sarah, her husband Mike and their 2-year old son, Duncan who is two days older than our trio. We also got to visit with one of my college buddies, Kate, when we drove up to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore House for a day. The kids got to jump in leaf piles, wear hats and coats, know what COLD feels like, and eat ice cream every single day - thanks to their doting Noni.

But after three weeks away, it's good to be home. Especially since the house is clean.

(These are a few of the 200+ pictures we've snapped off over the past three weeks. But one of the best pictures I've seen all year ... will be the subject of my blog posting, tomorrow.)

Jumping in leaf piles outside of Jimbo's house ...

Charlie and Elizabeth taking a stroll in the "country" ...

Uncle Bill, Charlie and William preparing to blow out candles on a 40th birthday cake...

Carolyn Grace, preferring not to wait for her own slice of cake...

Jimbo and William sharing breakfast...

Noni having an unconventional breakfast with Elizabeth in her Cozy Coupe, William preparing to climb on the table, and Carolyn Grace eating scrambled eggs out of a pan with a spatula...

Special time ... Charlie, Carolyn Grace and I enjoy a day - just the three of us - at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina... (it was frickin' frackin' cold!)

Carolyn Grace with baby and her headset for the Biltmore guided tour...

Me and Carolyn outside the Biltmore. Can you guess which one of us looked in to each and every of the 50+ luminary bags the entire length of the driveway??

Visiting with Kate at her home in Asheville. Not one of the four pictures that I took, did Kate have her eyes open!!

A day at the Greenville Zoo, the kids loved feeding the goats...

Carolyn Grace with one of her favorite cousins, Diana...

William reaching out to pet the funniest looking dog he's ever seen...

Cousins Emily, Thomas & Diana sitting on a bear with William, Elizabeth & Carolyn at the Greenville Zoo...

William and Duncan not sure that riding on a bear is a good idea...

Charlie, the kids, Noni and Jimbo posing in front of the beautiful Poinsettia Christmas Tree at Greenville/Spartanburg airport on our way back home, Wednesday morning (I've decided that this is my favorite airport in the entire world)...

Noni taking rides up and down the escalator with the girls before we left. It's always so hard to say goodbye!!


  1. Welcome back!!! You've been missed! Glad to hear your Thanksgiving holiday went well!

  2. Welcome back! We all missed you! Love the pictures. I hope you are doing well.

  3. Glad you guys had such a (mostly) wonderful time. Sorry about the whole computer thing. And I bet it was VERY nice to come home to a nice clean house. Welcome back!

  4. Welcome home!

  5. Welcome back, you sound very relaxed. I have missed hearing from you!

  6. Yea! Your back! You're not allowed to go away for that long again..... I missed your blog!!! :)!

  7. Oh, thank God you're back! I was having full on detox symptoms.

    Glad your trip was great!!!

  8. pssWelcome back.........So glad to hear the trip went well. I didn't realize how much I look forward to an update on you and your guys.

    Looks like you and EVERYone had a GREAT time!

    Glad to have you back where you belong.......

  9. You've become my hero all over again! Welcome back!

  10. Glad you are back! I've been blog stalking you for a long time. I just love to read your blog! Don't you just love Biltmore? Happy Holidays!

  11. Welcome home to the gorgeous 70 degree weather.... we missed you guys!

  12. Although all the pic's are adorable and I Maybe a little biased but I love the one of my Father, your hubby and Lil' Will the best. (wonder why?) :-)

    It was wonderful to see Ya'll! Come back real soon now ya'hear!

    Love, hugs and Kisses, Marg.

    PS That 'house' fit you and Charles very well... perhaps it's for sale??????

  13. Dad and Kathleen12/2/06, 6:20 PM

    Dear Charlie and Jen:
    We are so delighted and grateful that you had such a grand time with your mom and Jimbo. Family = Love = Support
    Everyone looks so happy and relaxed. It was worth the effort wasn't it?
    We hope to see you in the next few weeks, before the Holidays and will bring love and warm hugs.
    Dad and Kathleen

  14. Glad you had as good a time as we did having you.

  15. You're family must live near us. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

  16. Welcome home! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip, except for the computer issues. And I am so jealous about the Biltmore visit!