Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The parents take us all on a Christmas Cruise...down Provo River :)

I've got a TON of Christmas posts to get up.  We had the most wonderful Christmas!!  it was definitely adventurous and full of all sorts of memories.  And I'll try to get them all posted in the next few days!!

First up-our travels.  Second- the cruise :)

I posted this very picture four Christmases ago.  When I flew 8 months pregnant and we got stuck on the TARMAC for four hours.  And at three AM when we finally took off- Kent spilled a full class of crananpple juice all over a sleeping Zeb. And they lost all of our luggage.  Yeah.  This year was worse.

I was flying solo with the 3 rugrats because Kent's Christmas break was short- and I wanted to make my trip worth the money it was costing!!  We started with a delay flying into the Denver Blizzard- and it all went downhill from there. I almost took a few pictures of the chaos- but I was a little too stressed and exhausted to get out my camera.  And it would have been too pitiful anyway.

I must begin saying that we were the recipients of many Christmas miracles and acts of kindness by countless strangers.  And I am ever so grateful for ALL of it. And my kids were amazing. So well behaved.

We got to Denver only to realize the flight we were told was waiting- had actually left on time 90 minutes earlier.  When I dragged my three kids off the flight with all of our carry on bags ( I'm too cheap to check anything)- we were greeted with the news that my double stroller had been lost.  Strike ONE.  How was I supposed to carry three OVERSTUFFED bags, one large diaper bag, a nine month old, and keep track of two young kiddos?!

STRIKE 2.  We had to make the journey to the other end of a LONG terminal to get to the customer service kiosk to get help on a new flight.  And when I FINALLY got there- there were LITERALLY 100 people in line ahead of me.

I parked us at the back of the line and tried to figure out what to do.  I decided I really needed to find my stroller and randomly asked the people in line in front of me to watch my bags and kids.  ?!!?  I can't believe I walked away from my bags and kids!!  I had Metta with me and returned to our flight gate to ask about my stroller.  Wesley told me the stroller was still missing and that I needed to go back to customer service. I realized I HAD to take action myself and told him I needed his help.  I couldn't wait in the line- and I HAD to get home.  He told me he could check his computer and make reservations if there were any available.

Strike THREE.  No flights available to provo OR salt lake city until SUNDAY!  it was WEDNESDAY. Are you kidding?!?!  I went back to customer service defeated.  What was I going to do?!  I talked to my new friends in line and discovered they too had missed a Provo flight.  And that they were from Dayton!  and in the stake adjacent to ours.  I knew they looked like friendly and trustworthy people :)

I felt like I should go back to wesley rather than wait an hour to talk to another agent,  When I got there I did my very best to get him to understand my situation!  three kids. alone.  we HAD to get home!  I asked him if it would help if I cried- and got my three kids to cry at the same time with me.  He told me it WOULD help :)  in weather related delays an airline isn't obligated to put you on other airlines or get you hotels- but they would more likely help in extenuating circumstances.  And so I begged!  and Zeb said we needed to say a prayer. And we did.  And after fifteen  minutes- Wesley put us on the TOP of the standby list for the next flight to Salt Lake.  We were bumped ahead of 200 people to the top.  Spots 1, 2, and 3.  And while he figured it all out-a FULL flight of people were waiting to board. And their flight left 17 minutes late because of him helping us from his gate computer.  I sent an e-mail to the airlines thanking him.

The next flight to slc was to leave in two hours- and he told me there were 8 people who would be landing late from other places and wouldn't make the salt lake flight so we were going to get three of those spots!  two hours later a new gate agent told us we were boarding in moments. And then she changed her mind.  There was no flight crew?!  and one wouldn't be available for two MORE hours.  by this time all three of my kids were dead asleep on the floor.  My dayton friends had gone and bought us DINNER and the kids had zonked after eating.  But now those 8 people on different flights were going to make their connections and we were flightless again.

I was pretty hopeless.  By this time another lady and another family of five had shown up who were also trying to get to provo/slc.  Still no flights until Sunday.  We tried to rent a big van to drive from Denver.  Really.  but there was not a single rental car available. We tried the train and greyhound. NOTHING.

Zeb woke up and started crying and I almost lost it. I HAD no idea what we were going to do.  Then Zeb said we needed to say another prayer and he got down on his hands and knees in the denver airport and said  his own little prayer.  It was adorable and so faithful.  And I felt like we needed to stay where we were and wait it out.  Even though the gate lady told us to get a taxi and get a hotel and call back in the morning.

Three hours later the flight started to board.  My kids were all zonked again and I was just standing and waiting.  And then the flight had almost completely boarded and a ticket agent walked up to me and handed me three tickets and told me we'd made it on.  I have NO idea how it happened.  People around me literally cheered.  I cried.  And then three strangers picked up my three sleeping kids. and others grabbed bags and we walked onto the flight.   At five AM dayton time we landed. And my dad was there to pick us up. and our stroller was there waiting?!  how did it even get to slc? it was marked for provo!!

It was such a long long day. But we made it and prayers were answered. and I made new friends.

And we got to start our Christmas fun!!!

The Cruise.

 It really is one of the best Christmas traditions!  FREEZING cold- a little overpriced- and quite short in length. But AWESOME nonetheless.

The Provo River Christmas Cruise!!
it's a pretty ghetto cruise (a big raft with thirty or so people crammed on)- but there are beavers swimming in the water- Santa shows up on a canoe- and you're kept warm by the people around you :)

Cousin (sister) Janna was home off her mission and we got to see her for the first time!!  The Mills cousins are more like immediate family. We grew up just a few blocks apart our entire lives- and I love them all to bits.
This year a breaker blew and half the river wasn't lit up :) We enjoyed it all the same!
 When Santa showed up Zeb informed us he wasn't real.  He was "too young".  He didn't have a "santa voice" and Santa doesn't "float around on a canoe".  Valid points, Zeb.
 Ike zonked at the end.  We were still trying to catch up from the previous night's travelling shenanigans. Cousin Tanner was a champ to carry him since Kent was still in Ohio!
we finished with fabulous hot chocolate from McDonalds.  I  love their hot chocolate.  And I love all of these girls.


yaya said...

All's well that ends well? Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Looks like a fun time once you got there but I will say what I always say about flying...hate it..the end. P.S. We will have to fly to see Craig and Amy now..and I will say it again..hate it...but I'll go anyway!

Dave and Michelle Howell said...

So sweet that Zeb prayed and people cheered for you. Almost worth the trouble. But not quite! You are a trooper.

nye.jessica@gmail.com said...

Cannot even wrap my head around that experience. I truly don't think I dare fly alone at winter with kids ever again.

dockters said...

I cried reading this, Leisy!! I am so glad you made it and experienced several miracles along the way! And cute Zeb...I want to hug him!

Cynthia said...

i teared up too. I am glad you made a flight and that so many strangers helped you.

Motivated Mama said...

Bless you! What a stressful experience. I love Zeb's sweet faith. His prayers were answered. I am glad you made it and there was a happy ending to the story.

Philip Oswald said...

Do not forget that you sister made two runs to the SLC airport at those wonderful hours since Laney and her family came in just an hour before you. I waited at the airport while Metta made the second run by herself.


Michelle said...

That is craziness!! So glad you're home safe and sound.

The bottom pic is so cute - you girls all look happy and darling!