So it is 6 am in the Netherlands, we have been home one week, and this may be my first opportunity to blog in the last month or so. It's been a crazy December, but one I won't forget for sure. I will try to capture it all, but it's going to take me several posts to get everything in! Let me start at the beginning . . .
Keith and I decided back in October that we were going to fly back to the States a week earlier than we originally intended, but we wanted to surprise everyone. It was my stepmom's birthday on Saturday, December 3rd, so we decided to fly in on Friday, the 2nd (as opposed to the original date of the 9th). We knew we had to tell one person -- my dad. We needed him in on the surprise because I wanted to make sure they didn't make plans and would be there that weekend, plus we needed someone to get us at the airport that afternoon. Now those of you who know my parents know that they tell each other EVERYTHING. And if my dad has a good secret, he loves to hint that he knows something no one else does. Yet he was able to keep this surprise for six long weeks, and not give even an inkling away that something was up. Way to go, Papi. : )
So the week before the trip I started planning . . . Keith and I made a spreadsheet that included "to do's" for the week of, the night before, and the morning of our flight. We had packing lists for ourselves, the baby, Christmas gifts, and Murph-Dog. We really lucked out that good friends were taking Murphy for two out of the four weeks and he would be boarded for the other two. Our checklist grew and shrunk daily as we remembered little things to do or take, and checked off things that were getting done. It's hard to leave your home for a month! Luckily now we have this spreadsheet saved and can use it for our next trip!
The morning of our flight, the alarm went off at 4:30 (after a 1 am bedtime), we got everything in the car and were ready to go! Now we just had to get Liam up. I think I've told y'all before that he is the happiest baby when he wakes up, and getting woken up is no exception. I got him out of his crib trying not to disturb him as we buckled him in his carseat, but he was all smiles, like, "Hey Mom! Hey Dad! Where are we going??" He spent the first 15 minutes of the car ride talking to himself and finally fell back asleep. We made it to the airport with our FOUR rolling luggage bags (one for me, one for Keith, one for Liam, and one full of presents and borrowed maternity clothes to return -- all to be checked),
For those of you who have asked, Liam did really good on the plane. The timing of everything worked out perfectly: I fed him at 8 am (in the airport), 11 am (take off), 2 pm, 5 pm, and 8 pm (landing). We were able to make it to my parents house before having to feed him again, so he was a trooper! He only cried a couple times for a couple minutes right before eating, or if he didn't want to sleep. Keith and I didn't sleep for the entire nine and a half hour flight, but overall the stress of having a baby on the plane wasn't too bad. And Liam even earned his wings -- one of the flight attendants got him his own little pin!
After customs, bag check, and weaving through crowds of people, it was SO good to see my dad waiting for us (who had been there for almost two hours, mind you -- he was too excited!). We made the drive home, wondering if anyone had guessed we were there, and made speculations all about how we thought we'd blown it. My dad told Cheryl he had a birthday surprise to pick up on the way home so he was going to be home a little later. When we arrived at the house my sister-in-law, niece, and stepmom were all in the living room, so Papi went in carrying Liam in his carseat and said "What do you think of your surprise?" She was confused at first, thinking "Why did he get me a carseat? Wait, there's a baby in there . . . what's going on??" Then I came around the corner and she was utterly. totally. shocked. We said, "Happy Birthday!" as she hugged me so hard, buried her face in my neck and cried for five minutes. No exaggeration. It was the best feeling to be home and surprise my mom for her birthday! She kept saying over and over again, "Are you serious right now? Are you kidding me? Are you serious?" It was hysterical. And Katrina was just staring at us dumbfounded, not believing what she was seeing, trying to call my brother . . . and then there's Bailey, my niece. She was SO excited to finally see Liam in person! She has been obsessed with him via Skype for the last several months, but nothing compared to how in love she is now! She just kept pointing and laughing and giving him kisses -- it was the sweetest thing! My mom scooped Liam up, and he was all smiles at his Grams as she snuggled him to death.
Over the weekend we were able to surprise other friends and family as well, eventually letting the cat out of the bag that we were here a week early. I am so grateful that we were able to spend an extra week in Georgia because I can't imagine trying to squeeze everything in in three weeks -- it was hard enough to see everyone in four weeks!
So over the next few posts, I'll share pictures and details all about spending time with everyone, Christmas, New Years, etc. There's so much to tell! I apologize in advance for taking so long to get this on the blog -- thanks for your patience!