Saturday, June 14, 2014

Just a quick little trip home...

After almost a year and a half, we managed to make our way back to the States!  We packed fifty million (okay, maybe not that many, but surely it was close!) bags and headed to the airport around 3 a.m. on April 21st.  Our (Garytt, Mackenzie, and I) flight left at 0635 from Haneda.  I thought I was really smart and packed as much "fun" stuff as I could for the kids.  So, we ended up with six carry-ons jammed full with books, crayons, pipe cleaners, play dough, DS games, cards, UNO, connect four, Guess Who, etc, etc, etc.  Well, in the 30 hours it took us to get from Tokyo to D.C. we only touched three of the six bags, and two of those three belonged to me.  All that junk to keep track of for nothin'!  Oh well...lesson learned.  

Our first leg, Haneda to Incheon, was only 2 1/2 hours.  A good introduction to the long trip, but why, oh why did they serve teriyaki chicken at 0700?  Garytt enjoyed it.  Mackenzie and I opted for smooshed pop tarts from the bottom of my bag.  

 Mackenzie came to an amazing realization on this flight....she can listen to music on her iPod, color a picture, chew gum, and watch a tv screen all at the same time!!!  How talented!

Once we got to Uncle Dave's house Mackenzie started building houses and tables out of paper for all of her little princesses.  By 1930 the three of us were struggling to stay awake.  Mom Mom Pat came for a quick visit and then we all crashed by 2000.

It's a good thing we hit they hay at 8 pm....because, the kids were up and ready to party at 0100!!!  Oh geez!  I tried to convince them to sleep a little longer, but to no avail.  So, we just got dressed and "snuck" (as well as elephants at 2 in the morning can sneak) out of the house.

We managed to leave the house around 0230 and stopped at Royal Farms for COFFEE, donuts, and a quick adjustment to the tv system in the car.  Our first debacle, trying to get the DVD system in the car to work.  Whatever I tried I couldn't get anything to play.  The overhead system didn't want to turn on and the headrest screens refused start.  Finally, I gave up and told the kids they had to do things the "old way"... EyeSpy, coloring books, cow counting, etc.  

Sooo....I was pretty disoriented from the flight and weird sleep, then I was having to relearn how to drive on the left side of the car and the right side of the road, and my daggon GPS, a TomTom I have now nicknamed DumbDumb, refused to find its satellites.  For the life of me, I could not make my mind remember how to drive from Smyrna to the Bay Bridge.  I know, I lived there how many years?!  I was disoriented, people!  Finally, I just used eenie, meenie, miney, moe and decided on a direction to drive.  

I must say, driving through D.C. at 3 in the morning is a MUCH better way to get through that city!  I think I was the only crazy person on the road that early in the morning.  After a few hours on the road, the kids and I needed to get out and stretch our legs.  I saw the sign, "Natural Bridge" and decided to head off the highway.  My mom was a few hours behind us, so we had time to burn until she caught up anyway.  

It was so nice to get out of the car and take a beautiful walk through the woods and by the river.

It took us a couple hours, but we walked the whole path back to the waterfalls at the end.  We looked at every bug, every rock, every flower, and amazing thing we could find on the trail.

We hopped back in the car a couple hours later and met up with my mom in Johnson City, TN.  The kids entertained my mom with ballet and karate moves with some Japanese language lessons in-between, while I cleaned out my car and figured out those silly movie screens in the car.  Yay!  I got one of them working, the headrest screen on Mackenzie's side, so I hooked up the headphone extension cord with the double plug and Garytt had to look across the car to watch the movies, but it worked!

The next morning, we were up around 3 and headed out the door.  We made a stop at McDonald's down the road, and just our luck, they had just cleaned the hoods, so they only had hot cakes or cinnamon rolls available.  We got an order of each, sent Daddy a picture, and hit the road again.  A few minutes later, Daddy sent us a picture back of his stand-in family eating dinner....

Since we hit the road so early Wednesday morning, we made it to Mississippi by 10 in the morning.  It only took five minutes and the kids were in Grandma and Grandpa's *freezing* pool.  It was great to see our family and the little puppy, who's not such a little puppy anymore.  Our next order of business....Morgan's Senior Showcase in Brookhaven.

We managed to make our arrival a big secret...from all but those involved in the mission....Dave (who picked us up at the airport), my mom (who monitored my crazy mind while driving 18 hours), and Kris' parents (who housed us for most of the trip).  So, Friday afternoon we hopped in the car and made our way down to Brookhaven to surprise our tiny dancer.  We got to the venue, snuck into the theater, found seats in a dark corner, and watched all of the performances.  Then, when the show was over we snuck out and went to the studio to surprise Morgan.  Turns out, she had spied us coming into the theater two hours ago!  Darn...I didn't get her reaction on video....but, YAY!  We got to put our arms around MORGAN!!!!!!!

It was so great being back home.  Around the people we love and the things we've missed.  Next on the agenda....GRADUATION!!!