I Spy….

ME!!!!

Okay, and Mason & Emma!

What a fun event Eastside Baby Corner was invited to be a part of!

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a tall skinny care package

Alex is down to 31 days until her college graduation and she is done. DONE. And when I say done I mean it in two different ways: one: she will be graduated and two: shes tired of school and ready for it to be, well, done. I think right now the latter is her biggest complaint.

Who doesnt remember your final quarter/semester of school?! All you have to do is make it to the last day and then youll be done forever….or until you go crazy and decide to go on to higher education – me I havent hit that point yet! The last couple of weeks Alex has really been down in the dumps and with her birthday coming up (today!) my family hatched a plan, one that would surely put a huge smile on her face! My parents had already been planning on sending Kelly to visit Alex in a couple of weeks, and Alex was aware of it but had no idea of the earlier visit.

All weekend long we racked our brains on the best way to do it. Kelly quickly was nominated for the travel role but we had to figure out how to get her there. Mind you we all will be driving the 12 hours in just a couple of weeks for graduation. Do we fly Kelly down? Does she take a friend and drive over? How long will she stay? If we fly her down do we buy her just a one way ticket and have her stay until the graduation? Or just fly her home in a week or two? All these questions were hashed out at the breakfast table Sunday morning.

The final consensus was to fly Kelly one way into Salt Lake City and then either my mom or Jeff will drive over in a week or so and bring her home. However due to the last minute nature of this the only flight option got in at 7pm and we would have to get Kelly up to Rexburg, a couple hour drive. We figured by the time Kelly would make it into Rexburg Alex would be asleep and her birthday over, so just showing up at her door wasnt an option so we hatched plan B which we recorded….her response wasnt quite what we were expecting….

Happy Golden Birthday, Alexandra Nicole!!!!!!!! We love you!

The Long Journey Home

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I’ve been home for almost 24 hours now and am trying to readjust to a time zone that’s 9 hours behind what I’m used to.  However, the previous 24 hours were extremely long and tiring as we journeyed from Rome to Seattle. 

Debarkation

The morning started out pretty early, we had to be up, packed and in the Moderno Restaurant by 8:30am to meet Bruno who would help us with debarkation and loading our minibus.  We all had one last breakfast in The Haven, said goodbye to our towel animal friends who had kept us company for 21 days and took a couple last pictures.

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Rome Airport

After the 1.5 hour drive from the boat, we arrived at the airport which is very odd.  Well, maybe not the airport but the check-in flow.

We walked in and went up to a counter that we assumed was the check-in counter (we had already checked in online, but apparently had to do it again at the airport).  There they looked at our passports and asked us the standard questions: have your bags been in your possession since you packed them? Did anyone ask you to take something for them?  Etc.  Once we passed that test we were handed a clear plastic bag and told to put any and all cameras and electronics in the bags.  This may seem like a simple endeavor but for me I had my iPad, computer, cell phone, camera, extra lens, power cords and chargers.  By the time I got everything bagged up and closed all my luggage I had only voiced my complaints a couple of times I had a plastic bag that was ready to rip.  I was hoping that once I went around the corner security would be the next step.  Wrong.

Once around the corner we got into another long line to check our baggage.  This time we had to scan all our passports, weigh our luggage and officially get checked in.  (What the heck was the first check?!)  By the time we made it through this line my clear bag was closer to ripping but we weren’t done yet.

My mom had bought a ring tax-free (??) that needed to be declared, so we had to go to the customs office to get something signed.  One step closer to my bag ripping.

FINALLY we made it to security and could put all the electronics away before they went crashing to the ground.

It wasn’t long before we boarded our plane that would take us to JFK in New York City.

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The 8.5 hour flight from Rome to JFK was great and shockingly the time flew.  I watched three movies, a couple of television shows and before I knew it we were landing in New York.

JFK Airport

This is where the fun started as we had about an hour to make our connecting flight.

Grandma needed a wheelchair to get from gate to gate so we got a personal escort, who ended up becoming a lifesaver in helping us make our connecting flight because the customs process at JFK was a long nightmare.

We started by scanning our passports and receiving a receipt, standing in line and going through customs.  Then we had to go claim our luggage and drag it 10 feet to another line which was super long.  At that point Grandma’s wheelchair pusher took matters into his own hands and cut through the HUGE customs #2 line.  All eight of us were running behind him to not get lost or stuck in the line.  Had we waited in line, like we should have, it would have been at least a 30 minute wait, time that we didn’t have. 

We made it through customs line #2 and now had to rechecked our luggage.  At this point we had about 20 minutes until our flight began boarding.  Again, Mr. Wheelchair Pusher pushed us to the front of the line and assisted us in the rechecking process.  He then told us we needed to keep-up as we would be moving extremely quickly to make our flight, especially because we still needed to go through security…again.

This time we didn’t cut to the front of the line, but we went through the employee and VIP line and made our way to the security machines (what are they called anyway?).  Once again we emptied our pockets and bags of electronics & liquids, took off shoes, coats, and waited for our turn to go in the machine.  I apparently was in a rush because I stepped into the machine and immediately through my arms over my head so I could be scanned.  I must have startled the TSA agent because he laughed and said “this looks way to natural for you”.  Hmmm….

We made it to the gate to find out that the arriving plane was delayed.  So in the end we ran for nothing!  Oh well, it was nice to have a chance to use the bathroom and get water before boarding our flight to Seattle.

Flight to Seattle

We were hoping that the 5.5 hour flight to Seattle would be as smooth as the transcontinental one we just got off of, but no such luck.  This plane was much smaller, with far less leg room making it really hard to get comfortable.  To make things worse we were exhausted as it was now well past midnight in Rome. 

About two hours into the flight we hit major turbulence and were stuck in our seats for the remainder of the flight.  I’d never felt turbulence this bad before, the captain even made the flight attendants to buckle up for more than an hour.  It was crazy bumpy.  At first it was fun, but after awhile I began to get anxious and suddenly it wasn’t that much fun anymore.  I was happy when it stopped and we began to fly normally again.

We landed in Seattle about 10:30pm (7:30am Rome).

Leaving SeaTac

It didn’t take us long to collect ALL of our bags and make it down to ground transportation to meet the van that would bring us back to Duvall.  However, the driver was NOT prepared for the amount of luggage we had with us.  He loaded up the van and then realized he only had half the bags.  He panicked and called his supervisor to tell her it wouldn’t all fit in the van.  We calmly told him that we had the same size van and amount of luggage when we headed to the airport and that it all fit.  He wasn’t so sure and when his supervisor came over she laughed at him and told him….”Well, this looks like you have some work to do.  Pretend it’s Jenga or Tetris and MAKE THE LUGGAGE FIT!!”  He didn’t seem to like that answer, but with the help of my mom and dad (who actually loaded most of it) we headed home.

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We got home about midnight and it was a mad rush for a shower and to find something to eat.  By about 1am we were winding down, but still pretty well wired however, by the time my head hit the pillow I was out.

Today was LONG.  I woke up about 7am (early for me) and was wide awake.  By about 1pm I was soooooooo tired, but had to stay awake so I can sleep tonight and hopefully reacclumate to the time.  Right now it’s 9:30pm, I did it!!  Now it’s time to go to bed!!  GOOD NIGHT WORLD!!

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Capri & Anacapri

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When we went to Naples a week or so ago my friend Keri Smith said that if I ever went back to go to the chair lift in Anacapri.  I kept that in the back of my mind, but figured I’d never go back.  Little did I know that on the second cruise and the…

At Sea, Again

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As I write this I *think* we’re docked in Naples, Italy.  I didn’t realize we were arriving tonight, but we stopped moving and I heard murmuring from others saying we were.  Who knew! Today was another laid back day.  Slept in (and we gained an hour, wahooo!) and then another typical day.  We did get…

Tax Day at Sea

That title is enough to make you vomit, yes me. taxes. at sea. Sounds like a fun combo right? Sadly this year I didn’t take enough out and had to pay $609, first time in my life I’ve had to pay.  Anyway, I did my taxes about a month ago but didn’t want to pay…

Istanbul, Turkey – Day 2

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This morning bright and early we set off for a tour of the Blue Mosque and then to the Grand Bazaar.  While the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar were really cool, I didn’t take many photos, I think I’m beginning to be tired of taking pictures.  I’m already on my second memory card after filling…

Istanbul, Turkey – Day 1

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We arrived in Istanbul, Turkey about 1pm today so the day started out pretty lazy which was good because I stayed up way to late last night.  After going to the show in the Stardust Theater, then watching one movie with Brandi, I watched a second one on my own and then read for an…

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