Wow. We are on the flip side finally. That was an epic journey, or it certainly felt like it. The last few days have been a crazy flurry of packing, last minute errands, closing out the house, saying final farewells, and sleeping at hotels. I am clearly still on UK time despite going to bed at 9pm EST last night because here I sit typing away at 3am and I'm wide, wide awake. I actually didn't know where I was when I woke up...that's only happened a few times before, a strange feeling.
Bug was a trooper and a half! We stayed in a local hotel Thursday night because all of our things were in boxes and we thought it might be a bit much for her to sleep amidst the chaos. It probably seemed a bit like a family trip to her, because that's what she would know hotels from. She should have been in the creche for those last 3 days but they thought she might be a little sick so sent her home early on Wednesday - so she sat with us at the house on Thursday and we tried valiantly to keep her out of the packers' hair....often to no avail, but at least we tried.
We got to have one more (unexpected) play date with her friend Noah and his little brother Adam and mama Cheryl on Friday morning, which was such a welcomed treat in the midst of the whirlwind activity around us! I watched the packers load everything we own into a container for the ship - such a strange, strange feeling seeing everything you own placed into a metal box and drive away!!
And then we did a last walkthrough of the house. It looked like it had when we moved in, it was so empty! I actually think Bug shouldn't have seen the house like that...we were planning on her not seeing any of it, in case it was confusing or upsetting, but M had to come back to the house to collect me and she was determined to go inside - she stopped dead in her tracks when she walked in and looked around. She looked absolutely bewildered. We tried to explain that all of her toys and our furniture would meet us in America - as we'd been saying for a while now - but really, she's only 18 months, and I'm sure that means nothing to her at this young age. I can only imagine how confusing that was for her. She promptly got upset, and then threw up on the kitchen floor (which M put his hands up and said he did a rookie dad move and gave her all her milk before they drove over.....I should probably explain that she gets carsick sometimes if she has something in her tummy too soon before we drive!) and we scrounged through the last few random things in the house we were about to toss to clean it up. Luckily we'd left a lot of cleaning products for the new people because they don't go off so we dealt with it. Bug was so upset though. We both felt horrible. I did manage to grab a quick snap of M and Bug in front of the house on the way out -- goodbye #76!!!
We went to the airport hotel after that, dropping a few things off along the way, and Bug and I got situated in our room while M drove back to town to drop off one last item to a friend, return the car, and come back to meet us. We ate another random meal of pre-made stuff from the store and in-room dining (I was so excited about real food once we landed, you have no idea!) and got Bug into bed as early as she'd consider it, since we knew we had a long day following. I think that night we all slept HARD. Saturday morning came around very, very fast and we had a very short time to try and cram breakfast into our bellies, repack all of our bags, decide to leave a lot of toiletries and food in the room that we just couldn't fit, and then book it to the airport.
Bug actually had a brilliant majority of the day. She had a great time at the airport since we hit up the soft play area in Terminal 5 (thanks Cheryl for the heads up!!) and M took her on little rides on his rolling luggage :) She fell sound asleep on the plane and BA was fantastic – they put us in the bulkhead row and brought a seat to clip into the front of the wall, a bit like a bouncer for bigger babies, and she slept there for nearly 80 minutes. Exactly as long as it took for us to be served and devour our food!! It was pretty much a miracle that we were able to both eat at the same time. She happily ate her snacks and played with the numerous toys and distractions I’d packed for the first 3 hours when she woke up as well…it was only 4 hours into the flight that she started showing signs of frustration. M deserves best dad of the year award for taking the brunt of that flight – he let her sit in his seat half the time, leaving him standing and leaning against the bulkhead wall; he carried her around whenever she got bored and needed a change of scenery; and he handled ALL of the nappy changes in that ridiculously small loo – with the insanely unhelpful flat wooden ‘change table’ that is always at a slant!!!
(To be honest, she wasn’t even that frustrated. It turns out the poor babe was blocked up and that was making her very uncomfortable. I know this because 90 minutes into our crazy traffic driving from Toronto to home, Bug had an explosive situation in the car seat that required us to pull over on the side of the road, strip her naked, use all of a package of wipes, and then calm her down before getting back into the car to finish our long drive…)
A lot of people complimented her on our way off the plane for how well she handled the flight. She only really cried out / complained a couple of times and they were mostly at the end. My parents collected us from the airport and drove us home. (Well, Bug and I anyway – M needed to fly into the country for immigration to be able to handle his visa properly, so he stayed in Toronto overnight and flew to meet us the next morning – today!) It was a downright miserable drive – bumper to bumper traffic for nearly 2.5 hours that just disappeared with no rationale in sight as to the horrendous traffic that we’d been sitting in! But when we got to my parents’ house, Bug – as cracked out as she was from jet lag and poor sleep – ran around in complete glee checking out all the toys that Nana got her, seeing the dog, and freaking out at seeing the horses in the paddock outside!
And as rubbish as yesterday was, today was a brilliant day – we are all still so tired, and we're still going to bed at 9pm, but M got here too and we’re all together, Bug played outside on my parents’ 13 acres and ‘met’ the horses for the first time, and she had so much fun playing this evening with her older cousin – my brother’s little boy. :) They are going to be fast friends, it’s so easy to see! We have a LOT to do in the weeks ahead – find a house is at the top of it! – but also, get US cell phones set up, buy a baby monitor that works with US outlets, meet with a mortgage broker, buy (at least) one car and a car seat, get US chargers for our laptops, etc, etc…
But today on Grateful Heart Monday, I’m linking up with Emily as usual because I am so grateful that our trip home went as well as it did!! I’m also thankful for being here, full stop. We made it, safely, and we are about to embark on the next step of Team O’Loughlin’s life journey. Exciting times ahead!! I hope that you all had wonderful weekends and have many things to be thankful for yourself today!