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This was Katie Anne's first experience in an airport and flying on a plane. I was a little nervous - we've all been on a flight with a crying baby or crazy toddler or seen the complete airplane meltdown scene on Jon & Kate plus 8, and I didn't want to be that mom who's dealing with all that. I also worried about entertaining her while we waited in the airport and while we were trapped in the plane. I worried about her and all her stuff going through security. I worried about getting all our bags through the airport. I worried about feeding her and getting her drinks while on the plane. I worried that she would get sick and throw up during take off. I worried that she'd get tired of sitting in the seat and start going stir-crazy. I worried about taking her to the airplane lavatory. I worried that she would be loud on board. I worried - basically - about everything!
Well, there was no need to worry, because Katie Anne did amazingly well! She carried her own carry-on bag (her school backpack with extra clothes, pull-ups, and snacks) on her own back almost the entire time. She walked on her own almost the entire time. She went through security like a little businesswoman who flies all the time... took off her own shoes, loaded her stuff in the gray trays, held her little boarding pass, stood in line, and walked through the metal detector all by herself! On the plane, she was wonderful - literally, I couldn't have asked for better behavior. She sat in her seat the entire time and never - not once - asked to get up. She played very quietly with her toys (especially those little plastic babies - best $19 I ever spent at WalMart), watched her DVDs, read her books, or colored with her markers to keep herself busy. In fact, she kept herself so busy that my mom and I were able to read, watch tv shows on the Delta entertainment system in the headrests, or even catnap ourselves! It was unbelievable! She only used the bathroom on board the plane once - she said it was too hard, and she wasn't doing that again. So, she did just pee in her pull-ups when she needed to go, which was fine. If the only problem was changing a wet pull-up, I was okay with that! **You may notice that she kept her pacifier in some pictures - I let her have her pacifier in the airport and on the airplane only. I thought she needed it for air pressure changes, comfort in a strange place, and to help her sleep. She was so excited that she got the forbidden paci, and it definitely helped to have that comfort item on the plane.
We had a fun weekend in Arizona ... Jodi and Jason really showed us a big time! We went to lots of fun places and great restaurants, and they treated us the whole time - wouldn't let us pay for a single thing, even though we offered! We got to spend time at several of the great parks in Phoenix and visited lots of toddler-friendly places so the girls could play. We also spent a lot of time swimming in Jodi and Jason's great pool, which both Katie Anne and Marley loved!
For those interested in the details, here's a breakdown of what we did...
Morning: Flight out of Atlanta early in the morning - Katie Anne did a fabulous job, and we had a great time.
Afternoon: My cousin Jodi picked us up from the airport at lunchtime, and we headed back to their house. After lunch, the ladies caught up while Katie Anne napped. After Jodi picked up Marley from school, we went swimming in their pool.
Evening: Jodi made us a delicious dinner of steaks, potatoes, asparagus, and salad. It was so good! Then, we all hit the sack at about 9:00 Arizona time ... midnight our time!
Morning: We went to the train park for several hours. Marley and Katie Anne had a great time riding the train, the carousel, and playing on the playground and bouncy houses.
Afternoon: Uncle Sam's for lunch - giant cheesesteaks! Mom and I napped at the same time the girls did this afternoon ... that three hour time zone difference can be a killer! (Katie Anne woke up at 4:30 am Arizona time - 7:30 am Georgia time - every morning.)
Evening: Dinner at El Encante, one of the Coren's favorite Mexican restaurants in Cave Creek, AZ. Jason and I both had the burritos with mole sauce - fabulous! Marley and Katie Anne loved feeding the ducks outside the restaurant. After the girls were in bed - late night again for KA! - the adults watched tv and hung out. Mom and I actually made it to 10:30 pm Arizona time - 1:30 am Georgia time!
Morning: We walked to the park in Jodi and Jason's neighborhood. When I say neighborhood park, I mean it is nothing like a normal neighborhood park ... huge playgrounds, swings, lighted soccer field, covered picnic areas, nice restrooms - the works! The girls loved sliding, swinging, and playing in the sand.
Afternoon: The girls napped while the adults hung out together and watched Hoarders - if you haven't watched this creepy show, you should! So gross! It will inspire you to donate lots and lots to Goodwill.
Evening: Dinner at PF Changs. Wonderful!
Morning: We left bright and early for the airport. Unfortunately, we horribly mismanaged our time at breakfast, and we missed our flight to Atlanta by only a few minutes - yikes! The next flight didn't leave Phoenix for five hours... which wound up being six hours after flights were delayed due to rain in Atlanta. So, our 7:15 am Arizona departure time was actually about 2:05 pm. We spent the morning staying entertained in the airport... reading picture books, watching CNN on the airport tv's, eating sour gummy worms, drinking coffee to stay awake, playing with toys, coloring, and doing sticker books.
Afternoon: About lunch time, we found the elusive indoor play area I was sure I'd heard about on the airport tv (for a while, when everyone we asked said there was no indoor play area, we thought I'd lost my mind). Hooray for the play area! It wasn't much - just a tunnel, steps, tumbling mats, and a little wall games area - but it was enough! It was tucked at the end of an empty terminal. Katie Anne got to run, jump, scream, and get all her energy out. We had a picnic lunch on the floor at the playground. All in all, being trapped in the airport was a fun day!
When it was time to load our plane at 12:50, we found out the flight was delayed about an hour because of the flood conditions in Atlanta. Katie Anne napped on my lap while we sat on the floor and waited. Finally, the plane arrived, we loaded up, and we took off about 2:30ish. Luckily, with headwinds, the flight back was just less than 3 hours.
Evening: Towards the end of the flight, all three of us got very tired and a little stir-crazy. Actually, Katie Anne was the calmest of the three of us - which was awesome, considering she'd been awake for over twelve hours with only an uncomfortably positioned 45 minute nap! Our plane landed at about 8:30 pm Georgia time. We were so excited to see Daddy and Granddad, who came to pick us up at the airport! We got home and in bed last night about 10:00, and Katie Anne slept for twelve straight hours!