Monday, June 23, 2014

Five Generations

Traveling with a baby is never easy, but traveling with a teething baby on an airplane is like playing Russian Roulette. Either you will win big (great trip!) or lose big (hatred from every other traveler unfortunate enough to be on your plane), but it's never predictable. E and I played this particularly exciting game over Memorial Day weekend when we took Ellie Belle to meet her great great O'ma (grandmother) in Pennsylvania. Zech and Kayla left Houston with us on Saturday morning and flew back Monday. E and I made it back to our snug little apartment late Tuesday night. Ellie was a surprisingly good travel companion despite her teething pain.

Almost all of these photos are taken by my sister-in-law Kayla and you can see WAY more photos of the trip on her blog "Southern To The Max". Thanks for letting me use your photos Kayla!

The first leg of our journey was a completely packed airplane ride from Houston to St. Louis, Missouri. A brave young doctor sat in the window seat beside us and kept us company for two hours. We talked about his homeland (Pakistan), its origins and conflicts with India, his family (his father was a pilot for 35 years), and his professional specialty (geriatric medicine). He was a delightful conversationalist and travel companion. His bravery paid off and Ellie slept through the entire flight in her turquoise Boba wrap!

When we arrived at the St. Louis airport, we hustled out of the plane and to the next boarding gate where we immediately began boarding for our flight to Philadelphia. Ellie would have probably slept through that flight as well, but our stewardess informed us that we had to take Ellie out of her Boba wrap for takeoff and landing. BOO! Once she was up, there was no getting her back to sleep, but she did pretty well overall.

Esquire and I played the "Who Does That Stranger Look Like?" game trying to decide what famous person our stewardess resembled before we realized she was a dead ringer for Ariel Winters who plays Alex Dunphy on the TV show "Modern Family". Might have been her long lost twin. Just sayin' :P

Not my photo. Random google photo...for science ;)

Once we landed in Philly, we realized that we could hoof it and make the next train to Center City. None of us had cash because we had pooled our resources to park at some of the last remaining Park and Ride parking spots. Ellie's Uncle Z found an ATM and made it back just in time for us to get on the train! We rode the train (Ellie's first train ride!!!) to the Center City stop. It was a gorgeous station! Our connecting train was running late, so we had time for some food from a cafe and some photo ops with Kayla's new camera. Kayla got some great photos at the station and on the trains!


We rode the connecting train to Lansdale and got to Oma's around 8pm Eastern time. Ellie was SOOO tired and in pain from teething. When we got to Oma's there were so many people who wanted to meet her and hold her, but my poor baby was done for the day. She just wanted her mama and a bed.

The next couple of days were much better. She got to meet her Oma, her Poppa and Nana (E's mom's parents), and some of her extended relatives. She was still a little fussy, but it was great having everyone there to love and cuddle her. Her Nana K and aunties watched her for me so that I could go to the antique store and nap. It was wonderful!

Esquire's Poppa and Ellie's Great Grandpa

The antique store was really interesting. The old checks from 1850's and WWII photos were the most fascinating thing. I didn't take any photos of them, but photos from that time era always fascinate me. I wonder "What did the photographer see in this photo that made it important enough to use film to capture this particular scene or object?"

One of the interesting things about Pennsylvania is that the architecture is completely different than what I'm used to in Texas. I snapped a few quick photos of some houses and Kayla captured Oma's house. It's very skinny and tall. The stairs are bordering on a deathtrap for someone with my level of clumsiness!

I didn't have much time to talk to Oma, but I wish I had several weeks to just sit and visit with her. She's the coolest lady and so kind. She told me stories about the provenance of some of the old furniture in her house. I wish I had a photo of this old buffet to show you. It's gorgeous- boldly detailed carving around a mirror and a granite top (at least, I think it was granite). She was telling me that it was the final project of her late husband's grandfather when he graduated from carpentry school. He's the one who build the house she currently lives in now. How cool is that?!

Oma gave Missy an old desk that was Missy's great great grandmother's. Oma said she has a photo of her husband with his mom and the desk on the front porch of his aunt's house. Seriously! That's really awesome. I'm going to have to get some photos of Missy writing letters at her great-great grandmother's desk. History is so fun!

We took time to get some photos of Oma and Ellie together, as well as photos of the whole family. These first two photos represent five generations! I think the first picture looks like Ellie is trying to attack Oma's hair. She was an angry little elf!

Zech and Esquire have talked about this "legendary pizza" that they had years ago when they were visiting their Oma. They snuck off to find it the first day we were there and then took Kayla and I back to the pizza place on Monday. I didn't take a photo of our pizza (SO MANY TOPPINGS!!!) but Kayla got a good one of theirs. I was afraid it would be a let down, but it really was very tasty. If you're ever in Lansdale, I have a recommendation for a great pizza! We stopped on the way back to Oma's to check out this giant stone globe suspended above a base with water. You could turn it in any direction. I'm not sure, but it seemed like a big deal. Hehe.

Ellie's Aunt Missy watched her for us during our pizza getaway. I imagine this as her "I didn't get pizza" face.

Our trip back home was a little rougher on Ellie. We taxied on the runway for about thirty minutes for one flight. She cried the whole time. Once the engine started up to take off, she was out like a light. She slept on the seat and kept reaching for her favorite stuffed hippo toy "Harold".

We met a very sweet missionary family while we were in the airport. Their three year old Brynlee was fascinated with Ellie. While I ran to the bathroom, she sat with Esquire and talked to Ellie. Her brother and sisters were very well behaved, and if you know me, then you know that that is high praise and it's very rare to earn my "very well behaved" status. Their mom, Maria, writes a blog about their family's work in Jamaica. It's called "Raising 4 Princesses". You should go read it!

We were so glad to get home. It was Ellie's first time on a plane and a train, her first time meeting E's mom's parents, and her first time meeting her great-great grandmother.

All in all, I consider that a successful trip! :D

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