Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and that 2013 is a great year for you all.
We took our first real family vacation since the kids were born to Zihuatanejo Mexico. We stayed in a beautiful private home on the cliffs of the Zihuatanejo Bay and the Pacific Ocean and had a fantastic time. The kids took their first plane ride (and maybe last when you read the story below). Don't know what we were thinking in taking the kids that far away for so long (14 days), but we made it through and have some great stories to tell for years to come.
Having traveled a fair amount as a couple, we quickly realized that there are so many things we had taken for granted when flying with kids. Like going through the airport security line for instance. OMG. We had only carried two diaper bags, one carry-on and a car seat between us so we thought it would be easy/breazy.....we were WRONG. Scene: Take off my shoes and put all my items (tickets, boarding passes and passports for 5 people) in the bin, send everything through the baggage scanner. Pick up baby #1 and carry him through the people scanner. Ask the TSA agent to send the stroller though the people scanner while you wait for it on the other end only to find out that they need the stroller to go through the baggage scanner. Wait for the stroller to come through the baggage scanner so I can strap baby #1 (now screaming) in the stroller. Put on my shoes while I wait for baby #2 to be passed through the people scanner only to realize that I had no where to put her as I had sent through the single stroller rather than the double stroller first. Oh where to put the second baby while I wait for the double stroller to come through the scanner? Now two babies are screaming and we are holding up the line! Stress level going up! The double stroller comes through the baggage scanner along with the first of the diaper bags. We had forgotten to separate all the baby liquids from the diaper bag so the TSA agent requested they do a manual search of the diaper bag. Stress level going up. Fine. However, they needed one of us to be there for the search. I now have two babies, one in a stroller and one in my arms (both screaming) and the third is on the other side waiting to go through the people scanner and we are STILL holding up the line!! Stress level going up! You would think that on the Saturday before Christmas people would be in a Holiday mood..but no such luck). Stress Level WAY WAY up! Put baby #2 in the double stroller and follow the TSA agent for the manual scan. Meanwhile, Jim comes through the people scanner with baby #3 and the thing goes off! Remove items from pocket and re enter the scanner. You would think all is good? Nope. Although manual inspection of the (first) diaper bag is complete, two kids are still screaming, still holding up the line as the second diaper bag comes through the scanner and, you guessed it, we had forgotten to remove all liquids! UGH. Stress Level at an all time high! After what seemed like 10 minutes, diaper bag two manual inspection is complete and we are off! OMG.....what just happened?
Going down to Mexico was relatively easy given that my mom and her husband flew to LA to take the same flight down with us and GOD BLESS THEM for doing that! We had purchased a seat for one of the babies and had registered the two others as lap infants. Having my mom next to me to hold one of the kids was a life saver as I don't know what we would have done without her (and I secretly worried the entire vacation as to how Jim and I were going to handle the 3 kids ALONE on the way home!...but that story pales in comparison to what happened next).
Landed in Mexico almost 3 hours after take off and we breathed a sigh of relief. Waited for customs for over an hour as three planes landed at the same time. Kids were hungry, we were hot, sweaty and hungry and ready to get the vacation started. Finally reach customs and were moved through relatively easily. Had the kids passports (and birth certificates showing us both as parents just in case) and we were put through with no issue at all. Once through customs, you had to collect all your baggage, run it through ANOTHER scanner before meeting the last of the customs agents to determine if they are gong to search your bags before exiting the terminal. Since we had checked all our bags at the ticket counter in LA, we hadn't thought about logistics once landing in Mexico. UGH My mom, her husband, Jim and myself had each checked at least one bag, we had three pack-n-plays, three car seats, two additional bags for the kids....in total we had 12 items to put through the scanner. UGH.
At this point, everyone is scrambling to get all their bags and get through the scanner as quickly as possible. We didn't want to hold up the line this time. So, we all kicked into high gear and got all our bags through the scanner in record time. Once through, the agent saw how many bags (and people and babies) were traveling together and waived us through! Good right? NO.
I was the first to get through the security doors. Once through those double doors you see all those drivers holding up name plates, people asking to carry your bags for $, relatives waiting for their loved ones...you get the drill. It was insane. It took me a few minutes but I found our driver. I gave him my bags and asked him to go get both cars (we couldn't fit into one!) and bring them to the curb. Jim comes through next with the single stroller and a couple of bags. My mom comes through next with a couple of bags. Everyone is headed to the curb to meet the cars. I walk back into the security area and grab more bags and take them to the curb. I ask Jim if he has all three kids and all I hear is "Yes". I have now walked back into the security area again to get more bags not knowing that it was against the Mexican Law (!) to walk back into the security area after being cleared!! Who knew? Besides, my vacation is getting ready to start! Woo Hoo! Well, as I collected the last of the bags to take to the car, the agents were notifying security of what I was doing. I get to the curb with the last of the bags and realize that, although I had asked Jim if he had all three KIDS, he thought I had asked him if he had all three CAR SEATS.... to which he had replied YES! OMG We were missing the girls!!! We had left them in their stroller inside the security area in customs!!! I immediately RAN back into the building and up to the security doors to go get them. Now, unbeknownst to me, agents were waiting on me as I had already broken their law TWICE. They ran after me and pulled me aside (I swear they were ready to draw guns! ha) and told me I couldn't go any further. I am now in FULL PANIC mode! I don't speak Spanish but tried to tell them that my daughters were behind the doors and that I NEEDED to get them! (although I have been to Zih several times and it's VERY VERY safe, at this point all I am thinking about is all my friends saying it was a bad idea to go to Mexico with all the kidnapping going on down there!). After what seemed like an hour, the doors opened up and I recognized a familiar face from the plane! She could see the look on my face and knew immediately what was wrong. She said that she had seen my girls and she said they were beside the scanner (crying) but that her husband was waiting there for us! Thank GOD! Just then I could see my mom's husband coming through the doors with his bags. I asked him to grab the girls as the security agents were not going to let me go back in! He turned around, walked behind the scanner (and thousands of people) and, after what seemed like a lifetime, wheeled my girls out of the security area. Of course they were screaming...but that was THE BEST sound in the world!!! OMG WHAT have we gotten ourselves into is all I was thinking?????
The rest of the trip was fantastic unless you count the trip home where Jim had a 102 fever, Travis was sick and Campbell didn't do well with the takeoff and landings (she had two MAJOR meltdowns during flight) and Piper had to stay in her car seat the entire time and she wasn't happy. Luckily, we had very understanding people around us who pitched in when we needed it. Thank you to those of you who were there as you know how hard that was for us...we sincerely appreciated all your efforts!
2013 New Years Resolution????
NEVER travel with Triplets without a two-on-one coverage!
Happy New Year to you all!!!