Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanksgiving Family Gathering

We aren't sure we'll do this every year, with now living in Colorado Springs ... but we visited Northern Indiana for a "Pletcher/Shelley" Thanksgiving/Christmas gathering.  :)
Since the trek to South Bend, Indiana is now over 19 hours, Richard used some of his travel points so we could FLY via Southwest airlines!   :)  Even with flying, there's lots of waiting & traveling involved, but at least it isn't 19 hours (or more).   :)
 We drove a little over an hour to the Denver airport, and checked-in our luggage. We did well with our packing- each of us pulling one suitcase, and lugging 1-2 carry-ons.  :) It was a challenge packing the Christmas gifts I'd already purchased, and was glad I hadn't finished my Christmas shopping. Antonin brought his trumpet to play, then grew bashful at mom & dad's house,and practiced in the basement. lol! At least they could still hear him.
 We brought our own snacks ....
... and enjoyed a smooth flight with Southwest Airlines!
Side note: see all the clouds? Typical for Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.
Once in Chicago, we slowly crept our way to South Bend (bad traffic, with arriving at rush hour).
There's something about going home ... to your "original" home.  :)
You sing with your family (after many, many years), surprised to find that the notes and harmony comes back to you as if you're a teen at home again.  :)
Mom sang lead, Wendy sang alto, I sang high tenor, and dad sang bass ....
if you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll see the fun, uploaded videos!  :)
 Yay!! The kids had hoped South Bend would have snow, since Colorado snow doesn't pack and make snowmen (we've been told the spring snow is better here).
We had somehow managed to pack snow clothes within our limited luggage and carry-ons. I'd say we're becoming well-seasoned travelers.   :)
Don't you love their snowmen??

It was soon time for family get-togethers & pictures!
 Here's Wendy, Sarah, and me during the Shelley Thanksgiving get-together.
 Family photo
 A birth order pic!

Ashlyn shares the Birth month of December, with cousin Jenna. Every Thanksgiving, we celebrate their birthday's! This year, Ashlyn's turns 10, and Jenna's turns 9!
 Look at all the cousins!!!

 ~Ashlyn & Jenna all dressed up for a Princess Tea Party~
The next morning, I was surprised to see the boys join the girls with decorating gingerbread houses ... everyone did a great job (and ate lots of candy in the process).

Can you believe I failed to take my camera to the Pletcher/Shelley Thanksgiving get-together (my mom's side of the family)???????  Ugh!!!
Well ... we ate more food & dessert, and it was another terrific visit with my family!!!!!!!    :)   :)   :)
I also failed to take pictures of our trip back home to Colorado Springs, partly because it was so rushed & hurried. We awoke at 3:55AM EST, to drive to the Chicago Midway Airport for our 6:55AM CST flight. Hindsight is always better, and we probably should have left earlier (3:30AM EST) ... but we were trying to get as much sleep as possible.  :)
Once we returned our rental car and checked into the Airport, we were amazed at the line for security. News reports later said the line was over a mile long!
We waited and waited .... I'd periodically make sure we were all together and not getting separated in a line that split 4 or 5 different directions closer to security. Police yelling for people not to cut-in line, added with Chicago "cool/indifferent" culture, reminded me of some WWII movies I've seen!!  lol! Ok, maybe it wasn't THAT bad ....
What surprised us most, was that Midway appeared unprepared for the amount of Holiday travelers. Don't they plan ahead?? It didn't make sense! They needed security sniffing dogs to handle the volume of people (this is what Denver Airport does with its crowds, and it's quite efficient, helping to move through security more quickly).
We waited in line for about 50 minutes, had a couple silly delays with security (hubby forgot to take BOTH laptops out of our carrier; son had scissors in his backpack?!?) .... and then sped-walked  to our Gate.
We were told we had been deleted!  New boarding passes were frantically printed, then we ran to our flight!
One by one, I helped the kids find a seat on the plane. We were going to be spread out from each other on this flight (we were also apart from each other on the way to Indiana, even with being on time; Southwest Airlines).
I was eventually the only one in our family wandering the aisle, looking for a seat. I couldn't find one- they were all full!
The flight attendant had a "pilot-in-training" individual sit with the pilots, so I would have a seat [he must have been on "stand by", then was added to the flight after we were deleted].
*Whew*!   :)
My heart finally quit pounding in my chest.
It honestly took me all day Monday to recover (haha), but all is well and good  .... and there's SO much to be thankful for ... and the trip to see family was well worth it!!!!   :)   :)   :)
And .... we made it HOME, safe & sound!   :)

{We think our flight was early enough in the morning, that ours missed the diversion-due-to-fog issue. We noticed how foggy it was after landing in Denver}

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