Saturday, July 9, 2011

And I'm Back!!! (Part Two)

Alright folks, let's pick up where we left off. As you'll recall the kids and I made it from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake to Atlanta with no trouble at all. Well as soon as we boarded the plane in Atlanta all our good travel karma must have been spent because things started to unravel and fast!!!

The plane was boarded and all the passengers were ready to go but alas the Delta control room, or whatever it's called was not. There was some sort of computer issue that the pilot kept assuring us would only take a few minutes to solve; we gave him the benefit of the doubt the first 3 times he said that... after that it was all the people around me could do not to start screaming "LIAR!!!" It is at this point that Alexis leans over the seat two rows up and across the aisle to inform me that she left her wallet with ALL her money and ALL her debit cards on the other plane! Ummm, WTF?!?! No that wasn't my response because you don't say that to 13 year olds but that's definitely what was going through my head and, according to the woman next to me, what you could read on my face. Instead here is the discussion verbatim
Me: "Are you sure? Remember how I told you to check all around you and in your bags to make sure you had everything before we get off the plane?"
Alexis: "Uh, yeah".
Me: "Well did you?"
Alexis: "I guess not"
Robby and Elijah in unison: "DUDE!!!"
Aspen and Shannon in unison: "Shut up Elijah!"
Me: "We don't say shut up! Alexis call your mom"
Alexis: Why?"
Me: "Uh, maybe because you have no money and she might like to know that"
Alexis: Blank Stare
Pilot: "Okay folks, we'll be taking off shortly I promise"
Me: "Alexis... call... your... mom... now............ (clenched teeth, deep breathes, imagining being on a beach with an INCREDIBLY large drink) NOW!"

At this point I flag down a flight attendant and explain the situation and ask if I can get the number for customer service so I can do my part to get the wallet back. This is a 30 minute process which is fine because WE'RE STILL ON THE GROUND!!! Just a head's up; if you lose something on a plane you have to file a claim online. No one at Delta will talk to you about it, so annoying. I tell Alexis to call her mom back so I can fill her in on what I found out and she just stares at me. Aspen informs me that Alexis hasn't called her mom yet. This did not sit well and try as I might I could not contain the teacher face (very similar to the mom face but slightly less terrifying). Alexis finally pulled out her phone and called her mom and as you can imagine the conversation wasn't a terribly pleasant one for Alexis. I filled her mom in on where to go and what to do along with flight and seat numbers and told her good-bye. As I was hanging up, the pilot came on to tell us that we were cleared for take off and we'd be in the air in 5 minutes. Well that 5 minutes became 15 but whatever, we weren't at the gate anymore that was huge progress.

I have to stay that during our 2 hour delay the kids were wonderful. They didn't complain and they didn't annoy each other or those around them. They were complimented by the folks around us and I was offered many drinks (on the sly of course) because people think you need many drinks when they hear you're chaperoning 7 teenagers on a trip that last 5 days. I declined the beverages (regretfully) and focused on taking a nap.

Dulles has never been a favorite airport of mine but I was soooo thrilled to see it because it meant we were finally there!!! As the kids and I got off the plane we all waved good-bye and agreed to leave our bad travel karma on the plane. It worked because the rest of the trip went beautifully! We met up with the rest of our group, two schools from California and loaded onto the bus. Our first order of business was dinner at Cheeseburger Paradise (interesting place) and then it was off to Williamsburg to get a good nights sleep.

Day 3:
Our first full day of adventure and sight-seeing. We began the day in Jamestown and that was really interesting.  We saw replicas of the ships the men came over on and the village they lived in. We got a lesson in blacksmithing and learned how to make nails and unanimously decided that 17th century clothing wouldn't be fun to wear in 90 degree heat.

After Jamestown we headed to lunch in Willamsburg; we dined on ham sandwiches (thick, crusty bread that made me thing of Europe) at a darling restaurant called The Cheese Shoppe. The kids got a lesson in how small the world really is when our guide asked if we knew Marty Trillhaus, who local readers might know as the editor of the Idaho Falls Post Register. Somehow our guide (who's name I have managed to forget) and Marty are related, distantly. After lunch there was some shopping in the cute local shops and then it was on to Colonial Williamsburg.

The Governor's Masion

The oh so delcious Cheese Shop

Despite the insane temperatures and oppressive humidity we had so much fun at Williamsburg! The kids loved seeing the old buildings and learning about the history of the town and it's people. We saw several actors rehearsing new skits (Holy crap Ms. Miller! Those guys have swords!!!) and learned all about colonial wig making. The secret? Goat hair. Who'd have thunk? While in the wig maker's shop she asked my kids were asked which grown up was theirs and I nervously raised my hand. And then she said the magic words, "I don't say this often but you have such an incredibly well behaved groups of students. They were so polite and asked such wonderful questions." The kids were beaming and well, darn it, so was I. When we left I pointed out that what had just happened is why adults are always harping on them to behave.

There were a few more sites to see in Willamsburg and they were all really interesting but after the wig maker's they weren't highlights. Dinner however was about to become the coolest part of the day.

We ate at one of the dining rooms at the College of William and Mary and the kids were amazed because there were college kids there! And there were like 20 choices for dessert! And there was soda! And real plates! On the bus I established my second trip rule; When veggies are an option, you will eat some. And no, french fries and baked potatoes ARE NOT veggies. The kids took this in stride and enjoyed big salads and fresh green beans with their burgers and mac and cheese. Kirby sat down with an entire place of raw broccoli, color me impressed and his roommates fearing for the evening ahead of them.

After dinner we had a ghost story tour whose impact was lessened due to the brightness of the evening and then it was off for DC! FINALLY!!!

Alright, I will be back in a day or two to finish up the story of our trip but now I must prepare myself to make this...

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza, recipe and image courtesy of Yummy Mummy at

Monday, July 4, 2011

And I'm Back!!! (Part One)

Okay, I've actually been back for awhile but I needed some serious recovery time. In case you're wondering, traveling with seven teenagers (who aren't yours, haven't been away from mom and dad and have never stepped foot on a plane) is EX...wait for it...HAUSTING!!! Even when they're really good; like constantly getting complimented by total strangers good. Moms and Dads everywhere... I bow at your feet in total awe and utter amazement of how easy you make traveling with kids seem! 
So without further adieu, here's my (highly biased) recap of our whirlwind tour of our Nation's capitol on this our Nation's birthday, which is total coincidence by the way!

Day 1: Monday evening Aspen's grandma was kind enough to drive us all down to Salt Lake City where we stayed the night at the ever exciting Baymont Inn (thanks Anna for the suggestion). The kids were thrilled to get in the pool and I was thrilled to have my own room. Lights were out by 10:30 (though because I wasn't specific ENOUGH, Elijah stayed up till 3 watching TV) because we had to be up and ready to go at 5 am. Now, I'm not sure how many of you know this but, as this trip taught me, kids are REALLY hard to wake up that early and once they're up their level of functioning is akin to that of a turnip. This profound insight leads us to...

Day 2: The kids met me in the lobby at 5 so we could grab the shuttle which ended up being 15 minutes late. The kids suggested I give the drive tardy detention; I declined. We get all checked in and things are running smoothly till we get to security (of course, right?). I reminded the kids a good dozen times that liquids are not allowed through security unless they fit in a Ziploc bag... well it appears 12 reminders were not enough because Alexis, dear, sweet would lose her head if it weren't firmly attached, Alexis left her FULL water bottle in her suitcase and to go all the way through security again. Ugh, not what Ms. Miller wants to deal with before her first cup of coffee!!! 
Once the whole water bottle incident was cleared up we headed to our gate, stopping only to grab some, always yummy, Burger King for breakfast. As they called pre-boarding for our flight I may or may have pretended that the kids had never been on a plane before. Hey now... save your judgement. Like I said the kids were not operating at peak levels and didn't think the rest of the passengers would appreciate being held up by a bunch of 13 year olds.

We got all settled in and the flight to Atlanta was a brief slice of heaven compared to what I was about to endure...

And on that cliffhanger dear readers, I'm going to bid you good evening. I'm tired and feel my comfy bed beckoning me!!!