Saturday morning came quickly. I thought I had everything under control, but as soon as Greg and Matt showed up at the door to help me load the cars, everything went so fast. Luckily, I only packed one thing in a suitcase that I needed and, of course, that one was on the bottom. After loading, 3 Alwines and the other family of 4 that was on my same plane (thank goodness!), into 3 cars, we headed off in the snow for Frankfurt Airport. We then were able to off-load our luggage onto 5 carts, oh we also had a dog, and found our ticket counter. Or so we thought. Here is where I would have lost it had I been travelling alone. Heck, I nearly lost it anyway. The man at the United line told me we'd have to check in with Lufthansa. He said we had to move, now. I asked for some help because I couldn't push the two luggage carts and my stroller. He rather rudely asked me how I thought I was going to manage on my own. I was shocked he would treat someone like this and didn't have a chance to tell him, "because I thought my husband would be here and not in the hospital with a broken leg!" before he moved my cart about 10 feet and stalked off.
The airport was so packed, due to previous cancellations, that you couldn't even tell where one line ended and the other started. We had absolutely no idea where to go. But, we did need to check in Taunus, the dog. Thankfully we were able to sweet talk that agent into checking all of us in. As the 6 of us (2 babies, 2 preteen girls, and 2 moms) found the end of the security line, we were 15 minutes from the boarding time. Then a wonderful man came through the line and started picking out the families with small children. Score! We were escorted to a second line that was merging with the very front of the main line. The only thing missing was my friend's husband with my second car seat. Oh, did I mention I was bringing both car seats on the plane? He showed up, but without the car seat. After another quick trip back to the check in, he met us in line and said, they made me check the car seat. No worries, it was Abigail's and she's easy to hold and pass around.
Security was actually not that bad, just logistically challenging, but since Declan can walk and one of the agents scooped up Abigail until I had the stroller assembled again, it was probably the easiest part of the process. We were just two passport control points from our gate, with about 20 minutes until take-off. I pushed through passport control with the double stroller and then headed for the gate. Hoping I would make it in time and would be able to keep them boarding until the other family got there. When I hit the gate, I saw we had a 30 minute delay. Never in my life have I been so happy to see a plane delayed!
After some time to have snacks, feed Abigail, change diapers, and a quick phone call to Steven to see what his status was, we were being called to board first since we had the babies. Yes! Another jump to the front of the line because I have small kids. :) We got all 6 of us on the plane and then I was told Declan's car seat was not allowed. Cue meltdown #2. I fought with them explaining that in September I flew on this airline, this plane with this car seat. Eventually they relented. We had a relatively painless flight. The kids were good, and both fell asleep about 20 mintues before we landed.
After landing in Dulles, it was all downhill. We made it through passport control easily and managed to cram our baggage onto 6 carts (American baggage carts are smaller than European ones!) and get through the customs line. We had added a customs check due to the dog, but it was quick. Next came the best part of our trip, walking through the last door and seeing the grandparents! Two sets of grandparents extremely happy to see their respective grandchildren and equally happy to assist their favorite daughters-in-law.
Oh, the adventures the army gives us!