We made it to Central-ish Ohio safe and sound. We flew from San Diego to Atlanta and Atlanta to Dayton, then drove a couple hours south east to our final destination. The kids traveled like champs. I was heartily impressed. My strategy? New toys.
I bought Casey three small toys (two from Bob the Builder and one from Jay Jay the Jet Plane). I put one in his carry on and two in mine. He found the first one on our way to the airport, and he played with it all the way to Atlanta. Of course, he also watched a movie and ate some snacks. And the flight was smooth, so he was able to stand up in the aisle between me and Jason. But he didn't try to run off or anything, so it was good. Marcie was in her car seat much of the flight, but she wasn't pleased about it all the way.
We only had one hour in Atlanta, which was barely enough time to switch terminals and go to the bathroom, so no lunch. Fortunately, the kids didn't mind. They both fell asleep during take-off (so I never introduced one of the new toys). When we landed in Dayton and got in the rental car, we could plug in the DVD player to the car to run another movie. Plus, I'd brought Casey a new toy and I had my secret weapon-- popcorn which I'd popped the night before and put in a gallon-sized zip lock. Of course, by the time we'd traveled nine hours without any real food, I was famished, so we stopped for food at the start of the drive. At the restaurant, we sat next to a family with a toddler wearing a Hooters bib. That was a new one!
Casey's aunt and uncle sold their goats, so they weren't here when we arrived, but his half siblings were waiting for us and came running out to the car when we pulled up. Casey was ecstatic to see them, and he didn't even notice the new Thomas Tidmouth Sheds toy they'd bought him at first! He spent the night with his big brother in a big boy bed, and he had so much fun with Bryce in the morning, that he didn't even come wake us up for breakfast when he first got up.
I'll leave off there. I'll just mention briefly how much both kids loved the water slide park. And true to form, Marcie insisted we go down the biggest, tallest slide in the children's area. Saturday, Jason and I drove 4 hours to Cleveland and back for my good friend Poornima's wedding. She looked beautiful, of course, and the food was amazing. And her new sister-in-law is a massage therapist in New York, where we are headed in a few days-- so you can imagine we'll be calling her!
Ok. I've gotta go now, the kids are wrestling next to me on the couch. I told Casey this morning that we'd be leaving tomorrow, and he was pretty upset by the news, even though I also told him he'd get to go on another big airplane, see Grandma and Grandpa, and go swimming in their pool. We expect that from here on out, it will get harder and harder for Casey to say good-bye to his older siblings. And it's gonna be hard to watch. But I think it's a good thing, too. Because it means he feels a connection with them, with his birth family. And that's what we wanted for him. And I think his birthmother would have wanted that for him, too. They are, after all, his family.