That time I flew to Alaska with six kids.
I used to fly. A lot. I lived in Texas and worked in Alaska. I had to fly back regularly. And usually with a child in tow. And after Brody was born, with two. I remember the last time I flew. I had just come off working nights. I would come home and nap for two hours before the kids would wake. I would be up watching children during the day. I was tired. I was so tired. And then I had to fly home. Campbell was high energy. Brody was fussy. I made the long flight to Denver. Now I just had to make it to Austin. I barely kept it together. I just sobbed quietly in my seat, tears rolling down my face, rocking the crying infant in my arms. Begging. Pleading with him, or with God to just make it the last hour to Austin. It was a very long hour.
And I hadn’t flown since. It had been over two years. My parents had wanted me to come back for a visit and I just couldn’t. Wouldn’t. You pretty much couldn’t pay me to do it.
But now here I was. The hotels and eating out was so expensive that the trip paid for itself and then some. It just made sense. But I had to get on the plane. I had older teenagers that I knew I could count on for some help getting on the plane. But I knew it wasn’t going to be comfortable.
We parked at the wrong terminal and had to walk nearly a mile with all the kids, the bags, the dog, the giant ass dog kennel. It was grand.
I must say, they really did not give a crap about the dog leaving CA. I could have shoved one of the kids in the kennel and they would have been “good to go!”. I only make note of this because on the way back down Alaska was HELLLLLLLLL.
But we made it. Dog is checked in. Kids and I make it through the shit show of taking shoes off and getting through security. Now we’re on the other side. And the real pain hasn’t even started yet.
And of course, in awesome airline fashion we were spread all over the plane. They did the best they could to try and get us together, but they said I would have to ask for some trades once I got on board.
I asked the first man, “excuse me, I’m traveling with six children and we are spread out, would you mind trading us for the window seat over there”
*asshole* I should have put Brody next to him just to make him suffer. But fine, Everette and Campbell went there.
Next man, “excuse me, I’m traveling with six children and we are spread out, would you mind trading us for the window seat over there”
He takes one look at what he’ll be sitting next to if he doesn’t give up his seat.
“I don’t want to, but I sure will!’
Good man. Wise Choice.
We made it in one piece. The first flight was rough. Brody was on repeat. Loud. Upset. Couldn’t figure out what he wanted. Nothing satisfied him. Not tired. Pippen wasn’t thrilled. She wanted to howl and do her own thing. And not be next to Brody.
Second flight gave us more room and had us sitting together. When we first got on board I asked the attendant if Nash had made it on board. He said, “is he large and does he bark a lot, if so, he’s here” to which I said, “yep, that’s him!”. Brody put up a good 20 minutes of protest and then crashed. And then Pippen crashed. And then I realized I had brought nothing to support her in my arms so I would be holding her all night. lol. #regret #amateurhour
We arrived. Deboarded. And were greeted by my parents. And down by our luggage we were greeted by Nash.
Butttttt. The belly of the plane froze and they couldn’t get our bags out. Or at least that’s the story they were going with.
Two hours later we got our bags and were on our way. It was the first time back in Alaska in over two years. It was the second time I’d seen my dad since he fired me while I was nursing in the backseat of a rental car. Long story. I was home. A home away from home, when I have a home.
There is always something about going to your parent’s house. This wasn’t the home I grew up in. But it’s a home I’ve lived in for short spurts. It’s a home that has memories. Like that time I was half naked about to get into the shower and I saw a black bear heading for my dad so I grabbed my sweater and the closest shoes to the door which were high heels and went running looking like a garden variety hooker into the street.
Or that one time I went out with some girlfriends and had a horrific reaction to red bull and slept on the front porch till morning. And I still maintain and will with my dying breath that it had nothing to do with the 8 shots of vodka they put in it.
But, anyhow, home is where the heart is. Or where your mama is. Or where anyone who is willing to cook for you, your six children, walk your dog, and do your laundry is. I’m available for travel… anyone?
There was still jack shit on the market in California. I knew it would be at least 30 days before I would be returning. And that’s if we found something immediately. And trust me, I was looking daily. Several times a day. I was dropping my standards. Widening my search. There had to be something that would work.
But the kids and I settled in. I took full advantage of the situation and decided to shoot some stock photography. My portfolio was really limited on winter photos. And I knew Alaska would provide a nice backdrop to add some variety. And I was in a little bit of a rut with the move. I was missing my photography and nothing sparks creativity like being in a new place. And Alaska is amazing.
We settled in, started back up semi-structured homeschool routine and then we escaped to the lake. The beauty of homeschool is that we can go anywhere. And the lake is one of my favorite places out there. We played. Sled. Skied. Snow Shoed. We watched sled dog races. We went to the Sea Life Center. We went to Homer. We visited with Eagles. We visited with one of my dearest friends who was my maid of honor at my wedding.
We stayed for weeks. I love lake life. I would have stayed longer, but my mom wanted to throw a Super Bowl party and have the kids there.
And there was still jack shit for houses in California. Still.
The realtor called. He wanted to know what I had thought of the house out in Martinez. I had looked at it. I dismissed it for a few reasons, the biggest being that I thought Martinez would be too much of a commute. But also, it was three bedrooms and we wanted four. And I didn’t see the potential in it.
He persisted a little more.
Ok, let me really really look it over. And let’s have Michael take a look.
And that was it really. He fell in love with Martinez. Maybe it gave him a little bit of rose colored glasses looking at the house, because it was truly a hot mess. But we knew it would work. It came with a few compromises. But we’d be apart for months. I was tired. I wanted a home.
And then began the long process of dealing with 1. a realtor who did not work weekends and 2. a seller who lived in the middle of nowhere Montana, near Canada, and used messenger pigeons to get the word out.
This is only a slight exaggeration. It took weeks to get the signed contract. And then we waited for the financing. And we held our breath. A lot. But we had some hope and faith.
We had a home under contract. Finally.
And when we saw the end in sight, we booked tickets back down to be together again. I missed my husband. So much.
Warning: Mass Photo Content below. And I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to 35. Because, Alaska.
Read Part One
Read Part Two