Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spencer Family Reunion, Day 1

We were so excited to take the girls on their very first airplane ride.  We were headed to Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo, California.  We talked Tammy into coming with us so we would have a 1:1 adult:child ratio for the first day, and headed out nice and early to the airport.  We got there before 6:30 a.m.

It was really cute when I woke the girls up to go.  Ellie moaned and had a hard time, and told me she didn't like being awake in the middle of the night.  After I got her dressed and her hair done and teeth brushed, she went and laid on the couch to get some more rest.  When I woke up Lynnie, she instantly sat up and said, "is it time to go the airplane?  I'm so excited!"

We had a grand adventure getting to California.  Greg had used frequent flier miles to book our tickets, and on the first leg, none of our seats were together.  We got there an hour and a half before our flight so that the gate agent could work some magic for us.  She totally came through and got all of our seats in a row.  Our flight was delayed and we still had over an hour to wait, so Greg & Tammy took Ellie and Lynnie in search of some breakfast.  I stayed with our luggage and fed Cece some milk.  After a couple of minutes, the gate agent called for the Spencer party and I went to talk to her.  She said our flight had been cancelled out of San Fransisco, but she could rebook us on another airline through Phoenix.  The kicker?  The flight left in 15 minutes from another concourse.  I quickly called Greg, who had just paid for the food, and then asked the agent if she had also rebooked Tammy.  She hadn't.  She quickly got Tammy on the flight to Phoenix, but then on standby from Phoenix to San Luis Obispo.  As she was printing boarding passes, there was a lot going on and a lot to keep track of.  I said at one point, "do you have the boarding pass for Eliana for the last leg?" and she assured me she had everything.

By now Greg and Tammy were back and we quickly got ourselves to the new gate.  They were holding the plane for us and we got loaded as fast as we could.  I got to sit with Lynnie and Cece, Tammy sat with Ellie, and Greg sat in the row between us next to a new friend.  

And we were off for our first plane ride!

Cece did pretty well during take-off, just a little crying.  She slept for most of the flight.

In Phoenix, we tried to get to the new plane as quickly as possible in order to get Tammy a seat on the plane.  Lynnie was lagging, so I hung back with her and Cece while Greg, Tammy, and Ellie forged ahead.  The gate agent got Tammy on the plane, and I got there just in time for us to board.  We handed over our boarding passes to discover that Ellie was not booked on the flight.  She had been missed by the agent in SLC.  The gate agent kind of threw up her hands and said she didn't have time to help us, and sent Greg over to the Customer Service line across the terminal.

The plane was supposed to leave in 10 minutes.

The gate agent got everyone else on the plane while we waited anxiously for some kind of resolution.  Then the gate agent started doing some rearranging and was very helpful.  She put Tammy in the only empty seat on the plane--in first class!--and gave Ellie her previous seat.  I ran and got Greg and we came back to board the plane.  We were hurrying, because, again, they were holding the plane for us.  I took off with Cece and Ellie and got the stroller gate checked and headed on the plane.  Our seats were in the exit rows, and I talked to the people sitting nearby and arranged to switch all of our seats.  The nice people were happy to help.  Who wouldn't want to switch for more room in the exit rows?

About now, Ellie was freaking out and crying because Daddy had promised to sit with her on this plane, and Daddy, Tammy, and Lynnie were no where to be seen!  After the longest 5 minutes of my week, the intercom came on:

"Hello, this is the captain speaking.  I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that a new plane is waiting for us.  The bad news is that we have to deplane now."

Greg, Tammy, and Lynnie had been detained and not allowed to board.  Just after I got on the plane, a baggage cart ran into the plane...

We got back off the plane and had about a two hour wait for the new plane.

We finally made it on the plane and taxied out to the runway.  Then the captain came on again and said the plane was experiencing mechanical difficulties, but that they would try and fix it while we were right there.  They brought the mechanics out to us and after about 45 minutes we were on our way.  Tammy enjoyed her first class seat, and Ellie was happy to sit with Dad.  

Lynnie was exhausted at this point, and she had already drunk all of the milk we had brought, so she was pretty mad.  I was having a hard time consoling her so I finally just unbuckled her and held her on my lap.  She was asleep in seconds.  And of course, right then is when the flight attendant came by and made me put her back in her seat with her seat belt back on.  But it's all good--safety first!  I got her transferred and she slept the whole way.

Greg worked his magic on Cece and she also slept for most of the flight.

When we got to SLO, Greg's dad came and picked us up in Rod's van.  Everything was great until we tried to get our giant stroller in.  It ended up riding in Tammy's seat and Tammy kind of crouched (illegally--shhhh!) between the bucket seats.  Good thing the airport was a short ride from the beach houses where we were staying.  It was pretty uncomfortable.  What an adventure!

Rod and Jayme were in charge of this reunion, and they booked 4 houses on Pismo Beach.  2 were next door to each other and right on the beach.  The other two were each a half block off of the water.  We got our room assignment and settled in a little bit before getting ready for the family pictures.  Todd was in charge of  our attire and he got cool sweatshirts for everyone.

After the big group picture, it was time for individual family pictures.  Scott and Lisette went first, and I didn't even think to get my camera out until after they were done.  I handed my camera off to Jayme, and she snapped some quick photos while the photographer did her thing.

Nice photo bomb!

Tanya, David, Andrew, and Emily

Greg, Heather, Eliana, Lynlee, and Cecilia

Paul, Staci, Dallin, Parker, and Kyralyn

Kyle, Jonette, Kylene, Kiera, and Kaysen

Kent, Jessica, and Denver

Love this tall family!  Todd, Rachel, Brayden, Clayton, Jace, Cassie, and Tylan

Virgil, Cheryl, Tamara, and Daniel

Rod, Jayme, Jasmine, Byron, and Virgil

The Original Clan -- Daniel, Kent, Tamara, Tanya, Rod, Paul, Scott, Greg, Kyle, Todd, Cheryl, and Virgil
 Lynnie missed "her Tovin" almost as much as Ky did, and they took quite a few SnapChats together over the course of the reunion.

While all of the group pictures were taking place, we were excited for Ellie and Lynnie to touch the ocean for the very first time!  Ellie was very excited, and Lynnie was a little more hesitant.

It's OK, Sister is here to help.

I love that Greg just rolled up his pants and got in there with the girls.

Lynnie was nervous, and much happier watching the ocean from the safety of Daddy's arms.

Greg got Lu to touch the ocean twice before she was done.

Cece was happy being passed around.  Rachel and Staci had her the longest.

After a few minutes of wading, a wave splashed Ellie's skirt, so we quickly abandoned her outer clothes and she played in her shorts and t-shirt.  The first time she sat down it was on accident as she lost her balance, but then she kept on dunking herself on purpose.  It was so fun to watch!

Lynnie didn't like how the sand went in her sandals (and who can blame her?).  I told her I couldn't hold her for a minute, until I finished packing up everything.  I looked up a second later and she was in Uncle Kyle's arms.  She was pretty proud of herself for finding a solution--and so was I!  It was also great because Kyle packed her all the way out as well.

Ellie was freezing once she was done playing in the water.  We took off her t-shirt and got on her dry sweatshirt, and kind Aunt Rachel snuggled her to keep her warm.  When we got up to the top, we found some dry clothes for her to put on and then she was fine.

Our picture spot was cool, and it was a little hike to get there.  The tide was coming in as we were leaving and most of us got wet feet.  At least there were still visible rocks to walk on and we didn't have to completely wade.

After the family pictures we headed back to the beach house.  Greg and the big girls headed out to the ocean to play a little more before bed.  If you look very closely, you can see Greg carrying Lynnie with Ellie lagging behind (right in the center of the picture).  I took this picture while holding Cece and watching them from the window at our beach house.  Pretty sweet.

Lynnie didn't want to touch the water, but she had fun making sand angels.  Thanks to Staci for sending me a picture!

After a shower, it was time for the girls to go to bed.  We had them snuggle on our bed and while watching Finding Nemo on the iPad.  They were asleep within minutes.

We spent a couple of hours just hanging out and chatting.  So much fun and laughter!  We all congregated around the table, even though there were more comfortable couches a few steps away.  Isn't that the way it always is?

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