Those were the words Noel texted his mom after we’d organized and strapped down the chaos that happens when you have four people, one car seat, and four bags that have all stumbled into one tiny airplane aisle. Our kids are pretty experienced travelers (Cooper has flown twelve times in his three years and Ellen has flown five times in her eighteen months), but I still get nervous every time because you never know what’s going to happen with kids, especially when you’re in a confined space for five plus hours. We lucked out that the payment system to watch the inflight TV was broken, so Cooper watched Toy Story 2 to his hearts content before falling asleep. Ellen of course pooped during take-off and I was the lucky one that got to wrestle her until they finally turned off the fasten seat belt sign. When Ellen started to get ornery I was experienced enough to know that it was better for everyone to endure three minutes of her crying while I held her tightly until she passed out, than it was for me to try and pacify a whiny baby for hours beyond bedtime.
After a good night’s sleep in Anchorage, we drove our rental car through the woods to Soldotna, where Noel’s parents live. We spent the next few days indoors catching up with family as it poured rain. We got so stir-crazy that we actually went to the park during the downpour and got our wiggles out until everyone was soaked.
The next few days we said goodbye to Noel’s parents (They needed a rest, our kids had worn them out!) and headed up to Denali. Noel’s parents has kindly given us a two night stay in a cabin there. We checked out Denali National Park (the highlight for the kids was the Sled Dog Demonstration) and even were able to see Mt McKinley. Apparently only 30% of visitors typically see it, so we lucked out with the weather once again.
Our last day in Alaska we met up with Noel’s parents in Anchorage. We spent some time at the park and had a nice dinner before saying our goodbyes. Then it was back on that plane once again for a red-eye flight home. Ellen fell asleep easily in our laps, but the rest of us tossed and turned without much success. I’d had delusions that I’d be up for going to church that morning (I really hate missing church), but when we’d finally tucked everyone into their beds at 7am after hardly sleeping all night it seemed like a really bad idea to wake everyone in time to make our 9 o’clock meeting. I mean, sacrament meeting is sometimes bad enough when we’ve all slept.
Today we’re getting back into our groove and adjusting to temperatures above 65. More pictures of our Alaskan adventure below: