What a day we had, leaving Florida.
First, we set out really early, because we know what it
is like to travel with both lots of stuff and children.
In this case it was extremely lucky that we did, because after we dropped the rental off and were ferried by van to the airport, we discovered (after curb checking our bags) that we were missing a bag. It was the laptop, so that was bad. It was in the new backpack we had gotten at the outlets, and apparently it had missed our bag count.
(Things were a bit hectic: 6 suitcases, two backpacks, two carseats, a purse, a diaper bag, two children with their backpacks and bottles and sippycups and snacks, a double stroller and a (swim)noodle- which kept wapping people as we went by, but which Thing1 didn't want to give up.) So we had a bit of stress going, looked around, asked around, talked to security and then called the rental place. That wasn't easy because, of course, our cell phones did not work in the US and we were using pre-paid calling cards. Luckily, it was still in the van and the driver was able to circle back and meet the German at the gate. And luckily we had given ourselves enough time that we could actually get the bag and still make our way through security without missing our plane.
When we flew into the local airport in NY it took us quite a while to diembark and then even longer until our minivan was pulled up. At least the service rep was courteous and apologetic (something I found soothing and extremely strange after my time in Germany, where customer service is relatively non-existent).
After we finally got our Toyota Sienna (and boy, did it make us miss our old one- this was even better with two automatic sliding doors) we loaded up and set out to visit our dear friends (and Thing1's best friend). J greeted us with, as you can see above, themed treats;-), as well as a smorgasbord of food and warm wished. She is so unbelievably talented! Thing1 was overjoyed to see everyone and most especially Princess and her daddy A. This family is what we miss most about the States: our other friends are further away and we can always talk to them by phone or e-mail, but we miss walking over to their house just to say 'hi'.
And, of course, the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of J's labors: she is the most talented baker (amongst other skills) that I have ever known. Just look at those cookies- aren't they amazing? And better yet, my favorite: Gingerbread! They fed us and played with us and then sent us on our way with all these goodies. I spent the next several days watching my stash dwindle as first my parents, then my husband, and then my in-laws ate my luscious gingerbread: I'll be needing to figure out how to do them myself with the molasses and vanilla that I brought back from the States with me.