and now we're back again!
We left PA on Thursday, the 13th, and flew to Tulsa to celebrate Kyra's 2nd birthday and introduce Kylie to her great grandparents and the rest of my extended family.
The flights to and from Tulsa went incredibly smooth. They were busy, but smooth. I had packed a backpack for Kyra filled with snacks and distractions to keep her occupied on the plane. Granted, part of my planned activities included an hour and a half long DVD watching session. And had it happened, the ride would've been a lot less busy. However, when you discover at 30,000 feet that you never reinstalled a DVD decoder on your laptop after your hard drive crashed several months back, you're basically screwed. And you have to improvise. So Jim and I made games out of anything and everything around us in order to keep Kyra entertained in 10 minute increments for the better part of 4 hours. You'd be surprised at how fascinating it can be for a 2 year old to decorate her daddy with princess stickers. Kylie on the other hand mostly slept. That is as soon as she gave into the fact that we would have to hold her during her naps. (She generally prefers to be laid down and left to herself while sleeping.)
On Friday morning we hit the ground running and started our jam packed visit with a torturous session at Picture People. All I wanted was to get a generations picture with my mom and my girls and then a couple of pictures of Kyra and Kylie together as I don't have many and Kylie is already 4 months old. We arrived at the studio dressed and optimistic, despite the fact that Kyra had a breakdown only 8 months earlier when we tried to get Easter pictures taken. But Kyra managed to recreate the hysteria of that incredibly tense and torturous session all over again and this time there were many more witnesses to the chaos. Although Jim wasn't going to be in any pictures I brought him along for moral support. And he did a great job taking care of Kyra as she was crying and clawing and turning all sorts of shades of red in the face that even the best photo editing programs couldn't repair. I of course kept trying to get her calm enough to attempt the shots of her with Kylie and ended up pushing everyone too far. We finally waved our white flag and everyone cleared the room so Jim and I could "work things out" (translation: so that I could freak out at him and vice versa until we regained our sanity).
The trip wasn't a total loss since we were able to bribe Kyra with fruit snacks at the beginning of the portrait session long enough to get this shot:
But the pictures I had intended to have done of my two girls turned out like this:
Not that I'm complaining. Seeing this picture of Kylie after all the stress we had gone through made us all smile and forget the intensity of the chaos of the previous moments.
We left the mall and had lunch at Panera Bread Co. where I met up with my high school cheer coach and caught up on the past few years. She is one of the few women I admire and respect so it was refreshing to get to have lunch with her.
On Saturday we had a birthday party for Kyra (which I'll write more about in a later post). And then Jim headed off to the ORU vs. TU basketball game with a long time friend of ours (who also happens to be a TU fan). Jim phoned me after the game and I took the girls to meet him and Ashley and his wife Mindy and their 2 boys for dinner and some play time with the kids. We just love their family and wish so bad that we could see them more often!
Sunday we had a big family lunch with ribs and chicken and bologna from my Aunt's church BBQ. Afterward we headed to the park to try and get a picture of the entire family that would presumably end up in my mom's Christmas cards. After Friday's photo fiasco, we decided we had to be very strategic this go round. We agreed that we would unleash Kyra to play wherever she wanted and as she was playing the rest of us would gather around to try and get a good shot. And it worked. We all ran from one play area to the next chasing after Kyra and quickly snapping pictures before Kyra realized what was happening. We even managed to get a good picture of our little family foursome: What you don't see in this picture is the rest of my family standing behind the camera singing "If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet!" and then jumping up and down and crunching the leaves like crazy people. But it captured Kyra's attention and even made her smile!
Sunday night we farkled it up on the living room floor (it's a dice game... so get your mind out of the gutter!) and finally got to just relax with my family for a little bit.
We were only in Tulsa for a few days and we crammed a lot into that short time frame. We felt like we arrived with a checklist in hand and were constantly ticking boxes the entire trip. We just barely caught our plane leaving Tulsa on Monday morning and touched down in Philly around 2:30 that afternoon. We had no major delays and all our luggage made it to Tulsa and home again safely, so I really have no complaints. Although, I could argue that the economy parking bus was way too crowded on our return to PA, but they always are and we survived, so all is well.