Monday, January 5, 2009

We'll be home for Christmas! (We hope!)

We decided many months ago to go home to NC for Christmas to be with our parents - even if we only just arrived in Belgium a couple months ago. It seemed like the right thing to do with Connor and not having the time yet to put down roots here in Belgium. After a complex packing job and squeezing into our miniature car, we made it to a VERY crowded airport on Dec 20 - ready get home. After an hour of snaking thru the check in line the agent asked us for the paper ticket we were issued since Connor is under two and considered an "infant in arms" - ooops! My heart dropped to my toes. It was in our apartment on the shelf. Since we bought our tickets nearly 4 months ago we completely forgot (no clue why this isn't electronic or can't be retrieved, but it couldn't). Kirk grabbed Connor and dashed for the door to get the car and dart home to our apartment to retrieve the treasured ticket while I stayed with the luggage - shaking for fear he wouldn't make it back to the airport in time. We had exactly 70 minutes before they would shut down the check in. If we didn't make it we would have to rebuy tickets (at top dollar) and MAYBE they could get us on a flight the next day. I just sat on the floor with the 5 mammoth suitcases and tried to find peace with whatever was going to happen. But with 15 mintues to spare Kirk and Connor were back to my deep relief. Phew! What we didn't know was that we had more "fun" in store on our journey. Once we made it with a wiggly toddler in our laps over the Atlantic, a snowstorm of airline delays awaited us in JFK for our connection to RDU. Our flight there was delayed 12 read that right, 12 HOURS! But not the kind of delay where they say up front to expect 12 hours. Oh no. The delays were building 30 minutes at the time and there was absolutely no one to inform us what in the world was going on. But at 3 AM (USA time) we finally were de-iced and on our way to Raleigh. Truthfully, we were exhausted but even moreso we were grateful our flight wasn't totally canceled. Every other flight out of JFK to RDU had been canceled that day - so there was a very real possibility of being stranded in the airport for several days. My mom's arms had never felt so good when she finally met us at the RDU airport - what a gauntlet!

We had a great time with our families. We had our yummy Brunswick stew & peppermint ice cream lunch with the Browns.

We went to visit Santa so Connor could tell him what was on her list.
We enjoyed a yummy breakfast with Katie and Chuck Collini and their new son, Finn!
We had our annual Roseberry Christmas dinner and snapped Mom's long awaited Christmas card photo.
And on Christmas day we bee bopped back and forth several times between parents to max out the time with everyone.

Connor had an absolute ball!

As we sat in the gate in RDU waiting to get on our return flight following tearful goodbyes, we were so grateful for the visit - and the fact we actually made it to Raleigh after so many airline obstacles. But Delta had one more surprise in store for us. Our flight in RDU was delayed so much that we were guaranteed to miss our connection via Atlanta this time to Brussels. Somehow this one seemed too easy for us "experienced flight delay-ers" though. We rebooked for the next day to redo this process and went home to our parents for a precious extra night with them. We did finally make it home to Brussels - again an entire day delayed, but the way I look at it - this 2nd delay was only to catch us up timewise with the time missed on the front end with the fams. There really is no place like home!

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