Angel chose a little Sleeping Beauty Polly Pocket, complete with many different dresses and animals, of course. Grins selected a walking robot. And Wiggles (with help) chose a magna-doodle. Not only were the kids excited about their new toys as we began the flight, but they didn't put them down the entire trip (even while napping!)
We checked into the SLC airport with enough extra time to play in the little Children's Area they have there. (I LOVE that place - why don't more airports clue into that??) Wiggles cracked me up when she insisted on mowing with both mowers simultaneously!
We made it through security in one piece!When we were walking onto the first plane, a sweet woman in front of us asked me "Are you by yourself with all those kids?" When I replied that I was, she instantly became my helper, arranging for 3 seats together on the plane (there weren't any when we got on, so that was a HUGE help!) On the flight, the kids were so great I didn't end up 'using' her, but it was just SO nice knowing I had someone to help if I needed it! She definitely came to the rescue at the airport, though! Before heading to her own gate, she stayed with our bags while I made restroom trips with each of the children, then even watched the kids so I could get them some dinner. (On a side note, Wiggles was very disturbed when I left the woman with our bags. She kept saying "Mommy! Mommy!" while grabbing at our bags, trying to insist we took them with us. Interestingly, though, Wiggles had no problem staying with her while I took the other 2 kids to the restroom. And yes, I did leave my children, momentarily, with a stranger at the airport. Looking back it was perhaps not the smartest move, but she was elderly, walked with a limp, and seemed perfectly safe. And I was desperate. And all's well that ends well, right? I actually believe she was more than an angel sent to help me, rather than a stranger.)
Unfortunately, after Gayle left (for her own flight), we got the bad news that our 3-hour layover was extended to 4 hours! When I asked one airport worker if there were any lockers so that, if I needed to take my children to the bathroom, I could safely leave my 5 bags for a moment, he said "No, it's illegal for us to have lockers." Interestingly, when I then asked if there was anything for children to do to pass the 4 hour wait, he said "You could take them over to the bar and get them drunk!" I looked at him incredulously and said "Also illegal. Thank you so much for the help." When I finally did discover a "kids" area, it consisted of a little table in front of a TV showing Cartoon Network, a channel I will never subject my children to - and the very friendly (ha!) airport personnel refused to change the channel! - Needless to say, we didn't use the "Kids area"! In a place with NO lockers to store your things, NO place for children to play, 4 hours was a LONG time! (If you're getting the hint, Chicago Midway airport is NOT my favorite airport - we will certainly be avoiding them in the future!)
The kids did really well on our second flight, as well, a miracle considering it was the middle of the night and they hadn't had naps! Three very kind (ha!) and lovely ladies in front of us kept making snide comments about "people bringing children on night flights" and "overpopulation" - and for some reason found it hilarious when I took pictures of my sleeping beauties - but I just smiled and tried my hardest to brush off their remarks. When Wiggles made even the tiniest peep they all turned around and glared - and for a few moments I actually considered pinching Wiggles or encouraging her to scream louder - but fortunately for all of us, (though she had already consumed all 3 bottles on the previous flight!) after much tummy-rubbing, she finally and miraculously fell asleep halfway through the flight. Her older brother and sister followed shortly thereafter, and I had half an hour of heaven on earth! (I might have fallen asleep myself if I didn't have 3 children on me!) :)
Grins woke up and he and I watched a lightning storm out the window - which terrified but intrigued him. And then we arrived at our final destination (for the night!) - Manchester, NH. Wiggles woke up easily (though NOT in a good mood!), and Grins helped me gather up our belongings, but Angel would NOT wake up, no matter what I, Grins, Wiggles (or any of the airline crew!) did!!! We were still on the plane trying to awaken her after everyone else was gone, so fortunately one of the flight attendants carried her out (there was NO way I could get her, Wiggles, and our 5 bags!) and the Mr. met us with open arms (a welcome sight if I ever saw one!)
Overall, it was a HUGELY successful trip - we got their safely, the children were AMAZINGLY well behaved, and I didn't even cry once the whole trip! Considering that the only casualty was one of Wiggles' pink shoes (she refuses to fall asleep wearing shoes, so I took them off, and it apparently didn't make it in the bag in our rush to de-board), I would say we made out pretty well! Although it's not a trip I'll be repeating any time in the near future!