Happy New Year! Merry Christmas!
A lot has happened since the last entry in the Roo blog. I’d like to say that we’ve been really busy—and I suppose we have—but it’s been the kind of busy that has kept me further from the computer than I have been in months. And that’s a good thing. Here’s a recap of the first part of our holidays.
The Flight to Burbank
We traveled to California to spend Christmas with Kim’s family in Glendale, which turned out to be an adventure. Or rather, it started with a jolt. Flying into Burbank, we hit strong turbulence as we descended to the airport, knocking the plane around for a good minute or so (which of course felt longer). This was more than just a few bumps: I’m talking about a few severe drops, a few side-to-side shifting, and a whole lot of screaming passengers. Kim and Ellie held up wonderfully (much much better than a woman in an adjoining row who was really losing it); Ellie started crying after the turbulence happened, as much from the turmoil around us, I think, than the shaking itself. Kim was a rock. And you can believe that she and I had a firm grip on our little girl, who was riding on our laps.
The flight crew quickly went through the plane, reassuring people and checking everyone out, a reminder that they’re much more than just the folks who serve drinks and tell you to turn off your phone. Unfortunately, a woman in the row across from us complained of a possible neck injury, so our plane was diverted to LAX instead of Burbank, where the wind apparently wasn’t as strong. When we touched down on the ground, the plane erupted in applause. Fire engines and ambulances were waiting on the tarmac, and paramedics boarded the plane. Because the woman’s injury was related to her neck, the paramedics had to put her in a neck brace and get her on a stretcher board—which was fine for us, because we got to exit the plane first to give the medics room to work.
Our long evening ended with a chartered bus to Burbank airport, then a ride to our hotel thanks to Kim’s sister Jill. We all fell asleep pretty quickly, as you can imagine.
Christmas in Glendale
Kim and Ellie and I stayed at a hotel because the Thompson household was full: Grandma Patty and Grandpa Bob, Uncle Robert, and Jill’s family (Uncle Steve and cousins Lina and Aidan) occupied most areas of the house.
The rest of the week was comparatively calm, which was a good thing. I’m not saying it was boring, mind you. A lot of time was spent just hanging out, talking, eating, and playing. Steve and I took the kids to a nearby park the first day, then the weather cooled off so plans to go to the carousel at Griffith Park the next day were put off (the fair-weather folk decided it was too cold—it was 55 degrees and cloudy, which we in Seattle call “Spring”). After coming from months of deadlines, I was perfectly happy with that arrangement.
We went to the Americana, a sprawling shopping/living complex that decorated its main walkway with a giant Christmas tree, lights, and the works.
The highlight was going to be a “snow storm,” which turned out to be bubbles shot at high velocity from the rooftops on one street to resemble snow. My niece and nephew grew up in South Africa, so they’ve never seen snow. It was fun, but for some reason Ellie did not like it at all and started crying (maybe because the snow machines were loud and sudden?). She and I retreated while the rest of the family got the snow experience.
Christmas Eve started with an early kid-friendly service at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, though I think the highlight for Ellie was a small petting zoo of animals (that would have been in the stable at Jesus’ birth). She got to pet goats, ducks, hens, bunnies, and little piggies not much larger than my hands.
One of the main reasons we went to California for Christmas was Grandma Patty’s desire to have all the grandchildren together (especially considering Aidan and Lina traveled from Africa), so for Christmas Eve we stayed at the house.
Christmas morning began predictably early, and was a mass of giddy chaos for the kids. The adults barely managed to eat some breakfast before we all collapsed (in Jill’s and Steve’s case, literally, asleep on the couch).
The rest of our too-short stay was spent relaxing. One one night the grandparents watched the kids while the parents and Robert all went to see Avatar in 3D (which was a lot of fun). On our last day before flying home, we had a picnic at Griffith Park, where we rode the carousel and explored the old L.A. Zoo.
Thankfully, the flight home was nice and boring: fair skies, no turbulence, and we even arrived in Seattle early.