This means that is it time to purchase flights and making solid travel plans. After doing extensive research for the last couple of days, I was pretty sure I was going to have to sell my beloved left and right big toes to afford our flights to Brisbane. You would think that one-way tickets would be cheaper than roundtrip tickets, but if they are, it's not by much. Add traveling during the holiday season, and you have a recipe for sticker shock. Thankfully, my web surfer guru of a husband read an article that suggested contacting a travel agent to assist with the flight research and purchase. My experience with travel agents was not very positive because I always was able to find cheaper flights on my own. But, I decided to trust this unknown author and give it a try. So I called an agent named Karen and told her what we needed. She found us tickets that ended up saving us $1200! We would have to fly out a little earlier than planned, and we would arrive in Brisbane on Christmas morning, of all days, but we could live with that. She was able to get a discounted price for the kids and found a Southwest flight to LA that was $200 less per person compared to what I found on my own. Moral of the story...try a travel agent for the big flights, or as my husband says, listen to the wise counsel of your husband.
Now the real packing begins...if we would only get well. Our whole family has been sick with colds and deep, rumbly, think-you're-going-to-pee-your-pants kind of coughs for about 4 weeks now. Two of us are on antibiotics finally, so we hope for relief soon. There is much to do, and little ears need to be clear for the plane ride. So let the healing commence!
For those of you considering visiting us in Australia, this is for you...Our trip will consist of a 4 hour flight to Los Angeles followed by a two night stay to rest up for the big daddy flight. Then we will hop on a 747 at almost midnight for a non-stop 14.5 hour flight to Brisbane, Australia. We will land at 7am on Christmas Day. I imagine that this will be one of the most miserable, exciting Christmas Days we've experienced. Troy and I will be grumpy zombies with two little lunatic zombie children as companions. Hopefully the excitement will overshadow our exhaustion, and we will be granted an extra portion of grace.
Our plan is simple...walk the children's legs off in LA at Legoland, Disney, or some other over-the-top experience, board the plane late at night so they will crash and sleep for 8 hours. Then have 2-3 movies and a gazillion snacks ready when they wake up to finish out the remainder of the flight. Our challenge will be preserving Morgan's dignity among the other flight passengers, as she is a hot natured sleeper and likes to strip down to her skivvies for sleep. Silas will likely do well as long as he knows he is getting out of doing any school work that day.
As I reflect on these last days before we leave, I am reminded of how I felt before each of my children's births. Great expectation combined with the knowledge that life as I know it will never be the same. Everything from here on out will be new in 14 days. It's easy to let fear and doubt creep in. Did we make the right decision? What if we can't do this? The sadness of leaving loved ones also sits heavy on my heart. My children have been raised with both of my parents only steps away and both of Troy's parents only an hour away. Daily Oreos with Papa and overnights with Nana will be replaced with Skype calls and emails. How will this separation impact them? But if I sit still in my uncertainty, a peace gently fills the gaps and mutes the fear. This is where strength and faith are born.