Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The longest Valentine's Day

If you are my facebook friend, you have probably heard my musings on spontaneity- and my lack thereof.  I'm a planner.  I like to know what's happening, what's going to happen, how we are getting there, what we are doing once there- etc.  And it also makes life much easier with kids when you are prepared rather than flying by the seat of your pants.

But, that's exactly what we decided to do the week of Valentine's Day.  Marshall's grandfather, known as "Opa", was turning 80.  We had received a letter a few weeks before that mentioned a party at a local firehouse in Pittsburgh, and asking people to send letters with memories of him.  I tucked the letter away, knowing that we wouldn't be able to go, but that we should send a card.  As it got closer and closer to the time, it became apparent that getting Space A flights out of Ramstein is quite easy this time of year- summer is a different issue....so if we wanted to go, we should be able to get a flight to somewhere on the East Coast.   However, we didn't want to tell his family that we were going to come, and then have it not work out, which would disappoint them all- so we decided to make it a surprise trip!

The Ramstein Passenger Terminal has a great facebook page that they update daily with projected flights, their destination, and how many tentative Space A seats they may have.  (Space A means "Space Available"....you get to hop a ride on a military aircraft for a very nominal fee, but you could end up riding next to some cargo or soldiers!).  Marshall always has a lot of leave saved up, so we checked to see if he could get the time off, and he did.  Then we just had to figure out our game plan.

I made a list of the possible destinations, and their driving distance to Pittsburgh from there.  BWI, Andrews AFB, Dover AFB, McGuire AFB, etc.  It was clear that the flight to BWI would be on a passenger jet, and probably the most comfortable, so that's what we aimed for, and there were plenty of seats available.  But, we would have taken a flight to McGuire if that's all we could get; it would have just meant a longer drive.  We only told Marshall's Dad about our plans (since learning a while ago that he is the only family member who can keep a secret- HAHAHaha!), because we didn't think we should travel internationally without anyone knowing.  I only packed 4 outfits for each of us, so packing was easy.

Since the report time for the BWI flight wasn't until late afternoon on V-Day, we spent most of the day doing normal things.

When the kids woke up they had some gifts!
 Maddox was excited to see what she had!
 This card had lots of fun stickers inside.
 She also loved the art supplies that Grammy and Gramps sent!
We had a playdate with her little buddy A, and made cupcakes.  I let the kids decorate them, and they ended up pretty cute!
Since I knew we were leaving, we boxed up the cupcakes, and gave some to our landlord's family, some to the gate guards at Ramstein, and sent the rest home with A!
After that it was time to head to the Passenger terminal to see if we could get on the flight.  Unfortunately that meant waking Mav up from his nap, which he was NOT happy about!
 However, Mdx was excited to be catching a ride on an airplane that day!
We got on the flight with no problems, and headed for the East Coast- adding 6 hours to our Valentine's Day!  That's probably the longest V-Day we'll ever have!  :)

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