Here we are in Oregon! But I'll back up first.
At last update, we were headed over to Mary Laura's place. She treated us to pizza, salad & beer, and some good company. Soren was totally fascinated by her rowing machine; both the kids were, really, but Soren did some good rowing. The next morning, we went over to the university to see ML's lab and check out the campus. ASU is pretty (even if Phoenix is too damned hot) and we had a nice time wandering about. Soren and Eleri were both very excited to see the rattlesnakes in the Life Sciences building. Snakes in terrariums, not just slithering through the halls. ;)
After our campus tour, we made our way over to In-N-Out burger for some delicious, delicious burgers. Mmm. Hadn't eaten In-N-Out since we moved away from California. For a fast food joint, those are some damn tasty burgers.
That evening, the kids hung out with Grandma & Grandpa, so we could go out to dinner with Amy & Jeff. They took us to Delux Burger for even more tasty burgers, fries & beer. Nothing wrong with that! Sadly, we had to make it an early night, because it would be an eeeeeaaaaarly morning the next day.
3:20am, the alarm clock went off, and we were up and on our way to the airport for our 6am flight. We did a bit of driving around in circles, trying to get the rental car returned after stopping to fill the gas tank - the combination of one-way streets and no-turn lanes were enough to send us around the block a couple of times at least - and then insufficiently clear signage at the rental car place led us off on yet another detour. But! At last we made it and were on our way.
To the wrong terminal (because I'd forgotten that we were not on the same airline we'd taken to Phoenix). So we had to hop another shuttle bus, which took us on a nice tour through economy parking before depositing us in the correct terminal. Now we were about an hour before our flight, but we got checked in fairly quickly and made our way to security. That's when the real fun started.
The woman checking IDs and boarding passes was apparently oblivious to the long line developing at her station, because she was taking her sweet time gabbing with each and every person. We finally got past her and into the line for x-ray screening. They have one of those full-body scanners at the Phoenix airport, so it took a long time to get everyone through that, one at a time, especially when people are idiots who can't follow directions. We, however, were waved through the standard metal detector, since we were traveling with the wee scraelings.
There was some commotion when our bags were in the x-ray machine. The TSA agents hustled us all over to a table and brought our carry-ons over for a manual check. Turns out we'd completely forgotten about half a bottle of juice and half a bottle of water we'd left in the bottom of Soren's backpack. Whoops. They were also apparently suspicious of items in Tom's backpack, which turned out to be...books. It's true that he had quite a few in there, but for crying out loud.
So after the emptying, repacking, and re-x-raying of our bags, we had to hustle to our gate, where our flight was already starting to board. We did not have time to get another drink for the kiddos, and not long after we got settled aboard the plane, Soren (who had watched the TSA agents confiscate his orange juice) started whining about being thirsty. Eleri, meanwhile, was mad about being made to sit still. The situation devolved into a double-meltdown, with both kids bawling. Super fun times. The flight attendants came by with an offer to reseat us (apparently with the futile hope that we'd bother fewer people with the yelling if we were in the back of the plane) but when we explained that Soren was just upset about losing his juice, they were more than happy to bring him something to drink. Fortunately, that calmed him down, and Eleri chilled out soon after. They were both asleep before takeoff. Super early mornings are rough!
They ended up sleeping almost the whole way to Seattle, which worked out great. Nice peaceful trip, for the most part. We flew right over the Grand Canyon, which was cool to see. Too hazy for decent pictures, unfortunately, even if I'd been able to get out my camera (I couldn't, with Eleri sleeping on me, but 'twas no matter). When we got to Seattle, we were able to meet up with none other than Soren's bestest buddy A and his parents! They were on their way back to VA after visiting grandparents. It was pretty cute, watching the boys run around together for a few minutes. A's look of shock to discover Soren there was pretty hilarious. Soren, on the other hand, was happy to see A, but not nearly as surprised as you might expect, to find his buddy suddenly there at an airport all the way across the country.
One more short flight, and we arrived in Oregon. Ah, beautiful southern Oregon. Tom's parents met us at the airport. Grandma hung out with the kids & me while Tom & his dad went to get the rental car. A short drive to Grants Pass followed, where we got checked into our hotel, got some lunch, and spent the rest of the day visiting with Grandma & Grandpa.
Yesterday we did some more visiting. The kids got to hang out with their cousins for most of the day, which was great. This morning we took the kids to Riverside Park so they could do some running around. Grandma had to work today, but Grandpa accompanied us to lunch, where we got to visit with Caitlin for a little while. Lots more playing with Grandpa for the rest of the afternoon, and now we're getting ready to have some dinner.
It's been a great trip so far. :) I'm taking lots of pictures; unfortunately I won't be able to upload them until we get home, but the wait will be worth it.