At 7:30am on Thursday, January 2nd our little family piled into my mom's truck and we headed to the airport. At 7:35 I realized we didn't grab the camera's battery charger so we turned around and headed back to the house...
As I mentioned I was pretty nervous flying with our new-ish walking 16 month old. The plan was to keep Gabriel in the stroller until we reached the gate but before we checked all of our luggage Gabriel was already fussing to get out of the stroller.
We had to do a little rearranging of our baggage because one was 4lbs over. Chris questioned the gal since one of our bags was 27 pounds under but it was just quicker and easier to move a few things over than try and stand our ground.
Security was smoother than last year because we had less stuff however it took longer because my sewing machine was my carry on. Once it went through the x-ray machine they asked me to come with them over to a table where they opened and swiped my machine. At one point the gal started trying to lift it and I went to assist her because I didn't want her man-handling it but then I got yelled at. They then ran my sewing machine one more time without the suite case and determined it was okay.
Before boarding we had enough time to let Gabe move around a bit and grab a bit to eat. Gabe did a lot of running and exploring which we thought would make him fall asleep pretty quick into the flight...
Like the trip home last time, the flight attendant moved the gal on the aisle to a different section so we had three seats! Gabriel still had enough time to throw a hard plastic toy in her face... Twice. The most crying Gabriel did was when he pinched his fingers in the sliding window cover. He slept for about an hour and twenty minutes half way though the flight. It definitely wasn't as easy flying with him this time but we got a lot of compliments after the flight with how well he did. Unexpectedly Gabriel was one of only a few kiddos on the plane- typically we fly with quite a few families. Chris did a lot of laps around the plane- I tried walking him a few times but he just wanted me to carry him while walking the plane.
One thing I wish we did differently was take his toilet seat cover with us... I know that sounds a little strange but most of times he got fussy was because he was telling us he needed to use the bathroom and though we tried hovering him above the toilet 5+ times, he didn't go- we think he was trying to hold it.
We brought along puzzles, books, a flip book, multiple types of snacks and suckers (Thanks Christa, great idea!). I also purchased some toddler headphones thinking that since he hasn't had much exposure to screen time that he'd be occupied by it but the above photo lasted maybe a minute. While on the plane I wish I had some blocks to stack but we managed pretty well with all our empty cups.
Last time we tried rushing off the plane only to then miss the memo on getting our stroller- we thought it was going to be taken to baggage claim. This time we waited until everyone else was off the plane to get things together (a couple of Chris' coworkers to kindly helped us with our things) and not only did this mean that our stroller was waiting for us in the tunnel but we didn't have to wait in a crazy line through immigration and our luggage was already on the carousel.
We opted to ride the train rather than take the bus. To take the train we needed to buy tickets and while we were in line I started to see the Japanese run to the train. Once we finally got our train tickets and appropriate tickets we headed down to the platform. My hunch was that the train waiting was ours but by the time everyone was in agreement that it was indeed our train, it was too late. To be fair, even if we all tried to make the train the second I mentioned it we probably still wouldn't have made it. The following train was a local (we could have taken it but it would have taken much longer) so we had to wait an hour for the train we needed/wanted. Gabriel had a lot of fun playing with the vending machines and riding the escalator.
Several of us and Gabriel shared a small cabin in the train. I tried to have us seat somewhere else fearing that Gabriel would bother everyone (because he was surviving off a 20 minute power nap- he fell asleep during landing) but he provided a lot of entertainment and comical relief instead.
About an hour before arrival at our station Gabriel fell asleep with a lot of work from Chris. A few stops before ours Chris handed Gabriel to me and I put him in the Ergo. The boy was so tired that he didn't stir in the slightest during the transfer!
Like our first trip to Japan, getting off the train at our station was an all out frenzy! We were challenged with unloading the luggage of 15 or so people within a minute. The engineers being who they are made a game plan of an assembly line and even scoped out the the other cars to see if they could be utilized as well.
We got in around 9, checked into our apartment and put Gabriel straight to bed. I gave a quick call to my mom since she doesn't use the Internet and then posted to Facebook for everyone else that we had made it safely.
We've already been here a couple days now and soon enough I'll be sharing some of that. The Internet has been weird in the building- took about 30 minutes for our phones to connect to wifi and 3 hours for the ipad! My mac then randomly stopped working even though our other devices were fine. I know, if those are our "problems" then we are doing just fine and I totally agree. It feels like we never left and are looking forward to the next couple months!