San Diego January 25, 2012-Is this a school?

Aboard the USS Midway
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

I went in to check on the kids around 11 last night as I was going to bed.  As I opened the door, Anderson sat up and started crawling down the ladder and as I turned around, Reagan was standing groggily in the floor.  They thought it was time to wake up and they were getting up to get ready-oh, so excited.  This made us a bit worried that they would not wake up as easily in just a few hours when we had to wake them up for real.
Thankfully, at 4:30 when we went in their rooms, they all woke up and started getting ready.  Teeth were brushed, socks put on, people were helping each other-I am going to tell them that we are going on a trip every morning.  Reagan kept trying to explain to Campbell that we were going on a trip but would get frustrated saying "I just don't think she understands. How do I explain "trip" to her?"  I think that Campbell knew we were going on a trip because she did not want her backpack or anyone out of her sight-she didn't want to leave a thing.
We were fortunate in that it wasn't raining when we parked at the airport.  Shoving 5 car seats into car seat bags is not an easy task and it would have been much worse in the rain.  Though, I did have to put my coat on Keaton after I put her in the stroller since it was chilly-then I became cold and was trying to work while shivering.  We then crossed the street, checked in and headed to security.
The kids were doing well in the security line.  They know to put their shoes off, bags on the table, all was going great until I told Anderson to go through the metal detector.  He walked through and then Graham thought he could go-so he sprinted around it.  The TSA lady barked at him and scared the dickens out of the poor child.  We barely were able to get him to walk back through the metal detector.  He had already been a bit of an antagonist this morning but this just set him off and he continued to be a bit difficult during the day (though he was great on the planes).
After security, we walked to the gate and they were already boarding.  I like to get to the airport early enough that we have time to potty but that didn't happen.  Since it is Southwest and you have to jockey for your seats-though we were in boarding group a-we didn't have time to potty.  The plane was pretty empty when we got on and not full since there was an empty seat between Grannymom and Grandpa.  Grannymom had Keaton, I was with Reagan and Campbell and Robby was beside Anderson and Graham.
The pilot said that it would be a bit turbulent and he was correct.  It was the bumpiest flight I have ever been on.  I can understand why people try to open airplane doors and get off midair.  Seriously, I tightened the kids seatbelts so much that Reagan said she couldn't breathe.  Grannymom even said that she had a hard time holding on to Keaton.  Crazy, crazy bumpy.  And it wasn't just for a few minutes-it was nutty turbulent for all but 30 minutes of our flight to Phoenix.  Once when the bumps calmed some Robby went to potty and as soon as the pilot turned off the seat belt sign, I jumped up with Reagan to potty.  By the time we got back, the pilot was telling the flight attendants to sit down again.  They couldn't even be up to serve us-we did finally get out drinks and pretzels the last 20 minutes of the flight.  I get a slight panic attack just thinking about all of the bumps-and it probably didn't help that the whole time I kept trying to peer at Anderson to make sure that he wasn't going to hurl on anyone since he has gotten airsick before.  He did fine though.
The kids handled the bumps fine.  I guess even though they have flown lots, they don't really know that that is not normal nor do they know to be scared to death!  The boys played playdoh and colored, the girls colored and ate and Keaton did spectacular on her first plane trip.   She had a few bottles, dozed and played with a toy.  
The turbulence did help us out in one aspect-we would have only had a 30 minute layover (again, not enough time to potty) but we got there super early and had plenty of time.  The kids found a table and had their donuts, ran around some, pottied and we were all ready for the next flight.  The flight from Pheonix to San Diego to about 45 minutes and was perfectly smooth so it was easy peasy.
As we were getting on the San Diego flight, the flight attendant saw the kids matching shirts and welcomed "Team Dennie" over the intercom.  They were wearing the shirts they wore to announce that baby 5 was coming.  They have "team Dennie" on the front and their names and numbers on the back.  I know it is Duggarish to wear matching shirts, but it sure makes it easy to spot my brood.  Anyway, back to the story.  So as we all paraded down the aisle-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and me holding Keaton-a lady asked "are you all a team?" and then another asked "is this a school?"  Seriously, a school?  There are just 5 of them and what kind of school takes their toddlers on an airplane?  And I know the shirts say "team" but I could tell that lady was mentally trying to figure out what kind of team we were.  Robby said I should have told her that they were on a peewee basketball team.  I chuckled about all of this the whole trip to San Diego.
And this flight was smooth sailing or smooth flying as I should say.  It was so short, my girls didn't even get anything out. We just ate and drank and then it was time to land.  Everyone did a have a bit of a nap on the first flight but no naps on the second one-it was too short.  The terminal in San Diego was quite small-we got off the plane, walked a bit and there was our luggage.  Robby then went to find the van and was back by the time we had unzipped everyone's car seats.  
Our first stop in San Diego was the USS Midway.  The boys were pretty impressed about how large the ship was and that Grandpa was on a ship like that.  They had headsets for us but I knew that I shouldn't have even bothered with getting mine since we wouldn't be able to listen any (and really, that was fine with me because if you have seen one ship, you have really seen them all).  A guide had given us a brochure with questions for the kids and told us that if we finished it, they would all get their pilot's wings.  So this made things a bit more interesting to the kids and what we didn't get around to completing, Robby did!  
Anderson was in his element on the ship.  There were little green arrows marking the way down the zig zagging corridors of the ship.  They showed you were to continue to tour and he was leading the pack.  Just like Robby, directions are his forte and he was quite proud of himself being the leader.  They saw the brig, the kitchen and the flight deck.  The highlight was climbing in and out of airplanes.  The boys would sit in there and immediately start talking "this is pilot Anderson, cleared for take off, yada, yada, yada."  So much imagination-maybe we need an airplane in the yard to play in-wouldn't that be awesome.
We did have our first back picture there-our first as a family of 7.  The kids are usually pretty good about taking pictures for us but we often get eye rolls or a picture of them running away (we just don't show them to you).  I guess if you have had pictures made of you every single day of your life then I could see how you might want to roll your eyes or run away from the camera.
Back to San Diego...after we left the Midway.  We ended up at Cabrillo National Monument.  This is where I bought my National Park passport book and that started it all.  We now go out of our way to go to National Park sites to get stamps for our book and each of the kids have a book as well.  So this was Keaton's first stamp in her new book-stamping 6 books-aren't you glad you weren't waiting in line behind me?
We walked along the beautiful grounds which overlook San Diego and man, this city is gorgeous.  The highlight for the kids was going up into the light house.  It was a nice uphill walk and then they were really interested in the lighthouse-sometime it would be neat to spend the night in a lighthouse.  Back down the hill, we left Cabrillo and went to Coronado.
We drove over to the Hotel Del Coronado and walked around.  Oh, and we might have stopped by the ice cream place and we might have ordered some ice cream by the name of the Crown Jewel.  10 scoops of ice cream, whip cream, cherries, nuts and 5 toppings.  Crazy big!  Financially, it did work out better this way because each of the kids had their own scoop (would have been 5.50 each) and we also had some scoops.  10 scoops of ice cream really isn't that much when you split it between 9 people (even though Keaton didn't eat that much of it!)
We then had to walk on the beach to walk the ice cream off.  Right beside the big airplane in the yard, I need to put in a sand pit.  They looked at the ocean and then they just wanted to play in the sand.  Reagan did hunt and find many sea shells but she also was so interested in the sand.  Keaton got her toes in the Pacific ocean and has become quite the traveler so far-almost 4 months old and has been to 4 states (AR, TX, MO, CA).  
They all played in the sand until we drug them back to their shoes.  And as we were walking down the sidewalk, a lady approached Campbell and tried to give her a sand dollar.  Campbell was oblivious and just kept walking.  I said that I had another one that would love it though and called Reagan over.  She gave the sand dollar to Reagan and we thanked her and parted ways....and not 10 feet later, Reagan dropped that thing.  Of course, it shattered but she wasn't too devastated and we did keep all of the pieces to bring us even more luck.  
By now, we were getting tired-traveling days are hard on everyone-so we headed to the hotel.  It was probably around 5 when we checked in.  We didn't even unload and went right to the store to buy our precious milk, picnic supplies and pizza for supper.  Our room had a convection oven tonight so we had pizza and cookies before bed.  I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off packing and repacking and then it was bathtime for everyone. 
Keaton was just exhausted and whimpered all through her bath and then fell sound asleep about a bit of crying.  When I laid her in her bouncy, she turned her head and then you could just see her body relax.  She must have thought she was home.  After a short movie, everyone laid down and we never heard a peep from them-probably because they had been up for over 17 hours with just a few short cat naps.  Soon I am going to lay down and no one will hear a peep out of me either!  We better sleep well, tomorrow is a big day-Point Lloma, some driving and then Disneyland at nighttime.  

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