Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our trip to Latvia!

The girls for days have been super excited to travel and as I said a few days ago, Leigah kept giving us the countdown several times a day. We took several hours on Wednesday packing and finished the rest of it on Thursday night. We each had a backpack, a carry-on and we had 2 large suitcases. One of them was filled to maximum weight allowance with jeans, sweatshirts, sweaters, shoes, boots and few other items that were donated from us and friends for the Spiridtis Orphanage in Jurmala. The other large suitcase was just our shoes, hangers and all of our food and toiletries. Yeah it weighed 46# - heavy shoes, right?

Anyway, the cheapest flights this time were out of St. Louis on American Airlines/Finnair. I don't think Leigah ever got nervous but was giddy all day, clapping and jumping around. Micah on the other hand - she was excited but her tummy was butterfly filled. She almost hyperventilated on the first flight.

Take off from St. Louis

We made it to Chicago early but were given incorrect information from the information booth to take the tram from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 for Int'l flights. So we waited and boarded the tram. When we made it to the actually terminal the information desk there said that we were supposed to be in Terminal 3. What I haven't told you yet is that we only had an hour layover. By this time it was 3:10 and our flight was to take off at 3:45. We quickly go back on the tram, headed for terminal 3 and ran to the AA information desk and they scrambled to get us boarding passes and praise the Lord we were given priority access because of the girls. Which meant we didn't have to stand in the long line for security. As soon as we got through there, which we got stopped because Leigah had packed scrapbooking scissors, we took off running. We had to run down a long stretch of gates from K-1 to K-37. We were the last 3 passengers to board and it was 3:35. We, with sweat dripping down our backs, quickly found places to store our carry-on baggage and then found our seats! Whew - we made it!!!!

The girls read their books, colored, enjoyed their drinks and started watching the movie that was showing. During dinner I gave each one a Melatonin to help them start getting sleepy - which worked but only for a VERY SHORT WHILE! Micah slept about an hour and Leigah slept about 2 hours but only 10 mins at a time. Every time the screen for the movie would change scenes the brightness changed and woke her. If I moved, she woke up. And every time she woke up, she asked, "how many more time till we get there?" I tried to sleep but between Leigah constantly waking and asking (and with waking came the inability to sit still and she elbowed me EVERY TIME) and Micah shifting - Yeah I might have slept 10 mins! Oh Well!!! I did eventually tell Leigah that I was on the boarder of grumpy, that I needed to not be asked anything or elbowed and maybe just maybe I might come out of it! Micah gave up sleep and watched another movie, played on her Ipod or read. I put in my ear buds and cranked up 70's & 80's music and enjoyed the ability to escape for about an hour. Then they served breakfast and we were good from there on out. We landed in Helsinki, Finland with only an hour layover and easily went through passport security and to our gate!

The final flight was really short and we landed in Riga at 10:30 am. It was just long enough to get in the air, have juice passed out to everyone and then we landed. Leigah's giddiness was back!!!!! It was actually tough trying to reign her in by then. Lack of sleep and completely excitement - rough combination.

Our baggage made it there in one piece and we made it to the taxi station, paid, found an available taxi and were on our way to our B&B. The shuttle is 3 lats/person and can take up to an hour to get to your destination. The taxi is 10 lats up to 4 people and took about 20-25 mins. We checked in, unpacked, lounged for long enough to know we had to get out of here or we were going to out for the day!

We took the long way to the Cili Pica by Freedom Monument. We walked in and out of every shop on the way, just to kill time. By the time we got back to the B&B, it was around 3:30 and the girls could barely keep their eyes open and each one fell asleep by 4. They woke in the middle of night and watched a movie and ate some snacks but were back asleep within a couple hours and we were up and feeling fresh at 7:30am.

Will tell you about today's activities tomorrow!

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