Day 1 - December 31st
It is New Years eve and we are beginning our journey to China to adopt Emily or as we call her mini mei mei.
I have been packing and repacking for days and in the last 48 hours have logged a whopping 4 1/2 hours of sleep. There has been so much to do and get ready before of family of five could leave and its been hard to turn off my mind when I crawl into bed at 2am as the lists keep flying through my head. However today we leave and after quickly repacking our suitcase of food (yes food for my picky eater Jake - hey I cant let him starve!) we were on our way!
I am proud to say we only have 3 checked bags, 4 carryons and each of us have a backpack. So that makes 11 items in total, I know that it seems like a lot of luggage and I am sure if my friends The Shays are reading this, Chris will be hearing about this forever, as he convinced his wife this summer that their family of three could do two weeks in France with only carryons and if i remember correctly he wanted her to only use backpacks or some crazy thing like that. But before anyone judges me let me provide you with a few facts:
- We will be gone for 16 days
- I was packing for five
- We have 1 suitcase full of 35 pairs of new shoes to donate to the orphanage
- We have 1/2 suitcase that is full of meds, I feel like a walking pharmacy, but I am prepared!!
- The other 1/2 of the suitcase is filled with gifts for the officials and nannies (this is a required adopt custom to bring gifts)
- I was packing for 2 different climates, one in the low to mid 40's and the other in the high 60's to low 70's.
So now that you have the facts, go ahead judge me :)
Lucky for us all of our suitcases fit into my parents suburban and we were off to SFO. Now I know this sounds crazy but here me out before you judge me again! We left today via Virgin America and flew down to LA to spend the night. Tomorrow am we will leave LA and fly back to SFO for a 4 hour layover and then head to China. Yes...yes... I know it sounds crazy, but by doing this, we saved over $300 per ticket over flying direct from SFO. Our roundtrip tickets for four was a little less than 2600 total including taxes and fees. So, for us saving over a thousand dollars was worth a little crazy and lucky for me, John can be tight with the buck and was willing to go along with this idea to save $$.
Anyways we landed at LAX around 5pm, after a uneventful flight. Much to my dismay at baggage claim, one of our duffle bags had been damaged, like the handle was ripped off it is was gapping open. Virgin America was great and gave me a backpack as a replacement and a $25.00 credit towards future travel. As we were leaving the baggage area, I noticed one of our brand new large hard-sided suitcase was been cracked near the wheel. Once again, I was back in the baggage office, only to be informed that they don't cover that kind of damage. So finally we were off to the hotel.
We stayed at the Marriott LAX and it was super easy and convenient as they had a free airport shuttle. They lobby was packed as it was New Years eve and a rose bowl event going on, but checkin was a breeze. We got to our room, only to be surprised 15 mins later by a knock on the door. Our friend Noelle who works there sent up a New Years tray of goodies - Thank you Noelle!!!
We needed to make a trip to Target as we needed to buy another duffle bag as trying to fit my stuff into the backpack was not working. We also had realized in route to the airport that both my children had forgotten to grab jackets. Jake luckily has a heavy fleeced lined sweat shirt with him and according to him and his dad, will be fine. Maddison however needed a jacket. A hundred bucks later and it was off for a quick dinner and back to the hotel for showers, to get organized for our flight in the am and bed.
Everyone will surely be tired for our full day of traveling tomorrow that starts at 6 am!!