Monday, January 10, 2011

Tales from San Francisco: Part One -- Travel & Trunki

Much to the disbelief of family, friends and several strangers who watched us somewhat aghast, on Christmas night, the Lyons Family Circus took our act on the road and went to visit my sister in San Francisco. Why you ask? Because my sister, brother-in-law and one-year old nephew have made at least three cross-country trips over the past nine months and frankly, couldn't bear the thought of doing it again. And, we were game for adventure and eager to drag our little Lyons Cubs out to California before my sister and her family return to New York this fall.

The logistics of it all were admittedly staggering. When I first tried to purchase tickets, the online booking system essentially blew a gasket and advised us all to stay home. When I finally gave in and called Continental to book the flights, the kind gentlemen on the phone kept asking just how many minors we'd be travelling with, as if he couldn't quite believe that any sane folks would drag five kids six and under on a cross-country flight on Christmas... needless to say, I've been called many things and "sane" has never been one of them!

After confirming flights, the next step was configuring our seating arrangement; it was an especially complex task to accommodate our family of seven on a plane with only two three-seat aisles.  The nice man on the phone suggested we take one complete row and then a single seat. "Really,sir?!" I couldn't help but exclaim, "Let's just be realistic about what you're suggesting here, which would be ME in a row with FIVE over-tired, over-Christmased tots while my husband peacefully snoozes elsewhere on the plane? I don't think so!"   We settled on four of us in one row (middle/aisle, aisle/middle for those who like the details!) and three of us in another (window/middle/aisle) and I must say, our trip went pretty much according to plan.

We were all fairly exhausted when we got to the airport for our 8:30PM flight thanks to the events of the prior 24 hours: Christmas Eve dinner for 18 at our house, Christmas morning/present frenzy at home and then an early Christmas dinner at my parents in NJ... who wouldn't be tired?!

As we got in the security line with the triplets comfortably reclined in a single and double stroller, four-year old Ciara was left to wonder why we didn't bring our second double stroller because "I need somewhere to sit!" Enter the saving grace of our trip -- a nifty little piece of luggage called a Trunki:

This little ladybug of a (carry-on!) suitcase easily held Ciara's clothes for the week, a few new toys that couldn't be left behind and, not only served as a seat for her weary little legs as we waited to get through security but, best of all, provided a ride as we made our way to the departure gate.

The one thing I hadn't planned for was landing in San Francisco (at midnight PST/3:00 AM EST!) with five kids sound asleep.  I mean, it was my hope that they'd sleep for most of the flight and, thank goodness they did but, what I failed to account for was how to get five sleeping tykes, two strollers and five carry-ons OFF the plane.  When we boarded, each tiny tot carried something (even if only their fleece!) and each marched on in eager anticipation of going "up up and away!"  As we touched down and I looked at the sweetly snoozing faces surrounding me (including, of course, my husband!), I panicked.  Fortunately, as we taxied to the gate, the little ones (and Des!) slowly awakened from their slumber;  unfortunately, Ciara immediately began to protest that she simply could not/would not walk off the plane because she was "more tired than ANYONE EVER WAS!"  Fortunately, the Trunki once again saved the day (and night!).

With Christmas outfits changed to comfy new PJs and the time zone changed from East Coast to West Coast, we all made it off the plane -- a bit bleary-eyed but excited to see my sister and relieved to have had an uneventful trip... especially since we just barely dogded the "Blizzard of 2010"!

And so our adventures began.  Stay tuned for Tales from San Francisco: Part Two and, if you've got an upcoming trip with tots onboard, I'd highly suggest investing in a Trunki!  (

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