The GREAT things:
1. The extra seat on the flight in that allowed Aidan to ride in his car seat for the entire flight. "Buckle off, please". Not a chance, little man. not a chance.
2. My dad picking me up from the airport, my step-mom giving up her bedroom for us, my Nena lending me her car, and my sisters for hanging out with me and for cooking me dinner. Extra bonus points for my cousins, who still think I'm cool.
4. Laura, Alex, and Ari driving all the way to my dad's house for my birthday party.
5. The power going out right after I blew out my 27 candles.
6. My aunt giving Aidan extra cake, and Laura capturing the hilarity on (digital) film.
7. Aidan vs. the ice pop (more on that later).
8. Jon and Em driving all the way down from Albany to visit me for a few days.
9. My aunt's Memorial Day party.
10. Listening to my Grandfather tell me about his life.
11. Watching my son play with my little brother.
12. The saintly gentleman seated in front of Aidan on our flight out, who never once complained about the fact that Aidan never stopped kicking the back of his seat.
The NOT SO GREAT things:
1. Flying with a toddler. This is always a chore. Every time I swear I'll drug him the next time, but I never do.
2. Delta airlines WRECKING AIDAN'S CAR SEAT during the flight home after I had to gate check it. Seriously, the amount of force required to do such damage to the seat must have been huge. What did they do, drop kick it down the stairs?!?! Apparently they're going to send me a check for reimbursement in a few weeks. Unfortunately, that means I have to buy a seat before I get their money. They also kept my seat, which is fine since I won't be using it anyway.
3. Watching my little brother influence my son in poor ways. It is really difficult to convince your almost two year old to sit down for family dinner when his idol refuses to comply.
4. Not being able to play in the pool. Stupid ectopic.
5. Flight attendants who see that you obviously need help but do nothing, then do their very best to publicly humiliate you in front of every other passenger. Three hours on the flight home, and Aidan only got away from me twice (and was immediately apprehended). Both times the flight attendants made sure to chastise us over the loudspeaker. Not for nothing, but we were busting our ass trying to comply with their rules and prevent Aidan from irritating (much) the other passengers. I thought I was doing pretty well, him only getting away from me twice in 3 hours.
6. Aidan having another night terror.
7. TSA Agent Holmes (Newark) who picked up the oak tree I dug up from Nena's house by the tree, rather than the ziplock bag it was in, thus pulling off a leaf. I told her it was a baby tree, in a pot, in a ziplock bag. Do you think she could have taken a little more care?!
So all in all an excellent trip. You might notice, however, that almost every BAD thing involved the airline. I'm thinking next year we might try Amtrak. Or drugs. Or something. I am seriously glad to be home!!
End Note: Aidan vs. the ice pop
Nothing like watching your 23 month old son open the freezer, retrieve an ice pop, close the freezer door, remove the wrapper, throw the wrapper in the trash, proceed to greatly enjoy said ice pop, and then throw out the stick...all without any adult supervision or prompting. We were so amazed we watched him do it again. And again. And again. He had four ice pops before we put an end to it. My baby is growing up!