Matthew's Birthday, and Coming Home

Matthew's first birthday fell during the week we were in OR. Since my mom was still recovering, we decided to keep the celebrations pretty simple (plus, we were planning to have a joint birthday party with several other family members in April when my parents came to visit). Matthew got to wear a special birthday shirt (it says "lil' cake monster), and we picked up some cupcakes so he could execute the required cake smash.
My big birthday boy
He thoroughly enjoyed his cupcake
Other than that, the day was pretty quiet.

Overall, Matthew had quite a fine time in Oregon. I think he really enjoyed having all the attention. He decided snacks were best enjoyed directly out of Grandma's hand:

And he rocked along with Papa on the piano:


You know how trips can either fly by too quickly or drag on too slowly? Well, this one didn't do either. It actually felt like the perfect length. I had a lot of fun spending time with my parents, but when Friday rolled around, I was ready to go home to the rest of my boys.
Friday morning I was up before the sun again, thanks to Matthew, so I was packed and ready to leave by probably 10 AM. My flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30 that evening, but my parents wanted to head up to Portland early--just to make sure I had plenty of time. Well, if any of you are familiar with my dad, you know that he is a champion at finding multiple, less-important tasks to eat up his time until he's stressed and running late (P.S. I love you, Dad!). That day was no different. He puttered around until my mom could finally steer him in the right direction. Even though it was later than we planned, we still thought we'd have plenty of time to make it to Portland. We were sorely mistaken. Apparently, everyone else in the area decided to head north at the same time we did, and traffic was dismal. My flight ended up being delayed about 30 minutes, but we still pulled up to the curb 5 minutes before my flight was due to leave. I was FREAKING OUT by this point. The guy at the curb (who had the manners and customer service skills of an ape) checked my bag and the car seat but didn't seem too confident that they would make it on the plane. My dad came into the airport with me to see if there was even a minuscule chance I could make my flight. Thanks to the orientation of a friendly airport employee we made it to security quickly. But, when I got there, the line seemed impossibly long, and I just about lost it--there was no way I was going to make it on time! (This, of course, seemed like a huge crisis to me. It wouldn't really have been so bad if I had to take a later flight.) The same airport employee turned up and asked if we needed more help. We explained the situation, and he made a call to the gate where my flight was docked. He told them I was coming and reassured me that I would make it. When I heard that, I took off running. I breezed through security (the line wasn't nearly as long as I initially expected) and ran to the gate, where they had just barely started boarding. I couldn't believe my luck!
This flight was completely full, but there were a lot of families with small children so I didn't worry so much about Matthew disturbing anyone. I ended up sitting in the middle of one of those families because I gave up my seat so a couple could sit together. This little family was so gracious. Their older daughter (who was probably 6) was really tickled to sit by Matthew, and they shared their snacks with him during the flight. He was pretty well-behaved; since he didn't fall asleep he got a little squirmy but it wasn't bad at all. What WAS bad, though? It was snowing in Salt Lake when we landed. :(
We deplaned (and had several people ask if we needed any help!) and headed toward baggage claim, where we were met by Cole, Kyle, and Lucas. It was so nice to see them! I didn't realize how much I missed them until then. Lucas jumped into my arms, wrapped his arms around my neck, and didn't let me go until we got in the car. Miraculously, my bag and Matthew's car seat made it on the plane with us, so we were able to pick up our things and head home. It was an exhausting, stressful day, and I can confidently say that without the help of a few well-placed angels on earth, I never would have made it through.
I had such a wonderful time in Oregon! I'm hoping we can all go back there to visit, either this summer or next, just so my other boys can experience it. Or, Cole could just look for a job up there and we could move... :)

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