The way there wasn't too bad, we got up at 4 am, drove to Indy (3 1/2 hours), checked in to our flight, flew (2 hours), hung out in Houston (1 hour), then flew to California (4 hours). She was again, champion blue ribbon flyer. Everyone complimented her, and she insisted on getting smiles and waves from everyone she saw. She was not disappointed. People were so patient with us as she walked slowly down the aisle waiting for the recognition of her cuteness that she felt was her due. There was actually an empty seat on this flight (which was much more than I had dared to hope for) and people were willing to shuffle around and move so we could have it for Hallie. This involved like three rows of people, so nine or ten people moving around (there was some issue with another man's ticket/seat), all of this movement of course delaying the flight departure, yet I heard nothing but reassurances that this is what they would want someone to do for them, and that it was no problem, and it was all just basic strangers being nice to strangers.
On the way home we knew it would be a little trickier. Again, we woke up at 4 am, drove to the airport (20 minutes), checked in, flew (4 hours) to Houston - a flight on which Hallie fell asleep for the last half hour. I tried to just be grateful that she had napped at all. Then layover in Houston (4 hours). At this point Hallie is insisting on being carried by ME, or major fits ensued. Nice. I'll just say I was fairly exhausted by the time we boarded our flight to Indy. We got on the plane and immediately the stench of fuel attacked our senses. We sat down. It was nearly unbearable. We sat, and we sat. Hallie fell asleep on my lap (I'm not sure how), and slept for half an hour, at which time the steward said we had to get off the plane because there was a fuel leak. (We noticed.) So I had to wake up my baby again and get off the plane. Again, she insisted on being carried by me back into the airport, and this was off of one of those planes where you have to walk across the big whatever it is and go up the stairs to the airplane... so there was walking, and walking, and I was trying to be like a pioneer woman, and all of a sudden this airline employee showed up with a wheelchair and insisted on pushing me the rest of the way. I love that man. I do.
We sat in the airport for another half an hour or so, and then they let us back on the plane (the same plane... quite a few passengers were more than a little nervous. I heard people calling home to tell loved ones... that they loved them.)
So our flight home was almost two hours later in arriving that it was supposed to be, but I heard no grumbles or mumbles, until Devin and I had the three hour drive home still to do, at which point we might have murmured... whoops. But just to ourselves. So, we arrived home at midnight, safe and sound and extremely worn out.
Thanks to all the holiday travelers for making it bearable!