Travel to Berlin

We are in our seats on a flight from Chicago. Chris is giving a talk next week at a conference in Berlin, so we are taking the whole family there until next Friday and then driving to Anthering to visit Carrie and Armin and Sophie and Anna. We decided to fly from Chicago in order to get a nonstop flight on AirBerlin.
We arrived at the ticket counter three hours early, then to the gate about two hours early and were in our seats on the plane about an hour before takeoff. All smooth so far. We bought four seats at the bulkhead in order to sit together and accommodate the bassinet, like this:
Everyone in the family has been fighting colds for the last couple weeks. And not just a cold, but a series of them that keep morphing into different symptoms. Currently all three children have nonstop runny noses. It’s not an ideal time to be traveling overseas, but when is a good time in our situation? We have both acknowledged that this trip is pushing things pretty hard, even by our standards, and we don’t know if this will be a good idea in retrospect or not. We will evaluate once we get home in a couple weeks. We did our best to prepare beforehand: we limited ourselves to two rolling suitcases for the entire family; Chris practiced packing the stroller and car seats into duffel bags; Melissa prepared small bags of pre-measured formula to make four or six ounces at a time. We realize these might look suspicious when we travel and could attract attention from TSA. Not sure how much these bags might sell for, but based on the price of formula it can’t be a small amount. In fact, we might be under NSA surveillance for even writing this. To minimize this possibility I am posting this blog entry as unencrypted text, on the reasoning that unless it’s encrypted they won’t even notice it.

We were among the first people on the plane. Teddy was asleep in his carseat during takeoff, while Gwen was nursing. One of the flight attendants gave us a special seat belt to anchor Gwen to Melissa. Soon after takeoff they brought us the bassinet, which latched into the bulkhead in front of Melissa. All of us were overheating during the flight, especially the babies. They were confused about what time it was and where we were and why we weren’t in our regular beds. The flight attendants tried to help by offering several more blankets than the four we started with (none of which were being used). We used one of them to block the light over the bassinet, and added the others to the pile.

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