Getting there is half the fun?

Whoever said that getting there is half the fun obviously did not have kids. While our kids really did quite a good job travelling, I would hardly say the trip itself was fun. In an effort to give full disclosure, not just smiling perfection, let me give you a glimpse into what it’s like to travel halfway around the world with four kids. 

We arrived at Dulles/Washington Airport about two and a half hours before our flight so we would have plenty of time. Side note: we fit all this stuff, plus seven people (including two car seats and a booster seat) in our minivan! Two of those suitcases may or may not be full of books… 

 Now picture us carrying/pulling all of that luggage into the airport only to find that the check-in line was horrendously long. So here we are: two adults, four kids, 6 suitcases to check, 1 suitcase to carry-on, 2 backpacks, 1 briefcase, 1 diaper bag, and 2 kids travel backpacks, waiting in line for an hour. I think the kids were more patient than I was! 

Full speed ahead to security! We got preferential treatment when the security agents saw our little ones, so we skipped a good bit of the line (hallelujah!). Security at airports is like one of those game shows where they give you a complicated, multistep task and you have 1 minute to complete it. While trying not to hold up the line, we took off our shoes and belts, emptied our pockets, got out our phones, put all the backpacks, bags and jackets on the conveyer belt, opened up our suitcase to remove the ipad, laptop, our foreign phones, the kindle, our medicine, the baby food pouches, and our liquids, closed the suitcase, took the baby out of the stroller, folded up the stroller and put it on the conveyer belt, Oh, and kept the three mobile children from climbing on the conveyer belt or running off. *pause and walk through metal detector* Round two: We comforted the crying child who wanted to go through the round full body scanner instead, gathered up the multiple backpacks, diaper bag, and briefcase, and distributed them to the correct person, unfolded the stroller and rebuckled the baby, grabbed the 4 phones, ipad, laptop, kindle, baby food, medicine, and liquids, as well as our shoes, belts, and carry-on suitcase, and got to the closest bench! Put back on shoes and belts, repacked the electronics, liquids, and medicine in the suitcase, took a deep breath, and headed for the gate. 

After a bathroom stop, we got to the gate with only about 20 minutes to spare. We had to repack the suitcase to make it fit in the approved carry on box, then we stood in line for another 10 minutes or so before boarding. I packed lots of snacks and toys for the kids for the 8 hour flight, but I should have known that the TV would be all they need. None of the kids even opened their bag. The eight hours on this flight were perhaps the easiest of the entire trip! There was a bit of a meltdown when it was time to turn the TV off and go to sleep, but other than that it was “smooth sailing.” 

We landed in Frankfurt, Germany, at 8:00 am (2:00 am EST), but our next flight didn’t leave until 5:15, so we decided to go out and see the city. We knew we needed to take the S-bahn (train) into the city, then switch to the U-bahn, but it proved to be a classic case of “easier said than done!” It took us two hours (Google said 24 minutes), but we made it! We saw the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, Rommersburg, the Goethe Haus, the Main River, and ate bratwurst and gelato. It was a bit of a whirlwind time and a bit stressful; there were some meltdowns and tears (some by the kids...), but it was worth it!  On the way back to the airport we gave up on finding elevators and just took the stroller on the escalator, so we made it back in no time! 

Once we got back through security, we had time to relax before the next flight. The kids played in a little play area by our gate and actually played with some of the things I packed for them. There was one point where all three were in time out at the same time, but for the most part, they were super troopers. (Keep in mind, we’ve been up since 2:00 Eastern time!) Johanna also officially crawled for the first time! 

 Our second flight was only about two hours long, and Ethan, Abigail, and Johanna slept through the entire flight, from before take off until we landed! Mikayla had a little nap, but then enjoyed talking with the person in the seat next to her. Julia taught her some Russian phrases and told her about Belarus. She was very sweet! 

We cleared customs and picked up our baggage (it was all there!) without any trouble. Vadim from the US Embassy was waiting for us with a BUS the embassy rented for us. That’s when you feel like you have a huge family! The bus took us straight to our hotel in downtown Minsk. The hotel staff were extremely friendly, going out of their way to accommodate us. (That meant getting a new room and some cots ready, which took almost an hour, but we’re thinking positive here!) 

The next day, we got to do our own little House Hunters International! Stay tuned to see if we chose 
House #1: Don’t judge a book by its cover 
House #2: Downtown with a view 
House #3: Right by Metro 
House #4: Doesn’t like Americans 

Thank you for all the prayers for our travels! It was really a very smooth trip without any real delays or troubles, so we were very blessed. We are getting settled in, having fun, and learning our way around a bit, although this picture sums up how I feel most of the time! ;)


  1. Wow!!!!! I can feel you on the traveling was well described! Glad it went mostly well
    Lol. Miss you and paying for you guys!

  2. I love reading about your adventures! Reagan is missing Mikayla lots and says 'hi!' Prayers for continued safety and lots of fun!

  3. Loving reading about your travels! Great job, kiddo's!

  4. Love reading your adventures! Praying God's best for you all!

  5. Wow! I actually had tears and laughter reading this cause I can totally feel what a hot mess I would have been! God be with you

  6. Whew!! You all did great and love the picture!! Miss you all! I say house #4 you would win them in no time! 💕😊

  7. This was a great post! I look forward to reading about the house hunt!

  8. So fun to read about your journey and keep up with Mikayla. Thanks for sharing!

  9. loving this. can't wait to hear about the house-hunting...i'm coming in mid-january, do you want to find me a place to live? ha!


Post a Comment