MillFam US Visit 1 – part 1

TLDR; we are on holiday in the states staying with my parents and the kids are not sleeping well. Plus we went shopping.

Our last attempt to fly back to the states around Easter was canceled due to snow at our connection in Boston. No such luck this time around, our flight left on time with us on it. Flying to the US from Dublin takes longer in the airport than a normal EU flight because we pre-screen for USA border crossing in the Ireland airport. The airport has a US border manned by US border agents. Doing it this way takes longer on the Dublin side, but it made landing in SeaTac simpler.

The night before our departure, not only, did Michelle cleaned the house and pack us up, she also found time to have a nail party with the kids where everyone painted Irish flags on their nails to represent our new home in our old home! We left the house around 11:00 am and walked to the Clayton aircoach stop in the lashing rain. More often than not we luck out and encounter rain on our aircoach walks. The Aircoach ride was faster than normal. Almost no traffic and few people waiting to be picked up helped us make great time.

Girls on the Aircoach before Mila moved up front and Khaleesi moved next to mom
Kids playing together after eating some Burger Kind at the airport

We were so far ahead of schedule we had to wait 10 minutes at our last stop on O’Connell street to catch up the schedule. Mila, Maddex and I sat in the front row with an older women flying to Bristol. She was a biography writer living in Ireland for many years with her husband, who she reported as having passed on a few years prior.  Her husband did something with the horse race trace as a researcher and horse caretaker. Sadly, Did not catch her name to look up her works, but we did have a nice chat on the bus.

She mentioned thinking about selling her house and moving to something smaller but was not sure how her kids would take that. Which had me thinking about my parent’s house. They’ve lived in their house since they built it when I was about 4 years old. Would feel odd going to visit them in a different house. As the British women suggested it might even affect how the family came together the house being an anchor similar in weight to my parents themselves. The house has been here so long as the center of the family it’s more than their home it’s also home for the extended family and friends who’ve moved around – food for thought. We made it to the airport about three hours before our plane departure.

With plenty of extra time we stopped at Burger King for some lunch then took out time walking to the gate. The queue at US pre-check was not horrible at all. we breezed through and our border agent, William. was a delight to deal with. The US border agents are, of course, all us citizens. William said the list is about 600 long to get a post in Dublin and it takes at least a decade of seniority to move to the top of the list. He worked on Whitby island and was well aware of Port Orchard the town we are headed too. He was great dealing with the kids taking their pictures and asking questions.

Can honestly say one of the top 4 border guards I’ve ever dealt with. William even laughed at me when I told him I wanted to flip him off when he told me got a “diplomatic license” and did not have to do Irish drivers ed like me. After some waiting and pacing back and forth we finally made it onto the plane. We decided to use the families traveling with small children announcement and load early vs our normal wait until the end. We wanted to have plenty of time to get situated. Maddex and I were on the side in the 2 seat section by a window over the wing, and the girls were in the middle in the 4 seat section taking up the whole row.


For a 9 hour flight with four kids, it was pretty mellow and uneventful. Maddex and Khaleesi managed some ok sleep between movies and eating. Roxi ate ok and napped restlessly. She had a rough time getting comfortable. About an hour before landing she was sitting up after a breakfast burritos and vomited all over her self. Michelle and I were mostly ready and reacted quickly with vomit bag, clean up rag, and a garbage bag to put all of the nasty clothing in. Roxi made up for the vomit by going no diaper with no accidents the entire flight. She got up twice to use the toilet asking us vs us asking her – going to call it, she is fully potty trained.

Back in the Seattle

Before landing, I swapped our Three Sims out for Tmobile Sims to get ready to go no airplane mode once the tires hit the ground. After no airplane mode, we received a few welcome to America Texts. One of them was from Wes guessing what gate we were going to the park. When he and Carie took the flight a few days earlier they left and returned from A14. We parked at gate A12. Wes was tracking us on flight tracker. I figured it was just because he enjoys stalking planes and us in general turns out he was bored and Carie missed the kids. They went shopping at Target and picked up gifts for the kids before taking light rail to the airport to meet us at the airport with Nick and Signs

Sign for Roxi, and another to help me understand the gravity of….

Bonus, or turning a negative into a positive, it took a good half hour for our luggage to make it to the baggage claim. I am going with positive because it provided plenty of time to hang out with the Mills clan and catch up on the 2 nights we’d been apart. After we finally had all of our luggage we walked out the door behind the baggage carousel where the rental bus was waiting for us – we exchange quick hugs with Wes and Carie and off we went to collect our Black Dodge minivan from the Thrifty.

Girls on the back of the bus

We made it about 60% of the way home to Fife before things happened and we had to pull over. Roxi, still not feeling well, vomited on herself again and the tired kids all needed food. We got off the freeway in Fife, stopped at a McDonald’s and had some food and cleaned up a kid again. McDonald’s is not the same in Ireland vs. America. In Ireland we have 1 full sugar soda option, in Fife we have one no sugar option. In Ireland, I can eat McDonalds without feeling ill. In the states, a double cheeseburger and some fries were enough to make the top of my mouth and tongue burn from too much sugar – not to mention the massive size of a large drink here vs. Ireland.

A full 16 hours after leaving Ireland, at about 1900 local time, we finally made it to mom and dads house and ended our travel for the day. The kids played for a bit, gave some hugs, used the toilet and settled in. Then grandma gave them new tooth-brushes, they brushed their teeth and went to bed. Was not long before we heard only silence and snores from their room. Shortly after that around 2130 we called it a night and went to bed.

Day one in a Daze

The kids made it untill about 0200 sleeping. Then they started making noise and getting up. We tried to keep them in bed. I went in and snuggled with the girls, we kept telling them to sleep in a bit more. Around 0300 we gave up the fight and went down stairs to watch a movie. As each minute passed the kids started to make more and more noise and were less interested in the movie. Not wanting to wake up the parents we took the family to Walmart for some shopping and a place where we could make all the noise we wanted to.

Kids blocking the floor sweeper
Playing the garage with grandpa

I have a feeling the night-time floor buffer was annoyed at four kids getting in his way all over the store; Sorry Bru. We bought some clothing, toys, and snacks for the week, and had a good time running around. Around 5:30 we  showed up back at home, made coffee for dad and ate some breakfast. Once momma woke up Grandpa took the kids into the garage for some fun. As Dad was wearing out Darren, Kelsie and DJ showed and things started to get really crazy with an extra kid walking around on the balls of his feet.

A bit after 1000 we loaded up the van and headed to gig harbour good will for some tag shopping followed up by lunch at Costco. Michelle’s parents met us at Costco for lunch, and YEAH, they brought grandma with them. Grandma is looking great all things considered. We chatted up a storm and stayed long after our food had been consumed. Eventually, we parted ways, they went home, and we finished our shopping. The kids are starting to wear out, it is late after noon past bedtime by now back home; time to head home. We took the long route home checking out some of our old routes looking for change.


At home, we tried a movie and a nap, but the kids were not having it. Instead of a movie, they kept on playing hard making noise and messes and taking baths. Eventually, around 7 two girls passed out on my lap and maddex was close to sleep watching a show. Michelle and Grandpa carried the girls upstairs then Roxi, Maddex listened to grandma read a few books before both heading upstairs to pass out. Sleep got me was rough with the 6-second fog blasts every 3 minutes coming from the ferries bugging me. Harassed Serena about it and she gave me the run down of the timing. A little understanding feeds the OCD and I started counting the blast times and timing their intervals between them. Thanks, fog, and knowledge.

Musical Beds

It’s 0330 am and I hear some snoring… I moved to the couch a few hours ago to make room for Maddex and Roxi in our bed with Michelle. A few chapters in my book later Michelle and Roxi moved to the guest room in the office downstairs to isolate Roxi’s noise making from the other kids. Shortly after Michelle’s move I completely gave up sleeping and took up writing to pass the time in the quiet.

I only made a few hundred words before Khaleesi and Mila started kicking each other in bed which turned in screaming and crying. I went upstairs and calmed them down as best as I could. Ended up moving Khaleesi down to the living room on th ecouch near me to finish calming Khaleesi down. Once Khaleesi fell back to sleep Mila starts crying because she did not want to be alone. I went back upstairs, wrapped Mila in a blanket and carried her down to the other couch. 0330 AM – none of us are in the bed we started in, but it sounds like everyone but me is snoring for the moment.

A few more pictures for good measure

Check out that sexy target bag filled with goodies!
Grandpa Protecting Roxi from the dogs
Darren wiped off the swing set and the kids went to town playing


Maddex remembered how to ride the four-wheeler
Arts and crafts and breakfast
Hunting for the tag sale toy they are allowed to buy
Grandma trying to eat Roxi saying goodbye




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