We left our hotel room in Moscow at 8 am on St. Paddy's Day for the long journey home. It would end up being 24 hours in total from door to door!
Our flight was direct from Moscow to Dulles in DC. Needless to say I was a bit concerned about a 10 and 1/2 hour flight with 2 toddlers. As you might imagine, it was a full flight and the plane was configured with 2 seats, aisle, 3 seats, aisle and 2 seats. Because we had changed our flights we were assigned seats at the airport and ended up with Jim across the aisle from me and the boys in the center. To make it even a bit more complicated, the rows were slightly staggered so Jim was a bit in front of us, making it even harder for him to help out. As I suspected, the tantrums began with the buckling of the seat belts and continued on and off for the duration of the flight. Elijah was somewhat entertained with the in flight movies, especially when I realized I could get the audio in Russian so that was helpful, but Joshua was a little pain in the a** for almost the entire flight. Everytime we had to buckle up, the tantrums started again with both of them in unison. It was the most exhausting and frustrating flight of my life. By the time we landed in DC, all of us had had it. It was 10 pm Moscow time and the boys had each slept for about 1 hour.
Once in DC, we had to go through immigration and customs which should have been short and simple, but ended up being long and complicated due to a number of screw ups. Our luggage was sent to the wrong baggage claim, a agricultural inspector dog tagging our bags and caused an extra inspection due to the food we had packed for the boys and we had to go through security all over again because we apparently went the wrong way to bypass that after rechecking our bags to Portland. Fortunately (or not, I haven't quite decided) we had a 7 hour lay-over so we weren't worried about missing our next flight.
Once we got through all of that hassle and got back into the terminal, we met Jim's brother Joe who had brought Alexis to the airport to meet us and fly home together. She was so excited to meet her little brothers! Thank goodness she was there too, because she occupied them for much of the layover time. They ran and chased one another up and down the terminal hallways. Finally, about 9 pm EST (4 am Moscow time) they all fell asleep, just before we boarded our flight to Portland.
We managed to keep the boys asleep and get them on board and buckled into their seats without any screaming. (Thank God!) Alexis was a bit stressed because she couldn't sit next to Mom or Dad (the plane was 2 seats on either side of the aisle so we put her next to Joshua with Mom next to Elijah and Dad in front of us), but she tearily survived being across the aisle from Mom.
The flight to Portland was uneventful and we managed to get everyone off the plane and to the car without much difficulty. They continued to sleep for the 40 minute ride home and we got them in the house and to bed without anyone waking up!! Yay. JIm and I finally fell into bed about 2 am and slept until the boys woke us up at 7 am. Fortunately, this completed the transition to the eastern time zone for the boys. Now Mom and Dad just needed to catch up.