So sorry for not posting WELL before this.  We actually did make it back home safe and sound.  The trip wasn’t exactly pleasant … but it did eventually end!  The flight from Hong Kong to Seoul was just fine.  It took about 3 hours and was comfortable enough.  Sandy, Claire and I were able to sit on the same row … which helped a ton.  The long flight (from Seoul to LA) didn’t work out quite so nice.

They couldn’t get us all on the same row.  Sandy and Claire were together (they almost told us they couldn’t even do that!!!) and I was 1 row behind in the middle seat between to big guys.  OUCH.  Not good for me.  I’m not exactly Tiny Tom, so I was pretty squished the entire flight.  I didn’t get any sleep (over the 10 hour flight) and therefore arrived in LA not feeling quite like myself.

One very cool thing happened in LA which I should mention.  We had been told NOT to enter by the US Citizen line at immigration because Claire was not yet a citizen.  So we did as we were told and got in a HUGE line waiting to pass through.  A worker came up to Sandy and told her to go sit down and she would grab her and Claire when it was our time.  Then another worker talked to Sandy and asked if she was a US Citizen.  She explained our situation to the officer who then told Sandy that the consulate didn’t know what they were talking about … of course we could go through the citizen line.  Well, sadly, the citizen line was also HUGE … but was moving a bit faster … so we switched.  Immediately upon switching, another worker asked us about our situation.  We told her and she said … “You know, why don’t you move over to line 16.”  Well, line 16 had a few people in it … but it was “rope closed”.  I expressed that and she waved off my question and opened the rope for us.  This line had like 4 people in it and I think was some sort of VIP line for returning US officials or something, because they would only allow a few people in it at a time.  As I started to move, the guy behind me also started to move.  The lady looked straight at him and said, “I didn’t say YOU could move … get back in line!”  Wow … VIP treatment.  God bless the USA.

Anyway, we made it through and then had to go the immigrant processing section.  There were like 3o people waiting there.  I gave the officer our paperwork and he told us to go get our baggage.  We finally found our baggage, but not until after I helped a lady who needed a bag off the carousel.  As I grabbed for it I noticed something on the handle.  Something like honey had spilled either out of or onto her bag at the handle area.  Fun for me.  I felt less gross after a couple of wet wipes and we headed back to the immigrant processing section.

We arrived and the officer said, “This your kid?” As he held up Claire’s paperwork.  I responded,”Uhh, yes.”  He then handed me the stuff and turned away.  I asked, “Is that it?”  He gruffly responded, “Well, unless you want to chat for an hour or two … I’d get out of here if I were you.”  Duly noted and quickly exited.

We then made it to our gate for the flight to Salt Lake.  I was now operating on less than 5 hours of sleep over a 48 hour period (didn’t sleep well the night before we left) and really wasn’t feeling well.  As I was paying for some food at a counter, I literally “drunk stumbled” away from the counter and almost fell on my rear.  Not pretty.  The flight home was good and I actually got 20 minutes of real sleep.  That made all the difference and I was ready to be home.

Arriving home was AWESOME!!!  Please refer to the pictures below.  Somebody (genius) had loaded up the area with balloons.  It couldn’t have been a better move.  Claire loves balloons and they were the perfect diversion to help her deal with all of the attention she was getting.  We had a ton of family there and it was so great to see them all.  I think my favorite was when Seth came running up and jumped onto me.  Love that boy.

Weeks Family

Our family finally united together.

Welcoming Party

The group at SLC Airport

We spent about an hour with everybody at the airport before heading home where we found our house decorated by our good friends.  Again, balloons everywhere and a cards stuck to the garage and front door.  Most of the balloons were staked into the grass.  So Claire jumped out of the car and ran through the “balloon forest” for 10 minutes before she even went inside … simply fantastic!

Since that time … we’ve been trying to get back into the “swing of things”.  Sandy and I have not recovered well from the jet lag yet after a week.  Lack of sleep drove me to a nasty cold/flu that I’m currently dealing with.  I wake up faithfully at 2:30am each night and can’t get back to sleep.  So I continue to operate on about 4 to 5 hours per night.  Last night was my best night so far at 6 hours!!!

I had a rough couple of days last week as Claire lost complete interest in me once her brothers and sister showed up.  It really was a bit tough for me to swallow as she wouldn’t even look at me let alone talk, cuddle or play with me for 3 days.  She’s back, though, and doing well.  She loves Seth, Kate, Zane and Grant and will spontaneously grab their arm and kiss and hug it.  She loves for Seth to hold her and can’t get enough of Kate.  As I said, all is well.

I will try to be better about keeping this updated … particularly for our friends in China and Canada.  We’ll be out of school in a few weeks here and will start regular trips to Cherry Hill, our local water park … can’t wait for that!