Instead of recapping our journey again I decided to post the email I sent out to our family after we arrived in Cairns:
We arrived safely at the Tree Tops Lodge around 3:30 Monday afternoon (which would be 12:30am Monday your time). Yes, we are extremely exhausted and so happy to be here. Cairns is beautiful…very tropical and humid! Our trip went incredibly smooth. The boys did SO good. We only had one or two moments where things got a little tense with them. Andrew and I also did well. We were pretty relaxed throughout the entire trip.
The theme of our journey here was God's favor and grace. It started in Winnipeg when we checked in our over-weight bags. The lady who checked in the bags just said, "I'll look the other way on this one!" All but one bag was over-weight and we didn't have to pay anything! Our flight from Vancouver to Sydney was about 15 hours long. One flight attendant made a comment to us that she's never seen a family sleep so well on this flight. William & Jesse probably slept about 9 hours….Drew and I pretended to sleep…we maybe got in 2 or 3 hours each.
Arriving in Sydney was very exciting. I was glad to have the long flight over with. When we arrived we had to go through customs. We arrived just moments before a large stampede of people came. We were so thankful for that because we only had one hour to catch our flight. Then came some discouragement…..We collected our 7 over-weight bags (along with 2 children, 2 strollers, and 5 carry-on bags) and had to get on a bus (that was a performance in itself!) to take us to another terminal. The bus driver never announced the stop and nothing was labeled clearly so we got off when everyone else did. After unloading everything (and paying $20 for the ride) we discovered we got off at the wrong place. I had to fight back some tears at this point. We caught the next bus and did it all over again. I'm glad the bus driver didn't charge us! When we finally got to the right place we were running quite late and there was a long line up. When we checked in our bags they told us our flight had been delayed so we would have time to catch it. The man who checked our bags never charged us for having an extra bag (Jesse could have one bag on our air Canada flight, but not with this flight) and then handed us our tickets and said, "enjoy the service in first class! The flight is full and since you were running late you've been bumped up." Drew and I just looked at each other with big smiles (answered prayer!!) – that definitely made up for that crazy bus ride. We didn't even request 1st class! We were even in the 1st row of 1st class! It was incredible! The boys had so much room to play and we had such nice service and all those little extras. Oh, and I almost forgot….since the flight was delayed by and hour they gave everyone on the flight a $15 food voucher. Our little family got $60 to buy ourselves lunch! An added blessing. One last thing….since we were late catching our flight our bags never made it on our flight and arrived in Cairns 2 hours after we did. We were very excited about this because it was much easier in the long run. Lugging around our many bags and kids was almost impossible! Our bags were delivered to our door 2 hours later! We didn't have to lift a finger.
Thanks everyone for praying. It wouldn't have gone as smooth as it did without your prayers (especially those who prayed for 1st class…tee hee).
We are relieved to have that long journey over with, but at the same time God used it to show us how much he cares for us and loves us! The boys had a good 3 hour nap after we arrived. I felt like we were torturing them when we woke them up to eat supper. William was eating his grilled cheese sandwich laying down on the couch half asleep. Our plan is to give them a shower and then put them back to bed. Hopefully they won't be up at 2am!
Love you all, Lisa and Drew, W & J too.
And a little sleep update.....the boys came into our room at 1am...ready to go for the day! yikes.