Okay folks, we’re going to ease into this trip recap thing, because unlike some people, *I* went to Lourdes and developed a bit of a medical condition. It seems silly to complain about, especially on the day when Nella announced that her cancer is back, which is much more important and worthy of your prayers. But I have been suffering an unexplained allergic reaction for the last two weeks which has meant almost-but-not-quite manageable attacks of full-body itchiness. It’s been pretty bonkers. I’ve finally been to see a doctor about it today, and I’m heading back in tomorrow for a barrage of tests, and in the meanwhile I’m taking benedryl and steroids (and I really hate taking stuff!) and sporting a shiny new “just in case” epi-pen. And I keep falling asleep at 9pm which means no blogging!

But I can only stand to be away from here for so long, so I’m pushing through to share installment #1 of our trip to France . . . which takes place in Canada.

We boarded the plane for our first flight, Los Angeles to Montreal, and fastened our seat belts. The kids brought their own headsets with them, because they rank seat back entertainment somewhere between “Christmas” and “breathing” on their list of “things that are important.” So, we all fired up our little screens and settled in.

I was about 45 minutes in to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty when I thought to myself, “This is all going quite well so far!” . . . then I noticed that we hadn’t actually taken off yet.

Back off the plane . . .

Blah, blah, broken plane. Blah, blah, no more flights to Montreal. Blah, blah, last eight seats on the last flight of the day to Toronto.

Quick question: WHAT in the WORLD are those gate agents doing with all the typing? So. Much. Typing. Typey typey typey type type. Typety type type typey type type. Typety typety typey type. Type. Type. Type. Typey typey typey type type. Typety type type typey type type. Typety typety typey type. Type. Type. Type. Typey typey typey type type. Typety type type typey type type. Typety typety typey type. Type. Type. Type. And that was just for our last name. Then she really got started.

But, she got us on the flight. And Lulu smiled and cooed and squealed at all the other stranded travelers and melted all their hearts of stone and gave them hearts of flesh and even if they had wanted to be mad at me for taking ALL the seats to Canada, they couldn’t. She’s just too disarming.

We arrived in Toronto at about midnight. We spent a very productive couple of hours at baggage claim during which Lulu rolled over . . .

and I got in touch with Monica from Equipping Catholic Families, who just happens to live in Toronto (thanks free wifi at Toronto Pearson Airport!) and made plans for the next day. But . . . no bags.

Wheelchair races, yes.

Bags, no.

Also, Frankie was not feeling well. :0(

We eventually made it to the airport hotel and got some sleep. We met up with Monica and her little guy, Adam, and I’m pretty sure we had as much fun as we could possibly have in the lobby of an airport hotel in Toronto.

Hey, I’ve been wearing that dress for about 26 hours in this picture!

Monica brought us snacks AND activities!

Here’s her take on the meet up. It was really lovely to meet Monica and her youngest, Adam, face to face, and great to be able to pick her brain a bit about high school and having teenagers. (It’s hard to believe my Jack is turning twelve next month! It seems like a whole new chapter is about to begin.) Poor feverish Frankie slept through the whole thing . . .

Then, it was back to the airport and off to Paris.

Dear Toronto,


We like your humanesque piles of rocks and superfast moving walkway. That weird bendy echo wall thing is pretty great. But a plushy is NOT an acceptable alternative to the chocolatey contraband treats we wanted, and I think you know that.

Sincerely, 

the Tierneys

The flight went well. There were plenty of movies and only some barfing.

The intercession of St. Nuno and Lulu’s charm got us the right car when my online modification to our rental car reservation start date had somehow changed our requested vehicle from a passenger van to a minivan. Mini we are not.

Then we made the six hour drive from Paris to Lourdes in eight hours. Because of barfing.

We keep not following our own rules about minimal-to-no food on long plane/car rides. And we always regret it. Better hungry than barfing. It’s always true: Better hungry than barfing. That being said, we are pretty practiced at plane/car barfing management and are pretty handy with the bag. We even brought along a collapsible bucket
for just such situations.

But we made it! We had to skip a scheduled stop in Tours, but considering the flight delays and rental car confusion, and all the barfing, I think we did quite well to arrive in Lourdes in time for baths and bathtub laundry and a good night’s sleep in preparation for The Big Day, Gus’ First Holy Communion.

And we’ll pick the story up right there later . . .

Please pray for Nella!