Yes, we survived. My shoulder is a tad worse for wear - but otherwise all is well. The airline had their staff out at the curb so I was able to unload my gianormous suitcase straight away to them. Thank goodness because I'm not sure I would have made it. In fact just walking the 50 feet from baggage claim to the pick up curb once in California ended up being nearly impossible resulting with a lot of dramatic drop-all-at-once when I made it to the waiting spot. So to say I was glad for curb-side check in is an understatement - that and the added bonus that they don't check the weight there :-D
The flight itself was booked full. In fact this was our first flight that we've had a full full flight. Every other flight we've managed to have at least the middle seat free. Not this time, but luckily we had a very understanding lady that was happy to be nudged every now and again by my little active boy. And active was he ever. I attempted about 30 minutes into the flight to get him to sleep walking him back in the beverage staging area - and I got him to sleep - then the flight attendants came and banged their cart and awake again he was. But he was happy and just squirmy so we went back to our seat and he occupied himself in all sorts of fashion. He did great. He made two new friends. The guy in front of us and the guy behind us were very great in making faces, giving high-fives, and in general entertaining my little guy.
Take off and landing was the most amusing this time. He got SO excited. As we were landing and taking off he was doing his little bouncy dance on my lap and when we landed he was waving to the ground. It was so cute - he probably waved for a solid 2 minutes as we landed and taxied to the gate. He did great with his ears, he understands that he needs to drink in order to get them to pop and while he doesn't typically drink during the decent (he's too busy bouncing and waving) he will eventually take a moment or two to take a swing and correct the uncomfortable ear issue. As soon as we were in Shell's car he was out like a light.
Once again, Ace has proven he is a born traveler.