Ok, I'll add some photos from our trip.. This is ALWAYS a hard thing for me. I'm an all or nothing kinda gal. I'd rather post none than post just some mediocre photos. So here I go, if it gets to be too many.. well I've given you warning. (After writing this and losing internet and saving this by the grace of God. Photos will be posted in a separate posting -this is the story only).
Let me preface a little by saying that I drove, just the little ones and I. We had a very nice, easygoing lil road trip from Texas to Florida. So I’ve heard, most would fear this venture. Me, not so much. I was worried more about where we'd end up having to stay if I got too tired to keep driving. The road trip itself, never scared me. I guess we are pretty seasoned at this sorta thing. “We” meaning, the whole gosh darn family. The kids seem to like it which is a good thing if they want to survive living with us as their road trip crazed parents.
So it started one early morning after my mom left town. She had been here in Texas, briefly and I knew that as soon as she was dropped off at the airport, I'd be preparing for a trip of my own immediately after.
The next day, we pulled out of the Treehouse driveway at 6:45 am (a bit later than I had planned -but not too bad). We waved to Papa bear, hugged and kissed him sadly, but excitedly. We were on our way, just as the sun began to peek up over the clouds. We stopped and grabbed coffee and breakfast, orange juice for the little ones and I never looked back. So dramatic, I know. Well, if you wanna hear a good story, you gotta add the color. Color = dramatics. Color really = the photos you’ll get to see soon. Hang on tight. Well just keep your seatbelt fastened. We don’t need to be pulled over for a “Click-it-or-ticket” ticket. That will slow us and this story down.
So, the kids were pretty good about sleeping most of the morning and into the early afternoon. This made for a nice calm drive and I was able to enjoy the view in front of me, scream and request free. No sound coming from the backseat. I know, how is this possible? I just enjoyed every mile or hundred miles I'd pass with this quiet sorta thing. I listened to Rihanna and Britney most of the way because their music has lots of energy and this kept me feeling refreshed and open minded about the big haul I had in ahead of me (1500 miles to be exact). I danced in my seat, pretended I knew the words to most of their songs and took in the ahhhhh. The sky was just unbelievable on this drive. I felt like I hadn't looked up in a while. The clouds were just bursting out of the sky and there were many of them all around me. They hugged me all the way to Florida. Thanks, clouds. I've always been fond of clouds, but now I truly appreciate their unexpected beauty. Yes, lots of photos were taken of these billowy friends of mine.
So as the early afternoon fell into my lap, so did my hunger pains and it was lunch time before I knew it and the kids started waking up on their own, which is always the best way to greet your children after any kind of sleep. They were full of smiles and not yet starving, so I was able to find the perfect stopping place for lunch..... Chick-fil-A found us, so we pulled over and we poured ourselves out of the car and made our way into, apparently most kids favorite eating joint these days. I think I missed the memo that morning, "Bring your kids to Chick-fil-A day" BUT luckily I am pretty in tuned with the latest. Not really, it was pure luck. I actually prefer to be where there are less kids. But, we’re on vacation. Me (all smiles). Kids, parents, screaming, chaos everywhere. We’re on vacation, this is fun!
So we placed our order -the usual. I didn't order coffee, but grabbed all the cream I could get my hands on for future coffee stops.
Shhhh, Chick-fil-A and gas stations carry my favorite coffee creamer.
We found a seat off the beaten path (on the edge of the mayhem) and dove into our food at a steady pace -remember, we had many miles ahead of us. Sister bear wanted a balloon, since all the other kids were attached to one -she couldn‘t be left out, but we‘ll be different.. unique, with ours. I mentioned in the nicest way possible that she could have a balloon while we ate and then once we got ready to get back in the car.. the balloon had to be set free. I told her she could make a wish and send it off into the sky. She actually was excited over this. See what I mean? This trip was just smooth sailing. She made her wish and let it go. She happen to have a pair of binoculars (sp?) from another fast-food joint (not proud of that, BUT they came in handy) she was able to watch that balloon float away and be ok with it. SO back on the road.
We made a few more stops, only for what we needed; food, gas, potty, coffee. One time Brother bear was asleep in my arms while Sister bear did her business and never woke up. Don’t ask. We made it work. We knew our final destination was e.. v.. . e.. n.. . t.. u.. . a.. l.. . l.. y my Sissy's house and we would do whatever we needed to do to get there. As long as we didn’t get pulled over, no accidents in the car and I was NOT allowed to fall asleep at the wheel.
So my determination took me into the night, at one point, Papa bear was getting a little nervous about his little love trio being on the road so far away from home and thought we should check into a hotel. I loved his concern and didn't want him to worry, but I knew I was hardly close to retiring the family wagon from the road, just yet. So we stopped at his nicely suggested hotel and it WAS nice, clean, smelled new and well, had he been on the trip, I'd love to have stayed and flipped thru TV with him while the kids ran around the hotel room BUT he was no where close to being apart of this dreamy fantasy. So, we used their restroom, smiled at the front desk girl and found ourselves back in the wagon and back on the open road. It started to rain, storm, well downright pour to the point that I couldn't see the road in front of me. My windshield wipers couldn’t go any faster! I was in heaven! I was very safe, but this was something I hadn't driven in for a while and it actually brought back some good memories of living in Florida. The sounds of the loud crackling, thunder mixed with the harsh, windy, fast downpour. Amazing! I had to be honest with myself and Papa bear though,
"Was it really safe?"
Ya, it passed and so did I on the idea of stopping for the night. We kept going, I called Papa bear and let him know. Plus Sister bear was not happy about the idea of not driving directly to Noppy's house.
She said, "No, Mama, we have to go, we can't stay here." I asked her one more time and she said, "Only if we can pick up Noppy and bring her here."
Me: "Uh, ya, lets get back in the car, I'm with you, little one."
So about 90 miles just left on our GPS, I was beginning to feel the heaviness of my eyelids, not sleepy, just pure delirious, I could not listen to Britney to keep me energized, one more second. I felt like what I imagine it feels like to be just outright crazy! Oh, I was outright crazy! So I wasn't too far off.
I remember Papa bear's words, "You may feel great now, but around 10:00 pm or so, you are not going to be feeling this great. You should just safely get off the road and get a good night's sleep in a hotel, let the kids run around and flip thru some TV and relax. Just wake up early tomorrow and get to your sister's by lunch."
I did not listen. I should rephrase, I chose a different option..
That's ok, I could just call my sister to keep me focused and awake. She's waiting for me, she'll answer my call.
Well, I must have called her obsessively 10-20 times in a row. No answer. Just her voicemail. What???????
I was driving in a very dark, desolate place, where the street lights seemed to have turned in, even THEY knew better. "What am I going to do?" -is what I thought. My thoughts had no good ideas in return.
So, I tried my sis ONE MORE TIME! (I said that out loud to myself, thinking it would get her to pick up the phone) I was talking to myself at this point, the kids were sleeping.
Me: "ANSWER ANSWER PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!!"
She answered!!!!!!!!!! "Heeelllllllllo? Are you here??"
Me: "Nooooooooooooooooo, keep me awake (in a slight panic), "PLEASE!! Stay on the phone with me, keep me awake!!!"
And so she did. Not sure what we talked about, but it worked. I made it all the rest of the way!
I finally got to her exit and I knew all my determination paid off. I was safely, almost there. I saw lights and familiar places. I was HOME AWAY FROM HOME! Ahhhhh. This felt so good.
When I pulled up to her curb at 2:30 am.
It was the best feeling in the world! She was so happy to see us.
The rest, you will just have to see thru the posting of my photos, no rhyme or reason. I just want to post them and let you see why I kept going. As I type this, I am back home in Texas, experiencing the thundering storm I yearn for from Florida. So I guess I brought a little something back with me. I will post the photos in a separate post, didn't expect to go into a story.. but life is unpredictable and I like that. Maybe you can pack your bags and take a road trip of your own, some place you haven't been to in a while. It's worth every mile. Every stop. A memory was made all the way from Texas to Florida. I will never forget it.
My babies and I did it, together. We can do anything!