On our calendar, Robby named this year’s road trip as “Epic Road Trip” and I guess just to make it even more epic-er, we decided to leave about 12 hours earlier. We had thought about sticking around on Wednesday night so they kids could go to church tonight I could help out but we decided that there wasn’t too much of a difference between missing 3 weeks or 4 weeks of Wednesday night church.
Yesterday, Robby was the one making a big breakfast trying to clean out the fridge but this morning it was Campbell and I frying eggs. We had a dozen eggs to use and cooked 10 for breakfast (the other 2 Keaton dropped in the floor later in the day so nothing was wasted there.) Campbell is quite the egg frier and I would have been but the pan that I was using is on its last leg and losing its nonstickiness.
After breakfast, the kids had a bit of school work left over from the past few days. We had finished all of our school and started on our first round of chores by 10. The kids worked hard for the most part but the biggest ordeal today was picking up a zillion legos that everyone is using to make their lego videos. Once that was over, we headed upstairs to make those beds. Then it was on to showers and after showers, I painted Keaton and Campbell’s toenails and fingernails. Whitman came in and was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t let him paint too.
I then sat down in the school room to pull out Campbell’s school for when we were going to get back. The kids were busy with their ipads and left me alone which helped that go quicker. Then we had lunch-you wouldn’t even believe the assortment of food that I pulled out of the fridge and pantry to feed everyone. It included a half of a hot dog apiece and half of a nutella filled tortilla, colored marshmallows and a host of other random items.
Then we began our second round of chores. This round was easier and the kids were delighted when Shannon showed up with cookies and snacks for our road trip. They were delighted because this meant more goodies for the trip (they are lucky there was even any left for them) and delighted because that meant they got out of work for a little bit. Once she left, it was back to chore time.
Shortly after the last piece of laundry had been put away, I loaded up my crew and dropped them off at Pops’ house. They kept the kiddos for me while I ran back home and worked like a dog until Robby showed back home. We had a few last minute things to throw in the van and then we were off.
Each trip, I usually go over the list of how we are packed. I always say that I could refer back to it the next time that we are packing but I have my 8 page packing list for that (seriously, 8 pages-I think I have a problem). So up beside me is my bag with magazines, all of our important papers, notebook and pens and this trip I have added a marker board so I can raise it above my head with things written on it each time they ask me to spell something for them.
Now in every door, every pocket and every nook of this car is random things stuffed places like hand sanitizer, trash bags, carpet cleaner, air freshener, shoes, jackets and candy, lots and lots of candy. Between Robby and me is our new ice chest with all of our picnic items and a dozen or so cokes to help us make it through the long drives.
The first row is kidless but it does have a set of 6 plastic drawers. On top of those is a clock so the kids do not have to ask us what time it is and there is also all of Robby’s equipment so we can watch videos or netflix on the road. The drawers contain bread, tortillas, ipads, kindles, computers, paper products, snack food, snack food, gifts from Grannymom, snack food, school work, snack food and some candy. On that seat is pull ups for Whitman, cookies from Shannon, my camera. There is also the diaper bag, a box of dressier clothes in case we go to a show in NYC, another bin of snack food, our lunch food in a big bin and a trash can.
Between each seat of kids is a box with all kinds of stuff-candy, paper, colored pencils, slug bug and license plate games for them to play, some toys they have packed (trains, legos, baby dolls), radios and headphones. The girls all have purses with them as well. Reagan and Whitman are on the next row and under them is floatees for Keaton and Whitman, 3 of the kids backpacks, Robby’s tackle box full of cords-enough to power a space shuttle, a bin of rain coats, a bin of bathing suits and then I know you would never believe it but there is also 2 tiny bins filled with snacks.
Anderson and Graham are next and they have a box filled with extra stuff underneath them (extra quarters, extra laundry detergent, a football, frisbee, our national park passport books, scissors, tape, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink is in that bin). There is also 3 more kid backpacks, 2 more buckets of snacks and another stash of pull ups.
Then we have Campbell and Keaton and they have my clothes, Robby’s clothes and a few cokes under them and behind them wedged in between the door and the back of their seat is 2 strollers. I know it sounds like we are packed in this big ole van and we really are!
Robby and I arrived at Pops and Nonna’s house right at 5 and the kids were already picking up and putting on their shoes. Whitman was still playing in the bathtub and while everyone got busy, I had enough time to grab me a bite of supper and some crock pot cake that Nonna was trying out. Robby had already eaten a bite at home so we were all fed and hopped on the road to begin our Epic Road Trip.
We listened to a book on tape (finished one and started another one) for a good while. Then we passed out their ipads for a bit. Graham had to potty before Memphis and Robby took that opportunity to top of the gas tank. Whitman was acting really puny then but we just assumed he was tired.
He wasn’t just tired and when he had told me that his tummy hurt I should have taken him more seriously. Poor guy! I am still pretty nimble and was able to leap over a seat or two catch most things. Reagan was able to pass me some wipes and I had Whitman pretty clean by the time Robby pulled over at a trash can. He threw things away and changed Whitman while I used the carpet cleaner and fabreeze to clean his seat. This little stop just cost a few minutes and soon we were back on the road. Whitman felt tremendously better then and happily watched his ipad for the next little bit.
Soon we were crossing the Mississippi river and heading on down the road. We had originally planned on going to Jackson tonight but Robby moved it a little further down the road to Lebannon. We turned on a movie around 8:30 and everyone was quiet for a good while. The movie was The Apple Dumpling Gang that we had from the library. I tried to get a few new movies for Reagan; she likes ones with real people and really those are more enjoyable for the rest of us. This one was cute and everyone (including Whitman) paid attention to it.
Somewhere along the way, we pulled over at a rest stop for me to drive. Keaton and Whitman went in to use the restroom with Robby. By this time, Whitman was feeling much better and when Robby gave him something to drink after that, he told Reagan that it made him feel good. Hopefully, his episode was due to his yucky cold that he has right now.
I drove almost to Nashville. Robby passed out ipads after the movie was over and everyone stayed awake for a good long time. Whitman did go to sleep after 10. You would think that we are traveling to the arctic-everyone in the back is covered up with a towel or wearing their jacket. Reagan even had on her hood at one point. It is not cold in this car at all but their air conditioner in the back is all or nothing. Low is really cold and off quickly becomes hot. Now when we were in Dallas a bit ago, low was still hot and high was still hot but I guess that happens when it is a 110 degrees outside. Hopefully, we won’t have temperatures that warm on this trip but if we do, Robby has 2 fans for the back row girls to use.
It was nearly 11:40 when we arrived at the hotel. The kids had been fine on the last leg of our journey. As is our norm, while Robby checked in I climbed in the back and we all started cleaning and gathering what needed to go into the motel. Tonight is a motel and really, we kind of love it-no being quiet in a hallway, no having to sneak in (more on that another time) and being able to park right next to the door (though we weren't exactly able to tonight.) We would have been able to bring everything in tonight in one trip if I had remembered the sleeping bags and if Whitman had been awake. But we did make it without a cart and that is a happy day.
It is a good thing that we didn't use a cart since there would have been no way that a cart would have fit in this room. As it is, Anderson is sleeping on the sidewalk outside. (Mom, I am kidding.) We are packed in this room like sardines and right this moment (12:20) everyone is sleeping soundly. There were a few bumps in the road today (literally and figuratively) but overall, this first day of our Epic Road Trip couldn't have gone any better and I promise that there will be lots more pictures tomorrow!