I think this may take a few posts, people. There's just too much to tell.
I'll start with the journey. It was long. It was very, very long. I've made some road trips in my life, but never have I attempted to drive three children ages 6, 4, and 2 across two state lines by myself. I'm pretty sure Cody thought I was crazy when I first came to him with this plan. The only other time he has looked at me with that particular look was the time I said I didn't think it would be too awful if our kids decided to go to OU one day.
I borrowed a portable DVD player (thanks, Mom!) and packed enough snacks to feed an army. I threw in books, art supplies, CDs, and electronic games. I filled a cooler with drinks and a special coke for myself that I figured I would need around 2 PM when my eyes started closing uncontrollably. Either my planning paid off, or I have incredible kids because they were so good the entire time! There was no complaining, whining, or fussing. They even seemed to enjoy themselves. I, on the other hand, was bored out of my mind as the Backyardigans blared into my head from the screen behind my headrest. It was sweet relief to arrive in Columbia, TN at 5:00 PM, exactly 12 hours after we had left that morning. Yes, you read that right. We left our house at 5 AM. It was the first time I had seen a sunrise in ages. Incidentally, the early morning hours were my favorite of the drive. The children were sleeping, and the possibilities of the day lay there in the cool darkness for me to think over quietly.
We did stop a few times along the way. Our longest stop was for lunch in Nowhereville, Arkansas. By the way, Ava feels very strongly that we are all mispronouncing the name of this state since there is obviously an "S" at the end. She says she has heard of a silent "E" but never a silent "S." The McDonalds in Nowhereville was not exactly up to par in cleanliness and food quality, but the kids were happy to get out of the car. I let them play on the play area for about 20 minutes. Now, here are some interesting photos.
I like how this first one has a flag in view that clearly identifies the state. I was just taking a picture of Nate having fun and did not notice the artistically placed flag until I downloaded the pictures.
Then, I was in for an even bigger surprise as I looked at this picture of Lucas exiting the play structure. Again, I was just focusing on my cute little boy, never knowing that somehow a giant condor looking thing was also in the frame. Super weird.
After lunch, the kids were tuckered out. They each took a two hour nap. For some reason, Lucas decided to completely cover himself with his blankie. I kept trying to remove it because I was scared to death he would suffocate. Why, yes, I am one of those neurotic, overly worried mothers, thank you very much. But every time I would pull it off, he would put it right back on. It was our own special little quiet power struggle that I was determined to win. I'd wait longer and longer each time, thinking he had to be asleep and would not notice me removing the blankie. But even half-asleep with his eyes closed, he would put that thing back over his head. Finally I forced myself to wait a solid 20 minutes and removed it without waking him. Nobody is suffocating on my watch, ok?
To be continued...