After making the decision to move and packing up, we were ready for our road trip! According to google maps, it was supposed to take 25 hours to make our drive. Pat managed to do that in two days. Our trip was going to be a little different. It was three kids, Meo, and me in the van. Omi was driving our UHaul. Don’t worry, he wasn’t alone. Dagger was riding with him. (Yep, Omi got to go on a three-day road trip with our cat. Overall he said she wasn’t a bad travel companion, she did just really sleep the whole time. I was a little worried about how Dagger would take the drive, but I was also a bit jealous as she got some nice pills from the vet to help her relax on the drive.) With our little caravan I was hoping to get to my aunt and uncle’s place in three days. I knew our stops would take a bit longer, but I thought we could do it.
We packed up the van the day before we left. Meo helped out by watching all three kiddos while Omi and I took care of the truck business and finished cleaning up the house a bit. We got up bright and early the next morning and got on the road!
That truck was filled to the brim!
Omi and me,
I have to say, overall the kids were champs. The girls were not overly thrilled with the whole adventure. They are social little ladies. Being stuck in their rear facing seats without anyone to see for long stretches of time is tough for them. But they are still babies, and that is the only safe way for them to drive. With their seats and all the other stuff we had in the van, there was no room for anyone to sit back with them. When we stopped they were very happy to be turned around and see people. I was able to nurse them in the car while Meo would run in to rest stops then we would switch. Every stop took about half an hour to get everyone fed and changed, but we had a good system! The girls did complain a bit on the drive, but they got into their groove by the second day.
Ben was amazing on the drive! This kid was so excited to go see his Daddy. Every time we would start driving he would yell out, “To infinity and beyond!” This was usually followed by, “We’re coming to save you, Daddy!” I’m not quite sure what we were saving him from, but it was super cute. I was a little worried about having an almost three-year-old on a three-day car trip, but I was so happy with how well Ben did! We do have a car DVD player. We have managed to lose the cord to plug it into the car though, so it only has 5 hours of battery life at a time. Well, we were driving for about 10 hours a day. Ben had a lot of time without any real entertainment, but he was amazing! We looked out the window and talked about what we saw. We talked about our new home. We practiced numbers and counting. I think he was just so happy that we were finally on our way to Daddy that he didn’t care that he was in the car. After the first day on the road, he didn’t even want to get out at most rest stops. He asked me to change his diaper in the car and ate quickly while the girls nursed. He did seem to really enjoy eating in the car. That is something that only happens on road trips, so it was a pretty big treat. The drive was also made so much better by having Meo with us. It was so helpful to have someone to pass back water, snacks, and toys while I focused on the road.
We were happy that our trip took us pretty close to where Gramma and Grampa live! We were super happy that the whole Arkansas crew took the time to drive out and meet us at the end of our first day!! It was wonderful to see everyone! This was the first time all the cousins were meeting. Ben hadn’t seen Charlotte, Joe, and Ella since last summer. (We were going to go there for Christmas, but I was too pregnant to travel.) It was crazy, but so much fun! My kids were pretty tired from the long drive and just the late night. (They usually go to bed between 7 and 7:30) The girls weren’t overly thrilled at the end of that first day, so it was nice for them to get extra cuddles and attention. Ben loves running around with his cousins. They are all so great with him! The kids might not get to see each other very often, but when they do they fold Ben right into their crew as one of them. Joe and Ben ran around the hotel lobby while Charlotte and Ella cooed over Ali and Sammy. We headed out to grab some dinner. Fortunately, we were the only people in the Fazolis we went to because the kids were a little crazy. It was great to get to see Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Chris too! I always have fun when we all get together. It was a bummer Pat wasn’t there too, but we had fun on our quick visit.
I got a few pictures, but I also spent a lot of time enjoying the company and running around with the kids. I love my nieces and nephew so much! I was so happy to get to see them!
Ella with Ali and Grampa! Ella and Charlotte loved holding their little cousins.
Ali loved Charlotte! She stared at her happily through most of the dinner. And of course the kids got tons of Gramma hugs. 🙂
Joe and Ben on the run! (Fortunately, the lobby was empty except for our group)
Ella, Joe, and Ben. He loves hanging out with the big kids!
Sammy and Charlotte (How grown up is Charlotte getting?!)
Ben loved being silly with Joe.
Sammy and Grampa
Ben and Grampa! I had noted how I didn’t have any pictures of these two, so I made sure to get a shot!
After dinner the crew had to head back home, and my kiddos had to get to bed. They were so tired! Our second day didn’t have the excitement of seeing family at the end, but the kids did even better than the first. The girls weren’t quite as unhappy with the drive. Ben was focused on getting to Daddy, so he did really well again!
One part of the trip I was curious about was how the kids would do in a hotel. I brought the girls’ pack and play in the car. They are still so little it was easier to bring their bed. Plus I wanted to try to give them a familiar place so hopefully they would sleep well. All the kids slept really well! Ben was a big kid and got to sleep in a big bed for the first time. Yes, he still sleeps in a crib. He loves his crib and sleeps really well in it. I don’t like to mess with what works, especially with sleep. But this was already so different I thought we could try him out in a bed. He loved it and stayed in bed! It helped that the beds were really tall. He couldn’t climb up by himself, so it was less tempting for him to get down. Our first night we had two beds in the room. He wanted me to sleep with him, so we started together. Sharing a bed with Ben is basically how you would think sharing with an almost three-year-old would be. He wanted to share a pillow, and the two of us were right at the edge of the bed. It was super sweet, and I did enjoy a chance to snuggle with my little guy. But once he fell asleep I went to the other bed. The second night we just had one big king bed. Yeah, not my best night sleep. Ben wanted to be right with me, but he had to decide where my arms went. I think his sleep time friends had more room than Ben and me together. But again everyone slept all night long, so I was happy!
The kids enjoying the hotel!
Ali and Sammy were so happy to have room to wiggle!
Yes, all those friends shared the bed with us. I got that tiny part to the left of Ben. 😛
We got to go swimming the second night! Score!
Sadly we didn’t stop at any fun attractions or anything. I would love to take a drive like this again and stop to see things. This was not that trip though. This was a trip of necessity, and we just had to get to Daddy. We did manage to stop at one fun rest stop that had some dinosaurs outside it. Ben wanted to go see them at first, but the load noises of the highway made him change his mind.
We only got a picture of him running back.
The final leg of the journey had a ton of winding roads through mountains. Yeah, that was super fun, and poor Omi had to do it in a UHaul! The UHaul we got had a picture of a zebra on it. Ben would ask where the zebra truck was and we would be on the lookout for Omi. (We each just did our only daily journey. He had to stop more to fuel up the truck, but we had longer stop times. Omi usually beat us to the destination) Meo and I were very worried about Omi on those mountain roads, especially when we had to drive through thunderstorms and a little hail. Coming down from the mountains we drove by him and saw he and Dagger had made it through. Ben was so cute cheering, “My zebra truck! Yay Omi!!”
It timed out perfectly that we pulled into town and Aunt Gail and Uncle Dan’s house together. We made it!! Ali and Sammy were very happy to be out of the car. Ben was just so happy to see his daddy. It was the cutest thing. I think Omi was just happy to be done driving the truck. It was a long drive, but really it went better than I could have hoped. The kids did great. The truck survived. We had made it.
Thank you to Gramma, Grampa, Aunt Lindsay, Uncle Chris, Charlotte, Joe, and Ella for meeting up with us along the way! It was a long drive for a short visit, but we so appreciate it. I am so happy Ali and Sammy got the meet their cousins. And I know Ben had a blast. A downfall of this move is being farther away from these great family members. But I know we are all working to visit when we can and help the kids get even closer. Thank you to Meo for driving three days in a minivan with three under three. And thank you to Omi for driving a truck full of my family’s possession across the country for three days. With my cat. I’d say I can’t believe you all did this for our family, but the thing is I totally believe it. You have always been there for me and my family, and once again you have shown what amazing people you all are. Thank you.
–Kim You can read about how the move came about here. Next up: settling in!