Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Move Southwest: Hitting the road

I've been wanting to record our travels for quite a while, and I feel like I'm never going to have the time unless I sit down and make it.  So even though it's late, and I really should be in bed...I'm going to try to get this up tonight.

Warning: this post is going to be heavy on text and light on pictures, which is pretty opposite of how I typically like to blog our family.  But I want to remember the details and the best way to do it is write them down.

Our plans for this move changed SO.  Many.  Times.  It was sooo stressful!  Just thinking about it makes me feel stress and the moving part is all behind us now!  But what we ended up doing was hiring a moving company to pack and load us up (that part never changed), which they scheduled with us to do on June 18th.  We decided that I would pack up the van and head out with the kids that day and take them to make loooong overdue trips to visit so many people who have never met them and who I haven't seen in far too many years in Kansas (and the surrounding areas) while our things made their way down for Fort Worth.  Grant would stay behind to direct the movers, clean the apartment, and go straight to the house in our beloved little Aveo, and be there to get a few things set up (like beds), before we arrived.

So, that morning, I loaded the kids up and we left the apartment...and went to the gym.  Yes, I started my cross country trek with a very hard and long workout, and I would totally do it again.  I actually ended up forgetting a couple of things at the apartment, so it worked well that we didn't leave town straight away.  We crossed back to the place and grabbed the things I'd forgotten and then I took the kids to say a couple of last goodbyes, including one last stop at the other Farnsworths' house in town.  That was pretty hard for me, I've REALLY loved being in the same town as these guys.  I love them an awful, awful lot.

With a very active morning under our belts, we headed out of town the exact same way we'd driven into it almost five years earlier--as the other Farnsworths' house was the first place we went when we arrived.

During the years we've been here, the most common trip we've taken has been to see another of Grant's brothers and his family, who lived a 6 hour drive away.  So when I planned out my trip to Kansas, I decided to plan it with a little more driving than that per day, which was going to put us just across the Ohio/Indiana border that first day.

I was really surprised by how smoothly the first leg of the trip went.  Before I left our extended family's driveway, I popped a movie into the on-board DVD system and we drove straight through Pennsylvania and into Ohio with no stops, though going through Appalachia on a rainy day meant I had to slow down over parts of the biggest mountain because it got quite heavy.  Bridget had fallen asleep soon after we hit the road and stayed that way until we stopped, so although the older kids noticed the heavy rain, it didn't affect our journey.

We hit Akron just in time for dinner, so we stopped at a McDonald's there.  We all went potty/changed diapers, ate, and then there wasn't a PlayPlace, so I had the kids spend 10 minutes "walking" laps around the dining room to get a little movement going.  Even though this is rather disruptive, there were only a couple of other patrons there, and the kids were being extremely well-behaved--the other customers all smiled and were clearly not annoyed by them walking around, so it worked extremely well.

It's a super backlit photo, but I had to capture the moment because these kids were knocking my socks off with how easy they were making this trip for me.

As I loaded them back up into the van, it started to sprinkle.  By the time I'd taken a few minutes to arrange things inside the van, start a new movie, and we got back on the highway, we were in the middle of a CRAZY storm, exponentially worse than what we'd driven through over the mountains.  And it all happened in a place where there weren't a lot of exits around.  In fact, we were caught in flash flooding several times, where all the traffic bottle necked over the least-flooded-looking bits of the highway.  It was rather intense, but I'd actually driven through much worse and in the much smaller Aveo, so I stayed pretty calm.

Getting out of Akron took a while, but we made it.  The skies cleared and I even made a phone call to a friend to pass the time because that stretch of interstate on I-71 between I-76 and Columbus is the most boring piece of road I've ever driven, and I've driven it quite a few times.  Our next break was at a rest stop just outside of Columbus, which was a little disappointing because I was hoping to make it past the city before stopping because I knew we wouldn't make it the whole way without getting gas but our bladders just couldn't wait...but I forgot about our disappointment when we stepped out of the rest stop building and saw fireflies twinkling around the trees.  Even though it was late (I was originally hoping to be in the hotel by this point), it was a no brainer to extend our stop and enjoy the fireflies for a while.  The kids were delighted to chase them and I was delighted to witness it.

The Firefly Friends were a real treat, but we did need to get back on the road.  So we loaded back up and continued on our way.  One of the reasons I've driven that horribly boring section of I-71 is because it's part of the route to that other extended family we visited while we lived in Pennsylvania.  When I planned taking the same route to Kansas, I just thought about making things easy for me by taking a familiar path.  However, I had a surprisingly strong emotional moment as we drove past the exit that would have taken us to their house--we weren't taking it to stay with them for the night because they were traveling themselves.  We'd visited them a few weeks earlier and said our goodbyes because as we were moving to Texas, they were about to relocate to Japan for a military assignment and I'm going to miss them very much.  I'm going to miss not having access to their family like we did when we lived driving distance from each other.

But I kept driving.  As nice as it would have been to keep going until we crossed the border and got to our exit at the hotel, we needed gas.  So, we fueled up and went potty again for good turns out when one passenger is a 4-year-old boy and another is a 20-weeks-pregnant woman...lots of potty breaks are needed.

At long last, we crossed the border and arrived at our hotel.  It was lightly raining again, but we made it inside.  I booked a suite so I could separate out the children and let the deep sleepers (Kendra, Elliot and Bridget) sleep deeply away from the Wild Card who gets up a lot (Paxton).  I really thought that getting into the room after 11pm would have surely meant the kids would want to just collapse into bed.

Y'know, I feel like most of the time I have this Mommy Gig down...and then I have moments that humble me and remind me that I way, way, way do NOT know it all about raising children.

Like the moment about 40 minutes after I opened the door to the hotel room and the kids were still bouncing off the walls, even though it was now nearing MIDNIGHT.

But.  We did get everyone wrestled into jammies and down for the night...

1 comment:

Danielle said...

You are my hero. I am so impressed that you did this! And I am so glad your kids did so well and that even in the middle of it you took time to smell the roses... or rather, check out the fireflies and other awesomeness! You go girl!