Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lessons from the Lone Star State

What is the most daunting, most challenging thing I have done??  Childbirth?  Triathlon?  Half Marathon?  Nope it was a 900+ mile road trip with a 2 and 4 year old!  It might not break the body but it will sure try to break your spirit.  32 total hours of "are we there yet?" "she touched me" "I wanna get out of the car!"  Hundreds of miles of the most ugly, most boring landscape that God created (no offense West Texas).  Whining, boredom, potty breaks, and a night in a Best Western.  We survived it all and these are the lessons I learned a long the way.

  • Austin is a looooong way from Denver.  Sure when you are planning your trip you think driving will be cheaper than flying.  But I ask you, can you really put a price on your sanity?  No matter how close Texas looks to Colorado on a map, it is still an insanely long way to travel with two young children.  Apparently Texans are not bragging.  It is a really big state!!!  
  • Driving with two little kids is tough but still a lot better than driving with three dogs.  Surprisingly, they actually smell a lot better than the dogs too (especially considering how often I let running through sprinklers double as a bath).  This is one time where I will agree that dogs are harder to take care of.
  • Check the news (like real news not just Facebook or Ch.2) before you leave because New Mexico might be closed.  That is right, we had to take some massive detour due to wildfires in New Mexico. I have to say on the way back when I saw the scorched landscape literally right next to I25, I kinda got why we weren't allowed to drive there.
  • Stopping at a hotel might seem like a great plan, but it isn't.  The kids will be crazy after being cooped up in a car all day.  They will not want to sleep and even the maximum dosage of Benedryl will be no match for the hyperactivity that will be happening in a very tiny room.  If you can, just plow through to the final destination (which is what we did on the way back). 
  • A four year old is going to miss his daddy and it will break your heart.  =(  Nothing is quite as hard as watching your son stutter out while sobbing, "I. . . mmmmiss. . .ddddddaddy. . .wahhhhhhh."  Heart wrenching.  I missed him a lot too Mason!!
  • When reunited with your little brother it will take about 12 seconds to revert back to children (in a good way).  I had too much fun with my little bro and his family.  He introduced me to the wonderful world of auto tune (I'm backing up, backing up, backing up)  and we had a great time laughing and being silly.  I miss him already.
  • You discover that it is a cruel twist of fate that when you really start to appreciate your siblings they live far away.  I am lucky to have one sister close, one sister staying for the summer, and one brother (and sister in law!) that allowed us to crash at their house for a week.  I love my family!
  • Cousins can be the best of friends (Aiden and Mason) or the worst of enemies (Logan and Emerson).  Mason loved his older cousin and they had so much fun talking dinosaurs, playing, and having grand adventures.  Seeing those two have such a great time together was my favorite part of the trip.  Now, on the other end of the spectrum were the toddlers.  They didn't get along so great.  There were a few moments of peace between the two, but over all they kinda hated each other.
  • On vacation, bedtime is whenever the kids finally pass out from exhaustion.
  • Don't run outside in the summer.  Just don't do it.  Even at 7 in the morning.  It is just too hot and too humid.  It is miserable.  100 feet into my run I was soaking wet and probably already experiencing heat stroke (I am kinda wussy).  I made it 30 minutes and vowed not to do that again.  
  • You know that scene in Poltergeist where that dude's face melts off (I do.  I was kinda traumatized by it as a kid)??  Well I am pretty sure that starts happening to you mere minutes after leaving A/C or water.  Avoid contact with the outside world in the heat of the day or your face will melt off.
  • Your kids will develop a southern drawl in just a week.  I don't know how it happened but my kids are now twanging.  Also, y'all is a great word.  I think I'm going to add it to my vocabulary.
  • That 4 year old that had a melt down about wanting to go home when you got to Texas will have another melt down when it is time to leave.  He had so much fun with his cousin that he didn't want to go.
  • The GPS is going to try to kill you.  Ok, maybe kill is a strong choice of words but it was definitely messing with us.  I admittedly had no idea where I was going.  Our new car has GPS and I thought I would just rely on that to get us there are back.  Bad idea.  Bad, bad, bad idea.  I thought it had three route options: Fastest (the one I wanted), Shortest, and Eco.  But apparently there is another secret route option that I must have pushed.  It is called the Podunk route or the "scenic" route.  I think I traveled every back road, country, sometimes dirt road in Texas.  So, on the way back we printed directions which was good because our GPS totally went out.  SD card fail??  I don't know what that meant except that if we hadn't had a map we would have been in trouble y'all.  
  • Do NOT speed in Amarillo.  I am racking up quite the collection of out of state tickets.  I have yet to log on to see what my fine will be be.  Frankly, I am scared.  I was kinda going really fast.  Like really fast.  Oops.  But in my defense I like to go fast. . .oh wait that isn't a very good defense.  Let me try again.  In my defense I was in Amarillo and you should be allowed to get out of there as fast as humanly possible?  No that is offensive.  Well, I guess I have no excuse especially because I tried them all and still got the ticket. 
  • When you get back to Colorado it will be more beautiful than you ever realized.  I am pretty blessed to live in such a beautiful place (of course this is summer and the story might be different if it were snowing here).  I missed my home and my husband a lot.  I had a wonderful time, but I was glad to be home and home for me is now Colorado.
    I had such a great time on the trip!  I love you Matthew, Elisabeth, Aiden, and Logan.  I can't wait to do it all again!!!! 
     More pictures of the fun we had!!
Emmy and Aiden licking the Bday cake beaters.
Aiden at Wazoo's
Matthew and the boys
Aunt Kacey and Emerson
Logan at Wazoo's
Aiden's 5th birthday and the great cake Elisabeth made for him
About to have some fun at Wazoo's
Keeping cool

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