Road Trip – Returning to Wisconsin

We love the Road Trip.

And we love the return home.

Home…ahhhh

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“My kitchen whimsy”

One of the greatest things to see when we get home is my little people discovering all of the things that they left behind. It is usually around 11 PM, far past bedtime, but we have pushed it to get home in two days so we can wake up and “just be home” the next morning. They are so happy and so cute and they get a chance to run around and wreak havoc on the house for a few minutes while we unload the necessities.

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Bed feels good too.

Traveling is fun but eventually living out of suitcases needs to be replaced with having a spot for your stuff and the routine of the day. We miss daddy and we miss our kitty.

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It was time for the Return Road Trip.

We got a late start, as usual. Packing up to leave is big. Big I tell you.

Then we stopped to visit a family member on our way out. It was closer to 3 pm by the time we really hit the road. Those are not good statistics when traveling with small children. Add crazy thunderstorms and impromptu bathroom stops to the mix and it’s a real Road Trip again.

We really did not plan to get very far on the first day since we started late and expected to travel for three days. After the first few bathroom stops we got into a rhythm and started to log some miles. So much so that I did not start to look for my planned lodging exit until we had passed it. By the time we realized that the exit I was looking for must have been behind us we were past any close possibilities for stopping. So, we kept driving, waiting for things to go south at any moment.

The kids hung in there and it was a good thing because we drove for over an hour before any hotel possibilities appeared. But we made it to the next major city. That was good news for the traveling part of the trip since there is a countdown to how many hours we need to go.

The frustrating part was that once we got to that area we spent an hour between two exits looking for a hotel for the evening. Who knew that this major city was a hot spot for summer vacations? The time we wasted would have put us an hour farther into the trip and at an exit that I knew had hotels but we had no idea we were going to waste this much time looking for rooms. The time ticked away and eventually it would be late enough that my angelic children could not possibly hang in there any longer. My husband and I were at the end of our travel rope, the madness would have to stop. By now it was 9:30 pm.

We finally found lodging, less than desirable, but took it. The kids feasted on the small boxes of cereal that our inn keepers had sent with us to an episode of “Full House” on TV, as I prepared us for sleep. Thank you sugar cereal!

Morning came and the kids all slept late as they usually do on our travel trips. Let’s face it, we are all exhausted from the end of our vacation to the late night traveling and the commotion of being out of a routine for so long. I was up early and got myself ready. One down. I was determined to be as ready as possible to get on the road early.

We made it by 9 AM which wasn’t too bad. Breakfast was not part of the package at the hotel so the kids ate more cereal boxes and then we had to pull off at the next rest stop. Ugh, all of these stops keep piling up.

Finally on the road again we soon ran into severe thunderstorms. It had been a while since I have driven in anything like that and especially not with my children. There is no where I have to go that I need to be out in bad weather with my kids when I am home. But now, I had somewhere to go…home. The alternative was to pull over to the side of the road but that did not feel like a safe option either since visibility was poor and we might not be seen by other drivers, so we plugged along slowly. Painfully slowly. That pattern defined our first half of the trip and then the weather brightened and we had an easier time.

I felt like a wide-eyed crazy person on the return ride home. I had been out of my element long enough to make me feel like I could not remember what my “real world” really was. Did I even have a home base? The awareness that we still had so much road left to cover was defeating and I had to play mind games to keep from buying a house en route and sending for our things. The kids handled the trip well, it’s the grownups that are the weak link.

In the scheme of things, we WOULD make it back. At worst it was just another day. But that third day is hell. It doesn’t matter that there may only be three hours left to go and the reward is our home. No one is getting back into that car without magic. I think my magic was all used up.

And ohhhh, the bathroom stops. They were much smoother now but still as frequent. How I loved the diaper years.

When we got to the point on our return journey that we knew we would make it that second night no matter what time it was, my mental energy became focused on making that happen as smoothly as possible. A mid-afternoon junk food stop followed by a “pick out a toy” stop and lastly by the “let’s eat dinner and get your jammies on” stop with a fun car movie to take us home.

It worked and we made it. Late. We were still on Eastern time.

Thank you Lord, once again. I had scheduled a house cleaning so the house was clean, cleaner than it ever is when we are home. Walking in the door was fabulous.

Thank you to our family and friends for letting us come and “spread the love”. We enjoy it, every minute. I am crazy and we will do it again for sure, just not right away!

We have “treated” ourselves for a month, not just an afternoon at our grandparents. We desperately need more water, sleep, fruits and vegetables. Yes, our family lives in a civilized world where there is access to fruits and veggies and all things good. We could easily have eaten all things good while we were on Road Trip, and we did, but we didn’t too. The trip was a treat all around.

I would not be able to do these crazy Road Trips if it weren’t for my amazing children. They are awesome travel companions and they handle the traveling so much better than the grown-ups. I spend a lot of time complaining in my head and they just “go with it”. Thank you beautiful babies, I am the luckiest momma in the world!

What a great trip, once again, one that makes memories for my babies.

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“The crazy toy mess that I can never keep up with”

Ahhhh…we are home….

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