... I want to drive it, all night long!
Oh how true those words have become for us! I've been quiet on the blog for the last few weeks because we had a big secret to keep and I've spent every waking minute in November preparing and getting ready for it...In addition to the craziness of everyday life, of course. Awhile ago we realized we would be able to pull off a trip to Texas over Thanksgiving but we wanted it to be a surprise to Trav's Mom and the rest of our family who would be gathering in Abilene. We had to coach the kids many, many times to keep their mouths shut and not give our secret away and minus a few close calls, they did an amazing job! We've been quietly preparing for the long journey, knowing that we would be driving and not flying. Traveling with two little ones on a long road trip was old hat to us, but traveling with three and a new baby to boot, would be brand new territory! But we are never ones to shy away from an adventure and try what some would call "crazy." We had a feeling this might be the perfect time for Walker to travel before he starts to really protest being in his carseat or get too wiggly. So two weeks ago, we packed up the minivan and hit the road a few days before Thanksgiving, Texas bound!
I'm never as excited for these huge road trips until I get in the car and all the work is done! For weeks before I want to throw in the towel because it's so overwhelming, but I'm married to Mr. Adventure who always convinces me that it will be worth it. With a few of these under my belt now, he's right, it is totally worth it! Our kids love love the adventure and as soon as we pull out of the driveway I cherish all the family time we have ahead of us! I love that we get to have Travis to ourselves for days on end with no events, no texts, no phone calls, and no emails!
After a busy, stressful Fall, the timing of this trip could not have been better. We planned to make a pit stop in Iowa so that we could get a solid night of sleep and a big nap before we braved a long stretch of driving through the night.
Although Walker has already made several trips back and forth to Iowa, this was his first real road trip! Ready or not, he had no idea what was in store for him but thankfully this sweet face gave way to...
...this sleeping face! He was a trooper in the car and barely blinked an eye through our first leg.
What a sweetie! We were feeling like this was a good start...
We enjoyed one good night of sleep at my parent's house and best of all, a visit with Sawyer and the rest of the Iowans! These two did what they do best right now, they laid on the floor making noise and doing tricks for their adoring public! Ha ha!
By dinner time the next night, with a big nap under Trav's belt, Walker and the gang were ready to hit the road and head south!
Forgive the blurry pics, but here we are after an entire night on the road at about 6:30 the next morning! We were somewhere in Oklahoma and we got to enjoy the sunrise as a family. We thanked God for a perfect drive there, the kids slept well and Trav powered through the miles like a pro. I sat in the back and acted as concierge for the little people, dishing out snacks, consoling crying babies, keeping the peace and answering a million questions. It was a long night for Trav and I, but I couldn't help but be thankful for the opportunity to make memories with our kids and of course for the gift of a full minivan, carrying the most precious cargo.
Carter was all smiles as the day began and we spied lots of grass with NO SNOW!
Walker missed the sunrise but we were all happy to let him catch some more winks.
Our road warrior! I don't know how he did it, after some stomach issues this year caffeine is no longer an option for Trav, so he managed the drive with good, old-fashioned perseverance and free reign of the radio while we all slept! He is my hero.
I gave him a little reprieve after we stopped for breakfast, but out of the 15 or so hours, he drove about 12 of those. I didn't sleep the whole time but I did get a enough to keep everyone taken care of. I could not wait to stretch out in a hotel bed, however!
We stopped at a Chik-fil-a for breakfast around 8am so these kiddos could do this!
Walker enjoyed the reprieve from his carseat for a little while and I sipped some coffee slowly! There really isn't a much friendlier place in the morning than a Chik-fil-a in the South, is there? We were well taken care of and now that we were in the Oklahoma, the locals poured on the southern charm. One sweet, older man stopped me to ask about the kids and then told me what blessings we had in our three children. He was so kind and I couldn't have agreed more!
Ava and Carter sat still just long enough to get a little food in them and then it was back to getting some wiggles out!
This one especially! He sort of reminds me of a caged monkey!
Generally we were all happy to be out of the car and to be just a couple of hours from our final destination. After 12 hours on the road, 3 more actually seems like nothing.
What a great big sister Ava is!
Walker is one loved little brother!
Before we knew it we were safe and sound in our hotel, unpacking for the next 4 nights there. Staying in a hotel is such a treat for our kiddos and what beckons them more than the promise of the hotel pool?? They took no time jumping in and wearing themselves out! We had a fun afternoon of stretching our legs, surprising family who were also staying at the hotel and just relaxing a little bit too. Later that night we went out for dinner with Trav's aunts, uncles and cousin where we waited to meet his mom and stepdad so we could surprise them too!! What only we knew is that another surprise was in store for everyone, Trav's sister and her family also flew in that day and no one knew it but us! And his Mom :) It was a crazy and fun night at Abuelos, celebrating our mini-reunion and enjoying one another in the great state of Texas! We were so happy to be there and ready to soak up our time with so many sweet family members and of course, the Texas heat too. We were SO ready for the sunshine again!!