Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Road Trip, 2011

Did you miss us? I must admit, I missed my computer. I’m looking forward to spending a bit of time with a cup of coffee reading my favorite blogs, too!


We spent a long weekend on the road, traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, for my sweet cousin’s beautiful wedding.

Everything went perfectly. At the wedding.

Our trip, well…..  Not so much. ;)

We were scheduled to leave on Thursday. On Wednesday, I got a bad case of cold feet after my washing machine locked up and quit working, leaving me to hand wash two loads of laundry that day. I cried. Then, I went to my husband and asked to cancel the trip while I cried some more. Let’s be honest, here. I was feeling so inadequate that a trip with four littles across hundreds of miles seemed impossible. Crazy. Insane.

My husband talked logic to me. It didn’t work. Finally, he gave up and hugged me. Amazing how that works. I was all better and ready to conquer the world (or at least go shopping for that swimsuit I had been avoiding).

With the swimsuit purchased after trying on many, many suits in more stores than I care to count, I made it home Wednesday night around 10:30 with the supplies for the trip.

I’d like to say that everything was packed and ready to go on Thursday morning, but remember my little washing machine incident?! Thursday morning left me packing for myself and the kids. I rocked. I really did. We had everyone organized and ready to go, breakfast served and cleaned up, car loaded, and hit the road by 11:00 a.m. as was our goal. I was so very proud.

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We stopped at a state park for a break mid-afternoon. A picnic lunch/dinner and a hike really made a great break from travel.

The kids were happily loaded back in the car, and we were on our way. Some fun travel packs a friend (she’s pretty special) prepared for the kids made the rest of the ride easier. We were cruising along, having a pretty good time.

We were amazed at this wind farm. It was amazing to see the huge windmills that filled the landscape for as far as we could see!

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It was somewhere around this part of the trip, when we had been on the road for 6 hours or so, when Eric innocently asked me if I had remembered to load the garment bag with his suit and my dress for the wedding. And the tears came again! I forgot the bag. Truly. We had everything we needed to go to the wedding except clothes. I honestly felt like the biggest failure in the world. Of all things to forget! Why couldn’t it have been something easy to replace like toothbrushes?!

Too late to go back, we pressed on toward Des Moines and arrived in the middle of the night. Kids tucked into a hotel bed, I was so relieved to have made it safely with the only tears of the trip being my own!

Friday, we recovered from the trip. My brother and sis-in-love took their girls to an amusement park. We opted out, in favor of the hotel water-park and shopping for some clothes for the wedding. ;P Breakfast from McDonalds, and a trip to the pool wore the kids out enough that they all napped at the same time!  I took off for the nearest mall, leaving Eric with the sleeping beauties. I shopped desperately for a dress suitable for a wedding. And found nothing. Nothing. What few dresses I found were either cut so low my belly button would’ve showed or looked like something someone’s grandmother should have worn! Again, many tears and a helpful lady suggested a trip to a nearby mall where there were some better stores.

I called Eric, who quite frankly thought I had lost my mind.

Still, he loaded up the kids and drove us to that mall, where we found not one, but two dresses for me and pants, a shirt, and a tie for him in less than an hour! I know in the grand scheme, the clothes and the worries were pretty small potatoes. I know that, at least in my head. But in my travel wearied state, they sure didn’t seem like a little thing. They felt like a great big failure.

Eric and Tima

We clean up pretty nice…. :) Love this dress!
Makes me almost glad I forgot the clothes… But don’t tell my honey. ;)

Dinner with my Dad and Step-mom, my brother, sis-in-love, and nieces made for a very special evening for my family. We followed that up with a trip together to the water park. It was lovely. Simple, beautiful, and lovely.

The wedding was beautiful, as was the bride. I love a good wedding, and this one had me crying before all the friends and family were even seated! Kate included a poem written by our grandmother in the wedding program. It was such a beautiful tribute to a lady we both adored so much. I cried when her dad walked her down the aisle, and again when I realized that the song playing during the lighting of the candles was performed and pre-recorded by the couple! It was truly one of the most elegant and beautiful weddings I have been a part of.

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Daniel was not so taken by the wedding. He looked at me with silent tears streaming down his face and then whispered to me… “Mom, it’s just sooooo boooorriinnnnngggggg! Can we pleeeeaaaaassssse go home now?” Between some giggles, I whispered back, “No! We drove ten hours to this wedding and it’s very important to me to be here. You’re gonna have to deal with it and sit here quietly. Just watch for the kiss. That means it’s almost over.” And he did. You never did see such relief at a kiss in any little boy’s face!

The reception was a delight to all of us!

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Mary and her cousin did some serious visiting. Wish I knew what they were saying…

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Sarah watched and admired every move made by the bride, and has been playing dress-up bride ever since!

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Sam was happy to eat and visit with the other little ones.

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And Daniel… who hated the wedding so much it made him cry….
Well, he ruled the dance floor with his cousin! We all stood by and watched as they spun round, danced, and dipped for almost an hour. They were amazing! Truly. This boy of mine will make a catch for some girl some day… If she can get him to make it through the boring wedding. ;)

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We enjoyed more time with family on Sunday, and then began the journey home on Monday, stopping along the way for an amazing meal and visit with some good friends. They took us for a walk on a retired section of Route 66. It was a beautiful, and lovely end to our trip.

So now we are home, catching up on laundry (the washer is miraculously working… for now). My garden has grown, my house is a mess, and my kids slept late this morning. Life is good.

So here, for those who care to read them, are my tips for travel with littles.

  1. Stop along the way for active play. A lot.
  2. Pack healthy, whole-grain snacks and juices for a break from the fast food.
  3. Silly games really help make the car ride more tolerable. Bring along some ideas.
  4. Be ready for the trip to take much longer than it should. Get there when you get there so that there isn’t any stress along the way, pushing you to go farther between stops than the kids can handle.
  5. Be prepared for something to go wrong. It will. And it isn’t the end of the world, it just seems like it.
  6. Do stay at a hotel with a pool or water park. It’s amazing the stress relief that comes from splashing in the water with your littles.
  7. Make a stop at a local grocery for fruit to bring back to the hotel room. It’s such a lovely and welcome treat!
  8. Plan for at least one day of recuperating when you get home. You’ll need it and so will the kids!
  9. Be patient with each other. Don’t expect perfect behavior or perfect people.
  10. Have fun!

I missed you all. So good to be back home!


  1. I'm glad you had a good trip and that you found a nice dress and clothes for your husband, too. Sometimes that can be a real challenge, especially on short notice. I remember going to a wedding when I was about 12. My older brother was an usher and he forgot his much needed belt. Fortunately somebody found a piece of rope at the church and he was able to tie up his pants and nobody noticed because his jacket covered it up :)

  2. Glad you survived the trip!

    We have a bunch of windmills to our north and east. They're HUGE. Hubby used to work near them a lot - just one blade (of the ones here) are 150 feet long, I think.

    If I wake up at night and look out the window, the flashing red beacons on their tops makes it look as though an army of alien invaders is marching toward my home. Good thing I'm not prone to nightmares. :]

  3. Wow! So glad it all turned out in the end - I would have been a basket case! Adorable dress :) And I love that your grandmother's words were a part of the wedding - lovely touch.

    Thank you for joining Post Of The Month Club! XOLaura

  4. I found this post through Happy Homemaker UK...great timing, I must say. We will be enduring an 8 1/2 hour flight from London the Minneapolis, plus a 4 hour drive from there...tomorrow...with three little kids in tow. I hope I odn't forget the clothes!


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