Have We Lost Our Minds?
Pregnant with our fourth child, my husband has a moment of inspiration and suggests a cross-country family trip during maternity leave.
Loralea woke up me with news that something did happen in the middle of the night. She wasn't scared anymore. I am grateful that she was able to find peace in the quiet darkness. I decided not to push our luck on a bath for her since she still found that scary. Brogden was on point with knowing when each hour passed throughout the night because that is when he would start fussing, right on cue. I waited until 7:30 am to take him to George for cuddling so I could attempt sleep.
George and the girls plotted to strike out to find food and leave me and baby to rest more. Before I got the baby back, George had to change shirts from vomit. He shared that it had some distance so that mixed with how upset he was all night made me question the white fish on my salad two night ago and the cat fish. George reasoned that if I was already 'contaminated' with dairy/soy I might as well eat a beignet. I laid in bed pondering the idea of eating the famous doughnuts and decided he was right. I joined the group in starting the day which snowballed into packing and loading up to drive to the French Quarter instead of walking.
Found reasonable parking near where we wanted to be and suited up for our trek. Brogden has become comfortable in the Baby K'Tan since I watched a few YouTube videos to remind myself how it works. The girls watched Princess and the Frog in preparation for beignets and New Orleans on the ride yesterday.
Cafe du Monde was the first stop for our family. We wanted what they had and it was going on 11:00 am and this was going to be the first meal of the day. The line for table service was moving quickly and it did not take long to secure a table for our crowd. George ordered two cafe au laits, three rounds of beignets, and five waters. Waiting affording us the chance to sit, visit, and take pictures.
Waitress brought our treasure, still hot from the oil. The girls were a little bummed they had to wait for them to cool down. Worth the wait. Powered sugar was everywhere. I am pretty sure I remember one of the girls licking the plate. I typically try to monitor their sugar intake. Today, I practically dumped it down their throat.
Bellies full. We walked out the back way, mulling over buying more to go. Caught sight of the golden pillows being formed and fried. Girls. Had. To. Watch. Which caused some ladies to walk back to see the show through the window. I feel they have unlocked some creeper status level.
On a rebellious sugar high, I decided that I would also eat my beloved pralines. Of course, Biscuit went all creeper again in the window. Bought original for me and bananas foster for George. This is craziness to me. Original is the way to go.
George wanted to see live music while in New Orleans. Little did he realize that musicians played on pretty much every corner. The elders started bouncing around that they heard a 'marching band' so we were off to investigate. Found a small ensemble playing at the north end of Jackson Square. Being the good parents we are, girls got pralines (more sugar) and watched the show.
Always the problem solver, Bubble used the fountain in Jackson Square to rinse her hands of the stickiness. Biscuit checked out the banana trees growing in the park. She had to be stopped from picking one to eat. The adults were researching how to purchase passes for the trolley when Biscuit announced that she had to go to the bathroom.
Made our way back to the market where the pralines were bought to investigate the restroom sign that caught my eye
earoler. Found the public restrooms and gathered we were back near the car. George took the rest of the pralines to the car and retrieved water bottles for all. Brogden and I enjoyed Bubble's company while he nursed in the shade. New Orleans, I can nurse anywhere and nobody bats an eye.
Found a CVS for George to get his meds refilled. They could do it while we waited. Decided to clear out the list of small items on my phone. George needed new socks from his being too low on his heel. They were too low because they were mine. Funny dude. Brogden's rolls needed baby powder. My lips needed balm. Picked up a few quarts of water for good measure. Looked up where to get passes for public transportation. Across the street at Walgreens. Looked like we were going to be spending all day in drug stores.
Passes secured from Walgreens and a map studying session prepared us for the next adventure of public transportation. Girls wanted to ride the streetcars and George got a tip of the only snoball place we needed to visit.
Quick three block walk from the streetcar stop to Williams-Plum Snocones. Smallest box for customers so George stayed outside and the rest of us made our selections. Girls went crazy and chose root beer, George wanted king cake flavor, and I picked mango at the last second.
Caught a ride back, fully loaded with more sweets. If you have kept up, we have fed them beignets, pralines, and snocones only so far and it is 4:00.
Figured we were right on time for an early dinner and trekked over to Napoleon House on recommendation from my friend we visited last night. George ordered a muffuletta, Pimm's cup, and a sazerac before we could get all the children settled. Biscuit dove right into her cheeseburger as she decided it was. Check out her Hungry Girl videos here.
Finished up dinner and decided to take a stroll down Bourbon Street before it got too rowdy. Let me tell you. Drunken souls love the babies. Bubble, being all proper, had some of the funniest looks when she saw stuff that was different than her norm. Biscuit wanted to go in each and every shop to search out the most perfect fan. She never found exactly what she was looking for this day. Girls intensely studied the street performers and attempted to pick up every stray coin they saw. Yuck.
Leisurely worked our way back to the suburban. Parked outside the sea wall meant a few steps to the Mississippi River so we checked it out.
George and I discussed staying extra nights in New Orleans since it was one of the main places we wanted to see on this trip. Bubble was so hesitant about the Airbnb that we secured a hotel. She was pleased with our choice.
Stopped at the Trader Joe's on the way to the hotel for provisions and because they have little carts. Bubble and Tiny danced around the freezer aisle, working out the last of their energy.
Unloaded most of the back of the car to reorganize and get all the dirty laundry together. I knew I wanted to wash here before we left on Sunday.
Showers and PJs and these ladies were out!
Steps taken: 14,325
Miles driven: 16.8
Woke up around the usual 8:00 am but when hotel breakfast ends at 9:00, a little rushing is due. George scoped out the goods and reported back that he was okay with skipping it in favor of finding a little cafe. Carb laden fare is right up the girls alley though. I took the elders down in pjs while Tiny slept a little while longer. She might be tiny but fierce and mean when she is tired.
I am not the only one that swoons over matching pjs. Tiny, Brogden, and George quickly met us and the crowds went wild when there were three. The girls went wild too. Making all sorts of food requests. I was fetching items for 25 minutes before I got to sit down and eat a bowl of oatmeal myself. George asked if I was going to eat a beignet over his coffee. Again. This has been a huge decision since I really, really, really, really want one but it would upset Brogden's tummy. With being on the road, in close quarters, and without my washing machine, I did not know if it was worth it. I shared all of those points and that I was still contemplating the idea.
We had discussed visiting the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile and ultimately decided to press on to New Orleans since that was one of the main stops we wanted to visit.
Breakfast did not satisfy big George; he found a cafe/coffee shop that he wanted to check out on the way out of town. He has been very efficient at finding coffee whenever we are so I trust this will be a good choice. Turned out not only to be the most delicious granola apart from my homemade but they had cake balls for the rest of the family. The girls behind the counter included two extra balls that the girls shared with daddy. George hung out inside for the coffees and I took the crew outside for a table in the courtyard. He overheard the two employees discussing how to present the granola since it is not something they normally sell on its own. They choose well because I was awarded a bowl, a real bowl, with granola and blueberries and sliced strawberries and bananas all drizzled with honey. IT WAS A TREAT! It was also a great place for pictures seeing that it was at the corners of something and George Street. If you find yourself in Mobile, AL, then make a trip to Cream and Sugar.
Onward to Mississippi. Pretty skies and marshlands provided the scenery on the drive.
Girls had just settled in for the ride. Shoes off. Mississippi here. Bubble and Daddy practice spelling. Rest of us are ready to get back on the road.
Brogden was the most excited about the break for Louisiana state line picture. He was getting desperate to stretch. Inside the welcome center, Biscuit charmed the ladies into coloring packets for all the sisters. I lied and said yes we had crayons for them. Wax colored sticks in a car asking to melt. No thank you. Biscuit does love to flip through the pages to tell me the animals she sees. I do not think she realizes they were supposed to be colored. Winning.
Bridges, water, and the Folgers plant greet us in New Orleans.
Found the Airbnb reserved for the night. Girls find great pleasure in weighting themselves. I document to reference for Tylenol dosing on the trip. Fun and educational.
Nobody is surprised when George wants to walk to a coffee shop for a treat. Biscuit has wised up to our parenting style and brings herself a bagel. Just in case we don't feed her. Again.
Bubble carries Bubble when she is nervous. She was extremely nervous about the Airbnb. It was an older New Orleans home and out of her comfort zone. Maybe it was the Princess and the Frog movie from the trip here that is making her think the apartment is haunted with spirits. Biscuit takes a treat. And a knife. Got to be prepared on the streets.
Treme Coffeehouse was a huge hit. Girls got their classic 'wedding cake' snoball, George got 'tiger's blood', and I rounded out the order with marzipan Italian soda sans cream since it was made in front of us. We are indeed an almond flavor family between snoballs, sodas, and car snacks.
George and I ordered iced coffee and tea to go for the hot walk back. Sorry girls, you got mommy's ice. Headed up north of the city to visit with one of my old friends and co-workers. Girls loved their backyard. The Georges loved their swing. Amazon will be delivering this contraption to our house. Bet you five dollars.
Catfish so good you could slap somebody. Children bribed with juice boxes to eat two pieces. Successful gamble. Girls found out they liked catfish and ate more fish then french fries. Legos came out and I thought Biscuit was going to try to move in. Said our goodbyes. So sad but I get to see her at huge work functions.
Made our way back to New Orleans. No showers tonight. I'm counting the water gun fight. Bubble did not even make a fuss but George did sleep in the same room as her. We all fall asleep in our clothes leaving me wondering if I should mail home pajamas to make more room in the car.
Steps taken: 8,651
Miles driven: 281.7
We got the word that everything went well with the surgery and they were on the way back home so we can get quick hugs and be on the way to Alabama. Ride was nice and quiet once most of the children got to sleep so I took the time to write a bit on the different posts. George would stop me to take pictures of sights or engage in general conversation. This KIA plant was the longest building he had ever seen. Guessed it was a mile long with thousands of completed cars at the end of it. It was truly a sight to be seen.
I spent some time researching activities to break up the trip to Mobile for the girls and George jammed out to his XM radio.
The two hour timer went off during a nursing session while George took the girls to the restroom at the Alabama line. The girls are starting to get into the habit of taking the state line pictures and are good about smiling. Most of the time we take only two pictures just for insurance. This one was not the case. Four pictures in and we just called it good.
Driving into Alabama we were treated with great skies which George got shots from the dash cam to share.
One travel tip from George: in order to keep the car peaceful, keep the adults fed. Someone in front of me apparently kept asking for snacks and I would say, "Okay, let me get to a good stopping point," and never get him food. So he took it upon himself to find Alabama BBQ.
He did get me some to try so I forgave him. Not sure if he forgave me. BTW, Alabama BBQ comes with dill pickles if you order a sandwich or a plate. Not something I, nor him, are used to but it works. The stop allowed me to get out coloring for the girls. Fun for about fifteen minutes, then I was driven crazy with missing markers and having to pass around colors.
The aquarium membership saves the day again with FREE entrance to the City of Montgomery Zoo. Nice halfway activity for the children. I wasn't really sure what this stop would bring upon seeing a peacock walk around the parking lot. Not to mention that the ample parking selection screamed the zoo was desolate. We were pleasantly surprised to find a quaint little zoo. Although the desolate part was correct. We had the run of the place. Maybe because it was an hour before closing time. Tiny enthusiastically said yes to feeding giraffes and quickly rescinded when presented an actual giraffe that wanted her alfalfa hay.
Bubble and Biscuit declared it was the best part of their day. They also enjoyed running from exhibit to exhibit without us calling them back to hold hands. The NC Zoo had us spoiled for what to expect for zoo habitats. Other than it being extremely humid to the point of hanging out in the bathroom to cool the baby, it was a fantastic place to visit.
Hot, sweaty, and exhausted people got back in the suburban to finish out the trek to Mobile. George had selected the Gumbo House from the DDD app in Fairhope for dinner. Found the establishment. It was closed. Like closed down. Posts on Facebook two weeks ago. WTF? All the other restaurants around closed at 9:00 pm. The whole city seemed to close in thirty minutes.
Now every soul in the car is still exhausted and sweaty, mix in starvation and you have a volatile combination. It blew up. Girls asked for oatmeal in the hotel room. George wasn't speaking and you know I wasn't making anything better either.
Found the hotel and checked in. George got us out of the car. Didn't lead the group to the hotel room but to a restaurant 'two blocks' away. Liar.
Nothing around us flashed family atmosphere at the time of night we ate at the restaurant but we sat on the street. Characters were seen and I had a fan blowing directly on baby and me. Food was delicious. Montego's was worth the walk, trust me.
Steps taken: 9,489
Miles driven: 341.5
Other than Brogden waking me up a few times, I slept like the dead. The most gracious, bestest, kindness, sweetest, thoughtfulness hostess brought me a cup of coffee in bed! I was ready to give up the whole trip and move in at that moment. Turns out that the baby and I were the last to wake in our room. George got up and headed to a 6:00 am class at Crossfit Addiction.
We were treated to a scrumptious meal of Belgian waffles, bacon, sausage, strawberries, mango, and all the powdered sugar! Adults and children were moving slower than normal with the late night arrival. With eyes on the prize of Zoo Atlanta, motivation was found to dress and fill water bottles for the day. Tiny even caught a pretty stellar picture of Brogden while keeping him entertained during the sunscreen application of all girls.
Atlanta traffic around noon is serious business. Having full confidence in George's ability to follow the lead car and block for lane changes, I sat back and typed up two blog posts on the way to Grant Park. Zoo Atlanta is nestled in a neighborhood that reminded me of parts of home with tighter streets. Made it safely to the zoo and got everyone unloaded from the car and Brogden loaded into the carrier. If you decide to take your family on a huge trip, I highly suggest becoming a member of your state's zoo/aquarium and childrens' museum. Our NC Aquarium membership awarded us half off admission and a discount in gift shop. Our first stop was at the flamingos. This amazing and 'with it' momma packed and dressed the younger girls in matching flamingo outfits just for this occasion. Not really. I packed them and they were in the selected bag when George procured clothes for the family that morning. Nonetheless, the girls HAD to show their kindred spirits they were twinsies.
Then came posing with lion statues.... all the pictures. Girls would have been happy if they day stopped there. Our friends' youngest lead our group confidently around the zoo, making sure to keep us together and on task. I desperately attempted to bring him on the rest of our journey. Well, I wanted to bring all their children. Their daughter was energetic enough to keep up with Tiny and their eldest son was seriously a baby whisperer. Bubble got some *good shots of animals mainly the turtles and others in the reptile exhibit. Brogden had the best day in my opinion. He had so many options for people to hold him that he was hardly ever in the carrier.
Once the zoo kicked us out at closing time, we headed to dinner. The adults google searched the mess out of dinner with kids, family, and groups to finally settle on a Tex-Mex place called Superica. George and I both wondered about the kid-friendliness of this dining establishment but were proven wrong. It looked so fancy inside and totally hipster.
All the children sat at their own table beside the adult table. We could supervise coloring without being surrounded by it. Once one of them realized they forgot the blessing, we saw a ring of arms joined and several prayers sent up as each child was allowed to recite their own rendition.
We walked out a side door of the establishment to find a whole market of different restaurants and shops. It was like the flea market met a food court and had a baby. Purchases of coffee, drinking chocolate, Kissing Mermaids chocolate bar, and a new bone for the German Shepard pup were all made. Everything is fancier in this realm we found. The water dispenser not only provided chilled or non-chilled water options but sparkling as well. Just hanging out in the middle of the rustic tables where individuals could select from myriad of dining choices and meet back up for a cohesive gathering.
Our whole gang loaded up to head home for swimming time. The gals nominated the guys to take the children to the pool. That afforded some quiet visiting porch swinging and our sweet hostess allowed me to take a shower while she cuddled a baby that may have cried most of the time. I know Brogden was please to not touch anyone once everyone got home. George bathed the girls, rung out bathing suits, and dressed clean girls, all while I feed Brogden. Full of memories and depleted of energy, girls drifted off to sleep.
Steps taken: 10,128
Miles driven: 77.3
George does not race anywhere with eyes on the destination. He indulges in the journey. The process of finding your outcome. He chose 'Vacilando' as the name of our boat from John Steinbeck's use of the Spanish word in Travels with Charley. I have never come across a more perfect word to describe the man I married. From always taking new ways to everyday landmarks to the journey of completing projects around the house.
George is a traveler, I married a traveler, we made children that are travelers. This trip in a way is natural for us. Many think we are crazy and I do not deny their sentiments at all. It is crazy to take four young children in a suburban on a car ride that lasts weeks. It is also our life, a life of traveling. Traveling to work, school, museums, Craigslist finds, visit family, beaches, mountains, and days of unending errands. These children roll with the flow. Sometimes better than others but I feel this journey will find us stronger on the flip side.
The departure day arrives! Baby is fussy most of the night. Awesome. Hop in the shower and a realize that I am at peace. At peace with the trip, all we have prepared, and all that we will do. I know that God has our back in this crazy life. I get a few minutes to myself then Biscuits saunters in and asks if she can watch. You see nobody tells you that becoming a mother means automatically becoming an exhibitionist. Then Bubble joins her to watch mommy wash her face. That is when George brings me Brogden. Since I cannot remember the last time he was bathed, I asked if George would wait a bit for the baby to join me.
I clean the baby, George takes him to dry and dress, finish the shower, dry and dress myself, and look at the clock in time to panic. I yell for everyone to start getting in the car or we will be late to Brogden's morning appointment. I hear George faintly say something that I cannot believe. The exterminator is here. What?!?!? They were supposed to come around 10:00am not 8:30 when we have a 8:45 appt then followed by a 9:10 appt. I race out to light a fire under my precious wanders and I find one still asleep in the bed. (Hello preview of teen years) Get the girls out the door only to realize that I am holding the baby and did not grab the infant seat. George heads back in for the seat and to tell the exterminator how to lock up. I am sure that guy thought we were nuts.
I get in the Jeep to follow so I can head to my six week appointment and the four wheel drive is on from George moving the boat. Waved my arms. He drove away. Tried to call him. Phone left inside. Called my dad. He had no clue. Called baby brother. To the rescue again. Talked me through getting into two wheel drive. Called the pediatric office to tell them we were running a little behind. Appointment with nurse could not have gone smoother. Baby gained two pounds in two weeks and got two shots like a champ.
Brogden gets back in the seat to head to my check up. I never pumped milk to allow for him to stay with George. So we race to my appt which was scheduled 25 minutes after his appt. All lights, roads, traffic jams, and parking spots were in our favor and we made it to my OB on time. I had some breathing time and got to visit with all the sweet folks at my doctor's office before heading back home to finish the packing and rolling out.
The girls were amazingly helpful carrying bags out for George to purposefully place in the suburban. Tiny decided to gather all her special things (sleeping stuffed animals and blanket) and sit in her car seat until go time.
We pulled out at 12:54 pm, bearly achieving the self-imposed deadline of 1:00 pm. Hit the road. To run last minute errands. Off to return the wrong Rain-X to Walmart, mail thank you notes and purchase post card stamps at the post office, deposit funds at the bank, and make a pick up from George's doctor and schedule a physical for when we return.
It was at the post office that the girls started asking for food. At first I was thinking already?!?! Then I realized they never ate breakfast in the rush to leave this morning or ate lunch in the attempt to keep the house clean before we left. I feel slightly bad as a mother and start to peel cuties for the cuties in the car. After a conference with George, we determine the best course of action is to pick up a bakers' dozen bagels from Brueggers and add it to the road snack stash.
A reset of the tripmeter to take out all the Raleigh errand miles and we hit 40 Westbound..... around 2:30 pm. We updated our friends in Atlanta that we were heading to that we got started later. I start to pass out bagels/cream cheese to the hungry passengers, which they gobble up as fast as I can smear the strawberry goodness.
Made it to South Carolina uneventfully, huge blessing considering some of the rain and traffic we encountered. We timed hitting the Charlotte after work congestion perfectly to catch most of it. ;) But for real, it wasn't as bad as it could have been with the direction we were going.
I passed out 2 pounds of apples, 3 oranges, 2 more bagels, almonds all around before it dawned on me that actual dinner might be due. If you have never heard me promote the Chick-fil-a One app, you are missing out. I was able to locate, order, and pay for a family meal from the backseat riding down I-85S. George was even a lucky recipient of a free peach milkshake from my rewards.
The Duncan, SC location offered curbside pick up which entails our black SUV sitting in the marked parking spot for the dinner fairy to fly out with hot food, literally 3 minutes after placing the car in park. The entire stop added 5 minutes to our arrival time.
Now onto doling out sustainance without creating a mess for myself later. Girls all chose their regular applesauce and nuggets which they had to consume first before they got their milk. They were prepped for not being allowed ketchup and honey for dipping. Could you imagine that potential catastrophe? Once I got all trash back then they were able to have their prepared milk to drink.
Our timing has worked so far and I hope that it continues. I am reminded that we are not alone on this trip when crossing the state line into Georgia this view pops up. I snap a picture while singing Corey Smith lyrics in my head.
Traveling with young children is different than driving to spring break with your college buddies. It is a race to get to Florida beaches, stopping only when restroom breaks are required. George sets a timer for break reminders every two hours. Allowing 10-15 minutes worth of stretch, nursing, and potty breaks. For this first day of travel, they have lined up with our state line pictures, very handy.
Make it into Atlanta at a time when traffic is not an issue and we can focus on finding our way. Our hosts for the first two night of this journey are kind to allow for this family of six to descend upon them at such a late hour, around 10:45 pm. Our friends stayed up to greet us and gently introduce the girls to their German Shepherd puppy. The elders had their beds made and were encouraged to select a few stuffed animals to make their space extra cozy. The adults took time to catch up on life since we last visited with them and make a few plans for the next day. We all fell fast asleep in the most comfy bed. I was personally so relieved to have one day down.
Steps taken: 7,452
Miles driven: 433.7
The days are passing faster as the trip approaches. I cannot complete everything I have planned for each day. Someone should have definitely encouraged me to get a baby sitter. Packing for a month long trip with a 6, 4, 2 year olds, and one month baby is nearly impossible. Many people came by and kept our girls busy for a bit, which was awesome.
Each night when I laid down, a recount of the unchecked list would scroll through my mind. I constantly wondered how it was all going to get done. My amazing MIL decided to come over four days in a row and just hold the baby. That was perfect! Now she did more than hold a baby, like take the eldest to the library to pick out books for the trip, take me with three to the mall for last minute shoe purchases when the favorite sandals broke, stay with George when I had girls' night, and talk me through packing for the five souls that were in my charge (Big George was on his own). I do not think it would have all gotten done without her.
The garden program at church has been helpful as well for packing and getting things accomplished. My mother comes by and picks up the elders and their cousin and takes them to her house for a sleepover since the program is early morning. Well, it starts at 9:00am but that is super early in our house. The girls love the time with cousins (another cousin is in the program too) and their grandmother. I love the time with babies that still nap at home. It is amazing how much you can conquer with only two children if you are used to four.
We asked three different pediatricians in the practice we use and they all agreed the trip was a great idea and strongly suggested (mandated) that baby Brogden have his two month shots before we go. George scheduled them at six weeks since that is the earliest they can be given. George also scheduled my six week check up when we were leaving the hospital so the ended up being the same morning, the morning when he wanted to leave to get on the road.
T-minus one day approaches and the family does yard work? It makes since after I thought about it but at the time I blindly agreed to trim shrubs. The girls were awesome at dragging all the clippings to the fire pit. Tiny decided she needed to do all work with sandals on the wrong feet and bottomless. She makes it work for her so I wasn't stopping her. We pulled together and got all work completed in time to head to a sweet boy's first birthday. It was great to get in some quality family time before the trip with the party.
The girls also got to see all their cousins at an outdoor showing of Moana before we departed as well. We were able to spend quality time with family and friends in the days before we left. Not only were we able to fill our car but fill our souls as well. We are blessed with the best people in our lives and they are supportive of us with their presence and their prayers.
Thank you to everyone that has visited, helped, and, mostly importantly, prayed for us and this trip.
This family loves food. As I am writing, George is opening more crackers for Tiny and Bubble is asking for an apple all while Brogden is nursing. Car snacks are a must on road trips. With Brogden's intolerances (dairy/soy), I am somewhat limited to what I can eat out and about so I know I wanted some serious eats in the vehicle. Three days before we leave, one of my CERES sisters offers us cucumbers from her husband's garden. Biscuit's favorite! Of course we had to indulge her.
Two days before we left, I finally got some time to prep food for the trip. I woke up with a surprise text that I was going to have some much needed help in the way of a sweet friend having time to come by. Not only did she come with the intention of assisting packing but she brought FOOD! She knows the way to my heart. Huge bag of safe and healthy munchies. Apples, chips, cookies, and gummy bears. Doesn't sound too healthy but you don't yet know what I had in my mind to create. She has witnessed some of my antics before and was not at all taken aback for my plan to make chocolate covered bacon. The perfect salty/sweet concoction that if I made at home with my ingredients I knew it would be safe for baby and thus, I could chow down.
There was only 3/4 cup of the dairy/soy free chocolate chips in the house so I thought we would run out before all the bacon got dipped. Gloriously there was enough for all the bacon and extra to drizzle over pretzels! My snacks were headed in the right direction now.
George made two different flavors of roasted almonds. Salt-n-vinegar and Sriracha/honey. So yummy. One pound of each flavor and I don't think they will last two days. The girls love them too so they are definitely a family treat. He roasted plain almonds at 350 for about ten minutes then spilt them into two bowls. One with a Sriracha and honey mixture to coat and let cool. One with apple cider vinegar and then sprinkled with a salt-n-vinegar powder from Amazon.
Initial Inventory of car food
Sriracha and honey almonds
Sweet potato chips
Root vegetable chips
Haribo gummy bears
Enjoy Life cookies
Costco nut bars
Hopefully this stash lasts until Texas.
When I think of having a new baby, my mind pictures endless days of Netflix and Hulu, family and friends visiting, freezers full of home cooked meals (not by the new mother, of course!), walks around the neighborhood, and couch snuggling (sleeping) with a new bundle of joy perched on your chest. This is precisely nohing of what my fourth child has gotten to experience in his short 4 week life. Oh sure, friends and family visit and our freezer is full. There has been a walk in the neighborhood with a friend that was visiting so two checks for that day! But mostly our days are consumed with preparations for this trip. This trip. This trip requires the suburban's windows to be tinted, weather deflectors installed, a dash camera, a GoPro with front window mount, and for the vehicle to be repainted? Ok, so the repainting is because someone hit the suburban in a parking lot in which they decided to drive Mach 10 speed in reverse and damage from the bumper to the right rear passenger door after my pre-op appt six days before baby came.
I should have filmed the police officer's face when he saw me behind the wheel, belly and all. We assured him that I was not in the car but following behind in my car so I had the pleasure of witnessing my beloved husband and two youngest offspring being collided with out of the blue and the sturdy suburban jostled in such a violent manner.
This incident is mostly behind us now after being without our main mode of transportation for over a month thanks to our uninsured/underinsured coverage. During that time, however, our secondary car required an extensive visit to the engine doctor. Thankfully, my brother lent us their Tahoe for about two weeks. My husband likes to remind me that somehow things work out. He says this because as we are driving to my parents, the engine starts knocking, we make it to my father's repair shop just as my brother is pulling in behind my mom. My mother and I continue our trip to visit with my aunt. My brother offers the use of the Tahoe and drives said husband back to his house to get it (55 min drive!). Like seriously, who would you call right now if you were stranded with your family of six and needed a vehicle that fit four car seats. I do love my family.
My brother allowed us to continue the preparations since most of these purchases required a mini-road trip to meet whoever was on the other end of the Craigslist deal. With George it is never only about the purchase, but the hunt that comes with it. Like a lion stalking its prey. The hunt is how we end up four counties over buying a battery operated lantern and bear spray. Bear spray-let's all pray right now it comes back in a condition that could warrant it being restocked on the shelf. George is getting everything just so for this trip when it comes to the suburban. Which I got to hand it to him, it will be pretty much home for a couple weeks so I am glad he is making it everything we need it to be and more. Cause for real, a dash camera and the front windshield mounted GoPro? I still don't understand why we need both.
Update: I feel like the worst person in the world (not really) but, for real, how could I have ever forgotten the roof top carrier? George has recently dabbled into the Facebook Marketplace world. He is so glad that he did because he became the proud owner of a brand new Thule Atlantis 2100...... with a huge crack in the back. So now onto how to fix the crack in plastic. George thought he found an ABS plastic welder that was only a 2 hour drive away. Easy peasy for this guy to sweet talk his family into another day trip. Problem is the guy never called him back. Onto to Plan like D at this point and he purchases plastic epoxy from Lowe's Home Improvement. In reading the instructions (for once in his life), George takes note that the compound will only cure from 39 - 70 F. Y'all it is the south and summer. I pray for a day that is 70 degrees. Solutions are never far away with George at the helm so the coffin gets moves inside. Of course, I am recruited to help carry the mammoth box in my night gown, none the less. It may have been in the middle of the afternoon. :) I am trying to make the best of my maternity leave and no plans means no real clothes.
My poor field of vision now. How can I enjoy Bob Ross on Hulu with the huge plastic coffin in the middle of the living room? And the smell? Do not get me started. When George says, "Come get the baby out of the swing. I don't think he should be breathing this". I worry about all of us, not just the 4 week old. Morale of the story is the KISS method tends to work more often than calling an ABS plastic welder that is 2 hours away and charges $65/hour for repairs. And, yes, two days later this is still the view from the couch.