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.
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.