So we're back from our big #spahnroadtrip'14 (the hashtag I used on Instagram last week) and honestly, I'm feeling a little out of sorts. I have an ache in my chest that has lessened in the past two days, but has not gone away completely. The ache is familiar to me--like being homesick at summer camp or away from your baby for the first time. For me, the ache comes when I have to make major transitions-- like the beginning of summer and the beginning of the school year. But this year, the summer ache never came-- I just jumped into summer and cruised through June-- while keeping my eye on our upcoming vacation the whole time. I was so focused on being in Florida at the end of the month, that the transition from school to summer was the most seamless I've ever experienced. But coming off vacation into summer is proving to be difficult. You'd think it would be easy-- to go from vacation away to more vacation at your own house. But our vacation was more than fun, more than 'a great experience', it was truly magical. It was an over- the- moon positive experience--and throw in a ton of pregnancy hormones and the whole trip was something I don't think I'll ever forget.
I feel like our trip started the day we went to Hy-Vee and bought snacks for the car. I let Charlie pick out several items that are usually no-no's in our house. His grin couldn't have been more priceless as he exclaimed, "Mom! This is the BEST trip to Hy-Vee ever!"
I saved all the packing for Thursday (we left town on Friday) because I knew I would over-think everything and turn packing into a week-long event otherwise. But honestly, I was so focused on the 20 hour roadtrip that I could hardly focus on what we needed for the week. I googled and pinterested several ideas of things to entertain Charlie in the car. I printed off mazes and matching games and tic-tack-toe sheets and car Bingo. I bought new crayons and markers and trinkets. I ordered a stack of books from Scholastic-- all ones that would be new and exciting to him. And while we used all of these things, in the end we probably only needed to bring the ipad and dvd's. He was the best traveler we could have hoped for-- only on the return trip did he even ask if we were getting closer-- and that was maybe just once.
And here's where I get to toot my horn a little too. I'll make it no secret that I'm not a road-tripper. The eight hours trip to the cottage practically kills me--and while I may have classified myself as a road-tripper back in college, that was 15 years ago. (And our road trips to Colorado did not involve kids and usually did involve a cooler of booze in the backseat). But we broke up the trip into two days and it went swimmingly. Friday we headed to St. Louis and stayed with Mindy, and then Saturday we drove the rest of the way.
Of course we stopped in Donnellson on the way to Mindy's-- as always!
The goal was to capture pics of the state-line signs. We were more successful with some than others.
Mason was 'fun dad' and entertained the kids before supper. I just watched-- which was fine with me.
The next morning we hit the road around 7:30 am. Definitely not too early and not too late. Actually, had we left earlier, we would have hit pretty bad traffic coming into Birmingham and then again in Florida so this worked out perfectly.
We tried to avoid the technology for as long as possible-- which was pretty fun, actually!
Playing car Bingo-- searching for cars of certain colors.
Crossing over to Tennessee-- that green sign says Tennessee-- I was just a second too early with the camera.
And someone zonked out for the first time around 4:00.
Our quiet adult time. (Who am I kidding? With Charlie playing the ipad or watching a dvd, those times were quiet too)
The plan was to stay in Birmingham for the night and drive the next four hours Sunday morning. But we were all feeling good and ready to get there!! However, I insisted on stopping for dinner at an actual restaurant in Montgomery, AL. (Plus, I had doctor's orders to walk around every few hours.) We ended up eating downtown at this little Railroad restaurant where everything came on a pretzel bun and with sweet dressing. We were shocked to order, eat, and be back on the road in under an hour!
Charlie never fell asleep on our final stretch into Florida. He looked out the window until dark and then enjoyed several episodes of old-school Scooby Doo. We crossed the state line and were at our beach house by 10:30 pm.
After greeting the other families and hearing their travel stories, we stepped outside to listen to the waves and smell the ocean. The other two families had saved the master bedroom for us, which was overwhelmingly sweet of them. (It meant I never needed to climb all the way to the third floor) Plus, the first floor housed the extra bedroom-- where Charlie ended up sleeping for the week. It. Was. Perfection.
Our Master Bedroom:
Charlie's Room for the week
Note: He slept in the left bed for two nights...until there was too much sand in it and then switched to the other. :)
By Monday night, he was ready to sleep with the big kids...until it was actually bedtime. They slept here:
Everyone slept well every-single-night. I wonder if it had something to do with long car rides and fresh air and salt water? Quite possibly! We woke up Sunday morning and were ready to begin our week!
(To be continued....)