Well, we are finally home from our last major road trip of the summer. I am happily exhausted. In the midst of each of our trips I wondered more than once why in the world we had decided to take two kids under the age of three on such long road trips and so many of them in one summer. But, in the end I am happy we went on each of them and have been blessed by the experiences.
Where did we go? Our summer began with a week-long trip to stay with James' parents in Wadsworth, OH. James had to be on-site at one of his clients all day every day that week so we stayed with grandma and grandpa to get out of the house and get some help! We traded in our SUV and got the van the last day of that trip, enjoying the additional space on the way home.
A few weeks later we drove to St. Louis for a convention I was attending (and volunteering for). Daddy and two kids cooped up in a hotel wasn't the most fun, but he was brave and took them both out to see the city. We also used a babysitting service a couple of times so that James could get out of the hotel and enjoy a few hours free of kids on the golf course. After six days in St. Louis we continued on to Kansas City where James had several meetings and a training course for work. Now it was mom's turn to be cooped up in a hotel room with the kids. The first hotel we checked into was spacious, but not nice at all (dirty - I never let my feet touch the carpet, I wore flip flops the entire time). So, we checked out after a couple of nights once we could get a room elsewhere. The second hotel was even more spacious and very nice. After five days in Kansas City we drove home (all 10 hours in one day).
A little over a week later we were in the car again to drive to Memphis for a convention James was attending (and also volunteering for). While I was solo parenting for much of the week, it was much easier since we were staying at a friend's house and I was essentially house/dog sitting while he worked the convention as well. We have friends in Memphis from when we lived there so it was nice to hang out with them again while we were there. We were also able to drop in and see some friends in Nashville on our way to Memphis and on our return home a week later.
We were home for two days, then packed the car again to head to a lake in northern Michigan to hang out with James' family. I was kind of nervous about camping with a three-month-old, but we ended up staying in James' brother's camper and had a great time! We were also able to attend a friend's baby shower while we were up that way and saw some extended family as well! After five days we headed home, dropping James off on the way home at a golf tournament.
A few days later, my mom arrived! This was her first time seeing Jack and the first time we had seen her since Christmas. James went back up to Michigan that weekend (last weekend) for a reunion with the guys he lived with his senior year of college. Mom was a great help while he was gone!
Three days after James' return, we all packed into the van and headed to Atlanta to see my brother. Lucas looks amazing! He is still confined to a wheelchair for a while longer since he can't put weight on his heels yet. He is out of the plaster casts and wearing removable walking casts. His spirits are high and he is working again, part time.
We also had the chance to hang out with some great friends who we never get to see anymore due to the distance! What a great trip. We toured the Coke museum and went to the amazing Atlanta Aquarium. We had a truly wonderful trip and brought home many wonderful memories that we will cherish forever. What we won't cherish is the big souvenir we brought home, a crumpled front fender. We got in a minor accident leaving the aquarium on Friday. Everyone is fine if not a little embarrassed. It drives fine other than a little scraping that occurs when we make right turns. So, we drove home making as few right turns as possible! We got in late last night and unfortunately had to say goodbye to my mom today. She flew back to Tucson today after a wonderful visit. We will miss her a lot and look forward to hopefully all getting together in December!
Whew! What a long summer. At last we are home and can hopefully settle in and get back to normal over the next week just in time for James to go back to work. We were blessed to have him on sabbatical from work for the month of August.
Now we just have to get the car fixed!