Several weeks ago Ryan told me he had to go to a workshop in Wisconsin in August. The thought of spending a week at home alone with the children in the late summer void of nonstop fighting and limited social contact with other adults was terrifying, so I suggested we make a family trip out of it. I've always wanted to visit the HarryTimes family and they live in the area. I was so excited!
Then Ryan informed me that we would not be purchasing five plane tickets just so I wouldn't have to do bedtime by myself for six days. And so that is how we decided to load up the kidlets and drive to Wisconsin in the Big Gold Minivan.
A few days before the trip, we laid all the maps out on the table and tried to have a little family enrichment moment. James was overcome with excitement and had to be put to bed. Charlie pointed to every continent on the globe EXCEPT North America and asked me if *this* was Wisconsin? This? This? THIS ONE, MAMA, WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE? Wes claimed the Iowa map as his by eating part of it. Family enrichment time was quickly abandoned in favor of putting the kids to bed and then using Google like the rest of the universe.
I loaded the essentials into the car Friday afternoon before we picked Charlie up from camp. That definition changes considerably when you aren't limited to what you can carry into the airport. We needed our scooters and pillows. And a cooler loaded with lollypops and Goldfish, for example. And every Croc I could find in our house. We're really good at losing shoes.
Planning time was no indication of how well the trip would go, fortunately, because the kids have been AWESOME in the car. We started out in Dallas on Saturday morning and made it all the way to Kansas City that night.
There we stayed with dear friends from grad school. Some other friends who live nearby came over for dinner. I've missed these girls so much. It was like nothing had changed.
Except we now have eight children between us.
First injury of the trip: James fell off the porch.
He managed to rally quickly and eat a huge piece of cake with ice cream.
It was so hard to say goodbye to our Kansas City friends (come visit us soon!), but we had to get to Wisconsin by Tuesday morning for Ryan's class, so we were off.
After three stops in the first hour of the nine hour trip (coffee, gas, potty, none of those could be combined into one stop apparently), we made pretty good time the rest of the day, finally arriving in Madison just before dinnertime on Monday.
The drive was really beautiful. Dubuque, Iowa, who knew?
Our wonderful host had dinner waiting and we sent the kids outside to eat and play. We have been having a great time since then riding scooters, playing at the playground across the street (awesome!), going to the zoo, and soaking up the eighty degree weather. We have felt so welcome and at home and the kids have loved having friends to play with all the time.
Yesterday SnarkyMommy came up from Chicago and we took nine kids to Panera. It was exactly as loud as you would imagine.
James is up and we need to find some food. More later!