About a week and a half ago, we packed up and headed out to good ole' Nebraska for our yearly Thanksgiving trip. You are thinking, Colleen is so flighty, she doesn't even realize Thanksgiving hasn't happened yet. But no, I do know. This year we decided to go to Nebraska early because we were putting our house on the market and we did NOT want to be there. I would rather live out of a suitcase for a week than live in my own house while it is being shown. Not that going to Nebraska is ever bad. If cozying up in one of my favorite houses ever, having all our meals taken care of and getting to see family and dear friends is wrong then I don't want to be right.
But I also really didn't want to be here during the showings. That way our house could be perfect and STAY perfect. And it worked. I'll blog more about that later because there are exciting and stressful things happening!
But back to the drive - eight hours in the car with an 18 month old - what did that look like exactly?
It actually went GREAT, which was the opposite of what I was expecting.
We left at 5:25am, exactly 25 minutes later than when we wanted to leave. Our goal - always - when we drive to Nebraska is to get as much "dark driving" in as possible. It's great to "miss" the towns of Ft. Morgan and Sterling and just start your day at the awesome Julesberg rest stop. We figured if we could log two hours in the dark before LittleM got up, that we would be good to go. *Laughs* Oh, idealistic parents. That means getting up at 4am, showering, packing, loading the dogs, feeding the dogs, then waking up baby, changing his diaper, giving him milk, loading him into the car and then leaving in an hour. Like I said, we took 25 extra minutes, but it could have been worse.
The dawn was pretty. So pretty is made me want to throw up and never see it again.
Too bad our morning planning was all for naught: LittleM was WIDE AWAKE at 5:25am and like "Hey guys, this is weird, what's going on?" The sun rose while he was awake. I fed him a banana and a cereal bar from the front seat as he chatted happily with himself. Around 9am, he fell asleep and we gunned it. Our driving with a baby theory is this - when he is out, no stopping. Log as much time as you can when he is unconscious. That's two less hours in the car that he has to deal with, and two less hours that you would potentially have to put up with crying from the back. The problem with this theory is that sometimes I have to pee.
And every time we stopped the car, guess who popped up like a daisy?
Ryan and I took turns driving, riding in the passenger seat and then sitting in the back next to LittleM, reading him books and playing with toys. Honestly, he's a pretty cute travel companion and was just snug as a bug in those pjs. Footy pjs are the BEST.
We stopped the Julesberg reststop just before he passed out and let him crawl around the informative library area, which was full of sweet old ladies who kept trying to give us used books and fawned over LittleM. "He's so cute - is he yours?" It was asked so nicely it was enough to keep me from being snarky and saying "Nope, we totally just kidnapped him from a McDonalds. Do you think it's okay?" Instead, I just nod proudly. "Yup! All ours!" We changed him into some light cotton clothes for the ride (I myself was rocking some serious leggings for my own comfort) and changed diapers, and took the doggies out - they were just grateful that we didn't leave them at home. *Sigh* It's so sad how their status has dropped since LittleM came along.
After he had stretched his legs and had a snack (those applesauce pouches are seriously the bomb, ya'll), we made it all the way to Gothamburg before we stopped for lunch. Since we are in Nebraska, we HAVE to eat at Runza, otherwise my husband will have a cheese and cabbage related meltdown. What is a Runza, you may ask? It's a delicious looking roll stuffed with cabbage and cheese and meat. I say looking because I ALWAYS ask Ryan for a bite of his and he always gives me one and I ALWAYS am like, "Oh yuck, that's right. I don't like these."
(Runzas are also notorious for giving you the Runs-zas, a joke that never stops being funny.)
They do have great hamburgers and fries though. Look at LittleM rocking his red Nebraska shirt AND eating part of Daddy's Runza. He totally loved it, truly his father's child through and through.
After Runza, we sort of gunned it through the middle part of the state, decided AGAIN that we will stop at the Kearney arch the next time we drive through. (This is like the 8th time we have decided that.) We stopped at another rest-stop, this time letting LittleM run around a grassy patch that gave me visions of snakes rising out of it's neutral shades and went on our way. Marriage confession: on our car trips, music is always an issue. Ryan likes to listen to his back-logged list of podcasts, which detail anything from role-playing games to x-box strategies, Ted Talks to a story about some old guy from some old war in some weird country doing something special. (Seriously, it's like all of them.)
I, on the other hand, really want to SING when I drive, and I really like to sing through entire musicals since it makes the time pass. Chess? Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat? Don't mind if I do - just wait until you hear my amazing vocal take on Pharaoh. Les Miserables? No problem, I'll be Javert, you be Jean Valjean, okay? Nevermind, I'll be both, it's going to be Tony-worthy.
This is as tortuous to Ryan as a podcast about lancing a fictional elf-dragon are to me. This is why we have invested in earbuds. We talk for most of the drive, but it's okay to love each other enough to not listen to our choice of music or podcasts for an hour or two while the baby sleeps. Also, I bet my voice sounds AWESOME with my headphones in. I could be in someone else's STOOORRRYYY....
Our last stop was a Dairy Queen in Lincoln Nebraska, where we laughed at their interesting take on a twist cone:
Yeah. We laughed for like ten minutes. It's so sad in so many ways. The concept is there, but the execution...
Then, a half hour later, we were at my in-laws house and LittleM got to run around their huge backyard to his hearts content. As you can see by the picture, he was absolutely thrilled to be out of the car.
"I'm smelling the flower. Aren't you happy people?"
But then again, isn't that how we all look when we have been in the car for eight hours?