Going up the country (or across and down it, whatever)

So. We're alive. We made it. 9 days in the car. 2 1/2 weeks of hotel living. 2 adults. 2 toddlers. It's time to stop being polite, and start being real...

Ok, maybe not that last part. (and let's be honest, that show has been solid crap for many seasons now.)

For starters, we finally got to celebrate this nugget turning one, along with having a see ya later Seattle peeps party. That was a rough day. I held it together mostly, til everyone left. Then I ugly cried for a few hours.

And 2 short days later, the movers came to pack up all of our stuff. ALL. OUR. STUFF.
The biggest moving truck I have ever seen ever. Shit just got real.

And of course, there was ridiculousness and nonsense all around. Both kidlets spiked high fevers. Like 105 fevers. Because of course they did. They never really get sick. And NEVER get fevers. So now seemed the perfect time. And hubbs decided that he needed to go see a movie with his boys. Leaving me with 2 sick kids, no TV, crappy take out food, and no where to hang except our very hot, very non-curtained bedroom. Where the sunshine poured in until 10 pm, and the men building crates for our fragile stuff labored directly outside until 9:30 pm. Sleep didn't happen. But lots of colorful phone conversations and texts did until daddy came home....

And then it was May 20th. the day we drove away, getting a much later start than anticipated (8 pm until the movers were completely finished).
The house we called home for 7 1/2 years. The city we called home for 9 1/2 years. The family and community we built. The crunchy granola family we became. The NICU that housed girlfriend for 2 months. The church that forever changed and sculpted my faith. The company that finally sent us back to the east coast. The doctors who talked me down from ledge after ledge while pregnant and terrified with little man. The friends I could not have done life without. Leaving was one of the most difficult things we've ever done.

 We became mommies together. There are no words for how much I desperately miss these girls. And their sweet nuggets. It's chaos and madness and crying and laughing and tantrums, and then there's the kids.... Playdates were a saving grace. Rare nights out without the kiddos were just laughter. The mass Bachelorette texts, the oversharing, the insane amounts of laughter. Good for my soul.

The amazing Amy Cheng took these pics. They were my going away present. Best. Present. Ever. And I have no idea how Amy was able to get any shots at all when we are all ridiculous and couldn't hold it together...

And also....can we just talk about these kidlets....
The world's greatest picture. There was perhaps 20% cooperation. And then full on terrorized screaming. Parenting in all it's messy glory.

And then these sweet friends. The oldest of the bunch, who finally figured out how to play together and not just next to each other. Girlfriend misses her buddies every day. That hug kills me.

So....I'm gonna need a minute. Sobbing into my keyboard.

Regroup. K. So roadtrip.

Hubbs did an amazing job breaking it down. We only had to drive about 4 or 5 hours total each day...except the one hellish nightmare that was Denver to Kansas City. UGH. it pretty much highlights all that is wrong with the midwest. Kansas. STEP. IT. UP. For the love. You've got a pretty famous movie to work with. Make some interesting signage OR SOMETHING. That day nearly killed us. Not to mention the ridiculous storm we drove through. But I get ahead of myself....

This was our car. Pretty full. And also? In order to nurse/ entertain the kidlets, I had to squeeze myself in front of that Full Circle bag. In approximately 1 inch of space. Because in this family, we don't pull over to tend to crying hungry babes. Mamma whips it out while we're driving and everyone on the highway gets a show. Woot! Side note: THANK GOD FOR DVD PLAYERS IN THE CAR. The end.

 Knowing that our organic options would be limited at best, I made some loaves of bread, some jelly, some snacks, and then we stocked up on organic snacks and easily portable food for the trip. The above is the "great idea" hubbs had for protection AND food prep. Cutting a loaf of sandwich bread with a machete is pretty bad ass. And no, I was not allowed to touch it. I'm missing enough tips of fingers as it is...

And these guys saved my butt (except in the mountains. elevation/ motion sick is of the devil, and I had to resort to the big guns- aka bonine- in order to not hurl everywhere). The best part about these are the lack of coma induced when you take them. I was actually wide eyed and clear headed for travel. Which has never ever happened before in the history of ever. It was kind of nice. Although maybe not for hubbs, as he was not allowed to listen to his garbage music when I was awake, which was all of the time.

So Oregon. Idaho. Utah. All pretty whatever until we got to Salt Lake City, which is really pretty. Not many pics taken. Just kind of thanking God the kids were doing so well both in AND out of the car and praying it stayed that way for the entire trip.

Please note. I have a gift for picking fantastic restaurants. I do a teeny bit of looking around on-line, and without fail, the places I chose were some of the best food we've eaten. Someone should hire me.

Anyway. At this point all of the places are kind of blending together. I think Colorado was after Utah.

The red mountains were so pretty and we got out and "hiked" a little bit. Yes, we do dress like that for road trips. We are beyond ridiculous. I'm aware. Girlfriend loved "climbing the mountains". In her cowboy boots.

 It was beautiful, but I don't know if I'll ever go back. The elevation killed me. KILLED. ME. I was nauseous and green for pretty much the entire time we were outside of the car and above 8,000 feet. We stopped in Aspen because we heard it's pretty. And it really was gorgeous. Although we had no idea we were taking a gondola to over 11,000 feet elevation. Oopsie. And then, to save time, instead of going back the way we came and take the highway, hubbs decided to take a nice scenic drive through the mountains. Which was fine, until we stopped so I could pee. The minute I stepped outside of the car, IT. WAS. ON. I spent the next few hours in the front seat, crying and rocking and trying not to puke all over myself, while still trying to appreciate the beauty around us.

A pic I managed to get to try to take my mind off the fact that my insides were trying to murder me.

It was snowing and hailing which actually looked magical, like we were driving through Santa's workshop. But how the hell people live here is beyond me. I'm sure you get used to it. But I'm not testing that theory, thankyouverymuch.

So we stayed the night in Denver, got to meet up with a friend and have some fabulous Mexican food, because again, I rock at that. Then we visited Dinosaur Ridge, which for girlfriend just might have been the greatest thing ever invented. While mommy cried on the inside from nausea plus heat.

And finally, it was time for the day we'd been dreading. The 8 to 9 hour drive from Denver to Kansas City. We kept getting those loud beepy emergency warnings of flash floods and tornadoes on our phones. Which just added to the pure joy of that drive. They are not kidding when they say there's NOTHING on that stretch. And the kids were not super enjoying that long of a car trip. And we decided that since she's not in any kind of a rush to potty train (you can read all about our issues with holding here), even though she is fully capable of using the toilet, we figured we'd make it work to our advantage and have her in diapers for this road trip. Because no one wants to try to find a place to wash out a car seat on the road. Or clean-ish public restrooms.

So that backfired. Because girlfriend, although in diapers, refuses to be seated to do her business. So. Everytime she had to go to the bathroom, she would tell us "I have to poop and pee please get me out of the car seat". PERFECT. And of course, the ask became urgent pleas as we're driving through a monsoon in a place that has ZERO rest stops, or any shoulder to pull onto. Have you ever tried explaining to a toddler that we just can't stop the car right now as she's SCREECHING that her tummy hurts cause she has to poop?? And the holding. DEAR LORD THE HOLDING I DON'T WANT THE HOLDING TO COME BACK. So. Yeah. That was just a good time.

Also. Kanorado?? We couldn't come up with a slightly more original name than that for the border town between Kansas and Colorado? Really??

I'm still working on deleting that whole day from memory.

We did eventually get to Kansas City, and then St. Louis. I had some music nerdy fun using song lyrics to announce our arrival into all of the cities on facebook. I'm positive that did not get old at all.

We went up the arch, because I thought why NOT subject myself to more heights and small spaces and motion sick? It was worth the experience. I won't be doing that again either.

And then we FINALLY got to NASHVILLE! My brother lived there for a few years, and I loved it. By far my favorite city on our road trip. We didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but our hotel was ON POINT.
I mean. Look at the bathroom. 'nough said.

And once again, my restaurant choice was amazing. We wandered by a place called The Stillery. It had just opened that week. My prediction is you will need reservations to get in there in the very near future. The food was outstanding- my first experience with hot chicken and I'm now hooked. And their mason jar cocktails. I wish I had a tolerance because hubbs' drink was SO. DAMNED. GOOD.

We unfortunately didn't get to take the kids to any of the music or wax museums, but I know we'll be back for a vacay there at some point. Because Tennessee houses Dollywood, which might just be one of my fave theme parks of all time. My family went the very first weekend it opened. We were 6 feet away from Dolly Parton, 2 feet away from her chest. Along with Burt Reynolds, Lily Tomlin, a whole cast of amazing people which probably helped the whole magical experience....we'll see how it pans out as an adult.

The next morning, I found the world's best breakfast place.
Used to be a food truck. Now a restaurant. Biscuit Love. Just do it. Just go there and eat breakfast. Then come visit us. And on your way, hit up the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Because if you've never gone a mile up a mountain at a 73% incline, you should poop your pants today!

Our last night of the trip was spent in Atlanta. In a cruel twist of fate, that weekend Atlanta hosted a Food and Wine event that we couldn't go to. And. Since the city was crazy busy, we could only order dinner from a place in walking distance. We got soul food! Except. It was not good. And girlfriend spent the night puking....in the bed. And guess what hotels DON'T do at midnight? They DO NOT remake the bed for you, or remove the puke soaked sheets. We simply got to roll those up and put them in the shower, to house the stank for the night, and were handed a few new sheets. So that was awesome.

And the next day, we were finally off to Charleston. A little weary. Running low on sleep and underwear. But only a few hours of driving left.

And so began our week and a half stay at a hotel before we closed on the house and got our furniture. And surprise surprise, we all got sick.

I think it's safe to say our bodies were a little run down. Along with our ability to eat any more take out. Although we lasted a lot longer by sticking to as many restaurants as possible that used local, sometimes organic, ingredients. A few Charleston faves we discovered during our hotel stay: Crave, Saveurs du Monde Cafe (crepes and french pastries and the most amazing espresso), Opal, and Verde. And of course Whole Foods. 

So what did we learn from our excessively long road trip? Well. We learned that our kiddos are pretty amazing at traveling, which is nice to know.  We learned that the midwest is not really somewhere we ever need to go back to. And that you are probably not going to find many non chain, organic options in the midwest. (We were forced to eat Sonic for lunch. We won't be making that mistake again any time soon). We learned that we were spoiled rotten to be able to stay at Marriotts the entire way because a friend gave us her friends and family discount saving us ridiculous amounts of money, and allowing us a bit of luxury on the road every night. 

Also. It's a LOT easier to take a road trip when you know you don't have to drive back. 

Eventually, I'll post all about our adventures in our new house! But this post is already stupid long.



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