Today we began the 12+ hour drive from Wake Forest, NC back home to Mobile, AL.
The last time we made this drive Lana was 6 months old and we were moving to Wake Forest. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was so terrible that we have not made the drive since. We fly. Every. Single. Time. For the sake of my sanity.
Well, plane tickets have gotten quite expensive, so when Dan's dad offered to use his points to get us a hotel room to break up the drive, we decided to try it again.
Last week we went to D.C., which is about 4 hours away from Wake Forest. It was the trial run. And believe it or not, she did wonderfully! Not one minute of complaining or whining - she just played and chatted and watched TV and sang with us and snacked and was really a pleasure to travel with. I was totally, pleasantly shocked. This was the child that for the first two years of her life HATED her car seat, and would scream if we put her in it for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, no matter which was it was facing. She refuses to sleep in her car seat (still). I just couldn't believe how delightful she was!
So we packed up for the first leg of our trip...a 7 hour drive from Wake Forest, NC to Newnan, GA. In our house, all the rules go out the window when someone is sick or when we're traveling. We watch lots of movies, snack on lots of fun things, and just try to survive with a joyful heart.
So before leaving, I took her to the grocery store and let her pick out some "special" snacks. She chose Wheat Thins and fruit chews and strawberries. I swear I did not try to influence her one bit. I also let her pick out a new coloring book. We put it on the table where she could see it, but she knew she couldn't color in it until our trip.
Last night we packed the seats around her with snacks, cups of water, crayons, blank paper, stickers, stamps, playdough, string and lacing beads, and all her comfort items (lovey, blanket, baby, doggie, and travel pillow).
And now, with a sleeping little girl settled in the hotel in Newnan, I have to tell you that today was wonderful! She did not have one single fussy moment, although Mommy had a few. She didn't ask one time to stop and use the potty, although that could have been averted by a 7 and a half months pregnant Mommy who asked to stop and use the potty constantly. She watched just a little while of TV while we were stuck in Atlanta traffic.
We packed a lunch and stopped at a rest area where she could run around, and that seemed to help. Around 2:00, we told her it was naptime and she needed to go to sleep, and she didn. She only slept for 30 minutes before the talking GPS woke her up, but it was enough to keep her from being cranky.
The hotel we are staying in has a pool that we jumped in as soon as we arrived - pure relief for everyone! We walked to a restaurant for dinner so that we didn't have to get back in the car.
We have about 4 and a half more hours tomorrow. I'm dreading getting in the car again just because I'm so sore, but the payoff at the end (family!) makes it worth it.
Summer is a real treat for us around here. Really, it's more than a treat. It's what helps us survive this crazy life here at seminary. The semesters are long and hard. Dan works full-time, goes to school full-time, Lana & I go to preschool....quality family time is hard to come by, and never in great quantities.
But Dan doesn't take classes during the summer. Our home church sponsors us here, and that money applies only to the semesters, so we take the summer off. The first summer, we weren't sure if that was the right thing - I contemplated working a summer job to pay for him to take classes so we could hurry up through seminary. Dan decided against that, and since then, we've seen a HUGE benefit in us having a couple of months of downtime, with just Dan working on the weekends, and us having the week days to really invest in each other and others.
We're a week into this summer, and it's proving to be the best one yet!!
Tuesday was a totally relaxing day....Dan slept in after working the weekend, we all lazed around the house, ate a leisurely lunch, took a nap, and then went to our friends' house for dinner...buffalo wings....yum! Wednesday we got up and went to the lake with friends, jet ski-ed, and had the best time. We made it home for naps and got to play with Hollis for a little while until April got home from work. After nap time, we went to the library to pick out new books, and then had dinner with friends. We came home, put Lana to bed, and then I got to meet a friend for accountability and dessert. Today we went to the Farmer's Market for produce and lunch, came home and took naps, and then our small group came over to eat dinner and hang out. Tomorrow we're going to clean the house and do some chores in the morning, and maybe take Lana to the theater to see her first movie. We're having friends over for dinner tomorrow night.
This week has been like a dream....better than any vacation I could imagine.
Next week is shaping up to be just as much fun. The next week we go to DC to work with our new church plant there, and then we head to sweet home Alabama for two weeks. I'm just so grateful for this time we have as a family of three as we wait for Tucker's arrival....soaking up the precious time and making lots of memories.
This morning, Lana felt Tucker move for the first time! He is super active late at night and in the morning, and he was really rocking and rolling this morning. I called her into our room, and when she piled into the bed, I got her to put her hand on my belly. When she felt him kick, her little eyes were as wide as saucers!
Dan reached over to feel him, too, and she immediately grabbed his wrist and took his hand away. "Everybody take their hands off Tucker!" she told us.
She thought about it all for just a second, and then asked me if Tucker was big or little...you could tell she was trying to picture him inside my belly.
Later that afternoon, she asked me what Tucker was doing...."Is he moving around in there, mommy?"