I’ve claimed to road trip with our family of five before, counting our dogs. But this was our first official road trip with four humans. We decided to take a trip out to Charlotte, North Carolina several weeks ago, and finalized our trip last week. There were several reasons we wanted/needed to go to take the trip.
1. Uncle Tim & Aunt Teri. Steve’s family lives in Charlotte. They always welcome us with open arms, and his Aunt Teri loves loves loves babies! The last time we saw them was Thanksgiving, and before that, when Mitchell and I crashed there for a night when we wrapped up our big summer road trip. We’re so happy we’ve been able to connect so much this past year, but they had yet to meet Miss Julia! So, of course, our visit with them was at the top of the list.
2. Best Friends! Some of our best military friends, who I’ve written about so much this could practically be their family blog too [see here, here, here, here, here, and here], were going to be TWO HOURS AWAY FROM CHARLOTTE! They had a Wounded Warrior event, the same weekend we were traveling that way. So Sunday afternoon we were both able to sneak away from our busy weekends and see each other for a few hours. And Julia got to meet her Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Matt! We miss them so, so, so much!
3. IKEA. I’ve been compiling an IKEA shopping list for months. My primary purpose was to acquire dining room chairs, stools, and a cube-style entertainment center for the play room. Yet again, the Exploder did not let us down. I was able to squeeze 8 chairs, 2 stools, my entertainment center, 2 large throw pillows, and an adorable little fake plant in the back, with room for the kids and our luggage in the middle. [Everyone was severely limited on what I allowed them to bring in preparation for this little adventure]. Thankfully IKEA packages their furniture in four billion little pieces so the boxes were relatively small.
4. The Mac Store. My computer’s screen is extremely floppy, and it shouldn’t be since it’s still really new. I see its future in Steve’s MacBook, whose screen is currently being held on by Minion Duct Tape. So before our Apple Care expires and the warranty is no good, we sent it off to the Mac doctor to be fixed up. Hopefully it’ll come home like-new, as the plan is to pass it to Steve to replace his dire computer situation. But we shall see. This may slow down my blogging and photo processing, but for now my back-up is doing the trick [despite four years in college and a deployment to Afghanistan].
5. The Hockey Store. Yep, the hockey store made the top-five list, as my husband tried on skates to feel out potential replacements for his high school pair. Which he successfully accomplished, while Mitchell ran around the store trying out all the hockey sticks. The staff was encouraging him, giving him all kinds of miniature sticks to try. While they were undeniably adorable, I got to run around making sure he didn’t knock over the rack of 2,000 sticks that ran through the middle of the store. This boy is definitely ready to hit the ice.
So there is an extremely long and drawn-out explanation of the reasons behind our trip. Friday morning I loaded up the car and got everyone ready to leave as soon as Steve came home from work. We were hoping for sooner, rather than later. But my over-achieving husband, who was doing his qualification at the shooting range, decided to be the high shooter for the day and have the best score out of several hundred people. Awesome, right? Well, yes, but it also meant he got to stay three hours late at work to get an award, thus killing our plans to jump in the car on Friday. So we decided to set our alarms for 4:00am on Saturday and hit the road early, and avoid becoming the terrible houseguests that show up in the middle of the night. I’ll only do that to my parents. I managed to keep the amount of “stuff” we brought to a bare minimum. Which was impressive considering we were traveling with two under two. No strollers. No suitcases. Our essentials – diapers, wipes, iPad, baby carrier, toothbrushes, bottles, changes of clothes, and about 30 baby blankets. We had to bring the Pack-and-Play unfortunately because Mitchell absolutely refuses to sleep with us. But, that’s about all we brought. And my camera, of course. The kids did well. Mitchell is generally really easy in the car, so I wasn’t too worried there. And baby girl seems to like her carseat. She’s pretty content in general if her diaper is dry and her tummy is full.
Saturday morning we headed straight to accomplish #3, #4, and #5 on our list so we could spend the majority of the day with family. Saturday evening, our family treated us to a wonderful dinner of Chuy’s Mexican food before we called it a night at their house – watching TV, catching up, and passing Julia around like a hot potato :] Sunday morning we ate at IHOP before we left, and then departed to meet our friends at Chili’s in a tiny little North Carolina town. By the time we got home on Sunday night, neither of us were even hungry for dinner! I could go on and on about how much we miss our military friends [I have before], but I’ll try to spare you. We have met some amazing people throughout Steve’s service thus far, and I’m just so grateful to have them in our life.
By Sunday afternoon, I was itching to get home – mostly so I could put together our furniture and see how it looked. Does anyone ever second-guess themselves for days on end before they decide whether or not they like a home-decor purchase? Because I definitely do. The kids almost slept the whole way. We got home, unloaded the car, and [because I’m crazy] put together two of the barstools and six of the chairs. We finally have a table with chairs – it almost looks strange. I can’t wait to share some pictures of our home on the blog for our far-away family and friends to see! It just hasn’t felt finished yet, so I’ve been withholding. But it’s definitely feeling like home these days, and I couldn’t be happier with where we are in life right now!
Last, but not least, I can’t write this post without a huge shoutout to our friend, Katie, who stayed at our house and watched Zoe and Loki. She loves our fur babies as much as we do, and was able to take some time out of her crazy busy schedule to make our trip possible!