That day/night before was one of the hardest of my life. In my humble opinion it was as physically and emotionally almost equal to labor and delivery. So exhausting and it felt like it was never going to get here. I could have never made it on the road if it weren't for the help of so many selfless friends. It's impossible to plan on what kind of help you will need and how long it will take. Thankfully we were surrounded by friends who gave up hours and hours of their lives to help us. When I think about it now it makes me teary all over again :(
So these are the last pictures I took in Liberty Lake,
our storage unit...
Every single thing was strategically placed. The quilt next to me was a gift from my sweet friend Julie. She made it for me as a goodbye gift. I had it right next to me all the way to Boston to cheer me up.
When I planned out my trip I knew the first day was going to be brutal. I had been dreading it, fourteen hours on the road...just me and the kids... B.R.U.T.A.L. Montana is the worst state ever!!! I have driven through this state so many times that I knew what I was getting myself into. That state NEVER ends and there are so many miles between cities you never let your car get below half empty. So I thought it would be best to get the worst part of our trip out of the way first.
Pulling out of Liberty Lake was one of the saddest feelings I have ever known. Aric and I grew up into real adults there, we became a real family there. Ten years of life was now in my rearview mirror. It seemed so surreal. I had a little pow wow with the kids before we even pulled out of the storage unit that this was going to be the longest day ever and the only way we were going to get through it was if everyone was on their very best behavior. These were the car rules...
No fighting - No complaining about anything - You pee when I tell you to pee - NEVER ask me "How much longer" - I am in charge of the music - Keep your space as neat as possible - Whenever we stop you take whatever trash you have out with you - Don't ask for snacks I will give them to you every two hours.
I also took this time to explain to them what a meltdown was and that I was going to have one. I told them not to worry because I was really okay and that I needed to just get all my tears and sadness out...and with that little chat, I turned the music up and let it all out. It was a sad scene I tell you...so very sad.
Once I had past my beloved Coeur D'Alene (20 min into the trip) I felt scared. I had never past exit four by myself. This was my last view of Lake CDA...
There was no turning back...not only was I now letting myself feel the brokenness of my heart, but now it was mixed with fear.
"What am I doing?"
"Why am I doing this?"
"How am I really going to do this all by myself?"
"What if the kids get sick?"
"What if I get sick!"
"I cannot get sleepy...but what if I do get sleepy?"
"Will the bins on the back of my car actually stay on?"
(Since we could only take what I could fit in/on my car, we were stuffed to the max. Our good engineer friend figured out this system for me. He even made me a video on how to take off and put back on the straps!)
"How am I going to take them off and on each night?"
(I ended up being too freaked out about not getting them back on tight enough that I just left them on.)
"Do I have enough cash?"
"Do I even need cash?"
"I cannot loose my wallet!"
"Please car, don't do anything stupid...I have done everything to prepare you for this trip. Your job is to get me and my precious cargo through 3000 miles of freeway awesomeness with out so much a gas light turning on."
And that is what my brain sounded like in between the flashbacks of the millions of memories that were now flooding my mind. My friends were texting me like crazy, sending me good wishes and love. After about an hour I had to tell them to stop because it was just too painful.
The Idaho and Montana weather was crazy! We went through rain storms where my windshield wipers couldn't go fast enough AND we even had snow! The kids and I decided it was the heavens being sad for us.
It took a good four hours to finally get all the tears out. Then it was all business. We only stopped twice for food, pee and gas...in that order. The kids were awesome. I really was amazed at how well they did, I know it was the prayers being said for us. They slept a ton and heaven knows I needed the peace and quiet. I cannot express how happy I was to leave Montana and cross over into North Dakota. Finally a reason to smile! (The glasses hid my swollen, puffy, cried out eyes)
Just as I got out of Montana we saw the sun go down in North Dakota...I remember feeling very tired but just knowing we were a few a hours from sleep kept me going.
Just in case you really wanted to see how flat North Dakota is...this is it.
The last hour was so hard. I was exhausted. Only four short hours of sleep from the night before and the few weeks leading up to the move I averaged 5-6 hours of sleep a night so I was running on prayers at this point. Tia Ana was checking in with me regularly. There was an amazing lightning storm that came in about 45 min before we hit Bismarck. It was so incredible to watch that it distracted me. At 1am I pulled up to my aunt and uncle's house. This picture was taken just after we got unloaded...UGH, just looking at this picture makes me tired!
The minute I saw my tia running down her front stairs towards me I lost it all over again, she held me tight and said "Oh Honey. You poor thing, it's going to be okay. Tia is here." I felt a giant weight lift off my shoulders and let myself believe her long enough to fall asleep. I slept for TEN hours. Eden and C slept in Tia Ana and Uncle Al's room. Maya slept in the room next to mine. It was heavenly.
Tia Ana and Uncle Al are so good for my soul...so so good. They totally took care of me and the kids. I'm having a hard time finding the words to even explain what those two days meant to me. They completely and totally nourished me, mentally, emotionally and physically. I was broken, they fixed me. They filled our cups so that we had enough to finish our journey. Oh how I love them!
Seriously, do I not look like a different person from when I left Liberty Lake??!!! That's what a good dose of UncleTia can do for you.
Here we are all decked out in our Boston gear ready for Day 3. Now that we are well rested and all cried out, we were ready for the rest of this adventure to begin!
Our day started out pretty good, Camden even took an morning nap! Then he woke up right on the North Dakota - South Dakota boarder crying because he had peed his pants. Thankfully we were close to a gas station. I took care of him and then started to clean his car seat. I gave strict instructions for him to stand against the wall while I dealt with the mess. C ignored the instructions and kept dancing around the parking lot near the car. I had finished his seat and when I was about to put him in the car I smelled something...he somehow found a pile of dog poop and stepped in it! This was the only time I got mad the whole trip. I almost left him on the outskirts of South Dakota...
I really tried to make the most of the many hours on the road. Eden's sweet Activity Day leaders made a travel bag full of games for the kids. Maya's friends made her a cute box full of presents to open along the way (ex: when you pass 15 red cars open this, when you pass a river open this...) it was so fun for her. I made some awesome playlists so we sang a lot! We had lots of good snacks, like the banana bread Jessica R made for me...
One of my favorite things to do was look for old abandon farm buildings with Maya. There were lots of them, it kind of made me sad.
We were headed for Winter Quarters, Nebraska. We spent a lot of time in Iowa and drove by lots and lots of corn. Totally felt like I was in "Field of Dreams".
Finally Nebraska...can't find my picture of the sign but I know I took one! We stayed the night in Omaha. We got to our hotel in time for dinner and swimming. At the pool a nice guy, that was boarder line creeper, was talking to me about my bins. He was quite concerned about them getting stolen. Turns out he lives at the hotel part-time...like I said, creeeeeper, and offered to help me take them off. I went and talked to the front desk and they said to park right in front of the front desk window and I should be fine. The police drive by regularly through the night. I felt better (sort of) after talking to the front desk so we left them on and prayed like crazy that no one would steal our bins of clothes, sports gear and kitchen supplies. I was so relieved that they were still there in the morning, the kids new they would be there because we had prayed, oh how I needed their faith on this trip!
Maya looking out the window. She was the best helper!
Maya reading her Harry Potter books with a wand in her hand...so ridiculous.
Eden chillin' in the back seat. I loved looking in the review mirror and seeing her singing. She didn't watch one movie. She just listened to her ipod or the radio all day, everyday. The poor kid constantly had stuff falling on her. I was amazed at how good she was about her assigned seat. It was definitely the worst place in the car.
It was a great day as far as traveling all day in a cocoon can be. There were no pee accidents or fights. I was so proud of my kiddos.
(This just might be my favorite picture I took of our whole trip. Maya pointed out that she could see our shadow and there it was so I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick picture.)
Stay tuned for the next leg of out journey...