Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Long Ride Home

After a few hours of sleep, Brian and I packed up the car starting at 2:30am on Saturday the 7th of July.  We wanted to get to Louisville, Kentucky, by 3:00 in the afternoon and it's about 12 hours from Topsail Island.  Thankfully the kids went back to sleep when we put them in the van and Brian and I had enough to talk about to stay awake.  We didn't say goodbye, though.  :(  Sorry about that.  It was 3:30am, so secretly you're welcome.
Our trip home was part of our vacation and we decided to stop and see stuff.  I found the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory online and decided that would be a fun place to stop.  Brian is holding Babe Ruth's bat!  COME ON!  That's cool.
The kids had been in the car for 12 hours, so Emil and Colin went completely crazy when we let them out.  Colin was like "Dash" from The Incredibles, running from one thing to the next.
Emil was more destructive ("let's give that kid a bat!") than fast.  We went through a guided tour of the factory and saw how they used to make baseball bats and how they do it now.  Really amazing.  Our tour guide would tell us some cool stuff, then she'd play a video that told us the exact same stuff.  Brian and I would trade holding the wild animal known as Emil B.  He thrashed and kicked and screamed through that whole tour.  We couldn't let him down with all the machinery around.  Poor babies!  We got some cute little baseball bats made for the kids with their names burned into them (Genuine Louisville Sluggers!) and then we had to hightail it out of there and into the 105 degree heat outside.  Of course we couldn't leave without a picture in front of that giant baseball bat in front...
Yes!  One of my favorite pictures ever.  It most accurately depicts my life, see.  Bridget was such a trooper.  There she is holding two baseball bats and she didn't take a swing at either of her brothers.  Once we got in the car she asked us if we were going to see where they make the baseballs next.  (Brian and I loved that question.)  We went back to our hotel for easy mac and yogurt and the boys each took a remote and changed channels on the TVs for a few hours.  (Residence Inn near the Louisville KY airport.  Bridget got her own room again and she asked where the boys were going to sleep..."in your room?")
The next morning we left Kentucky and headed to California, Missouri.  We crossed a lot of bridges in the east.  I think that's one of the biggest differences in the landscapes between east and west in the United States.  Since we could see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis from the freeway, we stopped to take a closer look.  (Melissa and her family were still at the beach or we could have done it right with them.  Sad!  Maybe another time when it isn't eleventy-hundred degrees outside.)
That's what we do with Emil on vacation.  Throw him and take pictures.  Ha!
Run, Bridget!  Run!!
That is me in my clever disguise.  In one of these shots Colin is making his way off me by going over my head.  I should have been wearing workout clothes the whole trip, now that I think about it.

Back in the car and a few hours later we were at Kenny and Doris's in California, Missouri, where Brian's grandfather grew up.  Kenny is Brian's father, Harold's, cousin.
They were so good to us!  They fed us, let us sleep in their room (and Bridget got to sleep in a pretty bed in their play room upstairs), and Kenny took us on a tour while Doris and their granddaughter, Olivia, watched our kids.  
Brian is standing at the old entrance to his great-grandfather's farm in McGirk, Missouri.
A view of the street where his ancestors lived.
Kenny took us to the capitol, Jefferson City ("Jeff City" to them).  Then he drove us to the Ozarks, which was not what I expected.  On our way back home we stopped in some Amish communities and got a load of their horse and buggies.  
In the playroom Doris had an old purse with make up in it.  Every time I checked on Bridget she was putting eye shadow on.  Beautiful.  Olivia (next to Bridget on the swing) is holding Kenny and Doris's great-granddaughter, Austin, and that's the dog, Ziggy.  (The boys were inside taking a nap.)
We were off to Independence, Missouri, on Monday after eating lunch with Kenny and Doris.  The reason we stopped here is because I really wanted to go through the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.  (Independence is his hometown and I read his biography last year.)  The library and museum had closed fifteen minutes before we arrived.  Booo!  This is the Truman house.
There were plaques and signs all over the city with the image of Truman walking with his cane.

After Independence, it was just a lot of driving.  We stayed in Omaha, Nebraska, that night at a Courtyard Marriott.  No kitchen or separate rooms, but it was one of my favorite hotels we stayed in.  Emil puked on his already nasty blanket, but I could wash it there.  I'm a simple girl.  We also had vouchers for the best breakfast of the entire trip.  Win!
 We spent our last night of vacation at Little America in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I don't know if enough time has past for me to talk about that yet.  The room was pretty and the pool was nice.  BUT!!  The boys could open that door to get out (no bolt at the top - that's a door stop you see).  Brian took Bridget for a swim after a huge FAIL at dinner (boys running everywhere and too tired to eat).  I kept Emil and Colin in the room with me and tried to get them settled down after bathing them.  I went to the bathroom and when I came out the door to our room was open and the boys were gone.  It was their jail break finale.  (When they take off in different directions we call it a jail break.)  I found them walking down the stairs on their feet because they're over-confident about their abilities.  (It's a controlled fall, for crying out loud!  Thanks to Bill Bryson's book I think of that every time I go down any stairs.)  I dragged them kicking and screaming back to our room and put all our luggage in front of the door to barricade them in.  The above photo is the next morning (Colin was sick during the night and spent most of the night sleeping in our bed and kicking us).  Colin is running around with Daddy's phone and Emil is figuring out the zipper on my make up bag.  Bridget is probably putting something out of reach.  My blood pressure is going up, let's move on.
We made a stop in Laramie, Wyoming, where we visited my old neighborhood.  I found it!  It took a while, but I did it.  I lived there 17 years ago for 2 months during my mission, so it's kind of miraculous.  (I didn't have a car in that area either, so double the difficulty.)  The photo is Bridget climbing the steps to the Ivinson Mansion where Sister Jennifer Nicholes (my companion) and I were tour guides.  That was our service in Laramie.
Bridget took this photo of me. :)  It was fun to walk around with her and tell her about that part of my mission.  
Then she climbed back into her seat (notice we're watching Bugs Bunny) so we wouldn't disturb her brothers and we headed home.
Colin's hands make me laugh in this photo.  Sometimes he'd fall asleep with his hands behind his head, Ferris Bueller-style.
Emil had to have his binky and his blankie to fall asleep in the car (that car seat is crusty!).  When he was awake, he liked to throw the binky somewhere in the car and drop his blanket out of my reach by the door and then caw like a magpie until I found them both and gave them to him.  Good times.  After a while I didn't feel it when I would bump my head on the TV screen.

Whew!  My vacation report is complete. :)  So proud of us for doing it.



Jess said...

Now THAT is a road trip! Reading this reminds me to be grateful my kids come one at a time. :) You must be really quick to catch those boys on their "jail breaks."

melissa said...

Seeing you guys at the arch makes me both happy and sad. So conflicted.

You did it! Hope you have some time to yourself lined up.

Bump and Erin said...

Reading this makes me really happy that I am past the baby traveling years. It brought back a lot of memories. :) Glad you made it home safe and had a fun trip!