Saturday, February 19, 2011

A recap of our whirlwind trip to TX

2 weeks ago we got word that Rod's grandmother had passed away. For us, this was not a sad occasion to get the family together, but more of a chance to celebrate her life and to spend time with family from far away. Rod's family is pretty split up and it is rare for them all to be together.

He has a cousin in WV with his wife and 2 kids, an Aunt and cousin in OH, his parents and sister here in AZ, and an Aunt and grandparents in TX. Needless to say, they do not all get together very often. I think the last time we saw most of them was in 2007 for his cousin's wedding. The Superhero was 6 months old and The Princess had not yet entered our lives.

So, when we got the news about Rod's grandma, we knew we had to try to get to TX to spend time with family. His grandma lived near Dallas, which is about an 18 hour drive from where we live in AZ. My brother lives in San Antonio which is only a 16 hour drive from here. We made the decision to leave AZ after work on Thursday night and drive through the night. With two kids. And Diabetes. And Asthma. Yep. We are crazy.

So, we packed up and headed out on Thursday night. We were on the road by 6pm. Shortly after we left, The Superhero was already asking "are we there yet?". Rod and I laughed and prayed/hoped they would fall asleep since neither kid had a nap that afternoon. Sure enough, within 10 minutes, they were both OUT. We thought they would definitely SLEEP the whole trip.

Boy were we WRONG. We stopped in Tucson to full up on gas and so I could go potty. Both kids woke up due to the bright gas station lights. We continued our drive throughout the night. Stopping and taking turns driving.

It was a L.O.N.G. night. The kids barely slept at all and every time we stopped, the bright lights would wake them if they were actually sleeping. Then night turned into day and we continued driving. We finally made it to my brother's apartment around 11:30am. We had been driving for 16 1/2 hours.

We were exhausted. I had not slept at all. Rod had napped while I was driving, though car sleeping is not restful at all. We REALLY wanted a nap. We ate lunch and HOPED to nap. The kids had other ideas. Neither one of them would settle down. I ended up letting Rod nap and I stayed up with the kids. Then The Princess got CRABBY and I made her sleep. She slept a LONG time. I had to stay up with The Superhero and also wanted to make sure I could sleep that night, so I ended up not napping at all.

Once everyone was up, we got ready and went to dinner with my brother, his girlfriend, and some friends of the family that live in TX too. It was nice seeing where my brother lives now and spending a little time with him.

The next morning we packed up the car again and left his place around 6am to head into Dallas. 5 more hours in the car. Luckily this time the kids slept quite a bit of it. We planned to get into Dallas around 11am so we could meet up with one of my blogging D Mama friends, Laura, from Houston We Have a Problem. We had planned to meet at Chili's for lunch and I could not wait to get there to meet her and her sweet family! They beat us to the restaurant and when we walked in it was as if we had known each other forever. We could just pick up in conversation as if we talked all the time. Nate is as adorable as his pictures make him out to be and her girls are the sweetest little girls in the world. Oh, and Laura and Jim were great too. :)

When we were all done eating, before we said our goodbye's, we stopped to take some pictures. (see below) I can't wait to make it back to TX so we can spend more time together!

After changing at Rod's mom and sister's hotel room, we were off to the funeral. It was great to see his whole family there. His cousin, L, and her husband are expecting their first baby in March. And his cousin R and his wife N, along with their two kids D. and J. were there as well. They had a 15-20 hour drive from the East coast.. It was the first time we had everyone all in one place. And it was nice to see that everyone was able to make it there to say goodbye. Neither of my kids made it through the service. I had to sit outside with them both and keep them entertained. They are just not "quiet place" material. It was ok though. Rod was able to be inside. Where he needed to be.

Once the service was over, the whole family headed over to an Italian restaurant down the street. This part makes me laugh. They live in a SMALL town and the directions we were given to get to the restaurant were "go back down that street, past the U-Haul place, to the restaurant that starts with a V." Rod and I laughed. No one knew the name of the restaurant. We just had to eyeball it. Luckily, we found it without too much trouble.

Our kids are also NOT very good in restaurants. Especially after being cooped up in the car for SO long. We barely made it through our meal and we were the first ones to leave. We headed over to Rod's grandparents lake house to get one last look before leaving town. It was nice to get to see the place I have heard so much about over the years. It was beautiful. His family all came by too and we were able to spend a few last minutes with them before heading out.

Our original plans were to drive back to San Antonio (5 hours) and stay with my brother for the night and then drive home (16 hours) from there the next morning. We ended up changing our plans before we had even gotten to Dallas for the funeral. We decided we should start heading toward home so our drive the next day would be shorter. And since I have THE BEST parents EVER, we were able to get a hotel room booked for us in Odessa. This was about a 6 hour drive from where we were and a 12 hour drive from home.

We were EXHAUSTED after the funeral and family time, but made it to Odessa around 12:30am. Then the fun really began. The room was booked through and had already been paid for. The lady who checked us in did not realize that (and I was not completely sure either) and she attempted to run my credit card which was declined. Odd. Then we ran my dad's card (yep, I woke him up in the middle of the night to get the number). Declined. Odd again. Ran mine again, declined. We decided her machine must not have been working right. She let me put a cash deposit of $50 down so we could get checked in and take care of the rest in the morning. We wake up the next morning, get ready to go, head down for the awesome complimentary breakfast, and on the way back I stopped at the business center to use the computer to check my bank account before our drive home. We had only $45 in our account. WHAT?!

Yep, those TWO charges for the room that were attempted the night before were attempting to go through. Leaving me a lot less money in our account than we needed to get home. Argh.

Talk to the front desk person. She said "Oh ya, I can see the room was booked online and has been paid for. The girl last night must not have done it right when checking you in." WHAT!?! (again)

She reversed the charges BUT it was SUNDAY and the bank was CLOSED. I tried calling and getting a real person for the bank, which I did, in the lost and stolen department and they could do NOTHING to help me. Of course, I did not expect them to. I just panicked and had no idea how we were going to make it home on $50 cash (deposit given back to me) and the $40 in our account.

Again, as I mentioned above, I have THE BEST parents EVER. We were about 3-4 hours out from El Paso. My mom went online and wired us money to Western Union and then sent me the address to put in the GPS. Just a few hours later we had our money and were able to continue our drive home.

The last 12 hours of our drive home that Sunday were the WORST of the whole drive. At least for The Superhero. The Princess was an ANGEL the whole time. She was so quiet. She watched her movies and was just overall really good.

The Superhero? He was HORRIBLE. He SCREAMED the majority of the way home. "I CAN'T BE IN MY CAR SEAT ANY LONGER!!!!!!!!!!"

I actually have video of him SCREAMING his head off. I needed it to prove to everyone (and him someday) how awful he really was. And the funny thing was, every time I put the camera up, he would calm down a bit. It was as if he didn't want anyone else knowing how he sounded. It was INSANE.

He used his toes to put his window down. We re-locked the windows so he could not do that again.

THEN he OPENED his DOOR on the HIGHWAY!!!! We pulled over and closed it, making sure to re-lock the child safety lock! He had undone it himself sometime when we were stopped. Such a stinker.

He also kept unbuckling himself. I would have to re-buckle him. It was NUTS. Once he went to sleep for a while, he was in a little better mood. But was still crazy. I can't completely blame him. It was a LONG drive. And being in the car as much as we had all in just a few short days was a LOT for them to deal with. But, he had no choice but to be strapped in his seat the whole time.

Anyway, we FINALLY made it home around 11:30pm that night. It took us about 14 1/2 hours to get home. All the stops along the way really add to the total time.

And though we are glad we made the trip, we are not looking forward to another car trip for a long time.

Here are some pictures taken over the time of our trip...

(Pre-funeral car-nap; playing outside the service; Pirate Princess)

*Disclaimer: I am a mom of a T1 Diabetic child. I am NOT a doctor. I just play one in real life. Please do not take anything in this post or any other post on this blog as medical advice. If you have questions or concerns of your own, please seek advice from your doctor.*


Meri said...

Holy Moley! What a trip woman! That is A LOT of driving. You are brave!

I'm glad you got to spend time with your sweet family...and the amazing Houston Family!! Home sweet home!

Misty said...

Oh my...I am getting anxious just thinking about that much time in the car with little ones!! But I am so happy that you were able to make it to TX. Love the pics with the Houstons!

Stephanie said...

Oh are brave! That amount of driving would make me crazy. :) I can barely keep my kids sane when we drive the 6 hours to CA. But you made it!!

And how awesome you got to meet Laura and the cool!

Michelle said...

Wow! That's A LOT of driving in such a short amount of time! I dread long car trips with our kiddos. Fortunately it seems to get a little easier as they've gotten older, but even I get antsy when our trips are more than 8 hours at a stretch. Glad you were able to do it so you'd be able to be together with family! And nice you got to get a D-mama meet up in too!

Kelly said...

Damn girl! You ARE CRAZY! The whole post stressed me out, for you! Im happy to see that you met up with Laura though....and its great you got to celebrate Grandmas life :) need a vacation.

Reyna said...

Sounds like a HELLACIOUS drive Tracy! You and Rod are deserving of a vacation after that business. I am so glad you were able to be there with your family AND to meet Laura and the family. You are amazing for the effort you put into this for your family.

Yes, your PARENTS are awesome!!! Love them for helping you guys out!!!

Hallie said...

You need an award for that trip! What a stinker! A cute stinker... but oh my goodness! Here's hoping you can laugh about it now! So jealous you got to meet Laura! Love those adorable pics!

J.C. said...

We used to have to duct tape my sister into her car seat, she used to take the T-strap off and the buckle in general :) next time pack a role of duct tape :P

Laura @ Houston We Have A Problem! said...

CrAzY trip - - - I think you know my favorite part!! Thank you so much for meeting up with us and having lunch. It was such a treat to meet you (IRL) and your beautiful family.

I can't wait until next time. Let's do Sea World!!

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