Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Trip to Montana: Part I

Two weeks ago, Paul and I embarked on a crazy trip across the country to visit our family in Montana. This was our first time driving out together and definitely our first time taking our kids on such a long trip! Since my sister's bachelorette party was happening the weekend we decided to leave, we planned to leave early in the morning on Sunday, October 12th and drive pretty much straight through - hoping to arrive in the late morning of Monday, October 13th. It's one long 24-hour car trip to Montana. Rather than prolonging the agony of the miles and miles we had to travel, Paul and I both agreed that the "band-aid" approach was best - plus, our kids are historically better sleepers in the car than they are in hotel rooms.

So, we drove to Ohio for my sister's bachelorette party - which I attended while Paul hung out with my brothers and the children. After a fun evening, I arrived home a little after midnight to find Paul in the middle of an intense strategy game with my brothers (which he was losing) and both children sleeping soundly. I sat up, chatting with the guys and Mary (my brother Raymond's fiancee) until well past 1:00 AM as the game wrapped up.

At 1:30 AM, Emma woke up. I tried my best to get her to sleep but she was having none of it. Paul and I both tried to calm her down for a good 15 minutes before we decided that perhaps her caterwauling was a sign that we should just start our trip now. We packed up, loaded a sleepy Matthew and a crabby Emma into the car, and drove out into the night, beginning our journey at 2:30 AM rather than at 6:00 AM as we had previously planned. And from there, we drove.

We drove and drove and drove. As we crossed each state line, Paul and I would give one another a high-five. Each state we crossed was another large portion of our trip conquered, making us one step closer to our far-off destination! We stopped for a quick breakfast and lunch, but other than that, we kept on driving and driving, determined to meet our goal! The kids, miraculously were a dream. They loved just being able to sit around and do nothing. Paul and I always joked that we had lazy kids -a and here was our ultimate proof. As long as we kept the snacks coming, the crayons plentiful, and the occasional movie running on our laptop, they were in heaven.

Paul and I, however were not faring so well. We began our journey pretty pumped up and energetic, but as the day passed and night once again began to creep upon us, we found ourselves becoming infinitely more tired. This also meant that we began to turn into angry ogres, growling spitefully at one another and blowing up over petty disagreements that arose, such as whether to stop at a Culver's or a Subway. I could barely keep my eyes open. They hurt so bad!

We stopped at a gas station shortly after we crossed the Montana border around 11:00 PM to purchase some highly caffeinated beverages and splash some water on our swollen, exhausted faces. As I stood at the counter purchasing my Double-Espresso iced coffee, the cashier asked me if we had far to travel. When I told her our destination was Helena, she stopped and exclaimed: "Oh you poor dear! I know that drive! You still have so far to go!" That about made me burst into tears.

Needless to say, Paul and I trudged on, only managing to stay awake because we had The Avengers playing on the laptop. As we approached Miles City, MT, Emma woke up and, for the first time the entire trip, was so sad, mad, tired, and frustrated that she was absolutely demanding to be freed from the confines of her car seat. We took that as a sign that, after 24 hours of driving and less than 6 hours from our final destination, it was time to call it quits. We stopped at a motel, paid for a room, and collapsed into bed with the kids. Everyone was asleep in a matter of minutes.

We got six glorious hours of sleep before the kids woke us up demanding sustenance. The motel had a wonderful breakfast buffet and we filled our tummies and gulped down multiple cups of coffee before heading back to our room for showers. While getting cleaned up and repacking the car to begin the final leg of our journey, I knew that I was still tired out of my mind and extremely hormonal (or a combination of the two) because I could not stop crying. I would be standing there brushing my hair and the tears would start to flow. I could not find my contact case and the waterworks would suddenly explode. You get the picture. Luckily, Paul and the children were as perky as ever and tried their best to ignore me as I sobbed my way through Lady and the Tramp with the kids in the backseat of the car. I was a mess, I tell you. A mess.

The rest of our trip passed without incidence and soon we had finally made it to Grandma and Grandpa Nistler's house. FINALLY! The kids were so excited to arrive and felt instantly at home.

See? She felt right at home. Already walking around without her pants. 

I'll continue with Part II Next!

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