Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3578 miles and a car load of fun! Traveling with kids is nothing to be feared.

  This month we drove ourselves all the way to Florida, 3578 miles.  We left at 3:00 AM two weeks ago. We had a rule that no one was to talk till the clock said 7 am. But we were all so excited there was a little chattering as we were leaving our hometown. Genna told me in the dark of the van,  "Good job mommy you planned a good idea!"

Casey Key side of the inter-coastal waterway north of, Venice, FL

                                      Siesta Key, FL

  But as we were preparing to leave and pack and notify people around us, neighbors and family we noticed they all started to have the same reaction towards us. I didn't point it out-my husband did. He said to me two nights before we left. "People are all having the same reaction. It's always the same thing." 

#1- you're driving?? with a smirk or laugh
#2- you have movies and a dvd player right?
#3- omg my kids would drive me crazy
#4- you have a gps right? 

Now I don't mean this as a rant- we were thankful that people were being kind enough to us to let us borrow a GPS.  It was funny my three homeschooling buddies thought it was awesome and didn't mention the words GPS or DVD. We have used a GPS in the past btw, I had GPS and maps on my smart phone I used to own and got rid of. They are wonderful, but you can't see enough on them. We liked the Walmart Rand McNally Atlas a lot. Plus I gave each kids a photo copy of the route we were taking so they could help with their own little map books.

My husband's boss flat out told us we were nuts, but loved the idea. He said, Shannon times have changed! lol I said my kids really don't know the difference and they don't play video games. I explained we were cable free and didn't even watch tv at all anymore. We just have found different things to do with our time..that's all. He was amazed ;)  

Swamp Shop, Grosse Tete, LA

   I think we have become a culture so used to multitasking, in order to do this multitasking, we have taken for granted the little time our kids need real entertainment we shove something in their little faces that does it for us. God forbid we actually try and do it ourselves, let alone spend time with them, my goodness aren't we their parents? Ever wonder if the kids who asks a million questions and is labeled "annoying" might be because he can't get his questions answered and keeps getting ignored?  Kids are just unsocialized little people who need help and direction. Yes, that's what we are supposed to be doing, helping them 100% during the day not ignoring them passing the buck.

   I played with my kids the whole way down there and the whole way back- yes Brad did the driving. We had a rhythm worked out. It never got old or annoying. We had books, and coloring, stickers, markers, trucks and stuffed animals, blankies and pillows- and the history of the world cd's my friend Cheryl lent to us. And I brought too many trucks actually. The kids learned how to make semi trucks honk. We only got about 6 to honk, it's not as much fun nowadays- when I was a kid they all honked their horns back then, I remember we were numbering in the 20s in just one afternoon on road trips.

My youngest sister Erin, who is due in July. She just happened to be in Tampa Bay with her husband Nate (They are Brenden's Godparents), they met us as they were leaving to go back to North Carolina where they live up in Ocala, FL, at Silver Springs.

   Genna took the clothes pins we had strung up across the van (a mile counting game we had) and took them apart and stuck them to her lips, mouth and tongue ears and toes. She had some funny one liners and made up poems. Genna's best joke was, "I am warmer than a potato in a crock pot." She claimed the back seat as her fortress and sat there every day. Knox is a motion sickness kid and it worked out perfectly. Genna surrounded herself with pillows and blankies and her stuffed animal babies. She would move a pillow or blankie and ask me, "Do you like my fortress mommy?" LOL I must have heard that a hundred times a day.

   Knox and Genna both put on stuffed animal plays the whole way down there, I can hear Knox saying still "Presenting the most strongest dog and his beautiful wife..." in an announcer voice, I am not sure what all the rest of the play was, but he said it over and over again. He was really really into the history of the world cds we listened too. WoW that kid has a good memory. Brad and I were worn out listening to it and he kept begging for more. (Then when we got home today, he started listening to it again)

                   Destin, Emerald Coast of Florida (on the way home), we stopped in Miramar too.

  Brenden colored and peeled and pasted stickers and played trucks with Knox and Genna. Both kids helped entertain him with out any prompting. They were always willing to help. He loved loved waving his little honker arm at semi's. He was always grunting at them every time we were not paying attention he made sure and got our attention to make us help him get the semi's to honk. Today in the van on a short errand he was doing it again.

  Never once did they fight or complain.  The first day 18 hours to Alabama to stay with relatives that night and visit the next day and stay a second night and then leave the next day- that was the longest day in the car. They were so good, it was so fun!

My kids got to see our Aunt Laurie and Uncle Tom's beautiful house and land in sweet home Alabama! Had we flown what an opportunity missed! I am so glad we got to visit with them! We ate poor Aunt Laurie's home made jelly all up!
  We saw beautiful Arkansas- nothing there is ugly, Memphis and the great big rivers, Tennessee River, Mississippi River, a beautiful monastery in Alabama, the Ave Maria Grotto, Silver Springs, Florida! (where my sister Erin who is from NC, met us with her husband- who just happened to be in training in Tampa! Wild alligators along the roadsides in the early morning and wild hogs in the evening, deer, and turkeys all along the road sides in the deep south, they didn't miss any interesting land features, lighthouses, forest fires, mountains and cut rocks, the Gulf of Mexico along the Emerald Coast or in Mississippi along Gulf Port and Biloxi, or crazy traffic accidents, or airplanes dive bombing and doing tricks over the highway. They understood the complexity of the highway systems driving through big towns and they have an understanding of how all roads are connected somehow. Have you ever thought about that? All those roads to Florida are connected somehow. Imagine how much planning and maintenance goes into just building those highways. They also saw the oldest permanent settlement in the entire Lousisiana Purchase and the Basilica Minor that was almost just as old there too- I will have another post on that Cathedral (pic below)

Natchitoches, LA


Don't worry the driver and cab were fine. I am not so sure how an extra large trash truck does this trick, but the poor driver was probably cut off in the rain.

Bass Pro Shop in Destin, FL

Do you know the show Swamp People? It used to be a favorite show before we cut the cable. We knew that this exit from reading a PAPER ATLAS was close to their home bases, Bayou Sorrel, Pecan Island, Pierre Part, Houma, Slidell- where we ate Cici's Pizza and went to the Goodwill and we lucked out!  We would have never seen that we were that close to it all if we had a little GPS. Just happened there was a souvenir shop and the people there knew the folks on Swamp People. You should have seen the Atchafalaya Basin we drove over!! SCARY! More scary than Alligator Alley in the Everglades in Florida, because that section of Interstate 10 is elevated waay waay up in the air probably two stories. I was imagining going over the edge into the gator infested water...umm..maybe I have seen to many movies.

Kisatchie National Forest, LA, scenic overlook (17 miles of scenic bypass) and mile and half trail- pretty steep but very doable for children. Bring water and you will work up a sweat going up the buttes.

Had we flown, we would have missed all of that above. I cannot wait for our next road trip. This was the BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!

Home sweet home..just in time for the strawberries...

1 comment:

  1. Very cute. Looking fwd to seeing you guys. My kids have been in tears because they miss your kids so much. Augustine cried the other night. Glad you made it home safely!


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