Helllllooooooooo? Hellllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooo? Is anybody here? No? Ok, well I'll post anyway!
We set out early Wednesday morning. Started the day off with a glitch because somehow the car charger for my GPS fell apart when I had unplugged it to plug my mom's phone in the day before. And I couldn't find the pieces. With a great deal of unease, I went, printed off directions from Google Maps and was on the way.
First stop, Panama City Beach. We met up with my brother and his wife and had lunch at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. I was a bit concerned about taking the kids there, but there were billions of other littles there and my fears were alleviated when I saw the guy on stilts walking table to table to make balloon hats for all the little kiddies. They loved those hats. Unfortunately they managed to pop them before we even made it out to the car. The food was was awesome and even though I was feeding Ben off of my plate, he preferred to snatch handfuls of spaghetti off of Zack's plate. After lunch, we hit the beach and I even got to go boogey board a little while my brother played with the boys. Um, by boogey board, of course I mean getting pummeled by the waves while trying to get on and stay on the board. It was fun though! Then we got on the road again, still sans GPS.
On the way to Alabama we got a little off course. Our directions said to turn off on 83 and there were no signs (that I saw) for 83. There was an 883, but I wasn't sure if I should turn there. In the end, I knew that the road I was on was heading North and would take me to Alabama. So I trudged on. Across the state line, we stopped and asked for directions just to make sure we were still on the right path. We were, albeit about 30 miles out of our way, but that was okay, we were heading in the right direction.
Somewhere in here we switched drivers. I was pretty worn out from battling the sea so I welcomed the break. I wasn't sure why but it seemed kinda like my mom was driving slightly over the white line. I didn't say anything until she said "I can't figure out where the cruise control is" and then I said "I wondered why you were all over the road." As I explained to her where the cruise control was I noticed flashing lights come on behind us. Oh yippee skippy we were getting pulled over.
We sat in the car and waited for the man to come trying to think of the best way to not get a ticket for driving erratically. And he just wasn't coming to the window. Then my mom said "Maybe he's coming to your side and that's when I noticed the nice Chief of Police of some very small Alabama town at my window. I rolled it down. I handed him mom's license and my proof of insurance and mom said "I usually don't drive like that but..." and he asked us some questions, and we answered and I even asked him to confirm we were heading in kinda the right direction. Oh, and did I mention Zack and Ben woke up right about then and were screaming bloody murder? No? Well, they were. I tried to calm them down while mom talked to the very nice Chief of Police and after he said "You have precious cargo there. Be careful. I don't envy you right now, you have a long drive," we were on our way without a ticket. We laughed ourselves silly after that encounter and kept on going. Finally, mostly uneventfully, we arrived in Birmingham and stopped for the night. That was about midnight and it took around two hours to get everyone else to sleep. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open. The problem was I hadn't brought in Ben's pack n play and thought he could just sleep with me. The problem with that was he had no desire to sleep. He wanted to play.
You'd think after a whole lot of playing in the wee hours of the morning that my child would sleep in, but no. He woke up at 5:40 and managed to wake Zack in about 3 minutes despite my best effort at keeping him quiet. I got the two little ones dressed and took them down to the hotel breakfast so that the two older guys and Granny could sleep.
We left Birmingham and hit the road. After buying a charger for the GPS so that I could feel less anxious about following my directions from Google Maps.
Nothing noteworthy happened that day. Lots of driving, quite a bit of whining, talking about the day before, and a few screaming fits from Ben. In the end, at about midnight we rolled into KC, found a hotel, and more or less repeated the trying to get kids to sleep routine, only this time Ben was confined to his pack n play. It felt really great to reach our destination, and it felt even better to sleep until after 7 the next day (ok, it was 7:10, but still!)
More to come... hopefully soon!!!