The big day! Rey and I had worked nonstop all day Saturday, packing and cleaning. Special thanks to my mom, brother Mike, and friend Jamie for stopping by to help out! Also, thanks to Lucia and Domingo for watching the kids ALL DAY. We would NEVER have gotten as much done as we did if we'd had the kids with us!
Saturday had seemed to be a day that would never end. Poor Rey had to keep packing and unpacking the trailer as he tried to make everything fit into the 5x8 space. We had to keep taking things out and deciding which to keep, which to leave--and we'd thought we'd already downsized a lot! By 10 pm, Rey and I could no longer even move or see straight, so we fell into bed and set the alarm for 6 am to finish the last minute packing and cleaning Sunday morning.
Sunday dawned, and we jumped right back into packing and cleaning. Unfortunately, the kiddos didn't decide to sleep in as hoped and were up around 6:30. More things packed, more things left on the curb. We really felt like we were never going to finish! Are we standing still?? :)
The house all cleaned up and emptied out-- *sniff!*
We'd hoped to be on the road by 8, but it was closer to 9:30 when we did pull out. Whew! We were driving 2 vehicles. I was driving our mini van with the kids, pulling the U-Haul trailer. Rey was driving his car, and pulling a smaller trailer. I was leading, since I had the GPS (Rey tends to focus on one thing while behind the wheel: driving--which can mean navigating can be a little tricky for him.)
Kids ready to go--Noe with his Lego magazine and Aleni with her crackers. We could not have fit one more thing in that van!
We'd told the kids we would stop by the St. Louis Children's Museum on the way to Memphis--so we headed there. I really should have just skipped it, since we'd gotten the later start... but, I stuck with the original plan.
So, we didn't pull into the Children's Museum until about 1p (when I'd hoped to get there around 11a). The kids had fun--but I think the Bloomington museum is better. We got back on the road around 3p, and were both feeling in great need of a nap already!
We had to drive around 55-60 MPH the whole way, since we were pulling a trailer. It was killer to be on roads with a speed limit of 75, and be puttering along at 55!
The kids did so great back there by themselves... and we watched the scenery go from cold and snowy to green before our eyes as we headed south out of Saint Louis!
We pulled into the city of Memphis after dark--around 9p. Note to self: Never pull into an unknown city after dark! I have really bad astigmatism, so driving in one lane both way traffic after dark is a nightmare--since when oncoming traffics headlights hit my eyes--I only see light and shadows! Also, I don't really had depth perception (according to my last vision checkup)... so, driving in one lane construction zones that have the short, concrete movable walls along both sides of the lines make me crazy! Of course, pulling into Memphis, it was dark... and maybe about 5 miles of the highway was a construction zone--with those low concrete walls on both sides of the lane, and oncoming traffic in the lane next to mine. I really felt like I was driving blind. I think I may have bent the steering wheel from gripping it so tightly. I was shaking and sweating, heart pounding out of my chest, and really couldn't tell you if I was about to crash into one of those concrete walls, or if I was in the middle of the lane. Of course, the speed limit was around 55 still... meaning poking along wasn't too much of an option. I was squinting and leaning into the windshield trying to see the road, praying like crazy. I can't remember the last time I was so scared. Praise God... we got through it ok, and pulled out of the construction area.
We unloaded our car at the motel around 9:30 with two very tired kid. They had done AMAZING during the whole day. No fighting, no crying, no whining. It was so great.
We were in a non-smoking room, but for some reason, our "non-smoking" room had an ADJOINING door to a smoking room. So, hello! If a smoker had rented both rooms, it would obviously become a smoking room. Also, we seemed to have been placed in the middle of a huge group of men who were having a great time together. Outside our window. They were literally yelling back and forth to each other, laughing loudly, smoking--right outside our door. We turned on every noisemaker we could find to try to drown out the noise and get some sleep... The kids finally did fall asleep, but I was having a really bad reaction to all the smoke coming in from our neighbors on the other side of the adjoining door, and from outside our front door. The kids were already asleep, so we didn't want to move everything.
I kept trying to fall asleep, but I'd wake up gasping for air, my throat closed off as smoke was still filling our room. I would go to the front door, open it and sit by it to get some fresh air. I also kept worrying about all that second-hand smoke for the kids and the baby in my tummy. Finally, around midnight, they were still smoking and having a good time... so our knight in shining armor went down to get us a new room. Of course, it was all the way around the building on the backside, but we wrapped blankets around the sleeping kids and trucked them around to the new room... And, ahh! I could breathe!
Noé woke up, said- "What are we doing?" and then fell right back asleep. Aleni woke up wired and could not settle back in until about 2 am, so that's when I got to sleep. We had hoped to get a "bright and early" start on the day Monday, but with the crazy night... that didn't happen!