This past weekend, Brent and I packed up ourselves and our godson, Malachi, and headed out on the 10 hour drive from Oklahoma City to Paducah, Kentucky for my family reunion. My family is pretty much spread out across the country so we have a family reunion every 5 years and it is always so good to get to see everyone.
Here are some things I took away from the trip this year:
- Don’t ever acknowledge if things are running smoothly because that invites the negative juju to slap you in the face. Let me explain. As we were preparing for the 10 hour trip, we were cleaning house, doing laundry, packing, Brent was changing the brake pads on the Jeep and everything seemed to be going well. Brent happened to acknowledge the fact that we were getting a lot of things done. A few minutes later, while he was posted up under the Jeep trying to remove the final brake pad to replace it, the Jeep slipped off the jack, bonked Brent on the head and came dangerously close to landing on his outstretched leg. Turns out we had to have the Jeep towed from our garage to the auto shop the morning we were supposed to leave. We were almost to the highway, starting out the trip, in our other car when the shop called and let us know the Jeep was ready. We turned right around and got it. So, moral of the story, be grateful for your blessings and realize it is just life, bad things happen to everyone. It is all how you handle it. Let me tell you, I did not want to act like an adult and handle it responsibly. I wanted to cry and throw a fit, just like a two-year old. Somehow I refrained. (Disclaimer: I really don’t believe in juju or luck, I just think it’s a funny word. But life really does have a funny way of slapping you back to reality.)
- The river in Tulsa has water in it. Turns out, water is much prettier than a dry river bed.
- I love to Facetime with my dogs. I’m that person.
- Drive through southeast Missouri. It is BEAUTIFUL! So many beautiful hills and trees. It was such a mood booster to drive through and see all the natural beauty of our Creator. We are hoping to make the drive again in the Fall so that we can see all the trees turning colors.
- Malachi is pretty much the cutest little guy to ever walk the earth. We’ve taken this little guy to 5 states now and hopefully a lot more to come.
- Malachi got sick while we were there and threw up in my hands. Twice. AND I did not throw up! I’m such an adult.
- The drive to your destination is a lot more relaxing and enjoyable than the drive back home. The drive back home gives you all the time to think about all the things that have piled up that you need to get done once you arrive back home. I try to really get as much done as possible before we leave so that the drive home isn’t so stressful.
Our family reunion was wonderful this year. We had a catered buffet of food in an air-conditioned banquet room at the Kentucky Dam Village Convention Center. Growing up, we usually just had these get-togethers at a pavilion in a park, which were also awesome. But with it being the middle of summer, I was glad to have the air conditioning. Turns out, the weather was gorgeous that day (probably about 75-80 degrees) so we probably could have had it outside. But the second we would have just planned for outside, it would have been 115 degrees out. My cousin planned a big birthday celebration for all the kiddos right after the family reunion. Since none of the kids got to celebrate their birthdays together, she threw them all a party together. It was so fun! Malachi loved it. They put together an obstacle course, cupcake decorating, they had little prizes/gifts, there were lots of lawn games and of course the big hit was swimming! You should have heard the fun that was happening with 14 kids in the pool.
Everyone probably has their own system of getting ready for a road trip. Mine is listed below, in case you’re interested.
The month before:
- Plan out your route. I like to use Mapquest to do this.
- Book any hotel rooms that you need. We’re big fans of Marriott and their points system.
- Set up a pet sitter/house sitter.
Two weeks before:
- Get an oil change.
- Make sure your tires are in good condition.
One week before:
- Clean out your vehicle. Vacuum and clean all surfaces and windows.
- Laundry. Do all of your laundry and fold it and put it away.
- Make a cleaning schedule so that over the next week you will have your house completely clean before you leave.
- Get with your house sitter and find out what kind of food and snacks they would like to have at the house.
- Go to the grocery store for food for the house sitter and snacks and drinks for the road.
- Make sure your yard is cut and cleaned up.
- Make a list of what you need to pack. Sit down and plan out what you’re time away is going to look like and what types of clothes you’ll need for those activities. Don’t stress about it too much though, just know that if you forget something, there is usually Wal-Mart somewhere nearby. If you can’t find it just ask my mom, she can find a thrift store and a Wal-Mart just about anywhere.
- Get a playlist together. I subscribe to Spotify Premium. We have also listened to Serial on Podcast, which is excellent by the way. You can download to your phone while you’re at home on wi-fi so you don’t have to use your data while on the road. Good listening makes for a much better trip.
The day before:
- Fill up your gas tank.
- Do any last-minute straightening up in the house.
- Make sure your pets have plenty of food to last while you are gone.
- Get your list of stuff together and packed. (excluding what you’ll need for tonight and to get ready in the morning.)
- Load up the vehicle.
The day of:
- Have your pet-sitter/house-sitter meet you at your house at least an hour before you’re scheduled to leave. Brent’s sister and her husband are lifesavers and always house-sit and pet-sit for us so they know where everything is but if you have someone who is not that familiar with your home, make sure they know where everything is including pet food and care items.
- Pack your last-minute items.
- Go back over your list and make sure you have everything you need.
- Hit the road, Jack!