2600 miles to go and I was already delirious. I packed too much, the car was unbelievably full, and oh, we brought the dogs.
Honestly, we considered turning around about 100 miles outside of Reno. We soon got into our road trip groove and with many play stops and a few rough moments, we made it! I am quite proud of our family for the great attitude and the perserverence to make this whole vacation thing happen.
There is a sign behind them that says Charlie's chicken. I think I will start calling Eden that.
Mommy and Daddy get a break as they switch positions...see Zeus all squooshed in to the left of Charlie? He rode next to Eden with his head on her belly so she had company too.
Our first major destination was my cousin David's house. I haven't seen David or his wife, Heather for about 10 years.
I grew up spending lots of time with David - we were born 3 months apart, and were inseperable as children.
Not only was it great to catch up, it was awesome to introduce Madee to her cousins. Emma Kate is 4 1/2 and Jackson turned 1 in May. They were instant friends, and Madee really enjoyed playing with all their stuff!
This is Madee's adorable cousin Jackson. They are 5 months apart - and he was very interested in doing whatever she was doing.
This Madee's beautiful cousin Emma Kate. Madee was absolutely enamored with her. She followed Emma Kate around doing everything she did. With Jackson behind her doing the same, they made an adorable cousin train.
We weren't even there for 24 hours, and now I could totally move to Denver...we had so much fun with their family and I really hope we get to swing back by on our way home.
We made frequent stops to play or stretch or run, which would wear Madee out and give us some good quiet driving time.
Here we are at a random playground.
And Oklahoma. Madee is obviously thrilled.
Stretching baby legs in Wyoming...
This little runner is getting harder and harder to catch!
Finally, when we seriously could not drive any further, we made it to the lakehouse.
Madee was super happy to see her Granddaddy and Grandmama and her awesome Auntie Em.
And guess who loves to boat and fish!
It's a little hot and a bit muggy, but ever since we crossed the Alabama State line, I have felt relieved. There is something about the lush green growth and the rolling hills that makes this place the most beautiful place I know.
I guess there is something about it being the first place I know, and as I grow and change and find myself in many unfamiliar places, there is something very comforting about being in the place I came from, the place that no matter who I am or who I have been or who I want to be, no matter what or who is pulling me in whichever direction or however fast my mind may race, I feel home.
And there is something about home that makes me feel like I can sit at ground zero and feel content and whole and energized.
Something that makes me want to dig my heels into this deep red clay and stay right here.
Seeing Madee at the lake, in the boat, on the dock - it means so much to me to share a little bit of my childhood with my own children - to give them a little glimpse nto my own childhood happiness. And although Eden doesn't know much of what is going on, Madee is at an age where we are creating beautiful memories, shared pieces of existence that she will hopefully want to one day share with her own children.
It is more than a vacation. It is the opportunity to give my kids a part of what my own parents gave me.
And that just makes me very happy.
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