Josh and I were talking about how crazy things have seemed lately. And after a memory jolt and a little math problem, we think we've figured out why. In the last week and a half, we've been in five states. And poor Josh has been in six (one of which was on the opposite side of the country)!
But we've survived it all, and we've actually come out with some great stories and some priceless memories. Many of those come from our trip to North Carolina last weekend for Josh's grandfather's memorial service. Before I get to the good stuff, I've got a little challenge for you. I'll give you some numbers, and you guess what they describe:
Question: 23 (hours of travel time or number of bags we took)?
Answer: We had a grand total of 23 hours of travel time to and from NC. We broke the first half up into two days (from here to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Raleigh), but we did the last half all in one crazy rotation of drive, potty, eat, play, drive, potty, eat, play, drive, potty, eat, play, etc. (And just so you'll know, we only took eight bags...because 23 would be ridiculous!)
Question: 1,205 (miles we drove or number of diapers we packed)?
Answer: This one's tricky because that's close to the number of diapers we took, but the real answer is the number of miles we drove. And let me tell you, God answered the prayers of many people (including ours about every 30 minutes of the trip!) in that the kids were precious during our travel. That's a really rough few days for little ones, but with the exception of a few little incidents on the way home, we couldn't have asked for anything better! (On a side note, during one of the aforementioned "exceptions", Josh rolled down his window, looked at me with love in his eyes, and said "I'm sorry, babe, but I'm outta here!" Let's just say we were having a bit of a loud stretch.)
Question: 413 (number of pictures I took or how much I weighed carrying all of our luggage to the car)?
Answer: This one's a trick question. Actually both of these answers are correct. I did take 413 pictures throughout the weekend, but I also weighed 413 pounds when I was carrying the luggage in. Keep in mind that's 413 pounds each trip. And I made three trips.
A lot of planning went into the 11.5-hour trip to Raleigh, and one key component of the strategy was "go time". If you're not familiar with that method, it involved stopping the car at a rest stop or a playground, opening the van door, unloading the kids, and instructing them to "GO!" It didn't take much convincing, and at our first stop at the rest area just inside the South Carolina border, they looked like a bunch of rabid monkeys exploding out of the car. They had a lot of pent-up energy, and they were seriously ready to let it out. You'll notice that there aren't many pictures of Jack. It's not because he wasn't playing...it's because I'm not sure Nikon makes a camera with a shutter speed fast enough to catch him!
The second key component of the Happy Travel Plan revolved around food. For anyone who knows the Lewis kids, the little ones love to eat! As Confucius says, "Full tummies make happy travelers," so we stopped for lunch, dinner, and at least one snack in between.
But the cornerstone of the plan involved not only making these important stops, but timing them around the even more important need for sleep. Unfortunately, the kids didn't master Synchronized Sleeping very well, but hey, beggars can't be choosers, right? When you're spending the entire day in the car, you'll take what you can get.
And just when we thought our fifth grade geography teachers had been tricking us the whole time, and there really was no such city as Raleigh, North Carolina...we saw it. Was it a mirage? Were our weary minds playing tricks on us? Nope, it was an actual sign pointing us toward our destination.
Unfortunately, we still had quite a ways to go, but eventually we came to signs for the actual city (not just the teaser-signs we had seen earlier!) And yes, Mom, I did take these pictures while I was driving. I know you're wondering (and worrying)...
I've got an entire gallery of photos from the weekend up on one of my websites, and if you're interested in seeing them, I'll be happy to send you the link and the password, but I really wanted to put this one picture up before I go. It may not look like much...until you know it's Josh's grandmother leaving the memorial service for her husband of 61 years. What wife who has just lost her husband and her best friend can walk out of this kind of service singing with joy and a smile on her face?
A woman who knows her husband is now walking with the Lord.
Now that's something to celebrate!