Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 1: Illinois to Indiana to Ohio!

I woke up early - too excited to sleep and lots to do.  But with no dogs or kids at home, all got done quickly - and somehow, I got the boys picked up and ready to go before our expected range (I had set our eta between 8:15-9am - traveling with little kids, flexibility is key!). 

We were all stoked to go to "Mont!" (as Ki calls it)

We started the drive to Indiana, but because we got started early, we hit Chicago rush hour traffic.  Fun.  So, there we are, sitting on the Express lanes, bumper to bumper traffic going about 5 miles an hour, when Ki says the words every mama on a road trip dreads, especially when stuck in traffic with no exit in sight...  "MAMA - I HAVE TO GO POTTY. REALLY BAD!"

Let me tell you, 25 mintues can seem like a lifetime when you have a 4 year old crying that he's about to pee his pants and you can't find your way to a bathroom.  If you have never driven on the Express lanes through Chicago during rush hour traffic, it may be hard to understand, but there are no easy ways off and it is SLOW going.  But finally - an EXIT! Hoorah, we are saved!  Oh, but wait....  we're in the middle of Chicago... The land of no street parking, too many cars, traffic moving at a snail's pace, and no easy gas stations...

But Ki is desperate.  And I am desperate to avoid a pee-soaked car seat less than an hour into the trip. So, I do what any mom would do - I park illegally in front of a diner, throw the hazard lights on, grab both boys as fast as I can (which, because of car seat straps, really isn't all that fast...), and run as fast as I can into the diner (which, again, carrying two boys on either hip isn't all that fast...).  I just pray that the odds are in my favor that whatever cop comes to ticket us has kids and can relate to the desperate potty pleas of a preschooler.  The waitress at the diner must have been a mom, because as soon as we burst threw the door, I barely had to mouth the word "bathroom", before she pointed to the end of the hall and gave me a smile.

5 minutes later, we're back on the road - dry pants, no tickets.  I feel like friggin' supermom.

We make it to our first stop - an adorable children's museum in NW Indiana called Bellaboo's, to have a playdate with an old college friend, Erika, and her 3 adorable kids.  The kids had a great time running and climbing around like monkeys - and we even met another Breckin (a first for us!)! Breckin's favorite was the ball pit, and Ki liked climbing up their huge play structure, with the airplane on top.

Back in the car for a road lunch of our pre-made sandwiches.  I can tell the kids are getting tired, and I am counting on naps to get a lot of undistracted driving done, so we make a pit stop for potty breaks and gas. But apparently Indiana rest stops are a lot more exciting to the kid set than to me, because we get back in the car and the kids are wide awake and wound up!  I spend the next 3ish hours, driving through my home state, continually handing back snacks and toys to keep the boys at least somewhat entertained.  Its getting close to dinner - and still they are both wide awake!  A few more stops, and then into Ohio.  Breckin finally conks out about 30 mins before our hotel...

Just in time for Ki to say... "MAMA - I have to go potty!" Hell no, am I waking Breckin up - so I just pull over at an "emergency stopping" place on the interstate, and have him pee beside the car.  Its nice having boys...

Finally, we make it to our first stop - Red Roof Inn in Elyria, OH.  There we meet 3 Australian guys on a road trip from the east coast to Chicago.  I jokingly say that we are also on a road trip, but ours is probably much different than theirs.  They laugh and say "not really..."

If you have kids, than you understand that the first thing you "must" apparently do the second you stop at a hotel (no matter if you've been up since 5 am and have driven 7 hours) is GO TO THE POOL!  The boys were so excited, and who was I to say no.  How cute are they?!!

The splashed, played, swam, and jumped - until it was time for dinner.  A pizza picnic on the hotel floor.

Then we just cuddled and watched "Marley and Me" (though stopped before "the sad part").  The boys fell asleep, and I lay there, exhausted, but sublimely happy at how wonderful our first day was....

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