Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Since we moved to Washington nearly seven years ago, we’ve made it back down to California almost every year for Thanksgiving to celebrate with our families – both sides still reside in So Cal. (By the way, they are all still pretty mad at us for moving,). Each year, airfare has become more expensive – even when I’m organized enough to book tickets early (Um, I wasn’t organized this year). To complicate things further, using miles to buy tickets has become increasingly difficult, as the number of miles needed to purchase a ticket around the holidays has doubled. I have looked into every possible alternative transportation option including but not limited to 1) the train (just as expensive as flying), 2) a boat (virtually impossible unless you own your own yacht) and 3)hitch-hiking (not exactly safe with kids).

That was a lot of background information to justify why I decided to drive 1,200 miles, one way, from Seattle, WA to Orange County, CA with three kids for a very short visit. Um, we still have to drive back (this is a truth I’m avoiding for now). This year, both because airline prices are outrageous and because we’re still paying off adoption expenses, we decided to spend some quality time hanging out in the forced togetherness that only a road trip can deliver. Well, let me clarify, the kids and I decided to drive. Because of his church responsibilities, Michael got to fly down. Alone. More on this later.

Knowing that making the drive by myself, as the only adult in the car, would be disastrous, I begged and pleaded with family members for help. My amazing sister, Jamie, agreed to fly up and help me make the long trek south. I’m pretty sure I’m now required to be her indentured servant for life. Indentured servitude is automatically owed when someone saves your life, right?

We left on Saturday after a soccer game and a basketball tournament. All in all, the drive really wasn’t bad. The kids had i-pods, books, movies, Leap Pads, and drawing materials to keep them occupied. Jamie and I had our podcasts of NPR’s This American Life, and Radio Lab. When we started, I had hopes of making the drive in record time, powering through sore backs and bottoms, to somehow earn a gold medal in the category of moms-on-road-trips-with-kids. The kiddos cooperated quite nicely with this plan until they were tired. Past 8pm, the bickering and picking at one another started. So, Jamie and I decided to abandon my record-breaking goals and spend the night at a cheap hotel 2 nights in a row. Clearly, this was much better than enduring the sibling rivalry drama in the backseat.

Whoever was sitting in the middle seat seemed to get picked on by the other two. The drama sounded something like this:

Caleb: (sitting in the middle): DUZ-IIIIIII!!!!!

Alex: (Using patronizing older sister voice) Caleb, you don’t have to yell.

Duzi: (Smiling) Yeah, Caleb.

Caleb: (Exasperated) Stop it, you guys!

Duzi: (Pokes Caleb in the back)

Caleb: MOM! Duzi just poked me!

Alex: Caleb, I think you should calm down. (Eye Roll)

Duzi: (Pokes Caleb again)

Caleb: (Slugs Duzi in the shoulder then pinches Alex on the leg)

Duzi: (Shocked) That really hurts!

Alex: Caleb, you’re so immature! (Eye Roll)

Me: Time to stop at a hotel.

Jamie: Yep.

We arrived a day late, but the trip was awesome. We jumped on hotel beds, ate lots of greasy food, played in the snow at rest stops, and were thankful for each and every gas station restroom.

We’re introducing Duz to his cousins and are enjoying the sun. My kids are a little big upset with me for “forcing” them to leave home during the first snow of the year but, since they spent half the day in the swimming pool, I’m guessing they’ll eventually forgive me.


Michael’s flight was supposed to leave Seattle at 7:40pm last night. I wasn’t bitter that his journey would last 20 hours or so less than ours, but I was a teensy bit jealous. I was counting on him to arrive, take over the parenting post and let me take a nap. However, because of the Seattle “blizzard” (Seattle just doesn’t know what to do with a few inches of snow) his flight was canceled. He was then re-routed to another airport. When all was said and done, my poor husband arrived 7 hours later than planned, at 5 o’clock this morning. His tale of lost luggage, late shuttles, and airline bureaucracy seriously trumps any complaints I could possibly launch. Needless to say, I didn’t get the nap and we’re both exhausted today.

But, we’re finally here – all together. I can’t wait to sleep in one big pile tonight.


  1. Hey! I found your blog through Rage Against the Minivan... found her randomly a few months ago and was surprised because I used to attend Rock Harbor about 7 years ago and remembered Mark. Reading this, I'm surprised because now I live in Kirkland and drive past Overlake regularly. Glad y'all made it out of the "snowpocalypse" here in Seattle, and frankly, I can't even imagine driving that far with kids, I'm impressed! =) Enjoying your blog!

  2. Our road trip to California also included stocking up on TAL and Radiolab podcasts. I don't know how they manage to make everything so fascinating!


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