Everything in between…
“…but it is everything in between that makes it worth living.”
Preface: My summer, after my incredible trip, has been a whirlwind…mostly of faith trying moments, and incredible grief…all of which I want to share, eventually… but I have decided I want to finish what I have started… a blog about the blessed trip I was allowed to make this summer…with my amazing brother and sister-in-law, my beautiful and incredibly funny nieces and unbelievably handsome and sweet nephew… and their awesome and fun friends who accepted me as one of their own and showed me such kindness… It is nice to focus on happy thoughts for a bit.
Camping with the Cox’s is an art. I am not kidding. Everyone knows their roles, their duties, their chores… and let me tell you, crap gets done in a timely manner. Trailer is loaded. Last minute additions are made. Car is organized and ready to go. Kids are sleeping and have their stuff ready to go. Ice chest loaded with everything we need to eat and drink on the road. And it is strategically placed where my sister-in-law can reach it with minimal effort. She is prepared for meals and snacks on the road, and even has a cutting board packed into her bag of food for the day (which is also packed near her feet)… it is like traveling with a circus… no questions and no gaps. Michelle makes lists, lots of lists… I wanted to get a photo of one, but I was not able to find one of my favorites. Most of her lists have a box beside the “to do item” and she checks the box as she gets each job completed. They make her happy. She makes me happy.
I am not sure what time we actually went to sleep the night before we left; the two hour time change is always a challenge for me. I am sure that when I woke up, it was still very dark… and I was so excited that I had no idea if I was still exhausted. I think that is the feeling I took with me the entire trip, which explains why, during the month of August, I have been exhausted.
We woke up- got dressed- finished loading- pulled the kids out of bed and put them in their car seats- and pulled out of town. We watched the sun rise as we started our adventure… I believe the hour was 5:15 a.m.
First stop? San Francisco!!! We monitored our time, our route and our estimated time for arrival on iPads and iPhones… we had a healthy breakfast of granola bars, peanut butter sandwiches and salami and cheese (all of which were also our lunch grazing- mixed with a variety of chips for snacking…HEAVEN!!!) And we drove along the coast of California…as we drove, I began to understand why people build houses knowing full well that a mud slide might not only destroy their home, but take their lives. I am in love. I want to move to California. I want to live on the beach. Or in a houseboat in the small community on the other side of Golden Gate Bridge. Or in one of the colorful, tiny, homes nestled in the rolling hills.
Landscape changes are quick and amazing as you drive through Cali. You can be in what seems like dead rolling hills with patches of green Oak trees one minute and the next you are driving by rolling hills of lush strawberry crops or incredible grape orchids that are attached to quaint wineries…and then, suddenly, you are back on the coast line again… looking out over the water and the beaches and the different types of housing that have been built along it.
Our arrival at our first destination was late in the afternoon… everyone was stir crazy from being in the car for over 7 hours, and we were just ready to be uncaged. Camp set up for Brandon and Michelle is just as amazing to watch as their preparation for departure… they are a team. And as a team, they accomplish their goals swiftly!! I had the blessing of playing outside with the kids while they got us settled in and ready to head into town
The only "list" I could find to take a picture of on the morning of departure... must have been a last minute list... the others had their boxes checked off and were in the trash. She obviously did not have time for "box checking" on this one!
Final departure preps underway... I believe we were 15 minutes behind schedule...
Just a snap shot of how our scenery changed... California is beautiful.
I am not sure what the quality of this video will be on the blog... but this child was more than entertaining on our road trips. Leading me to believe, once again, that 3rd children are a different breed... they are sent here to make us laugh.
Tracking our time by iPhone!!! Loved it!!
Our campsite... amazing...
Selfie in San Francisco!!! WE ARE ON VACATION!!!!!