Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mandy's Blog update from Kansas

Well, having fun here in Kansas, allthough missing friends in Mass and other East Coast friends. So far We've been through CT, NY, NJ,PA, DE, MD, D.C., VA, NC, GA, TN, KY, IL, MO, and KS. Right now it is Wednesday, June 30,2010 at 9:35-9:  . We (Jess Hansmeier, Mom, Micah, and I) are staying at our friends the Alexanders' house. They have two children named Sophia (age 7) and Jordan (age 9). As you might have guessed, I hang out with Sophia and Micah hangs out with Jordan. Well, it is time to finally give myself to sleepiness, sleep, and the night. Updaiting soon!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

From Lookout Mountain, Georgia!

Hello all!
It is late and I am tired but I wanted to post at least a little before bed. I'll try to do more on Wednesday when we spend a whole day without traveling.
Anyway today was an 8 hour trip from North Carolina to Georgia via Tennessee. It was our most beautiful drive yet! The Smokey Mountains are stunning. I always knew I was a mountain girl, but when I saw mountains on the horizon of NC - I felt joy. It was amazing. Another highlight for me was that we did not watch a movie at all today in the car. Books on ipod and card games were the theme for the drive. It was fantastic. The only hitch was...we had our first "getting sick" episode today. Poor Micah had a sore throat which ended up in me holding my cupped hands full of puke while we scrambled for plastic bags and got off at the first gas station. So out of the blue, so random. But all is well in the end.
At the end of the day I asked my kids what they saw today that they had never seen before. Micah replied, "A huge cross." (There was a church along the highway that had the biggest cross I had ever seen!) Mandy and I both talked about "Crazy Ed's" which had this sign outside...

the things you see from the road!
Anyway, I'll leave you with some photos from today's trip...and I'll update again on Wednesday. Tomorrow we have a 12+ hour drive from Georgia to Kansas. Here's hoping for smooth sailing!


Monday, June 28, 2010

North Carolina

Yesterday was warm (98), but beautiful!
Rachel was a beautiful bride! We slept in a bit and then realized the wedding venue was 45 minutes away. We stepped it up a bit and got on the road to the wedding. It was a fantastic beach-side wedding with an intimate gathering of friends and family. The wedding and reception were at the same place, so we watch the wedding from the deck of a house and then walked in through the slider door to the reception. The food and people were great. And Rachel was so happy.
We took Stefan to the airport by 7pm and headed to Barrett's home in Apex, NC. The drive was fine... we finished Kung Foo Panda and listened to some more of Harry Potter. It was a short drive today...only 4 hours.
Some of the highlights: on the way to the wedding, we passed a pond, lined with purple flowers and filled with beautiful lotus blossoms. Also, at the beach, Micah saw a baby shark (it was dead) that had washed up onto the sand. It was about 1 1/2 feet long. Also, I was mesmerized by a pod of dolphins feeding on a school of fish just off the shoreline. It was a fantastic sight. I could have watched for hours.
It was a good day. Today we are heading to Covenant College at Lookout Mountain, GA to stay with my friend Abby. It should be 7 1/2 hours of driving with a few stops along the way.
Blessings till later!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We made it to Virginia!

If anyone is wondering, is a very long drive from Wenham, MA to Norfolk, VA via Washington DC. We left Saturday morning on time for us...which is an hour late of ideal. By 7am we were packed into the car (quite literally *packed* in the car) and heading south. We made it through NY traffic before lunch and our first stop to stretch our legs was at the Vince Lombardi rest stop off the New Jersey turnpike. It's just a rest stop...nothin' fancy. Anyway. After a little recharge, and a few laughs we got back on the road and made it to Washington DC by 5pm and met Stephanie for a great, leisurely dinner followed by frozen yogurt. Delicious! She gave us the quick driving tour of "the mall" and we saw in less than an hour: the white house, the capital, the supreme court, memorials to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, the WW2 memorial and many of the Smithsonian museums. How amazing! Sometime after 7pm we headed into Virginia for the final push. We arrived in Norfolk around 11pm and settled in for the night. Sleep came around 12:30 - 1am.
The good and the hard: The car was FULL so each stop we played musical chairs to change things up. The back seats watched Miss Congeniality and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. We listened to country music at times and listened to Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix chapters 1-3. I only had to pull the mom, "Don't make me stop the car" line once. I remember noticing the purple flowers along Route 15 in Connecticut and how all of highway 95 is lined by trees so MA looks pretty much the same as VA except if you look closely...the trees are different. The moon rising over the trees in VA last night was beautiful. And at the end of a long trip, it is nice to be welcomed to smiles and the warm huge of friends that you wish you could see more often. I experienced laughing so hard i was crying (not recommended while driving!) as well as watching by daughter be so exhausted she couldn't bring herself to leave the car last night when we finally arrived. I think I will learn a lot about myself and my kids during this trip.
I'll be back tomorrow. Today, we slept in, and now have a beach-side wedding to look forward to. We'll say good-bye to Stefan tonight as he flies back to Boston, and we'll be sleeping in Apex, NC if all goes according to plan.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Eve before the Trip

The car is almost packed, and we are striving to remember everything that we are tempted to forget before we take a long nap and begin to drive across the United States tomorrow morning. The thought of living in my beloved little van for the next 12 days is both exciting and daunting. I am looking forward to seeing the country change before my eyes as we travel state by state. I am eager to see friends that now live scattered throughout the US. I am cautiously hopeful that we will become closer as a family and really enjoy one another along the way. I am also curious about what unexpected events will crop up along our trip.
We, as a family, will do our best to post daily throughout our trip and hopefully provide each one of you who are interested a glimpse into the story we will be living out through the next few days. We will post pictures when possible and try to faithfully record the highlights and trials...because they will all become part of the story. We are thankful you are tagging along with us for this trip. And hopefully we will see a few of you along the way.
Our stopping point tomorrow is Norfolk, VA. The car will be pack with gear, games and 6 warm bodies: Cami, Stefan, Jess, Barrett, Mandy and Micah. We pile in at 6:00am in an attempt at an early start. We will visit with a good friend of mine, Steph, in Washington DC to stretch our legs a bit. Then we continue on to VA to celebrate with Rachel and Steve at their beach wedding Sunday afternoon.
Blessings till the next post!

Friday, June 4, 2010

California Dreamin'

Phew! After a couple days of stressing about getting tickets for this summer's California vacation, I was finally able to get all of my reservations taken care of! Next step: finishing reservations for the kids...

For those who may not know, Cami's taking a road trip this summer w/ the kids! They're getting to her family's place in Paradise -- Paradise, California -- via Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo -- all in all, probably around 4,500 miles. Me? Well, she's planning on taking somewhere around a week to make that trip, and my vacation time would be stretched a little thin that way. So, I'll be flying out to meet them in Phoenix, after which we'll take a day to visit the Grand Canyon before making the trip to San Diego for a couple days. We've got some special plans for the kids in San Diego that I'm excited to see -- or to see them see... :)