Our journey to Illinois, day 1

Perhaps the most difficult part of any trip is the actual departure.

Sunday, July 17, I woke up at 6:45, like I do every Sunday, to go play for the 9:15 worship service at St. Andrews Presbyterian church in Houston.  It was an early start to the day, after a late night making 4 double batches of muffins, Cake Pops and People Puppy Chow for the road.  What fun is a road-trip if you don’t have yummy snacks?!  Meanwhile, at home, Jessica and the girls were packing and cleaning.  But the thing is, it’s really hard to focus on things like packing and cleaning when you’re so excited about going on a trip!  I got home after my enjoyable morning at church, and joined right in on the preparations.

Lavinia was very concerned that we hadn’t yet gone to the bookstore to buy the last book in the Percy Jackson series, which she was hoping Jessica would read to the girls on the road.  She kept coming up with ideas as to how, where, and when we could stop to purchase the book.  Jessica and I kept answering that we’d have to see, that we didn’t have the time right then, but that we really wanted to get the book too.  It was hard to stifle a smile every time because we had already procured the book and stashed it among the schooling activities we were taking along; they’d never think to look there!

We finally rolled out of our driveway at 5:00 in the afternoon, after some friends dropped by, and we visited with 2 wonderful neighbors who just had to see our family before we took off.

We made 2 stops on the way to Dallas.  The first one was in Huntsville, because Jessica and I could not face another 3.5 hours in the car without coffee.  The second was in the middle of nowhere; there are a lot of in-the-middle-of-nowheres between Houston and Dallas, as the girls fascinatingly point out.  That stop was to change a stinky diaper (TMI?  Just the reality of traveling with small children, for us!).  That stop was also the point when we pulled out the first ziploc bag of muffins; banana muffins, as it were, and still a little frozen.

I’ll spare you the details of the very long couple of hours left, where patience was tested, little ones were restless, and there were always multiple things going on at once with the kids (music, reading, movie, eating, drinking, crossing that proverbial dividing line between seats, practicing French, etc.)

We were very happy to arrive at our friends’ home in Dallas, around 9:30.  We visited for a while and hit the sack.  Now, Monday morning, Jessica is off to La Madeleine to visit with a friend, the kids are playing here at our friends’ house, and we’ll plan on driving half-way to St. Louis after lunch.


  • Jessica took the girls to the homeschool store near our house to get an activity book each; they came home with 3 or 4 each.  They love them some workbooks!
  • We improvised with the trunk of the van so that the cooler would be a bit more accessible without it having a bunch of stuff on it or crushing other stuff under it.  A wooden board and a couple of crates later and we have 2 levels in the trunk.  We’re very proud of this creative structure.  I hope to share a photo later.
  • At just the right moment, when kids were getting restless and it felt like we might start in on whining yesterday, Jessica produces the book no one thought we had, and so the saga continues, much to the surprise and delight of our children.

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