Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If you remember, (if you were reading), last month, we took off to take my sweet baby brother to college in California!  After getting our car loaded to the hilt with everything from luggage to pillows to TONS of toys and snacks, we finally set off around 3:00p.m. from Amarillo with intentions of making it to Flagstaff by that night!  We decided to put Malachi in the middle of the back seat to make it easier for us to get to him while we were driving.  Then, I stuffed pillows under his feet so he could stretch out!  Here he is while we were getting gas before we left!  
 And, within a matter of 10 miles, he was OUT! 
We finally made it into Flagstaff, 620 miles or so, around 1:00a.m. their time. 
The next morning, we saddled up (with a couple extra backpacks) headed out to San Diego.  On the drive, we did lots of fun stuff!  First, Malachi slept while I finished my book (Redeeming Love...Oh my, SUCH a good story).  Then, after one of our stops, (I think this one was taken near Kingman, AZ) we pulled out our sock puppets!  Here, Malachi is coloring clothes on his!  (And yes, those are pipe cleaners for hair...we had to be creative!!) 

We also wrote on our wipe-off board and sent messages to everyone!  This one was taken outside of Blythe, AZ.  His cheeks are so red because we were (literally) out in the middle of nowhere and it was about (literally) 130 degrees outside.  There were sand dunes everywhere and we there were signs telling you to turn off your air conditioner for fear that your car would overheat (literally) out in the middle of nowhere!  There were stops about every mile so you could get non-potable radiator water!  At one point we had to stop because Malachi yelled from the back seat only for me to turn around and see that his carseat had shifted and fallen over on its side!  I suspect between all of the shuffling around it got off balance.  So, we stopped (literally) in the middle of nowhere to fix it and kept having to put our feet up on the car because the pavement was burning our feet through our shoes! 
 We finally made it to our destination, San Diego, around 5:00p.m. their time.  That's another 492 miles.  Oh, and see that pretty blue line mapping our route?  It took us about 1 mile away from the Mexican border.  There were checkpoints everywhere, Border Patrol helicopters flying overhead and we could even see the observation towers on the border.  It was WAY creepy to see mountains about a mile away and know they were in a (very dangerous) foreign country.  I'm not sure we've ever sped so quickly to get out of an area in my life!   If you're keeping track, that's approximately 1112 miles we traveled in approximately 24 hours.  We were VERY ready to get there! 
Malachi found the sweet spot as we were loading and unloading our cars at each hotel.  (A different hotel each night for 4 nights)
 Sunday morning we got up and went to the San Diego Zoo!  Here's one of our favorite animals!  10 points to whomever can name the animal and its significance to our life!  The zoo was eh...okay.  We were disappointed actually! 
 Malachi, however, had the time of his life!  Here's Daddy telling Malachi how big elephants get! 
 Malachi had been begging to go on the double decker bus tour, and it was included in our ticket price, so we decided to go for it!  We sat on the top at the very front and he seemed to really enjoy it!  It allowed us to see several portions of the zoo we hadn't seen yet without us having to walk all the way! 
After our trip to the zoo, we loaded back up in the car to head to Lancaster, CA.  That's another 179 miles...up to about 1291 miles so far.  (And that doesn't include the driving around we did in San Diego going to the beach to watch the sun set, looking for dinner, etc.)  As you can see, Lancaster is North of LA by about 60 miles or so.  But, it's in a valley surrounded by mountains.  The climate there is VERY dry, like Amarillo, only worse! 
We spent the night in Lancaster and got up early Monday morning to go to the college to get Logan settled in.  I must tell you, Monday was literally one of the hardest days of my life.  We'd gotten some other sad news early that morning and coupled with the dread of knowing we'd be leaving my sweet brother some 1200 miles away from our home, the only hometown he's ever known, was debilitating!  I spent most of the day crying.  However, my emotions aside, we loved the campus!  As soon as we walked into the building where orientation was to be held we all felt an incredible peace about it!  All of the professors and staff from the college were there greeting everyone, making them feel comfortable and all of the young men and women were dolls.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am praying the Lord will send Logan a wife.  All of the young women there were so modestly dressed and meek in their spirits that I just know he'll find a perfect help-meet there!  There's something about being surrounded by young men and women who are gathered together to grow in their love for the Lord and follow His will! 

 In an interesting twist of God's infinite wisdom, there is a family there in Lancaster who has just sent their son to our local college in Canyon.  So, we've all agreed to take care of one another's loved one and be their surrogate families!  Kristy Kelly has been an absolute Godsend to us!  She guided us back into Los Angeles the evening after we dropped Logan off.  That's another 69 miles - 1360 miles so far

We were very worried about him having to drive into LA on his own and Kristy saved us!  She was also able to keep my mom's attention off of the fact that she'd just dropped her baby boy off at college 1200 miles away on the drive!  So, God sent our angel, Kristy, to guide us through the hellacious traffic that is Los Angeles at dark!  There are actually 5 Panhandle kids in college there and the Kellys have opened their home to all of them!  Makes us all feel so much better!  We're trying to return the favor by taking care of their sweet Trent here!  Kristy, you've done a fantastic job with Trent...he's a great kid! 

Tuesday morning, Malachi, Lolli and Pop and Uncle Tanner (Logan's best friend who'd gone with us), all loaded up in a shuttle from our hotel headed to the airport to fly home.  Thomas and I had to drive back, so we decided to take a detour back down to San Diego to spend the day/night there!  Another 120 miles, up to 1480 so far.

We stayed at the Dana on Mission Bay.  Our room?  Somewhere in that large white building to the left side of the picture in the foreground. 

We walked to Sea World after we checked in and had a fantastic, cool, relaxing day together!  We've always loved Sea World as we went there on our honeymoon.  But, this time was just perfect.  There were hardly any people there, we had no plans, it was cool (almost chilly, actually, by the end of the day) and it was SO relaxing!!  We had such a wonderful time!  Then, we came back to this view!
And, this view!

So, in the matter of 24 hours, I went from what was one of the worst days of my life to one of the best.  Mine and Thomas' quiet time together was just exactly what we needed to recharge after what's been a rough summer waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers.  We had the most romantic dinner we've ever had outside, listening to the birds and the water, staring into each other's eyes over a candlelit table!  One of my most cherish memories thus far for sure!

We saddled back up early (much to our dismay) the next morning to head back home!  We left San Diego around 8:15 a.m. their time and made it all the way to Albuquerque, NM by around 10:00p.m. their time!  Add 844 miles to the 1480 miles we'd driven already and that brought us up to a total of 2324 miles approximately! 

Around 7:00a.m. their time the next morning we left Albuquerque to make it back home by about 12:15!  We've (our old, tired bones) never been so happy to see Canyon, Texas or our little boy in all our life! 

The last leg of the trip was 297 miles totaling trip miles to approximately 2621 miles of straight driving.  Including all of our ancillary driving we guess we went about 2800 miles!  However, they were 2800 of the most enjoyable miles I've ever driven.  Malachi was a complete angel the entire time, never fussed, never cried and was SO patient despite missing naps or napping on the go for 4 days straight!  And, my time with my husband alone for 2.5 days was Heaven, even if it did include a ton of driving!