Road Tripping

On Saturday, Corey and the kids and I will pack ourselves into the minivan and hit the road. Destination: Colorado. Estimated travel time: Two days, each way.

(Note to any marauding armies reading the blog: Our house is being guarded by a band of ninja monkeys equipped with machetes. And we stocked the pool with a school of piranhas and Charlie Sheen. I wouldn’t advise a take-over.)

We’ve never attempted a road trip of this length before – not in our pre-kid life, certainly not with four kids ages (almost) 10 to one. And maybe I’m na├»ve, but I’m excited about it. Some might say giddy. I even rebuffed Corey’s offer to fly instead of drive – something that made him shake his head with regret and wonder out loud if I was certifiable. (“But I support your decision completely, honey,” he deadpanned.)

Here are five reasons why I’m eager to take Chez Love Well on the road.

1. I’m always a sucker for fresh produce (hello, giant tub of blueberries from Costco, I’m looking at you). But in the summer? My addiction is epic. Thanks to the farmer’s market and the local stands and Trader Joe’s and Costco, I currently have two fridges stuffed with berries and melons and radishes and greens and sugar snap peas and leftover caprese salad and a few random Cajun turkey burgers – none of which will survive our time away. If I drive, I can take that food with me. If I fly, I have to try to get it all in my carry-on. Which is a chore. I’m a fan of the easy. And the food.

2. Corey and I are expert air travelers. We can get through a security line, with all four kids, in less time than it takes some people to take off their shoes. But I’m tired of dealing with all the hassles. Rush to the airport, check the bags, rush through security, wait at the gate, board while smiling at all the fellow passengers throwing you dirty looks. (“I’m so glad our kids are GREAT at air travel,” Corey and I say to each other, loudly and with great cheer.) And then there’s the plane ride itself. “Sit down, yes you have to wear the seat belt, honey she dropped the marker, no we don’t kick the seat in front of you, you have to go to the bathroom again?” Living on our own time table, according to our own rules will be incredibly refreshing. Bonus: No delays that we don’t control. Unless you count Teyla.

3. I like a challenge. And I’m bored. Four kids in a minivan for 16 hours during the hottest part of summer? Bring it.

4. I think it will be good for our kids. I want them to see the country. I want them to realize we are incredibly blessed to be able to fly as much as we do. I want them to learn to explore, to flex their adventurous spirits. I want them to grow the character that’s required to drive through Iowa. I also want them to get better at the License Plate Game, because right now, I rule that one. (Although I do consistently lose at Slug Bug.)

5. I think it will be good for me. I realized, when Corey offered to buy plane tickets to Denver, that I would be disappointed if this much-anticipated road trip didn’t happen. I was puzzled by this, at first. (I think Corey is still befuddled.) But slowly, it started to make sense. Kieran is at that stage where he doesn’t stop exploring; 95% of my time lately is spent rescuing him from dangerous situations and/or searching for my kitchen utensils which he loves to hide all over the house. (Last week, after a three-day hunt, I found my kitchen tongs in Teyla’s closet.) And the other three kids need me to fix them something to eat or break up a fight or “correct an attitude” or get out the paint or read a book to them the other 95% of my time. (I know. But that’s how it feels. Work with me.)

Don’t get me wrong; we are having a fantastic summer. We are swimming and laughing and staying up too late and throwing spur-of-the-moment dance parties and selling homemade lemonade and eating ice cream cones that are bigger than our heads. But the idea of having all the kids strapped into their carseats for two days straight, while I listen to music or talk to Corey or revel in the quiet while everyone sleeps? Priceless. I need the down time, the time to rest and not rush. My soul is thirsty for Sabbath, vacation style.

I realize we’ll still encounter moments of stabbiness. I’m sure we’ll hear a whiny “How much longer?” a few dozen times. And if I know my children, no one will want to watch the same DVD for the entire trip.

But it will be worth it. I’m ready.

And if it gets to be too much, well, that’s why God created ear buds.


  1. I am truly excited for you! It's going to be great, something you'll never forget. And I'm happy you are coming here. We should meet at the best ice cream shop in the history of the world. It's near downtown Denver. Let me know if you'll be in the city and feel up to it.

    When I was 10, we did a reverse trip. We drove from CO to MN and back. We went across Nebraska, through part of Iowa, and into MN. We came home via South Dakota and saw Mt. Rushmore. You can't do that from a plane. Our family still talks about that trip.

  2. Love this blog- it had me smiling the whole way through.... "I want them to grow the character that’s required to drive through Iowa." So true. Can't wait to have you guys here! :)

  3. "I want them to grow the character that's required to drive through Iowa." Love it! You are too funny. Will be thinking of you as you embark on Saturday. Have a GREAT time!

  4. Having made many, many road trips in my life - many as a child - I am really excited for you. There is NOTHING like seeing this country from a car! As for "I want them to grow the character that’s required to drive through Iowa." takes the same character to cross Kansas! Praying for a safe and fun trip for you!

  5. I (the not-a-mom) think it's a GREAT choice. We grew up roadtripping all over the country. 2,000 miles, three kids. I don't know why my parents kept signing up for it year after year, but somehow they did. And those are some of my greatest memories from my childhood. So, go Mama go! I think it's gonna be great.

  6. "And we stocked the pool with a school of piranhas and Charlie Sheen."

    This made me LITERALLY laugh out loud. And I hadn't even gotten to the Iowa part. :-)

  7. Some of my best family memories have been from our road trips--both growing up and with my own kids now. There is truly something unique about being in the car together and surviving. With joy even. I wish you the best trip ever! And either way, you'll have some amazing blog material.

  8. A few weeks ago I made it 5 1/2 hrs from West Central MN to La Crosse on an audio book! I thought for sure the girls would be bored by it. And yet, every time I paused it they immediately asked what was going on, and could I please start it again??? We listened to Beezus and Ramona, read by Stockard Channing. Quietest road trip ever.

    Also? You can do it! I didn't have 4, but I did drive from WC MN to Disneyworld when Ella was almost 3 and Natalie was barely 1. I've also driven to Yellowstone with them. I love, love LOVE a road trip!

  9. road tripping with big families is awesome. have a wonderful time!!!

  10. Good luck! I road tripped every year or other year as a kid, from TX to CA. My dad liked to make it fast so it was a two-day trip. Sure it got tedious at times but I also loved it. I am ready to do that with our family but Husband is not. Next week we are going to OK. It will be our longest drive so far with all the kids, and it is only 190 miles! I can't wait to read about it when you come back.

  11. Might I ask if you've ever driven I-90 through South Dakota!? THAT requires character! Haha! :) Have a great vacation!