You read that right -- 3 AM.
Techno and I set the alarm a little before 3, (yep, we KNEW we wouldn't be able to drag ourselves out of bed on the FIRST try) showered, dressed, and began waking kiddos. By 3:40 we were packing the cooler, giving directions of 'brush your hair and teeth, put on your shoes, make sure you have your pillows,' and shuffling the last minute items to the SUV.
Finally, by 4:10 am or so, we had all the munchkins loaded in the car and were rolling out of Dodge.
Normally, getting the kids up THAT early, resulted in all 6 of them falling back to sleep within the first hour of the trip, allowing us to drive till 8 or later before we stopped for breakfast.
Appears as though times have changed.
I think the older kids fell asleep for a bit fairly quickly, but those little ones? Not so much. I think they slept for MAYBE 40 minutes not long before the older kids woke up and began talking of their grumbling tummies.
Me, however? I think I slept MOST of the way. LOL!
Before 8 am we stopped to eat our traditional McDonald's breakfast.
Oatmeal, coffee, cinnamon rolls, sausage english Mcmuffins, sausage biscuits, and a round of orange juice and we were 'on the road again.'
We decided to eat all our meals 'on the go' this first day to make the trip end a bit sooner.
Here's where I simply MUST brag on our stupendous children.
Other than an occasional, "I have to use the restroom", we never heard any groanings or grumblings about the long trip. No 'Are we there yet?' or 'How much longer?' was heard.
(Unless you count mommy who MAY or MAY NOT have whined such phrases a time or two quietly to Techno-genius.)
During the trip I passed out a few 'prizes' to keep the children occupied. A coloring book w/crayons, new cheap dolls that can be used in pools and oceans, a notebook and pen, some lotion, suction cup balls, nerf-like blow dart guns; small trinkets of the novel variety simply to keep their minds and hands occupied.
They watched 1 movie - Frozen - the first day.
They played Gameboy once the first leg of the trip.
We stopped for gas and potty breaks several times allowing all to stretch their legs, get some fresh air, and dole out snacks and lunch.
Other than that, they occupied themselves and each other THE. WHOLE. TRIP! Limited bickering and squabbling took place. THANK YOU, LORD!
Finally arriving at the hotel, we checked in and started dinner. Another family tradition of microwave noodle meals in the room while watching 'kid TV' before changing into bathing suits and heading to the pool.
(It's quite a treat to watch Disney Jr or the Food Network now that we don't have TV other than DVD's at home.)
Swimming and hot tub fun then back to the rooms where we watched a little more TV while putting on our PJ's and preparing for another short night's sleep.
Techno and the boys in one room; the girls and mom in the other.
5am - wake up time.
A quick shower, breakfast at the hotel, then off and running again.
Day 2 was much like day 1 except we stopped to get Texas BBQ and actually 'sat down' for lunch.
Another movie, 2 game boy turns, a few more 'prizes', and a couple naps made the second day of driving just as smooth as the first.
We arrived before dinner on Sunday.
The girls were excited for their 'room of bunkbeds' and the boys made dibs on their rooms.
The older kids and Techno unloaded the car while I unpacked everything they brought in and distributed it to the various rooms.
The girls 'got lost' a couple times as they meandered from floor to floor to floor. The stairs alone are quite impressive.
Finally, we headed out to find some food for dinner.
All in all, a GREAT start to our family vacation.
Tremendous kids, a fabulous hubby, a touch of 'smart' pre-planning and our 2 day drive was smooth sailing.
Now the REAL vacation can begin with fun in the sun, trips to the beach, and lots of swimming, laughter, and playing.
Let the memory making commence.