We picked what may likely turn out to be the hottest week of the year to road-trip to Kansas. Home of convection oven style heat, treeless/shadeless prarie, and family (yay!).
Bel started packing a few days before we left, and every morning asked if we were leaving "tomorrow."
When we did get all packed, it was with a lot of careful organization. The pup crate went in the middle of the back, the big suitcase on one side, the overnight bag for our hotel stop on the other. Everyone had a water bottle and we packed a little cooler with snacks that got us through day one without any fast food (a worthy goal).
The kids had lots of books, a few carefully-selected toys, and some DVDs to keep them busy in the back seat. I bought Otto a new container for LEGO blocks - it's flat and wide and fits under the front passenger seat, so it doesn't take up too much room. He also got exclusive use of my old Droid Incredible, which is like an iPod Touch now that it's no longer my phone. I downloaded Otto-friendly games and some TV shows (the Uverse app let me download a couple of episode of Phineas and Ferb), and he had fun taking ownership of "his" phone.
So the drive went well, other than being HOOOOOOOTTTTT. Everywhere it was hot. Hot at home, hot in Fort Wayne (site of one of our stops, where we had to drive to the side of town with power), hot where we stopped for the night west of St. Louis. It was 105+ all week at my mom's. We went to the water park twice, spent an afternoon in Abilene at the Eisenhower library and museum. We had root beer floats at Sonic, slushies at the water park, smoothies for breakfast... you get the picture. We made keeping cool our main goal, and had a good time doing it!
We watched the fireworks Wednesday evening at the home of some good friends who know Bel's favorite food is macaroni and cheese. They made her the biggest bowl of mac and cheese I've ever seen. Bel's eyes went saucer-wide and her whole face lit up when Brenda slid that bowl onto the dinner table, and she did her best to do it justice. Then we went out to watch fireworks, and Bel excitedly pointed out her moon -- evidently she remembered the big full moon from last year and was looking forward to seeing it again this year. Nature's fireworks are still the best, right?
Late Thursday night my brother and his family arrived, and we got to spend Friday together - the kids played games together, watched cartoons, and swam together at the water park. Annabel was thrilled to be included in some "big girl" activites with her older cousins, who were really sweet with her. Otto and Hunter are almost the same age and had such a good time, Otto was truly bummed to say goodbye on Saturday.
I don't remember what exactly it was, but my niece Maddy told me something her parents had done or not done - nothing major - and I said "well, that's not right. They should've told you." She said "I know!" And we grinned at each other, and my brother rolled his eyes. Because Maddy and I are a lot alike -- and it's totally genetic, since I haven't had enough time with her to corrupt her.
A shame, really - just think what the two of us could do if we had lots of time together...
Our trip home was uneventful, still hot but not awful. Or maybe we'd just adjusted to the heat? Charlie is a good traveler, thank goodness -- his crate is his house, so he settled right down for the ride, and was a relatively good house guest.
The rest of July has flown by in a haze of blue skies and puffy, rain-free white clouds -- which is almost NEVER the case for long in Michigan, and having this much endless sunshine makes me feel kind of suspicious. I wake up every day and look around and think "really? When did we get transported to California?"
But at least the kids have had good weather for their field trips!