Lots of laughing and playing today. It was so awesome to be with friends. We spent the morning with Colleen and her family.
After picking up Steven we headed to a coffee shop before getting on the road.
There is much more snow here in Idaho than we have seen so far coming across the states.
Coffee with Sophie at Flying M with ten years of life to catch up on.
And, an evening spent with friends. It was one big party with seven kids all playing well together. Pizza, games, a movie and a big sleepover in the play room.
We are glad to be off the road as it has started raining and is freezing as it hit the ground. I could hardly stay upright walking to the car.
After having lived in Wisconsin for the last three months I have found the answer to the big question. What is that question you may ask. Well Wisconsin is known as the cheese state and particularly known for cheese curds. After having sampled this local treat at numerous places the answer has been found. I post this now that I am 2000 miles away for my own safety. The winner is A&W that may sound wierd but if you want a taste of the East most of you do not have far to go. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
At this moment my backside and legs aren’t convinced that pushing so hard for two days in a row was a good idea but as I look at the schedule for the next three days I’m glad that most of the miles are behind us. 16 hours of driving yesterday and 12 hours today will put us home (ok Idaho, my home state, not Oregon). We woke up this morning in North Platte Nebraska where it was quite cold, but completely dry and completely flat.
I’m not sure when we crossed our first state line into Wyoming it didn’t seem to happen as quick as it should have in my mind. These Mid-American states are huge, would we really make it to Idaho today? We finished the rest of the Ramona Quimby books, I never remembered her having a baby sister in the books before. I think I might relate with Ramon too much, and the things I don’t relate with I can see in Eve and remember in Suzanne. At lunch time we were crossing the Rockies and stopped at an awesome little truck stop with a Lincoln memorial and a small museum that a worker there opened just for us.
I kind of missed the continental divide sign.
Hannah and I had a little fun waiting for Eve at the rest stop.
The mountains were beautiful but after crossing into Utah they became breathtaking. I hadn’t realized I had missed them so much.
It got dark just before the Idaho boarder so there are no pictures of the sign, and I couldn’t see the mountains but I knew they were there.
I was remembering my last drive down this road on the mad 30 hours straight of driving a round trip through the night from Farmington NM to Boise and back. It made me so glad that Chad was driving and I wasn’t alone and way over tired.
Once we pointed our headlight west (I guess the other one wasn’t up for the challenge) there was not too much thought about anything but getting home. Home. Home. Just the sound of that word drives us on. Hugging our friends and family, just being in their presence, sleeping in our own house on a real bed. Cousin dog piles, coffee dates, familiar streets, mountains, the Columbia River Gorge, I could go on and on. The weather was cold with an inch or two of fresh snow.
we held our breath on the side streets and braced ourselves for a whole day of slow going. To our surprise we were on clear dry streets by the time we hit Madison. Having been up all night I fell asleep after we crossed into Iowa and pretty much missed the rest of the state. What I did see was completely lovely.
There are sweet little knolls everywhere and picturesque farms topped the knolls. They had round bales dotting the recently harvested fields now coated with a half inch of snow. I have never seen round bales of cornstalks. Hay yes, corn no. But for sure it was round bales of corn. We crossed into Nebraska and I had to sing Mark Lowrey’s “First Class Wrong Flight” song where he gets on the wrong plane and ends up in Omaha.
The sun set as we headed into Lincoln.
The kids have not wined or complained at all. We have listened to “Black Beauty,” and some “Ramona Quimby.” The kids have colored and read. I think they are as eager as we are to get home and even though they have been in the car since 6:00AM they would be OK with driving through the night. As I am on a night shift schedule and feel ready for an all nighter I can’t say the thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but I promise we won’t.
My last shift with Theda Care is done. A beautiful near change of shift delivery was the perfect way to end this chapter of our journey. As I sit in my sweats watching the snow come down, waiting for Chad to pick me up so we can get on the road towards home reflecting on my time here I feel truly grateful and blessed beyond measure.
10. Starting over again from scratch is hard.
9. You’re learning curve never curves it’s always strait up and down.
8. But I just got comfortable here.
7. California doesn’t have Culvers.
6. You never know what’s around the bend.
5. Home has to be redefined
4. Friend and neighbor too
3. There is not enough time to see everything that was on your list when you came let alone all the new stuff you didn’t know should be on your list that you have since learned about.
2. Having to say good bye to all the great people you’ve met.
1. Having to say good bye to all the great people you’ve met. (Seriously this one should count for two).
Packing up everything and fitting it in the car seems like a bigger process this time. Maybe because we have to pack up our furniture too, or because Chad is having to do most of it himself with me finishing this contract with a three on one off three on schedule. We leave in about twenty four hours and really all that is left to do is clean our apartment and load the car. Or maybe it’s load the car and clean the apartment. One wall of the living room is lined with vacuum seal bags filled with clothes, bedding, and stuffed animals. There are a stack of tubs on another wall. The vacuum and kids’ backpacks take up space in the middle. The kids room is completely empty.
The bathroom cupboards are bare.
When I got out of bed yesterday afternoon, I hopped in the shower and in the time it took me to get ready for work our bed got deflated and a plan was made for me to sleep in the kids room on the floor in a sleeping bag today so everything else could get picked up and cleaned (since their room is already done).
I haven’t even made it home yet to sleep for the day and I’m already looking forward to sleeping in the car. Maybe because I will know we are on our way home, maybe because the packing will be done and all we can really do is rest…a forced break.
Of course no one wanted to say the Q word last night, but the shift turned out to be the kind that happens once every three years (per a perm staff) where at core staffing the nurses almost outnumber the patients. I had a young mom and baby couplet and got several hours of baby cuddle time in, in the nursery. I don’t expect that it will happen again, quite the opposite rather, nor do I know that I want it again so soon as the night does go by a lot slower. But, I sure did enjoy it while it lasted.
Chad grocery shopped today for our last four days. It’s hard to shop for your last four days. You don’t want to buy things that come in packages larger than you need or need extra ingredients that won’t be used completely for the planned meals like mustard or salsa, tortillas or a bag of rice. We will see how we come out, if we use all the food that we do have and don’t have a bunch of random extras that we have to toss.
I pared down my closet a little, another chair and cot went to Goodwill with a huge load of the books that we got free from the library book sale. I was sad to see them go. We saved a bag of them for the road. The kids room is practically empty except for pillows and blankets. They will be swapped out for sleeping bags in the next couple of days as well as our air mattress. Chad has already announced a giant sleepover in the living room Tuesday night.
In order for Chad to have time to pack the car up. He will take me to work on my last night. After work I will change into travel clothes and he will pick me up on his way out of town at 0600. Maybe just maybe those sweet little angels in the back seat will sleep in the car, if not we have our bag of books.
Tomorrow is our last Sunday at Appleton Alliance we are so thankful for this church home away from home, they made our kids feel welcome and loved, we especially loved the kids program, the homework, and the library there. Everyone has been so friendly. We leave Wednesday morning and need to get into Caldwell Idaho by Saturday at noon, friday afternoon preferred. We are looking forward to our first Sherman Family reunion in years, nothing beats family. We would appreciate your prayers for dry roads and safe driving conditions. We will keep you updated.
P.S. I don’t know oh you all feel about cheese curds, but Wisconsin is famous for their cheese what do you think about that for the mileage prize?
Caleb and Hannah were given the job of planning breakfasts and lunches for our five day trip home.
They made a grocery list… (Not healthy but road food rarely is)
-Two loaves of bread (may need three but since they don’t want it to get squished we will start with two and get a third later if needed)
-one loaf of GF bread
-drink powder (as a treat)
-package of cookies
-package of GF cookies
-5 travel packs of chips/crackers
They calculated their estimated cost to be around $66 and then tax. We told them they could spend $70 but they had to keep track of the total and stay in their budget. They could choose what to buy and how to spend the extra.
They have been looking forward to this trip for a week and a half. At first they fought a little over who would push the cart and who would pull things from the shelves, who should hold the list and who should keep track of the total. After a row we worked it out that I pushed the cart, Hannah managed the list and Caleb kept the total.
They chose stix, like Pringles, except GF that were $1.18 each and way more packing friendly. It was under their $3 a chip bag budget. They grabbed two boxes of oatmeal packets instead of one and came so far under their $25 budget in fruit and veggies with a bag of apples, Cuties and a bag of carrots that they decided on a bag of pistachios for a snack. Hannah was concerned that they weren’t getting enough healthy food. She didn’t want to be sick to her stomach. She was pleased with the final decisions.
The total came to $48.34 they were pretty proud of themselves and have a little left incase we need more bread, bananas or extras on the road.