We finally made it home to good ole Lakeside, Ca. I drove in with the 4 kids about 2 hours after Thanksgiving had begun. I was really freaking happy to get to see all my family in one spot on return from my sojourn.
It’s funny the things one takes for granted in one’s environment. I remember when we first moved to Florida, pjdaddy and I were trippin’ on how flat it was. Not a hill in site. There was one area in our community called Fort Caroline Hills. HAH! Look at the picture of it.
This is the equivalent of a speedbump in California.
He and I missed the mountains. We missed the view, but mostly we missed the snow and snowboarding. We were really excited to leave the First Coast and return to the Left Coast.
When driving about town I don’t let the kids watch DVDs in the car, because I want them to look at the scenery. The drive across country was completely different. I packed every DVD we owned in the van. I was not going to listen to “are we there yet?” for the entire 2338 miles. DVD players in the car rock. The kids were strapped in their seats and I was able to force musicals down their throat for a good portion of the trip. These kids will be exposed to the classics if it kills me/them. Yes we watched Monsters Inc. but they wound up loving, “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady” and “Annie” and “Oliver”. It was fun to show them that the nun in the first musical mentioned also played Mary Poppins in another movie. I even got to introduce them to Abbott & Costello. They were a huge hit. I’d never have been able to get my kids to sit down and watch these flicks any other way.
On the trip out to Florida years ago I’d bought the two oldest disposable cameras so they could take pictures of their trip and to give them something to do. I found them undeveloped as I packed for our reverse move. I learned my lesson not to develop their photos after I paid for 24 pictures of Tom & Jerry on TV.
I had this fantasy that we’d pull over at rest stops and have little picnics with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and juice. I was going to save money and we were going to eat relatively healthy. Hah, yeah right.
Screw that. We went thru McDonald’s and Jack in the Box’s. I even made them, yes I did, I’m gonna say it, are you ready? Pee in cups. I couldn’t believe it when my dad wouldn’t stop for us to pee on trips and we had to go in cups, but because I’m a kinder, gentler person than my dad, I at least stopped the car. It’s soooo much faster that way.
Luckily we had some fake internet friends Sohos and Count, who graciously allowed us to stay at their home in Houston. They couldn’t have lived anymore on our route if they tried. Hopefully we became real friends after meeting them even though I did steal their USB cord. It’s in the mail, really. Course Count is the man who told my children that if they sang, 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” really loud 3 times in a row they’d be able to fly. I only still love him because he took my kids fishing off his parent’s dock. Sohos couldn’t go because she has to work. She needs to quit so things like that don’t happen in the future.
The kids had a blast. I wanna have one of those in my backyard.
Graham put his bait to good use.
Oh you don’t want me to take your picture Garren? Ok, I won’t. Oh hey wow, look at the bug mommy has on her camera lense!
Count even took us on a little boat ride. Gavin was freakin’, well for about a second.
We stayed in Houston for two days to wait for poor pjdaddy to catch up as he was still in Jacksonville painting over tiny hand and footprints on the wall to make our home rentable.
So off we go on the rest of our trip. Our friend Dan Coffey, who seems to show up every time we move, ready and willing to help, showed up again. Weirdest part is he never knows we’re moving……he just has bad timing. He even helped us on our original move from Arizona to Florida following us across country driving our rental truck. Dan followed us this time as well. He coincidentally had to be in California today.
In addition to my “side of the road picnics” I thought I’d have, I also thought I’d take a picture of my kids in front of each state’s welcome sign. It was dark when I left Jacksonville, so it was dark when I hit my first state. Alabama. I didn’t see the sign till too late and there was no way I was gonna make a U-turn and unload the kids for a photo op. Oh well, nother idea down the drain.
About the time we made it to New Mexico, I realized my bottom 3 children had either never seen a mountain or couldn’t remember ever having seen a mountain. What a weird thought to me. The mountains I cherish so much. I was cracking up at how amazed they were at something I took for granted my entire life. My mountains.
We’ve been getting settled in. We’ve taken over my poor parents home until we figure out what we’re gonna do and where exactly we’re gonna settle here.
I took my kids to the park playground I loved as a little girl. There happens to be a lake there and I couldn’t get my kids to go near it for nothin’. I couldn’t figure it out till Gavin points to the lake and says, “Dere’s uh alligator in dere”. It took forever to convince them there weren’t any alligators here in San Diego County.
I’ve been trying to go everywhere and visit everyone since I’ve arrived. I feel like a dog. I need to pee on everything. You are my territory and I will mark you.
On one of our trips today, my bottom 3 kids started gagging like crazy. My daughter said, “oh mom, what’s that smell?”. It dawned on me that I have not smelled that particular smell ever in Florida or even in Arizona, but smelled it often in my hometown growing up. It was a skunk.
Welcome to California kids. It’s good to be home.