We had an amazing road trip over the Labor Day weekend to Nashville, TN. We traveled to be a part of the 2010 Ethiopia Program Reunion for all families in our Agency. It was wonderful to meet many of the families we've come to "know" so well through our online support group.
We started our road trip at 3am on Friday morning. Everyone, except our fearless leader, slept until we reached Arkadelphia, Arkansas. We stopped to refuel, get in a couple of caches, and eat breakfast. Our first cache was at this historic cemetary. The kids loved looking at all the old headstones and trying to find the oldest ones.
This whole feeding a family of seven thing on our budget is still fairly new to all of us. It was our first trip of this length to 1. Drive instead of fly, and 2. to pack food and stop at rest stops rather than fast food establishments. The kids weren't sure at first, but getting to run around outside in the beautiful weather, and play around while they ate quickly made it their favorite new way to dine. We hit the road for the second leg of the trip and were anxious to make it to Memphis. The kids were excited about visiting an Apple Orchard.
Turned out, unlike they had promised me on the phone when I called that week, Apples were not ripe for the picking. Nonetheless, the kids enjoyed running through the orchard and riding on the side of the car through the rows of fruit trees. Mom enjoyed snapping a gazillion photos.
Caleb enjoyed goofing off in the apple trees more than anything. It was a miracle he stood still long enough to capture a focused shot.
After the fun in the orchard, and a quick lunch, it was time for mom to drive the last leg of the trip from Memphis to Nashville! We arrived, settled into our room and headed off to the Welcome BBQ. It was wonderful to hug all those beautiful necks!
Back in the room for the night Corban was having fun with mom's camera and everyone was hamming it up. Bekeh especially got caught in a doozy!!! Mom and Dad look great for surviving the 14 hour drive in the car!
There were five in the bed, and the little one said, Roll Over! Roll Over! So they all rolled over. . . . . . .and that's no joke.
Seven people in a single two queen hotel room. The W hotels are nice, thankfully, but we were still like caged rats!
The next two days were filled with great times with our friends. The kids met up with several friends they had shared their stay in the Transistion Home in Ethiopia with. When they met up with John and Ryan, who were there the entirety of their stay, they didn't need to be reintroduced or encouraged to play, they just jumped right in to giggling and playing with each other like old times.
Bekeh especially loved meeting back up with her BFF Winnie. Winnie lives in Ohio now, but we've been blessed to see her three times since we've been home. Bekeh was invited to a sleepover in Winnie's room, and she was so excited. They also went to the mall and bought matching earrings. Bekeh treasures them like precious gold.
We went to the waterpark in Nashville. It was a beautiful day, but the water was freezing. The kids love the water no matter what, so they didn't seem to mind!
We finished the trip off with a fabulous breakfast at the Loveless Cafe. This carbaholic was in heaven!
We hadn't found any souvenirs worth buying, and then we found Music City Roots gear at the Loveless Shop. We were thrilled. We bought a beer stein, 3 tshirts, a sticker, some earrings, and a hat. They're perfect!
It was great just to laugh and hang out as a family. We have been so busy lately, especially daddy with his work, and we didn't even realize how much we needed just complete decompression time! Talking with the families, encouraging one another, gathering wisdom from many who had been home longer than us . . . it was an amazing trip!