Two weekends ago, we loaded up the party van with Cookie & Lovie for a trip to Dallas.
For Christmas, Cookie & Lovie gave us tickets to several Broadway musicals in Dallas & we decided to make a weekend out of the trip.
It was a beautiful Saturday - 81 degrees!! First, we headed to Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum.
It was so warm that the kids "waded" in the children's park.
(This an important fact to note considering what happened the next day.)
Road trip reading
Stopping to smell the hyacinth
playing with grandparents
My sweet loves
After naps in our hotel & a yummy dinner which we walked to a few blocks away, we crashed early.
When we woke up the next morning, it was cold and rainy so we drove two blocks away to visit a lovely church. It was a great church.
The temperatures continued to drop but we didn't worry - ice wasn't supposed to hit until much later in the evening.
After lunch, we headed to see the Little Mermaid Musical!
Ellie was beside herself excited! She talked for weeks and weeks about it and was just beside herself. She planned on wearing her mermaid tail and also packed all of her Ariel jewelry. She was just beside herself excited.
I'm so glad my kiddos love the theater!
Will pretended like he was too cool to like a "girly" show but he was pretty excited too & loved it.
Apparently Cookie had never seen the movie & was unfamiliar with the story!?! How is this even possible?
After the show, we walked outside shocked to see that it was sleeting heavily.
It was decided that we should head home - we were only about 85 miles or so from home... and so we began our adventure.
For the record, Ellie (recently potty trained & with a steel bladder went to the bathroom during church at 9:45am. She did not go to the bathroom again until 10:30pm. Not even kidding.)
Me, with not a steel bladder, needed to go after the show but we decided to hit the road and stop for treats and the bathroom after getting out of the parking lot - this did not happen.
I had on ballet style flats and a thin skirt & light jacket. Ellie had on her "coat" hoodie. No one else had coats. R had a fleece.
We had no water and no snacks.
We had no blankets.
We were stupidly unprepared.
(In my defense - it's TEXAS! And it was 81 degrees the day before!)
Ellie immediately crashed.
It took us 5 hours to go about 45 miles.
At one point, I finally texted a few friends, scared & asking for prayers. Not only were we not moving but it had become dark.
We had finally found an open gas station & R pulled into it to stock up on waters. I bought lunchables for the kids' dinners. It never even occurred to me to buy breakfast!
The ice was falling heavily and the roads rapidly became dangerous. Semi trucks were sliding & often unable to make it over bridges. We saw cars and trucks that slid off road. At one point, we became stuck on a hill that is a bridge. I heard R ask my dad how far back he thought the gas station was. It was estimated a few miles back - I think R was considering possibly having to walk back for more waters, etc - again, totally underprepared clothing wise. No one was making it over the bridge. We sat there for over an hour. At one point, a trucker came to our window and as we began to slide, he calmly guided R into the slide to help us avoid hitting the cars stuck behind us. I was looking over my shoulder in the dark at the guardrail and could see nothing beyond that. It was quite scary but R did awesome and gained traction again. The kids did great (thank goodness for distracting iphones & ipads!) Ellie did get pretty nervous but did okay as long as she could hold my hand.
Eventually, we made it over the hill.
By this time, we were trying to find hotel rooms in the nearest city (still 10 miles away) but they were all full and the lobbies were apparently full of travelers.
By the grace of God, we had friends who had also been in Dallas & had left hours ahead of us but were unable to make it all the way home - they detoured to their farmhouse & invited us.
Finally, we made it to that exit and got off the interstate.
5 hours - 45 miles.
Shortly after exiting, we learned that the interstate was shut down both directions. We were so glad to have made it off.
(So unprepared to spend the night out there!)
Though the country roads headed to the farm were worse than the interstate, there were no semi trucks sliding or stalling and really no traffic and very few bridges so it was a little easier to make better time.
At 10:30, we finally made it to the driveway.... which was a steep hill.
We slid down the hill 3 times before finally gaining traction and momentum to make it up the hill and through the gate. Goodness.
I have never been so thankful for a warm fire, a good bed, dear friends, and a glass of wine!
These two girls were pretty excited to wake up on a snowy day to a slumber party together!
With the roads too bad to leave in the morning, we hung out at the farm all day.
Thankfully, our friends prepared better than me and stopped at a gas station to buy oatmeal and nutrigrain bars on their way to the farm.
We raided the pantry for snacks and lunch.
E tumbled down these stairs - scared me really bad. Was thankful for both a pediatrician & a PT on hand - I keep waiting for her first broken bone. With her awful falls, it is inevitable. She was scared and bruised but fine.
I found nailpolish & gave the girls manicures.
Good friends and a fire.
Around 1pm, R left with our friends who had four wheel drive to head to our town. They took him home and I put kids down for naps.
When he got home for his truck, there were trees blocking our driveway. He sawed and moved tree branches and finally made it back for us around 4:30pm. As we headed back to town, it was very slow going. We finally got home around 6pm! 26 hours after originally leaving Dallas!
Will and Ellie did manage to get some sledding in once we got back to town. When we dropped off Lovie, some friends were sledding in the yard - we borrowed hats and coats from them so the kids could sled before dark. (Again - so unprepared!)
Note to self- pack SOCKS!
My feet were so so cold!
(Me wearing borrowed pants & fleece.)
Wow! What an adventure! So very thankful for R's great driving in really stressful conditions. His knuckles were white! He stayed focused and calm and managed to keep his kids and wife and inlaws safe.
I was very thankful for friends who opened their home to us at 10:30pm when we couldn't make it home and for friends who I know prayed when I sent that text once I began to realize that this was not a good situation.
I am thankful for warm cars and for apple products to keep kids distracted and quiet during stressful driving conditions.
I was thankful for Ellie's steel bladder!
I was thankful for the trucker who helped us when we slid backwards.
(I couldn't help but wonder if he was an angel in disguise?)
I was super thankful for warm socks when I got home!!
We will never forget that time we saw "the Little Mermaid!"