Me and My Gang

It’s good to be back!  On my blog, that is.  I took a short hiatus to wrap up the school year, rest and get the kids through Vacation Bible School.  Since my last post, daughter number three has acquired her driver’s license and is the phase of I-will-drive-anyone-anywhere-just-to-get-behind-the-wheel-and-outta-the-house.  Praise be Jesus! It has been a blessing to everyone to have another driver and runner of errands, and a blessing to her to have more freedom.

Even though she got the kids dressed and fed and drove them to VBS all week it still took me by surprise how exhausting the week turned out to be for me. I guess I overestimated the break of a few hours each day and underestimated how tired the kids would be from waking early and being active.  I overbooked my week with appointments and activities trying to get it all in before we leave for our trip on Monday.

Our trip!  That was what I was originally going to share with you.  Me and My Gang of seven are heading north for a family reunion.  We are breaking the trip into three legs to space out the driving time.  The first leg will take us to Omaha, Nebraska to stay with a college friend and her family.  Google Maps tells me it is a 9hr 20min drive, so I’m planning on 12 hours.  Heck, it takes us 20 minutes for a short bathroom break by the time we all unload, use the bathroom, wash hands and reload.  I have also found that 2 hours is the maximum travel time between breaks.  If we hit lunch right and the kids nap, we can make it three hours, but that is the exception to the rule.  I try not to stress about the time and focus on enjoying the journey.  On one of our first road trips Patrick and I stopped at a park for lunch and the tradition has stuck. We always pack a picnic lunch and find a local park to stretch our legs and fill our bellies.  It makes for a great break in the trip and for excellent memories.  I must admit that GPS has made the task easier, but hunting down a park is part of the adventure.

The second leg is to Green Bay, Wisconsin to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary, attend the Allen reunion, visit St. Lawrence Seminary and show the kids their family heritage: visits to the grave sites of my grandparents,  my grandparents former homes, and various sites around town.  Both my mother and father’s families are from Green Bay and our history goes back four generations since immigrating to the U.S.A. in the late 1800’s.

Lastly, we will head back to Omaha to stay with my nephew and his beautiful family.  As an added bonus we will stay through July 5 to meet up with daughter number two who will make an appearance in Omaha that weekend.  Lauren is walking across the U.S. with Crossroads to raise awareness for the rights and dignity of people from conception through natural death.  She started in San Francisco and will end in Washington D.C. and is taking her entire summer vacation for this wonderful cause.  We will only get to see her for a few hours before she heads back to college in the fall, so this gift of time mid-summer is a precious one.  I have really enjoyed following Lauren via photos she has posted on Facebook.  I was not independent enough to venture out at her age, so it is fun to live vicariously through my children now.

I plan on blogging a short update each day of our trip so that you can follow along on our adventures.  We are still neck-deep in packing and planning.

Clothes for six kids for eight days!

Clothes for six kids for eight days!

I have learned that if you prepare well enough in advance it makes for a much smoother trip.  I adore long car trips and I have passed on the love to my children.  We have our moments, but for the most part we have a heck of a good time.  Our signature song is “Me and My Gang” by Rascal Flatts if you want to sing along.  I’ll see if I can get some video for your enjoyment.  “It’s a brother and a sister kinda thing, raise your hand if you all wanna hang with me and my gang . . .”

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