For Ryan and I, it's always been a great thing to go on spontaneous road trips and we've carried that tradition on even after having kids!
I especially love road trips ever since I was a wee one. With several big moves in my childhood, it was always a great thing to spend an afternoon with my mom, sister, and brother going on little trips and exploring a new area. When we moved to Tennessee, my three favorite things were 1) go to Wal-Mart in Gallatin 2) go on driving adventures 3) switch things up and go to Wal-Mart in Franklin KY. Since I didn't know a soul here in the US of A I had lots of time getting to know the area. I challenged myself to get lost somewhere and then try and find my way back home. I have found many cool back roads, old houses, winding creeks, and abandoned villages! I am so happy to have a husband that likes to go off the beaten path with me too. "Let's take the back way!" we often say.
So today on a whim, we decided to go to Center Hill Lake and we took the back way! I got to see lots of little towns and noted they all have a bit of quirkiness. For instance, in one town a little church off the side of the road that had a big sign advertising a murder mystery party they were hosting. A MURDER MYSTERY!! LOL - seriously? Ryan and I had a good chuckle and carried on.
We finally got to the town right near where the lake was and stopped for lunch at Sonic. Both of the girls had slept until this point, so the bulk of our trip was in peaceful bliss. After that we drove the next few miles to the lake. Now I just have to say, I have lived in Tennessee for almost 3 years now and am continually awestruck by the glorious beauty here. "Ryan it's so amazing! Look how gorgeous it is here! I can't stop staring! Do you see? Do you see?" I say this over and over as I glace out one window and then another. "Yes, I see. Don't worry, I can see." He replies shaking his head thinking I probably need to get out more often.
We finally arrive at the lake and park at a little picnic spot. Selina and Keira are thrilled to be out of the car and running around. We spent a lot of time down at the shore throwing rocks into the water. Keira who is still fairly new to walking is absolutely convinced that having rubber soles means you can go anywhere, including right into the water. I love how 1 1/2 year olds believe they are invincible and can walk on water. Ryan and I were constantly scrambling to watch where she was going. Selina at the blessed age of almost 4 gives us a bit of a break. She just stands by the water and tosses in rocks and shells.
We walked all over the place, but I could see Selina scanning the water all the time. Suddenly her face fell long and she looked depressed. "Where's the mermaids?" she asked me.
"Oh, well, um, you know mermaids aren't supposed to talk to humans right?"
"But I want to see one!" she said sadly.
"Selina, I don't think there are mermaids in this lake. The are in the ocean." I replied. Then Ryan added that the water is too cold for the mermaids.
Now I know this conversation has Selina very excited for our beach trip that we are planning again this year. Last year at the beach, Selina wanted to swim to the oil rigs (or whatever those big oil things are in the gulf) because she thought they looked like well lit castles where Belle calls home.
After a warm pleasant afternoon at the lakeside, Ryan and I braced ourselves for the trip home. We were happy to have a quiet trip there, but you can't be so lucky to get both ways like that.
Things were going pretty well on the way home all things considered, but as we approached Gallatin Keira was starting to have a meltdown. It was also close to dinner time and we had no plans. Ryan decided to make a quick trip to Publix to pick up something quick to make.
"Sounds good to me." I said "Then I can take the girls out of the car and they can have a cookie there."
"Or," he said back, "I can be really quick and run in myself. If we take the girls, that'll add 10 minutes easy to our trip. Do we want to risk it?"
I contemplated what he said, weighing both sides. I'd rather get home quicker too. And so it was decided, I would stay with the cranky children in the car while he had a nice quiet shopping excursion. We pulled in the Publix parking lot, I gave him a passionate kiss, looked deep into his eyes and told him I'd miss him dearly while he was away and that he should hurry back as soon as possible. The kids were screaming and crying. I started to lose touch with reality and my hair became frazzled. I waved a white cloth out the car window as Ryan disappeared out of my sight. "HURRY!!" I yelled! Moments went by, what was taking so long? I let the children out of their seats so they could walk about the car and toss toys everywhere. This kept them happy, for now.
5 minutes later, Ryan returned with a bag of groceries. Oh how I missed him! We buckled the kids back into their seats and set off for home. Keira screamed her head off, but we just turned the music up and ignored it. This will all be over with soon.
At last we were home! We made it! Mission complete. Overall, a super awesome day with the family :)