Where shall I start?

If my third annual summer road trip were a movie sequel, it could have aptly been subtitled When Disaster Strikes.

To make a long story short, on my first full day home, my dad had some complications while having two stents put in his heart and ended up spending over a week in the ICU an hour away from home.  The kids and I didn’t get to spend as much time with my parents as I had hoped, but the important thing is that he is ok for now, and the time I did spend with them was definitely put into greater perspective.

I was supposed to travel to West Virginia to celebrate with my older brother as he took command of the Coast Guard station in Huntington, but that trip had to be made rather hastily while my dad was still in the hospital, so I changed our plans rather than have the kids in the car for 14 hours in two days.

This turned out to be lucky– probably for everyone– when Bo woke up the morning of my brother’s ceremony with a stomach bug. Only I didn’t realize it had been a stomach bug [it wasn’t that obvious at the time, I promise] until I had changed my plans and taken the kids to visit my sister for several days, and then I got the stomach bug too.

Only this time, let me tell you, it was obvious.

If you’re actually keeping track of my comings and goings, you’re probably thinking to yourself: didn’t you get a stomach bug last time you were at your sister’s?


Lee called us the traveling plague.

If I hadn’t been crying, I totally would have laughed. Or maybe it was the other way around. It was funny in its awfulness.

I do have some cute pictures, though, to remind me that it wasn’t all bad.  We actually had a lot of fun when no one was throwing up, pooping, having a tantrum [mostly me] or having a heart attack.

We took our traveling plague/circus back to NC for a few days and then on to Smith Mountain lake with my college friends and all nine of our children.

Rachel had joked beforehand that it was “us against them” and I think I laughed at the time, but OH Y’ALL. I don’t think I’ve seen Mary Bullock ever be so simultaneously thrilled and exhausted. It made for a few tense battles. Still not sure who won there.

But again, the pictures remind me that there was a lot of fun squeezed between mandatory naps and bedtime struggles.

I’ve spent most of the last week trying desperately to catch up on sleep, but so far I don’t think I’ve gotten to bed before 10:30. Tonight isn’t looking so great, either.

It consoles me to know that next year before I set out on my fourth annual insane road trip that I will remember none of the exhaustion, but probably all of the fun. Kind of like having another baby in that way, I guess.  So I would ask you to remind me next year that I wanted to crawl into my bed and cry for a good bit of this trip, but don’t. I won’t believe you anyway. And I’ll pack up the kids again [oh my God there are going to be three of them] and set off insisting that It Will Be Fun! How Bad Could It Be?

And I know I won’t be wrong.

Not totally.


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