Okay, my peeps (all 2 1/2 of you) so sorry to go all stealth and all on you. But I had to, you see, we were on a mission to surprise one side of the extended family up in Washington with a VISIT IN PERSON (I know, how exciting, eh? Chortle,..) with us, the racous Richardson clan. Which means,..
Driving in a car.
With five children.
And two german shepherds.
From Southern California to Washington state.
In a snowstorm.
And even through all of this, the light of Christmas shone forth and we had a jolly good time.
But I get ahead of myself.
So, we started the shenanigans on Saturday, December 21st or something. (I have no idea what day it is now,.. I've been waylayed by five tons of laundry and a dead Christmas tree. It's 2009, right?) That was the day I had to clean the house, pack up five kids, attend the B's first ever ballet pageant, and make way for the boys to be gone two hours under the semblance of "basketball practice."
So, the boys are gone, the babe is in bed for the morning snooze and I'm doing the best I can with a ballet bun for the B's hair. (Big accomplishment, I forget which side of the comb is the hair side sometimes). I let the dogs out to do their doggie duties (which usually happen inside, but that's another shameful story that will be swept under the rug. Or the closet. But what do I care, I'm not running for polictical office.) Then, I go to let the doggies in, and they are covered in MUD. Yes, we do have mud in southern California, although I admit, it is man made mud from the sprinklers. But man made mud is every bit as dirty and annoying as real natural mud. So. Dogs are showered indivoidually,.. in Rob's shower. (Mine is upstairs, and who would want mud on those stairs, right?)
Get dogs showered, get the baby up and dressed, get the B prettied in her head-to-toe pink ballet outfit. Me? I smell like a wet dog. I haven't had time to shower. Squirt on some perfume and swipe on mascara. Off we go to the local retirement community for a little 'Let It Snow' ballerina jig.
Meet the boys there. Sabrina does her best impression of an extremely pissed off tree stump as the other ballerinas frolick around her. 12 minutes later we are done (gotta love these preschool performances for their efficient productions!) and back to the house to clean and pack.
Leave Sunday at 5:30 am. We wanted to leave around, oh, 4am, but whatever. Ride is uneventful. Dogs are in the WAAAY back on top of boxes. We are wedged in so tight we all have to breathe in unison. All the travellers are great, especially thanks to all that brain rotting electronic gear we have accumulated throughout the years; PSPs, Nintendo DSs, Gameboys, iPods, Personal DVD players, my Internet connection on my phone,.. it's a shocker we don't glow at night or my fillings don't do a moonlight job radioing for SETI with all the microwaves passing through that mobile tin can.
We make it to Mt. Shasta to the most AWESOME hotel ever invented - a hotel that actually, yes, ENJOYS dogs and kids. At the same time. In massive quantities. And they have an indoor pool and hot tub. And it's snowing. The boys think it is already Christmas. I think it was the Best Western Treehouse - I'll find out and do a link - they were that very awesome. And travelling with five kids usually means two separate rooms, but we lucked out with a suite, so hubby and I could actually SLEEP TOGETHER on the road. I know, the scandal of it all.
We eat Grandma's home cookin' at the Black Bear Diner that night. At least we think we do, until we see about six more Black Bear Diners on our way up the I-5 corridor. It was still very yummy. Which made me kind of guilty for not cooking more these past days. And a little freaked out that the biggest kid's tastes have changed so much that he ordered the tri tip instead of the corn dog.
The next day it takes us about two hours to get to the fireeway (potty stops, the dogs ate all the baby snacks while we were at lunch at McD's, let's get chains just in case, oh, woops, how far do you think we will actually get when the mileage meter says range: 33 miles,.. )
Great drive. Until we hit Salem, Oregon. Then, it is white. Everywhere. Including the freeway which means 25 miles an hour for the next 90 miles = too many hours for me to think about now without another shot of scotch. Find out later that even the national guard was called in to help with snow removal! Now I'm not so mad at the entire Taco Bell chain for being closed throughout Portland, as I was craving, something, ANYTHING besides a hamburger.
Like the Southern Californians we have morphed in to be, the boys made some yellow snow in the parking lot of one fine establishment.
Stop for a sit down dinner to calm our nerves and finally get to Grandma Z's house at 11pm at ngiht. Only four hours after we thought.
Gotta hit the sack, folks. Tune in next time to hear all about Christmas Eve projectile vomitting.