I have miserably failed at sharing my Wyoming trip details, but I think I did say that we ended up flying rather than driving. I was really thankful that Curtis allowed us to do that. So thankful, in fact, that I've repeatedly tried to make it up to him.
For instance, he wanted to drive this one big loop in Yellowstone and see some sights he'd never seen before. It's impossible to cover all of Yellowstone without spending some nights in the park, but this route is feasible to do in one day and get back home to the cabin. It was going to take hours and hours and I didn't think it was going to be possible with two small kids, but we decided to go for it. We ended up having an awesome day and Jacks and Annabeth were amazingly content in the car. We had such a great adventure. At the end of our 13 hours of constantly getting in and out of the car, I was optimistic about our future road trips. Now, driving from Houston to Jackson Hole, in my mind, is still a very big stretch. (It's at least two full 12-hour days of driving.) But Curt is always wanting to drive to Missouri, which is about 12 hours. We'd done it without kids, but never with.
So last week we realized Labor Day was approaching and we didn't have any plans. We had been feeling stressed that we hadn't been to Missouri since Christmas. Curt's parents have been around Annabeth several times, but no one else had met her. I remembered how great my kids were on our big Yellowstone day and I got very brave. I called Curt and said, "Babe, I can't believe I'm about to say this, and I might change my mind if you don't answer me quickly, but I think we should drive to Missouri for the weekend." He was thrilled and immediately got off the phone to call his parents. It turned out that they didn't have any big plans and they were happy to have us come.
Less than 48 hours later, we set out for Missouri before dawn with our three-year-old, our seven-month-old, and a golden retriever who was recently shorn and now resembles a yellow lab. We deeply regretted not asking the groomer to keep his hair for locks of love for naked-backed Jess/Fweet Scruff. Bless his heart.
The drive to Springfield went pretty well. We stopped at the new Buc-ees in Madisonville and got some beaver nuggets (I just googled and found that link) and burnt peanuts. Curt had never had those spiny, red candy-covered peanuts before and he rejected them. He also rejected the nuggets. Have I ever mentioned that he only eats cheese? And salad, ironically.
We stopped half-way in Atoka, OK, at this place called Adam's Grill. The food was good, but it had only opened up a few days before and it took a while to get our food. The tables were very close together and in our one hour there, we heard everything there is to know about everyone in that town. My mom is the worst eavesdropper you've ever met and I know she would have loved it.
Why am I talking about this? I have no idea. I'll get to the point. We finally made it to Missouri and ended up having a fabulous time. We had three whole days with Curt's family before heading home on Monday. Curt's cousin Andy was home from Kansas City with his family and that made it even more fun. We had almost the whole clan! We were only lacking our nephew Gavin, who was out of town with his mom. We missed him very much and look forward to seeing him during the holidays.
Some highlights of the trip were:
-Introducing Annabeth to her great-grandparents, great-aunts and uncles and second cousins.
-Seeing her and Cael play together on the floor.
-Watching Jackson and Curtis ride the lawn mower together.
-Riding horses with Cozy.
-All the Dixon extended family coming over to my in-laws' house for dinner one night. It was crazy and fun.
-Going to the church Curt grew up in. He had such a wonderful upbringing and I'm reminded of it every time we're there.
-Having dinner at Ebbets Field restaurant with Matt and Lindsay, Andy and Mindy, and Erin. Without kids!
-Watching my kids enjoy their Nana and Pappaw and vice versa.
-Texting back and forth with the Altics, our Missouri Road Trip Warrior Buds. We were about 2 hours away from each other on the road coming and going.
As for the ride home? Let's not talk about the fact that we all took turns having meltdowns and JD's Chippery in Dallas was CLOSED (the nerve!) in my time of need. Luckily, my once-a-year steak fingers basket from DQ helped me keep my sanity. And my baby weight.
PS - I accidentally deleted all of my pictures and captions right before I was ready to publish this. Ahhhhhhh! The captions will have to wait a while. It's 1 AM!