That first night we had crashed with my Dad's Cousin Judy in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Cousin Judy and I stayed up chatting until after midnight. It was great. There was some Butler basketball and Wine. Jake wasn't sleeping well without me, so I eventually caved and went to bed with him. He only woke up twice in the night. It felt like a record, and I slept really well. When we got up in the morning, we were surrounded by trees, and it was shady, and dark. I'd done the boys a favor, by waking up earlier than they, I tried to download Big Hero Six onto my ipad for a treat to watch. I'd tried at home the day before, but it hadn't worked. They couldn't even wait for it to finish downloading, they had to start watching it right away.
Like they hadn't had enough screens already, they wanted to watch Big Hero Six right away!
So, while Cousin Judy made breakfast, the boys played. They fought with the puppy, and just were crazy. So, as breakfast was finishing and the sun was up, they wanted to take a look around. Since we'd arrived after dark, we knew we were in the woods, but hadn't been able to see a thing. So the boys wanted to explore, a little bit of Judy's place. She has a condo, with not much yard, but surrounded by trees.
I wouldn't let Jacob go exploring, so he got to watch from the window.
Cousin Judy shows Jake and Sam her back patio.
It was Beautiful. Spring was just beginning the trees waking, and birds chirping. She had a pair of cardinals making a nest just out her back porch window. And she said there were some bluebirds too, but we didn't see them.
This was Sam's "collection". He wanted to bring these acorns home with us. Somehow I managed to convince him that if we took a picture of his collection, then we could put them back for the squirrels to eat, and not take them. And that was enough for him. (Whew!) After we all got dressed, we got the full tour of Cousin Judy's downstairs ceramic studio, and the lot.
The boys all wanted to swing.
They were pretty sweet here.
I couldn't get Jacob to smile to save my life.
But at least they all look sweet with Cousin Judy.
As we were loading up, we took one more picture from the top of the hill.
Some of the daffodils were starting to peek out down the hill. But mostly there was still a lot of brown. And the kids wanted to just run around and play on it. But really, we had to get going.
Cousin Judy took this with her phone. She was the only one to get a pic of Jacob smiling. The big boys were getting all revved up as we finished loading up to hit the road. They went a little crazy. No, a lot. And I felt like by the time we pulled out of her driveway, she was probably glad to see us go. I felt like I'd yelled at them all morning - don't fight with the dog, don't run out of her yard, put that stick down. By the time we drove down the hill, I was still yelling. Chris was arguing with me at every turn. I still had 2 more days travel to go before we got to Lisa's, and this was the first moment that I felt overwhelmed. I screamed at Chris, he slapped his head, I screamed more. Before I knew it, I was crying. This was the one and only time I lost it too. What was I thinking?! I put them off screens for 2 hours. That was rough on them. But we kept driving.
The hills of Arkansas.
Very pretty. I found beauty of being in the hills, as the green was starting to poke through. I was born in Arkansas, and given how it helped me to calm down, being in the hills and woods, I guess this is My Country.
Oklahoma. We kept driving, and the dirt started turning red. There was more green, but we lose real trees. There really isn't much in Oklahoma.
We stop at the McD's in Tulsa, just next to the Hard Rock Casino Resort. They were awful when I tried ordering at the counter to take it to go after pottying. So I put them in the car and went back in for supplies. They needed to just run around a bit. I'd love to have let them run around, it just wasn't a safe spot to do so. So I was all kinds of frazzled as we were leaving and Chris looked up. Chris thought this place looked "like fun" so I'm making note, so maybe sometime after he's 21... I told him about the 'grownup gambling games' they play at casinos and that we have to be 21, or it just wouldn't be much fun for him. But hey, once he is 21, maybe it might be the kind of thing he likes.
And we drove on. They cuddled up into their screens, and all I wanted to do was get out of Oklahoma.
This is the Red River, the border of Oklahoma and Texas. Woohoo!
We made it to Texas.
I called Eric, and he booked us an evening at the Comfort Inn in Wichita Falls, about 15 minutes into Texas. The boys were so good that last couple hours, I felt like the earned a swim in the pool. And they were So Helpful. I think they realized how close I'd come to my wits' end earlier in the day. They helped unload, they stayed together. I felt like the most withit mom ever as we rolled our cart upstairs, Chris taking one half of the luggage filled cart, while I carried Jake, and Sam pushed the elevator buttons. I went downstairs and asked the clerk what the hours were on the pool, knowing we needed dinner before a swim, but hoping they'd be open late. He looked at me, like I was crazy. He said the Pool is closed, it's winter. What?! It's Texas! But turns out they only had an outdoor pool, and not indoor, and it hadn't been opened. It was like 70 degrees at 6 pm, but there was no swimming. I got teary as I had to tell them. Then I suggested we just jump on the beds for a while and drown out our sorrow with cheeseburgers from Whataburger across the street and watch trashy TV.
They were cool with that.
So they played.
They hid in the dresser cabinet.
They jumped on the beds.
And they curled up to watch some trashy Disney channel, Jessie or something like that.
Once laying flat didn't hold their attention anymore.
We took a walk and got dinner.
And Mommy got a Whataburger.
So Good. Not exactly In & Out burger, but for this area of the country, it's pretty stinky good!