This was our first real road trip with Sophie. Prior to this, we'd only driven 2.5 hours to Corpus Christi with her and flown everywhere else. This was driving from San Antonio, Texas, to Crestview, Florida, which is a good 12-14 hours. AND Sophie was newly potty trained, so we had no idea what to expect. However, Sophie did not have any accidents on our trip and, best of all, every place we stopped was an exciting adventure for her.
We left out at 6:15 a.m. and drove across town to beat San Antonio rush hour traffic, then stopped to have breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana. Sophie was excited for tacos and excited to point out all the suns on the wall! She was excited to go potty!
Then, we drove over halfway to Houston and stopped for gas in Weimar, Texas. When we walked in the door, the convenience store had a bull that you could ride for $1, so after we went potty, Sophie rode it and loved it!
during the entire bull ride. Only in Texas.
At truck stops, she marveled at the big scales you could weigh yourself on in the restrooms. She pointed out when we were shown on the security camera TVs-"We're on TV, Mommy!" She napped a little and watched videos and played games on her Fisher-Price iXL while we drove. She never complained once. What normally would've been a long, ho-hum drive was actually fun since we saw it through her eyes. :)
We stopped in Biloxi, Mississippi, and spent the night at one of my favorite casinos, the Beau Rivage. When we went down to have dinner, Sophie saw all the slot machines and wanted to play. I told her those were "Big Girl Games." After a delicious meal, I went to play slots and J took Sophie to the Kiddie Arcade, aka the "Little Girl Games."
Amazingly, after losing almost $80 on quarter slots, I hit it big and won $1350 on one of them! It was so exciting! I've never won that big before. When I went back up to the room, I told Sophie, "I won at the Big Girl Games!" Sophie ran and got some little plastic fish and a ball and said "I won at Little Girl Games, Mommy!" LOL. We were all winners!
The next morning we went for a swim in the beautiful pool and looked out over the ocean, then got dressed and checked out. We headed to Mobile, Alabama, about 30 minutes away, to meet my cousin Cindy for lunch. It was great to see her and catch up. Then, we drove on through Mobile ("We're in a tunnel, Mommy!") and Pensacola, Florida, and finally arrived at our destination: Crestview.
Several of my cousins and aunts and uncles live in Crestview, but the wedding was actually taking place in a little town called Florala, Alabama, which is 25 miles north. It's where my parents grew up and I'm related to most of the town on one side or the other by marriage. The only place to stay in Florala is a bed and breakfast, but that is where my cousin Caitlin was having the reception and her wedding party was staying there, so we had to drive back and forth from Crestview everyday.
After checking in to our hotel, we drove up to Florala and checked on my dad and uncles who were putting up lights for the outdoor reception at the B&B. Then, we drove to my grandparents' farm to see my mom and aunts and the bride and her sister, who were working on wedding decor. Then, we drove back down to Crestview to have dinner at my uncle's house.
The next day, J and I had planned to take Sophie down to the beach in Ft. Walton, 25 miles south. I was born there and the beaches there are some of the prettiest in the world, but I can hardly ever break away to go when we visit. My cousin's wife, Ashley, and her four-year-old niece Kelsey, ended up coming with us, and actually directed us to the exact stretch of my beach my parents always brought me to when I was Sophie's age.
After our fun beach excursion, we drove back up to the farm for dinner. It was fun to see Sophie playing and running around and enjoying the farm. I only wish my grandparents were alive to see it. She's more of a farm girl than I ever was, for sure. :)
That night, we attended the wedding rehearsal. Sophie and her fellow flower girl Zoey followed directions well, but got a little bored standing up front while everyone worked out the ceremony details, so they began swinging their flower girl buckets around a little, much to my chagrin. However, when I tried to tell Sophie to please stop, my aunt, the mother of the bride, told me to let the girls do whatever they wanted to...swing their buckets, sit down, whatever. It would be cute no matter what.
Finally, the big day came. Sophie and I had to be up at the B&B at 2 p.m. to get her hair done. The wedding didn't start till 6. I was a little worried about keeping her entertained and out of trouble for four hours, especially when the lake and a playground were just down the hill from where we would be.
a fact my cousins, former child pageant girls, couldn't believe!
At 5:20, we got her into her dress and at 5:40, we crossed over to the church. I thought Sophie would run to J and my parents when she saw them seated in the church, but she merely waved and said, "Hi Daddy! Hi Nana and Papa!" and continued to her spot on the side of the church. In. The. Zone.
She waited patiently and then, when it was time, went sweetly down the aisle throwing flower petals like a pro. She got into place by Kenna and Zoey and quietly stood there holding her bucket for the first few minutes of the service, looking out at all the people who just a few months before would've made her cry from shyness.
And then, probably getting a little bored, she began to swing her bucket. One of the bridesmaids, thinking she would nip that in the bud, reached out and grabbed the bucket mid-swing, and attempted to take it away from her. In the audience, J and I froze and silently freaked, "Girl, what are you doing? If you get the bucket away from her, she will cry and ruin the wedding!"
Never fear...Sophie just looked at the girl and tugged the bucket back away from the bridesmaid without making a sound. The audience, made up of mostly our relatives, burst into laughter, totally on Sophie's side of the debacle. The bridesmaid turned red, completely embarrassed. I felt sorry for her. Sophie didn't swing her bucket again and kept one eye on that girl for the rest of the ceremony!
Zoey, the other flower girl, had her own moment of levity when she kept patting a pillar standing up behind them and knocked it over! Kenna caught it and had to stand it back up while everyone laughed. Then, Zoey sidled right up to Sophie and began pulling feathers off her dress. Sophie just stood there and looked at her silently and bore up well, considering she was besieged on all sides LOL.
The moral of the story is, don't have little kids in your wedding if you want all the attention on you. :)
Now that Sophie had performed her job beautifully, I could finally relax and enjoy myself (being the mother of the flower girl is kind of stressful!). We headed back to the B&B and spent the next three hours dancing up a storm! Sophie stayed out on the floor dancing with J, me, my parents, and trying to do all the line dances and everything!
What has been the best road trip you've taken with your kids?