Alert: This post is being typed from a computer with a dying battery. In a hotel room with no access to photographs.
The Band of Keigley are on the road. (And you would know all the minutia of our family's Christmas journey south if you followed Riley's Facebook updates. But please do not. We do not wish to support her addiction. I'm actually not joking.)
The start was a bit shaky . . . an hour and a half later than intended, snow and ice the first forty-five minutes, an accidental opening of the completely, tightly packed Suburban's back door two minutes before the official Buckling In Of Passengers was scheduled to begin, half of the loaf of bread originally intended to be our lunch eaten by Super Nutso But Lovable Terror Magnus, and a near breakdown only narrowly averted by a kind husband's quick and gentle words.
But we made it all in one piece through our first two stops of our adventure and are currently resting at Stop Number Three.
In Jacksonville we hung out with Sarah and Erik and Austin. We were treated like royalty. Fresh, delicious Snickerdoodles were sitting on the counter when we arrived. Sweet hand decorated Christmas tins filled with treats sat underneath the tree for Keiglets. Scrumptious from scratch pancakes, thick cut bacon and some kind of tasty sausage were served up for dinner. And Luna was all quiet and sedate. We really felt loved and welcomed. What a sweet start to our trip. Thank you Sarah and Erik - thank you! You will become a regular stop on our southern route, should we be wild enough to undertake said journey in the future! (And if you'll have us of course!)
Reluctantly the kids buckled up again - it was as if Otto Fox's muscle memories kicked in with the clicking of his carseat buckle. The cries of frustration began. Really, he was such a trooper. Who wants to be strapped into the same place for hours on end, with little to no wiggle room?
The Suburban headed itself straight to Melbourne - the GPS leading the way. (On a side note, apparently Piper Finn is now afraid of the GPS. For hours (yes, hours) she spoke these words, "I scared. GPS." It cannot be explained. I will not try.)
In Melbourne there resides a family. A beautiful family. Three great kids. Two amazing parents. We love them. (I could go on. I could gush. And it would all be deserved.) We had so much fun that this really needs to be several posts - but there's that dying battery issue, you know?
We attended church with them. Enjoyed seeing Page play guitar on stage. Then we celebrated two SIX birthdays - Mosely and Hezekiah. You actually can see adorable photos of this at Gretchen's blog. Cute. Cute. Cute. Gretchen made incredible matching Mickey and Minnie Mouse cakes. Two cakes. They looked so cool. I think it was the first birthday party Mosely has had with friends her own age! And then we went to the beach, because they pretty much live in a vacation spot. And Page took photographs that might actually be so good that they might sustain the mirage - because the setting, the lighting, the background - all just worked in perfect union for a few fleeting moments. The results are fantastic! I can't believe ambient lighting can make such a difference! I hope soon you can check them out here or at Page's site. The kids played so well together. We had great conversations, delicious meals and a fab evening of screaming at the television set when Russell was completely robbed of his hard-earned Sole Survivor title. (Yeah, I said "robbed". And I will loudly and passionately defend my stance. Loudly. And passionately. Even if it is a trivial TV show. Just watch me.)
And now we are one mile outside of the entrance to the Happiest Place on Earth. (We'll just see about that Disney.) And apparently the most dangerous as well. I have never seen so many signs reminding me to lock my doors, hide my valuables and put my keys in my pocket. Makes me more than a little cautious. There was even a government-issued, flashing orange road-sign-type sign blinking and proclaiming these warnings. Yikes!
Tomorrow is Mosely's big day. A day of seeing Peter Pan. And pushing that hefty new double stroller. And riding those infamous teacups. Walking miles with six mostly small children. Watching Bergen see a giant Buzz Lightyear. Spending Riley's college tuition on a hot dog and a pretzel. Letting Mosely wear her beautiful, re-created just for her from my old flower girl days, pink fancy dress on her birthday.
It's a special day. And I know it will be perfect. And messy. And funny. And exhausting. And silly. And filled with loads of laughter and plenty of tears. And that's all okay with us!
(Blessing on you, little battery. You did real good.)