The McDowell Clan (minus baby Ross) ventured up to North Dakota for Memorial Weekend. We went to watch Hockey Ross graduate from high school. It was a complete surprise for him so we've kept it very quiet. Baby Ross went to stay with Grandma Cella. Here's part one of our trip:
It is a 14 hour car ride to Dickinson, ND so I've been planning our packing list and car diversions for over a month now. I'd have to give us an A for the entire trip. There was not one item that we forgot to pack and the boys did absolutely fabulous in the car... much better than Russ or I expected.
Dad, the early riser, drove the first leg...
In true McDowell fashion, Russ and I tried to make notes of all the funny things that happened on our trip so we could document them and not forget. (we started this tradition on our honeymoon and have done it on every vacation/trip that we've taken since then).
Our documentation starts like this:
5:20 a.m. - left home (loaded the boys up in their pj's). Ryan very quiet, Reid pumped up.
Reid, playing his DS:
Reid: "Look a van like ours, I wonder if their dad is driving"... and on and on and on - the boy was VERY talkative for 5:30 a.m.
6:14 a.m. "You're not the boss of me"... oh boy, we thought we were in for a bunch of fighting... but that's about the only thing they fought about the whole time. It ended shortly and was quite funny.
7:20 a.m. - sitting in the car has become a bit dull so time to pull out a dvd... we got a Pokemon movie at the library so we popped it in.
8:30 a.m. - all is still going well, movie watching made the last hour go very fast. Stopped in Council Bluffs, IA to eat breakfast (with the village idiot as Russ put it). Some guy in McDonald's wanted to talk to the boys. We were sitting at a kids table with McDonald's shaped character chairs that the boys thought were cool... and apparently so did this guy. He was LOUD and more than odd. When we finished eating we went outside and played a game of tag for a few minutes before loading back up.
Ryan, excited to find a Batman book to look at. He wouldn't let me take a picture of him but he would let me take a picture of the book:
9:00 a.m. - Back on road. Gave the boys their backpacks that mom had packed with all new toys, surpises, candy, etc. I made the mistake of telling the boys that they did not have to ask to eat their snacks - they were the boss of their own snacks. Once Reid had FOUR pieces of bubble gum in his mouth at the same time we amended those rules.
We drove on without incident to Sioux Falls, SD where we stopped to eat lunch at Fudrucker's with Casey Legg, an old Marine buddy of Russ'. Russ and Casey sat in a booth and caught up while the boys and I sat at a table. They ate good and played around with some video game table before we decided we better get back on the road around 12:45.
Mile 555 of 589 - Ryan fell asleep for the first time.
We stayed in Aberdeen, SD Friday night in a hotel that had a pool with several kid friendly features - a small frog slide, a sprinkler, guns that you could spray, a basketball goal, and some lily pads with a monkey bar net over them. We checked into our hotel and hung out for a while relaxing. We had gotten a family suite so we had a little living room area, a small kitchenette, a king bed and a double bed. It was nice to have some space and the boys love hotel rooms. They were a bit disappointed to find out that they were sleeping together but they got over it. We had a lot of fun at the pool. Initially there were a couple of other families there but once we scared them off, we had the pool to ourselves and had fun playing basketball with the boys and acting like kids on the lily pads. I did my best Wipeout impersonation and almost ruined my plans of running a half marathon the following Saturday :)
At one time at the pool Ryan asked me something and I didn't understand what exactly he said. I thought he asked if he could get in the water so I said "yes"... Then he asks if he has to pull his pants down. I said "what?" and he asked again if he had to pull his pants down because he asked if he could go potty in the pool... We quickly said no and got him off to the restroom... ugh.
We all slept pretty well that night!