We're rounding out our trip now, at my second-oldest brother's in Nebraska.
Aside from about twenty minutes of hell, trapped in a moving vehicle with four people that, at the time, you wish you could walk away from and never see again as long as you live*, this trip, with it's 20 or so odd hours spent in a car, and 14 or so odd nights spent in hotels and in other people's rooms, with vast differences in climates, activities, and food intake (the one constant: alcohol) has been lovely.
Tonight, the Fourth-of-July nearly wraps up our two-week-tour. I will fill in blanks about the sights seen in Cheyenne, but I thought I'd honor the holiday with this post.
We decided to take the kids to the local park where the local symphony would play while we watched the big fireworks show, laying down on blankets with them shooting overhead.
It was a risk.
The music didn't even start until 9:30, the fireworks at 10:00. Big had woken up at 5:40, but fallen asleep with us until eight, but Eight got up with him. There was a big opportunity for a hug meltdown.
We got there early, with tricks up our sleeves for Big and Eight (it helps to have five adults, (me, BioMom, my grown nephew, my brother and my sister-in-law) to spread the burden, and we entered Eight into a pudding eating contest, and my nephew into a hot dog eating contest, to pass the time until nightfall.
The entire event was lovely. Kids roamed everywhere, and there were loads of different kinds of people there. It truly felt like a melting pot. I suppose it is just easy to wax cheeky on Independence day.
By the time the music began, the kids were running on fumes, but it was just enough to get us into the station. The fireworks were brilliant and choreographed perfectly with the music. Big learned the art of oooowing and ahhhing at the appropriate moments and it was topped off with a round of "There is no place like Nebraska" a song in our regular nightly repertoire.
At the end of the show, Big shouted: That's CREDIBLE! Dropping the "in" before "incredible".
We were home by eleven, and brought the kids right up to bed. Tonight though, we let Big fall asleep in our bed as we wrapped things up with the adults. Since our infamous Badlands experience, he's felt free to hop in and out of his crib at naptime and we've been doing that dance at bedtime where he hops out, giddy with his new freedom, demanding kisses, or more milk, or a swift-kick-in-the-ass (thanks Dad for the memories of that saying) before it sticks and he falls asleep. Today even, he took his nap on the little mattress that Eight is using on the floor of the same room.
So, yes, despite our misgivings about this transition (mostly for inconvenience sake) he seems to be moving toward a "big bed" relatively seamlessly.
Here's to independence!
*At one point, after Eight reached up to pull down the little screen from the ceiling in BioMom's behemoth (yes, we are those people who you drive past and have television going IN THE CAR. Yuck. I never thought I'd be that person. . . I keep waiting to drive by a van showing some porno on its little flip-down screen but no. It's just Nemo, Toy Story, and Cars. Nemo, Toy Story and Cars. Oh my!) after I had explicitly flattened it and ixnayed the oviemay, I actually threatened to glue the little door in the ceiling shut with superglue after she reached up to open it again. No less than 10 minutes later after there had been one too many fingers crossing that invisible line running down the middle of the behemoth, into the other kids' territory, I threatened to "pull over the car and make the trip go from six to eight hours!". Not pretty moments on the family vacation. Familiar, but not attractive.