We were so excited for our 4th of July trip to the cabin in Wisconsin. We just knew it was going to be an epic trip because it was going to be the first time we’d have both kids and our dog there, and our three-year-old was going to be able to experience so many great activities like bonfires, swimming, boating, fishing, and fireworks, all with lots of our extended family. But the second half of our trip and the drive home was even more epic-y than we could ever have imagined.

I just love my mom. She’s just perfect. Well…almost perfect. She has joint problems in her middle fingers so she can’t bend them. Oh the jokes. Often times she’ll need to help opening jars, buckling the kids in their car seats, etc. because she can’t get a good grip on things.

IMG_6785Mom insisted on just standing on the back of the golf cart (affectionately named “Golfie”…and my husband wonders where I got my need to name everything) decked out with 4th of July decor that we had loaded up with our stuff to drive two streets down to my grandma’s house on the lake. So with my mom standing on the back, my sister climbed in the driver’s side, I climbed in the passenger side, and we drove like the wind. I turned around to make sure mom was hanging on okay and all I saw was her middle fingers sticking out from her hands that clasped the golf cart as we drove, little American flags flowing in the breeze. “HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, Y’ALL!”

That night I was heading into my parents’ cabin to change into jeans so the mosquitoes would leave me alone since the leggings I was wearing weren’t fooling those blood-sucking beasts. Ironically, I got stung by the mother of all wasp as I climbed the steps to the deck. I was carrying our baby girl, so better me than her! After a series of Christian expletives, I got the sliding screen door opened, set the baby on the floor, and went running into our room to rip off my leggings. It was stinging so bad I couldn’t tell if it was caught in my leggings or jersey cotton skirt and going ballistic. [Fast forward two days…I developed a third thigh.]

We had intended to drive home during the day on Monday so my husband could be back at work on Tuesday. But Sunday evening he checked the weather and angry storms were supposed to be making their way across the midwest — and by midwest, I mean tracking along the exact route we would be taking to get home. Both kids were fighting sleep and loudly crying while we were weighing the decision to just pack up and drive home through the night to get ahead of the storms. It was an environment that was super conducive to thinking and weighing the pros and cons………

Ultimately I let my husband make the decision since he was the one who was going to have to drive. He drives a stick shift — I…..I do not. I have too much going on in my brain at any given minute to be able to make those kinds of decisions about how to make a car function, let alone in the middle of the night. We packed up and got on the road.

The deer. Oh the sheer number of deer. Oh the stupid, stupid deer. Those dark country roads are terrifying in the middle of the night. If you’re not scared about ghosts, serial killers, or sasquatches, you need to be scared of deer.

We made it a good four hours into the trip when the gas light came on. I heard the ding and canvassed the area. Dark. Desolate. Doomed. We drove on. We went another 30 minutes or so and pulled off an exit. There was one gas station lit up. It was closed, but the pumps were open. Looking around while we were stopped I thought the same things…dark, desolate, doomed. The air was warm but windy. There were no other signs of life at that exit as my husband got out at the pump. The gas came out the slowest I’d ever seen it in my whole life. Like, cents at a time. The situation had all of the makings of an awesome slasher movie, so when the other car drove up my leg hair stood up on end (refer back to the blog entitled “Mom Legs”). I asked if our three-year-old could get out and stretch his legs and my husband just said “No way…this place is freaking me out.” More leg hairs stood up since someone else had confirmed the creeped out feelings that I had.

We made it out of there alive. We didn’t see a single ax-murderer.

But then the puking started. Almost every hour for the rest of the trip my dulled reflexes were put to the test. The shrieking wail of the impending outflow would crescendo out of the complete dark silence. I’d jolt up, throw off my seatbelt, grab a handful of tissues, and whip around to the back seat to hold them under my son’s chin just in time. By the time we stopped for gas 45 minutes away from home he had steaks across his pajamas as we walked around the grassy area. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone, but I’m sure my face and hair said, “just…don’t….don’t.”

It was an epic 10 hour trip. My third thigh was growing by the hour as the wasp venom spread — a sight straight out of a low-budget sci-fi movie. The puking stopped. We all got naps, baths/showers, and food. We missed all of the severe weather (sometimes just by a few minutes). And my husband won an imaginary trophy for getting us all back safely, even with all of the obstacles that we encountered! Despite the events of the drive home, we have so many great memories of our time up there with family. And so many great pictures to treasure.