the road to here

Yesterday at 6:30 on the nose, we pulled out of our driveway and headed south.

Destination:  Disney World.

It's a trip four years and three adoptions worth of expenses in the making.  (Thank you Disney Visa ~ our admission for all six of us was covered!)

We made it almost out of our city limits before we heard the first, "When are we gonna be there?"  Thankfully a quick reminder that it was about as long as it takes to get to Ohio put the time in perspective and the kiddos settled in for the long haul.

Traffic was killer getting out of town and we lost a lot of time at dinner, so Ian and I decided to push on as far as we could make it before stopping to sleep.  We hit the Georgia line around 1:20 am and decided that Savannah looked like a great place to stop for the rest of the night.  Finding a room was almost stressful as the first two hotels we tried were full.  Luckily the third time was the charm and we dropped $64 for a room at Wingate by Wyndham ~ not too bad of a deal considering it came with a hot breakfast.

Anyone traveling with small kids at night who suit up in pajamas after dinner can likely appreciate the headache that is maneuvering four sleeping kids and one small suitcase up to a room.  Kinda reminds me of that old school math riddle about the guy with a fox, a chicken and a bag of corn and he can only take one passenger across the river at a time.  Being short one adult to stay behind in either place, the car or the room, we broke the number one rule of parenting ~ never wake a sleeping child ~ and roused the kids to walk up to the room.  And then there was the excitement of being in a hotel.

My favorite quote of the day was from our oldest.  At the age of "almost six" she's traveled back to China three times.  That means she's spent much, MUCH more time in hotels over there.  And it reflected as she turned on the water in the sink and got her toothbrush wet.  She looked at me in alarm and said, "Oh no Mommy, is the water clean here?"

Thankfully everyone settled back down quickly and by shortly after 2 our crew was sawing logs.  However when they fall asleep in the van around 10, they're charged for the day much earlier than the grown ups who were driving.  Our wake up call ~ compliments of the boys ~ of 8 seemed so early, but there was reason to press on.

So by shortly after 10 our bellies were full and we were back on the road.  Our next stop was meeting up with the T family.  When I found out they lived on our route down the sunshine state, I knew we'd have to make a quick stop.

ky and mj quickly hit it off.  after all, they shared the commonalities of both being in kindy, both being the oldest siblings in their families AND both being born in china ~ what else is needed for an immediate friendship bond?

It was pretty awesome to be able to pick up lunch at Wendy's and then have directions to a park nearby.  Those of you traveling with a preschool set should be able to appreciate an hour of running time for kids who've been cooped up in a car far too long!

the boys show k how cool finn mcmissle is
 The kids of course were instant pals.  And Ian and I found conversation with Dusty and Chet quite easygoing as well.
and oh, can you stand how cute little m is?  
 One fun thing about the online adoption community, you already have a lot of background knowledge of one another because of blogs and fb connections.

of course a photo of our seven kids had to be attempted.  can you tell who was suffering from the "it's time for my nap" blues?

I first "met" Dusty when I won hosting on Adoption Voyages through a giveaway on Ni Hao Y'all.

little stinker ~ he really wasn't having any part of our photo shoot...
She did a fantastic job of keeping the folks who had a slightly more insiders view of our trip in the know.  If we were headed back to China anytime soon, I'd totally use Adoption Voyages again.  Dusty and Chet were so easy to work with.

my babies in action

And after today, meeting them in person, I can tell you they are the real deal.  It was a brief meeting ~ all seven kids were hot and naps were needed ~ but one that our whole family enjoyed.  Ky asked after we got back in the car if we'd get to see MJ again sometime.  I told her I hoped so!

From the park we had just under two hours to go.  Once we got to Daytona and split off on Interstate 4, we began seeing Disney billboards.  That's when the entire trip started to seem real.

We got to our condo (for those wondering, no, we are not on the resort ~ our family doesn't fit into any of the value sized housing on the campus), unpacked and hit the pool.  After we were chilled it was a quick rinse off, dinner at Sweet Tomatos, and a run through the grocery for milk, bread and a few other food items to help keep the cost of our eating portion of the trip under control.

And tomorrow is a Disney day!  Our personal planner (my friend Bekah) recommended we start with Epcot, so we'll be Soarin', visiting China, and traveling the seas with Nemo and friends.  I was last in Epcot in the spring of 1988, so I'm just as excited as the kids!


Julie said...

Brilliant about the Disney Visa! And I love Kylie's comment about the water, cracked me up! Hope you all have a blast and I cannot wait to read all about it!!!

Laine said...

KRISTI!!!!!! I am SO HAPPY yall are at DISNEY!!! I can't wait to read all about the adventures, and I have SO LOVED reading about the adventure just to get there! What fun! The sleepy kiddos at the hotel...Kylie's water comment, the fun with another adoptive family, and the excitement of seeing the Disney billboards! I cannot wait for tomorrow EITHER! :)

One of my very best friends is a Disney fanatic...and one day we were at her house and she pointed to Mickey Mouse and asked Kevin, "Who's that, Kevin?" Much to her dismay, Kevin answered, "ELMO!"

She then proceeded to harass me at how Disney illiterate my children are, LOL! So maybe following your journey will help us remember the "magic"!

Praying your trip is filled with amazing memories and sweet family time together!

prechrswife said...

We are so glad that you were able to stop and visit with us for awhile. M fell asleep on the way home, and it didn't take K long once we got back to the house. It was so fun to meet all of you in person, and I hope it works out to get together again some day. Have a wonderful time at Disney!

Our Journey to China said...

Hooray!!! Disney.....I miss Florida when I think of Disney and the fact that we have not been since we moved from there..;(....I KNOW you are having a GREAT time today! Oh, how I wish I could see the looks on the kids faces today with excitement! :0) Have fun!! Post LOTS of pictures!! :)

Heather said...

Wow .. what an adventure! WE LOVE DISNEY!!! Even our big kids ask to go back. :) Enjoy the time. Can't wait to see pictures.

Rachel said...

Another Disney fan here:) So happy you & your family get to go - have a blast!!

Di said...

Have a fantastic time! I haven't been to Disney since about 1995.

I am sure that the kids are going to love it!

Heather said...

OhI hope you have a blast!!! I love seeing my kids at Disney!! Take a ton of pics and post when you get home and recover (Disney definitely wears a person out!). Can't wait to see your kids faces when you meet all their favorite characters!!! HAVE FUN!!!!!

Grandma Shultz said...

You are on your way! Looks like the trip down was good, especially, the break at the park.
Would love to see the kids eyes when they enter Disney! Have fun
Love you.

Nancy said...

If you ever travel up north, we'd love to meet up with you too! :)