Since moving to Iowa five years ago, a full day’s drive away from both sides of our immediate family, Aaron and I became the family outliers. We’re the furthest away from everyone else, and we’ve made that long journey back several times a year, sometimes in very inclement weather. (I still have bad dreams about the “New Years ’09 Road-Trip from Hell.” It involved fog, blizzard, icy roads, my first ticket, traffic delays, construction, an electric thunderstorm, more fog, mixing up the direction of the time change, all between the hours of 10:30p.m. and 9:30a.m. Never. Again.)
If we know anything now, it’s how to road-trip well on a budget. So when it was time for the first of at least three summer drives back to Michigan, I was prepared. For best results, fill up on gas the day before leaving, then pack a cooler. Squeeze a little water out of water bottles and freeze them for 4 hours prior to leaving; use flexible icepacks; bring a combination of good food like carrots and trash like Salt & Vinegar chips; and plan at least one real “treat,” like the Greek Gods brand honey yogurt, which tastes better than ice cream. All of this is about the same price as stopping for lunch without risking that awful feeling of sodium overload.
Outdated technology necessitated a “hipster” GPS:
The first part of the weekend included celebrations for Aaron’s brother, Jack and Caroline. While, of course, there was plenty of Bachelor partying, rehearsing, setting up, marrying, eating, and dancing, our main responsibilities are pictured here. I bossed the wedding party around before they made it down the aisle; Aaron’s responsibilities as a groomsman paled compared to his cherished role as Chief Niece Spoiler/Teaser. (The root beer is closed. She is probably contemplating at this very moment how silly it is that adults think it is a treat to suck on cold aluminum cylinders.)
Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the sweetest, happiest couple on their big day. It was an action-packed weekend full of setting up and driving around, and I only managed to get a few pictures … they are all of the toddler. Despite the lack of photographic evidence, this weekend was an answer to prayer. We had been hoping for this wedding since we first met Caroline, before they were dating!
We drove from the reception straight to my parents house and arrived well past midnight so I could host a bridal shower for my sister, Beth, the next day. I picked a “Lovebirds” theme, and it turned out very cute!
And of course, we made it to Lake Michigan for a little while before driving back. I think you can tell which people pictured don’t have regular beach access. Ahem.
We are so thankful for a safe and happy trip. It was exciting to start celebrating this summer of love and family!