i split this into three posts, so it's pretty long, but i want to remember everything we did. feel free to read as much or as little as you want :) we drove over 2,000 miles, visited 5 states, stopped at a dozen play grounds, and ate more fast food than i'd like to admit. azalea did pretty well in the car, as well as you can expect a one year old to do. she never slept more than 1-1.5 hours a day in the car, which confused me. and there were plenty of moments where i thought to myself "what were we thinking?!" overall, it was a great trip, though! and now, onto the recaps...
day one: 10/4
we left minneapolis around 7am for pierre, south dakota. azalea started whining 10 minutes into our car ride. It definitely made me nervous. haha. she spent the morning whining off and on and throwing little tantrums when she got bored. We gave her books and toys and other stuff to play with and she watched some sesame street on the iPad. we stopped in watertown, south dakota to eat the picnic lunch we had packed. unfortunately it wasn't picnic weather, 45 degrees and windy, so we ate in the car. azalea slept for an hour in the afternoon. she was much happier in the afternoon. i think she resigned to the fact that we were spending the day in the car. we stopped in a little town called redfield for an afternoon break. we went to a cute antique shop where we bought a pretty christmas candle centerpiece. thatcher's mom has a similar one and he's always wanted one. I also got a mocha for the road from a local coffee shop.
the last 45 mins of the drive were sort of brutal. azalea was just dooone being in the car. we got to pierre at 4pm and checked into our hotel. We didn't want to get back in the car for dinner, so we were limited to the places near the hotel, which were mostly fast food. we ended up going to country kitchen...super exciting right? oh well, it got the job done. azalea actually got her first kids meal there. we came back and checked out the hotel pool. the water wasn't very warm, so we only lasted about 15 mins. we were all back in the hotel room by 7pm. azalea fell asleep in the pack n play and mama got to watch glee.
day 2: 10/5
azalea was awake and ready to go at 5:45. she woke up crying because she didn't know where she was. we got ready and hit the road at 7:30, bound for denver. it was only 28 degrees out! brrrr! we stopped in valentine, nebraska for a little break. azalea did ok in the car in the morning. she wasn't thrilled to be there, but we all survived. she took an hour nap before lunch. we stopped for lunch in north platte, nebraska. also in north platte, we stopped at a cool observation tower that overlooked the hugest rail yard i've ever seen. then it was back on the road for another 3.5 hours to get to denver. azalea was crabby, but did ok overall. nothing kept her attention for too long, including videos on the ipad.
we arrived in denver (stapleton area) around 5pm. remember how i mentioned a couple posts back that my brother was moving to san diego? well, he and my dad were making the cross country drive, so we made plans to meet in denver and stay at the same hotel! azalea was really excited to see her grandpa and uncle! we walked to a pizza place for dinner. it was really good! our walk back to the hotel was freezing because it was sleeting. too soon for that! back at the hotel we got azalea to bed and then thatcher and my dad stayed in the room while my brother and I went down to the hot tub. it felt so good after being out in the cold! it was also nice to spend some time with my brother before his move. then it was early to bed for everyone.
day 3: 10/6
azalea woke up crying at 4:45 (don't you love the daily wake up report?) she slept on and off in our bed til 5:30, then we all got up. we grabbed some breakfast at a bagel shop near the hotel, then drove into down town denver with my dad and brother. it was not nice out :( 35 degrees and windy. we walked around a bit, taking lots of stops in stores to warm up. azalea had a rough morning. she was tired, cranky, and cold. she had an epic meltdown in a coffee shop and then fell asleep minutes later while thatcher carried her. we decided to get lunch at one of the many brewery restaurants. azalea slept all through lunch, which was nice.
after lunch, we parted ways with my dad and brother, so they could continue on their journey to san diego. then azalea, thatcher, and I drove to meet up with his mom's cousin, her daughter, and her daughter's friend. thatcher hadn't seen them for quite a few years and i had never met them, so that was fun. we went to this butterfly conservatory place. it was an indoor rainforest habitat, which was perfect on a day like that. when we were done, we drove 1.5 hours to thatchers grandparents in colorado springs. ss I mentioned before, it was their first time meeting azalea, so that was fun. azalea's middle name, dorothy is after her great grandma :) we relaxed for the evening at their house, ate dinner, and gave azalea a bath.
stay tuned for part 2...