550.5 miles, 3 kids, 1 Police Man and Me

Last week I drove 1283.7 miles alone with three kids, found a home and signed the contract.

That sounds more impressive and less interesting than it really was,  so (as promised yesterday) here’s the story.

First, a bit of back-story: two weeks ago Joshua was offered a job in our home state. The thrill of getting to move “home” was still fresh upon us as the reality that we only had six weeks before the lease on our current home expired sank in.

As we started looking at rentals the cost kept surprising us. We had planned to rent and save up to purchase a home. However, the housing market was so wacky that it would cost considerably more a month to rent than to buy.


We were going to let our Realtor and parents look for us, but Joshua thought it would be good to have at least one of us see the house we were going to buy. Since he had to work, that left me… and three kids, of course!

Looking for a house sounded exciting, but getting up there? Not so much! A ten hour road trip with three kids wasn’t exactly my idea of a leisurely day’s activity.

I began mentally syking myself up for it, when we realized that we needed to find a house ASAP. Which meant leaving a week sooner than planned.

Wednesday morning we decided for sure I should go. I roll out of bed a bit past 7.

7:12 I realize, If I want to miss lunch hour traffic in Memphis, I have to leave in half an hour!

7:13 The kids jump out of bed when I tell them, “Get ready to go to Grandma’s house right now!”

7:14 Scarf down breakfast, thr0w clothes in travel bags, and pack snacks for the road so fast I don’t have time to ask myself, What on earth are you getting yourself into?

7:50 We pile in the car, pray for God’s blessing, and waive good-bye to Joshua.

7:51 Start the long drive.

8:34 I ask myself for the 20th time, What on earth are you getting yourself into?!

10:30 Meg wakes up from her morning nap. Needs a diaper change. We’re in the middle of nowhere and none of the exits have rest stops or gas stations.

10:40 We’re still in the middle of nowhere. So I pull off onto an exit and decide to do a diaper change at the stop sign.

10:40:30 Apparently we’re not as “in the middle of nowhere” as I thought. Two cars pull up behind me. Thankfully they have pity on mom-changing-diaper-at-stop-sign and get around me.

10:45 Meg didn’t like getting put back in her seat. We break out the graham crackers to appease her (and Rose and Will!) We’re making good time and I promise them french fries if we make it past Memphis before we stop.

11:15 We’ve made excellent time and reach the outskirts of Memphis.

11:28 I warn the kids, “If I tell you to be quiet right now, it’s not ’cause I’m mad, it’s just because the road is so busy and I have to concentrate.” Will responds by wailing uncontrollably.

11:30 As I try to calm him down, I miss my exit.

11:31 Now I have to calm my spirit.

11:32 The awesome GPS on my phone (that my wonderful husband insisted on getting for his highly directionaly-challenged wife) re-directed me to an even nicer route.

12:25 We leave Memphis far behind… and also all Chick-fil-As.

12:45 The first restaurant in miles appears. The fact that it is McDonalds doesn’t matter. We pile out of the van, stretch our legs and head in for lunch.

1:35 The fact that “quick stops” with three little ones aren’t quick fully sinks in.

1:45 Finally back on the road (armed with coffee.)

2:11 Children nap while I talk on the (hands-free) phone, pray, drink coffee, and try to stay fully alert.

3:32 We’re finally nearing the end of the windy, hilly Arkansas highway. Normally I’m a pretty slow driver, but the roads are good now, coffee drained, kids up, and I am sick and tired of driving. I haven’t noticed a speed limit sign in miles but 65 seems safe.

photo credit

3:33 As I pass a semi-truck I pull behind a police man. Oh, this is great. I can just follow him! I think.

3:34 The policeman pulls off the road. I continue on my way. The police pulls back on the road and flips on his lights.

3:35 Adrenaline racing, I pull over. What did I do? I wonder.

3:36 “Can I see your license, please,” the officer says. I hand it over and ask what I did. “The speed limit is 55. You were going 65.”

3:37 I resist the urge to tell him that I thought following a police man would be safe and respectfully hand over my info.

3:47 The policeman finally returns, gives me a warning, and tells me to drive carefully.

3:48 As we pull back on the road, Rose says “I’ve never seen a real policeman before!” Glad she enjoyed it. It was my first time to ever be stopped and I didn’t enjoy it. At least I wasn’t the slightest bit drowsy the rest of the trip.

6:00 We pull in to my parents drive after only one more (almost quick) stop, so grateful for God’s protection and goodness on the first phase of our adventure.

 Linked up at Encourage One Another

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  1. says

    So thankful you made it safely! I was rather hoping but not really expecting the first part of this story, so need I say I was thrilled to get on and find it?! 😀 Thanks for taking time to write and post it for us. I know others will enjoy it as well.

  2. says

    Anna, what a great story! Sounds like my mom and us first three kids going from NC to OK to my grandma’s one summer when I was about 8. My dad wasn’t able to come with us that year, so my mom drove us the whole way. I am sure your story was more exciting than our though. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    What a trip! It was likely a whole lot more fun for me to read it than it was for you to live it! So thankful the Lord went before you!!!

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