For the first time in 28 days, Kailyn is home. She had herself quite the adventure over the last four weeks, too. During the last 28 days, Kaitlyn visited 12 states and saw so many amazing things, and had a great time doing it.
We left for our vacation on June 18, and our trip took us from Florida, through Georgia and North Carolina, and stopped in Tennessee for a week. Kaitlyn spent her 10th birthday at the Grand Ole Opry, which set the bar for future birthdays (she already wants to go back to Nashville and the Opry soon).
From Nashville, we drove up to Paducah and met Amber’s mom, and Kaitlyn was off to spend three weeks in Iowa. While she was in Iowa, she helped in the garden, played with new born kittens (they all stayed up there thankfully), baked, sewed, and hiked through the woods. She also had the opportunity to visit the Minnesota Zoo, and took a trip the Mall of America; she was in awe when she walked into the two story American Girl store.
During the three weeks she was in Iowa, I think it is safe to say that Amber’s mom got to see every side of Kaitlyn, and it was a learning experience. She had to deal with Kaitlyn’s grumpiness in the mornings, her non-stop talking, and the fact that it is really difficult for her to sit still. Dealing with the Full Kaitlyn Experience is not as easy as Amber and I make it look sometimes, that’s for sure.
There were moments when Kaitlyn was extremely homesick, too, and they came up before bed for the most part. Her stay in Iowa was not only the longest she had been away from us, but also the furthest she had been away; she had spent full weeks during the last few Spring Breaks in Central Florida, and the occasional weekend in Orlando or Atlanta, but those places are all within a few hours of us; Iowa was a full 20 hour drive away, so it wasn’t like Amber or I could just go get her when she needed us. She survived though.
It’s important for Kaitlyn, and it makes things better for everyone, when she is involved and on-board with what is going on. She likes to be a part of the planning, and likes her input to matter. She almost always has to be engaged in doing something; sure, she enjoys playing the occasional video game, but that is usually a short-term answer because she thrives on actually doing things. Amber’s mom is fully aware of that now.
Amber and I left the house yesterday around 5:00am to start the journey to meet up with Amber’s mom and bring Kaitlyn home. While they were heading south through St. Louis, we made our way north through Montgomery and Birmingham, over to Memphis, and to Marion, Arkansas. Once the package was secured, we retraced our route and began the trek back; we made it back to Montgomery, where we stopped for the night. Instead of coming straight home today, we drove down to Destin for some back-to-school shopping; it was a somewhat fruitful trip since Kaitlyn came home with the backpack she wanted. We finally made it home around 4:00pm today after logging right at 1,200 miles in the car over 20 hours (the back roads in Alabama slowed us down some).
For Kaitlyn, the last 28 days were quite the adventure. She saw a lot of the country, too, from here in Florida, to Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. She saw the Smoky Mountains and visited the Grand Ole Opry; she crossed the Mississippi River (twice) and saw the Gateway Arch, and so much more. What a summer adventure.