Imagine this: your family of three decides to take baby on its first overnight trip...oh, the possibilities. The destination? Way down south in McAllen, TX. A mere 15 minutes from the border. But you don't make plans to go border hopping, oh no. Nana and Poppy's house provide all the fun you could want without leaving the country. We knew Toph would appreciate the undivided attention from his Nana, Poppy and Gigi, while hubs and I would appreciate the gameroom, pool, delicious food and a brief break from diaper changes.
Since it was Toph's first overnight trip, it was mama's first time packing him for an overnight trip. It's amazing that such a tiny person needs so many things. I made a list, checked it twice and got busy. By the time 9pm last Thursday rolled around, all my precious baby's essentials were packed in the car, ready to go. I was exhausted! Hubs and I made a plan of getting out of the house by 9am. I woke up the next morning at 5am realizing...I forgot to pack myself. I realized that I forgot to pack myself at the same time the baby woke up for his first feeding of the day, so as he nursed, I began making a mental list of all the things I would need.
Every time I pack, I always visualize where I am going, including the weather, the longevity of our stay, the occasions and the location. Before I was a mama, this system never failed me. I quickly realized that now that I am a mother, a list will need to be made for both me and the baby. While the baby didn't have to go without any essentials, mama had to buy new essentials from the neighborhood Target in McAllen. Oh well. Live and learn.
Long story (oh, I could really stretch it out) short, we were out the door by 9:45am. The drive is about four hours long and the baby passed out almost immediately. He only dislikes his carseat if he is not in the car, if that makes sense. We got to our 281S exit in Three Rivers, TX and I was famished (I spent the morning packing, not eating) and hubs had to use the restroom. Three Rivers is a perfect place to eat a quick meal, get gas and...get stranded?
Actually, not so perfect, but that's what happened. While in the drive-thru line, we noticed a crazy sound coming from our reliable Subaru. Hubs tried to convince me it was normal and got back on the thoroughfare to get on our way. When we started driving again, we soon found out it was not normal. The powersteering went out and the noise got worse. Hubs pulled over and pulled this out from under the hood:
That is the alternator belt and it was shredded. Apparently it's quite an important part to the inner workings of a car. Hubs saw some men next to our car and asked where the nearest auto shop was. Luckily, it was right across the street. We puttered over in the torrential rain (yes, torrential, Hurricane Alex had made landfall) and hubs went inside to see if they could help us.
At this point, I was doing okay. I had food, my baby was sound asleep and the air conditioning was still going in the car. Hubs got back to the car and told me some not great news, but I was able to keep my composure. He said that we should not dare to try and drive to McAllen with no alternator belt, as we wouldn't make it 20 miles and this was the last town with a reliable auto shop for awhile. He then said they would be able to replace the belt, but it wouldn't come in until 3:30pm and they close at 4pm, so they wouldn't be able to install it until Monday, as they're closed on Saturday and Sunday.
I was feeling a little bothered at this point but oddly calm. Before I was a mother I am sure I would have been freaking out, but I guess now that I'm a mom I must maintain composure for the sake of my child. Anyway, that's what I did. While our family members were a long way away (Matt's family: 3 hours, my family: 2 hours), I knew they wouldn't let us sit in a weird place all weekend. We're truly blessed like that. We got on the horn and of course, the lovely Jayne, Toph's adoring Nana, said she would drive the three hours to pick us up so we could still have our weekend getaway.
This did however leave us with three hours to kill in Podunk Three Rivers, TX. This is the view from our car:
Neat. We Kelsey's are a resilient people, not to mention adventurous, so we didn't despair. We played in the car for awhile (while the air still worked). When the car completely died we hopped out and braved the rain while exploring Three Rivers. We found an outrageously priced boutique and a smelly grocery store. After that we waited for Mama Jayne and Daddy Mac to pick us up. Toph got to nurse for the first time in an auto shop bathroom, so did I for that matter. Toph was an absolute gem, given the circumstances. He entertained the crowd in the auto shop, cooed and smiled for the whole place and brightened the day of all there. In fact, he didn't cry once while we were stranded. He fussed once when his daddy decided to have him try his hat on:
And I'll leave you with my favorite picture of our little adventure; Toph telling me in his own special way that it's time to eat:
That's my boy!