from Omaha to San Diego

September 5th, 2012

Unrelated ad is unrelated.

California, here we come! Very cool posters. The illustrations remind me of a 1960s children's book.

California, here we come! At one of the gas stations we stopped at in central Nebraska, we saw these cool posters for the Huskers football and women’s volleyball schedules. They reminded me of illustrations from a 1960′s children’s book.

"What are you doing?" Elliora asked me when I stuck my phone in her face. Taking your picture, I said. "Oh," she said. "Cheeeese!"

“What are you doing?” Elliora asked me when I stuck my phone in her face. Taking your picture, I said. “Oh,” she said. “Cheeeese!”

218 miles down, 1431 miles to go. 140 miles to Denver, CO.

Great Platte River Road Archway // 140 miles to Denver, CO.

Cousins, coincidentally dressed sort of matchy-matchy.

Cousins, coincidentally dressed sort of matchy-matchy.

Annalie resting, Elliora standing, Aurora wandering. #latergram Flying, with a little help from big sis.

Rest stop shenanigans.

The sun is starting to set behind the mountains, behind the clouds. E & me.

The sun starting to set behind the mountains in Colorado, behind the clouds. // E & me.

@troygronberg and Elliora and the Rockies in the distance. Storytime on the road.

Troy and Elliora with the Rockies in the distance. // Storytime on the road.

Rain in the mountains. upload

Rain in the mountains. // Tunnel.

I think we're in Utah... Oh, nope. NOW we're in Utah!

I think we’re in Utah here… // Oh, nope. Now we’re in Utah!

We've reached the part if the road trip where I-70 turns into a gravel road. !? Little bit of rain. (The sky isn't that foreboding. The filter I applied to make the rain more visible made the clouds look more dramatic than they were.)

We’ve reached the part if the road trip where I-70 turns into a gravel road. !? // Little bit of rain. (The sky isn’t that foreboding. The filter I applied to make the rain more visible made the clouds look more dramatic than they were.)

Ready for Day 2. Wait for meeee, guys! #latergram

Ready for Day 2 on the road. // Wait for meee, guys!

Aunt Bethany did Aurora's hair this morning.

Aunt Bethany braided Aurora’s hair for her. // Hooray for Berries! The little cartoon on the back of this bag of candy cracked me up. I especially like how the one Lifesaver is telling the others how he “read it online” that grapes are berries.

I always forget how striking and dramatic the scenery in Utah is till I'm driving through it again. More gorgeous Utah scenery...

I always forget how striking and dramatic the scenery in Utah is till I’m driving through it again.

...more amazing Utah scenery... ...and MORE. This is just what I could take from a MOVING CAR. #BeautifulUtah

More beautiful Utah scenery. This is just what I could take from a moving car, mind you.

More Utah gorgeousness. Lovely layers in the rock (still in Utah).

More Utah gorgeousness. Lovely layers in the rock…

Funky formations. (Still Utah.) The different colors of this formation (in Utah, natch) intrigue and please me.

Cool formations, and some lovely and intriguing colors.

More rain in the high desert. (Enhanced for contrast.)

More rain in the high desert. It rained on us more as we were driving through the desert than I think it ever has before. It was kind of weird but welcome.

Thirsty? (See Annalie standing in front, for scale?) Ta-daa!

Thirsty?

Playhouse thoughtfully provided by a random gas station. Elliora, the camera's over here!

Little playhouse thoughtfully provided by a random gas station (the one with the giant soda cans).

Heart sticker on her face, napping in her carpet. Elliora napping all snuggled up with her Star Bear.

Elliora naps with flair.

She designs her food. Kiddie chopsticks! Brought by the waiters for all the kids.

Annalie wanted Chinese food, so we found a restaurant in Mesquite, Nevada, called Panda Garden. The service was wonderful and the food was excellent. And Elliora is still talking about the “baby statue” (a five-foot-tall Buddha statue) and the “baby lion statues” she saw there.

Annalie and @troygronberg swimming in our hotel pool last night. Annalie requested the same hairdo Aurora had yesterday. <3

We didn’t get to swim our first night at a hotel, but we made sure we got the chance to swim our second night, in Las Vegas. And the next morning Annalie asked if I could braid her hair like I’d done Aurora’s the day before, which is kind of a red-letter event. She normally refuses to let me touch her hair.

Breakfast with Vickie! Waiting for the rest of the cousins to get here... Vickie, me and Annalie

While in Vegas, we met my cousin Vickie for breakfast! We were hoping to meet up with Vickie’s sisters and their families, too, but it didn’t work out. We’re glad Vickie was able to meet us, though.

Passing by the World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, CA, because Elliora is asleep. Ah, good ol' Zzyzx Road.

The drive between Las Vegas and San Bernardino is pretty boring. Well, it’s both pretty…and boring. Other than Baker and Barstow, there’s not much civilization until you get to Victorville. You take what landmarks you can get. Like the World’s Tallest Thermometer in Baker, CA, and good ol’ Zzyzx Road.

Shiny!

And you take pictures of shiny, shiny trucks.

Huge In-N-Out in Barstow (this doesn't even show all of it)

There’s a HUGE In-N-Out in Barstow. Well, huge compared to every other In-N-Out I’ve ever been in.

Waiting for burgers and fries. Aurora likes In-N-Out puzzles!

Oh In-N-Out, how we've missed you! These three.

We do enjoy us some In-N-Out.

Troy! Driving into San Bernardino

Troy, driving us into San Bernardino! At that point, we’re entering very familiar territory, my mom’s home turf. She grew up in a small town east of there, and worked in San Bernardino for a while.

Elliora, age 21mo, drawing startlingly precise circles and spirals. 1,610 miles to go, and the A/C conks out with 60 miles to go. Oh well, at least it's only 97F. (Srsly, it could be worse!)

After almost 1,600 miles (almost 3,000 miles, if you count Troy’s two-day drive from DC to Omaha that he did without us), the minivan’s A/C conked out with only 60 miles to go. Oh well, at least it was only 97F. (Seriously, it could have been worse! It had been in the low 100s just a couple days before.)

The other photo is of Elliora drawing startlingly precise circles and spirals. She’s barely 21 months, people. (Though I suppose Annalie was writing As when she wasn’t much older than that, now that I think about it.)

On very familiar turf now. Almost to the hotel!

Very familiar freeways and signs. Almost to the hotel…

Elliora immediately climbed up on the bed and made a nest of the pillows.

…where Elliora immediately climbed up on the bed and made a nest of the pillows.

California. *happy sigh*

California. We made it!

She hugged a random tree and said, "It's so good to be home!"

Annalie hugged a random tree and said, “It’s so good to be home!” Yes, it is.

The white light below and to the right of the green light is the moon. City street and rising moon bokeh.

The white light below and to the right of the green light is the moon. // City streets and rising moon bokeh.

Tall, old palm trees at an RV resort. Snail Mountain!

Tall, old palm trees at an RV resort off the freeway, and Snail Mountain.

Your average strip mall signage: no bicycles or skateboards on sidewalk, private property, no horses on premises, etc. Hillcrest sign. And cool clouds.

Your average strip mall signage: no bicycles or skateboards on sidewalk, private property, no horses on premises, etc. // Hillcrest sign. And cool clouds.

Stripes and dots of light. #latergram The bread and butter at this restaurant is AWESOME. It's so good, the kid who doesn't even like bread and butter ate 3 or 4 pieces.

We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants from the last time we lived here, and it was the same. We even had the same waitress we used to always have. The bread and butter at this restaurant is so good, the kid who doesn’t even like bread and butter ate three or four pieces.

Slow down. This thermometer in the garage of a house we won't be renting made me laugh.

Pro tip: Labor Day weekend isn’t the ideal time to start house-hunting. We were able to get a lot of driving around done on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and eliminated a lot of possible rentals, and made calls about a bunch more. We saw a handful today and have one or two good prospects, and will be seeing more as the week goes on.

It’s kind of weird, this house-hunting thing. I always forget what an emotional roller coaster it is, and how physically draining it all is. (As my friend Lynette said on Facebook, “It’s kinda like labor, we just block it out of our minds till we have to face it again!”) Overall I’m calm and confident that we’ll find a good place, and that it will all work out, because it always has before. But that doesn’t mean I’m not experiencing surface anxiety and day-to-day stress. Not to mention the fact that my mother is stuck in a hotel with three kids for hours every day that we’re out hunting, which makes me feel bad for all of them. I want to find a house so we can go do some fun things together, like visiting friends and hitting the beach.

I’m trying to be patient. Intellectually, I know that it’s worth waiting a little longer for a house we really like and will be happy with for the next couple of years; and I know that it always works out like it’s supposed to. But the uncertainty of this part sucks while it lasts. So if you should feel moved to pray that we find a good house soon, and for our peace of mind while we wait, we would appreciate it!

Sunset from our hotel balcony.

Update: We unofficially found a house! We sign the lease tomorrow and move in next week. THANK YOU for all your prayers and good thoughts!

15 Responses to “from Omaha to San Diego”

  1. Sarah says:

    I hope the perfect house is just around the corner for you. So you can get cracking on putting your feet up in the garden with a glass of lemonade while Brenda unpacks for you ;-)

  2. JennyBean says:

    Sending lots of love and prayers your way. I know all about the emotionally draining process that is house-hunting, but God always seems to work it out for the best, and I know He will for you, too. :)

  3. Emily says:

    I feel your house hunting pain, after a year of looking around houses and still no house. I was only thinking this morning things have a funny way of working out in the end, with a bit of effort, a lot of patience and a smidgen of luck. I have big hopes for September!!

  4. Annika says:

    I’m so glad you’re here! I hope we get to see you soon, and meet Elliora!

  5. Erin says:

    I love that you found a random Chinese place and you didn’t even have to find it in the phonebook where it probably looked good. Glad you made ti there safe. A comfortable house is just a couple days away. I can feel it!

  6. Susan:) says:

    Ooh what is this restaurant that you like so well? I’m always looking out for good places! I hope you find a house you love soon.

  7. Mrs. Wilson says:

    Utah reminds me of Drumheller, AB — the site where tons and tons of dinosaur remains were found. They have a fabulous museum and the drive through there looks like Utah. I love all the layers of rock. So beautiful.

    *crosses house-finding fingers*

  8. Aunt B says:

    Thanks for the ride.

  9. Jill says:

    Sending you good vibes on the house hunting. I love the photo journey of your drive!

  10. Stephanie G. says:

    Praying you find a great house! I enjoyed all of the pictures of roads I have traveled on quite a bit! Especially the Platte River Road Archway! Yay, Kearney!!!! Loved the pics of Utah too – I did not realize how much I missed living there! It is so beautiful!

  11. bonnie says:

    Ooh congrats! Where did you guys wind up?

  12. Leticia says:

    My little one has the same baby doll as your Elliora, and it’s also naked. :D

    Glad you made it safe, and loved all the pictures.

  13. BeachMama says:

    Welcome back to California, hope all goes well with the house, hope I get to see you on the other coast again soon!

  14. sarahgrace says:

    Such a familiar trip, well from Colorado, anyway. I had to laugh at your, “I think we’re in Utah, here”, and “Nope, now we’re in Utah” pictures. :-) Also have been the same restaurant in Mesquite a few times (that is where my FIL lives. :-)