Hello to everyone! We are now in a small bay-side house near Mobile, Alabama, and I haven't been able to get a wireless signal since arriving Tuesday night. I'm writing these posts now to catch up and hopefully will posting them from some wi-fi parking lot tomorrow (Thursday). (Added: it's Thursday, we're in a Hardee's parking lot)
Tuesday: First, Happy Birthday to my dad! You'll have to get Mom to come down to the Gulf every year for your birthday -- you would love it.
Today was a long, long day, but a good one. We left Houston fairly early after cleaning out the hotel's breakfast bar. As Karyn referenced in her comment, hotels don't know what hits them when our children get a "free" breakfast buffet. I think they believe they are buffet critics, and they must sample everything offered. All five of them. First, they load up on all the protein -- eggs, sausage, bacon (except for Levi, who has a strict diet of muffins and sausage going). Then they hit the serious carbs -- bagels, muffins, croissants, maybe a banana. After the second morning they figured out that hotels carry handy individual packages of pure sugar cereal, which before this they did not know existed. We make sure they don't waste food but let them eat until they're full. Our children are picky in some food areas and not all of them are big eaters generally, but spread out a breakfast buffet before them and you're in trouble.
Anyway, with full stomachs we headed east across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It was a very nice drive, even though we had a detour for a while and a little traffic jam. In Mississippi, we jogged down to the scenic highway right on the Gulf of Mexico -- their first glimpse!! What a contrast -- to the right was the beautiful water and white beaches. To the left, block after block of Hurricane Katrina reminders. There were a lot of empty blocks where the building had been demolished and cleaned up, there was a lot of new construction (some done, most in progress), and quite a bit still just damaged and abandoned. We stopped along the beach so the kids could stretch and get their toes in the sand, and had a nice conversation with a local couple. They said nearly everything about 1200 feet or so back was destroyed.
We didn't make it to the bay house until 9 p.m. or so, and we were very glad to be there. It's a quiet area on the east shore of Mobile Bay, and are so thankful for the chance to spread out for a few nights and for the small beach area to play on.
Best quote of the day: "Umm, mom, I think we might have to pull off and get weighed, too. Have you looked in the back?" -- Levi, after seeing a weigh scale for semis and asking why they had to pull off. I said it was because they had to have their trailers checked to make sure they weren't over their weight limit.