10.22.2017

the great 2017 roadtrip (or -- destination: albuquerque)

I have a lot of catching up to do. We got back into town last weekend from our two week cross-country roadtrip to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual balloon fiesta. Everyone has a "happy place," or a place that puts them at peace and makes them feel like they're just home. For us, that place is Albuquerque. Now that Ethan is in school, I knew my days of heading out west in October for the Balloon Fiesta were numbered, so this trip was even more meaningful as it doubled as a final hurrah. A couple of months before our trip, I had the idea to renew our vows in Albuquerque to give ourselves a new anniversary and a fresh start in the place that we love so, so very much. My husband was on board and the planning began -- hush hush, of course -- a surprise to most everyone except us and our photographer. But, I'll save these details for another post.

We drove across the country to reach our destination. A lot of people ask "why?" or "how?" when they find out we're driving but can I confess something for a minute? I love these cross country family drives so much. There's nothing that can compare to just being together in the car, talking about thoughts and sights and music. Ethan occupies himself with crayons, paper and chapter books but I was admittedly a little nervous about how Carmen would do. With the help of some snacks, sticker books and crayons, she handled the trip like a boss. Our very first stop was in beautiful Birmingham, Alabama where we stayed for two nights to soak up more of the city we fell in love with as we passed through on our last trip. Our hotel was a short walk from Railroad Park, which is just this incredible green space and community park that simply can't compare to anything I've seen here in South Florida.

On our first full day in Birmingham, we got the chance to visit the Birmingham Zoo. I'll give the zoo it's own post for sure, which it definitely deserves. After leaving Birmingham, we drove straight into Oklahoma City which was our second place to stop. We were met there with terrible weather but the rain stopped just long enough for the kids to get to explore a real farm (another luxury to us South Floridians).

From Oklahoma City, we drove into Albuquerque to the same wonderful Airbnb rental we stayed in last year. We spent the next few days at the Balloon Fiesta, having our super secret surprise vow renewal, trying out every local coffee shop in Albuquerque, enjoying the beauty of the city and venturing out to the White Sands National Monument as well as Tent Rocks to do some exploring. New Mexico isn't called the land of enchantment for nothing, please believe.

We came back last Sunday and have been swirling around with the chaos that is coming home from such a trip: laundry and cleaning and schoolwork and Halloween parties (oh, the Halloween parties) so this update has taken me longer to get up than I would have liked. But over the next couple of days, I'll break down more details about our trip including some roadtrippin' with kids tips as well as a quick guide to New Mexico with kids.

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