The First 24 Hours

TN Trip

Can I just capture for a moment what it’s sometimes like to travel with seven children… or maybe just any number of children at all?

Or perhaps this type of phenomenom is something specific to me and my little corner of chaos in this world.

We left our house at 8:00 in the morning, headed for the mountains of Tennessee, for a month long adventure.

We made a brief pit stop to have Gabby’s orthotic adjusted on the way out-of-town, and then of course it was time for breakfast.


A quick meal at Bojangles curbed the family’s hunger, and then it was onward we rode toward the Appalachians.

I was so thankful that only one of our children remained ill after the week we had just endured with the stomach bug and raging fevers.

We made it to Boone, North Carolina, before we had to stop again for food and stretching in the early afternoon.


Lunch in Boone

Lunch Boone

We enjoyed a quick bite to eat, pottied all the kids, and grabbed some delicious caffeine from the local coffeehouse.

We were back on the road again with an ETA of about 4:00pm.  We only missed one turn before finding the foot of the cabin’s driveway that seemed to climb directly heavenward.


Lake Watauga


Driveway to Cabin

Our 12 passenger van conquered the steep incline, as anticipation from within soared.  We had reached our destination.

Everyone baled out, the code was entered, and children scurried to explore the three-floor cabin.

The Cabin

The van was successfully unloaded and we realized it would soon be dark.  We had not packed groceries due to limited space, planning to hit the food store upon our arrival. We decided it would be best to grab a bite at the little general store around the corner for tonight and then hit the big grocery store come morning.

There was some quick mention that a toilet might have been slightly clogged but the plunger had not yet been located.  We decided to address the issue after dinner.

Of course we arrived home 2 hours later with some pretty exhausted kiddos and it became the mad dash to get everybody ready for bed.

I sent my 4 year old into the bathroom to pee and instantly heard the toilet flush, followed by a panicked screeching.

Oh no!  The clogged toilet!

I sprinted towards the bathroom, arriving just as water cascaded over the white porcelain onto the wooden floor.  I shut off the water and quickly summoned help, sopping up the overflow and mopping the floor clean.

We were back on track now readying children for bed, and I sent the same 4 yr old downstairs to tinkle and brush her teeth in a dry bathroom.

She returned a few minutes later wide-eyed.

“Mom, I need to show you something.”

“Honey, what is it?”  (I’m kinda reaching my excitement limit for the day at this point.)

“I saw something in the bathroom.”

“Well can you just tell mommy what it is?”

“Drips are coming from the sky,” she shared.

A look of horror spread across my face as the realization of what was happening clicked in my head. “Oh, shoot!”

We raced downstairs to confirm a light sprinkling of toilet water coming from the recessed lighting in the bathroom ceiling.  I’m now standing on the washing machine drying off the inside ridges and gaps of light fixtures to stop the steady dripping.  We start a load of towels and get the youngers off to bed.


The olders enjoy a little hot tub action with Duff and then we get them settled in their room.

Hot Tub

The bunkbed has a trundle which awkwardly blocks the doorway when pulled out.

I explain to the kiddos it’s probably best to block the door in the open position (brace yourselves for the example) because what if Luke woke up feeling sick in the middle of the night.  He wouldn’t be able to exit the room quickly if the door was blocked shut and would end up puking all over Keagan, instead of making it to the bathroom.

“Is Luke sick?” Keagan questions.

“NO, I’m just using him as an example.”

I leave them to sleep with this illustration painted vividly in their minds and head off to our third floor bedroom.

I’m falling asleep and light heartedly reassure myself…

Well, I guess at least now the place has already been christened with toilet water.  We got that out of the way.

A few hours later, bleary-eyed, I struggle to comprehend what the voice at my bedside is telling me…

The words are clear, but I must be confusing the message.

I repeat them back, out-loud to the messenger, ”Luke threw up??…You have got to be kidding me!”

“Nope,” she says, “just like you said it was gonna happen.”

“Did he puke on you…or make it to the bathroom?”

It was all I wanted to know.


  1. Hello Kelly! I know you do not know me but I stumbled upon your blog and I tried looking for an email for you but was unable to find one. My daughter and your daughter are very similar, I have some questions that I would like to ask you if you don’t mind. My name is Misty and my daughter’s name is Georgia. My email is and I also have a blog if you wanna read it first,

    Thanks for your time!

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