Woke in St. Louis a bit more rested (a tiny bit) but didn't get to continental breakfast very fast. I left Ian and the boys and ran to the airport to get my mom, who flew out to help with the butt load of adulting and responsibility we have foisted upon ourselves.
The truck parking was a bad deal for us here, and Ian had had to drive the second car off the tow dolly, u hitch the tow dolly, and park the truck in the regular parking lot the night before. This morning it all had to be re-hitched; I decided as we were pulling out of the parking lot that poor weary Ian could use help in a job to make it more than twice as easy. So he hitched the tow dolly and I drove the car onto the dolly and helped him with the tire straps and frame-chain. A scant five minutes for me; a huge 5 minutes for him. Glad to have heeded the Holy Spirit's lead and served my dearest friend in this way.
Mom had gotten up at 2:30 am. She was super tired too! But it was good to have her company in the car as I drove. We visited and talked, and she helped me come up with things to entertain the boys.
We spent about an hour at a rest stop in Western Missouri and had just the best time. We pottied (of course), had some snacks, changed M2's diaper, lay on the grass and looked up at the blue-sky-and-green-leaves dappled pattern, picked clover flowers, examined the day lilies, and finally got back in the car.
We arrived in Topeka after Ian and the Penske; he had parked by the time we got there. We got the car unloaded (oh, for the chance to have packed just one travel bag!) and the boys' swimmies unpacked, and Mom and I went on an outing.
First, Sam's Club, for a new car seat for J4. He had been complaining of sore legs and his old seat was just plastic frame covered with fabric cover. Poor guy.
Then, to Wendy's. At the drive through window I made my usual Work Family Order, then Mom ordered--the whole thing took a long time. 5 minutes at least. But they were patient. This 5 minutes was longer than the 5 minutes I took to help Ian with the car-towing this morning. Funny how that works.
We all ate in the continental breakfast dining room. I think this was the best eating-dinner-arrangement of the whole long trip. We did dishes (threw the paper plates in the garbage whoooo!), got back to our room, dressed the boys into pajamas, and as Ian was doing bedtime, I took our dirty clothes to the laundry. Washed the swim clothes and some of the worst clothes--stains and road grunge--and by the time I was done, it was late (1 or so), and I fell into bed.
So in retrospect, the grueling exhaustion part of this day was still quite present, but I found it easier because my mom was there to help entertain the boys. We made better time because she could put out fires while the car keep going; Ian even beat us to the motel which was great.