Our last evening in Oklahoma was pretty quiet, with the boys meandering about on the driveway, with one figuring out the fuzzy Elmo chair and the other shooting hoops.

To top off our low-key evening, my sister gave Holden his birthday gifts: a black Wii nun-chuck and the Batman Lego game. I’m not sure, but I think those might have hit the spot.

So many things about this trip were absolute bliss. And most of them came in the evening, around dusk, sitting outside on the patio with the breeze of the ceiling fan and the sound of cicadas and frogs all around.

These feet are just pure happiness.

There were so many times that a glance up would reveal a small swarm of dragonflies, but then little flashes would catch our eye toward the trees: fireflies.

We don’t have those in Colorado. And Holden had never seen them. Or caught them.

And darn it all, I just don’t know how to take nighttime photos yet to show the absolute joy in our little five-year-old’s eyes when he caught one for the first time. Or the second or third. But it was there. And oh, was it just beaming from him. He would have stayed out there all night long if there hadn’t been the lull of strawberry shortcake waiting for him in the kitchen to end the perfect sweaty day.

Or the chance to laugh at my sister’s weird GIGANTOID cat.

And after the bathing and tucking in and packing up, I settled in to bed that night listening to all of those sounds and whispered a quiet goodbye, knowing we would be leaving early the next morning.

But we did not.

Well, let me back up. Sometime in the night, I started to get sick. Bleh. And when morning came, I was exhausted. But remembering that Holden had a very special Father’s Day camping trip with Daddy, I had to muscle up after a couple of hours of sleep and get us on the road. So I did.

And I turned around about an hour and a half into our trip and crawled shamelessly back to my sister’s house begging for mercy and help with the boys so that I could sleep that stupid bug away. Oh man, did it ever have me by the toes and was ruthlessly swinging me around.

So I slept on her very comfortable couch, leaving my achy body out for Ewan to crawl up onto and pat and kiss, and for Holden to come by and touch his lips to my forehead to check for fever and whisper that he was so sorry I was sick.

Once again, they truly melt me.

And finally, finally that evening whatever hell that was released a bit and we went back outside to look for the moon as the day became quiet and still.

And with a burst of ornery, I yelled at Holden to “RUN!”

But I got him anyway. Those little Nerf footballs are awesome.

And yes, I know I look like a big, huge crapsickle. Felt like one, too. Sometimes, you just haveta say, c’est la vie, Baby.

Sleep was my friend. After sleeping most of the day and then all night long, the next day we were all in fine form for the long road home. And the troops did great; and that only is because I figured out (after EIGHT DAYS, whew I’m smart), that the DVD that a friend lent to us for the trip had a double plug-in, so the boys didn’t have to take turns watching Elmo and Alvin and the Chipmunks after all. Brilliant. I’m quite sure that the inventor of the double plug-in had kids. And took road trips. With the kids. When they were little. And most importantly, lived to tell the tale and share the love.

There were so many things that I wanted to stop and capture on the way home: the yellow flowers in every field; the longhorn cattle; the winding creeks and cresting rivers. And mostly, the wind farm in Kansas that goes on for miles and disappears on the northern horizon. I don’t know why that’s so fascinating, but it is. They’re just mammoth. But to be honest, I really wanted to be home. We only stopped four times during that 12-trip: two for gas only, one for lunch, and the last for the monsters to get out and run in the grass for about half an hour. They were nearly toast by this point – and we still had two more hours before reaching home.

This is Burlington, CO. I don’t know much of anything about this place except that it looks like an old town and I’ve always wanted to stop there. The “old town” part was closed when we got there, but we sneaked around like outlaws anyway.

The first thing that Ewan did was sit down in the grass and start yanking it out. Well, and get all squawky at Holden for trying to give him a hug and a kiss. But that’s not new.

And this was the first thing that Holden did. When you figure it out, why don’t you leave me a comment?

He did watch that Alvin and The Chipmunks, the Squeakuel, all day in the car, so maybe it’s a new dance move he’s trying out. I say that because then he started doing this everywhere, and the little dude has excellent hang time upside down.

All of my life I’ve tried to do that without having a wall behind me to catch me from going over. I might be a lot jealous.

Ewan decided that this new walking thing should turn into running, and off he went on an adventure.

But since he also has his turns pretty well by now, he spun back around toward us.

And after some cooped-up-in-the-car-crazies were wiggled out of our systems, the boys helped me sneak into the “old town” buildings and find an unlocked door that led to a bathroom. I did a huge happy dance. Well, after the I-gotta-potty dance. And the whole time, Holden kept whispering loudly about how we were going to get caught and how we were going to be in so much trouble. He truly is so much like me.

Well, except when I desperately need a bathroom. Then, all bets are off, man.

The road was beckoning again. We piled into the car, settled into the rhythm of the drive again, and two hours later we were home.

It really is…where the heart is.