Not All Who Wander Are Lost| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress
A Work In Progress, Family

Across The Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity

I’m baaaaack!! Did you miss me? Oh did I miss you!!! I missed this little corner of the WWW that I call home. This is my home no matter where I go, I have come to the conclusion that Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress is my (steady) home, and that’s because of you. It’s nice to unpack, get comfy, and have my friends (family) greet me. So, grab your PSL or tea or whatever you’re having 😉 I’ve got a story to tell you.

(If you didn’t know.. I took a road trip across America with three kids, a dog, and my sanity. We relocated from South Carolina to Washington state. This cross country trip has had a HUGE impact on my family and I for sure. Not all who wander are lost- J.R.R Tolkien)

Day 1

It should have been a sign when we woke up late that morning that things were not going to go smoothly, but it didn’t alarm me. Instead I was quite chill, I was trying to keep the calm among the tribe. Once we were all ready we packed the rest of our random items into the Expedition and said goodbye to our home of less than TWO YEARS.

A photo posted by Mrs.AOK (@mrs_aok) on


We couldn’t just roll off into our new chapter that would’ve been too easy, we still had to get a lock for our U-haul. We stopped at the closest store, a Wal-Mart, where I found the most fabulous slippers (sarcasm… they’re hideous) for our journey. 😀  Now, this should have been a sign that things were going to be rough: I got a paper cut opening the packaging of the lock. Ummm… paper cuts go right up there with stubbing your toes, nails on a chalkboard, and falling down in front of your crush, in my opinion anyway. I took my paper cut in stride because I knew coffee would be in the near future, but it hurt!


We were making wonderful timing, we thought we would make it to Illinois by 9 or 10 pm. I cannot really explain to you how excited we were. Each state we entered was like a New Year’s Eve countdown to a new beginning, but in our case it was countdown to our old home. All of my babies were born in Illinois, we lived in Illinois before we lived in South Carolina for 8+ years.




(Naperville Il. 2013… I think 🙂 )

When we got to Indiana I am not sure how to explain the thrill of being so close to home came over my family. Perhaps, I could compare it to someone who was anxiously blowing air to fill a ballon in some sort of balloon race. Sadly, that balloon popped. 🙁

Indiana Farm House|Across The Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress

Across the Country with 3 Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress| Part 1| Travel| Traveling with kids| America

After having a Culver’s burger (in what felt like forever), we got back on the road, and that’s where we were given a detour route. There’s two ways to look at the detour route: it was the scariest route or it was the best route ever. If you ask me I would say both.

My honey keeping his sanity Road Trip| Traveling with kids across country| Part 1| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress

Road Trip Across America with Three kids, a dog and our sanity| Last Picture Before Our Accident

Detour in Indiana

While on the detour our truck started bouncing, we thought it must be the U-Haul, so my husband checked on the U-hual, it was fine. We got back in the truck, and mind you it’s pitch black, and we’re now in Nowheresville, Indiana. There are barely any streetlights on the detour path and our truck keeps bouncing!! My husband is baffled, as am I. Perhaps it was the roads, they didn’t look the best, but just in case we decided to slow down. I told my husband to slow down and throw on the hazards, it works! The bouncing seemed to lessen and I guess my husband thought we were in the clear, so he accelerated a bit more and that’s when it happened… our Nelly turned on us.

My truck took us to the other side of the road slamming us into a guardrail. It was fast, but I can remember it perfectly looking around and throwing a pillow over my face before impact. Our airbags didn’t go off, but it was okay, because we didn’t need them, thankfully. The kids were crying, I could see them clinching onto each other, nobody was hurt. The shitty part about this, besides the accident of course, is that there was a car coming in that direction, it saw us slam into the guardrail and the people in that car didn’t even stop to check on us. It was dark. We were alone. We had our babies and the furry one too, it would have been nice if they would have stopped. I would have stopped.

My husband and I got out of the truck to assess the damage, it was pretty bad, but the truck seemed to be drivable. My husband wanted to move the truck out of oncoming traffic, so he unhitched our U-Hual and decided to move the truck.

Let’s pause here. When I went to Driver’s Ed I remember being told DON’T MOVE YOUR VEHICLE FROM THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT. Did you learn that too? I told my husband I was quite sure we shouldn’t move our truck, but he had a point, we were in the way of traffic… I guess.

Nelly Holding On

He started to move the truck and we were thrown to the other side of the road but this time NO GUARDRAIL. Our truck is now tilting on a hill and we’re freaking out! The kids were crying, after they had just calmed down, but this cry is harder and we are trying to keep them as calm as we can. It was pitch black, we were hoping that our truck would hang on tight to the road and the hill. I grabbed the kids and the dog and we ran down the hill. I had no idea what was on the other side of that hill or what lived in that brush on that country road, but I was terribly happy to be alive with my family on the other side.

My husband thought he should move the SUV, he was afraid it was going to flip, but we couldn’t let him. The kids and I started screaming for him not to do it. The kids cries that night will never ever leave me. The dark cool night in the brush with the howls of my children fearing for my husband’s life is permanently stapled to my brain. Sheer fear. He heard our cries!  “Don’t worry,  I’m not going to move it.” Best words of the night! He ran down the hill in his roadside safety vest; that reunion was just as good as the time I greeted him in the gym when he came home from war. Our little family huddled up in a ditch on the side of the road.

Thank God I Ain't Too Cool For The Safe Belt

Thank goodness for good samaritans.

A trucker saw us, he got out of his truck with his flashlight and came over to us asking if everyone was okay. My husband ran up the hill to talk to him; at this point my husband was already on his cellphone with 911. The gentleman was able to give them our location. He was nice guy from Texas 🙂 he offered all of us tea, he called the people who left before jerks. His words, “I hate jerks like that.” He said that after I thanked him profusely for stopping and helping, because the other people hadn’t. He took his flashlight out and looked under our SUV giving himself some distance from the truck, and said he thought it was our axle arm. Once the Police and the 1st tow truck arrived the nice gentleman left.

Be Kind

(Side note: I’m quite sure good things will happen for this kindhearted soul. Image found on Pinterest)

The Police officer was going to take the littles and I to the hotel, my husband and my older daughter would show up later once they towed my SUV and U-hual, but thankfully another tow truck came, therefore we were able to all leave at the same time, but in different tow trucks. We broke both axle arms, front and back. The closest hotel was a burg over in a bigger burg (town), but not much bigger, it was still probably smaller than my high school graduating class. We stayed at a Hotel 8.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost| Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress

Day 2 

We thought we were trapped at the Hotel 8. Our belongings along with our truck were towed away the night before, we had no way of getting to them. The city we were in had no public transportation of any sort, so we had to find a way to get out to our things- HALLELUJAH for the internet! We are also thankful for having a wonderful insurance company, they were willing to pay for a rental, we just had to find it. It’s hard to find a rental for five people, a dog, and a U-Haul. Just to let you know, most places won’t allow dogs…. but whatever. The biggest issue for us was our U-Haul. Nobody let’s you pull a U-Haul!!! We had to think outside of the box, be creative, and we had to find a place that was somewhat willing for us to be creative. We found a place BUUUUT it was 30 minutes away. Thankfully, they were willing to pick up my husband.

While he was at the rental company I was trying to keep it together. The hotel staff kept asking me questions as I waited in the lobby with the kids and our belongings. They weren’t being rude, they were totally being sweet and thoughtful, which for some reason makes me want to cry. I was trying my hardest not to cry in front of the kids. I didn’t want them to see how shaken up I was, but they’d see that later on.  W’ell get to that, but not today. I think I’ll stop here.


psss… I blogged twice last week: Thank You Notes and a Giveaway!!


Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4… Thanks for following along!!


© 2015 – 2016, Dean @Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress. All rights reserved.

44 thoughts on “Across The Country With Three Kids, a Dog, and Our Sanity”

    1. Hands down one of the scariest nights of my life. However, I’m glad I was able to live it, I’m not sure I would be able to say that if we did not have the detour. In a way the detour may have saved our lives.
      I’m so thankful for the good people of this world who care, who just do, we need more of that.

  1. Oh my goodness. Well first, I’m glad you guys were all okay. But wowzers, what a crazy thing to get into on the road. I can imagine how scared the kids must’ve been, poor things. Hopefully that is the last of the crazy driving in your story! And yes, what an awesome guy the truck driver was. Stuff like that totally gets me happy and reminds me how good people really are.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad that all that I we walked away was one seatbelt cut, and thankfully that was me not one of the babies. I also bruised my foot running down the hill with the kids, I have no idea how?.

      The trip was quite eventful, but eh that makes us tougher… right?
      I have faith in humanity. 🙂

    1. Yes, we’re all ecstatic that things were in our favor. Things like this totally help put life in perspective. I’m thankful I’m able to sit on this side of my desk healthy, listening to music, responding to comments, with all my family safe and sound. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Amber. We’re happy to be here. 🙂
      It was definitely one of the most scariest nights of my life.

  2. Poor things. 🙁 Of any state in the country I thought someone from Indiana would have stopped. Hoosier Hopitality is s real thing, I promise! Maybe they were drunk kids and were freaked out. If it was a small town, that’s quite likely sadly. I’m so glad you were all ok and that your husband listened to you!!

    1. I’m quite sure there is Hoosier Hospitality! I know this because I meant some really kind people while I was there. 🙂
      You, me, and my babies are all glad he listened. I’m thinking we wouldn’t have been so lucky on our third attempt.

    1. Thank you, Mimi! I was the only one who got a scratch, nothing big, I walked, I lived, I’m good! 🙂
      I’m so thankful for the good people of the world who care enough for strangers to just help, be kind, be there.

  3. I’m glad to hear you guys weren’t hurt during the accident and even happier that your husband didn’t try to move the truck again. That was a really scary situation. I hope the rest of the move went a lot smoother.

    1. We’re so glad too! I don’t know what would have happened had he got back in the truck, but I do not think it would have been good. This trip did not go as smoothly as I would have hoped, but we made it, so I’m happy.

  4. I am new to reading your blog and my husband – no less than 3 times – asked, “Honey, are you okay?” because of my sharp inhales of breath and the clutching at my heart.

    You are safe, thank goodness, and I’m so happy no one was hurt. My heart beat is starting to slow and I must say, you are an amazing story teller.

    1. Awww thank you, Sarah! I’m sorry I caused a slight case of anxiousness. You have such a sweet husband, I love that he is attentive to you and your emotion. That’s good, girl!! 🙂 My husband does that too, which means I usually read into that as: he wants me to read the post out loud. 😀
      I’m glad I’m here and you’re here- I hope you’ll become an old reader 🙂

  5. Oh mama! I’m so happy that you are all safe. What a crazy first day, I know how hard it was for you to keep it together for your children.. and thank goodness for that nice man for stopping to help you guys! I hope the rest of your trip got easier – can’t wait to read about it. xxo

    1. That first day was horrible. Things do get better, but there’s more tears and tons of fear ahead.
      Thanks for reading along 🙂

  6. I’m so thankful you all are okay. That is an amazing story. Wow – that’s all I can say. I hate the jerks left you and your family alone on the side of the road. Who does something like that? I’m happy you guys made it to your final destination! xoxo

    1. I cannot even begin to explain how elated I was to walk away from that wreck. The scariest was fearing for my husband and of course thinking the truck was going to flip when were getting out.UGH! It was horrible, but great, because again, we lived. 🙂
      Those people are something else, right? I couldn’t imagine leaving someone on the side of the road after seeing what took place.

  7. Oh. My. Now I know what you meant. So thankful you’re all ok. What a story! And the people who drove past you are real jerks! How do they sleep at night? Probably not well.

    1. I wonder if they thought about it later, you know how sometimes you wonder if you should’ve stepped in or said something after the fact. I’m usually wearing my empathy boots, so I know if I saw this I would have stopped. If I hadn’t I would be so angry at myself.
      It doesn’t matter though, I’m just glad we are all okay, and in the end the right guy came, a fellow Texan 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you guys are okay. I think I would have been crying too with the way you described everything. Thank goodness there are good people out there. Can’t wait to read the rest of your adventure.

  9. Oh Dean, this sounds so so scary, a nightmare coming true. I’m so glad you and the family were all ok. What an awful start to the move! My heart was beating faster reading about your ordeal.

    1. I’m sorry, it seems my anxiousness is spilling over. It felt like a nightmare. Yuck, I just took myself back there, the cold, the smell, the air, the dark, the babes cries… it sucked. But it didn’t, because it could’ve been worse, we could have been on a busy highway…

  10. WAAAAAAH, forgive me but I can’t help the tears in my eyes reading this! I’m so glad you all are ok! Why did the axles break? I know very little about cars. Anyway, I am happy you have your blog to come back home to =)

    1. I’m not really sure why the axles broke, I think stress? We did go up some mountainous land during our haul across NC. Maybe it was my husband doing a u-turn earlier… I have no idea. We had our truck for 10 years! I was sad to say good-by to her and to leave her in Indiana. 🙁
      I’m so happy to be back home and I’m glad you made it over! You’re always, always, welcomed!

  11. Oh Dean! My heart was pounding reading this. I can’t even imagine how scary that would be! So glad that you all weren’t hurt. Big, big hugs, my lovey.

    1. Thank you, Rachel. I’m so very thankful we are all safe and sound. We were shaken up a bit, but that’s okay, we’ll happily take shaken up over what could have happened.

  12. How terrifying! We moved across the country a few years ago, with a completely overloaded trailer, a 9 month old, and two dogs, in a ford ranger. So, the baby had to be in the front, and I was in the back, on the little sideways half seat thing, for almost all 3000 miles, with the dogs. It was not at all comfortable, but thankfully that was the worst of the trip. I’m glad to hear that someone did stop to help, and that your family made it safely.

    1. Thank you 🙂
      I’m glad y’all made it safely to your destination too! It’s scary to travel so far with babies, extras, and the looming stress of a move. When my eldest daughter was a baby we moved from IL to TX in a big U-Haul pulling our Pathfinder. My husband tried to go through a drive-thru with the U-Haul 😀 that didn’t work. However, the people were really nice about it and gave US free food. I think it’s because back then he was soldier heading to Fort Hood, Texas.

  13. Mama!!! I am so happy to know you cam through okay. I had no idea all you, the littles, fury and your hubs went through. I only knew the tip of the iceburg. Thank goodness for insurance and kind hearted people. I can’t wait to hear the rest of your roadtrip adventure!

  14. OMG! Thank God you all were alright and that trucker stopped to offer help. I’ve been in two bad wrecks in my life. One left me with a hairline fracture in my hip and the other almost sent me into premature labor. I can’t even imagine how shaken up you guys must have been.

  15. Holy Moly!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so very GLAD and GRATEFUL that you and the family are OK. Where the HECK have I been this summer/fall that I had no idea you were moving from East coast to West coast!!!!!!

    If I had known I would have met you along the way to say HI!!!! I would have also come and got you and put you up this night!!!! You were in Illinois!!!!

    So glad that you are all OK!!!!!

    1. Awww I wish we would’ve met up. I moved here to WA in August.
      Thank you, I know you’re such a kind soul that you would have opened up your home to my family. You’re such a sweetheart!

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