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Two Girls and a Truck… And a Fancy Arkansas Bathroom

I just got back from an epic road trip with a friend dearer to my heart than she will probably ever know. Over the past few days, Helen (the other blue pea!) and I covered 859 miles of highway from Austin, TX to Nashville, TN in a 10 foot moving truck chock full of anything and everything the little lotus will need for her first couple years home. Talk about a solid friend.

Most of our Austin friends and family are decidedly finished making babies. Many of them have tucked their baby gear away in the attic just in case, but upon learning of our adventure to adopt, they were all graciously quick to part with their goods. We are thankful they held on to these precious things for a bit, and so very appreciative they wanted to share it all with us. We fully recognize they could have sold their stuff for more than pocket change, and are eternally grateful they chose to donate it to our cause instead. It will be helpful beyond measure as the expenses amount in the coming months. We promise to take good care of everything, and will happily return the favor if "just in case" catches any of them by surprise down the road!

Shortly after touching down from my quick one-way flight from Nashville on Thursday, Helen and the girls (“Lillie-Pea” and “Pea-Penny”) picked me up from the airport and we bee-lined it straight to the house to begin loading the truck with her gear before it got too terribly hot. About three armloads in, I started to question our sanity in booking this trip during June in Texas! Again, talk about a solid friend.

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As we were loading up the truck, I was flooded with countless irreplaceable memories that I will cherish always. I can remember many a nap and bedtime rocking sweet Lillie to sleep in that green glider. And I can still see her “jump, jump, jumping” in that crib when it was time to get out and play. You see, when Kevin and I lived in Austin, Two Blue Peas operated out of Helen’s house. She had a better space for it, sure, but the real reason we worked from her house was so she could simultaneously care for her first born daughter. Lillie was such a big part of our workday. Helen would feed her while I monogrammed. We would tote our shipping boxes and noisy tape dispenser out onto the back balcony to keep from disturbing Lillie’s precious sleep while we packaged orders. And together, Helen and I would bound down the stairs to greet the little miss when she awoke from her nap. Those few years when we worked together instead of remotely were such a blessing and made the financial fears and start-up struggles more than worth it. We were essentially living the dream… hanging out all day with our best friend, working for ourselves, and tending to a little one whom reminded us daily of why were doing this in the first place.

After we finished loading up Lillie and Penny’s gear, we trekked over to Julia’s (Helen’s big sister) and then on to Cam and Tab’s (my brother and sister-in-law) to grab their donations as well. Before we hit the road for good, a couple of Helen’s kind neighbors even swung by with a few odds and ends to contribute. By the time we left town, that truck was filled with a crib and mattress, glider and ottoman, bookshelf, pack and play, tree swing, tricycle, strollers, car seats, toys, and clothes. Holy moly, the clothes! The lotus is now officially stocked with tops, tees, sweaters, dresses, shorts, shoes, coats – the whole gamut in a variety of sizes that will take her from adoption to a size 3T. I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion looking at it all in one place. Overwhelmed with immense gratitude and love for our friends and family. Overwhelmed with beautiful memories. Overwhelmed with the feeling that this was all becoming more and more real by the day.

Finally, it was time to for Helen and I to hug the girls goodbye and get on the open road. It was a short and sweet nine hours in Austin, but we had a big couple days ahead of us. Upon cranking the engine for the first time, ZZ Top’s La Grange blasted through the radio, setting the stage for the hilarity and fun that would ensue over the next 36 hours. Before we even made it out of Helen’s neighborhood, we had to u-bangy and head back to the house for some Raid. Apparently the driver’s seat had become home to a mess of fire ants and they thought Helen was mighty tasty! Guess what? She’s a solid friend.

Since we left so late in the day, we decided to break up the trip a bit and spend the night in Plano (Dallas) with Helen’s mom and step dad. Besides the chance to catch up with them, we also got some good mama love with a nice breakfast and of course sammys and snacks for the road. Thanks a million Helen and David!

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That Friday was without a doubt one of my favorite days of this whole journey so far. It was a chance to be trapped in a rental truck with my best friend and talk about everything important and nothing important at all. It was a reminder of just how well we get along, how much we love each other’s company, and how we truly are two (blue!) peas in a pod. Helen played surprise DJ until we reached Tennessee when we cranked up the show tunes and sang at the top of our lungs all the way home. We handled that truck like a couple pros, taking turns driving every couple of hours, and being careful not to let the speedometer go over 70. One MPH beyond that and the air conditioner would go out! The great conversation and fear of melting in that truck were enough motivation for us to take our sweet time. Between the three states we traveled, Arkansas handily won our best bathroom award. It was pink and lavender and covered from top to bottom with painted murals, one of which featured two promiscuous angels (that may very well be the first time in history those two words have been paired together) with their – eh hem – nipples showing. Keepin’ it klassy Arkansas!

When we finally reached Nashville, we were pretty tuckered out and glad to see Kevin. The three of us unloaded the truck in the dark and filled the lotus’s nursery with a whole lot of love from 859 miles away. I hope that somehow, some way she can feel all of this love over in China. Until she is here and able to thank you all herself, Kevin and I humbly thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts. In the months to come, we will need to buy her a couple of things here and there. But for the most part – thanks to your loving kindness – she is all set with your gently used stuff. The pre-loved stuff. The memory-filled stuff. The good stuff.

I love you Boots!

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"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”