Call us crazy, we have been called worse, and quite frankly 'crazy' is a compliment. In fact it defines my life. But my mother and I have spent the last few days completing the Southern California Quilt Run with three kids. As my mom likes to say, we have a disadvantage against the other ladies. Most of the 'runners' are retired ladies who got to start at 9 am on Thursday. We had our first full day on Friday and only because my mother took a day off of work.
Planning began months in advance with maps, vacation days, routes, stickers, prizes and hotel reservations. After all I knew my children wouldn't be interested in driving all over Southern California for 3 days collecting charms and fabric squares.
We began on Thursday at 7 pm, after my mother got off of work, and made a mad dash to our "home-shop", Lancaster and Santa Clarita. We got home at 10 pm - far later than normal bedtime. And the baby and I didn't get to sleep until 2 am. Friday at 7 am we left for Redlands. At 8:45 we were not the first car in the lot waiting for the shop to open. That's when we realized this was indeed serious business. As we checked all the strip malls searching for mom and pop quilt shops one constant rang true. It was next to a Curves and Starbucks.
I could bore you with the details of the calico fabrics, sampler quilts, hand-applique, mini water bottles, snacks, and the miniature charms mimicking the tools of the trade. But I would much rather tell you about the carwash that scared William who screamed until my mother covered his face with a blanket, the late-night swim to reward the children for riding nicely for over 14 hours, screeching into a quilt shop at 9:04 pm hoping that their clock was a little late, too much Starbucks and a few stops to get the wiggles out.
So people think we are crazy for dragging 3 young children all over Southern California for about 20 hours of driving time. But I relish the experiences they had. We drove all over seeing the landscape of the high desert with the electricity generating windmills and Joshua Trees where houses were $200k for 7 bedrooms to the resorts in Palm Springs to the oceanside mountains. We saw street fairs, historic shopping malls, local diners with locals, the train, many airports, and a bit of the ocean. I listened as my kids noticed the differences and similarities between the towns we were in and our own town.
Mostly the kids had fun. They enjoyed meeting people and chatting about their families. They enjoyed discovering the different charms and stamps at each location. The children made many friends running with their passports in-hand, picking out plastic trinkets, munching on popcorn, receiving prized goggles, leis, and bracelets, exploring the themes at each shop including the witches and poodle skirts.
We will tackle our last 6 stores tomorrow after a much needed night of rest at home. I'm not sure yet how we will celebrate our accomplishment. Maybe banana splits.
UPDATE: There was little celebrating. Mostly just staring blankly into space while the children ran amuck in the front yard. But we have our "I DID IT" bars, many 5 inch squares of fabric and a plan to visit the Pasadena store for the next 12-months to get our Mystery Blocks and a free fat quarter. Oh! And our total in the car time was 32-hours. Whew!