the final stretch.

next, we were in columbia, south carolina, and i was the morning nanny. once again, we were at a concert hall with a non-ideal nursery situation and no real, close outside options. and so we went for a walk to pass the time and get fresh air. it turns out, columbia has a cute little main street.

going for walks was always a last ditch effort to find something worth doing or seeing. sometimes we found neat things, like the wells fargo history museum in philadelphia, and other times it was just a walk, like on this day. the kids always wanted to know where we were going, but not knowing the answer was kind of my favorite part. i always responded by saying it didn't matter.

we're on an adventure, i would say.

the thing i remember most about this day was putting one of the boys to bed. throughout the tour, we tried to keep things consistent, so i was the one who always put him to bed, or down for nap, when his mom couldn't. on this night, i got him ready for bed, put him in his bunk, and before i read the story, we had this conversation.

me: you're so cute.
him: yeah.
me: i like reading to you and putting you to bed.
him: yeah.
me: do you like when i put you to bed?
him: yeah.
me: you like it when i read to you?
him: yeah.
me: oh. that's good, because sometimes i feel like you hate it.

maybe you have to know him, and the way he says "yeah," to know why that's sweet and also funny. but i loved that moment, because i kept thinking about how we only had a few nights left and how i would miss it when it was over. and he's such a mama's boy. whenever she was in the room, he wouldn't listen to anything i said. if she was there, he wanted her to read to him, to take him to the bathroom, to make him sit in a chair and eat his dinner.

it's understandable, obviously, but a lot of nights, i was met with tears and, "where's my mom?" and him trying push me away. i always tried my best to make him feel better or distracted or happier. sometimes he would want me to sit with him as he went to bed, and sometimes he would want me to go away. his mom and the other nannies would comment on what a great job i did with him, but i guess it was just nice to know that even though i'm not his mom, he thought i was doing a good enough job.


ORLANDO. there's something about florida air, don't you think? it feels different. maybe it's just me, because florida will always be a happy place for me. it reminds me of the beach and my family and that one vacation we took there when i was in high school. it was where i went when i rode in an airplane for the first time.

i was excited to be in florida, is what i mean to say.

it was another no-nursery venue, and we saw some green on the map just down the street that was labeled as a park, so we went exploring.

what we thought might be a park was actually a construction site and after the other nanny and i realized we'd have to keep looking, we found a small fountain outside of a building. normally, this is enough to elicit at least a "wow!" but as we walked towards it, one of the boys said, "this isn't very exciting."

we had to laugh about it, because he was right. it wasn't very exciting. we were days away from the end of the tour, running low on ideas for new and exciting things to do in venues with no toys, and all we had in front of us was a small fountain.

then we found this. it's officially called 'lake dot park,' which for some reason makes me laugh. it was just a patch of grass that led down to a pond with that fountain in the middle. the kids found that exciting, and spend much of the morning collecting sticks and flowers.

we only had a handful of days left, and instead of counting down the days until i got to sleep in my own bed or wash my hair, i focused on how it was only a few days left. i could count on one hand the number of times i would say good night and good morning, and i wanted to make sure i was paying attention. so i rocked the baby to sleep that night and held her for an extra twenty or thirty minutes and i read the boys extra thomas stories.


next, we were at a church in birmingham that had like three outdoor playgrounds. need i say more?

but really, we played on a lot of playgrounds. i rode a lot of swings. there was a lot of soaking in our last days together, especially since the boys' dad and the girls' grandparents would be joining us the next day. birmingham was the beginning of the end of tour. i kept thinking about it, but nobody really talked about it.


the fox theatre. atlanta, ga.

have you ever seen the inside of the fox theatre? here, i will show you part of it.

it looks like a castle, with a night sky. it is incredible.

the outside is pretty neat too, but i didn't get any good photos of that.

i was the morning nanny and, as previous mentioned, one set of grandparents was in town (from ireland). so that was fun. we walked up ten blocks and then over a couple more like it was nothing, all for the sake of finding a playground. it was colder than i thought it would be and we went further than i wanted to go, but it was sort of adorable to watch two, sweet grandparents love on a couple of grandkids they rarely get to see.

also, the playground was basically like a bunch of functional art sculptures.

later, we spent our last night on the bus cleaning up, searching for a lost phone (and finding it in granny helen's purse!), and laughing until we cried. it was also the last night we put all the kids to bed. it wasn't really anything out of the ordinary, except when i put that boy to bed on this night, i had to go back in and clean up some milk he had spilled in his bunk. after he was dry and settled, i said goodnight again and he responded by saying, "goodnight, i love you."

and then i died.

(no, but seriously. it was the sweetest and i thought my heart would actually explode.)

on our last night on the bus, we were worse than the kids. staying up way too late, sticking our heads out of our bunks, trying to have whispered conversations, taking selfies, and laughing. a lot.

this might be my favorite photo from the tour, taken sort of by accident. three nannies + two moms. we survived, and managed to have a blast in the process.


the last show was in nashville, so while i was technically home, it was still also technically a work day. we had relief nannies, as we did on any day we were in nashville, but one of the main three nannies had to be there at all times for the sake of having at least one nanny the kids recognized.

it worked out that i had a morning break and an evening break. however, i maybe (most definitely) left a light on in my car while we were gone for two and a half weeks, which meant i spent my morning break waiting for aaa and then replacing my battery.

fortunately, i had just recently gotten a new one so i was able to have it replaced for free.

unfortunately, it all left me with no time to shower or wash my hair or think about lunch. so, that's day eleven hair up there. also, the christmas tree tab drew on the side of the latte she made me after i texted her my order and stopped by the coffee shop where she works to pick it up. she's a life saver.

i spent most of my shift on this day catering to the baby when she was awake, asking the relief nannies if they needed anything, chatting with the caterers who were there setting up for the after party, and napping on the couch.

it was an easy day, but after spending two and a half weeks on the road, i was exhausted. it was so nice to have relief nannies do the heavy lifting.

later, i went home and finally got that shower (and washed my hair!) and threw in a load of laundry before going back for the after party.

(on the left, the mom of the girls. on the right, the mom of the boys.)