A grandma in the backseat with the 10-month old is an absolute must. If I wasn't already (I was), I am now forever indebted to my mom for spending 20 hours playing pat-a-cake with my cranky baby (another lesson learned: the baby who won't sleep in the car on hour-long car trips still won't sleep in the car on 20-hour-long car trips). (Don't worry, Mom, I'll make it up to you. I'll put you in a real nice nursing home someday! The kind that doesn't make it onto CNN for elderly abuse!)
A portable DVD player for said baby is also a must. I can now quote the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in its entirety. I'm fairly certain about 19 of the 20 hours in the car were spent with this movie playing. I'm sure this will come in handy while trying to make friends in my new town. (Lull in the conversation? Never fear! Meatballs quotes to the rescue!)
When the neighbors at your old apartment joked that the landlady was a horrible old hag who wouldn't give you a cent of your security deposit back when you moved out, they weren't joking. It will take oodles of restraint to resist running her over with the moving truck as you drive away. And the first 2 hours of the drive will be spent mentally drafting the hate letter you plan to mail to her (which may or may not be laced with anthrax . . . note to self: work on the self-restraint issue before mailing the letter).
Leaving your husband driving the moving truck alone while you, mom, and baby drive the car may make him go mildly crazy . . . not scary-crazy, but the kind of crazy that calls the "How's my driving?" numbers on the back of semis just to have someone to talk to.
People can make anything look good online. The townhouse that looked like a dream come true on the website turned out to be a tenement with holes in the walls, peeling paint, and frightening, shirtless, leering neighbors. (But don't worry, the slumlord who showed it to us boasted that it was move-in ready. Maybe the hole in the wall that I was afraid my baby would climb inside of leads to a play room?) Plan on the housing search taking a tad longer than originally expected.
Having a mom cook for me everyday as I squat in her spare bedrooms is fantastic. Why were we all so excited to leave home? I want to come back! Forever!
When it's all said and done, the stress and hassle of moving from Iowa to Utah to be near family is made more than worth it when I get to hug my sweet nieces, see Forrest giggling with his grandpa, be instructed in the proper execution of the Bernie by my goofball sister, and watch my little boy fall in love with his relatives.