Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On the Road Again

This summer is all about travel. We figured up that we will have been somewhere every month since May through December. Whew! That is a lot of travel. Our most recent trip was to Missouri to see my niece graduate. What makes this trip even extra significant was that Nick could not go with us so I braved it alone with the two boys! That is 11 hrs one way with an almost 3 year old and a 4.5 month old. We survived and I must admit I feel pretty proud and confident now that its over. I thought I would share the things that made the trip easier and the things I learned along the way....the hard lessons.
Meet Me in St. Louis
1. Bring new toys and snacks that the older kids have never seen or tried. It's the novelty factor. I go with dollar stores toys because I can get a handful and if they get lost or broken on the drive it is not a big deal.
2.If you have a DVD player bring plenty of movies. I know letting your child watch hours of TV is not ideal but if you are in survival mode then I feel you can cut yourself some slack.
3. Don't try to have a set time to get to your destination. If the kids are screaming and melting down trying to rush to make a certain time is going to make the situation much more stressful! This was one of my tough lessons learned!
3. Have cash but pay for gas with card. It is much easier to use the card than pay cash especially when you unload the kids make it through the gas station after having to stop and look at each item to finally check out, a half hour later, load up the kids, get to the gas pump only to realize the clerk did not turn your pump on! Then you have to politely decline all the strangers that offer to "sit with your kids" ( they really do that!!, note to stranger: go inside and tell clerk the situation rather than think that a person wants you to stay with their children.) Now you then must unload the kids and take them inside the store and have them witness Mommy freaking out and yelling at the clerk.....ha ha....just day dreaming. I am not usually a violent person but after standing in the searing hot sun trying to get the attendants attention while counting down the travel minutes I will get before my baby needs to nurse again, does something to a person. This moment was when I really realized the need for tip # 7.
4. Have a backpack for the toddler that has a "tail" or leash on it. Admittedly I was weirded out by those before I had kids but let me tell you it was a life saver on this trip and many others.
5. Have a wrap or sling for the baby. The back pack and wrap combo helped me when I was needing to unload bags and check into a hotel room with out being able to leave my children. Typically with  Nick we can tag team the checking in and bag unloading but I didn't have that luxury this trip.
6. If you don't have a gps try and borrow one. It helped when I needed to know how far the next rest area/gas station was.
7. Most important tip: Breathe, relax and enjoy yourself!

Good Luck and Happy, Safe Travels

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