Thursday, July 14, 2005

Traveling with Toddlers

It is summer time and we are getting ready to go on vacation. We have done this many times before starting when our daughter was 3 months old - we headed to Oregon via car to introduce our little miracle to her family. We drove several days to Wisconsin to introduce Lainy Ann to her great-great-aunt. We traveled with her, while pregnant with #2, to Hawaii to attend a conference for my husband. And of course every Christmas we also drive to Oregon to visit for about two weeks.

We have done this several times and at several different stages - with bottles, portable playpens, portable swings, activity gyms, sleeping bags, babyfood, and now she eats table food. But we have started all over with Connor and we will be taking the playpen, babyfood, and bottles with us this time.

But this time will be VERY different. We are traveling without my husband. In the past I knew he would be there to help with the kids, change a tire (yeah, right - we have AAA), in the winter dig us out of the snow, and keep his head cool in a crisis. In fact, to make matters worse (or better depending on your viewpoint) we are traveling with a girlfriend and her 20 month old son. For those of you keeping count: pregnant twin mom with morning sickness, 2 1/2 year old firecracker, 20 month old learning to talk, 9 month old new crawler, and another mom all in a minivan. You counted correctly: 2 adults and 3 kids under 3 years old - 5 if you count the fetuses and I do since I'm feeling tired and sick.

We drive for two long hard days, stopping at Mc Donald's and Malls for the kids to run around and stretch. Now we forgot to talk about equipment - times 2. We will be hauling 2 playpens and 2 strollers. My daughter walks so we don't have to lug a tandem stroller along. But there are diapers which is both a blessing and a curse, there is the storage and disposal of the diapers (our relatives burn their trash and the diapers can't burn) but there is the added benefit of fewer potty breaks! Don't forget that we have 3 children with vastly different wants, needs, and interests and we have to keep their attention while strapped into carseats for 2 days or 15 hours. That means toys, lots of them. We have a DVD player which will help a lot - but I can only listen to so much Dora, Blue, or Sesame Street. We do have cordless headphones, do you think they are old enough for them on this trip?

We are really excited though. It is so great to relax (once we get there) and enjoy the country. The kids will have a great time playing together and we will be going to the Jefferson County Fair. Once we get to Portland she will have cousins closer to her age and our hotel has a pool. It is such a daunting task to ready the kids and especially the stuff for a big vacation like this. But the rewards are numerous. These children have seen their great-grandparents many times in their short life. And they grow so fast. We really are blessed with flexible jobs, a great car, and a stay-at-home mom who can travel with the kids.

This is actually only the first of our trips without Daddy this summer. We are also heading to Las Vegas for a weekend (lots of swimming) and to Arizona for a weekend to visit their grandfather and aunts. I'm hoping if all goes well I will be able to take them to important landmarks when they get older. Well, when they get older they will have Portable PlayStations, no diapers, and can eat drive-thru by themselves. Oh! And the cordless headphones will work then too! Then it will be just me, listening to my radio, enjoying the scenery, wishing they were little again.


  1. [...] I wouldn’t say we are expert travelers. But we have done it a few times; to Wisconsin, Oregon in the summer and at Christmas countless times, Arizona, Carlsbad, and Las Vegas. Our preference is definitely by car. We are able to set our own schedule, change the schedule when necessary, and take all the stuff we want. We pack snacks and toys and are able to stop whenever the children need to stretch or the baby needs to eat. Its great. [...]

  2. [...] In our parenthood our antics have become safer, sort of. Caskey still thinks we are crazy and he worries when we are off on one of our projects or adventures. But he knows we are both smart and where my knowledge ends, hers begins, and visa versa. We bought a twin size mattress for Lainy Ann when she was 18-months old. I was pregnant (and nesting) and couldn’t wait for Caskey to help, nor wanted to pay the $50 delivery fee. But we forgot rope. So we loaded it in her truck and drove *very* slowly home, normally a 10 minute drive took 30 minutes with me driving behind her. But we got it done. Then we went to Oregon for two weeks. But you can read about that two-week trip here and the grasshopper incident. Its clear we still haven’t grown out of the giggling stage. [...]