May 14, 2012

Road Trip

When the twins were tiny babies I followed a twin blog where the mom chronicled the many daily adventures she went on with her twins (2 1/2 at the time) - educational, exploring their community, and all over the country.  I remember that she blogged about her long road trip (2 month, I believe) with her 2 1/2 year old twins.  Her husband (who worked) would meet up with them whenever he could, but for the most part she and the kiddos went on a grand adventure, through several states, seeing everything they could see.  It sounded a little crazy, but it also sounded like a lot of fun...

So it didn't sound crazy to me to take a road trip from Michigan to Nebraska (on the way to Texas) with the twins...alone.  It was doable.  It would be an adventure!  Granted, there are 2 things that I have going for me that I would suggest might make this less intimidating to me: 1) I LIKE road trips.  I really enjoy them.  Not everyone does.  2) We have taken a LOT of long road trips with the twins.  Like this, or this, and this, or this, get the picture.  Long drives are nothing new, and the kids - unless sick - travel really well.  Even then, the night before I started to get really nervous.

I shouldn't have.  It went great!  We stopped in Iowa, so the first day was about 7 hours of driving time (it took us about 9 hours to get there) and the second day was about 6 hours of driving time (it took us almost 9 again).  I did have a few tricks up my sleeve.  The first was our "Road Trip Rules," which I told the twins was a must for every road trip.  The rules?  1) We all go to the bathroom every time we stop.  No exceptions.  2) Mommy can't reach things while driving so hold onto your stuff!  If you drop it, no freak outs.  We will get it at our next stop.  3) We don't do things that bother other people in the van.  If they don't like it, it stops, no questions, no exceptions.  Quite frankly, simply saying "Road Trip Rules!" stopped a lot of potential freak outs.  The second was a giant bag full of smaller bags - each packed with a snack, a special treat, and entertaining items for the road (books, toys, crayons and paper, etc.)  At each stop I gave them a new bag...and since we stopped a lot this meant a lot of fresh entertainment.  In fact, did I mention they didn't watch a single movie?  I brought along the laptop and their dvd's, but since I couldn't monitor it unless the van was stopped I was hesitant to even put any on.  Thankfully, I didn't have to!
With some of their special surprises:

The first day was a breeze!  It was delightful.  There wasn't a single tantrum or freak out.  The twins were so excited about everything.  It was wonderful.  We were lucky that every time someone needed a potty break we had an amazing stop right there (like a rest area with a playground)!  We also made a point to stop at state welcome centers.  Partly because I've discovered the bathrooms tend to be cleaner, partly because they have all kinds of brochures and I knew the twins would enjoy picking some up.  On this trip we discovered that many of these welcome centers have coloring books they will give to little kids!  The twins have been enjoying coloring in their Iowa and Nebraska books :)
Our Iowa coloring books!
We stayed the night in Iowa, which was wonderful.  I love sneaking in visits (no matter how short) with people I don't get to see often.  The twins got to play with my aunt and uncle, and my cousin's kids, while I got to enjoy catching up with people I love.  So wonderful.
Playing with Aunt Jan

The second day was a little more rough.  Partly because - due to the different time zone - they were a little short on sleep (Allie told me she was "So, so tired.").  Partly because we left Bumble (remember him?  Ryan's favorite stuffed animal/best friend/bedtime necessity), and didn't realize until we were already an hour down the road...  So there was a good hour of driving where Ryan cried over and over, "I just want my Bumble!" and I cried as I drove on - further from Bumble - because I felt so terrible.  Then I decided to stop for lunch (I packed lunches the day before) at a McDonalds with a playplace.  These have been inconsistent for us in the past - some are really designed more for early elementary aged kids than preschoolers - but I took a gamble.  Long story short, both kids got stuck in the very top (at different times) requiring me to climb up twice, the food wasn't yummy, and Ryan flushed the toilet when it was Allie's turn and she had a complete (overtired) meltdown that required me to hold her for a while in the parking lot until she calmed down.  I started to panic a little about losing time and needing to get on the road, and then I thought, "This trip is for them.  If she needs me to hold her until she calms down, I will."  So I did.  The stop ended up being an hour and a half long...but that was ok.  Oh, and did I mention that every time the twins needed to go potty we were in a desolate area with no facilities.  Thank goodness for the travel potties we keep in the van.  We used them 3 times because there was no other option!  The final time stealer?  Construction in Nebraska.  The last 2 hours took much longer because we were slowed down and sometimes stopped.  But we made it!  And the twins thought the trip was a great adventure!  And even the rough second day wasn't actually that rough.  In fact, I didn't feel stressed at all when we got there.  Just relieved to have reached our destination :)

All of the rest of the road trip I had help lined up, so this is the end of the adventures of just us three.  I'm thankful I didn't chicken out.  It was a wonderful time of talking with the kids, experiencing new things with them, hearing what they were excited to see, and teaching them about these things.  They might not remember our great road trip, but I always will - fondly.


Anonymous said...

Ok..I have to ask..."Why didn't you just let Allie flush the toilet after Ryan did?" Or is it a first thing? I love the blog.I laughed and I was amazed at the fun you had in store for them. But most of all I was RELIEVED that you are in Nebraska. I didn't like you going alone at all. Prayed and prayed for safety. Felt guilty that I didn't go with you like we kinda planned, etc. etc. I guess I should stop watching the news and I wouldn't worry so much. I'm so glad you will be with your mom the rest of the way. See you in TX for the Birthday Bash! Hugs from Nana

Kim said...

Flush an EMPTY toilet?! After her brother already flushed the toilet filled with all of the "good" stuff down?! What an insult to even suggest it as an option!! I know, because I did, and she freaked out even more...and then demanded that I go again so she had something to flush! A new Road Trip Rule was quickly born "No one steals anyone else's flush!" She was way overtired, but they are also VERY protective of their flushes!

Anonymous said...

WAY TOO FUNNY! I did say to Poppy that was probably the case. haha