the drive

In case you missed my last post, I'm doing a little re-cap of a road trip we took as a family to Florida with our five-year-old daughter and four-month-old son. I'm sharing the details, which I realize may be TMI (listen to me talk about our family vacation!!) for a couple of reasons. Maybe someone out there is wondering if it's a good idea to take a long road trip with a baby. Or a preschooler. Or both. Obviously, this is going to be a different experience for different families, but it's always nice to hear someone else's story. This was also our first family trip to Disney World, which I'll share about tomorrow. So maybe you're curious about that. It's quite possible you don't give a hoot about any of this, which is fine by me, so hit that 'next' button on your blog reader. Just hit me up again next week when I promise to be talking about something un-Florida related. I swear.
 
So, the drive. We drove for two full days, each way. We averaged 12-14 hours each day, including breaks. Lunch breaks, dinner breaks, snack breaks, gas breaks, late-night ice cream breaks and of course, milk breaks. I nursed that baby up and down the coast and across six states. 
Lo got a real education about just how big the world is. She saw mountains and rivers and bridges and sunsets and the ocean and everything in between, which was pretty cool for all of us.
On both trips, we drove during the day and stopped about halfway, just outside of Nashville to sleep for the night. We had considered driving overnight, but for us it worked better to stick to the daylight hours. Plus, it's always fun to stay overnight at a hotel where you get to make your own waffles for breakfast. Exciting!
 
Lotus did not sleep at all in the car – not a single nap! Except for one night that we drove until midnight, when she slept for about an hour at the very end. Whew. This kid doesn't like to miss a thing.
So ... how did the kids do on the trip?
 
Lo watched movies, played games on our iPad, listened to an iPod with headphones, ate Pringles and granola bars, sang songs, talked our ears off ... and watched more movies. (I'm pretty sure she watched 'Madagascar' at least 8 times. Thanks, Grandma Carol.)
I had secretly packed several little sticker and activity books that I surprised her with along the way. These served as a little reward each time she was extra patient or well-behaved, especially toward the end of each trip. 
All in all, she did incredibly well with the drive. She is five years old and did not complain one single time about how long we were in the car. I kid you not. 
 
She is also really good at giving us fair warning when she has to go to the bathroom, which was extremely helpful. We made sure to make lots of stops for snacks and meals so she could stretch her legs. One break at a rest stop turned into a mini skateboarding sesh, since it was 'go skateboarding day.' We tried to keep it fun.
Bowie, on the other hand, slept a ton. Just as we had hoped. The car ride put him right to sleep and he would often take three to four-hour naps between feedings. The few times that he did get fussy, I squished myself into the space between the carseats in the back seat and played with him or gave him a pacifier until he was chill again. 
I still cannot believe how good he was on this trip. I think we totally lucked out by taking him at such a young age. If he had been more mobile, there's no way he would have been this content with staying in his carseat for so long. We did take lots of breaks when we took him out of the car, changed his diaper, let him stretch and play for a bit while we ate and what-not. You have to take breaks to keep everyone happy. If he needed to stop, we stopped.
 
The only problem we ran into with the little guy is that he slept so much in the car. When we'd stop at a hotel for the night, he would be wide awake. I ended up staying up with him quite a bit at night, which was cool because I'm used to doing that. Bo and Lo slept right through us playing and talking at 4 a.m. and we got a little bit of quality time while they snoozed. 
So that became the plan. I took the night shifts. Bo got enough sleep to keep driving our little family to our destination. It worked.
Once we got to Florida, Bowie was back on his normal schedule. He slept through the night like he usually does. This whole weird sleep/driving thing was totally okay with us, because the littlest member of our fam made it through the drive without any trouble. That was our goal. Whatever works with the least amount of tears is cool by me. Sleep away, little dude, sleep away.
So. I must say that when Bo suggested that we should drive and not fly, I was like 'Hell to the no.' It took me some time to come around to this whole road trip thing, but now I'm convinced that it was the way to go for us. We had a ton of baby gear to deal with. Strollers for both kids. Car seats. All of the extra crap. I know that you can check everything at the airport, and I've done that in the past, but this time it felt easier to pack everything up in the car and just drive. We saved quite a bit of money on travel expenses because we drove a hybrid. We didn't need to worry about a rental car when we got to our destination. It felt pretty stress-free. I'll admit it – I'm a convert. I'd do this again.
Bo told me to relax. I tried to do that. Even though it goes against my nature. I tried my best to go with the flow of my little family and stay positive. There were definitely times when things got hairy, but they didn't last long. I felt like we had more freedom by driving instead of flying this time around. We were able to take a quick detour to check out Cocoa Beach on our way home. I'd never been to St. Louis to see the arch. We didn't have to catch a flight or rush to an airport. It was good.
 
(And I had so much knitting time.) 
Tomorrow! I will post about the next part of our adventure. The part where Tropical Storm Debby enters our lives. You know ... right when we're supposed to go to Disney World. (Eff.)
Oh, Debby.
 This is how we felt about Debby. More tomorrow.  :)

12 comments:

  1. this is quite entertaining! you are BRAVE

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  2. I have to say, we made our 1st Florida road trip (24 hours also, from Western NY) when my oldest was 4 months old. We now travel almost every year the same way. Only now we do it in one 24 hour stretch. The kids are great car riders since we started them so young. The knitting time is great also! We do try to fly every few years, but the driving is so much cheaper.

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  3. That is awesome to hear! My husband kept saying that once we had this trip under our belt, we'd do it again and I think he's right. :)

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  4. I think this is awesome and we've driven to FL twice and s2 loved it! We only drove on vacations when I was a child and it still memories I cherish. I love reading about yours too love :)xo

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  5. I love these posts! I am due in Sept and want to plan a trip to Disney in May of next year so was curious how it would be with a baby (plus my 6 yr old)! Also, I just love road trip stories!

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  6. That looks like such an awesome trip together!! hahaha it totally looks like Lo is having a beer with her waffle. ;)

    I wish I could knit in the car... I get carsick. I try, though! :)

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  7. Wow! I have trouble driving my two boys from Iowa City to Ames...no way could they make it to FL. I'm glad the car trip worked for you guys. I can't wait to hear how Disney was with a baby.

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  8. Glad to hear the kids were so wonderful in the car!! I am sorry Debbie came through when you were headed to Disney. So frustrating! I live in S. Florida so I know exactly what you were going through last week!

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  9. alright girl you just gave me hope! I am think I am going to drive 7 hours by myself with a 7 week old LOL! I was thinking she would probably sleep a ton too.

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  10. Taking a road trip with two young kids is brave but it looks like fun was had by all!

    And...

    I LOVE THAT YARN! If I may ask, where is it from and what is its name?

    Love those colors...

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  11. Hi Tracye - it is Malabrigo chunky (and I think the colorway is Mariposa.) It really is gorgeous.

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  12. Thanks! Love gray and yellow together :)

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