This past week AJ and I decided to take a spontaneous road trip to Omaha to introduce Mara to his family and get out of town for a while. I was a little bit nervous to drive four hours with an (almost) 2 week old and her older sister- considering that I barely left the house for the first month after I had Evie. I think we were ready for a change of scenery though, and taking our first road trip as a family of four was a good bonding experience for us all.
I thought I would share some photos from our trip as well as a few things we learned along the way! I'll apologize in advance for the massive photo dump that is about to happen, but I had a hard time narrowing down which photos to share. Scroll through to hear what I learned.
Both girls were SUCH troopers during the long drive. We had to stop once to eat and nurse Mara, but otherwise, Mara slept and Evie (mostly) dealt with the fact we were sitting in the car- compliments of lots of snacks and bribery. Whatever works, right?
The photos above are from a sushi restaurant we tried on our second day there. It wasn't exactly the first place I'd pick to bring my kids (it would be THE perfect date spot though), but Evie did great, minus a few moments of laying on the floor and running to neighboring tables.
Of course coffee was dessert. One of my all time favorite coffee shops is in Omaha, so if you're ever in the neighborhood, be sure to check out
! Also, there was a lot of breastfeeding in public.
After being gifted my great-grandfathers record player, we are constantly on the hunt for new vinyl. We stocked up on a few oldies here. :)
And, despite the insane heat and humidity, our absolute favorite part of the trip was taking the girls to the
. Evie is in love with all animals and it was SO precious to watch her as she discovered that these animals we read about in books all the time actually exist in real life. Her favorites were the petting zoo and the aquarium, but she adored all of the animals.
Mara did a lot of this.... ^^
Traveling with children is general is hard and each age presents its own challenges, but as for traveling with a toddler and a baby- here's what I learned:
1. You don't actually need as much as you think you do. Obviously you need the essentials- diapers, wipes, burp cloths, snacks, clothes....but don't get overwhelmed. I tend to try and pack everything that we use at home, which isn't always necessary. Try to plan ahead and bring only what you'll really need- there are drug stores for anything else ;)
2. Pack distractions for the toddler. Evie did great on the car ride, but only because we brought lots of things for her to do. Snacks, games, books, songs...whatever it takes to pass the time. These same distractions come in handy when you're waiting for food at a restaurant or stopping to feed the baby.
3. Don't get embarrassed. Sometimes the saying "kids will be kids" rings true. We had our fair share of screaming babies and temper tantrums, and as traumatizing as those situations can be, it is important to remember that kids are kids. Don't let what people think worry you or pressure you.
4. Try to stick to your usual schedule as much as possible. This one is hard, hard, hard. We didn't have an extra bed for Evie, so AJ ended up sleeping on the living room floor with Evie while I slept in the spare bedroom with Mara. Sticking to our usual routine of bath, stories and songs helped Evie wind down enough to sleep in an unusual place.
5. Be flexible. You'll probably have to stop more times than you wanted to. Your child will probably spill orange juice all over themselves and your brand new pants. You will probably have to nurse your crying baby while your husband chases your toddler around a coffee shop that closed five minutes ago. It's ok. The crazy moments are the moments you'll smile about later- so don't get stressed if things don't (and they won't, I promise) go exactly according to plan.
That was a long post you guys....thanks for sticking with me! I want to know- what have you all learned in your years of traveling with young children? I obviously can use all the help I can get!