Ha! This sounds like a lyric to a romantic song, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say “I will travel to the Stars and Moon” for my two girls. To start the first few days of the year, it felt like I literally did travel to outerspace with both of my girls. We were going out of town without Daddy for the first time ever for 6 WHOLE days, to visit my extended family in Roanoke, VA and in Hampton/Norfolk, VA! We left early morning on the 3rd of January and returned home early morning the 9th of January and, as crazy as it sounds, I went to work that same evening. It has taken me a week and a half to recover from this trip, which almost didn’t happen because I had a bruised elbow. Thankfully it is Winter Intersession, so my evenings are short and pretty slow and I only worked a total of 4 evenings the entire Intersession, so I’ve been solo with the girls since I’ve been back, and that in itself has been exhausting. Honestly, I give Stay At Home Moms (SAHM) 100,000 kudos, because this is hard work. I feel burned out and I cannot wait to go back to work. I have no shame in this statement and will not feel the need to say “I love my kids but…”, I feel HOW I feel and I’m entitled to my organic feelings, I need to go back to work. Working, especially Part-Time, makes me a better mother.
Of course my travel wasn’t completely smooth, but nothing too drastic occured and I’m so grateful for that. We were supposed to leave at midnight, but didn’t leave until almost 3 am. I had the girls dressed and ready to go before I put them down to bed so I could finish packing and making sure we had the necessities (I was trying to pack light, a HUGE struggle for me and I was attempting this for 3!) I took a quick 20 minute nap, because I was tired but it was important to be on the road before rush hour traffic in the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area, which we missed by 20 minutes! I woke the girls up and figured we would leave when Daddy left for work (he was working the midnight shift that week) so he could see us off, CharlieB woke up SOAKED! She never pees out her diaper and the one time it happens, I’m pressed for time. I had to find something quick to change her into (which messed up the coordinating PJs I had the girls in, don’t judge me lol.) Somehow, we managed to get out and packed in the car, and I lost the car keys! I have keyless car entry, and the keys were in the car, but I could NOT locate them to save my life. So I ended up traveling with both sets.
I purchased the FireStick and Google Chromecast for the trip, downloaded the girls favorite shows on the iPad, their S9 Plus (my old phone), and the iPod Touch. Their bluetooth speaker was charged and ready (so I could listen to my music in the car) and I placed the iPad on the middle seat headrest for them. They were awake, so I played a show and they were fine. Lexi went to sleep, CharlieB was up entertained by her shows. We were on the road, but 1st a stop at Burger King, nuggets for CharlieB and a sandwich for mommy and a COKE! Must have coke, because I don’t like coffee. We are on the highway…CharlieB starts asking for milk (I think the iPad died), so I have to make a quick stop to get her milk, because I didn’t have her ready made toddler drink in the front with me, smh! Luckily we were on the NJ turnpike (anyone who has been on the turnpike knows they have easy on and off rest stops), unfortunately we had about 15 miles until the next rest stop, and the toddler was getting impatient, because she was tired. We get to the rest stop (Stop 1 – 5 minutes max about 3:15 am), I grab her milk, pour it in her cup, she chugs, we’re off and soon afterwards she is sleep.
Smooth sailing after that, girls are sleep, I’m jamming and driving, well steering (I’m so glad I learned how to use the cruise control our last trip.) We get through NJ, DE, and MD without having to stop. I’m keeping my eye on the gas levels and looking at the time, then I notice traffic is starting to pick up, I’m starting to panic, because Lexi will scream her head off if the car is too slow or stops. Thankfully we get through the slow down in about 15 minutes and she sleeps through it. We pass Tyson’s Corner, and I see traffic in the opposite direction is bumper to bumper… the next exit I stop to get gas, since the next highway we were getting on isn’t a major highway I wanted to fill up before getting on 81. Kids still sleep, back on the road, get on 81, CharlieB starts to fuss, so we (Stop 2 – approx 30 minutes, about 7:15 am) stop with 166 miles left on the trip. In the McDonald’s parking lot, I nurse Lexi, give CharlieB her show on the iPad, and then secure Lexi. Proceed to the drive thru to get CharlieB and I McDonald’s (Yes I know not the healthiest, but that’s ok)…back on the road. About 9am Lexi starts to fuss, so I stop (Stop 3 – approx 15 minutes) at a gas station and feed her one of her Once Upon a Farm Pouches and tap her off with boob, 88 miles to go. Back on the road, I just want to get to our destination, I’m tired, I feel dirty, I’m sick of sitting but I’m determined. (Stop 4 – 3 minutes) Maybe 20 minutes back on the road, CharlieB starts fussing for milk, although she is meeting her daily milk quota, it is more important for me to make sure she is as comfortable as possible so I can get through this drive distraction free, so I pull over to the shoulder of the highway (I drive as far into the grass as possible, to avoid anyone hitting me, depending on the situation, I may even just climb into the back instead of getting out of the car) and give her milk, she screams and cries, because she needs sleep. 2 minutes back on the road she is sleep. 10:52 am we ARRIVE at our destination, Praise the Lord, I am so thankful for his traveling mercies! The 7 hour and 10 minute trip was 8 hours and 25 minutes!!! NOT BAD with an 8-month old and a 2 year-old.
I call the hotel, and our room is READY!! Check in is at 3, but it never hurts to call to see if you can check in early. We stayed at the Hilton’s Home2Suites, because I stayed there with CharlieB in 2017, and the amenities work perfectly for traveling with little ones. They have a Kitchenette with a full fridge and dishwasher. I requested the premium internet (to use the FireStick), a king size bed and a Pack N Play. I carried their foam mat with us to place on the tile section of the kitchenette to minimize boo-boos (my 8 month old was trying to stand.) Since we were visiting family, I was only alone with the girls when we slept. The hotel was close to most of the family we were visiting, a happy surprise. One of my aunt’s even stayed one night in the hotel with us. So we were well taken care of. Now, some may wonder why didn’t we stay with family.
- I nurse and hate wearing clothes
- Sometimes I nurse both at the same time, I am a tandem nurser, both boobs are out.
- I needed a place that was somewhat safe for a baby and a toddler. I didn’t want to worry about them terrorizing someone’s house or breaking anything, or getting hurt and that person has to deal with unwarranted guilt.
- I didn’t want to have to clean or wake up earlier than what we wanted to
- Comfort mattered for my sanity.
- 3 outfits for each girls (1 bonus outfit in case they messed themselves)
- 3 sets of Pjs for each girl and an extra jacket for them, in case they got wet
- 3 outfits for me
- 1 baby Dove Bar Soap/1 adult Dove Bar Soap
- 4 packs of wipes (could always buy more if needed)
- 2 packs of Aveeno face and hand wipes (to minimize my baby wipe usage)
- Travel cutlery, bottles, and cups for both girls
- Cutting board and knife (I forgot Home2Suites provided that)
- Pampers and overnight pampers
- Aveeno Lotion for Baby (for all of us to use)
- toothbrushes/toothpaste (I ended up using the kids)
- Dishwashing liquid
- Box of basic toys (blocks, train track and train, balls and Leapfrog Violet’s)
- Snacks for kids and lots of Once Upon a Farm Pouches for Lexi
- Diaper trash bags (didn’t need the room smelling like dirty diapers)
- I braided CharlieB’s hair and wore headwraps so that I didn’t have to do hair. We also only had the shoes we wore nothing extra.
Things I needed but didn’t have:
- Cabinet Locks and outlet covers
- Forgot the pack n play sheets at home (was on the list but didn’t get packed)
- Request a Bathtub, although having a shower only seemed a little safer with the toddler who was obsessed with it. She kept piling the blocks in the shower.
- To-Go containers for the breakfast buffet.
The thought process was that we can always wash clothes, which we did twice. I needed enough clothes to get through Thursday to Saturday when we traveled to Hampton, VA.
The travel to Hampton was ok, I had trouble with Lexi being extra fussy when I got gas after leaving the hotel. After calming her down we were on the road. 3 hour and 52 minutes trip took 4 hours exactly, lol! CharlieB woke up 1 hour away from our destination demanding water. This time I was smart and had all that up front. I pulled over on the shoulder w/o getting out of the car, poured her cup of water and gave it to her, put her music on and she was fine. I did make one stop prior to her waking to get myself Wendy’s. The drive was so beautiful, if I wasn’t afraid of them fussing, I would have stopped at the scenic overlook and taken pictures of the gorgeous mountains. IT WAS BREATHTAKING!
We made it to Hampton. This time we stayed at someone’s house.
- She is basically my sister
- She has a two year old and the house is child proof
- There are highchairs for me to use
- I wanted the kids to spend time together
- My girls have been here before
- We have our own space when we are there
- There are tons of toys for them to play with.
- Did I mention that the house is Baby Proof, lol!
We left Hampton Tuesday night about 8pm…That drive resulted in me getting stopped by the troopers. For 2 minutes, I had that awful feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. My heart started racing, I was scared, for me, for my girls, for us, and for the nation. I was in Maryland. I am a Black female driving in America. At that moment I felt the pain the nation is bearing personally. Praise the Lord, that all it was JUST a feeling and not a reality. The officer was a black male and was very pleasant and nice. I was driving the speed limit, but the area was a construction zone, and I didn’t realize the speed limit was reduced. He told me it was an educational stop, and he was just giving me a warning. But let’s go back to how I felt. THIS IS NOT OK. I should not have felt like that at ALL. POINT BLANK. PERIOD! I’m not ok with being rightfully stopped and fearing for my life. After I got over my feelings, and thanking GOD nonstop for like 15 minutes, we finally found our way into Delaware (we took Eastern VA, to MD, into DE, instead of 95 which had construction). I was tired, decided to stop at a rest area, before we got to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. That stop lasted 5 minutes. As I closed my eyes to nap for 20 minutes, I jumped up and started thinking “This is a rest area, that means other people know people are here resting, that means someone can come up to my window and shoot us, NOT TODAY” I called my husband and told him my thoughts and put my foot to the metal. I was not about to be on nobody’s news channel if I could control it. Now some of you are going to say I have an overactive imagination… but a few days before our trip in TX a woman and her kids were attacked in a gas station. This is REAL in AMERICA.
We made it home a little before 4 am, it took us about 7 hours to get home, but THANK GOD FOR HIS TRAVELLING MERCIES. We made it safely there and back. Grandpa and Daddy greeted us (Daddy was getting ready for work, he was back on his early AM shift.) I was glad to be home, but I had work at 5 that evening and the following day.
I am slowly getting back into my regular routine, but I had no idea that the trip would wipe me out like that. I return to my other job next week for the Spring semester, so we all are getting back into our routine. I’m excited to go back to work, so I don’t feel so isolated. I think space helps me parent better.
Thanks for travelling back to this trip with me Cocoa Sippers. If I missed any detail you are curious about, ask me in the comments, I will respond to you.