16.08.2014 - 17.08.2014
DD2 was born in January 2014. We have taken a couple of brief trips since then, but I have not had the chance to get these posts up until now.
Our first trip as a family of four happened last August. On one hand, we'd been so busy that travel hadn't sounded like much fun. On the other hand, I hadn't left State College in about a year, so I'd been wanting a change of scenery.
While I was homebound, I wrote about some of the first trips we took with DD1. Although there were nice moments in each of them, they definitely weren't easy trips. At the same time, though, we didn't want to give up traveling altogether just because traveling with 2 young kids can be hard. Our solution to these dilemmas was to try an overnight trip. That way, if it turned out to be a disaster, at least it would only be a short-lived one. It also could be a baby step towards some longer trips in the future. We decided to drive down to metro DC to visit some friends (the same ones who helped us out during the blizzard of aught-nine) who just had a baby in June.
As we planned our trip, we foresaw 2 major challenges:
1. keeping our daughters from waking each other up
2. keeping DD2 from shrieking for the entire duration of the road trip (car seats have been an acquired taste for her).
We had a strategy for the first challenge: booking a suite where the living and bedroom areas are separated by a door. We put the crib in the bedroom with us. DD1 could relax in the living area while I was getting her little sister down for the night. Once her bedtime rolled around, she could sleep on the pullout couch.
I have to admit that we didn't really have a strategy for the second challenge. We just fervently hoped that she'd be content.
In reality, our first obstacle was remembering that all of our suitcases and duffel bags were tucked away in storage and virtually impossible to reach. We improvised and used school bags, which worked fine.
We set off, stopping first to drop off our dog at a pet lodge. Now that we have 2 car seats in the back seat, there isn't room for him to ride there, so he went in the passenger seat on my lap. He was a bit nervous, but we managed. The pet lodge isn't near the interstate at all, so the next task was choosing our route. We planned to take some back roads before joining up with the interstate. We plugged our info into the navigation system, inadvertently choosing the shortest route. We set off on some winding, hilly roads; I rarely feel sick in cars, but the route was making me woozy. Even worse, these roads seemed to get more and more remote, so there weren't places where it made sense to turn off and find another route. Thankfully we made it back to bigger highways and nobody got sick. DD2 remained content until after our lunch stop in Breezewood, PA. After that, we had alternating periods of crying and relaxing/napping. The periodic traffic jams in Maryland didn't help the situation because DD2 is always happier in her car seat when we're moving. The ride home was similar: DD2 seemed to have about a 2 -hour limit when it comes to being happy on the road. The crying wasn't fun, but we were thankful that it wasn't any worse.
The first challenge went even better. DD2 woke up only once in the night, which is what she usually would do at home at that age. What's more, DD1 slept through it all! Having the separate spaces in the hotel room was the key to our success.
In all, this was a great trip; we enjoyed visiting our friends, and we overcame our initial fears of traveling with a baby in a family of four.