8.16.2017

Road Trip: 1,400 miles with a toddler.

Well -- we made it to Florida! We left Monday at 10AM -- we had to wait for my doctor's appointment to be over (what's up with the non-ultrasound pre-natal appointments when the doctor just asks you how you're feeling and then sends you on your way?!) -- and we arrived at Sean's dad's house around noon today. Roughly 1,400 miles stood between our house in Massachusetts and his house in Delray Beach, Florida. 1,400 miles. With a 23-month old. And I'm 20 weeks pregnant. With a blood clotting disorder. Yikes! Needless to say we stopped... a lot. More than Sean stopped on his last trip down south. But it was necessary for stretching, safety and sanity.

I was really aware of space on this trip. I'm trying to be more minimalistic when it comes to packing. It stresses me out. I googled and pinterested and scoured the internet for the best way to actually pack the car. Not necessarily what to pack... but how. I ultimately decided to share a suitcase with Sean and have all of Javi's stuff in another suitcase. Within each suitcase, I'm using packing cubes and everything has a very clear, visible place to be and it's worked out well so far. With the packing cubes, it's easy to see what's missing and what still needs to be re-packed -- so hopefully we don't leave anything behind in hotel rooms! We have his pack n play, diaper bag -- packed with any emergency things we may need like an extra outfit, medicines, a blanket, his lovey, then a backpack for all our computer things, a cooler with plenty of drinks and snacks behind the passenger seat that I could easily access wherever I was sitting and a snack basket that can easily be transferred between the backseat and the front seat depending on where I wanted to sit. I also set up a little diaper changing station in the seat pocket of the drivers side so any time we stopped I could change Javi. Most importantly, I limited his toys/books/entertainment to whatever fit into a narrow basket. It's small and fits on the floor in the middle of the backseat. 

Javi did really well. Like really well with what limited supplies we had -- we'll have to see if he's so content on the way back home -- because, yes, we still have to drive home. But there were some things that aided in our road trip and I wanted to share them here:

I brought some of his favorite things -- like this viewfinder toy, this vtech book, this doodle pro, and lots of books like this one. I also picked up some things that were brand new to him like some foam puzzles (similar), brand new mickey crayons, and mickey flashcards
I bought him a travel tray for coloring, reading, playing, eating, etc. This came in handy, for sure, though it doesn't lay perfectly flat (I'm assuming because he still rear-faces). So at times, everything on his tray would slide into his body and down into his seat which would elicit a "nooooooooooo" squeal. We bought a tablet holder. I know, I know. But disney movies kept him occupied, busy and happy. 

For me -- being in the car that long wasn't a good idea! In fact, one of my doctors was against us making the trip, another one of my doctors told me my pregnant bladder was my only limitation. So to make everyone happy, I promised to stop and stretch every few hours, drink plenty of water, I rotated from the backseat to the front seat so that I could stretch out my legs and put my feet up, and I wore compression socks. By the way -- compression socks in August... in a place like Georgia -- are hot. So hot. But they did help!

Another thing we did that worked out well and we plan to do it the same on the way back is to book hotels as we go. Each night as we were nearing what we felt needed to be the end I quickly got online and searched for a hotel on our route. Originally, I wanted to book ahead but between not knowing how I would feel, how Javi would respond to being in the car, Sean driving, possible traffic... there were just too many variables. Booking last minute was fine and we got pretty good deals on the rooms. When booking hotel rooms, we always opt for suites because we like having a separate bedroom so that Javi can go to bed in darkness (like he does at home) and we can still have space to get organized, watch tv, eat snacks, etc. It's worth the extra money to us and it's typically a difference of $20! $20 for a good night's sleep is so worth it. For Javi, we brought his pack n play (he's used to sleeping in it) with a comfy mattress pad, a sheet and blanket, his sound machine and his monitor so we can check on him without disturbing him. I find that making it just like home, is important. 
We also tried to keep him on schedule as much as possible. We tried to eat at normal times -- (I cut up a lot of fruit and veggies and brought him a bunch of pouches), get to bed at his normal time and we tried not to rush him in the morning! In fact, one morning at 9AM he was still looking like this -- and we just waited, and waited for him. But he was happy when he woke up and we eventually got on the road!

Now for 5 days in the Florida heat -- and then the drive home!

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