I have been preparing for this trip for months. We are going to be in the car for many many (many) hours as we drive from Connecticut to Texas. Usually we are flyers. I never worried about flying with babies, toddlers, one kid or two kids (although I have to say that the toddler years were the toughest), and for us the cost usually outweighs the inconvenience of the time it takes to drive somewhere.
But this year we are going several places along our journey, as well as taking our sweet time along the way, so with time not being a big factor, we decided to drive. We will take 2 1/2 days to drive to Terry's grandparents' homes in West Texas and visit with them for a few days, then drive 200 miles or so to meet some friends at a family resort for a few days of R&R (OK-- even a resort vacation with young kids isn't really R&R, but the kids will enjoy it, and we'll enjoy not relaxing with our friends), then driving on to Houston to spend time with my family. We'll be there for 5 days, splitting time between my dad's house and my grandmother's house, and then Terry will fly home to return to work.
Stage two of the journey is just me and the kids. I've never worried about flying alone with the kids, as I've done several times over the years when Terry left early to return to work, but this will be my first extended driving trip with me at the helm. First we'll drive from Houston to Tulsa to visit my sister (and her kids) who moved there last year (with a quick fun stopover visit to my stealth roommate). We'll stay there for 3 nights, and then begin the long x mile trip home, which I'm hoping to make in two very long days. We'll see. If the first day seems long, we'll cut it short and make it a 3-day trip.
MY SURVIVAL KIT (and asking/hoping for suggestions from you):
- My laptop. The kids can watch movies or video podcasts from itunes, as well as play computer games.
- Books and audiobooks -- of course! I picked up a cassette version of A Wrinkle in Time, read by Madeleine L'Engle, and I can't wait to listen to that. We also have the 4th in the Austin Family Chronicles series (I just reviewed the 2nd--finally--at 5 Minutes for Books HERE), and the Newbery Award winning A Ring of Endless Light. Amanda got a couple of books on CD for herself (she can plug earphones in, and we can still listen to the radio), and we also got some early Beverly Cleary for Kyle.
- One of my Facebook friends suggested pipe cleaners, and I think that's a fantastic idea! Quiet and not messy at all.
- Another Facebook friend suggested that we google Car Games. I had already thought of coming up with some on my own, but I like the idea of help.
- The Scratch and Sketch books might be too messy, but I'm bringing them anyway, because they will also need to be entertained while we are staying with family. However, I'm really looking forward to using the Magnetic Animal Safari Set mentioned in that post. It's really awesome.
- Paper, pens, crayons, dot-to-dot -- they're all in my little stash that I've been collecting.
- But mostly I'm just praying for patience. Lots of patience and lots of hours of quiet, well-behaved, mild-mannered children (does anyone want to swap out their children who fit that description for my adorable, yet much more energetic and chatty ones?).