Our family was ready for our big move between Florida and Ohio Labor Day weekend. We had mapped out our trip and decided to break it up, for our sanity and for the boys. We ended up leaving one day early out of Tampa to get away from the hurricane, and we’re glad we did. Then we stayed for three nights in Collierville and celebrated Clint’s dad’s birthday. Then it was one more night in Nashville before our final leg up to Columbus Ohio.
Now that we’re officially on Buckeye soil, here are some of my lessons from this family road trip that got us to our new home:
- Baths are few and far between. Normally Shep gets baths every day and Beau every other day, but on this trip those were less frequent. Once we got to Ohio, I ended up throwing Shep in the bath immediately because he looked so dirty (and had played in the grass somewhere along Kentucky). He sat in the bath for 30 minutes and loved that playtime. Beau was a little easier since he still uses a Fisher-Price tub, but still, his little curl got a little greasy.
- You learn to live with less. We learned our movers weren’t going to get there until Friday and my mom said, “what are you going to do without all your stuff?” Well, we had learned to live with just our duffle bag’s worth of stuff for the past week and we were doing fine. We had access to laundry at Clint’s dad’s house, so that wasn’t an issue. It’s amazing how little you actually NEED.
- You will hit a wall. Around day four, I hit a wall, and so did Shep. I was missing personal space (even the five minutes I normally got a day) and our normal things. I missed letting the kids hang out in the living room while I did dishes. I was ready for our new normal to begin. Shep started losing interest in his toys and kept saying, “Mommy, outta here!”
- Kids miss the strangest things. Shepard was beside himself on the night before we moved when there was no where to sit. “Mommy, Sheppie need chair! No seat. Need chair!” went on for about an hour. I made him a special magic blanket (aka towel on the floor) and he sat there happily playing with his toys.
- Kids are more resilient than we think. They love adventure and anything “new.” New sights, new parks, new restaurants, it’s all new possibilities. For adults (aka me) I sort of hate anything out of a routine. By day 4 I started to get antsy about not having MY coffee maker, MY spot on the couch, MY towels.
- Your family will grow together. I was literally Clint’s co-pilot, and he was my parenting partner full-time for almost a week. We don’t often get that much time together. And while we all were ready for some alone time by the end of our trip on Monday, being close for that long definitely brings you closer too.
- Exercise when you can, however you can. By day three I NEEDED to run. I strapped Beau in our stroller and went for a run throughout the neighborhood at Clint’s family’s home. Nothing clears my head or resets my body the way that running does. And when you are cooped in a car for days on end, moving your body is essential.
- You will get sick of listening to music. Spotify, Google Play and Pandora eventually became boring. Clint and I found a few podcasts we enjoyed and started listening to those on the trip instead. Dave Ramsey, HowStuffWorks, Freakonomics (nerds, much?) were some of our favorites.
- Food on the road is terrible. Packing lunches and healthy snacks keeps you from feeling completely sluggish. I loaded up on grapes, bananas, trail mix, turkey lunch meat (in a cooler) and granola bars. When we stopped a few times for lunch in the middle of nowhere, I always tried to pick a chicken option or Subway.
- Get a car adaptor for your pump. If you are breastfeeding or pumping and traveling, do yourself a favor and get one of these! I had been using this Medela car adaptor for quite awhile when commuting in Florida, and it was a godsend during our road trip. I’m still pumping 6-7 times a day, so I would have eaten through batteries since we didn’t have access to a wall charger on the road. It made pumping in the front seat a breeze.
Would I do it again? Probably not unless I had to, but we did make some wonderful memories along the way. We were amazed with Shep’s ability to be imaginative and all the stories he told us along the way about sharks, astronauts and the moon (he’s obsessed with space lately!) Plus Beau was the calmest, sweetest baby as usual and did great in his carseat for so long. I think Clint could tell you I was the biggest baby of all 🙂
Now for HOME, SWEET, HOME!