When your brother decides to get married, you don't let a little thing like a 2,200-mile round-trip drive with 21-month-old quadruplets stop you! No, sir. In fact, the minute Johnny and Holly told us that they were planning a September wedding, Ted and I started figuring out just how we were going to pull off our first road trip as a family of six.
Now that our Texas "vacation" is behind us, everyone's been asking me whether Ted and I are still sane—and thanks to our awesome kids, the answer is YES! To be sure, there was a little of this:
But there was also quite a bit of this:
Looking back, Ted and I are convinced that preparation was the key to keeping the Fab Four (mostly) content for a total of 40 van hours. For instance, in the week leading up to the trip, Ted took the time to carefully plan a route with stops that would accommodate our eating schedule and afford the opportunity for the kids to burn off some energy (thank goodness for Chick-Fil-A playgrounds!). As for me, I took stock of our supplies and determined what we'd need to take with us (and how to pack it), what we could leave behind, and what we'd have to buy on the road (milk!).
I also researched how to keep young toddlers busy on long drives and, based on what I learned, decided to sit in the middle row for the entire trip. This made the kids happy and gave me easy access to books, toys, and snacks—and anything else the kids dropped. During their awake time (which was almost all of the time), I kept them entertained with DVDs, lots of touch-n-feel books, empty water bottles (one of their favorite "toys"), balloons (in lieu of balls), and stuffed animals (anything with a buckle or a zipper was a hit).
The kids also loved the photo albums I made with pictures of people we were going to see on the trip—these held their attention for what seemed like hours! Check out Jude's reaction to seeing a picture of Tia Glenda:
The worst part of each 2-day drive was definitely the hotel stay in the middle. By the time we ate dinner, checked in, toddler-proofed the room, unloaded what we needed from the van, set up the PeaPod tents (love those things!), and changed the kids' diapers and clothes for bed, it was MELTDOWN time. Fortunately, we were going to bed much earlier than the other guests, so hopefully not too many people were disturbed by the screams that emanated from our room!
Two things we learned for sure: (1) Keeping four toddlers happy on the road for 2 full days at a time is no easy task, but (2) it's totally doable! And the sweat and the tears (no blood, fortunately!) were definitely worth it to witness Johnny and Holly make it official.
Picture posts coming up next to show how much fun we had before heading back home ...