Living across the country from our family and friends for 3.5 years has taught us how to do two things relatively well: 1.) knock out as many birds with one stone as you can 2.) accept that traveling with a toddler is almost always going to make you pull your hair out but that the time with loved ones whose company you genuinely enjoy is always worth the struggle.
Since two of my closest friends live in the Atlanta area, we decided to make the Savannah wedding a family affair and bring the kids along to Georgia; Savannah is only a 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta, so what the heck, right? 🙂 We planned to spend one afternoon/night with each family and sandwich the Savannah trip in between. We were pumped that we would get this quality time with two families who are so important to us, while also getting to slip away for a couple days to Savannah for the wedding. My parents were also thrilled to have the girls to themselves for a couple days, especially since my dad hadn’t seen them since January. He couldn’t wait! Win/win all-around.
We flew out early Thursday morning on a direct flight to Atlanta.
We booked it straight to the USO in the ATL airport so that we could eat a free lunch and the girls could stretch their legs and play before getting back in the car to head to my friend Amberlee’s home.
Amberlee and Brandon have one precious son Carter, and the kids had so much fun playing together! We opted to stay in and order pizza so that we could spend max time just relaxing, catching up, and having fun.
The kids played in the rain before bath time, and Amberlee and I just couldn’t stop smiling watching our kids play together. She and I have been best friends since 5th grade, so it’s really fun to see the next generation of little friends enjoying each other so much!
Love this girl and the cute little hostess that she is. She spoils us!
My parents drove over from Alabama on Friday morning to pick up the girls from Amberlee and Brandon’s home and stayed downtown at the Embassy Suites in Buckhead. They sent us pictures constantly of what they were all up to, and it made me so happy to see all four of them having such a good time.
We appreciated that they had a good balance of things to do and downtime in the hotel to let the girls snooze and rest. They experienced all of the typical “kid things” we deal with on a daily basis which was hilarious to hear about.
We met them back in Buckhead around 2 p.m. on Sunday, ate a quick lunch together, and then parted ways so that we four DeSpains could head over to our dear friends Bethy and Bradley’s home.
We always always always have the best time when we spend time with the Clarks. Like we did at Amberlee’s, we decided to stay home and grill out so that we could enjoy as much down time together as possible. Hadley always takes so well to Bethy and Bradley, and this trip was no exception.
A couple months ago they got eight baby chicks and built a seriously gorgeous chicken coop, and we were all pretty pumped to see it! These chickens are living the high life!
The girls crashed hard before 8 p.m. and then of course we stayed up way too late talking and hanging out, knowing good and well that a 4 a.m. wake up call was on the horizon! We were wheels down in Kansas City by 9:30 a.m. and finally pulling into our driveway by 1:30 that afternoon. Jamie actually had to go into work as soon as we got home (his work as a commander is absolutely 24/7 just like we always heard that it would be), so the girls and I spent the rest of the day unpacking and settling in. The previous week I had put in an online grocery order to be delivered Monday evening since I knew that going to the store was the very last thing I’d want to do, so seeing that Hy-Vee truck pull up with our groceries was fantastic.
Hadley must have said 100 times “Awwww I’m so glad to be home!”
I say it every time, but it’s so good to go away and even better to come home!
And now for some funny travel stories…
…that were actually the exact opposite of funny at the time, but if I were telling you these stories in person, I would be sharing them while laughing. In hindsight, the madness is hilarious to think about and tell!
- Jamie had work stuff until 8:30 p.m. the night before our trip, so I was a madwoman running around packing everybody’s stuff, cleaning the house, and getting Teddy ready to take to the kennel. While I’m getting Teddy’s stuff together, Sadie walks back to my room and was messing with my ziplock bag on the floor that had my razor. She got a nice paper cut-type cut (not a big deal) on her pointer finger that wouldn’t stop bleeding! I’m trying to put band-aids on her, but she thought they were way too interesting not to mess with. She could not keep them on! Meanwhile it’s already dinnertime and I have to get Teddy to the border on time before they close and I’m majorly running out of time. I throw about five bandaids on Sadie’s finger and out the door we go to get Teddy dropped off while I’m praying that Sadie and her car seat aren’t going to be totally covered in blood by the time we get there. I likely appeared like a total hot mess at the kennel! Thankfully she left her band-aids on and her little finger healed up just fine. 🙂
- Sadie freaking lost her mind on our two hour flight to Atlanta. You guys – LOST. HER. MIND. She has been going through huge mental and physical developmental changes the last two weeks (walking, cutting two bottom molars, learning that she can throw a tantrum, etc.), and it all just caught up to her. Tropical Storm Cindy was moving through during our flight which meant the turbulence was horrible and we couldn’t get out of our seats nearly the entire flight, and all Sadie wanted to do was walk around. Oh my gosh – it was so bad. So about half way through our two hour flight, the lady in front of us turns around and HANDS US HER SOCKS! I’m not even kidding. Her socks! She said “Here! Maybe she wants to wave these around and play with them!” I am LOLing as I type this because it was so bizarre, sweet, and funny.
- We had no idea what to do about lunch once we got to the Atlanta airport. We knew the kids needed to eat something substantial, but we also knew that getting our rental car would take a while and that they’d likely fall asleep as soon as we got in the car anyway. We didn’t want to sit down at a restaurant because we knew the girls didn’t want to sit still, and then it hit us that we should check out the USO. So Jamie made multiple trips to grab our SIX pieces of luggage and I got into the USO with the girls. I almost cried when we walked in! They were serving a massive hot lunch and had a huge kids area with a table for them to eat at and lots of clean toys to play with. It was just what we needed for a 30 minute break before powering through the next leg of the trip. Thank you, thank you USO!
- So getting from the USO to the rental car was a ball. Except not. Sadie is strapped on my chest, Jamie has two bags draped across his chest and two huge car seats in his hands. I am rolling two suitcases and holding the Pack-n-Play on top of one of them. Hadley is walking with us rolling her small carry-on suitcase. Of course the rental car place is 500 miles away from baggage claim and involved taking a short train. WE WERE A MESS. Hadley walks like a drunk person with her head down from side to side and slow as a turtle, while Jamie and I are wanting to book it because our hands are cramping from holding all of the luggage. We’re biting each others’ heads off out of frustration, and Sadie is hollering because she has poop in her diaper. OH MY WORD. We finally got to our car, got the car seats in, the girls crashed immediately, and we both just DIED laughing at what an insane morning it had truly been. There is nobody besides Jamie that I would rather travel with. He and I just get each other and know how to help each other. We also know how to take the other in stride when we are both a little tense. It was funny! Parenthood is seriously a TEAM EFFORT!
- So for our flight back to Kansas City, I knew we needed Sadie to sleep! About 20 minutes before boarding I put her in the Ergo and walked and walked and walked until she fell fast asleep. We boarded as soon as I walked back up the gate, but the second I walked onto the plane the flight attendant looks at me and says “Ma’am, as soon we start taxiing away from the gate, I need you to detach her from your chest until after we take off.” I almost died! Do you have any idea what I just went through to get this baby to sleep?! I knew I better listen after a second flight attendant came over to tell me the same thing, so I unhooked it from my back, took the straps off my arms, but kept her covered and very secure against my chest. She slept for about 45 minutes and then let everyone know that she was on the plane the last 30 minutes. It was SO MUCH FUN.
- So how did we even get six pieces of luggage, two book bags, and two kids from the car to check-in? Curbside check-in FOR. THE. WIN! We got the girls out of the car, I strapped Sadie to me, Hadley stood by my side, and I checked us all in while Jamie got the car seats and all of the luggage out and over to us. We tipped $10 on each end, and that was the best dang $20 we ever spent. On both ends Jamie took care of the car and met us at our gate.
What a life. Typing all of this actually makes me love my little family so much more. I love our adventures and how we do all of them together, even when things get a little nutty. Our girls really are the best kids and handle travel really well. We ask a lot of them at times by taking them out of their most comfortable environment, and they enjoy it 95% of the time. We’ll be telling them forever what little troopers they were when they were little while Mommy and Daddy kept them on the go!